To Your Health
August, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 08)
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Remember, it doesn't matter if you were physically active in your younger years; if you're not currently engaged in a physical activity program on a regular basis, your body is not receiving the innumerable health-related benefits of exercise.

When pursuing any kind of physical fitness, always obtain medical clearance from your doctor, especially if you have pre-existing cardiovascular disease or cardiac problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis), uncontrolled diabetes, osteoporosis, or arthritis. Always start out slowly and increase your level of exercise gradually. You should never feel any strange discomfort. It's also a good idea, especially for those with osteoporosis or arthritis, to exercise on a mat or padded floor to protect against serious injury.

Metabolism Booster #2: The Right Nutrition

Chromium is an essential trace mineral that helps the body to make glucose available for energy and to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It is also important for the metabolism of amino acids and fats. People ages 55 and older who exercise regularly are at risk of deficiency and therefore may benefit from taking supplementary chromium.

Chromium is widely believed to be useful in the treatment of diabetes. Chromium may lower the risk of heart disease. People with higher blood levels of chromium are at lower risk of developing heart disease, and chromium may also lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, while also raising levels of HDL cholesterol.

Green tea: Unlike black and oolong tea, green tea (Camellia sinensis) is not fermented; therefore, the active ingredients remain unaltered in the herb. Green tea increases fat metabolism and helps to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. A study of overweight and obese people found that drinking a beverage containing 625 mg of green tea catechins enhanced exercise-induced weight loss - particularly in the abdominal area - and reduced fasting serum triglyceride levels. A study of green tea and weight loss in obese Thai men found the compound increases energy expenditure and fat oxidation.

Green tea is also thought to prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, inhibiting LDL cholesterol oxidation, and reducing the tendency of blood platelets to stick together. It also is a potent antioxidant. Green tea compounds not only directly scavenge free radicals, but also enhance the effectiveness of the body's natural antioxidant systems.

Magnesium is essential for life, as it plays a major role in the metabolism of glucose. It is also used in the production of cellular energy and to create protein. In addition, magnesium may help to protect against cardiovascular disease. Epidemiological studies have found that eating a diet low in minerals, specifically calcium, potassium, and magnesium, is associated with hypertension (high blood pressure). Studies have also shown that people with diabetes tend to have low magnesium levels. In one study, middle-aged people with the lowest serum magnesium levels were twice as likely as those with the highest to develop type 2 diabetes.