• EXERCISE MAY HELP PREVENT STROKE

    New guidelines say a daily 30-minute walk reduces risk of “brain attack.”

    Just as regular exercise can reduce the risk of a heart attack, physical activity also may help prevent “brain attack“–more commonly known as stroke. In its recently released guidelines, the Prevention Advisory Board of the National Stroke Association recommends taking “a brisk walk for as little as 30 minutes a day” as one of ten strategies to help prevent stroke, America’s leading cause of adult disability.

    “Exercise is so important to cardio-vascular health in general and to reducing the risk of coronary heart disease that we’ve long suspected it might protect against stroke as well,” says Dr. Philip B. Gorelick, professor of neurology at Chicago’s Rush Medical College and chairman of the Stroke Association panel. “Now we have the evidence to say that physical activity is an exceedingly important factor.”

    A stroke occurs when blood circulation to the brain fails, most often as a result of blockage of a blood vessel in the brain or neck. In recent years, some experts have begun calling this condition “brain attack” to reflect its similarity to heart attack and to increase awareness of its urgent nature. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer, taking an estimated 160,000 lives annually. About 731,000 Americans suffer strokes each year, and total costs for care average $40 billion, according to the Stroke Association; there are four million stroke survivors in this country.

    “Although stroke remains a leading cause of death, disability, and healthcare expenditures, it can be prevented,” according to the stroke prevention guidelines published in the March 24/31, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The guidelines, which constitute the first-ever national-expert consensus on stroke prevention, cite six risk factors: hypertension, history of heart attack, elevated cholesterol levels, atrial fibrillation (a type of abnormal heart rhythm), diabetes mellitus, and asymptomatic carotid artery disease.

    The guidelines also highlight several lifestyle factors that can contribute to stroke risk, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a diet high in fat and sodium. Regular exercise may help prevent strokes, the recommendations note, in part because physical activity positively affects many risk factors.

    “Physical activity can help control blood pressure, and that’s the leading risk factor for stroke,” notes Dr. Edgar J. Kenton, professor of clinical neurology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and a member of the executive committee of the American Heart Association’s Stroke Council. “Physical activity improves cardiovascular conditioning and helps keep the heart in shape.”

    Exercise also can improve cholesterol ratios and reduce the risk of diabetes. In addition, Dr. Kenton says, “People who exercise are more health-conscious and are more likely to have healthy behaviors, such as not smoking or drinking to excess and having a good diet.”

    Recent research has helped strengthen the link between physical activity and stroke prevention. People who exercise for an hour a day cut their risk for stroke nearly in half, according to a study of 11,130 Harvard University alumni published last fall in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers found that people who expended 2,000 calories each week–the equivalent of a one-hour brisk walk five days a week–had a 46 percent lower risk of stroke than those who did little to no exercise. People who expended 1,000 calories a week–the equivalent of walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week–had about a 24 percent reduction in stroke risk.

    “Walking, stair-climbing, and participating in moderately intense activities–such as dancing, bicycling, and gardening–were shown to reduce the risk of stroke,” says the study’s lead author, I-Min Lee, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Light activity, such as bowling and general housekeeping activity, did not have the same effect.”

    Getting regular checkups is essential to stroke prevention, since keeping track of such personal health information as blood pressure and cholesterol levels is important in reducing risks of the disease.

    In addition to getting regular exercise, the stroke prevention guidelines recommend:

    * Knowing your blood pressure and having it checked at least once a year.

    * Finding out whether you have atrial fibrillation or high cholesterol.

    * Quitting smoking; drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all; and eating a diet lower in fat and salt.

    * Asking your doctor if you have circulation problems, following your doctor’s recommendations if you are diabetic, and seeking immediate medical attention if you experience any stroke symptoms. Stroke symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg; sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing or walking; and dizziness or sudden severe headache with no known cause.

    Since many of the conditions that lead to stroke have roots in childhood, experts say it’s particularly important to get kids active. “When you go to other cultures and you see people walking and bicycling and not eating as much, you don’t see this level of disease,” notes Chicago’s Dr. Gorelick. “Here we have a very sedentary, very obese population, and that leads to a whole host of health problems. If we had a population that exercised throughout the life cycle, beginning in childhood, I think we’d see a tremendous improvement in health.”

  • 4 Amazing Benefits of Yoga

    yoga

    yoga

    Everybody spends time going to the gym or doing some common exercises at home. So why don’t think about practicing yoga to get a healthy lifestyle. Yoga allows to increase the flexibility and reduce stress after working-hard. To illustrate, practitioners can twist their body into pretzel shapes and experience the sense of peace.

    These tasks can be done everywhere include in the kitchen, bedroom or living room. Besides, this articles will list out five reasons to show off your yoga skills. There are also appropriate pose recommended for each benefit.

    Increase the Imumunity

    Some researchers from the Norwegian show that practicing yoga regularly will create a change in gene, which increase the immunity in the body. And it did not take a long period of time to do that. In addition, studies have shown that these changes happen when people are still working-out on the mat; however, it becomes greater when there are groups of people who practice yoga and listen to music together.

    On the other hand, yoga helps boosting the immunity by strengthening the health in your body. When people breathe better, move well and the circulation of blood function better, these things will increase the immunity in the whole body.

    posture-yogaPose Recommended: Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)

    This is a combination of these poses performed in a row which can be found in any yoga classes. Practitioners are provide mat with music, this will benefit for the circulation of blood.

    Reduce Migraines

    Migraine is an annoying symptom for most people because they can’t work effectively when having this health problem. To illustrate, this symptom may be a combination results from mental stressors and physical misalignment. However, researches have shown that migraine sufferers reduce their pain after practicing yoga for three months.

    bridge-posePose Recommended: Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

    Lie your back with your knees bent and create a distance between you’re the feet and the floor. Keep hands resting on the floor, put pressure on your legs and draw the hips into the sky. Remember to keep the shoulders in line with the neck. Lastly, lift your chest towards the chin in order to let all trapezius muscles get away from the head.

    Improve quality of sleep

    Studies from Harvard show that practicing yoga for two months will help insomnia people sleep better. Besides, attend 2 sessions of yoga in a week is one of the best choices for reducing the fatigue.
    This is also known as the ability of yoga to help people deal with stress. At bedtime, people can’t stop thinking about many things and don’t know how to relax the body. Yoga includes breathing and mental exercises allow the mind to slow down; therefore, you begin to sleep better.

    corpe-pose

    Pose Recommended: Corpse Pose (Savasana) With Diaphragmatic Breathing

    This is the final pose in a yoga class with its aim to restore the body. Lay on your back as the position when you are sleeping. Then inhale and exhale through your nose, follow the breath and feel the belly rise and fall under the hands. Remember that all the breath, muscles and mind should be completely relaxed.

    Less likely to get hungry

    People who practice yoga regularly are less likely to feel hungry. For instant, they can enhance the awareness of physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. By improving the breath awareness, yoga practice will strengthen the connection between your mind and the whole body.

    The awareness can help you tune in to emotion when you are craving for food. This will help slowing down and deciding better choices for yourself.

    meditation

    Pose Recommended: Meditation

    Sit or lay in a comfortable position then breathe naturally. Next, pay attention to the triangle area around the tip of your nose and upper lip. Also focus on your breath when you inhale and exhale during the yoga process. This pose should be done for up to five minutes or more. And remember that the main key when doing this pose is focusing on your breath.

    Besides those yoga practices, you should also consider some work-outs at home to make the practicing process become various. Having said that, the unfortunate truth is that not everyone can afford to pay the gym fees every month. Therefore, purchasing your own machine can be an investment for a long run. Since the market presents a variety of machines with different features. It’s important to spend time browsing through those spin bike reviews until you find one that suit personal budget and fitness level.
    There are still various practices for yoga process. This type of exercise not only strengthen the body but help people experience a sense of peace in their mind as well.

  • Energy ups and downs: feel as if you’re on a roller coaster–wide awake one minute and half-asleep the next? Here’s how to steady your energy

    You may read this article and find it interesting, or you may simply stare at the page. Either way, the words won t change. But what you remember about this article may depend on when you read it.

    If you’re like 14-year-old Joey Twarkins of Beacon Falls, Conn., you may get more from reading this article in the morning. That’s when Joey has the most energy. He’s had almost nine hours of sleep and he’s just eaten breakfast.

    If you’re like 14-year-old Zoe Skibbie, of Hopkinton, N.H., reading this article in the afternoon could make your eyelids droop. She’s been awake since early morning, and it has been several hours since she’s eaten or exercised. “I feel like cooked spaghetti at 2 o’clock,” she says.

    Zoe’s older sister, Anya, 17, would get the most from reading the article just before lunch. That’s right after she has PE. “It’s like I wake up when I work out,” Anya says.

    You may not have the same energy highs or lows as Joey, Zoe, or Anya. But very few kids–or adults–maintain the same energy level all day. Why? Here’s a hint: Think about what people say when they’re tired: “I’m out of gas” or “I need to recharge my batteries.”

    In some ways, your body is like a car, and energy is like your engine. It can run, but someone needs to start it, fuel it, and keep it tuned up. Three things keep your energy engine running: exercise, food, and rest. Here’s how those crucial components work together.

    Pumped Up With Exercise

    Think of exercise as your starter. Blood flow increases when your brain of body is active–even when you are unaware of it. For example, your brain needs energy to understand these words as your eyes travel across the page.

    When the energy ignition is on, blood vessels in your brain become wider, increasing the blood flow. The heart conveys blood to the brain and body, and a strong heart delivers oxygen more efficiently. That’s why health experts recommend regular exercise to strengthen the heart.

    Coach and physical therapist Nancy Reichlin of Norwalk, Conn., agrees. She suggests that young people try to get at least an hour of moderate physical activity every day.

    “It’s simple: Exercise equals energy,” says Reichlin. “And doing something every day–riding a bike, walking, dancing–is better for your heart than waiting till the weekend [to exercise]. Even if you squeeze in 10 minutes of physical activity a few times a day, you help yourself.”

    Eating for Energy

    Think of food as your engine’s fuel. The gasoline–glucose (blood sugar)–is made when the digestive system breaks down food into molecules. Then the glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream in a process called metabolism. Cells absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy. With high glucose levels, your engine runs well; with low levels, your engine sputters.

    Foods are generally separated into three classes: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Nutritionists agree that foods high in carbohydrates give you the best mileage. Whole-grain cereals, pasta, potatoes, and beans are all packed with carbohydrates.

    Discuss

    * At what time of day do you have the most energy? Why do you think that is?

    * What three things keep your “energy engine” running?

    * How much exercise should you get daily? Why?

    * How does the body get energy from food?

    Do

    Have students keep energy journals for one week. They should record what they eat, how much exercise and rest they get, and the times for each. Have them note as the day goes on the times when they feel the most and least energized. Encourage students to try to make daily adjustments in nutrition, exercise, and rest to find out if any one of those has an effect on their energy levels. At the end of the week, ask students to draw a conclusion about energy based on their personal experiences.

    Resources

    California Project LEAN’s Food on the Run program encourages teens to eat healthful foods and increase their physical activity to raise energy levels. Student advocates in nearly 30 high schools are working to add more healthful foods in the cafeteria and vending machines and increase the opportunities for students to be physically active. Visit the program’s Web site for teen-specific information on nutrition and exercise, including recipes and games. www.californiaprojectlean.org

    The PBS reality show for teens In the Mix has produced an episode titled “Fit for Life … Eat Smart & Exercise.” Visit the show’s Web site for tips on nutrition and exercise, a transcript, educator information, and program listings. www.pbs.org/inthemix

    No Sleep, Big Test: What Do You Do?

    It happens to everyone: The night before the big test, all you can do is toss and turn in your bed. How can you get enough of an emergency energy supply to ace the test? You can’t take a nap in school. Instead, you’re better off eating a good meal and taking a deep breath.

    How will that help? When you’re tired, your glucose levels are low. So a “good” meal is one that contains carbohydrates. Studies have shown that eating high-carb foods can improve memory within an hour. Eat a sandwich or another high-carbohydrate food an hour before the test.

    Breathing deeply helps too. That will increase the oxygen levels in your blood. Right before the test, try this breathing exercise: Stick out your tongue partway and curl the sides up, as though your tongue were a straw. Count to two as you take in a “sip” of air. Close your mouth and count to eight. Then breathe out through your nose and count to four. Repeat those steps five times.

    Now you’re ready for the test. After all, you did study, right?

    Jason Tsokalas, 15, of Hebron, Conn., likes “whole grain waffles for breakfast and turkey on wheat with mayo” for lunch. Those are excellent energy foods because Jason metabolizes them steadily during the day. Jason says he has the most energy right after lunch. That’s because he’s had two meals built around carbohydrates. His energy tank is full.

    Nutritionist Sharon Mierzwa of Hartford, Conn., says Jason’s meals are great. But she also recommends adding chopped walnuts of sliced bananas to the waffles. “Nuts are great for all-day energy, and potassium in bananas helps cells during the metabolic process,” she says.

    Mierzwa says it’s important for kids to avoid sweet breakfast treats and to stay away from candy or soda at lunch. Those foods are high in sucrose, also known as table sugar,. Because sucrose is converted to glucose almost immediately, the gas burns fast and the fuel tank soon reads empty.

    Lights Out for Rest

    Sleep is tune-up time. You should recharge by sleeping between eight and nine hours–the recommended amount for teenagers. Rest allows your cells to store glucose. Too little sleep means you burn glucose rather than store it. Experiments have shown that glucose levels in rats drop when the animals are awake and rise while they sleep. Less sleep means less energy–for both rats and humans.

    Now that you know more about energy, you can keep your engine humming. With exercise, the right foods, and enough sleep, you can get off the roller coaster and enjoy a steady ride.

    Ingram, Scott

  • Your top workout questions answered

    Four fitness experts answer the eight most common questions that are asked about exercising. These questions deal with motivation for exercising, minimum amount of workouts and keeping workout schedules, among others.

    We asked four fitness professionals to answer your top questions about working out. Read their answers and then get with a program!

    Q What’s the minimum amount of working out I can do and still see results?

    Always looking for short-cuts aren’t we? Lucky for you, this is one case where you may actually benefit from keeping your workout time to a minimum. According to Noah Mann of Miami’s Club Body Tech, if you’re just starting out, keeping your aerobic routine to 20 minutes, three times a week will not only do your body good, but it’ll keep you from getting totally bored.

    As long as you’re breaking a sweat and keeping your heart rate up, you’ll be burning fat away – and we bet that after you start seeing results, you’ll want to push ahead and add in a little more time. Check out the chart on the next page to see where you fit in and how to take it to the next level.

    FIND YOUR FITNESS LEVEL AND SEE WHAT YOUR MINIMUM WORKOUT DEAL IS:
    
    FITNESS          MINIMUM
    LEVEL            TIME             SUGGESTIONS
    
    BEGINNER
    (You get         20-30 minutes,   Start out slowly - build up to
    minimal          two to three     that third or fourth workout;
    exercise)        times a week     Remember to alternate aerobics
                                      and strength-training.
    
    MODERATE
    (You work        20-30 minutes,   Push yourself to get to that
    out a few        three to four    four or five times a week
    times            times a week     spot; When strength-training,
    weekly)                           do extra sets as you get stronger.
    
    ADVANCE
    (You play a      30-45 minutes    Most likely, you're already
    junior varsity   four to five     in great shape. Concentrate
    or varsity       times a week     on keeping your body toned
    spot)                             with calisthenics and weight
                                      training.
    

    Q Can I split my workout into three 10-minute mini workouts?

    Because it takes your body at least twenty minutes to get your target heart rate up and in optimal working condition, when it comes to aerobic workouts, these mini-sessions are a no-go, says Frank Schrecker of New York Health & Racquet Club. You can split up toning exercises (stomach crunches, arm workouts with weights, etc.) into short periods of time throughout the day. Set a routine where you do three or four sets of bicep curls in the morning before school, get down with squat thrusts to work your legs in the later afternoon, and then tackle tricep extensions before bed. The key is to vary your muscle work all over. Simple!

    Q Will walking get me into shape?

    Walking a couple of blocks to school won’t cut it – you definitely need to put some major effort into your stride to make it burn fat. According to Deborah O’Connell, fitness trainer at New York Health & Racquet Club, if exercising indoors drives you stir-crazy and you’re not ready for running, check out a walking audio tape. Not only do the tapes provide work-out-worthy music, but most feature a ticking metronome beat that forces you to stay in step and keep your pace brisk!

    Q How can I get some motivation?

    First of all, making the decision that you want to get in shape and have a great-looking body is one commitment that should remain with you for the rest of your life. It’s got to become a habit, as in a lifestyle change. Compare exercising to brushing your teeth, advises New York Health & Racquet Club’s O’Connell. You brush your teeth every day so that they’ll look clean and sparkling, and won’t get unhealthy and fall out. You should pay the same kind of attention to your body. Another tip: try making a weekly workout schedule – penciling exercise in on your calendar will help you to stick with it. And once you get into shape, staying in shape is a whole lot easier!

    Q How can I find a workout I’ll stick with?

    workout-with-friendsWorking out with others is not only a great way to do something productive while you hang with your friends, but it’s practically a guarantee that you won’t throw in the towel as easily as you might if you were the only one around. You can also try trading video tapes or testing out new workouts with each other – let a friend teach you tennis, then you can show her the ropes of in-line skating or take her on some serious mountain-biking trails.

    Q How soon will I see results?

    Results start in a few weeks. Every fitness expert we spoke to, however, couldn’t stress enough that, in order to see results, you must not only develop a workout regime and stick to it, but devote some attention to changing your eating habits. Don’t starve yourself – if you do, your body will store fat to use it as energy.

    “You don’t need to diet,” says Manne, “just cut back on bready carbohydrates, cut back on sugary foods and drinks, and you’ll see visible results in a month or two.” Finally, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a week or so of working out; you’re still way ahead of when you started, so just get back on track.

    Q How can I make myself stick with my workout schedule?

    Every time you exercise, put a quarter in a jar, suggests Todd Person, a trainer with Los Angeles’ Metabolic Project. Not only will the coin stash serve as a reminder of how much work you’ve put into getting in shape, but after you’ve reached one of your goals, you’ll have some money to treat yourself to a cool top or halter that can showcase your iron-hard abs!

    Q How can I figure out my target heart rate?

    Target-Heart-RateTo know for sure that you’re working as hard as you should, you should try to keep your heart beating at your target heart rate. (It’s at that level that you’re really working your bod.) When you’re born, your heart rate is 220 beats per minute. As each year passes, your heart rate drops one beat.

    To figure out your heart rate now, take 220 and subtract your age. You need to stay between 65 and 85 percent of that number in order to get real results. If you go below your target heart rate, you’re not pushing yourself enough. Here’s an example: If you’re 15 years old: 220-15=205, multiply 205 by 0.65=133 (your minimum heart rate) – then multiply 205 by 0.85=174 (your maximum heart rate).

    Stay between your minimum and maximum heart rate numbers when you’re working out. To check your heart rate, take your pulse in the middle of exercising (walk in place while doing it, try not to completely cool down). Place two fingers on the side of your neck and count the number of beats. (You can count for a minute, or save time by counting for 15 seconds, then multiply that number by four.) Based on what you count, you’ll know if you’re working too much or not enough!

  • How to eat healthy and do exercises

    These days, there are many articles come out with the idea of people who succeed in building good body. As an illustration, Cindy Tarantino is one of the people who had lost 90 pounds thanks to work out on cycling bike and eat healthy. Apart from doing exercises on fitness indoor cycling bike, what are the other factors which help you get a healthy body?

    There are a lot of ways that people could use to burn the calories which result in fit body. They included going on healthy diet, working out every day or setting the goal to shape your body efficiently.

    EATING HEALTHY DIET

    foodKnowing that eating healthy food can help preventing many diseases in the future such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

    You should avoid these following food:

    Sugar: it is the most common ingredient which absolutely add more fat to your body. In addition, eating so much sugar can cause the obesity and cardiovascular disease in the future.
    Food made from grains: avoid eating bread and pasta because these types food bring more carbohydrates which contains in the body

    On the other hand, there are also natural food which is great for health.

    Eggs: eggs have a lot of nutrition among a large number of food. One egg contains both the white and the yolk. The part which is healthy and nutrient is the yolk. Also, eating eggs provides the omega-3 which is good for health.
    Meat: chicken and beef for instant. Meat which is taken from the animals is natural and good.
    Vegetables: people who want to lose weight also encouraged to eat more vegetables. So let’s eat more vegetables every day and drink fruit in variety.

    WORKOUT EVERYDAYworkout

    To have a shape body, two things that come up in mind first is to eat healthy and do a great number of exercises. Exercises burn calories in the body and also build up strong muscle which benefits effectively in losing your weight.

    Knowing the need of exercises, a well-known company named Schwinn Fitness also produce many generations of both indoor and outdoor bikes to suit each target users. Moreover, Schwinn IC2 is one of the well-qualified and effective bikes which can support you in the whole fitness process. Users can lose a great amount of weight approximately 1200 calories if they workout everyday with this machine. You can check out for some detailed reviews of Schwinn IC2 at this link http://exercisebikesexpert.com/schwinn-ic2-indoor-cycling-exercise-bike-reviews/

    SET UP AN IDEAL PLAN FOR FITNESS PROCESS

    Some people choose to write down all the food that they have eaten in the whole day to know how many calories they consume in the body. As the result, these people seem to lose weight easier because they can reduce the amount of calories after checking their food diaries.

    The best recommendation is that you should go to the gym 3-4 times a week and do a lot of types such as lift weights, stretch and warm up.

    Lift weight: this will help reducing calories in the body but still keep you feel healthy and strong.
    Try some basic cardio exercises for example jogging, running or walking will effectively help.

  • All the wrong moves

    Some people do their exercises incorrectly, increasing the likelihood of injury. Some common exercises and questions illustrating incorrect exercises are presented.

    Could your exercises be failing you? If you’re doing them incorrectly, you may be working harder than you have to, without gaining results. Or, worse yet, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury. Mark Stevens of the Gym shows us some rights and wrongs.

    #1 Stretching

    WRONG Bouncing while you stretch.

    RIGHT Slow, smooth and controlled stretches. “Bouncing could cause you to stretch too far because it’s uncontrollable,” says Mark.

    #2 Lunges

    WRONG Positioning your knee further forward than your foot.

    RIGHT Keeping back straight, knees directly above foot. “Lunging too far forward puts too much stress on your knee caps, which can lead to injury,” says Mark.

    #3 Situps

    WRONG Arching your back as you come up.

    RIGHT Lifting yourself just a few inches off the ground by using abdominal muscles instead of your back and head. Arch your back and you’ll be at risk for straining it or your neck. (Not to mention you won’t be working your abdominal muscles as efficiently.)

    OTHER COMMON EXERCISE MISTAKES

    WRONG Not warming up.

    RIGHT Warming up your muscles and joints for about five to 10 minutes before a workout. Not warming up could lead to muscle injury. A great warm-up involves using the muscles you’ll be working out slowly and gently. Try walking before running, riding a slow stationary bike before cycling or doing weights.

    WRONG Stretching only after, or only before, a workout.

    RIGHT Stretching both before and after workouts. “Stretching out the muscles you’ve just worked after a workout prevents them from tightening up and becoming sore,” says Mark.

    I’ve been doing the stair machine for a week now, but afterward my neck and elbows are sore. What am I doing wrong?

    Answer: Chances are, you’re using your arms to support you by hanging on too tightly to the rails. The hand rails should be used for balance only. Otherwise, not only will you become sore, you’ll also be getting less of a lower-body workout.

    How much water should I drink when I work out?

    Answer: It’s essential to stay well-hydrated when you work out so that your muscles will work more efficiently and to prevent cramping. A good rule: 8 ounces of water every 30 minutes while working out or exercising. Swimmers should be sure to stay hydrated, as it’s easy to forget you’re losing water when you’re inside a pool. And keep in mind that diet sodas are not good substitutes: many contain caffeine which acts as a diuretic.

  • What you get when you get moving

    Want to start exercising but don’t know how long it will take to see results? Some benefits start almost immediately; others take longer. Here’s a time-line, prepared with the help of exercise physiologist John Duncan, Ph.D., a professor of clinical research at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, of the benefits of doing three 30-minute aerobic sessions each week. (If you work out longer or more often, your benefits will be even greater.)

    AFTER 1 WEEK

    week1Fitness: Expect about a 1-percent boost in your endurance (you’ll feel more energized), as well as a drop of about 1 beat per minute in your resting heart rate (which means your heart muscle is already getting stronger, pumping more blood with each stroke).

    Weight: If you were at least 25 percent overweight before you started and are now on a sensible diet, count on shedding up to 2 pounds. For others, no discernible weight loss…yet.

    1monthAFTER 1 MONTH

    Fitness: You’ll be up to a 4-percent increase in your aerobic capacity – the amount of oxygen your body is able to process and consume during exercise. (When you run up stairs, for instance, you won’t feel as out of breath as you used to.) Plus there’ll be a total drop of about 4 beats per minute in your resting heart rate. (A fit rate hovers between 50 and 70.)

    Weight: Another 4 to 6 pounds will come off if you began 25 percent overweight and are eating right. Others will shed perhaps 1 to 2 pounds. Also, expect improved muscle tone.

    Blood Pressure: If you started with higher than normal blood pressure and/or were overweight, you’ll see a total drop of 5 to 7 points in your systolic pressure (the top number, which measures the maximum pressure produced in the large arteries by each heartbeat), and a 1- or 2-point drop in your diastolic pressure (the bottom number, which measures the constant pressure maintained in the arteries between heartbeats). That’s a clear sign that blood is flowing more easily to your muscles and vital organs.

    AFTER 3 MONTHS

    3months“At this point, it’s as if someone flipped a switch,” says Duncan. “The health-promoting changes really start kicking in.”

    Fitness: Now, oxygen-burning capabilities will be a total of 10 to 15 percent higher. Your resting heart rate will drop, on average, another 5 to 7 beats.

    Weight: If you started out 25 percent overweight and are eating right, you’ll have shed a total of 12 to 17 pounds. Others will see a more modest (perhaps 5- to 10-pound) loss. Muscles will now be a bit larger and more toned. To see more significant changes in muscle tone, add weight training.

    Blood Pressure: You’ll be up to a 7- to 12-point drop in systolic pressure, and a 3- to 8-point drop in diastolic pressure.

    Cholesterol: Perhaps you’ll see a slight reduction in total cholesterol levels, but more importantly, there will be a definite (3 percent) rise in “good” HDL cholesterol, vital for preventing plaque buildup in arteries. For every 1 percent rise in HDL levels, you lower your risk of heart disease by 3 percent.

    AFTER 6 MONTHS

    6monthHere’s when you’ll feel the greatest gains in health and fitness, Duncan says.

    Fitness: You’ll be up to a 15 to 20 percent improvement in your aerobic capacity. Your resting heart rate will have dropped a total of 10 to 15 beats per minute. Now, it’ll take you only 3 to 4 minutes to “recover” after a workout-more proof that you’re using oxygen more efficiently.

    Weight: The formerly overweight can expect a total of up to 30 pounds off. Otherwise, the scale may not show much more of a drop – muscle weighs more than fat – but your pants will fit less snugly.

    Blood Pressure: There will be a total reduction of 8 to 15 points in your systolic pressure, and 4 to 10 points in your diastolic pressure.

    Cholesterol: You’ll see a 5 to 10 percent increase in HDL levels, often enough to change your readings from abnormal to normal.

    AFTER 1 YEAR

    1yearFitness: You’ll be 18 to 25 percent better at burning oxygen than when you started. For even more improvement, work out longer and/or more frequently.

    Weight: Because it now takes fewer calories to maintain your body weight, your weight will remain about the same. To lose more, exercise more or decrease your calorie consumption.

    Blood Pressure: Expect a total drop of 8 to 18 points in your systolic pressure, and up to 10 points in your diastolic pressure.

    Cholesterol: HDL levels will have increased a total of 12 to 15 percent – enough, usually, to extend your life expectancy by a couple of years.

  • How to fit exercise into your day

    Students can find time for exercise in the morning, on the weekends, or after they finish their homework. Students are more likely to become committed to an exercise program if it is enjoyable and offers some variety. Three high-school students discuss their exercise routines.

    Sam sets his alarm every morning for 5:30 a.m. so he can slip into the high school swimming pool by 6:30 to work on his endurance and the efficiency of his breast stroke. Have you noticed that swimmers are almost always morning people? If you’re not a morning person, you’re probably not a swimmer.

    Football and basketball, wrestling, and track and field types usually work out after school to get in shape for their sport. But you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from regular exercise–we all need to fit workouts in every week.

    basketballFitting in exercise, though, is a challenge in itself. Just where are those cracks and crevices in the day? If you have a daily schedule full of intellectual and social pursuits, and you participate in theater, music, or the newspaper after school, how do you fit a workout in? And, once you’ve figured out your schedule, what can you do to keep motivated and to avoid having your good intentions dry up and blow away in the wake of a heroic start?

    These questions were posed to some real high school kids.

    David Bikes It

    David Vanderlaan is a sophomore theater buff who also is involved in his school’s choral music program. David ranks high in his class academically, has a very busy schedule, but nevertheless finds time for a daily bike ride, whether it’s the real thing or the stationary variety.

    cycling“In the summer,” David says, “I get in 20 miles almost every day. It takes me the better part of an hour. During the school year, I still go outside when the weather allows, but if not, I hop on my dad’s stationary bike and work out for a similar period of time. I usually do it after my homework, or in between assignments in the evening. But it’s an important part of my day, and I do fit it in.”

    Liana Takes Time for Tai Chi

    Liana Vazquez Gits is a junior who is a soloist in her high school’s choral music program. She takes a full academic load and is an honor roll student as well. Liana practices Tai Chi Chuan, a flowing oriental dance, in the morning before school for about 40 minutes, several days a week.

    taichi“I love doing Tai Chi,” she says. “For me it’s a physical form of meditation that develops self-control in my body and my mind. It helps me in my music, my academics, and in almost everything else I do during the day. But if I didn’t find the time in the early morning hours, it wouldn’t get done. That’s the only hole in my schedule right now.”

    John Plans on Fun

    “How do I get exercise in? I guess I just plan fun into my schedule,” says freshman John Dotto. He is an honor roll student, active in debate, chess club, and his school newspaper, who admits to having so many girlfriends that he has a hard time keeping track of their names. But even with his wild and crazy schedule, a regular workout is part of his week.

    rollerhockey

    “I play roller hockey on the weekends. I get in a game of volleyball or a set or two of tennis during the week. In the spring and summer, I make it to the golf course several times a week. I even jump up and down when I play chess,” John says. “It seems like the more fun I plan for the week, the more of a workout I get, and that’s the way I like it to be,” he adds with a smile.

    Make it Fun

    Regularity and longevity are the two real keys to a successful exercise program. Anything you do regularly over a significant period of time is a winner. Anything you start but quit after two or three weeks is a loser, and you may as well not start at all.

    As a rule, it’s best to start small and build if and when you feel like building. The basic idea is that you can only start from where you are, not where you or someone else thinks you should be.

    With a little imagination a fitness program can be exciting, even adventurous. It is for this reason that athletes choose sports-oriented workouts. But there are plenty of other ways to spice up a workout routine.

    You might, for example, really enjoy a leisurely run on a forest path, communing with Nature. Or you may find joy in learning self-control with yoga or martial arts. Step aerobics might be a challenge that you enjoy on a regular basis. In any case, the main point is “make it fun.”

    One of the ways to maximize the fun is to include variety in your workout. Doing the same old routine every day can get tedious, dull, and, well … routine. That’s why cross-training has become so popular.

    When you plan, keep in mind that there are three basic parts to physical fitness: physical strength (achieved in activities such as calisthenics or weight lifting), endurance or cardiovascular conditioning (found in activities such as running or jumping rope), and flexibility (found in stretching). If you use these three categories as your basic menu and choose something from each, you will have planned a workout that is not only lively and fun but produces results as well.

    Always include warming-up and cooling-down exercises. In order to avoid injury, experts advise taking 3 to 5 minutes to warm up and to stretch before getting into the main activity. On the back side, a cool-down also allows you to slowly come back to a resting state.

    Make Exercise a Habit

    Plan for three or four workouts each week. On your off days, you could spend 5 to 10 minutes keeping an exercise diary, charting your progress, or just relaxing.

    The world is made up of many different kinds of people. And everyone requires some regular physical exercise in order to function at his or her highest level. So fit some exercise into your week, make it fun, plan some variety–but most of all, make exercise a habit. You’ll not only be healthier, but you’ll be happier too.

  • Good-looking: the new definition; be fit, adopt a good attitude, and eat right

    good-fit

    Good-Looking: The New Definition

    Joan looks in the mirror. “Yuck,” she says to herself. “My hips are so fat. Why can’t I be skinny like Christie Brinkley?”

    Patrick finishes measuring his height — again. He still is 5 feet, 4 inches. “What if I never grow taller?” he thinks. “I’ll never be able to play basketball like Michael Jordan.”

    When you meet someone for the first time, how do you form your first impression? How do you think other people make their first judgment about you? Some people look at eyes, some at smiles, and some at clothes or overall appearance: Is the person tall or short, fat or thin, neat or sloppy? Even if we do not readily admit It, we judge ourselves and other people on appearance. We are always aware of how others appear to us, and how we appear to others.

    But how do we define attractive? Unfortunately, for years, women and men have been subject to constricting ideas about what is accepted as pretty or handsome. The good news is that now the rules that define good-looking have changed and the rigid concepts about a specific look no longer apply. body image is the way you believe you look to others, a perception that is now closely related to your overall health and to your self-esteem, not just your looks.

    A History of Constraints

    In the past, society has had different ideas about how to define attractive. At the turn of the century, both men and women were considered good-looking and healthy if they were overweight; it was a sign of wealth and good humor. The Gibson girl, a roly-poly artist’s ideal, was the dream look for women.

    In the 1920s, thin made an appearance among fashionable people. Thin represented a glamorous, exciting, and daring life. Mass-magazine publishing and the movies made women particularly susceptible to the whims of fashion designers and Hollywood directors, who had the power to define a look. The 1950s brought the curvy, full-bodied look, a la Marilyn Monroe and other poster girls. Thin returned to the fashion scene in the 1960s and 1970s; and fad diets, pills , and even starvation created a lean, hungry look among fashion models that became the ideal reflected in clothes, advertisements, and movies.

    A New Image Appears

    But in the past few years, there has been a shift in thinking about one single ideal image. Men and women no longer have to be slaves to someone else’s idea of beauty. We now have the ability to fashion a body image that conforms to our own ideas of beauty, one that relates to our own not-so-perfect bodies. According to a recent Gallup poll, the healthy, fit body is the new American ideal of the 80’s. Although most men and women still have models of perfection, these are becoming less confining.

    The principles of a healthy body can be summed up easily: exercise and good nutrition. A combination of a sound fitness program and a sound diet will make you look better and feel better.

    Exercise-and-nutrition

    Bodies are different, and we know that there is no such thing as a perfect body. The goals of the new body image should be, first, to accept what your genes have given you, and second, to make the most out of what you have. This means that you must begin to think of yourself as more than just a body. You may need to rethink your attitudes about being perfect.

    Dr. Ann Kearney-Kooke, a leading body-image researcher and counselor, says that people should try to understand why they have certain feelings about their body. “If you understand where the feelings come from,” she says, “you can move toward changing them and learning to love your body.”

    You are a person, and your body can only define you in a limited sense. Before you try to improve the outside, you must consider your inside first. What you think of yourself greatly affects how you seem to other people. A healthy body reflects a healthy attitude about yourself.

    Genetics Does It Again

    But first, a dose of realism. The body you are born with is the body you will always have. Genetic makeup determines not only hair and eye color, but height, shape, bone structure, and size of the body frame, as well as predisposition to fatness or thinness, a high or low metabolism, and physical attributes and deficiencies. Your gender determines the amount of muscle and fat in your body: Male hormones produce larger muscles, and female hormones increase body fat and distribute it around the breasts and hips.

    In one sense, you cannot fight destiny. Remember Joan? Her mother, her aunt, and her grandmother all have wide hips; she has inherited that trait, and she cannot change it. It doesn’t mean, however, that she is unattractive or abnormal because her hips are larger than Christie Brinkley’s. And it doesn’t mean she has no control over how she looks. And if Patrick’s father and all his family are not tall, he may well only grow to 5 feet, 6 inches. Patrick may never play basketball like Michael Jordan, but he can still do well at basketball and other sports.

    Get Moving

    One of the best ways to a healthy body is exercise that includes a cardiovascular fitness program. Getting your heart into good shape means that your healthy heart will pump blood with less effort than an unhealthy heart. With a healthy heart, you will be better able to pursue all kinds of sports for fun and competition. Aerobic exercise is the best way to maintain cardiovascular health. Thirty minutes, three times a week will build up endurance.

    Aside from keeping your heart fit, exercise will burn body fat that you store as energy. ridding your body of excess fat is not only better for you, but you will look more fit and more muscular. Strengthening exercises can tone your muscles as well.

    Eat Well, Look Good

    Diet is now a four-letter word. You do not have to starve yourself to be healthy and good-looking. Grape-fruit and saltines five times a day, pills, protein shakes, and other quickie ways to rid yourself of excess weight will only cause your metabolism to slow down as you take in fewer calories.

    A Nutritious eating plan should concentrate on cutting down on fats (especially saturated fats found in many red meats, whole-milk products, and packaged cookies, cakes, and crackers), as well as excess sugar and sodium. Add high-fiber proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates (starches), and you will have eating habits that keep you healthy.

    Creating Your Own Image

    By taking the principles of good health and applying them to your body, you reshape the ideals of the past. Fitness is the concept that has shaped the ’80s. Fitness can be applied to anyone in any condition, of any size and any shape. It is the most democratic of all body images, since anyone can be fit. You may not have the body to be a model or a basketball star, but you can still create a healthy and attractive body that is all your own.

    The legacy of the 1980s may well be the start of a new era of awareness about total body health — an attention to a healthy inside and a healthy outside. Your overall health no longer depends on height/weight charts. It doesn’t lie in the pages of some magazine or on the screen of the movie theater. Your body’s good health, and the look you want to have, now are in your hands.