Monthly Archives: September 2016

Three Exercises Must Do For Your Health

aa6Just three basic movements will keep your entire body strong and fit

Like it or not, exercise is an integral part of healthy living. Fortunately, it can be easily and effectively incorporated into your everyday life without having to spend money on a pricey gym membership or personal trainer.

In fact, for the large majority of the population, buying a membership to a fitness center is no more productive than taking diet pills. Studies have shown that of those individuals who enroll in a fitness club, 80 percent drop out within eight weeks.

That’s not to say that gyms are a waste of time. If structured exercise programs work for you, stick with them. If they don’t, then don’t feel guilty, and don’t waste your money. You can get similar results at home.

There are three specific activities that are my favorites for overall strength. Together, they work to maintain strength in all areas of your body, literally from head to toe. You’ll recognize them as old stand-bys:

– Pushups
– Squats
– Trunk Twists

Pushups

The overall best exercise for upper body strength is the pushup. It builds your arms, shoulders, and chest. There are many variations on the pushup.

To increase difficulty of a pushup, elevate your feet on a footstool, bed, or couch. Then suspend one leg in the air or one arm behind the back (or both).

If you can’t do a regular pushup and need to decrease the difficulty, try “pushbacks” using a wall. Stand back from the wall a little further than arm’s length, lean in, and put your palms on the wall at shoulder height and width. Slowly bend your elbows, lean into the wall, and repeat for 10 repetitions. Gradually work up to doing this three times. It is more effective if you don’t lock your elbows at the end of each pushback.

If you have stiffness or tightness between the shoulder blades, or have a problem with slumping shoulders, you can do a variation of the pushback by performing the maneuver in a corner, with your hands on either side of the corner. This will allow you to dip deeper and feel a nice stretch between the shoulders.

Other tips to get the most out of your pushups:

– Keep your weight at the back of your hands near your wrists rather than on your fingertips. If this hurts your wrists, look for “pushup handles” at a sporting goods store, or grab onto dumbbells (use hex-shaped ones, so they won’t roll away).
– Protect your back by keeping your bottom and your abdominal muscles tucked in to keeping it from sagging.
– Keep your hands at least shoulder-width apart to help protect your shoulders.
– Breathe in synchronization with your movement. Inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way up.

Squats

The squat is undoubtedly the best exercise for muscles in the lower body. The safest method is to use a sturdy, firm chair as a “safety net.” Stand in front of the chair with your feet spread shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, and your arms extended in front of you. Slowly lower yourself until you almost touch the chair, hold that position for a couple of seconds (longer as you progress) and then slowly come to the upright position again.

This exercise will strengthen the muscles in your legs, knees, and buttocks. If you have good balance, you can also strengthen your calves and ankles by rolling up on the balls of your feet when you’ve reached the standing position. If your balance isn’t so good, do this aspect of the exercise separately while holding on to the back of the chair.

To make squats more difficult, use something lower than a chair, like a short stool or ottoman, or work up to a full squat.

Trunk Twists

Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold your arms in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing outward and fingers clasped. Keep your hips still and twist your torso clockwise, then counterclockwise, as far as you can. Be sure your arms and head move with your torso. This is mostly a stretching exercise so don’t “bounce” your trunk at the end of the movement, or you could injure your back. Instead, push as far as you can in one direction before moving back.

You don’t need to do all of these exercises in one concentrated session. Instead, do several of each several times a day.

Retain More Muscle With Eat More Protein

We continually hear that to lose weight and remain healthy, we should limit our meat consumption each meal to the size of a deck of cards. For beef, chicken, or fish, that size equates to about a four-ounce serving. Depending on the type of meat, that works out to 20 to 30 grams of protein. Protein consumption in this country is estimated to be five to six grams at breakfast, 10 to 12 grams at lunch, and around 60 grams at dinner. But research indicates that if you want to keep the muscle mass you currently have and stimulate new muscle growth to replace what has been lost—both of which are crucial to remaining strong and functional as you age—you have to consume more protein than that.

According to two dose-response studies, young men required 20 grams of quality protein (whey) per meal to stimulate muscle growth following exercise, but older men needed twice that amount—40 grams per meal—to achieve the same stimulation.

These studies used whey protein because it has a higher concentration of the branched-chain amino acids including leucine, which is the key to repairing and gaining muscle tissue with age.

Selecting Protein Sources

While fruits and vegetables are an important part of the overall diet, they don’t provide the amino acid profile needed to build or retain muscle. And while soy might be touted as a great protein, whey or even milk protein (which contains whey and casein) is far superior at putting on lean muscle tissue.

I’ve found that the most convenient way to ensure I’m getting enough high-quality protein every day is to make a shake with whey protein powder each morning. Right now, I use Bioplex 100% Whey Protein with skim milk and ice. The one downside of this product is that it’s sweetened with sucralose. The amount used is so low that I think the tradeoff in price, quality, and quantity is worth it for now, but I’m continually trying and testing different brands.

If you can’t afford a protein powder, researchers found that drinking skim milk after exercise can also boost lean muscle mass and strength, decrease body fat, and possibly reduce bone turnover in women after two weeks.

The Benefits Of Drinking Fresh Juice Daily

aa5Juice is rich in antioxidants and juice fasting supports detoxification

If you have access to a juicer, you should make fresh juice a part of your daily routine. It’s a great way to get 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units a day (Oxygen Radical Absorbance). Beet juice is particularly good in this respect. Adding beet juice to carrot juice not only sweetens the taste, but also significantly increases your blood’s antioxidant capacity. Plus, beet juice stimulates the production and excretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder—further reducing toxin removal from the liver.

Vegetable juice’s ability to nullify these free radicals and stop oxidation is one of the reasons I recommend a juice fast (as opposed to a water fast). It’s important that the toxins being released during a fast be neutralized and removed from the body as quickly as possible. Juicing takes care of the problem. A juice fast for two or three days each year can do wonders for your overall health.

For those who are extremely toxic or have never fasted before, there are two other techniques that will significantly improve the results. First, I generally recommend that these people take milk thistle, which both protects and helps increase liver function. The active ingredient in milk thistle is a bioflavonoid complex called silymarin. Studies have shown that silymarin can prevent damage to liver cells. It also has the unique ability to stimulate regeneration of damaged liver cells.

The best products for this purpose are concentrated extracts standardized to 70 to 80 percent silymarin content. I recommend that you take 420 to 450 mg a day (half with breakfast and half with dinner) for 30 days starting about a week before you begin a juice fast. The only possible side effect you might notice with this program is loose stools—which are likely due as much to the juice fast as to the milk thistle.

Also, a daily warm water enema should be taken for the first three to five days of any fast. It’s simply another method of quickly getting rid of toxins being released. The longer these toxins remain in the lower bowel, the more likely they will be re-absorbed into your system.

Know More the Difference Between LDL Cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol

LDL is “good,” HDL is “bad,” and triglycerides aren’t really cholesterol at all

Because cholesterol doesn’t dissolve well in the blood, it needs to attach itself to fatty protein to circulate through the body. When we talk about the specific types of cholesterol, we’re actually talking about the different types of proteins that carry the cholesterol molecules through the bloodstream.

These types are:

– LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. LDL is one of the two most important fatty proteins (HDL is the other). LDL cholesterol is usually referred to as “bad” cholesterol because it deposits its cholesterol on the walls of arteries. LDL is also the type of cholesterol that becomes oxidized and damages the lining of your arteries, setting the stage for mineral and fat deposits.
– HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Unlike LDL, HDL hangs on tightly to the cholesterol it carries and won’t let it get loose to attach to arterial walls. In some cases, it may even snatch up additional cholesterol already stuck to a wall, reducing the size of a plaque or buildup. HDL keeps cholesterol in solution and moves it safely throughout the body. For these reasons, HDL cholesterol is considered to be “good” cholesterol.
– Beta-VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Beta-VLDL deposits cholesterol in the small arteries supplying the heart. It receives very little attention because it makes up only a small portion of the total blood cholesterol.

Though they’re not a form of cholesterol, triglycerides are a type of blood lipid that is often lumped together with cholesterol because many of the strategies for reducing triglyceride levels are the same as those for lowering cholesterol. High triglyceride levels are indicative of excess sugar in the diet, and often too much fat. The excess sugar is combined with the fat and typically stored around the gut (the “spare tire”) and around muscles (flabby arms).