Advertisements
RSS Feed

Category Archives: Overall Wellness

Travel and Fitness

This blog comes from Mike Manning. He is a fellow fitness enthusiast, posi-core  yogi who writes some really thought provoking, knowledge-dense articles on his blog: http://mikemanningmusings.blogspot.com/. This is a perfect blog for everyone trying to stay fit on the road. Learn Mike’s favorite fitness tips that will help you stay healthy during your travels!

 

Tips for Travel- Squeezing in Time for Fitness

Travel and fitness don’t always play well together. The stress and changing routines of travel don’t always provide great opportunities for sticking to a regular exercise regime. If you’re traveling with companions, the difficulties can be compounded by the need to accommodate the wishes of others in the group. Before leaving on any trip, take a little time to make some choices on how best to get exercise during your travels.

  • If you belong to a gym that has locations across the nation or the world, check to see if there is one where you will be traveling. You might be able to get accommodations nearby and make time to hit the gym for a quick workout each day during your stay.
  • Check out local running trails. Especially if you enjoy running while at home, a morning run each day of your stay can help you focus and prepare for whatever activities or meetings await you.
  • Take moments on your flight, upon arrival, during breaks between meetings and whenever else you have spare time to stretch or do a few basic yoga poses. This will help you stay grounded and improve circulation.
  • Remember that something is better than nothing. Workout for a few minutes if that is all you have. This study shows that a quick workout is better than none.
  • Travel with a workout band or other portable equipment that will help you workout in limited space wherever you go.
  • Use fitness facilities and in-room amenities at your hotel. This may include a weight room, in-room yoga or aerobic videos, a pool where you can burn some calories or walking trails on the premises. If possible, book accommodations at the hotel that best suits your fitness preferences.
  • Take the stairs instead of relying on elevators in your hotel or at convention centers.
  • Get out and walk rather than driving or taking public transportation.

The best advice I can give is to do a little research beforehand. On my most recent trip, I made sure to research the best hotels where I was going. I found a travel review site and read all about the best hotels in San Francisco. I made sure to choose one that was in a location where I could easily go outside and run. I also made sure that the hotel I chose had a gym that I could use at any time.

Staying fit takes work. Just because your routine is different doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to stay active. A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to traveling and exercise.

 

 

Advertisements

Increase Your Chances Of Surviving Cancer By Becoming More Physically Fit

This next post comes from a fellow blogger David Haas. David joined the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance back in 2011, and has since been very creative in his ideas on fitness for those dealing with cancer. This is what he had so say about combating cancer with exercise.

Increase Your Chances Of surviving Cancer By Becoming More Physically
Fit

There are things you can do to increase your chances of surviving cancer.
Becoming more physically fit with proper diet and exercise can make you
healthier in many ways, including being better able to survive many kinds
of cancer. Some of the types of cancer that have better survival rates with
exercise and improved physical fitness include breast cancer, colorectal cancer,
lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma. In addition to improving
your cancer survival chances, a good exercise program will help you be fitter,
stronger, thinner and less likely to get cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Studies have shown that a physical fitness program and exercise can help
cancer patients at all stages of the disease and afterwards. Exercising from when
you are diagnosed with cancer through mesothelioma treatment and remission
can help you fight depression, anxiety and fatigue. In fact, 2 epidemiologists,
David Batty and Inger Thune studied available scientific data and found that
exercise offered cancer treatment benefits including improved energy levels,
immune functions, bowel health, hormone levels antioxidant defense, DNA repair
and cardiovascular and pulmonary function. Their findings were published in an
editorial for the British Medical Journal.

The National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and the Centers For
Disease Control And Prevention Publications: 1996, Physical Activity And Health,
A Report Of The Surgeon General, and 2008, Preventing Obesity And Chronic
Diseases Through Good Nutritional And Physical Activity, recommend that
people exercise at a moderate level for at least 30 minutes a day and 5 days a
week for better health and disease prevention. The American Cancer Society
now advises Americans adopt an active lifestyle to prevent cancer and to help
fight existing cancer.

Physically active people should remain active, and sedentary people should get
their doctors advice on starting a level of exercise that they can handle and build
on. Starting small and building up to a level of exercise that will be beneficial
should be the goal. Exercises that help cancer patients fight depression, fatigue
and anxiety, and get more fit are: strength training, aerobic exercises, biking,
walking, hiking and swimming. Patients should choose one or more exercises
that they can enjoy and stick with. Patients who adopt an exercise regimen
can increase their rate of cancer survivorship and live healthier lives. They can
become stronger, fitter and thinner while increasing their chances of living longer.

Visit www.Mesothelioma.com for more info.

The Good Fat, The Bad Fat, and The Ugly Fat. Part 2

THE BAD FAT

Saturated Fats are typically found in animal fats. Burgers, bacon, dairy products… They all contain the bad fats… SATURATED FATS!

If your goal is to lose weight, your best bet is to stay away from animal fats/Saturated fats. That stuff clings to your body! Think about it, it takes 4 calories to burn up a gram of a carbohydrate, but 9 calories to burn up a gram of fat. Hey, want to continue eating yogurt, hot dogs, and grilled cheese sandwiches so you have to stay on a treadmill 2.25 times longer to lose weight than if you ate fruits, vegetables, and grains? OF COURSE NOT!

Besides carrying around extra weight on your body, and maybe not looking as good as you’d like to look on the outside, it’s really the damage on the inside of your body that turns me off when consuming saturated fats.

Raising the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) increases your chances of having a heart attack, and that’s exactly what this stuff does. A meta-analysis published in 2003 found a direct relationship between saturated fat and breast cancer. In 2007, a systematic literature review published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found consistent evidence for a direct relationship between animal fat and colorectal cancer. Throughout the years there has been many studies and experiments done that link animal fats to cancer, and many experiments done to label saturated fats as unhealthy, but Trans Fats are the real bad news…

THE UGLY FAT

Trans Fats are typically found in packaged goods and fast food restaurants. Twinkies, doughnuts, KFC, McDonald’s… They all have/use the ugly fats… TRANS FATS!

Back in the day (late 19th century) scientists discovered that they could create a fat that would prolong the spoiling of packaged goods by simply adding a hydrogen atom to an unsaturated fat. The partially hydrogenated fat creations wouldn’t spoil as easily as nonhydrogenated fats, plus they didn’t break down during temperature changes, which made transporting them easier, and they were less expensive than animal fat. Well done boys, yet another amazing man-made invention!

Obviously food makers all over the world were all about trans fats! McDonalds, along with other fast food companies starting using trans fatty oils to fry their foods with, packaged junk foods like twinkies and cookies were all being made with trans fats… Until 1981 when a group of Welsh researchers linked Trans Fats to heart disease.

It’s like this… Trans fats aren’t naturally occurring fats. Think of them as foreign substances that you are putting in your body. The stiffer and harder fats are, the more they clog up your arteries. Over time the artery cloggers will in fact make it quite difficult for your heart to operate which could lead you to a trip to the operating room.

These artificial/man-made trans fats not only raise the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), but they depelete the “good” cholesterol (HDL)!

12 years after the Welsh researcher’s discovery, a Harvard experiment strongly supported the hypothesis that intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) contributed to the risk of having a heart attack. Since then they have been linked to Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer, and Liver Dysfunction.

Skip out on the Twinkies and eat some fruit if you want something sweet. Drive past the McDonald’s on your way home from work and pick up a salad at your local health food store. STAY HEALTHY!

The Good Fat, The Bad Fat, and The Ugly Fat

THE GOOD FAT

Besides not only being an essential (not synthesized by the body and must be consumed through diet only) nutrient that everybody needs, fat supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption, protects our organs, keeps us warm, and regulates our bodily functions. A LITTLE FAT IS NOT A BAD THING!

In fact, 30%-35% of your daily caloric intake should consist of fat!

Now, don’t get it twisted, NOT ALL FATS ARE GOOD FOR YOU! And, keep in mind you WILL be exercising as you consume your fats daily in order to efficiently metabolize and put to use your food. Don’t just think you can eat a pound of unsalted nuts and watch Biggest Loser on TV all day and think that’s healthy. MOVE!

So, which fats should you consume? Well, I like to look at it like this… There are good fats (Unsaturated), bad fats (Saturated), and then absolute garbage/junkyard crap fats (Trans fats).

Unsaturated fats are the good guys that are here to help you, so let’s start with them. They will lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are under the same GOOD umbrella.

Polyunsaturated fats include my favorite fat of all time… OMEGA 3’s!

Omega 3’s not only do all the good things typical polyunsaturated fats do, but these guys actually have helped me personally with achy elbows and knees (thanks to years of hyper-extension) by lubricating my joints! If you have achy joints, I would recommend Omega 3’s to you too.

You can get your Omega 3’s in foods like walnuts, flax seeds, and my personal favorite Chia seeds.

Before you go into your Def. Comedy Jam routine with some cheesy “Chia Pet” joke, please know that Chia seeds are odorless, tasteless, and in the one spoon full of the Chia seeds I put in my daily protein shake I consume more Omega 3’s than if I were to eat an entire Salmon, twice the amount of Potassium than a banana, and three times the antioxidants than a serving of blueberries contains.

Olive oil, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter are all foods rich in Polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats are equally as important as polyunsaturated fats. Avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. These fats also help reduce the risk of heart disease, but they also promote healthy brain function and reduce the risks of a stroke. I just recently turned 28, so to prevent cognitive decrease, I will definitely be snacking on some guacamole later.

Stick with the good guys of fat. You are the company you keep. Use your head (especially if you are eating more monounsaturated fats than usual).

Emotional Eating

Emotional eating is when people use food as a way to deal with feelings instead of to satisfy hunger. So, let me ask you… Are you an emotional eater? Let’s talk about feelings, friends!

If your eating habits have a direct relationship with your emotions, you need to get a hold of yourself! Major life events like death, heartbreak, and overall frustration can make a person do something crazy like eat emotionally just as a quick escape for the harsh realities of life.

Here’s a tip… Pause for a moment.

You are trying to get/stay healthy. You have been putting the time in at the gym. You have me stalking your calories on loseit.com, and you WILL have to answer to me if I see Fettuccine Alfredo in your food logs… We are working towards a goal, don’t let your emotions get in the way.

Ask yourself this: Do you feel a loss of control when you are around food?

A lot of times people do things (in this case, eat) strictly out of habit. I remember when I was a kid I used to come home from school and head immediately to the kitchen to annihilate the snack drawer. I was a chubster. Looking back on it, I can’t help but realize I was emotionally eating.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always this cool and good looking. I got made fun of a lot by kids, security guards, teachers, and pretty much didn’t have any fun in high school, so to make up for it I stuffed my face with sweets the second I got home from school.

Nowadays when I feel like I am about flip my lid and go to Terri’s to buy some muffins (my vice), I immediately try to either do something productive like work out, or pause for a second and find out if I’m really hungry or just being emotional. If I am in fact hungry, I drink some water, think about how many calories I should eat at the moment, and carefully decide on a meal that will nourish me efficiently and satisfy me for the time being before I make a mistake with my diet for the day.

If you eat emotionally through some serious hard times like the loss of a friend, or the overwhelming stress of life, you are more liable to eat emotionally for the not so serious bad times in life.

Being stressed out at work is very common for my NYC clients. Some of them have turned to carbohydrate rich foods like pizza after another 15 hour work day. Why? Because studies have shown that huge amounts of carbs releases a chemical in your brain called Serotonin. Serotonin has been clinically shown to ease tension. This may feel good for the hour or two you are on your carb high, but what happens when the instant gratification of eating an unhealthy and fattening snack wears off and you realize you are now probably going to go over your CALORIC BUDGET for the day and you just NEGATED YOUR WORKOUT?

Boredom is an emotion. You are bored to tears at work or school so you hit up the candy machine and down a snickers bar. 271 calories of crap has just been released into your system, which include about 29 grams of PROCESSED SUGAR into your blood stream and suddenly life isn’t as boring. This is because high concentrations of processed sugar releases the brain chemical dopamine, which is known as “the feel good chemical.” But, once that sugar high crashes you will be feeling down and simply craving more of the same garbage that has put you in your current depressed state.

People at emotionally when they are feeling happy too, but it just leads to the same conclusion!

You just aced an exam or got a huge raise, so to celebrate you go out drinking with your friends. You drop about $50, and consume about 1000 calories worth of alcohol that will make you gain weight/lose strength gains.

Before you act on your emotions ask yourself these questions…

Do I REALLY need to eat that donut, or am I not even really hungry?

Is this hunger, or a craving for carbs I feel right now?

What are the long term effects going to be if I eat this bag of M&M’s?

Count to 10. Think before you do.

What You WANT VS What You NEED When it Comes to Fitness

So, Labor Day Weekend is officially over and I know the last thing anyone would WANT to do is hit the gym. But… The longer you don’t exercise, the worse it’s going to be when you finally do. So, you must go do what you don’t want to this week.

Hate doing cardio? Which is worse, not being the happiest person in the world for a 3 mile jog or cringing when you see tagged pictures of yourself on Facebook?

Don’t like doing push-ups? You will once you can actually maneuver your own body weight.

I see people not wanting to do the things that would give them the most benefits all the time. They stick to the exercises they like most (or hate the least) and thus don’t get the benefits they really need. If you don’t like a type of exercise, it’s probably because you’re struggling with something you obviously have to work on. An example…

Most of my female clients hate lifting weights and prefer to only do cardio, BUT the only remedy for poor strength is weight resistance training. Plus, I’ve already talked about how strength training actually helps women lose weight.

And of course, most of my guy clients hate doing anything cardio-related and would laugh at me if I suggested yoga. BUT in order to keep their heart healthy and their joints flexible, you better believe they do both!

I personally only ENJOY lifting weights. I really have to be in a very particular mood to WANT to go for a run or to head to the Bikram Yoga studio, but I do cardio AND yoga as much as I can to make sure my heart stays healthy and I gain (rather than lose) flexibility as I get older.

Today is a great example of this. The last thing in the world I wanted to do on my last day off from a 3-day weekend was walk a mile in 80 degree/brutally humid weather to the Lower East Side Bikram studio. But I like to practice what I preach so off to the LES I went to practice yoga with my girlfriend.

Walking past all the people drinking and having fun in the LES bars enjoying their Monday off, with the sun in our eyes, and the humidity painting pit stains on us, we went from being outside in the hot, muggy weather, to the sauna-like Bikram studio.

In case you aren’t familiar with Bikram, it’s a 90 minute yoga class that takes place in a 105 degree room. Don’t be turned off though, it’s actually helped me drastically with flexibility and overall mental chillness. It’s my personal favorite type of yoga, but I simply was not in the mood for this today.

About 5 seconds into class I wanted to scream at the teacher/kill myself. I was absolutely hating every second in this cauldron of sweaty heat.

At one point I glanced over at the thermostat and it read 128 degrees!

WHAT!?!?!?!?!? $@&#*!

That’s not fair! I signed up for a 105 degree Bikram class!

I also couldn’t help but notice how much my girlfriend was enjoying watching me suffer! I made eye contact with her while she shot me a look that said “This is payback for making me hold those stupid side planks for 30 seconds longer than you said I would have to.”

I had flashbacks of some of my clients giving me the look of death when I told them to do 5 more reps than the original number of reps I had told them to do for a given exercise. Wow, they would get a real kick out of this.

Long story short… the 90 minutes felt like 900 minutes. BUT afterwards I felt like a million bucks and my girlfriend and I actually walked an additional 5 miles around the city since we were high off endorphins/zenned out and felt like getting some steady state cardio in before our work week started.

See? I hate doing things that aren’t easy too, but I do them not because I WANT to but because I know I HAVE to!

Enjoy your 4 day work week people and remember… get back to the gym pronto!

Work in an Office? Here Are My Health Tips For You.

This is for all my office people!

If your work life has you sitting at a desk for several hours of the day, the chances are you might have tight hip flexors, a slow metabolism, kyphosis, achy wrists from typing, and poor circulation of blood flow in your lower body.

This isn’t ideal for a healthy lifestyle, but before you flip your desk over, kick your boss’ ass, and storm out of your building, just chill! I’ll give you some tips on how to combat all the negatives of sitting for the majority of the day!

First of all, when you leave your office and come to the gym, you have the stretch those hip flexors out!

The best stretch for your hip flexors/illiopsoas (in my professional option) is the runner’s stretch.

This will help you with overall lower body mobility which can help you throw higher front kicks, take longer strides while running, and get a little deeper for your lunges.

Notice how I said LUNGES, not SQUATS!

You’ve just been sitting for hours, if you want to strengthen your lower body, do yourself a favor and don’t do a move that emulates a sitting position!

I don’t want you to end up looking like the hunchback of your law firm either, so we need to do something to combat all that hunching over that’s been going on at work!

It’s cool, EVERYBODY starts to round their shoulders forward after sitting for a long period of time. The best thing we can do to offset that and get your spine to straighten up is BACK WORK!

Rows/Australian pull ups for the rhomboids (mid back), lat pull downs/pull ups for your latissimus dorsi (outer back), supermen/back extensions for the lumbar spine (lower back) and most of all, reverse flys to target the posterior deltoids (back of the shoulders).

You may even want to do a few extra reps/sets for your back muscles to counteract all the leaning forward that you may or may not have going on to get some good posture back.

How do you know if you have good posture?

Stand upright and have a friend, colleague, or some random guy take a picture of you from the side. You want your ear to be in line with your shoulder.

To my typists out there who can type 200 words per minute…

As impressive as that is, you may over flex your wrist which could lead to some achiness, so something you can do to prevent that once you leave the laptop are wrist curls WITH YOUR PALMS FACING DOWN!

This is done with you in a seated position, your forearms resting on your thighs, with your wrists hanging off your knees, holding onto extremely light dumbells (always do light weights/more reps for these), with your palms facing down. If your palms are up when you curl your wrist, you are just going to help exaggerate your already existing wrist flexion. We want the palms facing down, and your wrist to curl up to target your brachioradialis (forearm) muscles to get some wrist extension going on.

Once again, proper strength training saves the day!

These are all things you can do once you leave work and come to the gym, but don’t forget to do things throughout the day to help you out!

Sit on a stability ball instead of a chair! If for whatever reason your boss or colleagues don’t condone this, just explain how sitting on these balls will help strengthen your core, develop balance, and burn more calories throughout the day than sitting in a regular chair!

Sprint up and down your stairs! Or, maybe just walk around to keep the blood flow going in your lower extremities.

Keep your back flat against your chair (assuming your boss didn’t like the stability ball idea), and keep your shoulders back AND down to prevent a hunch.

Look away from your computer screen every few minutes to save your eyes some straining and to see that half of the office is really on Facebook instead of working.

Most of all, you must eat healthy if you are going to be sedentary for the majority of your day.

You aren’t going to be moving around, you aren’t going to burn calories, so every little thing you eat must be low calorie and nutritious.

When you go back to work post this blog entry on your Facebook and get your stair sprints on!