Friday, April 28, 2017

Backpacking!

I'm backpacking for the first time this weekend! There’s something inherently satisfying and refreshing in traversing a span nature for a period of time with nothing but what you can carry on your back. From the invigorating sights to the quiet moments of self-reflection, backpacking the outdoors provides a number of health benefits ranging from physical to mental to spiritual.

Cardiovascular strength – Because backpacking requires covering large distances, usually by walking  up and down hills and mountains, the heart has to pump harder to keep up with the oxygen demand. Though trekking is not necessarily a highly intense sport, the heart rate does maintain a steady, increased rate, increasing blood flow to the muscles and the brain.

Toned Muscles
Straight-up walking can get your butt in better shape, but taking on sharp inclines, using trekking poles to propel you forward and clambering over rocks gives your body an all-over workout.
Physiologically, you're going to work your whole body, and especially the lower body — namely the quads, glutes and hamstrings. If you're carrying a pack, then you're going to challenge the strength and endurance of your upper body as well.

Builds strong bones – Trekking requires optimum effort from the human body, as it requires stretching, jumping, climbing and dodging at several intervals.  Such small burst of exercises at regular intervals during a trek help make bones stronger. Backpackers also have the added beneficial burden of carrying supplies which means added weight on the shoulders and spine. If carried properly, this weight training can help add on bone density thereby achieving overall fitness. Hiking regularly will decrease your chances of developing osteoporosis and arthritis. If you have arthritis, studies have shown that 150 minutes of hiking per week will maintain flexibility in your joints and decrease joint stiffness. 

Camaraderie with your cardio.
A study published in Biology Letters found that group exercise heightened pain threshold, indicating a surge of an athlete's best friend: endorphins. Social group dynamics and working with like-minded hikers is something that makes people feel better. Hiking can help build long-term friendships that keep you accountable to your fitness. A regular weekend meet-up or a planned long-distance trek can help you forge bonds while you shape up.

Mental benefits – Stress can disrupt your everyday life, causing health problems and depression. Taking in the fresh air and nature around you while hiking is a great way to help improve your mental health, and it is believed to also improve memory and functionality of the brain. Breathing in the fresh air, as well as seeing plants and animals can also give you a better appreciation of the world and a sense of calmness and joy.

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food



Friday, April 21, 2017

Gym Myths #4

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

This is the last week I will share information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.


Pain is weakness leaving the body - FALSE - some soreness is normal when you exercise, but true pain is a warning sign that something is wrong.
A session of hard exercise can be uncomfortable and a touch of DOMS - delayed on-set muscle soreness - is normal. But stabbing pain in your back? Pain that effects the way you walk? Real pain is an indicator directing your attention to something important. Identify the pain and use it to enhance your path forward. See a physician or physical therapist for immediate relief.  Ask a trainer or coach for help with form and technique to prevent pain in the future.


You can stay fit - or even get fitter - as you age. - TRUE - you can take charge of your body's aging process. 
Some of the effects of aging are tough to avoid. The cardiovascular system loses efficiency; muscles and bones get weaker; memory, sex drive and recovery time all decline. But how quickly these vital capacities drop off is largely up to you. A 2008 study revealed that older athletes are able to keep pace with all but the most elite of their younger competition. Another study found that strength training improves muscle mass, strength, power, balance, and energy levels even among adults as old as 90. An additional study found that exercise, especially in middle age, can influence telomere length, a measure of a cell's capacity to function and an important marker for longevity.

Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats can help prevent brain disease, heart disease and other chronic conditions that threaten quality of life in older people. As you age, your health and vitality are dictated as much or more by lifestyle choices as they are by genetics.



Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Friday, April 14, 2017

Should I Eat My Easter Eggs This Weekend?


Eggs have cholesterol in them so they are bad for you, right?
 
Eggs are high in HDL cholesterol
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol. People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and various health problems. Eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL. In one study, 2 eggs per day for 6 weeks increased HDL levels by 10%.

Eggs turn LDL cholesterol from small & dense particles to large particles
LDL cholesterol is generally known as the “bad” cholesterol. It is well known that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. But what many people don’t realize is that there are subtypes of LDL that have to do with the size of the particles. There are small, dense LDL particles and then there are large LDL particles. Many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large LDL particles. Even if eggs tend to mildly raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the particles change from small, dense to large LDL… which is a good thing.

Enjoy your Easter eggs this weekend.  
Stay Active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gym Myths Exposed #3

New gym myths seem to pop up overnight. Do all your exercises standing on one foot! Eat all the carbs you want before a 5k! Strength training makes you bulky! Your workout partner says one thing. The internet says another. A celebrity trainer says they are both wrong.

For the next couple of weeks I am sharing information from top experts in nutrition, exercise, weight loss and athletic performance to rank each concept and set the record straight. You will not only know if the idea is true - you'll also know why.

Squatting and deadlifting are bad for your back - FALSE - smart exercise techniques mitigate the risk of these strength-training essentials. 
Heavy barbell moves are gaining popularity. You might know someone who's tweaked his/her back while squatting or deadlifting. Some people become so cautious about injury that they swear off these exercises all together. The problem is not the exercise, it is the way people perform the exercise. One cause of bad form is to try to lift a heavy weight without working up to it gradually over time. When learning correct form, engage your core and keep breathing. Ask a personal trainer or your class instructor for specific form tips.

Walking improves bone density - TRUE - but you'll build it faster if you hop, skip and jump.
Bones shrink without stimulation, Weight-bearing activity can help stave off bone loss. Walking is good, but it is not the most time-efficient choice. The way to build bone in the hips and pelvis is explosive, simultaneous straightening of the ankles, knees, and hips. Think running, jumping, skipping and hopping.  Not ready for all that bounding? Try weight-bearing movements that involve standing and walking such as farmer's walk, squats and deadlifts.

Lifting weights makes you bulky - FALSE - lifting weights makes you healthy and strong.
"Bulk" is not something that happens by accident. Regardless of your gender,  muscle mass requires years of hard work and devotion to a specialized diet. Women don't gain as easily as men because of their lower testosterone levels. Most men can expect to gain 4 - 7 pounds of lean body mass over a 12 week program.

Check in next week for three more gym myths exposed!
 

Stay Active, Keep Moving and 
Enjoy Your Food