Tag Archives: Exercise

What You Can Do About High Blood Pressure

Woman monitoring her own blood pressure

You go for a routine check up. The diagnosis: High blood pressure, a.k.a. The Silent Killer. It is asymptomatic. It sneaks up on a third of Americans without them even knowing it. High blood pressure does not make your head ache, it does not make you bleed, it does not make you break out in a rash, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s not deadly. It works against your heart and arteries and can cause kidney disease, blindness, brain hemorrhage, and, eventually death. Of the 29% of Americans with high blood pressure, only 54% have it under control. However, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can keep yourself in that percentage. Here are some tips on doing just that.

Lose weight
Blood pressure can increase with weight, and, if you suffer from sleep apnea, as a result of excess weight, your blood pressure can increase even more. Losing just 10 lbs is enough to bring about a significant reduction in blood pressure.

While you are slimming down, you may want to pay special attention to your waistline. Men with a waist measurement greater than 40″ are at risk for high blood pressure, as are women with waist measurements exceeding 35 inches.

Exercise
If you have high blood pressure, you can reduce your blood pressure by 4-9 mm of mercury by performing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days. But, it’s important to keep it up. A lapse in consistency can cause blood pressure to go back up.

Woman jogging

The Dash Diet
The Dash diet, also known as the Dietary Approaches to stop Hypertension is the suggested diet for lowering hypertension. It consists of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and is low in cholesterol and saturated fat and high in potassium.

Limit Alcohol Intake
Although small amounts of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, too much alcohol can reverse the effects. Women and men over 65 should not drink more than one drink a day, while men under 65 should not exceed two drinks. Twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor constitute one drink.

Reduce Sodium
Although a reduction in sodium can reduce blood pressure in all people, the amount of recommended intake varies. Sodium should generally be limited to less than 2,300 mg per day; however, an intake of 1,500mg a day is more appropriate for higher-risk groups, including African Americans, people 51 or older, and anyone diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease.

Man cutting cigarettes in half

Quit Smoking
Each cigarette increases blood pressure for several minutes after you smoke it. Quit smoking to reduce blood pressure and increase life expectancy.

Monitor Blood Pressure and See Your Doctor Often
It is important to keep track of blood pressure levels and home monitoring can help you make sure that your lifestyle changes are effective and alert you to complications. Monitors are widely available and do not require a prescription.

See your doctor every six to twelve months to keep your blood pressure under control.

Do you have high blood pressure? How do you keep it under control? Let us know! Your advice could make a difference!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Stretches That Get You Ready For the Slopes

Woman stretching

Lindsey Vonn lives a life of danger, romance, glamor and suspense. Whether she is winning the World Cup, modeling for the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” participating on “Dancing With the Stars”, or knocking back some Red Bull for a publicity spot, her life has very few dull moments. That’s because Lindsey Vonn stays in shape, wears her protective gear, drinks plenty of water, and always does her stretches before hitting the slopes. Skiing uses a range of movements that tend to be sudden which puts stress on muscles and ligaments. Stretching before skiing can greatly reduce the risk of soreness and injury. Here’s a few good ones for you.

Transverse Oblique Twist
This one is great for increasing motion range in the hips and back and transverse obliques. Lie on a mat and lift your right leg straight up from the hip. Lay your leg over to the left side without letting the right shoulder rise off the ground. Hold for 20 seconds.

Straight Leg Hang
Here’s a great stretch for the hamstrings and lower back. Stand with your feet together, tilting your hips forward. Round your back, reaching for the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

3 Way Hamstring/ Back Reaches
This stretch targets the hamstrings, obliques, lower and neck. 1st position: Pull your right foot in as close to your body as possible and bring your left leg straight out to the left side. Reach your left hand across to your left foot. Lower your head to your chest. 2nd position: With your left leg stretched straight out from your hip and your right leg relaxed to the right, use both hands to reach down your leg. Tuck in your chin and your round back as much as you can. 3rd position: Stretch your left leg straight out, bring it across the front of your hip and bend your right leg over the top of your left. Reach your right hand to your left foot, bring your head to your chest and round your back. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on opposite side.

Chest stretch

Chest Stretch
This is a great stretch for the muscles in your forearm. biceps, palms, and chest Put your left hand on the wall with your finger pointing behind you. Walk backward slowly until your forearm is stretched out. Take small steps turning away from your left arm until you feel it in the bicep and chest. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on other side.

Straight Leg Hang
Try this exercise for the hamstrings and lower back. Stand with your feet together tilt your hips forward, round your back and reach for the floor. Hold for 20 seconds.

Deep Glute Pull
Target your glute muscles with this one. Just lie on your back and bend your knees, Pull one leg up and rest the side of the foot on the thigh of the other legs. Pull both in toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your glutes. Hold for 20 seconds.

All stretched out? Great now your ready to tackle those slopes feeling like a million bucks. Let us know about your ski stretches and how they work for you this season! We love to get your inputs!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Core Strengthening Exercises That Work

Woman exercising
The most commonly accepted definition of core stability is: “Comprised of the lumbopelvic hip complex and is the capacity to maintain equilibrium of the vertebral column with its physiologic limits by reducing displacement from perturbations and maintaining structural integrity.” And you thought it had something to do with the middle of a fruit.

Physiotherapists Henry and Florence Kendall first acknowledged core stability when they introduced the idea of the “neutral pelvis” in the 1940’s and 50’s. The idea was that the muscles surrounding the pelvis were responsible for the alignment of the “neutral spine” and that the pelvic tilt was the movement which deviated from the neutral position. In short, core stability involves using abdominal pressure to stabilize the spine which, in turn, can improve muscle and gross motor action.

It looks like old Henry and Flo might have been on to something, because, here we are about 70 years later and it looks like core stability is working for some pretty impressive ( and impressively built) people.

1. Side Plank Variation
Celebrity Pilates trainer claims you can catch Miley Cyrus side planking during her exercise routines. Here’s how:

  1. Lie on the floor. Lean sideways, putting your weight on your right hip, and use your right arm to support your body. Bend your legs slightly and position your left foot a little in front of your right foot.
  2. Using your core, elevate your body upward into a side plank.
  3. Reach your left arm over your head.
  4. Pull your abs in high, lower your hips without letting them touch the floor, lower your left arm and press back into the side plank.
  5. Repeat 6-8 times and then switch sides.

Woman completing a plank push up
2. Plank Push Ups
Celebrity trainer Teddy Bass used this one to help Christina Applegate get her post baby body back in shape.

  1. Get into plank position. Put your weight on your toes and forearms. Your body should form a straight line.
  2. Push off your forearms, lift your right hand and position it under the right shoulder on the mat.
  3. Pick up your left hand and place it beneath your left shoulder. You should find yourself in push-up position.
  4. Drop to your right forearm, then drop to your left forearm. You should now find yourself back in plank position. Continue in a push-up pattern going up on the right, up on the left, down on the right, down on the left for five repetitions total.
  5. Rest and begin again, starting with the left arm.

3.V-Sit Twist
Pro Derek Degrazio had Britney (Spears) working out with this one. BTW, you’ll need a 6-10 pound medicine ball for this one, if you don’t have one, a dumbbell or gallon of water will do.

  1. Sit bending your knees. Your feet should be flat and your arms should be by your sides.
  2. Keeping knees bent, lift your feet until your shins are almost parallel to the floor. Lean back at a 45 degree angle so your thighs and torso form a V shape.
  3. Bring the 6-10 lb medicine ball, or object of choice, to your chest, keeping your elbows out.
  4. Move your upper body to the right. Your left elbow will be above your right hip. Then move to the left in the same manner.
  5. Do three sets of thirty.

4.Three Legged Dog
Fitness and yoga instructor Mandy Ingber has client Jennifer Anniston swearing by this one.

  1. Begin as if you were going to do push ups. Raise your right heel to the height of your shoulder and no higher.
  2. Bring your right knee to your head, Round your spine, inhale, and bring your leg back to starting position.
  3. Exhale, bringing your right knee alongside your right tricep. Extend leg and inhale.
  4. Exhale, cross in your right knee to for left elbow. Inhale as you stretch out your leg. Do this three times and then repeat switching legs.

If you are still upright, we would love to hear about your core experiences. How did you measure up to the celebs? Please comment and let us know all about it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

How Exercise Affects Your Skin

Women exercising
It all started with two groups of mice, as often is the case with science, in a laboratory far, far away in Ontario at a school called McMaster University. One rodent group was put through a daily high paced exercise routine of running through treadmills and hamster wheels and the other was allowed to sit on the couch all day watching Seinfeld re-runs. Only kidding, but you get the idea; they remained sedentary. It may come as little surprise that the more active group retained healthy brains, muscles and hearts while the others, grew demented, frail, graying, bald, and ill and it had nothing to do with the Seinfeld re-runs.

Enter humans. The scientists decided to back this study by gathering 29 female and males human specimen ranging in age from 20- 84. Like the rodents, about half of the participants were kept physically active while the other half exercised for less than an hour per week. Each was asked to reveal a buttock for examination. Said Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, professor of pediatrics and exercise science at McMaster said, “We wanted to examine skin that had not been frequently exposed to the sun.”

After the skin was biopsied, the results showed that the men and women over 40 who exercised had healthier and thinner stratum corneums and a thicker layer of dermis in their skin. In translation, their skin was closer in resemblance to 20 and 30-year-olds than their lazier counterparts, even those over age 65. Although the effect of exercise on your skin is not completely clear, levels of substances called myokines, which are set off by working the muscles, are released in much greater quantities in participants after exercise. It is suspected that this is what lead to the observed differences in skin quality.

Other experts have weighed in on exercise’s impact on the dermis, and not necessarily only the parts under your bloomers, and here’s what they had to say.

Exercise and Complexion
Celebrity trainer Dalton Wong believes that exercise can tone your skin in the same way it tones your muscles. Wong says, “As we age, our skin naturally loses its plumping, youthful layer of fat. But if you exercise the right way, you can build up muscle which gives that same volumizing effect…. it’s the lean muscle mass that sits just under the surface which can create lifted, taut looking skin.”

Wong recommends you focus on resistance training, including pushups, lunges, and planking for elimination of cellulite and toning of muscles and skin. He advises a circuit routine including three to four sets of activities involving weight bearing with two to four-minute intervals of cardio repeated four times. Wong also warns that doing cardio excessively can actually cause skin to lose elasticity, especially if you are under or overweight. Running long distances places stress on the body, releasing excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation and breaks down collagen, resulting in sagging and wrinkling.

Woman staying hydrated
Hydration
Sweating regulates body temperature and eliminates toxins. Increased blood flow helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Increasing water intake will help in flushing out the toxins and oils that can clog pores and contribute to breakouts of acne.

As Wong tells celeb client J.Law, “No one can work out if they’re not properly hydrated – it makes your skin look better, too. Conversely, if you’re training without drinking enough water, you’ll damage your skin pretty quickly.” How can you tell if you’re dehydrated? If the skin on the back of your hand does not spring back after you pinch it, drink some water. If its good enough for J.Law……

Are you a natural beauty? Let us know what your think. What has exercise done to or for your skin?

We’d love to hear it.

1 Comment

Filed under Beauty News & Tips

Fall Into A Morning Routine

woman stretching after waking up

Oh, the morning! A new day to be thankful for! A new chance for a new beginning! For learning new things! A chance at rebirth! NOT!

Yeah, we all know but they say about the morning being the best time of the day, but let’s face it, waking up is hard to do! Just ask any toddler! The alarm goes off, you have to be somewhere, no time to enjoy a nice breakfast or shower; you’re too busy trying to move as quickly as possible and transform yourself from a puffy eyed zombie who looks like it just stuck its finger in a very powerful electric socket into something that might get through the front door at your place of employment without alarming security. While it may just seem like stressful mornings are just an accepted part of life, they can really impact your productivity and mental and physical health.

Habit Stacking
One of the most commonly recommended ways to get your morning routine to gather is by “habit stacking;” that is a thoughtfully implemented program that lets you get things done in the morning by using one habit as a trigger for another. Here’s an example of what this might look like.

Wake Up Early
If you want to have any chance at a less neurotic morning, the first thing you need to do is make sure you have enough time to appreciate it. You should begin gradually to set your alarm 5 minutes earlier each day until you reach your desired time. This will help your body to adapt more comfortably to your new schedule.

Make Your Bed
Making your bed is a “keystone habit” in the implementation of “habit stacking.” It is more symbolic than imperative. It will show you that you can positively accomplish your first task of the morning and will trigger the ability to perform similar positive actions for the rest of the day.

exercise in the morningExercise
Exercise is a great morning activity because it helps to get you energized. It also gets your endorphins pumping which will put you in a good and more relaxed mood for dealing with unexpected events. You can adjust your wake up time to accommodate the amount of exercise you want to do.

Eat Breakfast
What would morning be without breakfast? Par for the course, you say? Think again. Exercise is another “keystone habit” leading naturally to a healthy breakfast. You can scramble an egg in the microwave in less than 30 seconds or embrace your new health habits with a veggie smoothie.

Visualize Success
Try writing down three daily goals and visualize yourself doing them. That way, you will achieve faster results by having played out strategies in a real world setting.

Meditate
Meditate for five minutes to help you to focus and achieve peace of mind.

Connect With Family
Being among family always reminds us how important we are and how loved we are. How can this not be a great way to start your morning?

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle

Secrets To Looking Younger Than Your Age

Middle aged women with beautiful skin

Legendary comedienne Lucille Ball once quipped, “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.”  Oh, we do love Lucy, but let’s face it, times have changed.  Nowadays, celebrities wear their age like a badge of honor.  It seems that we are seeing more and more celebrities 40 and above who look as if they have managed to elude the aging process.  How do they do it? While Cindy Crawford swears by the Zone Diet, Halle Barry works out four times a week, Jane Seymour plays golf,  and Meryl Streep does laps in the pool.  Whether it’s a workout routine, a diet regimen or just a love of life,  something is working to keep women over 40 in mini skirts and bikinis.  Let’s investigate the possibilities.

Diet
Fat is not a dirty word.  Yes, some fats are bad, but healthy bodies need essential fatty acids to promote the production of the skin’s natural oil barrier and keep it hydrated and plump.  EFAs can be found in salmon, mackerel, flax, walnuts, poultry and cooking oils.

Exercise
Hope you like cardio.  It looks like the exercise pros are putting more and more emphasis on High Interval Intense Training to beat aging.  That means that you’ll have to go in fighting.  No more slow long jogs; hard and fast is the new name of the game.  Try sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging for three minutes until you’ve done a total of 30 minutes. This should add ten years to your life.

Skincare
Your skin needs 4 essential nutrients;  retinol, alpha lipoid acid, madecassol and Vitamin C. Retinol prevents wrinkles by peeling off dead and damaged skin to reveal a younger-looking layer underneath.  Alpha Lipoic Acid reduces fine lines, improves skin texture and tightens pores.  Madecassol is an Asian plant that keeps your skin plump and Vitamin C stimulates collagen growth and protects your skin against free radicals.  Look for all of these on the label of your next skincare investment.

Sleep More
When Jane Fonda was asked how she does it on the Late Late Show, she answered, “Well, I sleep A LOT.  What more motivation do your need?  Your skin suffers the most when you lose sleep.  Just look in the mirror.  Sleep deprivation leads to dark circles, eye bags,fine lines and wrinkles. When you slip, hormones begin cell and tissue repair and fresh skin cells replace older skin.  Sleepytime is also the time when collagen production is at its highest. Facial muscles relax, smoothing wrinkles and, by lying down, your skin is spared the negative effects of gravity.

Portion Control
As you age, your metabolic efficiency begins to drop by 5-10%.  The more you eat the more your body has to break down.  Doctor Jeffrey Morrison, a New York physician suggests a diet composed of 1/3 proteins to get the best metabolic performance, and cutting down intake of carbs and sugar. For portion control, try using smaller plates and utensils and separating meals onto small dishes.  Always stop and ask yourself if you are really hungry before eating something.  Your body know when you’re full.

Lie about your age?  Why would you?

1 Comment

Filed under Beauty News & Tips

What Is Self Care

Woman reading a book in a park

You may have noticed that many of your garments come with care instructions.  These are instructions, usually printed on  a tag sewn into  clothes that give you directions to help keep your clothes looking their best. They may include things like “synthetic wash” or “dry flat”  or “do not iron.”

Well, people also come with care instructions.  Although they are not written on our forehead (at least thus far), humans do need special care to keep them looking and feeling their best. When we first pop into the world, our mums and dads take care of us, and for this we are very grateful, but, as we get older, we become less dependent and we need to assume these duties ourselves.  This is referred to as “self care.”

Self care involves any activity which is done voluntarily to help you maintain your emotional, mental or physical health. It can help you feel relaxed and healthy and can also spur you to take on more responsibilities and challenges at work. It essentially puts you at peace with your own being, helps you avoid burnout, allows you to de-stress. Now, since self care needs to be practiced on a regular basis, it may take a little bit of getting used. to. The following tips should help you incorporate self care into your daily life.

Take Care of Your Emotional Hygiene
Anger and depression and stress often cloud good judgment.  Many people try to get past negative feelings by trying to busy themselves with more activity when, in reality, this may be the best time to take a break.  Acknowledge your emotions.  Try writing them down, even keep a journal. It can be cathartic and help you to think more rationally.

Woman exercising in a gym

Eat Well and Exercise
Life runs at a hectic pace, but if you have no control over it, it can lead to additional stress and burnout.  You need to make time for yourself.  Exercise should be part of that time.  Think of it as an escape rather than an extra duty.  Try working out with a buddy or find a gym close to work.  Let the rush hour traffic go by while you work on yourself.

Another effect of a busy life is also the tendency to eat on the run, and processed food is often the most readily available. Bad food may seem unavoidable. If you are looking to make some changes to your diet, take baby steps. Focus on what it is about your diet that you want to change most and start by changing that one thing.  If you want to focus on eliminating carbs, for example, make it a point to avoid bread and pasta. You’ll find that small goals are more achievable.

Don’t Overload Your Schedule
According to a research done by Stanford University, after 50 hours per week, employee productivity plummets. Quantity often replaces quality. So make sure that you try and limit your time at work and always squeeze in some time for yourself.  See a movie, get a massage or a mani pedi, do yoga, or read a book.  Make downtime just as important as work time.  Block it in your calendar if you need to!

Budget Your Time 
Although it may not seem it at the moment, doing nothing can actually be more productive than you think. If work does not lead to an immediate result, chalk it up to a learning experience.  Don’t let it stress you out. You may discover later that inactivity reaps unseen benefits.

So now you have it, your own personal self care instructions.  If we follow them when it comes to our clothes, why not when it comes to ourselves?  Bottom line:  Handle you with care.

Leave a comment

Filed under Lifestyle