July 7, 2009 [Volume 3, Issue 16]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Find Your Fat-Burning, Muscle-Building Zone
Eat Your Antioxidants
Enjoy the Golden Years - Stay Fit for Life

Find Your Fat-Burning, Muscle-Building Zone

When starting a training program, many people start with lower intensity exercise (aerobic exercise), although anaerobic exercise (short bursts) is unavoidable for some kinds of exercises or activities. Lifting weights is anaerobic, for example, which is why muscles fatigue occurs so rapidly during weight training. Other activities such as walking up stairs can be anaerobic if you,re unfit. A combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercise is needed to achieve lasting, full-body results. Here are a few examples of combination training that will improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness:

Timed Sets: Instead of performing a certain number of sets and reps, you complete as many repetitions of a particular activity as possible during a set time. For example: Jumping jacks for 1 minute; pushups for 45 seconds and squats for 1:30 minutes. Challenge yourself to increase the amount of reps and shorten or lengthen the time as you improve.

Density Training: Perform as many sets of 2-3 exercises as possible within a time frame. For example: 10 pushups, 10 squats, 10 biceps curls, performed continuously for three minutes. You can adjust the length of time according to your fitness level, and choose any number/variety of continuous exercises for any number of reps.

Complexes: This are essentially a form of circuit training or super-setting using only one piece of equipment, one space and one load. For example: 15 stability ball squats, 15 stability ball crunches, 15 stability ball hamstring curls, 20 rubber-band biceps curls, 20 rubber-band shoulder presses, 20 rubber-band rows, done consecutively.

No matter which exercises you choose, the key is to add high-intensity, short-duration metabolic training to your workout, vary the intensities by changing methods of training, and every so often switch from high intensity, short duration to medium intensity, medium duration and low intensity, long duration. It,s a great way to burn fat and build muscle, and it makes the journey we call fitness that much more challenging and rewarding. Talk to your doctor to learn more about the fitness program that's right for you.

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Eat Your Antioxidants

Free radicals are molecules that can damage numerous components of the body, including genetic material (DNA), various proteins such as enzymes, important cell membrane fats, and cholesterol. Such damage is a factor in the promotion of most chronic diseases, most notably cancer and heart disease.

Many believe that the negative health impact of poor food choices take years to develop. We now know this to be false, and this is especially evident in the context of free-radical generation. Research has demonstrated that an important and quite underappreciated promoter of free-radical production is the overconsumption of calories, particularly sugar- and fat-rich meals in the form of desserts, snacks and fast foods.

The diet that immediately reduces post-meal free-radical production is one that contains vegetables and lean protein (meat, fish, chicken, wild game, etc. Fruit and nuts have similar antioxidant effects. We should embrace the fact that it is very difficult to consume excessive calories if fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are our primary calorie sources. (Note: It is possible to overconsume nut calorie, so moderation must be applied.)

Research has demonstrated that we get additional antioxidant benefits from ethnic spices. Consider adding ginger, turmeric, garlic, rosemary, basil, oregano, dill, coriander, fennel, red chili pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and other spices to your meals. Certain supplements also have antioxidant effects, including magnesium, vitamin D and co-enzyme Q-10.

So, if you want to fight free radicals and reduce your risk of developing chronic disease, a powerful combination includes the anti-inflammatory diet and supplementation with a multivitamin, vitamin D, magnesium, coenzyme Q-10, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. Remember to talk to your doctor before making any major changes to your diet or beginning a supplement regimen, particularly if you are taking blood-thinning agents such as Coumadin or are on multiple medications.

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Enjoy the Golden Years - Stay Fit for Life

Exercise is of vital importance for older adults. It keeps you strong, helps burn calories and maintain weight, improves flexibility, and contributes to balance and bone strength. What are the best types of exercise? A regimen that builds lean muscle and promotes endurance, flexibility and stability is the goal. Here are six of the most effective exercise options to accomplish this with minimal risk of injury. (It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor for a complete physical evaluation prior to starting any new exercise routine.)

1.Brisk Walking: Walking is a great low-impact form of cardiovascular activity. It improves endurance and lean muscle tone in your legs. The key is to avoid walking too slow; maintain a brisk pace with long strides and arm swings. Adding ankle or wrist weights to enhance aerobic calorie-burning helps send more oxygen to your heart, increasing endurance.
2.Resistance Training: It,s important to maintain your existing muscle tone as you age; the most effective way is via strength training. However, instead of using your typical weights and gym equipment, try working out with rubber tubes and bands instead. These give you added resistance in two directions, making for a more effective workout and much less chance of injury to your joints, ligaments and tendons.
3.Yoga: Talk about a powerful exercise routine that can add relaxation and fun to your life! or you can attend a class for beginners or seniors to ensure proper technique. Working with an instructor and a group of like-minded, health-conscious people is a wonderful way to get in shape and expand your social circle at the same time.
4.Swimming: Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. Swimming tones your upper and lower body because you,re using almost all of your major muscle groups. There is low risk for swimming injuries because there,s no stress on your bones, joints or connective tissues due to buoyancy, and the fact that you weigh one-tenth less in water.
5.Bicycling: Exercise declines with age, yet cyclists show a smaller decline than those involved in gym activities. Cycling is an activity that you can safely adopt without the risks of more strenuous exercises. A non-sport exercise such as cycling allows year-round participation as part of a daily routine.
6.Active Stretching: Yes, stretching can be an effective workout if done correctly. A technique called active isolated stretching (AIS) employs a strap or rope hooked around your foot to assist with the stretches. This is different than static stretching, where you hold a stretch for 20 -30 seconds. AIS is performed actively: You move your muscles back and forth in a controlled manner instead of holding them in one position. Ask your doctor for more information about AIS and other ways to stay fit for life.

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