Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category


Diet or Exercise: Best Tool for Weight Loss?

September 20, 2010

(Article first published as Your Best Weight Loss Strategy: Diet or Exercise? on Technorati.)

Study Shows Diet is the Key to Weight Loss

Study Shows Diet is the Key to Weight Loss

We’ve been conditioned over the years to believe that the best way to lose weight is to sweat it off with rigorous exercise at the gym, and be mindful of what we eat. If that were entirely correct, we wouldn’t be tipping the scales of obesity as 45 million people spend more than $19 billion annually on gym memberships, a number that’s doubled over the past 20 years. The problem lies with the fact that human metabolism is highly efficient, and any excess calories are immediately stored as fat.

More Exercise Leads to More Eating

Exercise Still Essential For Good Health

Exercise Still Essential For Good Health

Despite our best intentions, we eat far more calories than we need at any given time to fuel our muscles and cells. Exercise does burn additional calories, but for many people it pales in comparison to the quantity of food they consume. As you exercise, your body sends the signal to eat more so you’ll have enough energy reserved for the next workout. Your next meal or high carb snack will be larger than necessary to compensate, and the excess calories are efficiently stored for future use.

Exercise is Not an Efficient Weight Loss Tool

Research generated by the Mayo Clinic and reported in Time Magazine concludes that exercise is a very inefficient way to drop excess pounds. Researchers found that intense exercise may actually cause weight gain, as test participants consumed more calories after exercise than they burned, resulting in leftover calories which the body typically stores as abdominal fat. It’s important to understand that exercise is still an essential part of human health, but should not be your primary weight loss tool.

Calorie Restricted Diet Delivers Weight Loss Results

Slowly Restrict Calories by 25% to Drive Weight Loss

Slowly Restrict Calories by 25% to Drive Weight Loss

The best strategy to drop weight is to eat a calorie restricted diet with 25% fewer calories than you presently consume each day. For many, this type of restriction will seem severe, so you’ll need to slowly work up to that level by eliminating 100 calories each day for a week. The next week, cut out another 100 calories until you hit the 25% reduction level. Most moderately active women should eat 1200 to 1500 calories per day, and men should target 1500 to 1800 calories to see significant weight loss results.

Exercise is Still Important

Regular physical activity is still vitally important, as multiple studies confirm that those who sit for 8 hours a day are most likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer and die early from any cause. Stay active, and if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for long periods, get up and move around at least once every half hour. Establish a set amount of time for exercise into your daily schedule, at least 30 minutes on most days. Walking is a great activity which keeps your heart pumping and your muscles moving, but don’t plan to eat more afterward to compensate.

People begin exercising or sign up for a gym membership as a way to burn off excess fat, and subconsciously believe this will allow them to continue eating more calories than they need. For most individuals, the calories burned through moderate exercise don’t compensate for the super sized appetites experienced after a workout. While regular physical activity and stress reduction are required for optimal health, calorie restriction is by far the most effective weight loss tool.


Exercise Easier and Drop Weight Faster

September 9, 2010

(Article first published as Tips to Exercise Easier, Lose Weight Faster on Technorati.)

Making Exercise Fun Assists Weight Loss Efforts

Making Exercise Fun Assists Weight Loss Efforts

Health conscious individuals understand the importance of regular exercise to assist natural weight loss goals and to improve all critical parameters of health. A well sculpted body is usually a sign of somebody who eats properly, stays healthy and has a long term investment in their own longevity. Many people find following a regular fitness program to be an arduous task, and quickly abandon their efforts and hopes for sustainable weight loss and long term health.

Exercise Drives Fat Loss and Improves Heart Health

Exercise Directly Impacts Heart Health

Exercise Directly Impacts Heart Health

The indisputable importance of regular exercise is underscored by a study published in the International Journal of Obesity which monitored the effects of high intensity exercise on a group of women for 15 weeks. Women who exercised the most were found to have significant reduction in total body fat and insulin resistance.

While the study didn’t factor the powerful effects of a well balanced, reduced calorie diet into the results, it’s important to note that the combined effect of diet and exercise will result in increased fat metabolism and lowered blood sugar and insulin levels. It can be easier than you might imagine to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, and the key is to make it simple and fun with these tips.

Tip 1: Keeping It Easy

Walking is the Most Common Form of Physical Activity

Walking is the Most Common Form of Physical Activity

You don’t have to choose the most difficult or intense exercise to reap the important fitness and fat loss benefits. Unless you’re training for a triathlon, experts suggest the best form of physical activity is walking. It’s natural, fun and how we’ve evolved to stay active and fit.

Depending on your starting fitness level, slowly work your way up to at least 30 minutes of walking each day or at least on 5 days of the week. Studies show that you’ll get the same health benefits if you break it into multiple 10 minute sessions, and be sure to walk at a moderate pace to stimulate fat metabolism.

Tip 2: Work to Build Muscle

Exercise will appear to be easier when you have more muscle built throughout your body. Muscles provide the mechanics to power your body, so it’s important to build muscle tone to get more benefit from your workout. You don’t have to lift weights to build muscle, although free weights and weight machines are popular choices. Try walking while wearing ankle weights or swinging a pair of hand weights.

Tip 3: Clean the House or Mow the Lawn

Household chores qualify as a form of exercise which will assist in your weight reduction and health improvement efforts. Try mowing the lawn, weeding, mopping a dirty floor or vacuuming. Everyday tasks can work your muscles and burn as many calories as a structured exercise routine.

Tip 4: Use the Buddy System

Soliciting the help of a friend or family member is one of the best ways to keep your exercise fun and exciting, and also provides the critical motivation to keep you moving. Either exercise together, or talk about your accomplishments several times a week.

Regular exercise provides critical health benefits which are essential to your long term health and weight loss goals. Medical researchers regularly report the importance of moderate levels of physical activity on fat metabolism and heart health. Following these tips will help you to stay motivated and active so you can reap the significant health and weight loss rewards afforded by a regular exercise program.


Understanding Weight Loss Myths

September 7, 2010

(Article first published as Top Fitness Myths That Prevent Weight Loss on Technorati.)

Effective Weight Loss is Assisted by Regualr Physical Activity

Effective Weight Loss is Assisted by Regular Physical Activity

Fitness myths are as common as old wives tales, and can have a detrimental effect on how well you’re able to reach and maintain your weight loss goal. Once we’ve heard the same mistruths time and again, we tend to accept them as correct, even though they may have a detrimental effect on health and weight reduction efforts. While some of this advice is harmless, it’s always best to defer to relevant information presented by researchers who have studied the effects that physical fitness has on fat metabolism and your health.

25% of Americans Are Now Obese

The fact that one quarter of all Americans are now obese is a staggering number, with dire health consequences for the next decade and beyond. Information published in The New York Times indicates that nearly 2.5 million more people fell into the obese category in the past two years, making this the largest and quickest increase on record.

Lack of Physical Activity to Blame

We Don't Get Enough Exercise!

We Don't Get Enough Exercise!

Two of the most controllable elements which drive weight loss are diet and exercise. With the power of mind and attitude, we’re able to control the amount and type of foods we eat through thoughtful planning, and can limit couch potato time by making the trade off for regular daily exercise. The key to successful weight loss is combining proper diet with the right type of physical activity. You’ll be able to maximize the effectiveness of your workout and weight reduction plan by sorting through the most common fitness myths.

Myth 1: Running is Better Than Walking

The fact is that a runner and a walker covering the same distance will burn about the same number of calories. The important thing to keep in mind is that you get out and move your body. Weight reduction is not a race, and losing weight at a slow pace (no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week) is the best way to allow your body to easily adjust, preventing your metabolism from stalling in an attempt to preserve body mass.

Myth 2: Exercising More Leads to Eating More

Research shows that exercise has no effect on a person’s hunger. Further, exercise has been shown to suppress appetite both during and after a workout. The problem is that many people let their mind take control, compelling them to eat more because they believe they need the extra calories to compensate for the activity. Use mind over matter to avoid taking in too many calories after a workout.

Myth 3: All Calories Are Created Equal

Controlling Food Groups Can Assist Weight Loss

Controlling Food Groups Can Assist Weight Loss

Technically, a calorie is a measurement of energy and all calories require the same amount of energy to burn. Our body is not a machine though, and metabolizes food based on its source, protein, fat or carbohydrate. Proteins are complex structures and take much more time and energy to break down. Carbohydrates, and especially refined carbs from sugary junk foods are broken down immediately, used for energy and the balance is converted to fat and stored on the hips and abdomen. Always include healthy protein from nuts, seeds, whey or lean meats after your workout to assist muscle building and avoid excess fat storage.

There appears to be no end in sight to our obesity epidemic, as more Americans join the ranks and threaten their health and longevity. Physical fitness is an essential tool which can assist weight loss and reduce the risk of many diseases. Fitness myths abound which will derail your from the true benefits of exercise, and can help you to reach your weight goal quickly and efficiently.


Permanent Weight Loss Tips

September 6, 2010

(Article first published as Keep Lost Weight and Belly Fat Off for Good on Technorati.)

It’s been a lot of really hard work, but you’ve persevered and managed to lose weight and hit your target goal. You understand the importance of reducing belly fat to ward off heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, and want your hard work to be for life. And yet the urge to eat a sugary donut or super sized fry makes you wonder how you’re going to be able to keep the weight off permanently.

Only 1 in 6 Can Maintain Weight Loss

Few People Can Maintain Lost Weight for 1 Year

Few People Can Maintain Lost Weight for 1 Year

Starting a new diet and watching the scale drop each week is exciting, and provides the initial enticement to keep up with your weight loss program. Once you reach your goal, the excitement fades and pressure from friends, family and the constant barrage of junk food marketers is enough to make you stray from a healthy lifestyle.

You’re not alone, as research from the Penn State College of Medicine finds that only 1 in 6 people who have been overweight or obese are able to maintain their weight loss for more than a year. Sustainable weight loss can be a very complicated process. In addition to following a reduced calorie diet with regular physical activity, it’s important to control confounding factors such as stress, mood and lifestyle changes which can cause the pounds to reappear.

Attitude is Key to Permanent Weight Loss

When excess weight is lost too quickly, our innate survival mechanism takes control of our subconscious mind in an attempt to replace stored fat, considered key to perpetuating the species. While we have no control over generations of genetic predisposition to resist lost body fat, we do have the power of mind and attitude which can help us overcome the urge to fall back into old habits. Nutritional experts have compiled important tips to help you keep the weight off for good.

Tip 1: Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals is the biggest mistake people make when trying to maintain lost weight. The thought is they’ll avoid the calories and maybe even drop a few more pounds. Our metabolism is quite sophisticated, and will force you to make up the difference and then some through between meal snacking. Plan to eat 3 to 5 small well balanced meals each day to keep your metabolism burning efficiently while reducing the opportunity for a calorie packed junk food splurge.

Tip 2: Weigh Yourself Weekly

Monitor Your Weight Weekly and Keep a Log

Monitor Your Weight Weekly and Keep a Log

Weigh yourself once a week on the same day and time, and keep track of the results in a journal. This creates an important awareness of your current weight and allows for adjustments if you have strayed from your program. Make adjustments accordingly to maintain a constant weight.

Tip 3: Eat a Variety of Foods

Your new diet is a lifestyle which you must be able to maintain permanently. By including healthy choices from all food groups, you provide your body with all the critical nutrients and reduce the likelihood you’ll want to binge between meals.

Tip 4: Physical Activity Every Day

Regular Physical Activity Essential to Permanent Weight Loss

Regular Physical Activity Essential to Permanent Weight Loss

Regular exercise must be a natural part of your new reduced weight lifestyle. If physical activity seems like a chore, you need to find something different. Remaining active throughout the day should be natural for most people after weight loss, and is critical to your permanent success.

Millions of people are on a weight reduction program at any given time, yet the sobering fact is the vast majority will pack the pounds back on in the near future. Genetics exerts a powerful influence over lost weight, ensuring our survival when food was scarce. We can overcome this evolutionary mechanism with a positive attitude and mindful approach to achieve permanent weight loss for life.


Wonder Why You Can’t Lose Weight?

September 3, 2010

(Article first published as Top Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight on Technorati.)

For many people, weight loss is a very difficult process and requires much more than just eating less and exercising more. There is a third element involving lifestyle, emotion, stress and motivational factors that can prevent you from reaching your ideal goal. Often, dieters will quickly lose 5 to 10 % of their body weight and reach a plateau which can’t be broken, regardless of their best efforts.

Using Diet to Control Weight, Improve Health

Healthy diet and regular exercise are essential parts of any sensible weight loss plan. The results of a study published in the journal Circulation underscores the importance of following the American Heart Association sponsored DASH diet which places emphasis on copious quantities of fresh vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, whole grains and meats such as chicken and turkey, while reducing red meat, sugar, refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated fats and salt.

Providing Extra Help Beyond Diet and Exercise

Lifestyle Factors Affect Weight Loss Progress

Lifestyle Factors Affect Weight Loss Progress

This research confirms that altering our diet away from processed junk food is the best way to regain our health. The DASH diet lowered blood pressure by 20%, improved blood lipids and triglycerides and allowed participants to lose weight as a natural consequence, even though it was not the primary goal of the study. Still, some people require additional help to reach their weight goal and overcome a weight plateau. Here’s a list of the top reasons that may be preventing you from shedding weight.

Reason 1 – Sleep Deprivation

7 to 9 Hours of Sleep is Required Each Night

7 to 9 Hours of Sleep are Required Each Night

Lack of sound sleep is the number one reason people can’t lose weight. The body requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and sleep is not cumulative so you can’t play catch up for past indiscretions. Our body has a long list of maintenance chores to perform while we sleep, and needs energy during that time. Eating too close to bedtime means our fat stores aren’t tapped during the overnight hours, a critical time to burn excess fat for energy.

Reason 2 – Missing Meals

People frequently will skip a meal such as breakfast, with the belief that they can save themselves the extra calories. This will always backfire, as our body will send a signal to our brain, compelling us to make up for lost calories. Further, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it starts our fat burning metabolism in motion, increasing calories burned throughout the day.

Reason 3 – Overestimating Exercise Calories

Don't Eat More Because You're Exercising

Don't Eat More Because You're Exercising

There’s no doubt that exercise is an important part of any weight loss regimen, but many people believe that because they exercise regularly, they can eat as much as they want. Unless you’re training for a marathon and running several hours each day, you’re not burning enough calories to warrant the extra food.

Reason 4 – Drinking Sweetened and Diet Beverages

Another very common weight loss mistake is drinking your calories. Not only are most sweetened beverages loaded with fat-promoting high fructose corn syrup, but they have no nutritional value. Avoid all sugary drinks, and substitute water or fresh brewed tea which has been shown to promote weight loss. Research shows that diet drinks sweetened with artificial chemicals actually fuel weight gain by disrupting hormonal signals to the brain to stop eating.

Healthy weight loss can be a difficult road for many to navigate, as calorie restriction and physical activity are frequently not enough to deliver the desired result. Controlling key behavioral factors can play an important role in fueling further weight reduction, especially when your progress has stalled. Incorporating lifestyle changes into your weight loss plan will help you reach your healthy weight goal quickly and with a minimum of effort.


Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Heart Disease

September 2, 2010

(Article first published as Top Foods and Lifestyle Changes Promote Heart Health on Technorati.)

Heart disease is the number one killer in the US, and results from decades of dietary and lifestyle abuse leading to damage of the delicate arteries that supply blood to the heart. The condition is called coronary artery disease (CAD) and is the primary type of heart condition which leads to sudden death from a heart attack, as foamy plaque builds up in the lining of the vessels and increases the risk of a clot blocking blood flow to this critical muscle. Fortunately you can lower your risk of disease by taking charge of the factors which precipitate CAD.

Create a Plan to Reverse Heart Disease

Heart Disease is Preventable with Through Diet and Lifestyle

Heart Disease is Preventable Through Diet and Lifestyle

Medical research continues to provide important information which reveals that the negative effects of poor diet and lifestyle can be reversed by implementing a structured plan to correct poor habits. The results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates that making the correct food choices is more heart protective than taking statins.

The study highlights a small group of super foods which affect heart function and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease development, and can actually work to reverse the buildup of coronary plaque. In addition to adding these foods to your diet, there are essential lifestyle modifications you can incorporate which can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Super Foods for the Heart

Salmon is and Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fats

Salmon is and Excellent Source of Omega-3 Fats

Every bite of food we eat has a direct and calculable effect on our genes, and specifically our heart. Eliminating sugar, refined carbohydrates and hydrogenated trans fats from the diet is an important first step toward regaining control over heart health. As you slowly cut damaging foods from your diet, substitute these super foods to improve your heart healthy menu.

Salmon and Omega-3 Fat Sources: Salmon and most fish are excellent sources of the Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA which have been shown to lower the risk of sudden death from a heart attack by one-third. Omega-3 fats reduce dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides, and help to prevent the formation of blood clots. Eat salmon or fatty fish twice a week, or supplement with fish oil for maximum benefit.

Blueberries: Blueberries are packed with powerful antioxidants which have been shown to alter the plaque forming characteristics of oxidized LDL cholesterol. This means that this damaging form of cholesterol is less likely to become incorporated into plaque which narrows the arteries supplying the heart. Blueberries also taste great and play an important role in brain health as well.

Make the Right Lifestyle Changes

Walking Strengthens the Heart and Improves Blood Flow

Walking Strengthens the Heart and Improves Blood Flow

Once you’ve made the appropriate changes to your diet, researchers have identified specific lifestyle alterations which provide protection against heart disease. Plan to make changes slowly and you’ll be more likely to maintain them for life.

Physical Activity: Next to diet, incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine will have the most impact on heart health. You benefit by strengthening this critical muscle and the supporting vascular system, lowering blood pressure and stabilizing blood sugar and insulin response. Plan at least 20 to 30 minutes each day.

Lose Weight: Excess weight forces the heart to work much harder than necessary, and eventually the heart enlarges in an attempt to keep pace with the increased load. Studies show that losing as little as 5 to 7% of your body weight can have a dramatic effect on heart health.

No Smoking: Smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease, as it negatively affects every organ in the body, especially the heart. Smoking causes dangerous constriction of the blood vessels which forces the heart to work much harder. Get professional help to drop the habit, as studies show positive heart health benefits after just 6 months.

Reduce Stress: The effects of stress can be as devastating as smoking. Often referred to as a silent killer, continual stress causes the release of hormones such as cortisol which increase blood pressure and systemic inflammation. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga and meditation are helpful in negating the damaging effects of stress.

Heart disease is preventable and reversible with a solid plan to improve diet and lifestyle. Substituting heart healthy super foods such as blueberries and salmon can have an immediate impact on your heart. Make time for daily exercise, lose weight and eliminate the cause of stress which is harming your health. You can minimize or even eliminate the risk from heart disease by taking charge of your total lifestyle.


Top Healthy Weight Loss Exercises

August 31, 2010

(Article first published as Choosing the Right Exercise for Weight Loss and Health on Technorati.)

People choose many different types of exercise programs, depending on the goal they intend to accomplish. Some choose cardio aerobic activities such as walking and running in an effort to lose weight, while others gravitate toward resistance forms of exercise to build muscle and improve health. It’s important to combine the proper intensity with an appropriate fitness routine to achieve the proper end result that’s right for you.

Choosing Your Fitness Goal

Making the Correct Exercise Choice for Weight Loss and Health

Making the Correct Exercise Choice for Weight Loss and Health

Physical activity guidelines have been established by the US Department of Health and Human Services which are helpful in determining the proper exercise routine to follow, depending on your fitness level and ultimate goal. Individuals trying to lose weight and body fat will want to hit the treadmill with a moderate intensity level for at least 60 minutes on most days of the week.

Many people understand that it’s important to choose some type of exercise to improve health and retain muscle mass, while strengthening the most important muscle in the body, the heart. Here you’ll want to concentrate more on short burst, high intensity resistance exercises with 10 to 20 reps working all major muscle groups. At least 20 to 30 minutes is needed each day to maintain muscle tone and optimal body conditioning.

Top Exercises for Weight Loss

Always combine regular exercise with a well balanced, reduced calorie diet for maximum results. The best weight loss exercises will combine both an aerobic aspect as well as a toning element to drive your metabolism and burn fat.

Step Aerobics:

Steps Aerobics Pumps the Metabolism and Boosts Fat Burn

Step Aerobics Pumps the Metabolism and Boosts Fat Burn

The main point behind cardio aerobic conditioning exercises is to raise the heart rate into the training zone which increases metabolism and triggers fat release. Step aerobics is an ideal form of fitness training that targets the hips, legs and belly, prime targets for toning and weight reduction. Step aerobics can burn up to 800 calories per hour and qualifies as an inexpensive and highly effective conditioning method to burn fat.


Whether you choose to ride around the neighborhood on a traditional bike, or opt for a stationary trainer, biking provides an excellent way to burn between 500 and 1000 calories per hour, depending on intensity and terrain. Biking is easy to do and is one of the best exercises to boost metabolism and promote weight loss.

Exercises to Promote Health

Health promoting exercises typically involve improved blood circulation and enhanced metabolic function. Although these forms of physical activity aren’t as intense as those which target weight loss, they lower disease incidence by improving critical biomarkers such as blood pressure, blood glucose and heart rate.


Walking Improves Overall Health and is Fun!

Walking Improves Overall Health and is Fun!

Walking is the perfect exercise for virtually everyone. It requires nothing more than a good pair of shoes and a safe place to stretch your legs, while strengthening the heart and influencing metabolic markers such as improved cholesterol ratios, lowered blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Plan to walk at least 30 minutes a day every day of the week for maximum benefits.


Swimming ranks among the best forms of exercise to improve and maintain health because it conditions every key muscle group in the body. There’s no impact to joints, so there’s little risk of injury which can sideline your efforts. Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs, and has been shown to improve insulin resistance as the muscles become metabolically conditioned for peak efficiency.

Health conscious people understand the importance of regular exercise and need to make the proper choices when determining their ultimate goal. Exercises which are meant to burn fat and lower body weight require more intensity and longer training periods. Training to improve your health demands a shorter session, completed on most days of the week. Regardless of your goal, exercise is the key to sustainable weight loss and optimal health.