Putting Fat in Its Place

Have you ever thought about how contradictory some TV commercials can be? You see an ad for a restaurant that prides itself on its luscious pies, then the next commercial is about low-fat yogurt, or high-fiber cereal, or the local health club. With those mixed messages, no wonder it’s hard to do what’s best for you.


Actually, the reasons for avoiding the restaurant’s rich pies aren’t all that difficult to understand. Your body needs enough vitamins, minerals, iron, and protein to function properly. What your body doesn’t need much of are foods loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. The calories from those foods really do little to affect the body positively. Instead, they can contribute to increased blood pressure, and put added stress on the heart through extra weight.

It takes only 3,500 calories to equal one pound. This may sound like a lot, but they really can add up quickly. If you ate one 500-calorie piece of pecan pie for seven days in a row, if nothing else were altered in your diet or exercise program, by the end of that week you’d have gained a pound. And that’s the way they can start to add up.

Exercise to the Rescue

Exercise can help. It can put fat in its place by turning it into muscle tissue. What’s more, exercise can prevent extra calories from becoming extra pounds. It’s tempting to eat everything in sight when you’re hungry, and that can add up to calorie overload.

Calories are nothing more than a measurement of energy. Like a steam engine that uses coal for fuel, the body uses calories obtained from food as a source of energy. When it needs more energy, it uses more calories. Likewise, if there isn’t a big energy demand, those calories can be stored until needed. The body stores the calories it doesn’t use right away as adipose tissue, better known as fat.

An active, energetic person usually doesn’t have much extra fat because calories are continually being used for fuel. The classic legion of couch potatoes, on the other hand, probably has increased stores of calories, since, generally, their energy requirements are lower.

Facing the Fats

This all means that if you eat the same number of calories that you burn off, you won’t gain weight. But, if you eat more than your body can use, you’ll notice a weight gain.

Everyone’s metabolism (the rate at which your body uses food) is different, so it’s difficult to compare calorie requirements between people. Some people gain weight easily even if they don’t overeat, while others may eat a lot and never gain an ounce. Age, sex, heredity, and physical makeup all figure into the total scheme of metabolism and weight control.

Older people, for example, may exercise daily and be very active. But they may not need as many calories because their metabolism might be slower. Young people, for the most part, need more calories, since their energy levels are higher and their metabolism is faster. Nutritionists recommend that girls age 15 to 18 should eat an average of 2,100 calories a day, while boys age 15 to 18 should have an average of 2,800 calories a day. But it is also important that girls not go below an average of 1,500 calories per day unless they are under a doctor’s supervision for weight loss. There is a limit to how much a person can cut back on calories and still be healthy.

Get Moving


Fitness experts have some simple advice when it comes to fighting fat and staying fit. They say that exercise and movement are simply the flip side of eating. It’s not enough to treat your body like a bottomless storage bin of stockpiled calories. That only translates into extra pounds and fatigue. These experts suggest that good health involves the total body, not just what is–or even isn’t–put into the mouth.

Interestingly, dieting alone isn’t the most effective method of dealing with extra weight. The problem with many diets is that they are just fads that quickly fade away and are easily forgotten.

Aerobic exercise such as swimming, biking, walking, and running can have a far more lasting effect than just maintaining fitness and promoting a healthy heart. These exercises use a lot of energy, so they burn calories faster. Research has shown that people who exercise regularly burn more calories than those who are inactive. So they are likely to be thinner and have less overall body fat.

There are also the added benefits of lower blood pressure, reduced stress on the heart, and a decrease in the amount of harmful blood fats like cholesterol. Your self-image will get a positive boost, too.

Certainly building a good exercise program into your daily routine is much better than having to constantly worry about what you eat every day. Not only that, if you know that you will be exercising the extra calories off, it won’t be necessary to feel guilty about eating an occasional burger with fries or a favorite dessert. And there won’t be the need to come up with an excuse for why the latest diet didn’t work. You will have discovered something that does!

Benefits of doing exercises regularly

How to have a good health? This is not a difficult question but not everyone can do because it is easier said than done. General principles are to have a nutrition balance and proper daily activities. Of course, doing exercise regularly is a key factor.


Many people do not have a habit of doing exercises because they think it is not necessary. In fact, exercise bring you several benefits. You will know clearly about the benefits of doing exercise if you have time to play with some sports. There are many kinds of exercises, which you can apply for yourself such as swimming, running and aerobic.

According to sport expert Althea Shah, exercises can enhance your emotions. It can be considered as the best drug for preventing depression risks and making your emotions return to the normal status. Moreover, it also helps you pay more attention on what you carry out. Therefore, doing exercises every day not only good for your health but also good for your brain and your confidence

Enhancing energy

It is popularly thought that if we move or do exercise too much, we will feel tired and dizzy. However, the more you do exercises, the more you feel well. Doing exercises regularly can helps to improve the muscles strength and your endurance.

When your body is in operation, it will provide energy for thinking thorough an issue and giving new solutions. If you do exercise within 15 minutes, your body will create more energy to do other tasks or activities.

Enhancing concentration


Dr. John Rately shares that doing exercise can help improve your brain within a short period by concentration after 2-3 hours. For example, if you have a presentation or a speech which requiring your concentration, you should practice an hour before.

If you do exercise frequently, you can minimize the risk of suffering Alzheimer because when you do exercise; blood moves to brain in a regular and stable way.

Enhancing emotions

Doing exercise also produces endorphins for improving the brain’s functions. Therefore, when you do exercise, your ability for arrangement is significantly improved. This helps you carry out the task with higher effectiveness.

Doing exercise regularly can also help you relax and reduce stress. You maybe feel good about your existence. Moreover, it can enhance your confidence.

Enhancing the memory

a3Your brain will save more data when your body is in operation. According a recent study, students are required to remember a long series of letter. Then, they are divided into 2 group, one group just sitting and another one doing exercise. After checking the results, it is interesting that the group of students who do exercise can answer more accuracy and fast than the group not doing anything.

In spite of its benefits, you should not do too many exercises or do exercises which not suitable for your body. Abusing exercises will have bad effects on your health. Therefore, you should ask doctor or instructor for receiving useful information.

Why we should do exercise in the morning?

Many people have a habit of doing exercise regularly in the morning, while others prefer do exercise in the afternoon. If doing exercise in the afternoon can enhance muscles, doing exercises in the morning can help to have a good spirit and keep your body in good shape.

1. Morning’s exercise- A method of losing weight

a3This is the best solutions for people who are quite fat and slow. If you are in this situation, you should change your exercise time from afternoon to morning. The reason is in the morning, you have never eaten anything so if you do exercises, the calories you use during exercise will burn the fat, especially in the belly and thigh.

You will soon have a smaller waist. If you do not believe in this, just do morning’s exercise for 3 weeks. You will know the change clearly.

2. Morning’s exercise- A method of having a good spirit

After getting up in the early morning, all the stress of the day before had gone. Therefore your spirit is relaxed and comfortable, you are ready for starting a new day. All physical exercises such as jogging, tennis… will bring the higher effective if you really pay attention to practice. Hence, morning’s exercise is good for muscles, circulating system.

3. Morning’s exercise- Prevent unexpected diseases

a2If you do exercise in the afternoon, you are tired so the action is not accurate. At that time, blood in your body will be dispersed to other organs that prevent the process of food digestion.

On the other hand, mechanical effects of acting also prevent the digestion process of stomach, leading to erosive gastritis and other digestion organs. This also causes some unexpected diseases such as menses disorder, insomnia, digestive troubles…

4. Some “morning” sports

Some sports such as walking, jogging, tennis, swimming…will make all parts of your body move. This helps to burn more calories in belly, shoulder, thigh…that make you feel comfortable.

Moreover, when you play these kinds of sport, you also can see the life around you in the morning. It is also a good method for reducing your tension and stress.

Doing exercises in the morning is good for your health. Now, we give you some notes before doing exercises:


  • Drink water (about ¼ liter of water). When you do exercise, your body will break into perspiration. Hence, it is important to drink enough water.
  • Wear big clothes. When doing exercises, you should wear big clothes to make your skin free. Poison will easier exist.
  • Use sun cream. The sun heat may make your skin be sunburned. Therefore, using sun cream is the way that helps to reduce bad effects from sun
  • Do exercises regularly. You should not do exercises too much in once times. You must know your health condition and your endurance.
  • Check weather. You also should check the weather before doing exercises to ensure that you can do exercises in that weather. This helps you have proper plan of doing exercises.


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


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.


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.


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.


* 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?


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.


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

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.


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.


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/


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.)


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.