3 Basic Yoga Poses Everyone Can Practice

Daily stretching is essential for your overall health. Everyone, regardless of your age, weight, or fitness level, can benefit from yoga practice.

Here are three simple poses that will help increase circulation, physical, and mental flow.

yoga pose
Stretch!

Legs on the wall

Find a quiet, peaceful room. There can either be carpet or hard floor, but make sure there’s nothing hanging up that you can knock over with your feet. Lie on your back and shift your legs to rest flush alongside the wall. This pose immediately relieves the tension in your feet and lower body. Also take note of the slight hamstring and glute stretch, releasing the muscles in your lower back.

Balance

How often do you find yourself stumbling and falling throughout the day? Hopefully it’s not too much, but our body often falls out of balance without regular maintenance. Did you know that your ability to balance suffers as we age?  As the body ages, once a fall occurs, it can have a downward spiral effect on your health. There is a higher and higher chance you will fall again!

If you can stand straight up on two feet, then you can try to balance. In yoga, the main balancing pose is known as Tree Pose. Stand with your feet two-fists-width apart. Then, start with your foot resting your ankle. If you can stand confidently like this, move your foot up to your calf or thigh. Do not place your foot on your knee- this will cause you to buckle out! Focus on breathing – count three seconds in, three seconds out.  If you have trouble steadying yourself, look straight ahead at the wall and focus on one area straight ahead of your eyes.

Downward Dog

As funny as it sounds, and as uncomfortable as it feels in the beginning, this whole-body poses works to strengthen the shoulders, arms and legs. Additionally, it lengthens out the spine an relieves pain in the entire back. How do you get into it? Start at hands and knee. Your hands should fall directly underneath your wrists and elbows, falling in a straight lines from your shoulders. Then, push up,  launching your hips over your knees and skyward and toes pointing forward.  Only extend the backs of the legs only as far as the hamstrings comfortably allow. To balance, spread your fingers wide and encourage balance in the padding of all of your fingers while gazing at your feet.

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Why Do Some Get Fitter Than Others? Part 2

Continuing from the last post….

Next, the scientists examined the animals’ hearts. Normally the left ventricle of the heart in animals and people becomes larger and thus able to contract more forcefully after endurance training. The high-responding rats showed these structural changes in their left ventricles, evidence that they were developing athletes’ hearts. The other rats showed almost no physiological adaptations; it looked like they had not exercised at all.

Ulrik Wisloff, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology explained that this is likely why the animals lost fitness training. If hearts don’t adapt to the demands of exercise, workouts will not strengthen their bodies.

While looking at the gene expression in the animals’ heart cells, scientists found over 360 genes operating differently in the two different groups. These genes direct processes that should increase the size of the heart but were not working as effectively in the animals that were bred to be resistant to exercise.  Humans have the same genes in our heart cells.  It is impossible to know if our genes respond exactly the same as the genes of rats but it’s possible that they may. However, the interplay of genes and exercise is extremely complex. We are still only in the early stages of understanding effects of environment, heredity, nutrition and even psychology on rates of exercise.

We should monitor our body’s response to exercise. If after months of training and someone is still not able to run any farther than he or she could before, it is time to change the workout. It is likely that the genes that control the body’s response to that activity are different than those involved in responses to aerobic exercise.

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Why Do Some Get Fitter Than Others?

Scientists are puzzled as to why some people’s bodies respond better to working out than others. According to some studies, genetics must be involved because response to exercise seems to run in families. But which genes are involved? And how exactly do these genes increase or stunt the body’s response?

The NY Times writes about a recent study in rats. In the study, rats with a certain set of genes responded vigorously to exercise; they became much more fit after a few weeks of running. Rats with other genes gained little cardiovascular benefit from the same exercise program; their heart muscles didn’t react as expected.

People who exercise diligently but see no results should consider revising their workout routine. The range of response to exercise can be extremely large. A study published in March examined overweight men and women who enrolled in five months of endurance or weight training. By the end, the men and women were, on average, 8% stronger or more aerobically fit. But 13% of those in the endurance group lost aerobic capacity and 30% of those in the strength-training group were weaker.

Another rodent study conducted at the University of Michigan and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, scientists created two strains of rats that would or would not respond well to working out. First, they had rats run for several weeks to see how much distance the animals added before tiring out. They also noted how well they were adapting to the workouts. They found that the males who added the most mileage were bred with females who responded similarly. The animals that added the fewest miles to their runs mated to one another.

Several generations later, the scientists had rats that should be significantly high or significantly low responders to exercise. The first part of the experiment supported this. The two different types of rats were set on treadmills with identical workouts. After a two month training program, there was a significant difference with the types of rats. Rats there were bred to respond well to exercise training increased the distance they could run before tiring by 40%. The other rats lost about 2% of their endurance during the training.

To be continued…

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Walk an Extra Two Minutes each Hour

Most of us have jobs, which require or include sitting for long periods of time. In fact, this is the case for the overwhelmingly large majority of us.  There has been recent discussion of the negative health affects that are correlated to sitting all day.  On the flip side, researchers from the University of Utah Health Sciences have spent time focusing on a way to offset these negative affects from sitting all day. Their study suggests that engaging in low intensity activities such as standing may not be enough to offset health hazards of sitting for long periods of time. (Some say that if you stand every 40 minutes, it offsets these negative affects). But, adding two minutes of walking each hour to your routine might be beneficial.  The findings were published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Many studies say that sitting for extended periods of time each day leads to a plethora of issues like increased risk for early death, heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. According to another study, 80% of Americans do not achieve the recommended amount of exercise, 2.5 hours of moderate activity each week.  Researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine looked at the possibility of exchanging periods of sitting with periods of lighter activities for short periods of time. They looked at whether longer durations of lower intensity activities (like standing) and light intensity activities (such as casual walking, light gardening, cleaning) could extend the life span of people who are sedentary for most of their waking hours.

They found no benefit to decreasing sitting time by two minutes every hour and spending those two minutes doing low intensity activities. However, there was a 33% lower risk of dying for those that exchanged the two minutes with light intensity activities, again that includes things like casual walking, light gardening, and cleaning.

The current focus is on moderate and vigorous activity. “To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing,” said Srinivasan Beddhu, M.D., professor of internal medicine.  Beddhu, still surprised with the results, explains that strolling and lighter activities use energy too.  Short walks can add up when repeated throughout the week. If one is awake for 16 hours and strolls for 2 minutes per hour, they would expend 400 kcal each week.  600 kcal is the recommended weekly goal. 400 kcal is much closer to 600 kcal than to the 50 kcal required to stand for two means per waking hour.

Beddhu recommends that everyone should add two minutes of walking per hour awake in combination of 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week.  While these findings present a small light, moderate exercise is still great for the heart, muscles, bones, and other health benefits that low and light intensity activities do not provide.

The study looked at 3,243 participants wearing accelerometers to measure the intensity of their activities. They followed the participants for the next three years to collect data. 137 passed away during this time.

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How Do We Go About Our Fitness?

Having a good coach or mentor is just as crucial to a successful workout and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With today’s modern technology allowing for the convenience of wearing your inspirational coach on your wrist, the opportunity seems too favorable to pass up. Still, as with any nascent commodity it is important to survey the available products to find the best—whether it be most versatile, longest lasting, or simply best for you through tools for more personal customization. With careful review and an appeal to science, it appears the technology may be jumping the gun; with many techniques used by new products not heavily backed by scientific authority, the consumer may have to be more cautious about being roped in to the flashy applications that purport only to want to help.

jonathan globerman - fitnessWhat is popular is not always right, and certainly not solely by virtue of that. Kelsey Dallas of Deserter News notes that these more social smartphone applications and convenient fitness bands have “revolutionized the art of fitness”1 but the question remains: have they done so for the better? In what way have they positively influenced the user? One study done at Northwestern University reported positively in what they call behavior changing techniques—methods of promoting good fitness that shape the user’s habits over time.

Consumers avidly seek out the best apps and using them in attempts to modernize fitness and inspire themselves to better personal health but the overflowing presentation of acquired stats about the body (for example, blood pressure, steps taken, and calories burned) remain superfluous and do not motivate the user to keep up healthy routines as much as the companies offering them hope. However, easy motivation might, and the study in Chicago revealed that the more social apps which open others to the encouragement of friends bring back far more positive clinical results. In this day and age, the trend moves closer and closer to societal integration and interconnectedness. What remains all the more hopeful for the future of these apps is that the growing craze around them will push companies to keep improving what they offer such that consumers not get tired of stalling, unproven technologies. Much is left to explore in an already promising domain.

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Nutritional Tips When Training For a Marathon

Running a marathon is no easy feat, it takes dedication, hard work and following healthy eating habits that will allow your body to produce and sustain energy. Experts also suggest, if possible, people in training should work with a doctor and nutritionist in order to make sure they are getting in regular check ups and blood work testing. However, for those who are not able to, or do not have the time, below is a list of foods that could increase your performance while training.

1. Choose the Right Crabs

“Carbo loading” is a common term that is thrown out there by all marathoners in training, but the old school staples such as bread, bagels and pasta is a thing of the past. Nutritionist suggest that people should focus more on feaster to digest foods such as sweet patatoes, brown rice and quinoa.

2. High Quality Fats

Choosing high quality fats such as avocados, olive oil and coconut cooking oil is a great way to digest properly. Too much fat is dangerous because it slowed down the digestion process, which in turn decreases energy levels.imgres-10

3. Hydrate

Staying hydrated is extremely important. As you sweat, your body loses water and most importantly, electrolytes. Electrolytes are cell properties that allow the cell, and eventually the body, to retain water during your workouts. A very easy way to repair this would be by consuming sports drinks that restore these missing properties.

4. Protein and Power Snacking

Choose the right kind of protein that wont slow you down, and will hold you up the longest. Foods such as egg whites, fish and chicken breast are easiest to digest and will give you the most energy. Power meals and snacks are also important to keep your energy levels high- keep in mind the power ratio: 55-60% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein, and 10-20% fat.

Training for a marathon takes hard and consistent work. Keep in mind the tips mentioned above, and enlist a friend or fellow marathoner in training to boost your morale and give you the extra push you need in order to train as best you can.

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Exercising with a Ball

Getting to your workout is one challenge. However, keeping yourself engaged in your workout is another challenge. It’s always good to switch up your routine or even use different equipment. We all commonly use free weights, cables, treadmills, and ellipticals. One piece of equipment that you can find in almost every gym and is cheap enough that you could even afford to have in your home is a fitness ball.

imgres-6Depending on the type, a fitness ball can cost you anywhere from $12 to $25. It’s a great piece of equipment to have should you have trouble making it to the gym and need to workout from home. However, there are some things to consider before using a fitness ball with regularity. Let’s take a look at what some of these are:

Correct Size of Ball

Obviously, there are all sorts of sizes of fitness balls. A ball to support the 5’7 150 pound person is going to vary in size than the ball to support the 6’5 230 pound person. Make sure you choose a ball that suits your size and physique best. Ultimately, this will help you best in getting the most out of your exercises.

Space

Make sure you have an open area where you can exercise with your ball. While the ball can be large in size, the area will have to be that much larger in order to get the most utility out of it. Workout out with a fitness ball can call for many different positions and movements that take up that much more space.

Use Pillows/Towels

At first start, you may struggle with balance on the ball. You may take a few spills with the ball rolling out from underneath you. The use of towels or pillows will help stabilize the ball and keep it from rolling off. In time, as you begin to build a stronger core and get used to the ball you can shed the towels and pillows.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you have a history of back problems or some other condition that could be further hindered through use of a fitness ball, talk about it with a doctor. Ultimately, they’ll know what your body can and can’t handle.

For more on this article, check this link out here.

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Fitness Apps to Help Achieve Results

Nowadays it seems everyone always has their head down glued to their phone. What if we could make working out interactive? What if there were some top of the line apps that could help you achieve top fitness results. This way people could be on their phone essentially and still working out. Here are a couple of apps that can help you achieve your fitness goals:

Cody

The app Cody is essentially the Facebook of fitness. Like Facebook, you can follow/friend other users and share workouts and videos of workouts to make it interactive. You can also track your progress to help see how you have been doing. The app is free and is available for iOS.

Hot5 Fitness

imgres-12This app really break a work out down into step by step instruction by top of the line fitness instructors in order to maintain proper technique. The type of work out ranges from your basic core work out to weights to yoga. They also include five minute to forty-five minute workout videos to help give users a visual in order to make sure things are being done correctly. A huge advantage of this app is you do not need to be connected to wifi. This app can be used anywhere. The app can be free but used in a limited capacity or you can pay $2.99 a month for unlimited access. The app is available for iOS.

Pact

This app may be the most interesting of them all. Formerly known as GymPact, Pact will pay you if you do in fact go to the gym or complete your workout that you had previously scheduled. What happens is you pledge X amount of dollars and are paid out somewhere between .30 cents and $5 a week. The money comes from the pool of money initially set up from everyones pledge. Those who don’t make it to all their scheduled workouts are essentially rewarding those who do.

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Boost Your Metabolic System

Jonathan Globerman, Weight TrainingFor most people, rate of metabolism basically is why an individual is fat or thin. There are a variety of methods for you to boost your metabolism and overcome carrying excess fat. This is not a simple task, but it is possible to reach your weight goal in just a matter of weeks. Therefore, it is very important know the means of how to increase your metabolism.

In accordance with several researches, weight training exercise has the aftereffect of increasing metabolic rate for 48 hours following a workout. This will be why weight training is among the best means increasing your metabolism. In addition, it has several other health benefits like more powerful bones and better position. Weight training is great for adults of all ages. A forty-five minute full bodyweight resistance system done around 3x a week will do wonders in stimulating metabolic processes and contribute an enormous deal in quick weight loss.

Consumables like green tea has been recently promoted as a weight losing product for a long time now. Green tea provides the chemical that stimulates you to burn more calories. Espresso also functions as a rate of metabolism booster but that shouldn’t offer you any excuse to drink much more than three cups each day. Drinking plenty of water may boost metabolism, and also eliminating impurities in your body. Other metabolism boosting consumables consist of nuts like almonds, grapefruit, apples, yogurt, spinach and turkey. A proper combination or carbohydrates and proteins offer you an excellent source to improve your metabolism.

However, sugar is bad. Prepared and refined sugars within “sweet treats” and carbonated drinks overload your body with sugars causing many serious medical issues including being overweight and diabetes. Complex carbohydrates certainly are a better power source since they supply an actually degree of blood sugar. The body just isn’t created to offer with the huge amounts of refined sugars most people use in their diet.

Cardiovascular exercises are regarded as the easiest method to burn calories inside the shortest time frame. A few examples are swimming, running, boxing and biking. The idea would be to increase the heartrate for an extended period to be able to put your body into a higher calorie burning mode. It is a smart way to create a calorie deficit for weight loss and should be achieved at least 3x a week for at the least 30 minutes each day.

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Wearable Fitness Tech

With so many wearable technological devices out there, it can be difficult to know what you’re getting with any particular company. Some devices focus more on fitness and health tracking while others are primarily meant to be a complete watch replacement. Read this comparison to learn more about some of the most popular options out there.

Microsoft Band:

Released at the very end of October, Microsoft’s fitness band is sporty with a matte finish and a horizontal screen, giving it a look somewhere between the Nike Fuelband and the Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit. Microsoft’s main focus appears to be fitness and health rather than a smartphone accessory. As such, it tracks all the typical health numbers like heart rate, calories and steps, but goes further with the ability to track stress, sleep, temperature, sun exposure, and even offers a GPS, gryometer, and accelerometer. The cross-platform Microsoft Band starts at $199 and comes in three sizes.

microsoft band, fitness monitor

Apple Watch:

Yes, the Apple Watch tracks health metrics like heart rate, steps, and calories burned, but features like touch-screen navigation and “digital touch” communication make it clear that this wearable device is meant primarily as a watch replacement and smartphone accessory, not a health and fitness tracker. You can respond to messages, use various music and lifestyle apps, and interact with Siri, all from the convenience of your watch. The implication is, of course, that one does need an iPhone to operate the Apple Watch. The device starts at $350 and will be available early next year.

Fitbit Flex:

the Fitbit Flex is a well-rounded fitness tracker that monitors metrics like sleep and steps. It wirelessly syncs over Bluetooth 4.0, which provides convenient and regular updates. At $100, the Flex is one of the most affordable fitness trackers in the industry but it’s sleep activity and nutritional trackers are slightly disappointing. But its battery life does last for five to seven days, making it a convenient and inexpensive product in the industry.

Jawbone Up:

The subtle and sleek design of the Jawbone Up give it an aesthetic advantage over the competition but means that you won’t be able to get data readouts until you plug the device into your computer. There is no wireless syncing option and you’ll have to go to the Jawbone app to check things like sleeping patterns, calories burned, miles walked, and nutrition. That being said, the Jawbone Up’s rubberized body makes it a comfortable fitness wearable tech option.

Nike+ Fuelband:

The black matte surface makes the Nike Fuelband stand out aesthetically in a crowded wearables market. The device tracks daily activity, lets you set goals, and gives you real-time feedback and reminders to help you improve. The Nike+ Fuelband has a social feature that lets you connect with friends and share your activity in an instant. Starting at $99, the Nike+ Fuelband is a great way to track your active lifestyle and stay motivated.

For more Health & Wellness news, visit Jonathan Globerman’s CrunchBase Profile, and follow Jonathan on Twitter: @jongloberman.

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