A Health, Fitness and Weight Loss Blog

Top five Skin Problems Distressing Seniors

Aug 14, 2014
Wise Old Eyes by Peter Griffin As you age, your skin will go through significant changes. Various skin problems that seniors face are a result of exposure to the sun over a lifespan. Deprived of appropriate defense from the sun, skin problems are to be expected.

Even with protection from sun exposure, the aging progression produces deviations in your skin. Even people who have the most youthful skin will still find a few problems that can be exasperating during the aging process.


woman wrinkled face The most common problem and one of the most obvious is wrinkles. Wrinkles are areas were the skin has lost elasticity and creases where it folds. The most common places to see wrinkles are around the forehead, eyes, mouth and neck area due to facial expressions.

Gravity also takes its toll on skin that has lost its elasticity. As gravity naturally pulls skin in a downward direction, the ability to bounce back into shape is lost. There are many products designed to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and some that can help reverse them.

Another common problem that inclines to plague seniors is bruising readily. While you age, the skin on your body actually gets thinner. You also lose some of the fat layer that cushions and protects your skin. That makes it much easier to get a bruise when you bump into something.

In addition, many seniors take blood thinners, which also increases the chances of bruising. If you are experiencing excessive bruising, it may point to a serious health problem and you should see a healthcare provider.

Dry skin can also be an annoyance to bother you as you age. Another natural result of aging and exposure to the sun. As you get older, you do not have as many oil glands to help keep your skin soft and assist in hydration.

Consequently, you may find that you are applying lotion much more often.


age-spots-lipofuscion-pigment-back-of-hand Age spots can be another aggravation, as you get older. These spots are not usually dangerous, but they make your skin look older. You will be more likely to have these in areas where your skin has a lot of sun exposure. There are several remedies to help whiten age spots.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer and makes up 75% of all cases Finally, a more serious skin problem that is common in seniors is skin cancer. This is also a direct result of sun exposure over your lifetime. Most skin cancer is a result of exposure that happened many years before.

Some skin cancers are benign and just need removal before they become a problem. However, some lesions can become a malignant and a serious life-threatening condition. It is important that you have your skin examined at least once a year to prevent serious problems.


Take care and be well.

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Grow Your Own Health Solutions

Aug 11, 2014

Aloe Vera by Anna LangovaMany years ago, it used to be that the majority of people relied on natural remedies then modern medicine took over. There is no doubt that modern medicine has done much good. However, it is not without its disadvantages. At times people end up overmedicated for health issues that have simple and effective treatments at home. A great way to treat some of common health problems that affect people is through the natural use of plants.

These plants do not give you the same dangerous side effects that many of the medications prescribed today will cause. In addition, it is easier and a lot more cost effective to turn to nature when you need healing.

Many different plants that you can grow can treat your ailments naturally. Some have topical applications and others brewed into teas. You should make sure that you understand how much of a plant you should use, because just as if medicines you get at the drugstore, there are dosing guidelines you need to follow when using plants to treat ailments. As well as, beware of allergic reactions and interactions with medications so always check with your doctor before self-treatment.



Headaches

A good natural treatment for headaches is the bark of a willow tree. Cultivate a willow tree using a cutting from a mature tree. One of the reasons that this is effective is because it contains salicin, which is comparable to what you will find contained in aspirin. It is also a good treatment for anything that causes you to feel pain since it works as an aspirin does.

One drawback is that people who experience a reaction to aspirin could also potentially have a reaction to willow bark. Not be used by nursing mothers or given to ill children due to the potential same side effects that aspirin causes.

Lavender is a flowering plant that looks beautiful in a garden. However, it is also a natural treatment for headaches - even if those headaches are migraines. The oil from the plant gives relief from the pain. Application directly to the skin or inhaled by boiling the plant and inhaling the oils as they release. Lavender is safe to use on the skin without having to dilute it.


Another plant that you can grow to treat headaches is peppermint. This plant makes a poultice by crushing the leaves and applying the mixture to the area of the body where you feel the pain. The oils are absorbed through the skin.

If you have ever had to deal with cluster headaches, you know how bad these can be to deal with. These headaches, which show up and then come back repeatedly over the course of several weeks, can be difficult to treat with modern medicine because as soon as you stop the treatment, you can end up with rebound headaches.

One of the best natural remedies that you can plant indoors or outdoors to help with these types of headaches is cayenne pepper. This plant contains capsaicin, which to relieve pain applied directly to the skin. However, you should be extremely careful to keep any of the plant from touching your face. If the plant contacts your eyes, it can cause unpleasant burning.

A side effect of this plant when applied topically is a burning sensation that does go away after a few minutes. If you are prone to skin allergies, this may not be the right remedy for you to use. Thyme, when made into a tea can relieve the pain associated with headaches. Bay leaves are helpful in treating headaches as well.



Insomnia



Doctors recommend that you get between six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is what is best for your body. When you have insomnia, it can really take a toll on your personal and professional life. In addition, prolonged bouts of insomnia can cause your health to suffer. It can lead to sleep deprivation behavior, which can be dangerous.

Fortunately, there are plants that can treat this ailment. Many of these plants have a sedative quality to them, which helps relax your mind and body. As a result, you end up with a good night’s sleep.

One of these helpful plants is the lemon balm plant. If you look closely at the leaves, you will see how they resemble the leaves if the mint plant. This is because lemon balm is in the same family of plants as the mint. Also used as a tea.


One flowering plant, labeled as a weed is evening primrose - also commonly called primrose, is effective in treating insomnia. The flowers of the plant are colorful and quite beautiful. It is best to grow this kind of plant with outdoor gardening rather than indoor gardening because it thrives outdoors.

Another plant known to aid in helping to treat insomnia is woodruff. This plant has small white flowers and is a perennial. It has a sweet scent and grows best in shade rather than direct sunlight.
Passionflower is another plant that you can grow that treats of insomnia. The plant has medicinal properties that produce calmness and a state of relaxation, which helps you get some sleep.

There are some plants that you can grow that work toward helping you to get a good night’s sleep. You can use these plants during your waking hours that will not induce sleepiness so you will still be able to go about your day.

What one of these plants does is it relieves stress and tension, which are the leading causes of insomnia other than reasons related to diseases. This plant is rosemary and it grows indoor or outside but it can grow to some substantial height. Therefore, what you might want to do if you are into indoor gardening is to start the plant inside and then transfer it outside once it gains height.


Fevers, Colds and Coughs



There can be many different reasons for your body to develop a fever. The same stands true for a cough. Unless a doctor finds that, the fever has a direct cause, the only thing you can really do for it is to treat the symptom, which is the fever itself.

For the common cold, there is no cure. All you can do when you catch a cold is to try your best alleviate the symptoms. Many of the over the counter remedies offered can sometimes make you feel worse because they make you feel fuzzyheaded or they will make you feel dizzy.

Instead of reaching for the mass-produced medication, you can grow what you need to treat a fever, a cough or the common cold. Moreover, because this is a natural method, you will not have any of those annoying side effects that come with taking medication. To treat a fever, the bark of the willow tree is good for this. Just as if it treats headaches, it can also reduce your fever.

Again, the reason for this is that the bark of the tree is like aspirin with the properties it contains. However, another natural remedy you can use that you can grow yourself is sunflowers. These plants make a great addition to a garden because of their beauty and multi-purpose usefulness.

Sunflower seeds contain helpful features like some of the B vitamins, folate and zinc. Moreover, they fight against cancer cells. They are hardy and easy to grow. It is the leaves of the plant that can be use to make a tea that lowers fevers.

Besides treating the fever, the sunflower is also helpful for reducing ailments such as a cough and a cold. Therefore, if you have a fever that has associated with a cold, then you are getting two-fold relief with one plant.

Chamomile is another plant that you can grow that is helpful in reducing fevers. These flowering plants look like daisies but they are not exactly the same. They are very hardy and easy to grow. They can be grown indoors but also flourish outside. The plant can be taken in a tea form and is good for not only reducing fever but in the treatment of a cold as well.

When you have a cold, even though it is not a serious ailment, it can make you feel miserable. Sunflowers treat this and so can ginseng. This plant is associated with Chinese medicine and has a long history of helping to treat ailments.
What this plant does when used is it triggers the immune system to battle the ailment. Because of the power of this plant, the people who use it end up not being down with a cold or cough for the same length of time as someone who did not use ginseng.

One of the annoying symptoms that always seems to come along with getting a cold is all that congestion that just makes you feel miserable. You do not have to put up with that if you grow your own medicinal plants. Peppermint is a decongestant that contains menthol, which is the ingredient you will see in many of the over the counter medications that are used to treat cold symptoms.

A surprising plant that is effective with a cold is parsley. This plant helps to minimize the symptoms and it stimulates your immune system at the same time. While these plants grow outdoors, they are attractive to outdoor animals like rabbits so you will want to protect against that. Besides treatment for colds, this plant is great for relieving the symptoms associated with UTIs.

There is nothing as annoying as a cough with a cold. Because what happens is often long after the cold is gone, the cough will stubbornly remain in place. That is because your upper respiratory system has been irritated. Fennel is a plant that belongs with the celery family and is effective for treating coughs. This plant needs a lot of sunlight. It can be grown indoors but is better suited for outside gardening. Not only will you find this plant useful for treating coughs, but it can be a tasty addition to meals as well.

Anise is a small growing plant that is perfect for growing indoors. To use this plant to treat a cough, you would use the seeds. After mashing the seeds, you would let them steep as if you were making a tea. Drinking the liquid calms a cough.

Thyme also successfully treats coughing. This sturdy plant grows easily. It is a perennial plant and to makes a tea that helps to get rid of your cough. The reason that this plant works well is that it calms muscle spasms. The thyme relaxes throat muscles so you do not feel like you have to cough.


Constipation and Diarrhea


When you are struggling with constipation, it can make you feel miserable. It can cause bloating, stomach cramps and make you feel sluggish. What happens when you take over the counter medication to treat this ailment is the side effects can often swing you all the way to the other end of the spectrum and you end up with diarrhea.

It might surprise you to know that a very effective plant that you can grow to treat constipation is Aloe Vera. Although this plant is widely known for its topical uses, the latex of the plant is extremely effective in curing constipation. One plant considered a weed but is effective to treat constipation is the dandelion. The root of the dandelion is a natural laxative that will not give you those harsh side effects as you get with over the counter medications.

To get the benefit from this plant, you would need to boil the root and it does not take much to be effective. You only need about a teaspoon for every cup of boiling water. Be sure you strain out the root parts before you before you pour it into a cup. Mild cases are often resolved with one to two cups of the tea.

To treat diarrhea naturally, you need to make a tea from blackberry leaves. These very hardy plants can be grown indoors or out. You can also use the leaves from a raspberry plant if you prefer that to growing blackberries.

Treating Skin Ailments


You want to take care of your skin because it is what keeps germs from entering your body. There are several types of skin ailments that can be effective treated with the use of plants. If you burn yourself cooking in the kitchen or through some other task, you will want to use an Aloe Vera plant.

To treat the burn, you break one of the leaves of the plant and use the gel contained within to cover the burn. Lavender is another plant that, like aloe vera, effectively treats non-serious burns. Besides burns, other skin ailments can instigate discomfort. For example, eczema is irritating.

However, both dandelions treats this skin condition and so can peppermint. You would use the dandelion as a tea to treat eczema. Use the oil from a peppermint plant as a topical application to the affected area. The oil reduces the itching as well as the inflammation caused by the condition. The goldenrod flower also treats eczema.

Along with skin irritants like burns and eczema, you might battle fungal conditions. Chamomile, when used as a bath helps fungal conditions. Cloves are also good for treating fungal conditions.

Oregano leaves treats fungal infections especially those ones that infect the toenails or fingernails. This plant grows indoor or outdoor and doubles as a food spice.


Take care and be well.


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Eat Clean When Eating Out

Aug 10, 2014
Plate And Cutlery by Petr KratochvilWhen you decide to ‘eat clean’, you may think you will
never get to eat in a restaurant again. Actually, there is a heightened awareness from many restaurants about the wishes of their customers to eat cleaner and better-balanced meals. You should be able to find some restaurants close to you where you can enjoy a dinner out and not have to worry about keeping to your clean food diet.

After you have found a few restaurants that cater to the clean eating philosophy, you can keep a list of those places so you have some choices. If you are asked out to dinner and do not know about the menu options at the restaurant, go online to see what they offer. Many places will list ingredients and preparation methods because of those who suffer from food allergies.

Do not be afraid to ask about how they prepare their meals. For example, you do not want to eat a food cooked using vegetable oils or butters. Steamed and baked items are your best options. Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, order a glass of water with lemon. It will also save money on those empty calorie drinks.


There are varieties of restaurant types that can be good choices for clean eating when eating out. They include:

Delis – Sandwiches made with dark bread (such as pumpernickel), mustard (not mayonnaise), salads and fruit are always good choices for clean eating.

Fine Dining – You are likely to find some great clean eating choices when you have an evening out. Some restaurants have Gluten-Free menus, which feature steamed and grilled items. Salads with vinaigrette dressings and vegetarian items are also available at more upscale dining establishments.

Sushi – Not for everyone, but sushi restaurants can also offer good choices. Be sure and eat the pickled ginger if you select the raw fish. It helps with digestion. Order brown rice rather than the white, sticky type and you will be happy with your choices.

Buffets – Many choices make buffets popular, especially for family outings. Stay away from the fried foods, gravies and sugary desserts and stick to fresh fruits, grilled meats and salads.

Festivals and Amusement Parks – Those irresistible smells can be hard to pass up. If you must order those onion rings or fried guacamole, split it with a friend. You may want to take some snacks with you so you are not starving the entire time.

Most of all -- treat clean eating as if it is a joy and not a chore. Enjoy life and spend most of your time eating clean. You are likely to get a new perspective on life when you focus on clean eating and that should bring you happiness and health.


Take care and be well.

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How to Beat Depression With Exercise

Aug 8, 2014
DEPRESSIONDid you know that the hormones, known as endorphins, released when you exercise could actually help relieve depression? If you are depressed, you might just find that exercise can help ease your symptoms without the need to turn to medication.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can beat depression with exercise, but remember to consult your doctor first!


How Do Endorphins from Exercise Help When You are Depressed?

Endorphins are special hormones secreted in your brain, and your nervous system, and they have a great deal to do with your mood. These peptides actually activate the same receptors kicked off by powerful, illegal and addictive drugs, without the dangerous and negative side effects. Put quite simply, working out and exercising can boost your mood, and make you feel happy and self-assured. 

So, how do endorphins released when you exercise help improve your mood when you are depressed? It was in the 1970s when scientists began to study how the human brain interacts with opiates. Drugs like morphine and heroin cause a very pleasurable experience, but have obvious downsides. Researchers wanted to know how to duplicate the euphoric feelings, which opiates deliver, without the accompanying damage and danger.


They found that specialized receptors in your cells, located primarily in your spinal cord and brain, block pain signals during endorphins release. Moreover, endorphins release when you exercise, workout, or eat hot peppers and some chocolates. Even when you have sex. Consider endorphins as your own private narcotic, which is natural and healthy.

Unfortunately, even though this natural depression defense system can improve your mood, make you feel happy and fulfilled, when you are depressed, working out or exercising is often the last thing on your mind. 

Just remember how good you felt the last time you exercised. Those "feel good" brain chemicals, which are endorphins, ease depression, and actually reduce the bad immune system chemicals in your body, which can worsen depression. As you exercise your body temperature rises, which gives you a calming effect.
Moreover, emotionally, you gain confidence, as you feel better and see your exercise goals and challenges achieved and overcome.

Endorphins release naturally because of your inherent fight or flight response. Your brain thinks that your intense physical state may mean that you have to defend yourself. Because of this, your pain receptors are blocked, and your mood improved. All these powerful, positive mood boosters need is a little exercise to get them started. 

Are you feeling down? Rather than doing nothing and miring in your blue mood, go for a jog, practice Pilates or yoga, lift some weights, or just turn up the music and dance. The endorphins released by your physical exertion and exercise will have you feeling happy and positive in no time.


Does Outdoor Exercise Help More With Depression?

It appears that, in many cases, outdoor exercise better aids in beating depression and negative moods than working out indoors. A revealing study conducted by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry concluded that outdoor exercise in a natural environment contributes to your mental and physical well-being in ways that were not found in test subjects which conducted the same exercises indoors.

Out of the 833 adult volunteers used in this study, mental well-being lifts substantially higher in those who exercised outdoors as opposed to their indoor counterparts. 

The natural endorphins, which exercise releases, will benefit your mood no matter where you exercise. In addition, the emotional and mental benefits you receive from working towards your fitness goals are the same whether you exercise at home, in the gymnasium or in a public park.

However, whenever you exercise out in nature, you harness the amazing power of the sun that works as a natural mood enhancer. Sunlight actually boosts the production of vitamin D in your body. This helps combat seasonal mood changes and depression usually triggered in winter. (More than 500,000 Americans suffer from the depressing effects of seasonal affective disorder or SAD.)


In addition, exposure to the sun while you are exercising gives you a double emotional boost. Your endorphins naturally begin to work to crush your depression as you exert yourself. Moreover, the effect of sunlight on your skin naturally improves your mood, even after just 10 to 15 minutes of exposure.


According to Dr. Brad M. Reedy, PhD and director of clinical services at Second Nature Wilderness Programs in Duchesne, Utah, says that fresh air, soaking up the sunshine and feeling your toes in the grass, all combine to relieve depression symptoms. 

He says that nature has a soothing, calming effect on depression symptoms because of the sights, sounds and smell it provides. Doctor Reedy also pointed out that getting outdoors as opposed to exercising inside also limits your exposure to poor ventilation, unnatural lighting and other possibly negative fabricated environments.


In addition, when you step into the great outdoors, you eliminate many of the excuses for exercising. There is plenty of room, the warm sunshine feels great on your skin, and you immediately feel like getting active. 


Because of the natural ability of sunshine to promote the production of vitamin D in your body, that natural depression fighter helps boost your mood. Moreover, the mood enhancers released by exercise, endorphins, help fight the blues as well. 


Do you need a quick pick up? Go for a brisk walk or a jog outside in the sunshine, enjoy the feel, smell, sights and sounds of nature, and you will find your blue mood disappearing much more quickly than if you exercise indoors.

Which Exercises Can Help With Depression?

Since mood-enhancing endorphins release whenever you physically exert yourself, are there some exercises that help cure depression better than others do? 

The natural effect which exercise has on improving your mood does not really care which exercises you perform. You simply have to be involved in a physical state of stress or exertion, which is greater than normal. 

Endorphins release to your brain to block pain and enhance a positive mood. Therefore, any exercise, even a brisk walk or jog, can begin to immediately improve your attitude and make you feel happier.

That having been said, you can focus on exercises which require no special equipment if you want to battle your depression more effectively. Think about it for a second. Any exercises you can perform in just a couple of minutes - yoga, Pilates, stretching, jogging, dancing - remove any excuses you may have for exercising in the first place.


In addition, since they do not require any specialized fitness equipment, heavy weights or particular environment, whenever you feel a fit of depression coming on you can battle it instantly.

Did you know that the sun could actually help immediately relieve symptoms of depression? Even just 10 or 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight begins to produce vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D is a wonderful and natural mood booster. Therefore, any exercises you can perform outdoors for even just a few minutes will be more effective at battling depression than indoor activities.

The next time you have a break at work, go outside and perform a few quick jumping jacks. You can also perform some deep knee bends, stretch your arms and legs, run in place or enjoy a quick yoga or Pilate’s session. Studies have shown that endorphins discharge almost instantly, during physical stress. The benefits from sunshine as a natural vitamin D producer go to work immediately.

So why not step outside and exercise two or 3 times during your day, whether you are depressed or not? One great way to battle, depression is by keeping it at bay. Do not wait until you feel blue and down in the dumps to take advantage of the natural mood-enhancing abilities that exercising in sunlight can give you. 

Make sure to use appropriate sunscreen if you exposed for more than 15 to 30 minutes, and keep some water handy so you will stay hydrated.

Stuck at your desk and cannot get outside? You can still battle depression that often accompanies repetitive and dull office work simply by standing at your desk instead of sitting. Touch your toes without bending your knees. Keep some light barbells at your desk and exercise during the course of the day. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the rear of the parking lot, and walk to a coworker's desk or office instead of using e-mail. 

These are all great ways for the indoor employee to benefit from the depression crushing endorphins, which circulate when you exercise. If you can get outside in the sunlight for even just a few minutes that would be even better.

How to Get Started With Exercise

Whether you are 18 or 80, you need to exercise. Obviously, a senior citizen is going to exercise differently than someone in his or her teens. Moreover, if you have not worked out or exercised in a while, you may be wondering how you should get started. The best way of benefiting from exercise is always to start slow, especially if your physical fitness level is the byproduct of a lethargic and inactive lifestyle. 

Follow the five powerful steps below to get started with your exercise program, and you will benefit from the total body physical, mental and emotional rewards that physical fitness delivers.

No one knows your body better than you do, but sometimes your desires and goals do not mesh with reality. That is why you should always talk to your doctor about developing a smart but challenging exercise plan, especially if you lead a predominantly sedentary life. If you have not been to see your doctor in a while, schedule a complete checkup. When the results are in, let your doctor know you are serious about getting fit and becoming healthier, and then take that professional advice to heart.

Be honest with yourself, fair but firm

There is a reason that New Year's resolutions boost gym memberships around the world. That is because so many people resolve to lose weight, burn fat, build a beach body and create six pack abs to kick off every New Year. Nevertheless, did you know that if more than 5% to 10% of gym members showed up at any one time, there would be too many people to use the equipment? 

That is because human beings may have great intentions to exercise and get in shape, but they do not follow-up because they did not honestly create an achievable plan. Be honest with yourself when you get started with any exercise program, no matter your level of fitness. If you set your goals too high or too low, you will not be happy with the results, and you probably will not stick to your exercise program.

Exercise on a set schedule, at the same time

Several studies have shown that repetition builds habit in most human beings, usually in anywhere from 17 to 28 days. While everyone is different, established research shows that the human body begins to do things subconsciously after certain actions and behaviors repeat for a consistent amount of time. 

You do not consciously think about clicking on a light switch when you enter a room, you just do it. When you need to walk from one location to another, you do not tell yourself to put 1 foot in front of the other, it just happens. When you begin your exercise program, schedule your periods of exercise on the same days, and at the same times. Make sure the schedule does not conflict with your personal or work life, adhere to it strictly for at least 4 to 6 weeks, and you will develop subconscious habits that help you stick to your plan.

Record your efforts, and your results

When you get started with exercise, write everything down. On a physical journal or your computer, record your exercises and your results. The best way to stick to an exercise program over time is to turn it into a healthy habit. The easiest way to habitual exercise, especially when you are first getting started and it may be difficult, is by seeing the results of your efforts. Record your efforts when you first start exercising, and you will find this simple but healthy habit influencing your results positively.

Keep a mood journal

We discussed keeping an exercise performance journal. It is also very important to keep a mood journal, especially when you initially get started. Exercise releases powerful endorphins in your brain. These amazing mood boosters consistently prove to fight depression and give you a sense of well-being and satisfaction. 


Keeping a mood journal that records your emotional state before and after exercising will give you plenty of positive motivation the next time you plan for exercise and are looking for an excuse to back out.

How Often Do You Need to Exercise and How Long Will It Take to Help Depression?

You may have heard that exercising can help fight depression. However, how long do you have to exercise before you start feeling better? In addition, can you exercise once a month, do you have to exercise once a week, or should you be working out every day? What type of the schedule do you need to develop for exercise to help boost your mood and fight depression? The answer is, not as long or as frequently as you may think.

Whenever your body experiences physical stress or you intensely exert yourself, endorphins release. These endorphins impair your pain receptors, and boost your feelings of strength, happiness and well-being. This is how exercise can help you battle depression. However, how long before endorphins release when you exercise? 

Incredibly, men and women can "de-stress" their minds by stressing their bodies in just 20 minutes through exercise or physical exertion. Your ability to focus boosts, depression declines, and these positive mood-enhancing effects can last for up to 12 hours. 

That is the belief of John Ratey, M.D., and other important physical fitness experts and researchers. The "happiness effect" that physical exertion has on your brain proven by research, links higher than average levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and endorphins with exercise. Doctor Ratey says that BDNF helps promote neural growth and actually repairs damage caused by stress and depression.

These incredible, natural mood boosters join endorphins to deliver a positive attitude and good mood almost immediately. Just 20 minutes of exercise on average may deliver as many as 12 hours of depression-destroying positivity.

Exercise in this case does not necessarily mean lifting a ton of weights or running as fast as you can. Simply jogging, enjoying a session of Pilates or yoga, climbing stairs or going for a brisk walk can trigger a positive mood that can last for hours.

So, how often should you exercise? Since 20 minutes of physically stressing and pushing your body can deliver up to 12 hours of a positive mood boost, why not practice this simple health and mind enhancer twice a day?

Exercising for 20 or 30 minutes to start your day will have you tackling the world with a positive mindset. At the end of a long workday, another exercise session will keep depression at bay until you rise the next morning and cheat depression once again.

Take care and be well.


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Boost Your Metabolism and Burn Your Belly Fat

Aug 7, 2014
reduce-belly-fat-with-these-few-simple-tips1 There have been many articles written recently about the importance of your metabolism. You may have noticed that there are new books appearing on this topic as well. These include how to increase your metabolism to ramp up your weight loss efforts. One particular area of interest is how increasing your metabolism can help your burn that stubborn belly fat!

Why is Your Metabolism Important?


Your behind your body. It provides you with enough energy to keep your body moving and functioning each day. If you look up metabolism in a dictionary, it is described as a life sustaining function.


When your metabolism does not work effectively any more, it can cause a host of problems. This includes diabetes, weight gain and thyroid issues. It has also been shown that a slow metabolism can in fact be heredity. 



The Building Blocks of Your Metabolism


Your metabolism is made up of a network of enzymes and hormones. Together they help convert food into fuel for your body. Liken it to trying to drive a car without any gas; it just will not go anywhere.

Your metabolism works as a living process, which includes generating fuel for your body, then storing it and finally putting it into use when needed.

Problems can arise when a person metabolizes food very quickly. This type of person would always be thin and extremely lean, as their body just cannot store any fat. On the other hand, if your metabolism is slow you may often feel weak. This is because your body is not able to pull on resources from the foods you have just eaten.


The Problems Associated with Metabolism


The biggest problem with your metabolism is that there is not one set rate when it comes to burning calories. There are influences that can affect how fast or slow your metabolic system works.

One deciding factor is your age. It has been shown that older people have a slower metabolism. After you reach the age of 40 your metabolism generally slows down by about 5% each 10 years. Moreover, men do tend to burn calories more quickly than women do, when resting do.

Another factor is your amount of lean body mass. A larger muscle mass means that you will burn calories more effectively as your metabolic rate will be higher.

In addition, you may actually have some type of genetic condition, which means your metabolic system just does not function correctly. This is what happens when you develop diabetes. It is also possible to be lacking in a particular enzyme.

What is important is for you to understand how your metabolism works. Once you have identified this you can then approach losing weight from a different angle. This will finally allow you to see those results you have been striving for. 



Increasing Your Metabolism for Losing Belly Fat


Even if heredity is to blame for your slow metabolism, there is good news ahead for you. It is still possible to lose weight.

What you want to remember is that muscles burn more calories than fat. This is even true while your body is resting. This means that if you work on increasing your muscle mass, your metabolism will work for you for longer periods. This is often referred to as your resting metabolic rate.

What this really boils down to is that often dreaded word of Exercise. Each pound of muscle burns approximately 35 calories per day. Compare this to just 2 calories for day for each pound of fat!

The best combination of exercise will be aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at a time - to help speed up weight loss. Then add in 30 minutes of weight training - this is going to increase your metabolic resting rate over the long term.

Your Diet


One issue that you may have when trying to lose weight is in knowing how many calories to consume. While you may think that eating as few calories as possible is the way to go, this is not always true.

Research has shown that eating more calories can actually lead to weight loss. While we are not advocating eating huge meals, we are suggesting that you eat small meals more often. Some people find that eating 5 small meals over the course of a day works extremely well.


This works because you are during the day. When you do not eat, there is no fuel for your metabolism to burn, so it goes into rest mode. Not good when you are trying to lose weight at all!

Eating more frequently will help keep your energy levels high too. Including two healthy snacks per day will help prevent those afternoon slump attacks.

Try dividing your meals into smaller portions with approximately the same calories for each meal. This will help increase your metabolic rate and turn you into a fat burning machine.


What Foods to Eat?


While you may have the best intentions in the world, it can often be difficult to know what foods to eat to lose weight and boost your metabolism. Let us address this next.

Most foods are going to help . This increase generally takes place for the first hour after you consume any type of food.

What is important to understand is that certain foods use more energy in order to be digested. For example, it is recognized that protein foods use about 25% more energy than a food heavy in carbs, even if they contain the same amount of calories.

Hot peppers and spicy foods seem to help boost your metabolism by about 20% during the first 30 minutes. Green tea has also been shown to do the same. Green tea contains EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant that is similar to those found in hot peppers.

There has been research done on some of these foods, which has shown positive results. One study was done by the journal of Medicine and Science where they stated that males who added red pepper to a high carb meal boosted their metabolic rates significantly.

The best foods to eat are going to be those that are low calorie and lean. Increase your protein intake by having a small amount of protein at each meal. Break up your meals into five smaller ones each day.

Along with eating more protein, you want to include more fiber in your diet. It is recommended that you eat at least 10grams of fiber per day. This is not a huge amount either, about a half a cup of beans or peas or 2 small apples per day. Eating a high fiber bread or cereal is another good option.


Let's talk Exercise


This is often the dreaded area for anyone trying to lose weight. If you have not exercised in years, just the thought of it can put you into a sweat.

For many men and women the one area of concern is the belly area. It can be difficult to lose that belly fat for anyone at any age. You need to keep in mind that this is the easiest place for your belly to store fat. Your metabolism has to find somewhere to use all the fat that you are not burning each day. Therefore, it just keeps adding layer after layer.

We all need fat in order to protect our organs. Too much fat is not healthy nor does it look attractive. Too much fat can cause problems such as high blood pressure, colon cancer, breast cancer and heart disease.

Therefore, your goal should be to reduce your fat intake and increase your abdominal muscles. This will help reduce the look of your belly and be better for your overall health.

To really burn, your fat you need to exercise for 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. You will want to work up a sweat and your breathing rate should increase, without you becoming breathless.

Some good exercise choices are walking, swimming, using a treadmill or exercise bike, raking leaves, gardening, Zumba dancing and even just getting outside and playing ball with your kids.

To target your belly area use back strengthening exercises along with sit-ups. An exercise ball is great for this, as is swimming. A stronger back will help tone up those abdominal muscles so they look great.

Don't Forget About Sleep & Stress


Not getting enough sleep can be one of the biggest reasons you are not losing weight. When your body does not get enough rest each night, it just cannot perform at its peak during the day. Your goal should be to get 7 hours of sleep per night on a regular basis.

If you are not sleeping well maybe, it is time for a new mattress or pillow. If you cannot sleep due to pain or breathing problems, visit your doctor for advice.

Once you start exercising and eating healthier, you should notice that your sleep patterns improve.

It is virtually impossible to not have stress in your life today.

Even young children have to deal with stress at school and in social situations.


In order to lose weight you need to learn how to deal with stress. Yoga is a fantastic way to do this, and you are getting in your exercise as well. Other ways to reduce stress is to make time to relax with your family and friends. Taking a hot bath or treating yourself to a massage are other ideas. Going for a relaxing walk after dinner with your spouse works wonders too.


Building Your Muscle Mass


As you have learned so far, you need to boost your metabolism to help you lose weight. Your muscles are more effective calorie burners when it comes to burning off excess fat. So your next question probably is how do I build muscle mass?

The best way to do this is by adding weight training to your exercise regimen. You do not have to start with heavy weights, if you did, you would probably end up pulling a muscle and putting yourself out of action.

The best weights for beginners would be any type of hand weight. You want to start with doing bicep curls. These can be done at any gym using one of their weight machines. Just remember to use a low weight and increase as your fitness level improves.

Other exercises that will help build your muscle mass include push-ups and sit-ups. If you cannot perform a push-up, modify it by starting out on your knees. If this is still too hard, use a solid wall or a step on your basement stairs. 


Sit-ups may be easier if done on an exercise ball, just watch your posture and do not lean too far backwards so you do not injure your back muscles.

Yoga and Pilates are both fantastic exercises for building muscle mass. Pilates is excellent and strengthening your entire core and back.

In addition to specific exercises for building muscle mass, do not forget to add in cardiovascular exercise. This will really help speed up your metabolism and get you dropping pounds quickly.

Activities that fall into this group include cycling, walking, hiking, swimming lengths, kickboxing, Zumba dancing and aerobics class. Your goal here is to increase your heart rate to a point where you can still talk without being out of breathe.



Recap


If your goal is to burn off your belly fat, or fat from any other area of your body, you need to increase your metabolic rate. This can be done by eating 5 smaller meals a day. Space them evenly apart and include extra protein and fiber in your diet.

Start an exercise program that includes some type of cardiovascular exercise along with a weight-training program. Aim to do this 5 times a week for about 30 minutes at a time.

Start slowly and increase the intensity or time as you improve. Five-pound weights are more than enough, if you do not have any, try using a soup can at first. Always listen to your body and observe pain during exercise. While you may feel the exercises, nothing should cause you major pain, if it does be sure to get yourself checked out.

If you incorporate all of these things into your daily routine, you should expect to see results quickly. The cardio activity will help you initially lose those first few pounds. The effects from weight training may take a little longer, but they will provide you with longer-term results. Remember what we said about your resting metabolic rate.

You now have the information you need to help you get started on the road to a new you. You know how to rev up your metabolism and get results.


Take care and be well.
 


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