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Getting Back On The Horse: Exercising After Illness

Returning to any fitness regime after a period of absence is difficult, both mentally and physically. If you’ve been sidelined by a long period of illness, trying to exercise at your pre-illness level just isn’t possible. You’ll exhaust yourself, demoralize yourself, and possibly wind up with an injury which might keep you out of the gym or off the playing field even longer.

Not all illnesses are physical. A bout of depression can sabotage regular exercise, even though exercise is one of the best treatments for the blues. Someone who successfully controlled an addiction at 12 Palms or other long term rehabs may be clean and sober, but probably isn’t ready to dive right back into her old weight training program.

Set Attainable Goals

Before you start exercising again, sit down and set out some attainable goals. If you used to run marathons, you might decide to restart with a light jog or even a walk if you were ill for a long period of time.

If you use a personal trainer, talk to him about your illness, so you can evaluate your current level of fitness together. The two of you can then devise a plan that eases you back into your normal exercise program.

Stay Consistent

Motivation plays a huge role in returning to a fitness program. Anyone who trains regularly knows the temptation to skip a training session “just this once.” Avoiding exercise is even more tempting when you’ve been on the bench for a few months, and the journey back to your old fitness level seems overwhelming.

Fight this feeling any way you can. Remind yourself that you’re back to take control of your body. Exercise with friends who’ll encourage and support you. Again, a personal trainer can be a huge help here; a good trainer will hold you to your fitness obligations.

Gathering Momentum

At the same time —and forgive me if this sounds a little like New Age mush— be gentle with yourself. It’s going to take time to recover.

Instead of comparing how much you are bench-pressing now to your old limit, compare it to your last exercise session, and note how much you’ve improved. Track your achievements as much as possible. If you jogged an extra five minutes, manage ten more crunches or swim an extra lap more than your last session, you should be proud.

Returning to Your Old Routine

Ideally, you’ll be eventually training or exercising at your old level. Some illnesses or injuries may prevent this. If so, remind yourself you haven’t let the setback defeat you. You’re still out there striving for the best health and body possible. The human body is resilient —with time and effort, you’ll regain what you lost.

So-Called “Healthy” Foods That Will Make You Fat

We all have tipped the scale one too many times in our lifetime and we have all tried to diet more times then we can count. However, most of us fail and go back to hating ourselves for getting the large drink at McDonald’s, or even going to McDonald’s in the first place. So, what is the problem? Why can’t we lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle? A lot of the times, we give up on gym which is always the biggest problem. Regardless of your diet, going to the gym or exercising should be a big priority to losing weight healthily and effectively. So, what gives?! We work out, eat a healthy diet and feel good about ourselves… until we step on that scale. Well, there are a lot of food out there that advertise “healthy” when they are in fact the ones we need to look out for. Here is a list that might be an eye opener to some, if not most. Avoiding the following food will help you shed those unwanted pounds and get you back into those skinny jeans.

Sushi

Say it isn’t so! This tasty Japanese delicacy can be one of those sneaky food that will get you if your not careful. The rice, veggies and fish seem like a good idea, but most of the famous sushi rolls have lots of cream cheese and other sauces. Plus, dipping it in soy sauce is a high intake of sodium that you need to cut down on. This delicious treat is great for protein but not so much for losing weight.

Dried Fruit

What?! This is just fruit, what could be wrong with it? Well to start off, it is a lot more dense than normal fruit, and has more calories than the average fresh fruit. Not to mention the companies making these usually add a lot more sugar than normal fruit.

Rice Cakes

These are actually a healthy option, but the only problem is that they hardly contain any protein or fiber (things that make you feel full). And because of this, you will want to eat more and more which just adds on the calories without making you feel full. These are great for you… if you only eat one.

Veggie Burgers / Turkey Burgers

Yes, this is more healthy than an all-beef hamburger or cheeseburger, but these are still not the best option for you. Especially if you get these from fast food places like Burger King or Carl’s Jr. The average burger, with all the fixings, is still close to 1000 calories and that is not including fries and drink.

Juice

Sad Day! These are advertised to be so healthy and help you live a healthier lifestyle, which is by the way true. However, they are usually loaded up with carbs and sugar that will add up by the day. The average cup of juice has about 12 spoonfuls of sugar.

Remember that there are many food out there that are great for your health, but everything need to be done in moderation. You can try diet techniques like calorie counting (as many people like to say, “make your calories count!”) There are also diets that have hcg pellets involved. By clicking here, you can learn about them and find out what diet is best for you. Also, remember to exercise on a regular basis and have a healthy and steady diet. Don’t over kill it at the gym or starve yourself as these are not healthy and will cost you in the long run.

What Exercise Machines Are The Most Beneficial Overall

Exercise is an important part of being healthy, but it can be hard to force yourself into putting the necessary energy and time in for serious change. One of the biggest mistakes people make is being swept up in trends or fads related to exercise (such as joining a Zumba class when they would never normally dance) instead of researching best methods for staying fit, and thinking about their lifestyle and personality.

To find a long term exercise solution, it is imperative to question not only what you realistically want (thinking “I want to lose twenty pounds” is not the same as “I want to get to and maintain a healthy weight.”), but what equipment can and will work best for you individually. While it is not necessary to buy expensive equipment if you have a gym membership, knowing which machines can get you the best bang for your buck can make the difference between being successful and losing momentum. Below are a couple of machines to consider on your path to getting healthy.

Treadmill

There is a reason gyms have rows of treadmills in their facilities, and that is versatility. Treadmills can be utilized by exercise novices or aficionados, as they can be adjusted for speed and slope. Most treadmills have special workout settings that allow you to choose between doing a short warm-up, specialized fat-burner workout, endurance run, or anything in between. Built in timers, heart rate measures, and calorie counters make keeping track of how you are doing easy and give you peace of mind.

Treadmills also burn a statistically higher number of calories than some other workouts you might have tried. A brisk walk burns an average 100 calories per mile, and higher endurance settings up the calorie burn rate.

Stationary Bike

If minimizing impact on your joints is a priority, consider using a stationary bike. You may have tried this before and been unsuccessful, but this was likely due to the settings on the bike rather than you (most people do not adjust the bike correctly to suit their height). Though you will burn less calories than on the treadmill (about a quarter as many), working out on the stationary bike is maintainable for longer periods of time, even for those with significant knee or shoulder concerns. If you are afraid of accruing more damage to existing injuries, try using StrengthTape to add support and stability to your weakened area (http://www.strengthtape.com/products/strengthtape-kits/strengthtape-kit/shoulder) during your workout.

Fitness Tips That Really Work

The main issue with fitness exercises is that they become confusing at some point. Every trainer, friend, or other source of information tends to have conflicting ideas. People like to work out in different ways but not all exercises work. Even so, there are a few exercises that have proven efficiency, and most trainers accept them as part of their fitness program.

Interval Training

Burning fat and building lean muscle is not a simple slow march. It requires bursts of intense effort compensated by slow recovery exercises. Alternating fast paced with slow cardio will burn more calories than one hour of steady-state cardio. Additionally, the body will continue to burn fat even after the workout ends.

Protecting The Back And Lower Torso

The abs are not just a simple pack of muscles. They protect the entire torso, preventing damage to the spine and maintaining an upright body position. Before each exercise, warming up the six-pack is important to protect sensitive areas of the torso.

Free Weights Have More Benefits

Using dumbbells are much better suited for muscle building and fat burning. Machines tend to have a lot of limitations when it comes to height, arm and leg length, and also physiology aspects that make each individual unique. Dumbbells are easier to handle, have a lower injury risk and can build more strength than a machine.

Protecting The Shoulders From Injury

Before each session, a warm-up is required for the purpose of avoiding exercise injuries that can be caused by muscular cramps. Shoulders play an important role as when lifting heavy weights, they can lead to accidents. To prevent unpleasant situations, tucking the shoulder blades down and back will ensure that the muscle is stretched and ready for intense effort. The exercise will help with weight lifting exercises, working on pecs and even when pushing as it will reduce the risk of painful impingement located in the rotator cuff.

Motion Range

Most individuals tend to repeat the same exercise over and over without improving it in any way. The best results are achieved when the difficulty is increased progressively. This can be done by increasing the range of the motion or simply put, increasing the exercise travels of each complete rep. Deeper squats or letting the weight drop until it almost touches the chest are just a few examples.

Faster Pulls And Pushes

Slow lifting has its benefits and it raises the difficulty of the exercise, but it fails to activate the fast-twitch muscle fibers. They need exercise as well, and the best way to do it is to pull, push, press or jump as fast as possible. Even if the weight does not move as fast, the fast-twitch muscle fibers will be turned on which will lead to a more athletic body look and it will consume more fat.

Exercises That Work With Multiple Joints

Most machines focus to develop only a single muscle group such as the biceps or triceps. They do show results but they become visible after longer period of time. More efficient exercises rely on putting pressure on as many muscle groups as possible such as squats for legs and back, bent-over row for biceps and back and even the narrow-grip press for chest and triceps.

About the Author

Sashka is a fitness enthusiast who writes about weight loss and fitness tips, healthy living and wellbeing. She hits the gym three times a week. Her top priority is regular work out and preparing quality food for her loved ones. This article was inspired by easy fitness tips and ideas to stay in shape.

Live Healthy In 2013 With These Eight Tips

With the New Year comes new resolutions and goals for a healthier lifestyle and slimmer waist line. Follow these eight tips to reach those goals.

1. If you want to diet, choose one of the top three diets.

US News & World Report analyzed 29 different diets to identify the best of the best. The top three diets for 2013 include the DASH, TLC, and Weight Watchers. Each of the diets were analyzed for “safety, nutritional completeness, the likelihood that dieters would lose weight or be protected against conditions like diabetes and heart disease, and more.”

DASH is designed to help you lower your blood pressure by putting emphasis on fruits and vegetables and cutting back on salt, fatty foods, and red meat. If you follow the diet correctly, you’ll lose weight, too. The TLC is designed to lower cholesterol and improve your heart health by cutting back on saturated fat and increasing fiber intake. Again, if you follow TLC correctly, you’ll lose weight, too. Weight Watchers has a proven system designed to help you lose weight by showing you how to make the right food choices that will help you to feel fuller for longer. In other words, Weight Watchers is about giving you more food for your buck.

2. Eat less, more often.

You need to eat four to five small meals throughout the day.

3. Drink water.

Some say you don’t need eight glasses of water a day after all. However, if weight loss is your goal, then drinking a lot of water is essential. Avoid sugary drinks altogether, and try drinking a glass of water before each meal to help you feel fuller faster.

4. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates, but do cut back and stop eating them by mid-day.

You need complex carbohydrates in your diet. Plain and simple. However, simple carbohydrates (sugar) will not help your heart health, digestive health, or weight-loss goals. Eat oatmeal, brown rice, and multi-grain bread early in the day to keep your body fueled. Stop eating most of your carbohydrates after mid-day to help you keep your weight in check.

5. Study the New Food Pyramid.

While it’s been a couple of years since the USDA released its new nutritional guidelines in a neat plate graphic, many of us still don’t know the details of the recommendation. The new food icon shows you that your diet should consist of mostly vegetables with grains, proteins, fruits, and dairy following in that order.

6. Cook with the right oils.

Avoid cooking with polyunsaturated oils such as corn, soy, and general vegetable oil. Instead, cook with light (also called refined) oils such as coconut oil and olive oil.

7. Eat metabolism-boosting foods.

Hot peppers, whole grains, apples, oranges, broccoli, and foods high in calcium will help boost your metabolism.

8. Download an app, or two.

Give your diet a boost by monitoring what you eat and how much you exercise every day. There’s no replacement for seeing how you treat your body in black and white. It’ll motivate you to treat yourself well. Try “Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker” or the “Jillian Michaels Weight Loss Plan.”

About the Author

This is a guest post by Lisa Vance. Lisa recommends finding more great information on culinary arts at Chefs.com.

Finding The Motivation To Workout

When we look at all the benefits of working out, we begin to get excited… better body, bigger muscles, leaner, skinnier and sexier. However, working out is not just simply going to the gym and working out for an hour a day and following a diet plan. We all know that we need to be motivated and stick to it often. Most people set New Year goals for working out and losing all that weight, but we all know that 99% of all those goals are broken. If you walk into a gym on the 2nd of January, you will see how packed the gym really is and how annoying it can be. But, if you walk in on the 2nd of February, you will see that it is almost empty. Where does everyone go? It’s plain and simple really… people stop going because they lose motivation. Were so fixed on the thought that working out has to be every day and just wear you out. People forget how to have fun while staying active enough that will keep them in good health. Here are some ideas that can help you stay motivated and healthy.

Use The Buddy System

Go to the gym with a workout buddy like a friend, roommate or even a girlfriend or spouse. This can increase the competition and make you work harder. You can set goals to see who can lose more weight or who can run a 5k  faster. You can even go to gyms with basketball courts or racquetball courts and play some games with them. These sports get you moving and can actually burn more calories than just running on a treadmill or down the street.

Get Some Fun Workout Equipment

There are so many fun gadgets out there that you can buy that will get you motivated to burn those calories. There are even fitness apps that will count your calories for you and help you live a healthier life and eat right. There are also fun fitness watches like the Nike + Fuelband. It is a watch that you wear all day which monitors your steps and how far you have run. Nike has a social option so you can compete with your friends or anyone online. Go out there to see if you can run farther or burn more calories than anyone else you know or on the internet, that should be plenty of motivation for you. Also, treat yourself and get some new running shoes that you can run that new marathon in.

Working out can be hard, but it does not need to be. Go out there and have some fun and make sure you eat healthy, and you will see the results. Just be responsible and listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard out there.

About the Author

Russell is from Utah and is the owner of the blog dailypencil.com. He loves to workout and is currently trying to lose 60lbs and get back into shape. He is married and is a student at the local university.

Two Great Apps To Make Fitness Fun

Some people really enjoy working out for their own sake, finding nothing more fun than running for miles or lifting endless sets of weights at the gym. Many of us, however, need a little bit more to motivate us and make exercise a fun activity.

That’s why people are often advised to take dance classes or other activities in the concept that when you know how to enjoy your exercise, you’re most likely to keep it up and make a long-term lifestyle change. However, if you don’t have any classes available or can’t afford them, these apps may just be what you need to make fitness fun.

Zombies, Run!

Do you find it hard getting the motivation to run as fast as you can? How fast do you think you might sprint if you could hear the moans and growls of the living dead coming from behind you? Pretty fast, right? The Zombies! Run app brings all the fear and exhilaration of a zombie apocalypse to your workout.

The Zombies! Run app is available for both iPhone and Android. It’s both a story and a workout aid, using the framework of a zombie outbreak to motivate you to get running. You’re a runner for a base who must seek out supplies and aid while staying ahead of the zombies. The more you run, the more of the story unfolds. Who hasn’t had that conversation with friends about what you would do if the dead came looking for brains? Now you can actually test and improve your zombie-survival skills.

The app also has a couch to 5k training program for beginners who are worried that the zombies will catch them up. As you become engrossed in the story and in building your base, you’ll find yourself making excuses to get out on the road.

Fitocracy

Fitocracy was developed by self-confessed video-game nerds. They realized that they would spend hours playing games, making boring and repetitive movements to gain experience, increase levels and advance their characters. Fitocracy brings the instant gratification of video games to fitness and exercising.

Fitocracy lets you set goals, complete challenges and compete against others in head-to-head fitness duels. Tracking your workouts lets you gain points, and more points means shiny badges! The app makes it easy to track your workouts when you’re away from your computer.

A deep understanding of the addictiveness to games let the creators of Fitocracy bring a video-game experience and drive to the quest for fitness. The app is available for iPhone now and an Android version coming soon.

It’s amazing how much we can now do on our phones, from e-therapy that nurtures our minds to workout aids that improve our bodies.

Physical Therapy: What Your First Visit Will be Like

Benefits of Physical Therapy

If you have a painful injury that is not healing properly, then schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. This health care practitioner knows great ways to relieve pain while increasing your flexibility, movement and strength. Physical therapy is appropriate for chronic health conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Individuals who have experienced an injury from an automobile accident, sports activity or falling also benefit from physical therapy. Individuals with disabilities can learn new ways to move, sit or lie to reduce discomfort of muscles and joints. A physical therapist’s facility will have specialized equipment for diagnosing and treating patients.

Your First Visit

First, check with your primary physician concerning a physical therapist referral. Many insurance companies require a prescription from a physician to receive financial reimbursement for physical therapy treatment. Many individuals take a friend or family member with them for their first appointment. This is a great plan for having moral support and assistance at a physical therapist office. You should wear comfortable clothing and shoes created for exercising. Bring your medical records with you to the first appointment to help the physical therapist create a treatment plan. During the first visit, registered nurses and medical assistants will want you to fill out various forms.

Physical Examination

The physical therapist will examine you to understand your health condition. They will discuss your pain, needs, restrictions and desired outcomes of physical therapy. Additional diagnosing techniques with medical imaging and testing may be necessary. A treatment plan will be developed to heal your health condition. You may begin treatment during the first visit with the assistance of the physical therapist and other medical staff. Specialized exercising equipment such as treadmills, bicycles, weights and others can help improve your condition. Underwater treatments in small swimming pools and whirlpool baths are typically recommended. Various massaging techniques can also reduce pain, swelling and tightness of an injury.

Therapy Treatments

The physical therapist office will have specialized ultrasound, electrical stimulation and cold or heat machines to treat your injury. The physical therapist will schedule regular appointments to monitor your rehabilitative progress. Most patients are also required to exercise at home using specific techniques recommended by the physical therapist. You will be expected to follow the treatment plan consistently to make progress in repairing the injury. The physical therapist will ask you to keep a written record of the exercises completed at home with details about discomfort or other problems.

About the Author

Lyndsi Decker is a freelance writer who often writes about health related issues. At the moment, she is promoting a physical therapist in Central New Jersey as well as knee injections in NJ. In her free time, she can be found training for marathons.

Top 10 things To Look For In Choosing A Personal Trainer

Choosing a personal trainer is not a simple task. Selection procedure should involve certain conditions and checklist to fulfill. If you choose a wrong personal trainer, it may show unfavorable impact on your fitness. To be fit and healthy, selecting the right personal trainer is essential. Working people, business people and other busy persons in particular would show interest in hiring a personal fitness trainer. The following are the top 10 things to look for in choosing a personal trainer.

  1. Inspiring and motivating. Choose a personal trainer who motivates you all the time with their inspiring communication skills. Avoid those trainers who constantly give negative feedback. Choosing a trainer with a positive attitude could be the right decision in the process of hiring a personal trainer.
  2. Assessment. You may have to do a proper assessment before hiring a personal trainer such as considering fitness history, health history, current fitness level and specific goals.
  3. Full-time trainer. It is always better to hire a dedicated full-time personal trainer. As most part-time trainers may work for the purpose of money, but full-time trainers might love to be in the field of personal training. A few part time trainers might work somewhere as a doctor, attorney or a teacher. Full-time instructors, on the other hand, are dedicated to be in the field of health and fitness.
  4. On time. Time is precious, so select the trainer who maintains proper timings to meet your busy time schedule. If a personal trainer is late for a while, that can be acceptable. But if he/she repeats the same tardiness too many times, then  he/she is not only wasting their time but also yours. Try to keep away from such type of trainers.
  5. Goal oriented. Ensure that the trainer focuses on your goal to achieve a good and healthy lifestyle. If the instructor is a goal oriented coach, then they can provide good workout results.
  6. Work experience. Make sure that the trainer has genuine work experience. An experienced trainer will suggest appropriately in order to reach your goals effectively.
  7. Rates. Choose a personal trainer that comes within your budget. There are many trainers available in the fitness industry, compare their total cost before hiring. Price factor is based on trainer’s reputation and experience.
  8. Attentive. You have to select a personal trainer who is attentive towards your goal. Avoid a personal trainer who is always texting and speaking on phones during training sessions.
  9. Certification and education. Make sure that you hire a certified personal trainer; check all his original certificates and documents before signing a contract. Ask for an accredited certification provided by The National Commission for Certifying Agencies. There are a number of personal trainers who have got excellent skills and experience in this field but probably do not own this kind of certification. No matter, you can hire such trainers by taking feedback from their previous clients.
  10. Knowledge. There is an old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The same formula applies in the case of a personal trainer. You can’t hire a personal trainer who looks fit but doesn’t know anything about health and fitness exercises.

About the Author

Lucy is a financial guest blogger from Manchester, UK. She has written many articles on ppi claims. Find out more about her blogs @financeport.

No Gym Exercise Tips

So you have a resolution to lose weight and get fit, you have joined the xx of people who have resolved to get into better shape. There are weight loss programs, supplements businesses and gyms that are all vying for your attention this time of year, but you can accomplish the goals you are searching for in the comfort of your own turf. That is right, no gym to feel inadequate in as the regulars size you up while you try to coordinate your movement on the elliptical. You can lose weight and get fit right at home and around your neighborhood without committing a monthly withdrawal from your bank account. The secret is just doing something every day. Here are some of our favorite no-gym exercises. Don’t delay get moving today!

No Gym Exercise Tips

Body Resistance Exercise

This may sound technical, but the fact is, it is so easy! You are simply using your body weight to do a few large muscle movements. The key to this easy exercise choice is you are building your large muscles, which the stronger they get the more body fat you will burn, because muscle burns fat!

Doing It

Each morning and evening, do the following exercises: 

Chair Squats: Stand up then act like you are sitting down in a chair. Do this 20 times. Remember to keep your back straight, keep your knees in line with your feet

Wall Push Ups: Stand at few feet away from the wall and bring your arms and chest toward the wall. Do 20 push-ups leaning your weight into the exercise. Once you feel strong enough, graduate to floor knee push-ups and then regular push-ups.

Super Man Lifts: Lay down on your stomach with your arms over your head. Raise one arm and the opposite leg and hold for five seconds. Switch. Repeat that 10 times. As you get stronger, try lifting both arms and legs and hold for five seconds. Increase the reps and length of holding to increase the difficulty. Note: If this hurts your back, lift just one arm, then lift a leg, etc. If you have serious back problems, consult with your doctor or skip this exercise.

Crunches: This is an oldie, but a goody. While on your back, bend your knees. Keep your arms straight in front of you and raise enough to touch your knees (or get close to touching). Make sure you keep your chin straight (keep your eyes on the ceiling). Complete 20 crunches. As you get stronger, keep your hands behind your head (keep your head in the right position) and lift your bottom so your elbows and knees come together.

Cardio

Along with the body resistance exercises, you can enhance your workout by adding in cardio. This is a minimum of 20-30 minutes of elevating your heart rate. It can be a brisk walk, a jog or run. You can even do an at home workout DVD – there are so many to choose from, you should never be bored of the same old workout!

Stretching

Do not forget the importance of stretching each day. This not only keeps your muscles in tip-top shape, it helps elongate them to allow you long, lean muscles. Make sure you stretch your legs (both hamstrings and quadriceps) as well as your back, stomach and arms. If you need help achieving a deeper stretch, use an exercise band or even a belt to help you remain in your stretch position. Yoga is another great option, you are not only stretching your body, you are also getting a workout – a two for one deal!

About the Author

Susan Wright is a trained veterinarian for more than a decade, and is a freelance writer. She frequently offers advice and tips for healthy living through modern technology.

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