Author Archives: bhealth
Author Archives: bhealth
How Does Food Affect Your Workout?
Not reaching your fitness goal could be, in part, about what you eat. To work at maximum efficiency, the body needs food that contains these three macronutrients:
However, just eating all three is not enough; you also need the right type and amount of each macronutrient to get the maximum benefit from your workout.
As you exercise, tiny tears occur in your muscle fibers; protein not only helps repair these tears, but it helps build muscle too, so your body is ready for your next workout. To get the maximum benefit from this macronutrient, 20% of your daily calorie intake should come from a low saturated fat protein source, such as lean red meat, pork, poultry, beans, seafood, eggs or dairy products.
The body produces energy from carbohydrates by breaking them down into glucose. Glucose is then converted into energy at the cellular level through a process called metabolism. However, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Of the two, the complex type is the best for you when you work out because they break down slower thus providing your body with more energy over a longer time. An average of 50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates; however, only 10% of these calories should come from simple carbohydrates, which are most of the sugars. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include potatoes and whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, and brown rice.
For a long time the fats got a bad rap. However, multiple studies have shown that we need about 30% of our daily calories from fat (and the right type of fat) for our bodies to work efficiently. Because certain nutrients are only fat-soluble, those nutrients are flushed from the body unprocessed if you are not eating enough fat.
There are three types of fats:
Trans fat is a manufactured fat found in highly processed foods, such as baked goods. It shows up on nutrition labels listed as either hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening. However, because the body does not metabolize trans fats, it ends up staying in the blood stream and can eventually cause heart disease. Avoid trans fat at all costs!
For over 60 years, we have known too much saturated fat is not good for you. Commonly found in marbled red meats, whole dairy products, butter and certain oils, such as coconut, palm and palm kernel, only 7% of our daily fat requirement should come from saturated fat.
These are the good fats – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated – and they should make up the rest of your daily fat requirement. Sources include some types of oils, such as olive, canola, safflower, sunflower and soy, along with avocados, most nuts, and the oily fishes: salmon, tuna and mackerel.
By eating the right types of macronutrients (and in the right quantities), not only will you have the energy to get you through a workout, but also what it takes to repair and build muscle, and refuel your body for the next workout.
Can Juicing Help Improve Fitness?
Fitness is always a hot topic. Whether we want to get fit to lose weight, to have more energy, or to feel better about ourselves, we’re always looking for ways that’ll make the whole process easier. Juicing is one health trend that’s really taken off in recent years, but does it really work to improve your fitness?
Diet Changes to Break Through Plateaus
The secret to improving your fitness level is to keep your body guessing. This means never stick to the same exercise or diet routine. In reference to a diet plateau, this happens when you consume the same types of foods, such as whole grains and fresh, raw foods for a long period of time. When you have plateaued your diet needs a jump-start. This is when you can begin introducing the process of juicing. Juicing restarts your body so you can continue to work hard at improving your fitness goals.
Juicing is a form of concentrating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables that assist in keeping your fitness routine on track. Just one glass can help you get more nutrients in your body and improve your fitness. Juicing is able to increase your metabolism, get you physically stronger, reduce the chance of injury, and your ability to reach and maintain your fitness goals will increase.
When working on a fitness routine, there is a possibility that you may become injured. When you are injured, inflammation is likely to occur in the joint areas. Juicing neutralizes the acidity of the injured area and reduces the inflammation. Through this process, as you continue juicing, you will also experience other benefits, such as a rise in your metabolism, ability to process the nutrients from juicing to provide you with increased energy that will not be stored as fat, and a strong body with a reduction in injuries.
Including juicing in your fitness program will show you the power it has of increasing your physical energy so you can perform more efficiently. As energy increases, your hormones balance out and your digestion improves. This is not energy that comes with highs and lows. It is a sustained energy to support you through all your workouts, where you have the ability to exercise with great effort.
But remember – juicing alone is not what’ll make you fit. You must combine it with exercise!
Common Dental Care Struggles Associated with Aging
Aging doesn’t simply affect your skin. It also affects your dental health. As you get older, since your immune system can weaken, you’re more likely to have dental issues. Some common conditions are associated with aging.
Having a dry mouth is common in older people usually because of medications that they have to take. This is called xerostomia. To treat it, you can keep your mouth moist by keeping water on hand to drink frequently.
Chew gum, too – because that stimulates saliva production and keeps your mouth from becoming dry. Watch out for decongestants because these can worsen dry mouth as well as cause it.
Another thing older people can deal with dental wise is losing their sense of taste. You might notice you start having to use more sugar or salt to actually taste the flavors in your food.
Both of these are relatively minor issues that can happen. However, they can lead to bigger problems. More serious conditions with dental care are also common as you get older.
Root decay can happen because your gums change as you age. They can shrink back to expose the roots of the teeth. This allows cavities to form on the roots of the teeth. One of the causes of gum shrinkage is dry mouth. This is why it’s important to keep the mouth moist.
Oral thrush is a condition that’s common to older adults and can lead to an inflammation if not treated. Gum disease is common as you grow older and this can lead to tooth loss.
Many people choose to get dentures when they’re older because of dental problems they’ve experienced. Wearing dentures can also be a problem because it can cause the gum to become inflamed from an infection.
Developing oral cancer is also something that is associated with aging. When an older person gets any type of dental issue, it can lead to them having trouble eating what they should eat. When an older person doesn’t eat a healthy diet, this in turn can make their bodies more susceptible to illness and disease.
Besides some common problems with dental issues in people as they grow older, there are other issues that can be a deterrent. As someone gets older and enters the retirement stage of life, their income level can drop drastically.
When an older person lives on a fixed income, it can make it difficult for them to be able to afford dental care. With the cost of dental care rising, they may have trouble finding a dental insurance plan that they can afford on their income.
Besides the cost, if the older person struggles to get around, they may have difficulty getting themselves to the dentist. They might not be able to physically visit the dentist and might not have the transportation means to get there.
Must-Have Medical Screenings as You Grow Older
As you grow older, you should begin looking into medical screenings that are considered must-haves for your age group. Those who are over fifty years old have to pay closer attention to blood pressure, cholesterol, and a large amount of other important functions for your body.
Although some of these screenings may not be something you want to do, getting the right tests done can help catch problems early and can lead to a longer and healthier life.
Colonoscopies are never high on anyone’s to do list, but they should be. A colonoscopy is the test often used to search for colon cancer in both men and women.
It also allows for a doctor to see any subtle bleeding that may be occurring without your knowledge. For males, a colonoscopy can also alert your doctor if you have prostate cancer.
As you get older, it’s important that you don’t slack on breast exams. Starting at the age of forty, women should have regular mammograms done once a year, although some doctors advise it less frequently now.
The risk of breast cancer increases with age, so skipping out on breast exams and mammograms can cause a serious health risk. If you have a family history of breast cancer, your doctor may suggest an exam twice a year instead of just once.
As you age, your bones can weaken and begin to lose density. This is why it’s important you take a bone density test as you grow older. These tests are usually recommended for men and women who are over sixty, but if you’re at a higher risk, it may be needed before that age.
One of the high risk factors is osteoporosis, a condition where bones become brittle. When you have osteoporosis, you’re more likely to fracture or break bones, making a bone density test even more important. With this condition, a fall when you’re older can be more serious.
For women, a pap smear may be just as important as a breast exam or mammogram. Women in their fifties and sixties are just as susceptible to cervical cancer as young women are.
Pap smears are recommended for women every two years regardless of whether or not you’re sexually active. These screenings aren’t just for cancer – they can also help your doctor check for irregular bleeding or other problems.
One of the most important tests, a cholesterol screening, should not be omitted from a physical checkup. Men are more prone to high cholesterol, but studies show that women over the age of fifty tend to develop high cholesterol over the years. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes. As you grow older, make sure your cholesterol levels are checked periodically.
Are You Having Balance Problems As You Age?
Many people experience balance problems as they age. You may feel lightheaded when you change from a seated to a standing position. You may feel like the room is spinning or that the objects around you are in motion.
If your dizziness is severe enough, you may have difficulty walking and fall easily. There are several things that can make you experience balance problems and dizziness.
One of the most common causes of balance problems is prescription medication. Dizziness is a common side effect in many of these medications. If you suspect your medicine is causing balance problems, don’t suddenly stop taking it. Instead, call your pharmacist and ask about side effects.
Sometimes, dizziness and balance problems are the result of starting a new medication and these symptoms will subside after a few doses. However, you should talk to your doctor if the dizziness is severe or it hasn’t gone away after several days.
Another frequent cause of balance problems is blood pressure that’s too elevated. High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder than it should have to.
Along with dizziness, this condition can give you visual problems that can compound your balance issues. If you suspect you have blood pressure that’s spiking, talk to your doctor about treatment options. It’s a condition that can be managed so that you live your life without balance issues.
Inner ear problems are common as people age and are another overlooked reason for balance issues. The inside of your ear has a delicate system that helps you stay balanced.
If something happens to that delicate system, it can make you feel like the room is spinning – but that doesn’t mean the condition is permanent. Even a simple problem like inflammation of the inner ear can make it hard for you to keep your balance.
Blood sugar issues can also cause balance problems. You can experience dizziness and vertigo with high or low blood sugar levels. It’s important that your doctor monitors your blood sugar levels since some people with high blood sugar go on to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Something else that can cause balance problems as you get older is a lack of enough oxygen to the brain. This can be caused from not getting the blood supply the brain needs.
It happens because as you get older, the blood vessels in your legs lose tension, which allows blood to pool rather than flow to the brain and the heart the way that it should. If this is the cause of your balance issues, there is also medication that can help treat this.
How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise Each Day
Some days, getting up to exercise just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for that day. You know you should, but the drive and determination isn’t there.
So do you give in and skip exercising that day or do you reach deep inside and convince yourself otherwise? Here are 6 tips that you can use to motivate yourself when the going gets tough:
1) Set Goals
Most people don’t get up in the morning just for the sake of exercising. They have a bigger purpose in mind – a goal if you will. Exercising is merely a path to that goal. Keep in mind goals should be reasonable and attainable. If you set a goal that is so high that you have zero chance of attaining it, you’ll soon lose your motivation and quit. Instead set a small goal and when you achieve that one, set one just a little higher.
2) Write Your Goal in a Visible Place
Goals are a great motivator, but if they exist only in your mind, they are soon forgotten. Write down your goal and post it where you will see it each day or several times per day. On the refrigerator makes a great place to post your goal.
3) Celebrate Success
Regardless of how small a success, celebrate it. Taking this celebratory step is an important part of closing out that achieved goal so you can set a loftier one. Just make sure the celebration doesn’t sabotage the success. For example if you are exercising to lose weight and achieve your goal, don’t celebrate with a meal full of calories and saturated fat. You can celebrate with food, but be smart about it and stay on track.
4) Search Out Inspiration
Keeping to a rigorous daily exercise program not only involves a lot of perspiration, but inspiration too. Search out blogs and articles written by people trying to achieve similar goals. Go to YouTube and watch videos to see how people achieved their goals. Feed off of that knowledge and enthusiasm in your quest.
5) Focus on Benefits
If you focus on the exercising itself, you’ll soon become disillusioned and maybe even quit. Instead, focus on the benefits derived from your daily effort. What do you hope to get from your daily grind? It might be to lose weight, get healthier, stronger, a more toned body or a host of other benefits. Keeping an eye on the benefits will help pull you through the rough times.
6) Exercise With a Friend
Nothing will give you more motivation than exercising with a friend or family member. On the days when you don’t feel like working out, you will anyway because you don’t want to let down your exercise buddy. The truth be known, s/he may not want to exercise that day either, but they do it for you. Accountability to another person is a strong motivator and a great way to stay on track to your goal. Once achieved, then you can both celebrate success together.
Staying motivated over the long haul is hard. And there will be times when you feel your enthusiasm waning. Using these tips will give you the motivation to continue even when you don’t otherwise feel like it.
Here’s a fun video I suggest you watch too:
The Benefits of Challenging Yourself to Master 100 Situps
Performing situps as a physical fitness exercise has so many benefits. Aside from requiring no expensive or special gym equipment, you improve your overall core strength. And though many searching for sexy six-pack abs focus on situps for that reason alone, the well-rounded exercise actually involves more of your muscles and a larger range of motion than crunches.
Muscles in your chest and legs, connecting stabilizer muscles and hip flexors are all employed, giving you a full body workout. And when you challenge yourself to reach the level where you can consistently perform 100 situps at a time your benefits are even greater.
Mentally, your brain has the advantage of endorphins which are released every time your body detects stress. Performing multiple situps at once sends these endorphins to your brain, and the response from your brain raises your heart rate and metabolism. This “fight or flight” response from your mind also means that your mental alertness and awareness are peaked.
With that increased heart rate comes higher metabolism and a better ability to burn fat and maintain a healthy body weight. There is also the high level of self-esteem which comes from performing 100 situps without stopping. This impressive physical achievement is rare among human beings to say the least. Additionally, a side benefit that you may not have considered is the desire to push yourself in other ways physically.
You have worked up from 10 consecutive situps to 20, and 50, and finally 100. The boost of energy and self-pride you feel will quickly have you pushing yourself to perform 100 pushups without stopping. Then you will want to run 1.5 miles in under 10 minutes, and bench press 1.5 times your body weight. When you see such an impressive achievement as a reality in your life, suddenly, running a marathon or participating in a triathlon seems well within your grasp.
A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. While this is one of Newton’s scientific laws of motion, it applies as well to human beings. Your mind tends to adapt your entire behavior according to your most consistent activities. This means that when you master 100 consecutive situps, you subconsciously program your mind to spend less time sitting and more time standing, less time lounging and more time exercising.
The overall health benefits include a longer and healthier life span, cardiovascular and core strengthening, and healthy weight and fat loss. You also feel great emotionally and mentally when others comment on your new, slim, trim and powerful body, which creates even a greater desire to continue to challenge yourself physically.
5 Places to Find Support to Help You Stick to Your Exercise Goals
Some of the most proven ways to support your exercising and fitness efforts are social ones. Countless studies have shown that when you get a friend or family member to team up with you in your fitness goals, both you and your partner are much more successful in achieving your intended results. The following 5 places to find support that helps you stick to your exercise goals are time tested and guaranteed to help you become the healthiest person you can be, without sabotaging your workout plans.
1 – Hit the World Wide Web
Just about everyone has a smartphone these days, and if you do, there are literally hundreds of fitness tracking applications you can download to your mobile handset. Sticking to your plan is sometimes as easy as tracking and reviewing your daily efforts. This is easy to do with a health and fitness tracking app, which you can download to your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC.
2 – Find Support by Creating Challenging but Sensible Goals in the First Place
You are almost guaranteed to sabotage your exercise goals and workout plans if they are ridiculously lofty. Someone 30 pounds overweight that works a sedentary job and spends their evenings on the couch should not expect to run the Boston Marathon in 30 days. Make your goals achievable, but challenging as well, and you’ll have a much greater chance of sticking to your plan.
3 – Find Goal Support in Rewarding Small Milestones and Achievements
No lesser organization than the Harvard Business Review reported scientific proof that rewarding small victories is extremely important to achieving huge successes. They showed that the human brain, when presented with a short but incremental progression of improved achievements, actually extrapolates and plans for bigger successes and rewards along that growth rate over time. Rewarding yourself for performing 10 pushups, then 20, then 30 automatically programs your mind to push you to greater and more impressive physical fitness achievements down the road.
4 – Stick to Your Goals With a Laser Focus For One Fitness Activity at a Time
You may want to eat healthier, jog 5 miles a week, take up Pilates or yoga, begin lifting weights and join a local hiking club. But attempting all of these activities at once is a recipe for failure. Once you implement any one of your desired exercise or fitness activities in your life, and are performing it on a consistent basis, then integrate the next goal on your list. In six months to a year, you can be an entirely improved and different person physically and emotionally if you follow this proven “one goal at a time” plan.
5 – Make Your Goals Public and Get Someone Else Involved
We highlighted earlier that it is often times easier to achieve your fitness goals when you have a partner. At times of weakness, you and your partner can support each other. The natural competitive nature of humans is also supported when you are exercising with someone else, spurring you both on to better performances. And when you let your friends and family know of your specific fitness goals, you feel much more inclined to make them realities.
How Much Does Exercise Really Help You Lose Weight?
The average person understands that they need to eat a healthy, nutrition-filled diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight. But just how much does exercising actually help you lose weight? Every day on television and the Internet there are dietary supplement and diet claims of significant weight loss without exercising. So why can’t you just change your diet to lose weight, instead of having to sweat and exert yourself with physical exercise?
Part of the answer has to do with what goes on inside your brain, and inside your body, when you exercise. Dieting is great, and totally changing your daily and weekly nutritional intake is even better. But without exercise, you can always regain unhealthy weight and fat if you slip off of your diet, and change back to your unhealthy approach to eating.
Concerning exercise, any time you ramp up your physical exertion to 80% of your maximum level, a wonderful thing happens. You begin to elevate your heart rate to what researchers say is the most efficient level for cardiovascular health. Your metabolism is also spiked, which helps you burn fat, in turn reducing the amount of unhealthy weight on your body.
And several hours after even a short 20 minute exercise regimen, your body is still burning fat, pumping oxygen to your muscles, and benefiting you in several ways. There is no mistake that you should immediately and critically take a look at the food you ingest on a regular basis, and make whatever healthy changes you need in that area.
However, the external and internal physical benefits you receive from regular exercise include so many that simple nutritional changes can never deliver. Just as importantly, you also benefit from a life-changing boost in self-esteem and self-worth that comes from the perception you and others have of your new, slimmer, trimmer body.
So, how much does exercise really help you lose weight, and how much must you do to benefit? The American College of Sports Medicine recently declared that just 200 to 300 minutes (3.3 to 5.0 hours) of weekly exercise will help you lose extra weight, improve your heart health, boost mental performance and help you live longer.
That means just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, jogging, practicing yoga or Pilates, or engaging in some other moderate to aggressively strenuous activity can help you not only lose unwanted weight, but can help you keep it off long-term.
How to Get Rid of Man Boobs
Do you want to get rid of your man boobs? If so, you are not alone. Male breast reduction surgeries jumped 6% in 2011 alone according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. But before we get into how to get rid of them, let’s first talk about what causes them. There are three reasons why you might have unsightly man boobs:
1) Hormonal imbalance
If you have an elevated level of estrogen and lower than normal testosterone, male breast enlargement (known as clinical gynecomastia) can occur. As hormone levels change, it may correct itself on its own, but if you have had man boobs for a long time, then you may want to consult your doctor to find out if there is medication you can take to get your testosterone up and estrogen down.
2) Excess fat
If your hormone levels are within acceptable levels, then your body may be storing excess fat on your chest. The non-surgical way to get rid of it is through cardio and strength training. Cardio alone won’t do it as you need the strength training part to fire up your metabolism to burn more calories while exercising and to build muscle so your body burns more calories even when not exercising. Focus on exercises that target the large muscle masses, such chest, back, shoulders, glutes and legs.
3) Excess mammary gland tissue
Sometimes the cause is excess tissue in the breast area. Then the most effective measure is usually surgery called reduction mammoplasty. The surgery can take one of two directions.
Once inside, the surgeon may find that the culprit is fatty deposits that are resistant to loss in which case s/he may use liposuction to remove the excess fat and reduce the size of the breasts.
Or s/he may find excess tissue is the cause and reduce the amount of tissue in that area, thus reducing the breast profile.
Because reduction mammoplasty is not a life-threatening medical issue, most insurance companies will not cover the cost of this surgery which runs about $5,000 and up. However, this could be a small price to pay to improve your bodily self-image and self-esteem.
Depending on the cause of your man boobs (or moobs as they are called), you now have some options on how to get rid of them. It could be as easy as hormone re-balancing or dropping your body fat percentage through exercise and a healthy diet. As a last resort, surgery may be the cure. Whatever the reason, you do not have to live with man boobs – you do have options.