Thursday, 31 July 2014

How Do YOU Compare To These Key Health Tests Health Hubbers?

How Do You Stack Up Against US Averages In These 6 Key Health Tests?

You know your height, weight, and maybe even length (you know what we're talking about), but chances are you don't know the numbers that really matter. See how you measure up against national averages (and actual ideals) in these six health tests:
How good are you at getting the lids off of jars? Grip strength—how many pounds of pressure you can squeeze something with—is tightly linked with overall strength and fitness, and is an accurate predictor of how soon you're going to kick the bucket, per research in The American Journal of Medicine. The average right-hand grip strength of men ages 30 to 34 is 116.4 pounds, according to one Physiotherapy review. Search for a hand dynamometer to figure out your score.
How to improve performance: Invest in a hand grip, or even a stress ball, so you can work your hand muscles regularly. It'll help you improve at everything from baseball to rock climbing, which will in turn boost your grip strength even more.
This one is easy to calculate, granted you know your height, weight, and the metric system. Just take your weight (or more accurately, your mass) in kilograms and divide it by your height in meters. Values less than 18.5 kg/m2 are considered underweight, between 25 and 30 are overweight, and greater than 30 kg/m2 is obese. It's no surprise the average guy, at 26.6, is in the overweight category, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Caveats: While it's a good overall gauge, it shouldn't be used alone to determine how healthy your weight is, says Ragavendra R. Baliga, M.D., professor of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. After all, muscle weighs a heck of a lot more than fat, and theoretically, a body builder's BMI could read as obese.
What's your waist size? For the average American man, it's 39.7 inches, greater that ever before, according to the CDC. Unfortunately, belly fat is the worst kind, sitting around your internal organs and contributing to metabolic syndrome, a group of factors that up your risk for heart disease and diabetes. In fact, one 2011 study found that larger waist circumferences are linked to cardiovascular, cancer, and all-cause mortality, even if BMIs are in check.
Slim down: While the goal here isn't to see how low you can go, you need to be well below average here. The American Heart Association as well as the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute both classify men with waists over 40 inches as suffering from "abdominal obesity."
Grab a cuff or stop by your drugstore's pharmacy for a free read. Your blood pressure—a measure of how hard your blood pushes against your arteries during every beat—should be less than 120/80 mm Hg. But in 67 million (that's one out of every three) US adults, that blood pressure is higher, according to the CDC, upping your risk of heart disease and even stroke. And no, that's not an old person's problem. Up to 15 percent of ischemic strokes occur before the age 45.
Lower it: Your typical healthy living tactics (exercise, lose weight, consume less sodium, stress less) all go a long way toward managing high blood pressure. But you still need to talk to your doc, Baliga says. You might need blood pressure medication, or even treatment for contributing conditions such as sleep apnea.
HDL + LDL+ 20 percent of your triglyceride level = your total cholesterol level. And it should be less than 180 mg/dL. However, when it comes to HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better. Basically, when your HDLs are low, your LDLs (bad cholesterol) are high, and your triglycerides (fats in your bloodstream) are too, you put yourself at risk for atherosclerosis, buildup in your arterial walls that contributes to heart attacks and stroke. The average total cholesterol level for adult Americans is about 200 mg/dL, which is borderline high risk, according to The American Heart Association.
Get tested: These numbers, you're going to have to go to your doctor to find out. A simple blood draw can reveal your numbers and—better yet—your doctor can explain all of their intricacies. Keep in mind exercising, losing weight (if needed), and shunning the smokes can all help improve your balance of HDLs, LDLs, and triglycerides, Baliga says.
How much sugar is floating around your bloodstream? It should be between 70 and 100 mg/dL, according to the National Institutes of Health. Higher numbers are an indication of diabetes or pre-diabetes—in 2012, 9.3 percent of Americans had diabetes, while another 37 percent had pre-diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. But beware: Lower numbers point to hypoglycemia, and follow-up tests may be needed to determine why your levels are so low.
Schedule a double whammy: Ask your doc to perform this test right along with your cholesterol one. Just remember to not eat for eight hours beforehand.

Kids And Healthy Food

Adopting A “Don’t Tell” Stance With Kids And Healthy Food

Whether eating carrots will improve eyesight or consuming spinach will build Popeye-like strength is immaterial to children. In fact, telling them such things as a way of coaxing them to eat certain foods actually repels them, according to a forthcoming study in the October issue of Consumer Research.
Research led by University of Chicago Booth School of Business professor Ayelet Fishbach, PhD, pinpoints the crux of the issue: Kids reject nourishing foods simply because they know it’s good for them. Once they’ve heard the “healthy” value proposition, they assume the food won’t taste good. The study demonstrates that informing preschoolers that a certain food will help them to achieve a goal (running faster, learning to read, gaining strength) decreases their interest in consuming that food.
“The preschoolers seem to think that food can’t serve two purposes—that it can't be something that makes them healthier and something that is delicious to eat at the same time,” Fishbach notes. “So telling them that the carrots will make them grow tall (or make them smarter) actually makes them not want to eat the carrots. If you want them to eat the carrots, you should just give the kids the carrots and either mention that they are tasty or just say nothing.”
Fishbach points out that this study focused on very young children, and older kids may react differently to healthful food associations. “We should keep in mind that older children might rely less on taste when making food decisions due to higher self-control," she said. "On the other hand, we all know teenagers who only eat six foods, so it could turn out that their thinking is similar to their younger counterparts.”
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Lucia

Personal Trainer Fitness Technology From The Health Hub

What To Look For In Fitness Technology

Smartphones, wearable technology, mobile fitness apps and fitness websites have the potential to revolutionize the work of personal trainers—freeing up more one-on-one time with clients, providing more accurate data on their achievements and giving us powerful tools to better manage our fitness businesses. Further, fitness tech can help us motivate clients to increase their daily physical activity and, in our own small way, help confront the global obesity epidemic and fight the spiralling cost of health care.
Key Benefits of Fitness Technology
Research into health and fitness interventions using technology suggests several key benefits:
  • reduced delivery costs
  • convenience to users
  • timeliness
  • reduction of stigma
  • increased user and trainer control of the intervention
  • reduction of geographic barriers
  • reduction of time-based isolation barriers
  • reduction of mobility-based isolation barriers (Griffiths et al. 2006)
Factors to Look For
When suggesting fitness technology to your clients, consider these three factors:
Ease Of Use
If the device isn’t easy to use right out of the box, then you have a problem. Your client shouldn’t need a PhD in engineering to use it. Some devices are great concepts but lack real-world, easy-to-use features. Your clients have enough excuses not to be physically active. Don’t let substandard technology give them another one.
Try a few yourself, kick the tires, and get an understanding of the features before suggesting them to your clients. The more you know, the better you can train your clients.
Battery Life
Smartphone apps in particular need to take battery life into account. If your clients keep an app running all day, they’ll also need to recharge their phones a few times during the day. It’s helpful to determine which of the two most common ways fitness devices are used:
  • Tracking. Devices like the Jawbone Up, Nike FuelBand and Fitbit are designed to be worn all day, measuring daily activ- ity and workouts throughout the week. Many will run for several days on a single charge. Typically, though, they also sync with a smartphone, so they may rely on the phone’s battery life as well, depending on how they are used.
  • Workout measurement. Many mobile fitness smartphone apps are designed to track activity onlyduring a workout, (e.g., RunKeeper during a run or Endomondo during a bike ride). These apps can drain a smartphone battery fairly quickly.
Purpose Of Measurement
If you want to measure everything your client does during the day, focus more on fitness devices rather than mobile fitness apps. Fitness devices allow for a just-in-time, persuasive nudge to your clients, showing how little things throughout the day can make a big difference—like taking the stairs rather than the elevator, getting off the couch and taking a walk around the block a few times, or parking farther away at the mall.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Anaerobic Training Programs: Program Design


Most personal trainers design anaerobic workouts for their clients—it is an innovative strategy that helps many people reach their goals. Competitive athletes have been training anaerobically for years. But these types of programs also offer recreational exercise enthusiasts challenge, variety and unique physiological adaptations.
This article provides an overview of the scientific theory and physiology underlying the bioenergetic systems emphasized in anaerobic conditioning and introduces program design guidelines and ideas.
Anaerobic Training Programs: Program Design
Remarkably, little research has been published to summarize the best training methods for anaerobic fitness. Researchers, coaches and exercise professionals have consistently targeted specific muscles or movement patterns for athletic races or events and have designed progressively increasing training strategies (i.e., using the overload principle). Fortunately, one of the most comprehensive, practical, evidence-based articles on anaerobic metabolic conditioning—by Plisk (1991)—provides splendid guidance and theory-driven direction for overall anaerobic program design. Plisk focuses on the following key areas: repetition intensity/duration, exercise-to-relief ratio, total exercise volume, training frequency, program duration, value of resistance training design, and training progression.
Repetition intensity/duration. Exercise intensity is considered a primary stimulus for anaerobic conditioning. Plisk notes that the phosphagen energy system and glycolytic-glycogenolytic pathways are best trained with exercises that increase intensity or speed (without compromising technique) rather than with longer-duration exercises. These energy systems dominate the first 120 seconds of exercise. Personal trainers use heart rate monitoring as a relative intensity guideline for how hard acardiovascular exercise is being performed. With anaerobic conditioning, however, heart rate measurement is a poor indicator of exercise intensity, as neurological factors elevate heart rate disproportionately during anaerobic exercise. Exercises are often performed over a continuum of somewhat hard, near-maximal and maximal intensities. Plisk suggests that trainers focus on exercise quality (not quantity) and sufficient intensity for eliciting optimal training responses and adaptations.
Exercise-to-relief ratio. Bishop, Girard & Mendez-Villanueva (2011) assert that with repeated exercise bouts (e.g., sprints), phosphocreatine restoration (or resynthesis) is of great concern because it is the most rapid supplier of ATP for the contracting muscle proteins during anaerobic training. The authors affirm that complete phosphocreatine resynthesis takes up to 3 minutes after high-intensity exercise. For repeated bouts, Plisk suggests using a 1-to-4 exercise-to-relief ratio initially and then, over a period of weeks, tapering to a 1-to-2 or 1-to-1.5 ratio. Therefore, if an exercise takes 30 seconds to complete, initially the 1-to-4 exercise-to-relief ratio indicates that the client should recover for at least 120 seconds and then repeat the exercise. Athletes may perform multiple sets of exercise-to-relief bouts. For this strategy, Plisk recommends allowing a minimum of 2 minutes between sets for near-complete phosphagen resynthesis.
Interestingly, Bishop, Girard & Mendez-Villanueva note that an active recovery, such as walking or jogging, is optimal for enhancing phosphocreatine resynthesis and for clearing the buildup of hydrogen ions (from the splitting of ATP). The same authors explain that persons with higher aerobic fitness levels are able to resynthesize phosphocreatine more effectively, thus emphasizing a unique benefit of cardiovascular exercise (for improving anaerobic performance).
Training frequency. Anaerobic training frequency for athletes may be quite different from what is appropriate for recreational clients. In view of previously established parameters to train for quality and not quantity, Plisk suggests that trained individuals take 2–3 rest days per week. This should provide sufficient recovery between workouts while preventing overtraining.
Program duration. Consistent anaerobic conditioning has been shown to meaningfully improve several physiological components—including oxidative capacity, phosphocreatine recovery, hydrogen ion buffering, and muscle activation and recruitment—in as little as 5 weeks (Bishop, Girard & Mendez-Villanueva 2011). This information can be useful to personal trainers wishing to educate clients about how long it will take to start realizing changes from anaerobic training.
Value of resistance training. Some clients want to improve anaerobic performance in recreational activities such as short races. Research indicates that maximal strength improvement is less favorable with resistance training programs. Resistance training that includes a high metabolic load—such as sets of 10- to 20-repetitions maximum (i.e., a person can complete 20 repetitions but not 21)—have proved optimal (Bishop, Girard & Mendez-Villanueva 2011). Plisk points out that many sprint-type and explosive competition sports involve a lot of ballistic, stretch-shortening, eccentric contractions; he therefore recommends resistance training involving controlled eccentric contractions. Personal trainers may wish to incorporate a 1-second concentric phase with a 4-second eccentric phase for many of the target exercises and movements they select.

by Len Kravitz, PhD, Nick Beltz, MS, Jonathan N. Mike, MS

Unintended Consequences Of Food Substitutions


Life is always a series of trade-offs, but you may have unintended nutritional consequences when you substitute one food for another. In the quest to cut calories, sugar, cholesterol or fat, you can sacrifice important nutrients. Here’s a look at the cost of common food swaps:
Egg Whites for Whole Eggs
An egg white omelette is a high-protein, low-fat breakfast much loved by fitness enthusiasts and dieters. While egg whites are healthy, egg yolks are the real goldmine of nutrients. Half of the protein in an egg is in the yolk, along with all of the vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12, plus the minerals choline, iron and zinc. The yolk does contain all the cholesterol, but eggs are very low in saturated fat —the fat that has the most impact on blood cholesterol. A large egg has 215 milligrams of cholesterol and one whole egg a day is within the dietary guidelines for healthy adults. So, next time you want an egg for breakfast, don’t toss the yolk.
Almond Milk for Dairy or Soy Milk
Plant-based milks are all the rage, but did you know that almond milk has only 1 gram of protein per cup, compared with 8 grams for cow or soy milk? Getting sufficient protein at breakfast is a challenge for many of us, so if you are a cereal-and-milk lover, remember that almond milk on your Wheaties won’t deliver a protein punch. Almond milk is also short on potassium at 120 milligrams, compared with 382 milligrams in cow’s milk and 287 milligrams in soy milk. Potassium is a shortfall nutrient in the diets of many Americans, so a good breakfast strategy is a whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with dairy or soy milk. You can toss in a few whole almonds to boost the nutrients without short-changing your protein or potassium intake.
Popcorn for Nuts
Popcorn is a whole grain and that’s the good news, but nuts deliver so much more. All nuts are healthful, providing protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients that popcorn can’t deliver. Studies have also found that a small portion of nuts is high on the satiety scale, meaning they help you feel full longer. Movie theater popcorn is especially high in calories and added fat. The Center for Science in the Public Interest found that a medium popcorn ranged in calories from 600 to 1,200 (9 cups to 20 cups) across three movie theatre chains. To be sure, nuts are high in calories and eating a whole bag of smoked, salted almonds or dark chocolate-coated pecans can sabotage a healthy diet, but a small handful is a good snack to curb hunger and to add variety to a salad, a grain or vegetable dish.
Post-Workout Whey Protein Shake for Real Protein-Rich Food
Whey is one of two milk proteins (the other is casein) and is an excellent source of branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, which appears to be an anabolic trigger to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. However, whey protein shakes are the not the only way to get the anabolic effects. Real food delivers high-quality protein and leucine, often at a fraction of the cost. Milk has been studied as a recovery beverage and found to be a good delivery vehicle for amino acids, with the added bonus of providing naturally occurring sugar (lactose) and a host of vitamins and minerals. Another good real food option is cottage cheese; a cup of low-fat cottage cheese has 28 grams of protein (most of it whey). Pair it with fresh fruit (pineapple, peaches or melon) and you’ve got a perfect recovery snack with more nutrients than your shake (and I’ll wager it tastes better, too).

Nutrition/Healthy Eating With The Health Hub

Skillet Of Roast Mushrooms And Tomato-Stuffed Peppers With Garlic And Fresh Thyme


Recipe for Health:

This time of year delivers a harvest of abundance and flavor as summer crops give their last burst of goodness. What better time than to try a hearty plant-based meal or side to see how filling and delicious a dish of vegetables can be? It’s good for you, and it’s good for the planet.
The Culinary Institute of America’s Adam Busby, CMC, director of special culinary projects, demonstrated this recipe in June at Menus of Change, a leadership summit coproduced by the CIA and Harvard University School of Public Health. The recipe emphasizes ingredients and principles of sustainability as well as providing the deliciousness we all seek in our food. Try it as a Meatless Monday meal served with farro, brown rice or pasta; or serve it as a side with your favorite fish or seafood.
3 ripe Roma tomatoes
3 large yellow bell peppers
2 T garlic, minced
1 t fresh thyme leaves, chopped
12 farmed anchovy fillets
2 lb “hen of the woods” mushrooms
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Recipe Key: T = Tablespoon; t = teaspoon; lb = pound
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Wash peppers and tomatoes well. Carefully cut each bell pepper in half lengthwise, splitting stem in two if possible (don’t remove stem). Remove and discard seeds and ribs.
Mix garlic and thyme together.
Cut and core each tomato in half lengthwise.
Set peppers on oiled and seasoned cast-iron pan, cut side up. Drizzle ¼ of olive oil and sprinkle half of garlic-thyme mixture into pepper cavities. Season with salt and pepper.
Gently force 1/2 tomato into each pepper (tops should be flush with peppers). Sprinkle with remaining garlic-thyme mixture; drizzle a bit more olive oil on top; and again season with salt and pepper.
Place two anchovy fillets in “X” fashion on each tomato-stuffed pepper.
Toss mushroom bunches with remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Place mushrooms around peppers in cast-iron pan.
Roast in 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, or until tomato-stuffed peppers are soft.
Remove from oven and drizzle with touch of balsamic vinegar.
Serve with mushrooms on the side. Makes six servings.
Source: Reprinted with permission from The Culinary Institute of America.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The Culinary Institute of America

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Health Hub Stress Buster!

“Think of a recent time you felt stressed. Maybe it was during an argument with your spouse, or a meltdown with your kids. Maybe you were stuck in traffic and late for an important meeting. Or maybe you were lying in bed, worrying about work. Whatever the cause of your stress, your body and brain were almost certainly experiencing the same thing: boiling blood pressure, a churning stomach, tight muscles and a racing mind.”
Sounds all too familiar, right?
In her recent feature article on the effects of exercise on physical and emotional stress, found in the March 2013 IDEA Fitness Journal, Kelly McGonigal, PhD, IDEA author/expert and a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, painted this vivid picture for readers.
The next time you experience the stress response, try the following tips offered by McGonigal and other IDEA authors/experts to help you cope.
1. Exercise. McGonigal suggests that exercise can protect the brain, heart and even our DNA from stress. “Research has identified several ways that exercise protects the brain from stress—and evenreverses the effects of chronic stress on the brain (Stranahan & Mattson 2012; Rothman & Mattson 2012).”
2. Diet. McGonigal also suggests eating a less-processed, plant-based diet. “[Both have] been associated with higher heart rate variability and longer telomeres (Fu et al. 2008; Mirabello et al. 2009; Lin, Epel, & Blackburn 2012). This type of diet likely increases resilience by reducing inflammation, insulin resistance and other metabolic risk factors associated with chronic stress,” she says.
3. Pilates. Christine Romani-Ruby, MPT, ATC, co-owner of PowerHouse Pilates and assistant professor of physical therapy at California University of Pennsylvania believes in Pilates practice for stress management. “The Pilates method is a successful tool for self-management of the stress reaction. In fact, in 1920 Joseph Pilates (founder of the Pilates method) defined his work with six principles that are remarkably similar to today’s proven methods of managing stress: relaxation, breath, concentration, guided imagery, heightened body awareness and mindfulness” Read more about how Pilates principles can bust stress in your life.
4. Meditation. To date, more than 1,300 studies have documented the effectiveness of meditation as a health practice, including lowering heart rate, muscle tension, stress hormone secretion and resting blood pressure. Many hospitals and medical clinics use meditation in stress management and other health promotion programs in order to relieve stress. Learn a few tips and techniques to start meditating from Michele Hebert, international mind-body health and fitness expert.
5. Yoga. Shirley Archer, JD, MA, IDEA spokesperson and certified yoga and Pilates teacher, suggests trying a yoga practice to combat stress. “In a study reported in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2012; doi: 10.1155/2012/501986), researchers found that brief periods of yoga or meditation helped reduce stress among office workers,” writes Archer. “Data analysis showed that both yoga and guided meditation reduced perceived stress (the mental aspect), and this effect continued through the post intervention period. The yoga intervention reduced more physical markers of stress than guided meditation; however, both practices lowered respiration rates.”
6. Visualization. Archer also recommends adding visualization to mind-body classes to enhance stress relief. “Visualizing comforting images reduces stress levels—that much has been known for some time. Now scientists have verified that individuals who are skilled at “seeing” mental imagery reduce their stress levels more than those who are less adept at the task.”
7. Relaxation. Mary Bratcher, MA, IDEA author, certified life coach and co-owner of The BioMechanics, suggests taking it easy to help relieve stress. “Relaxation is a crucial part of your stress management plan. Try these methods of alleviating stress: 1. Determine how you like to relax and then schedule activities you prefer (e.g., go mountain biking, take a bath, play basketball or go for a stroll). 2. Take a “time-out”—breathe deeply, turn off your phone, stop moving, start moving, etc. 3. Accept offers of assistance from others or ask for help when you need it. 4. Eat, drink and be merry—choose healthy food, drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.” Learn more tips from Brachter by reading the full article.

10 Exercise Myths

These May Surprise You!

Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the most common exercise myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research. 

Exercise Myth 1. You Will Burn More Fat If You Exercise Longer at a Lower Intensity. The most important focus in exercise and fat weight control is not the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat but the total energy cost, or how many calories are burned during the activity. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually. 

Exercise Myth 2. If You’re Not Going to Work Out Hard and Often, Exercise Is a Waste of Time. This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program. Research continues to show that any exercise is better than none. For example, regular walking or gardening for as little as an hour a week has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Exercise Myth 3. Yoga Is a Completely Gentle and Safe Exercise. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but some styles are quite rigorous and demanding both physically and mentally. As with any form of exercise, qualified, careful instruction is necessary for a safe, effective workout. 

Exercise Myth 4. If You Exercise Long and Hard Enough, You Will Always Get the Results You Want. In reality, genetics plays an important role in how people respond to exercise. Studies have shown a wide variation in how different exercisers respond to the same training program. Your development of strength, speed and endurance may be very different from that of other people you know. 

Exercise Myth 5. Exercise Is One Sure Way to Lose All the Weight You Desire. As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management. 

Exercise Myth 6. If You Want to Lose Weight, Stay Away From Strength Training Because You Will Bulk Up. Most exercise experts believe that cardiovascular exercise and strength training are both valuable for maintaining a healthy weight. Strength training helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. 

Exercise Myth 7. Water Fitness Programs Are Primarily for Older People or Exercisers With Injuries. Recent research has shown that water fitness programs can be highly challenging and effective for both improving fitness and losing weight. Even top athletes integrate water fitness workouts into their training programs. 

Exercise Myth 8. The Health and Fitness Benefits of Mind-Body Exercise Like Tai Chi and Yoga Are Questionable. In fact, research showing the benefits of these exercises continues to grow. Tai chi, for example, has been shown to help treat low-back pain and fibromyalgia. Improved flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength and stress management are just some of the potential results of mind-body exercise. 

Exercise Myth 9. Overweight People Are Unlikely to Benefit Much From Exercise. Studies show that obese people who participate in regular exercise programs have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of weight. Both men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with modest increases in activity. 

Exercise Myth 10. Home Workouts Are Fine, But Going to a Gym Is the Best Way to Get Fit. Research has shown that some people find it easier to stick to a home-based fitness program. In spite of all the hype on trendy exercise programs and facilities, the “best” program for you is the one you will participate in consistently.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Eight Tips For Healthy Eating

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. It doesn't have to be difficult either. Just follow these eight diet tips to get started.
The key to a healthy diet is to do the following:
  • Eat the right number ofcalories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink too much, you’ll put on weight. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight. The average man needs around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). The average woman needs 2,000 calories (8,400 kilojoules). Most adults are eating more calories than they need, and should eat fewer calories.
  • Eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.

Get started

These practical tips cover the basics of healthy eating, and can help you make healthier choices:

Base your meals on starchy foods

Starchy foods should make up around one third of the foods you eat. Starchy foods include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread. Choose wholegrain varieties (or eat potatoes with their skins on) when you can: they contain more fibre, and can make you feel full for longer.
Most of us should eat more starchy foods: try to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat. Learn more in Starchy foods.

Eat lots of fruit and veg

It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day. It’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice can count as one portion, and vegetables cooked into dishes also count. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for some dried fruit? Learn more in 5 A DAY.

Eat more fish

Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fats, which may help to prevent heart disease. You can choose from fresh, frozen and canned: but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.
Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines and pilchards. Non-oily fish include haddock, plaice, coley, cod, tinned tuna, skate and hake. Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try to choose as wide a variety as possible.

Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

We all need some fat in our diet. But it’s important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat we’re eating. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter, lard and pies. Try to cut down, and choose foods that contain unsaturated rather than saturated fats, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
For a healthier choice, use a just a small amount of vegetable oil or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. Learn more, and get tips on cutting down, in Eat less saturated fat.
Most people in the UK eat and drink too much sugar. Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in energy (measured in kilojoules or calories), and could contribute to weight gain. They can also cause tooth decay, especially if eaten between meals.
Cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, alcoholic drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which contain added sugars: this is the kind of sugar we should be cutting down on rather than sugars that are found naturally in foods such as fruit and milk.
Food labels can help: use them to check how much sugar foods contain. More than 22.5g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar. Learn more in Sugars and Understanding food labels.

Eat less salt

Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.
Use food labels to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt. Adults and children over 11 should eat no more than 6g of salt a day. Younger children should have even less. Learn more in Salt: the facts.

Get active and be a healthy weight

Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of overall good health. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health. Check whether you’re a healthy weight by using ourHealthy weight calculator.
Most adults need to lose weight, and need to eat fewer calories in order to do this. If you're trying to lose weight, aim to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help: aim to cut down on foods that are high in fat and sugar, and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Don't forget that alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down can help you to control your weight. You can find information and advice in Lose weight. If you’re underweight, see Underweight adults. If you're worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice.
Physical activity can help you to maintain weight loss or be a healthy weight. Being active doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym: you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walking. Being physically active may help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. For more ideas, see Get active your way.
After getting active, remember not to reward yourself with a treat that is high in energy. If you feel hungry after activity, choose foods or drinks that are lower in calories but still filling.

Don't get thirsty

We need to drink about 1.2 litres of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, milk and fruit juices are the most healthy. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and can be high in calories and bad for teeth. When the weather is warm, or when we get active, we may need more. Learn more in Drinks.

Don’t skip breakfast

Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. In fact, research shows that eating breakfast can help people control their weight. A healthy breakfast is an important part of a balanced diet, and provides some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. Wholemeal cereal, with fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and nutritious breakfast.

Weight Loss Tips From The Health Hub

More Tips From Real-Life Slimmers!

Keep a photo diary

From Carrie Sorrell, 20, from Hertfordshire. Lost 28kg (four and a half stone).
"I asked my partner to take photographs of me in my underwear and kept a photo diary. It meant I could see what I really looked like underneath my clothes. I also recorded my measurements, targets and feelings. It was a great way to keep motivated as I saw the pounds and inches disappearing."

Track weight loss monthly, not weekly

From Wendy Jenks, 38, from Eastleigh, Hampshire. Lost 24kg (three stone 11lbs).
"One thing I was told stuck in my mind: it's a good idea to consider your weight loss over a month rather than getting disheartened after a disappointing week."

Find ways to walk

From Karen Baird, 31, from Shepshed, Leicestershire. Lost 25kg (over four stone).
"I used to hate the fact that I seemed to be constantly going up and down the stairs. Now I see it as a leg-toning exercise. I also walk a couple of miles a day with the children instead of always using the car. It's good for me, them and the environment."

Visualise the new you

From Karen Thompson, 28, from Bedford. Lost 32kg (five stone).
"I used to meditate and visualise the new, slimmer me. I would imagine myself wearing a brand new dress or a tight pair of jeans and feeling great. Not only did it relax me, but it really helped me stay focused."

Set small, achievable targets

From Sonia Nurse, 34, from Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. Lost 54kg (eight and a half stone).
"I know how soul-destroying it can be to think how far you've got to go, so my advice is to set little targets along the way, such as the next half-stone or dress size. That's what worked for me."

Get sponsored

From Amanda Richards, 35, from Sussex. Lost 19kg (three stone).
"I signed up to run a 5km race. I got loads of people to sponsor me and it was for a charity that meant a lot to me. I knew I had to get fit to run the race and I couldn't let everyone down, so I had the perfect reason to stay motivated."
www,NHS. com

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How Much Protein Should I Eat Each Meal?


Roast chicken
The belief that the human body can only absorb 30 grams of protein per meal is widespread. Eating small and often, we’re told, is essential for muscle growth. But does the science hold up? Can you feast on protein without worrying about wasting it?

How protein is absorbed

First, some biology. When you eat protein it passes into your stomach where it is broken down into amino acids and small peptides. These are then absorbed via various transporters in the intestines and circulate in your blood. It’s these transporters that are the rate limiting step of protein absorption. They can only deliver protein to your muscles at a finite speed.
However, when it comes to whole proteins, there is no limit (practically speaking) to how much your body can consume, as it will change its rate of digestion depending on its needs. Your digestion rate also depends on the type of protein you consume. For example, whey protein is famously absorbed by your body very quickly whereas casein protein releases much more slowly. That’s why casein shakes are perfect for before bed while whey protein is well-suited to post-workout shakes.

How much protein?

The truth is, particularly if you are putting the work in at the gym, you don’t need to be concerned about eating far more than 30 grams of protein over fewer meals. Your body will eventually digest the protein and its amino acids whether it comes in the form of a protein shake, steak, or beans and rice. And even if it doesn’t immediately use it, it will keep it around and feed your muscles as soon as it can.
Words: Dr Spencer Nadolsky

Saturday, 19 July 2014


Physical Education
Health and fitness
There are plenty of reasons why getting off the couch and into your games kit is a good thing. Our bodies are like cars; they need to move to function well!
Physically, sport helps you lose weight, enjoy a more toned body and show stamina on the sports field. Regular exercise also boosts self-confidence and mental concentration. Even if you’re no Johnny Wilkinson, being fit is a big plus; enhancing co-ordination, agility and cardiovascular fitness. You’ll probably even pick up some new mates whilst you’re at it.

Benefits of sport

Regular exercise improves health and fitness. Health is defined as a state of complete mental, physical and social well-being; not merely the absence of illness or infirmity. Fitness is the ability to meet the demands of the environment.
Mental benefits include:
  • improved confidence
  • relief of stress/tension and stress related illness 
Physical benefits include:
  • losing weight
  • improved posture
  • improved body shape
Social benefits include:
  • meeting people
  • making friends
Two sprinters competing in a race
Competing improves self esteem
Sport is a good way of relieving stress
Being a member of a sports club and regularly participating in sport will develop personal qualities from:
  • Co-operation – working with others.
  • Competition – testing yourself against others.
  • Physical challenge – testing yourself against the environment or your best performances.
  • Aesthetic appreciation – recognizing quality of movement in a performance.

Health related fitness factors

Everyone needs to have a level of fitness for everyday activities.
Health related exercise improves the health related fitness factors which are also useful to sportspeople. These are:
  • Cardiovascular fitness is the ability to exercise the whole body for long periods of time and is sometimes called stamina.
  • Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can exert against a resistance. It helps sportspeople to hit, tackle and throw.
  • Muscular endurance is the ability to use voluntary muscles many times without becoming tired. It helps sportspeople to sprint or repeat quick actions for longer.
  • Flexibility is the range of movement possible at a joint. It helps performers to stretch and reach further.
  • Body composition is the percentage of body weight which is fat, muscle or bone. It helps sportspeople depending on the type of sport they play, eg heavy rugby players are more effective in the scrum than lightweight players, but light long distance runners will always beat heavyweights.
  • NB If you are studying AQA, you should also list speed as a health related fitness factor.
  • Speed is the differential rate at which an individual is able to perform a movement or cover a distance in a period of time or how quickly an individual can move. This helps all games players to move into position or get away from opponents quickly.

Skill related fitness factors

Sportspeople exercise to improve fitness and performance.
Skill related fitness factors are essential for success in sport.
These are:
  • Agility - the ability to change the position of the body quickly and with control. This helps team players dodge their opponents.
  • Balance - the ability to retain the centre of mass above the base of support when stationary (static balance) or moving (dynamic balance). This helps gymnasts maintain their position and prevents games players from falling over at speed.
  • Co-ordination - the ability to use two or more body parts together. This helps all athletes to move smoothly and quickly especially when also having to control a ball.
  • Power - the ability to use strength at speed. This helps athletes to jump high, throw far or sprint quickly. Power = Strength x Speed.
  • Reaction time - the time between the presentation of a stimulus and the onset of a movement. This helps swimmers to make a fast start.
  • NB If you are studying Edexcel, you should list speed as a skill related fitness factor.
  • Speed is the differential rate at which an individual is able to perform a movement or cover a distance in a period of time or how quickly an individual can move. This helps all games players to move into position or get away from opponents quickly.
Ballerinas balancing in a static pose
Dancers need good static and stationary balance
A rugby player dodges an opponent
Rugby players use agility to dodge opponents