Tips for Fitness Beginners

Tips for Fitness BeginnersIf you have made some positive physical changes in the last few weeks or months, congratulations! It is hard to break habits, and build new skills. In the best circumstances, behavior changes are made in a supportive atmosphere. You find friends to walk with you on weekends. Your family loves the new recipes you try. You learn to substitute fruit instead of cookies for dessert. If only it were always that easy! Fitness beginners can benefit from some helpful tips. (more…)

Vocab 101: What are Blood Lipids?

Vocab 101: Blood LipidsBlood lipids is a general terms for the fatty substances that circulate in your blood. Specific blood lipids include HDL (high density lipoproteins) and LDL (low density lipoproteins). Triglycerides are another type of blood lipid. When you get a cholesterol test, the report gives a breakdown of all the lipids that were circulating, at that moment, in your blood stream. Lipids enter the blood stream from both the foods you eat, and from their natural production by your body. Keeping blood lipids under control helps keep you healthy. (more…)

Three Ideas to Help You Walk More

Three Ideas to Help You Walk MoreWinter is not always a great time for walking outdoors. There are some sunny days. Other days, sidewalks can be slippery and the wind can make it seem especially cold. Membership at a convenient and inviting fitness center means a treadmill is available, if needed. The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes of exercise most days. Walking is a low impact, easy to learn, non-threatening way to get those 30 minutes. If you need a friendly nudge to get you going, here are three ideas to help you walk more. (more…)

Fitness Trackers: Pros and Cons

Fitness Trackers: Pros and ConsChoices in fitness trackers have grown by leaps and bounds. There are many styles that are worn on the wrist. There are chest bands and arm bands. Some communicate with a smart phone, others operate independently. Research promises shirts that track muscle activity and shoes that track speed and distance. How about socks that map the way your foot interacts with the ground? Or yoga clothes that track your breathing? If you are an early exercise adopter, there are lots of fitness tracking options to keep you engaged. (more…)

Dietary Guidelines: New for 2015

Dietary Guidelines: The New Guidelines for 2015Every 5 years, the government comes out with Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines come from a joint effort of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines stay in place for 5 years, and encourage healthful eating and snacking habits. This eighth edition will be in place from 2015 to 2020. The visual element to the guidelines has included a food pyramid, and is currently a colorful plate of food divided into different-sized food groups.  (more…)

What Ever Happened to Sit Ups?

What Ever Happened to Sit Ups?Do you remember trying to blast out 50 or more sit ups, as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness test in grade school? You’d grit your teeth, close your eyes and bob up and down as fast as you could. Those “old school” sit ups are a thing of the past. They have been replaced by a safer exercise, commonly called a “crunch.” Properly executed crunches do an excellent job of strengthening and toning abdominal muscles, and are safer for back muscles.  (more…)

Bone Health for Men

Bone Health for MenMany times, discussion of thinning bones or weakening bones focuses on women. And it is true that more women than men are affected by low bone density. In the early stages, this is known as osteopenia, and if it is untreated, it progresses to osteoporosis. Although women are more often affected, men can also have thin, brittle and weak bones. Many osteoporosis risk factors and treatments are the same for both men and women. Men: if you think osteoporosis is strictly a female issue, think again. (more…)

Who Cares About High Blood Pressure?

Who Cares About High Blood Pressure?Who cares about high blood pressure? Chances are, you should, whether you know it or not! When your weight is too high, you see and feel the effects. High blood pressure is a hidden problem, because, for many, it doesn’t present outward symptoms. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a contributing factor to two of the top five causes of adult death, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: heart disease and stroke. Being aware of hypertension is the first step to healthy blood pressure. (more…)

Why Meal Planning Makes Sense

Why Meal Planning Makes SenseHave you heard of “decision fatigue”? Studies have shown that mental energy can get used up just like physical energy can. It’s as if your “decider” gets tired. Instead of a healthy lunch (maybe a sandwich, salad, or leftovers from a healthy dinner) you may give in to fast food. Instead of knowing “What’s for dinner?” you may grab whatever the grocery store wants to sell you. Meal planning, such as with a program like Slimdown America, gives your decider a break. You can use that mental energy to plan more interesting things! (more…)

The Benefits of Morning Exercise

The Benefits of Morning ExerciseAre you an early bird or a night owl? We all have a natural body clock (also called circadian rhythm) that helps us wake up in the morning and shut down at night. Ideally, our lives would organize themselves around our natural tendencies. But a new baby, or a big project at work can throw things out of kilter. Getting enough sleep is important for weight control and good health. Even if you don’t greet the rising sun with a smile, you may want to consider exercising in the morning.