Energy Gap : A Useful Tool For Successful Weight Loss

The term energy gap is used to estimate the change in energy balance (intake and expenditure) behaviors required to achieve and sustain reduced body weight outcomes in individuals and population at large. Many people have achieved significant weight loss with intervention, but very little of this weight loss seems be maintained by most people over the long term. The energy gap can help estimate the degree of behavior change that must be maintained to maintain a given amount of weight loss for any individual.

6 Sex Mistakes Women Make

The 6 biggest sex mistakes women make and reasons why women make them.

Ladies, be honest: when your sex life becomes a little humdrum, out comes the mental catalogue of all the ways your partner isn’t quite measuring up. Guys tend to get a bad rap when it comes to understanding women’s bodies and what turns us on, making them easy targets in the blame game when sexual satisfaction starts to wane. And sure, they make their fair share of bedroom errors. But as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. As it turns out, top sex and relationship experts say that women make plenty of sex mistakes of their own. Here’s what they have to say about the six most common mistakes women make in the bedroom and what you can do to get the satisfaction you so rightly deserve.

Skin care: 5 tips for healthy skin

Good skin care — including sun protection and gentle cleansing — can keep your skin healthy and glowing for years to come.

Don't have time for intensive skin care? Pamper yourself with the basics. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Get started with these five no-nonsense tips.

5 Diet Tips To Improve Your Mood

Depression affects millions of Americans each year, with 2 to 3 times as many women as men diagnosed between the ages of 25 to 44. Although depression is common, treatment options vary, and many people may need medication and/or therapy.

It is believed that either psychological or physiological factors can cause depression. The physiological factors of depression may be linked to the "monoamine hypothesis," which stems from the belief that imbalances of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, epinephrine, and nor-epinephrine, may be to blame.

New Year's Weight Loss: 6 Tips

It is a time-honored tradition to make resolutions at this time of year. If your resolution is to lose weight - and keep it off, then keep reading! Here are six simple tips that will have you losing weight in a balanced and healthy way.

Tips For Better Sleep

Like millions of other Americans, I often have trouble with insomnia — either I can't fall asleep, or I awake prematurely and am unable to get back to sleep. The following sleep tips, compiled from various sources, may prove helpful to some of my fellow insomniacs.

Cold Weather Walking

Winter can be the perfect time to walk off weight—even if you're not a snow bunny. Sticking with your usual exercise routine is one of the best ways to boost your chances of starting the new year a size smaller.

If you've gotten used to walking outdoors all summer, switching to a different activity for winter can make your weight loss even more of a struggle, says John Jakicic, PhD, assistant professor in the weight control and diabetes research center at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, RI.

Finding a new activity may mean organizing your day differently or doing something that you're not as comfortable with—all during an already chaotic and stressful time.

Turkey, Stuffing and a Side of Weight Loss (Really!)

Turkey Day is on its way! Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays—no pressure to find the perfect gifts, just a day of relaxing with family, being grateful for each other and all my blessings, and, of course, eating ridiculously scrumptious food. I love stuffing, turkey, veggies and pumpkin pie. I'm thankful for all of it, but I try to avoid what I would call "over" appreciation.

Want to make your own holidays healthier? Try these easy tips from some of our favorite food bloggers Holiday Eating Handbook.

Stress, depression and the holidays: 10 tips for coping

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

The holiday season, which begins for most Americans with Thanksgiving and continues through New Year's Day, often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it's no wonder. In an effort to pull off a perfect holiday, you might find yourself facing a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name a few. So much for peace and joy, right?

Actually, with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress and depression that often accompany the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Top 10 Reasons You're not Losing Weight

This article is keeping in mind constant questions raised by women as to why they are not able to lose weight.

More and more women fail to understand that they have to work hard if they want to change the shape of their body. That means a balance of medium-high intensity cardio exercise along with challenging strength training workouts.

Psyllium Husk: Health Benefits

Psyllium fiber comes from the small reddish brown to black seeds of the Plantago Psyllium plant. Plantago grows as a weed in many places around the world and is commercially cultivated in Spain, France, India, Pakistan and other countries. Psyllium seeds are commonly dried and ground and sold in the form of powders, capsules or chewable tablets. Every 100 grams of psyllium provides 71 grams of soluble fiber; a similar amount of oat bran would contain only 5 grams of soluble fiber.

It needs to be noted that a poor waste elimination promotes poisonous toxic buildup, the immune system becomes weakened and the body is vulnerable to diseases. A healthy colon that is clean provides a strong defense against the many pathogens that invade the body.

A Walk a Day

The popularity of walking as a fitness activity is growing by leaps and bounds. Low risk and easy to start, walking has proved its health benefits in numerous studies. A classic eight-year study of 13,000 people conducted at the Institute for Aerobics Research under the direction of Dr. Steven Blair found that those who walked the equivalent of 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised.

10 Things to Do Before You Get Swine Flu

The H1N1 flu, commonly called swine flu, is expected to make many people sick this flu season. And if you're one of them, you're in for some serious at-home time, recovering and sparing other people from your germs. To make that time a little easier on yourself, consider taking these 10 steps now, before you come down with swine flu.
1. Make a backup plan. Let's say you get sick, or you need to take care of someone with swine flu. What's your plan for missing work, college, or school? Do you know your company's flu leave policy? If you're in school, how will you keep up with class work? Ask now, so you're not surprised later.

4 Healthy Habits That Cut Disease Risk

Study Shows People Who Follow 4 Habits Sharply Reduce Risk of Serious Disease: Don't smoke. Get off the sofa and take a walk. Stay away from the junk food. Watch your waistline.

You may have heard the advice before. But did you know that if you follow all four of these healthy habits together, you could decrease your chances of developing some of the most common and deadly chronic diseases by nearly 80%?

Researchers reporting in this month's Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the health, lifestyles, and diet of 23,513 German adults 35 to 65 years old, starting in the mid-1990s. The study showed that those who had more healthy habits were much less likely to get diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Healthy Hydration

Water is one of the most essential components of the human body. Water regulates the body’s temperature, cushions and protects vital organs and aids the digestive system. Water not only composes 75% of all muscle tissue and about 10% of fatty tissue, but it also acts within each cell to transport nutrients and dispel waste. And, because water composes more than half of the human body, it is impossible to sustain life for more than a week without it.

Healthy Eating For Good Health

VARIETY – BUT NOT TOO MUCH
As there are no food that contain an optimum combination of the required nutrients such as fat, protein, minerals, vitamins, water and fiber, the diet much include the required quantities of the various nutrient groups in order to guarantee optimal provision. Naturally each group contains some foodstuffs, which have a higher rating from the point of view of physiological nourishment, and others, which have a lower rating. So, in the group showing cereals and cereal products, we have a slice of whole meal wheat bread, which is rated higher than a slice of toasted bread made from milled white flour.

Easy Shortcut to Staying Slim and Healthy

Want to curb hunger, strengthen muscles, boost your brainpower and improve mood? All you need to do is spice up your meals. Research shows that shaking things up by adding seasoning to your foods can have tons of health benefits. Plus, you get instant big-time flavor for a few calories and nearly zero fat. Toss spices on your eats and you will.

Health Tip: Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

(HealthDay News) -- Since childhood, lots of people have heard the parental plea to eat their fruits and vegetables.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this insight on why eating fruits and veggies is so important:

  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic diseases, including cancer, research indicates.
  • Most fruits and vegetables offer great nutritional benefit while contributing little to your daily fat and calorie intake.
  • At the same time, they help you stay full, helping you to maintain a healthy body weight and prevent excessive weight gain.
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich in the minerals, vitamins and fiber your body needs.

Top 5 Habits to Increase Longevity

Is it really possible for anyone to live happily to 100? The good news is that your body was designed to be 100 - you just have to get out of the way.

Getting out of the way means taking an honest look at the habits and lifestyle you are living with today. Most of us have developed habits that limit our true health potential.

But don't let these bad habits of the past discourage you - it is never too late to make new choices. What you did in the past can be changed, and your body will respond in kind. What matters is what you do from this moment forward.

Top 10 secrets to a Healthier Heart

They all help cut your risk of heart disease, the top cause of death among people.

At least 40 to 50 people die of heart related ailments every hour in the country. And at least 15 to 20 million men and women suffer from some of heart disease or the other. The good news: It's also true that preventing heart problems is getting easier. Here, we gathered the latest tricks – all backed by solid research – to take care of your heart.

About the Acai Berry

The acai berry (ah-sigh-ee) grows in the Amazon Rainforest on acai palm trees and looks like a purple marble or purple grape. The Acaí berry (fruit) is 90% seed pit and 10% acaí pulp and must be carefully handled before it can be consumed. During the process the acaí berries with water are put into a machine and are agitated against one another. This process separates the acaí pulp from the seed to produce a thick acaí fruit pulp puree.

Acaí berry has a unique tropical fruit flavor and provides a high level nutritional benefits. The acaí berry contains high levels of antioxidants also known as anthocyanins. It also contains Omega Fatty Acids (healthy fats), Amino Acids, Fiber, Iron, along with many other vitamins and minerals (Nutritional Value of the Acai Berry and Acai Berry Juice). An amazonian traditional recipe mixes acaí fruit pulp and natural guarana seed, which gives energy and heighten mental clarity that has caffeine like effects when combined with guarana.

Tips for Buying a Home Treadmill

What's the most popular cardiovascular workout? According to research conducted by American Sports Data, Inc., it's treadmill exercise, with more than 37 million participants in 1999. That's up a whopping 743 percent from 1987.

No wonder so many people have taken to exercising on treadmills - it's an excellent way to lose weight and get in great cardiovascular shape. If you're in the market for a home treadmill, you've got a wide variety of products available from which to choose. It's very important, however, to find a treadmill that will meet your needs and help you achieve your goals, so be sure ask the following before going shopping:

Fitness tips for people already on the move

Being on your feet all day has its pros and cons.

Muscles get a workout, joints and tendons stay limber through use, and, of course, there's the calorie burn. But it also can lead to sore legs, wear and tear on the back's discs, and poor posture from hunching forward when fatigued.

Even those folks achieving their 10,000 steps a day -- doctors, nurses, waitresses, construction workers, hairstylists -- still need maintenance. Repeating movement patterns every day (carrying trays, cutting hair) means that underutilized muscle groups grow weak.

Resveratrol Has Promising Heart-Healthy Benefits

Resveratrol has been featured on a number media outlets including 60 Minutes, Oprah, and the Discover Channel. Resveratrol Select has taken that one step further by combining the cell protective benefits of Resveratrol with our own proprietary blend to help you Enhance Cell Function, Boost Energy Leves, Lose Weight, Burn Fat and Increase your metabolism.

Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Red wine and something in red wine called resveratrol might be heart healthy. Find out the facts, and hype, regarding red wine and its impact on your heart. Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of "good" cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.

Jumping Rope to Good Health

Exercise is the vital essence of human body. It can be in any form, may be swimming, rowing, aerobics, to give you better and all round body development. When we talk about 'EXERCISES', instantly our mind strikes of 'muscular movement', which helps in improving blood circulation, and helps to strengthen the heart and skeleton. This movement of heart and circulation system, involving oxygen intake and outdone is known as 'CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM'. Such kind of cardiovascular (cv) activity is 'jumping through a skipping rope'.

Jumping rope is an intense and effective aerobic activity. Skipping can actually tone the muscles of the upper body (especially the deltoids and to a lesser degree the chest and upper back) as well as the lower body (especially the calves and hamstrings). Besides it promotes definition of abdominal muscles and reduces cellulite. As recommended by 'WF health and Fitness Experts', you can also adapt moves from aerobics classes, such as marching or running in place while turning the rope alongside your body. According to a research 10 minutes of jumping rope is equal to 30 minutes of running at a 5.7 mph pace. Also it is being regarded as an efficient calorie burner about 12 calories per minute for a 150-lb person who jumps 120 times in a minute.

Rope jumping improves your co-ordination, speed and agility - which can vastly improve performance in other sports. Jumping rope is a plyometric style workout. Thus it is excellent for developing, power, speed and endurance in your calves. If you are looking for fat burning a good idea is to perform your jump-rope workout first thing in the morning before you eat breakfast.

Always allow enough time to warm up and cool down. Be familiar with the principles of warming the muscles up for a few minutes before performing appropriate stretches with the group. Pay particular attention to arms, shoulders, neck, calves and hamstrings. A list of minimum stretches would be:

Head swings
Shoulder rolls
Arm stretches across chest, behind back and up to ceiling and trunk twisters
Groin stretch
Anterior Tibialis Stretch
Calf stretch
Always use proper form and hold stretches for a minimum of 10 seconds on each side. For detailed instruction and demonstration of Flexibility Exercises.
  • Keep elbows in. Turn the rope with the wrist, not the whole arm.
  • Jump only high enough to clear the rope.
  • Land on the balls of the feet and bring the heels down for shock absorption and to rebound for the next jump".
  • Start out by alternating jumping for one minute and resting for one minute. Sixty to seventy turns per minute is a good starting pace.
  • Start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes.
  • Build up gradually, listen to your body and with persevere you will avoid any pitfalls and reap the plethora of benefits from a good jump-ripe workout.
  • Always wear a good quality pair of running shoes to absorb the impact.
Not only is it a good CV workout, but also it improves your agility, fluidity, coordination, lateral movement, explosiveness, speed, and timings.
While you cannot really increase your muscles, size by jumping rope, you can (and will) increase the muscles efficiency, and because of this, many coaches employ it as a means to complement strength or weight training. Besides skipping helps to improve co-ordination for sports such as tennis or racquetball. To conclude in all, jumping rope is an effective and intensive CV exercise, which promises a healthy and supple body. For detailed information on the type and length of the rope, plus instructions for jumping rope, click here. Article by www.womenfitness.net

30 Healthy Snacking

Great snacks with less than 200 calories

Craving salty?

  • 5 olives (any kind) (45 calories)
  • 1 small Martin's pretzel (50 calories)
  • 2 oz Applegate Honey and Maple Turkey Breast wrapped around 2 bread-and-butter pickles (80 calories)
  • 1/4 cup hummus, 3 carrot sticks (80 calories)
  • 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thin (85 calories)
  • One 1-oz package tuna jerky (90 calories)
  • 1 oz buffalo mozzarella, 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (94 calories)
  • 1 bag Baked! Cheetos 100 Calorie Mini Bites (100 calories)
  • 15 Eden's Nori Maki Crackers rice crackers (110 calories)
  • 1 cup unshelled edamame (soy bean) (120 calories)
  • 50 Eden's Vegetable Chips (130 calories)
  • One 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds (130 calories)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe's Chili con Queso, 18 baked tortilla chips (140 calories)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in shell (143 calories)
  • 2 pieces (30 grams) prosciutto, 4 dried figs (154 calories)
  • 1 Subway Turkey Breast Wrap (190 calories)
Craving sweet?
  • 1 package Original Apple Nature Valley Fruit Crisps (50 calories)
  • 1 packet O'Coco's Mocha cookies (90 calories)
  • 1 Jelly Belly 100-calorie pack (100 calories)
  • One 100-calorie pack Trader Joe's Chocolate Graham Toucan Cookies (100 calories)
  • One 100-calorie Balance Bar (100 calories)
  • 1 Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bar (120 calories)
  • 1 package Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks (120 calories)
  • 1/2 banana rolled in 1 tbsp frozen semisweet chocolate chips (123 calories)
  • 2 tbsp Better 'n Peanut Butter, 4 stalks celery (124 calories)
  • 1 bag Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Butter Mini Bags topped with a spritz of butter spray and 1 tsp sugar (126 calories)
  • 24 Annie's Chocolate Chip Bunny Graham cookies (140 calories)
  • Half of a 1.08-oz container of M&M's Minis mixed with 1/3 cup lowfat granola (145 calories)
  • 1 McDonald's Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160 calories)
  • 1 container Fage Greek Total 2% fat yogurt, 2 tsp honey (173 calories)
Article by Wendy Giman - www.self.com

How much to exercise for Healthy Weight Loss

To answer this we first need to ask another "what is your goal?", or more specifically, "how much weight do you want to lose and by when?"

Once we have the answer to the second question, we can simply calculate how much exercise is needed based on an understanding of how much energy different exercises burn per minute.

Here's an example of how we do this assuming that our goal is to lose 10 kilos in 20 weeks, or ½ a kilo per week:
The amount of exercise needed to lose ½ kilo of body fat per week.
It has been estimated that ½ kilo (1 pound) of body fat equals around 16,000 kilojoules (or around 4,000 calories). So to lose ½ kilogram of body fat each week through exercise, we need to burn off approximately 2,500 kilojoules (600 calories) extra each day. So based on this figure, the answer to how much exercise is easy: that amount of exercise which burns an extra 2,500 kilojoules (kJ) per day, or 16,000kJ per week. You can use the energy chart (sign-up required) provided on this website as a guide, to learn about number of calories burned in 15, 30, 45 and 60 min of various cardio exercises.

As peoples lives are so different, weight loss can't realistically be reduced to a simple equation like it has been above.

Try exercising for 10 minutes today and add 5 minute increments until you work up to 30.
There are other variables to be considered in the amount of exercise for weight loss equation that weren't adequately catered for in the above example.For example, none of these factors were taken into consideration:
  • Our individual weight loss goals - Because each of us has different goals, the amount of exercise which is right for each of us will be different. About five hours of weekly exercise may bring the biggest weight loss for obese adults who are also watching their intake of fat and calories. Also, The Institute of Medicine released a report in 2003 claiming that a full hour of exercise each day is what it takes to manage our weight; for years.
  • Our individual levels of motivation - What, and more importantly, how strong our motivation levels are will help to determine how much of the exercise we know we need to do we actually will do.
  • Our individual fitness levels - How fit we are today determines to a great extent the amount of exercise we can realistically do and just as importantly, at what level of intensity.
  • Our individual energy levels - Like our fitness level, our energy levels will help determine how much exercise we can cope with each day. Ironically, the more we exercise the more energy our bodies will have available to exercise.
  • Our time availabilities - If we can and would like to exercise for an hour or two each day but don't physically have the time available, we might need to get a little smarter (such as including the family in our exercise , exercising before the family wakes up in the morning, during our lunch-break, or after the kids have gone to bed), exercise more efficiently (for example jogging instead of walking) or reevaluate and set new priorities.
  • Our priorities in life - The reality is that nothing is as important as our health and wellbeing, because with these in place we can literally do anything. Tell your family and friends that exercise is a top priority and make them aware of all committed time slots. Ask them not to derail you with conflicting invitations or demands.
  • Our preferred exercise program - For the best possible long-term benefit, a program that includes aerobic type exercises (like walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, martial arts, etc) and strength training exercise (like weight training, isometric exercise, resistance band exercise, circuit training, etc) works best because the aerobic workouts burn the maximum amount of calories during the workout and the strength training increases our resting metabolic rate (or the amount of energy our body burns at rest and during everyday activities).
  • Our commitment to exercise progression - Exercise progression is important for weight loss because: As we lose weight, we burn less energy doing the same exercise - because we are physically carrying less weight around. The fitter we become, the more efficient our bodies become and the less energy they use to do the same volume of exercise.
  • Our attitude towards exercise - Remember, doing something is better than nothing and it is far easier and more likely that we will progress from doing a little bit of exercise to a little bit more, than it is from doing nothing to doing a whole lot!
  • How consistently we exercise - Within the constraints of life's natural daily, weekly, and monthly cycles, we need to be as consistent as possible for the best long-term affects.
  • Our general physical abilities - When it comes to exercise, some of us have physical disabilities that prevent us from doing some forms of activity.
  • The law of averages - The law of averages suggests that if we need to average 60 minutes of exercise everyday (for example), we should perhaps do 70 or 80 minutes per day knowing full well that it is unrealistic for any of us to be able to exercise every single day.
  • How many kilojoules or calories less we are prepared to eat each week - To understand how much energy your body needs to maintain its current weight, please visit our BMR Calculator.
It's important to remember that for every one of us, all of these factors are subject to change from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year. To be a successful "loser" it comes down to calories: spending more and eating less. It’s a combination of these factors that will result in a significant enough calorie deficit to lead to the kind of success you want. Article by www.womenfitness.net.

Exercise Smart in the Heat

When Mother Nature turns up the heat and humidity, it doesn't mean you have to cancel your outdoor exercise, but you should take precautions. If you don't play it safe, you could suffer from fatigue and heat illness.
Before exercising outside, check out the predicted temperature and humidity levels for the day. Time of day can help you beat the heat and humidity. Avoid exercising between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the sun's rays are the hottest.

Although air temperature is very important, the day's humidity levels also are critical. When our bodies begin to heat up, they produce sweat to cool down. But it is only when sweat evaporates that heat is actually lost. So on humid days, you can be dripping with sweat, but because it is not evaporating in the moist air, it doesn't help to keep you cool. Remember - the higher the humidity, the less heat you will lose. Knowing this, be cautious of days when humidity levels are high. If the heat and humidity levels are unbearable, it is wise to exercise in an air conditioned facility.

The first few times you work out in the heat, you should reduce your intensity level until your body has become acclimated to the conditions. Our bodies react differently to the heat; it doesn't necessarily mean you are not in good shape if the activity is difficult, but it does mean you should play it smart. One way to ease into outdoor exercise is to use a heart rate monitor, which displays your intensity levels so you can try to stay within your theoretical maximum heart rate zone - a zone to ensure exercise is safe and effective.

Remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. To avoid dehydration and potential heat-related illnesses, proper fluid consumption is essential. But don't simply drink when you are thirsty - it might be too late to prevent dehydration. Make a conscious effort to hydrate your body approximately an hour before the activity, every 15 minutes during the exercise and, of course, afterward to replenish your body's stores. Water and sports drinks are your best options; avoid caffeine, sugar and alcoholic drinks as they will increase fluid loss.

Clothing plays an important role when exercising in the heat. Wear a minimal amount of loose clothing that will not hinder heat loss and will breathe easily. Avoid cotton-based clothing because it retains water and can get damp and heavy. Coolmax fabrics are ideal for wisking away sweat and keeping the body cool. Also, light colored clothing reflects the sun's rays and doesn't retain heat. Be sure to apply waterproof sunscreen to exposed skin, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and a hat to keep the sun's rays off your head and neck as well.

If you start to feel signs of heat exhaustion - dizziness, weakness, nausea, cramping and vomiting - stop the activity, rest in a shaded area and drink water immediately. If symptoms continue, seek medical assistance at once.

When temperatures top the thermometers, properly preparing and taking simple precautions will ensure safe and effective workouts outdoors.

13 Healthy Habits to Improve Your Life

Disregard them, and you may well be taking a big gamble with your mental and emotional well-being.

There are 13 ways to boost your chances of living a happy, healthy life. More can be added to this list, but, for simplicity's sake, we'll stick with this typically unlucky number. Instead of bringing misfortune, however, the 13 habits promise a life of vigor and vivacity. There are, of course, no guarantees, but many of the practices mentioned here have been published in scientific journals. Disregard them, and you may well be taking a big gamble with your mental and emotional well-being.

Healthy Habit No. 1: Eat Breakfast Every Morning
Breakfast eaters are champions of good health. Research shows people who have a morning meal tend to take in more vitamins and minerals, and less fat and cholesterol. The result is often a leaner body, lower cholesterol count, and less chance of overeating.
"That one act [of eating breakfast] seems to make a difference in people's overall weight," says Melinda Johnson, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). She says breakfast can hold off hunger pangs until lunchtime and make high-calorie vending machine options less enticing.
Not only that, researchers at the 2003 American Heart Association conference reported that breakfast eaters are significantly less likely to be obese and get diabetes compared with nonbreakfast eaters.
Another study in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition showed that people who consumed breakfast cereal every day reported feeling better both physically and mentally than those who rarely ate cereal in the morning.
For kids, breakfast appears to enhance alertness, attention, and performance on standardized achievement tests, reports the ADA.
To get the full benefits of breakfast, the Mayo Clinic recommends a meal with carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of fat. They say that because no single food gives you all of the nutrients you need, eating a variety of foods is essential to good health.
Yet, even with so much scientific support that breakfast does the body good; many people still make excuses not to eat in the morning. They include not having enough time and not feeling hungry. For these people, Johnson suggests tailoring breakfast to the day.
"When I'm getting ready in the morning, I don't really want to take the time to eat breakfast because that would mean sacrificing sleep," says Johnson. "So I bring my breakfast with me, and I know I have an hour when I'm reading emails in the office when I can eat it. By that time, I'm hungry because I've been up for almost a couple of hours."

Healthy Habit No. 2: Add Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Your Diet
The AHA recommends a serving of fish two times per week.
Besides being a good source of protein and a food relatively low in the bad type of dietary fat called saturated fat, fish has omega-3 fatty acids -- which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon, are rich in two kinds of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Foods such as tofu, soybeans, canola, walnuts, flaxseed, and their oils contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which convert to omega-3 in the body. Even though the benefits of ALA are controversial, the AHA still recommends foods containing it as part of a healthy diet.
In addition to their heart-health benefits, there is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may also soothe an overactive immune system, says Johnson. Even though this benefit is still being studied, she says there appears to be a link between getting more omega-3s in your diet and reducing allergies, asthma, eczema, and autoimmune disorders.

Healthy Habit No. 3: Get Enough Sleep
"Your body has to have enough time to rest," says Michael Fleming, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Otherwise, he says you may find yourself feeling cranky and tired.
This may sound like common sense, but according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), more than two-thirds of older adults suffer from sleep problems and many American adults don't get the minimum amount of shuteye needed to stay alert.
Sleep is vital to good health and to mental and emotional well-being. The NSF reports that people who don't get enough slumber are more likely than others to develop psychiatric problems and to use health care services. Plus, sleep deprivation can negatively affect memory, learning, and logical reasoning.
Not enough ZZZs can also be hazardous. More than one-half of adult drivers -- some 100 million people -- say they have driven drowsy in the past year, according to NSF polls. About one out of five of these drivers -- 32 million people -- say they've fallen asleep while driving.
Each year drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes, 1,500 deaths, and tens of thousands of injuries, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NSF recommends taking a 15 to 20 minute nap. Because it takes about 30 minutes for the caffeine to work, taking a nap while you wait for the caffeine to kick in can help restore alertness.
To avoid the pitfalls of insufficient sleep, make sure to get at least seven to 10 hours of slumber each night. Kids need more sleep, depending on their age.

Healthy Habit No. 4: Make Social Connections
Volunteer. Go to church. Join a club. Whatever you do, do it with people. Communal activities are good for your physical and mental health, according to a study published in the March/April 2004 issue of the American Journal of Health Behavior.
It makes sense, says C. David Jenkins, PhD, author of Building Better Health: A Handbook of Behavioral Change. He says social ties have many benefits, including:

  • Providing information. You may think for instance your frequent nosebleeds, coughing, and sneezing episodes are trivial, but when a close friend or relative hears of it, he or she may encourage you to go to a doctor. If the symptoms turn out to be a serious condition, the social tie could have saved your life.
  • Instrumental help. Friends and family can provide physical support in time of need. They may help with cooking, cleaning, running errands, doing grocery shopping, and driving to the doctor's office.
  • Emotional support. Sharing a problem with a trusted person can help alleviate an internal burden. "It's a load off your chest," says Jenkins.
  • Offering a sense of belonging. This feeling not only helps reinforce a person's identity, it also assists in preventing and overcoming depression and anxiety.
Community ties also help improve mental functioning, says Fleming. Group activities can help keep the mind active and maintain desirable levels of serotonin -- the brain chemical associated with mood. "Lack of social interaction will [decrease] serotonin levels," says Fleming.

Healthy Habit No. 5: Exercise for Better Health
We already know that physical activity has a bounty of benefits, which makes it so puzzling why so many people just don't do it. According to the CDC, more than 60% of Americans do not get regular exercise.
In case you needed an incentive, here is a review of the advantages of exercise, per the National Cancer Institute:
  • Helps control weight
  • Maintains healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Reduces risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Promotes psychological well-being
  • Reduces risk of death from heart disease
  • Reduces risk of premature death
Studies have also shown a link between exercise and a reduced risk of certain cancers.
Besides its long-term effects, moving your body has immediate benefits, says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. The short-term results of exercise include helping people to think and move better, manage stress, improve mood, and get an energy boost.
The excuses that people often give to not exercise are the precise reasons to exercise, says Bryant. People who say they are too tired or don't have time to workout don't realize that exercise gives people more energy and allows them to be more productive with the rest of their time.

Healthy Habit No. 6: Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Flossing your teeth every day could add 6.4 years to your life, according to Michael Roizen, MD, author of RealAge. In his book, Roizen lists flossing as one of the most important daily activities -- along with exercise and quitting smoking -- that could extend life span.
Roizen's calculation may raise some eyebrows, but the idea that oral health is connected to overall health isn't far-fetched.
The mouth, after all, is an integral part of the body. "Teeth have a blood supply, and that blood supply comes from the heart," says Richard Price, DMD, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association (ADA).
Researchers suspect that the bacteria that produce dental plaque enter the bloodstream. They say these bacteria are somehow associated with the inflammation that occurs with plaque that blocks blood vessels and causes heart disease.
Other researchers have found links between oral bacteria and stroke, diabetes, and the birth of preterm babies and those that have low birth weight.
In addition to preventing disease, flossing and brushing can help keep your pearly whites intact for more than just cosmetic reasons. Teeth help you chew food, speak properly, and smile -- which, according to Price, can help you keep your dignity.

Healthy Habit No. 7: Take Up a Hobby
Look up the word "hobby" in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and you will find the definition as "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation."
Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. Some people find joy in craftwork, bird watching, sports, going to flea markets, walking in the park, or playing cards.
The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV.
In a study of people who had undergone surgery, Jenkins found that people who were involved in hobbies before their operation had better recovery six months later, compared with people who did not have hobbies.
The participants with hobbies tended to have more drive and interest in things and other people, says Jenkins. "It was a more active orientation to life."

Healthy Habit No. 8: Protect Your Skin
Our skin starts to age as soon as we are born and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), the best way to protect it and look younger is to stay out of the sun.
The sun has harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Overexposure can cause sunburn, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels, and skin cancers.
Avoiding the sun, however, is not always ideal or practical. To reduce the risk of skin damage, the AAD offers the following tips:
  • Always wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Don a hat with a brim and wear other protective clothing.
  • Don't deliberately sunbathe.
  • Try to avoid sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Healthy Habit No. 9: Snack the Healthy Way
The ADA recommends five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day as part of a healthy diet. These plant foods can do many things to boost good health, including:
  • Reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Beat the signs of aging
  • Improve memory
  • Promote heart health
  • Enhance the immune system
One way to incorporate fruits and veggies into your diet is to have them as snacks. "If you can do one thing [to improve your health], concentrate on getting fruits and veggies," says Johnson. "They are low in calories and high in nutrients."
She says baby carrots and cut-up produce make tasty, convenient munchies. Other healthful snacks include low-fat yogurt and nuts (in moderation).
The best time to snack is when you are hungry between meals, says Johnson. But beware: Cravings could easily be mistaken for hunger cues, especially for people who are dieting.

Healthy Habit No. 10: Drink Water and Eat Dairy
Water and milk are essential fluids for good health, but they can also help with shedding pounds.
The body needs water to keep properly hydrated and individuals vary widely in how much water they need. Joints need it to stay in motion, and vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidney, and liver need it to work properly.
If you don't get enough water, the body goes into emergency mode, and clings to every single water molecule it can find, reports the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center. The stored molecules appear as extra weight. The weight is only released once the body gets enough water.
The calcium in dairy, on the other hand, is known to be important for strong bones and teeth. Studies have also shown it can help prevent high blood pressure, kidney stones, heart disease, and colon cancer.
In the weight loss arena, three 8-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk appear to encourage body fat loss while maintaining muscle mass, according to the ADA. The dairy consumption must be part of a balanced reduced-calorie meal plan.

Healthy Habit No. 11: Drink Tea
"Decaffeinated tea is better," says Fleming, noting that the caffeinated variety can be dehydrating, and sugary drinks can lead to weight gain.
There is some evidence that tea may help in improving memory, and preventing cavities, cancer, and heart disease. Fleming says, though, that the overall research is still inconclusive.
"There may well be some beneficial effects of tea, particularly the potential antioxidant effect, but we don't have great data on that right now that is that specific."
However, there's no doubt that a cool iced tea can be a refreshing treat during hot days. Try flavoring your tea with juices, fruits, cinnamon sticks, ginger, and other condiments.

Healthy Habit No. 12: Take a Daily Walk
We already mentioned the merits of exercise in habit No. 5. Now, here's a tip on how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life: WALK.
We're not talking about taking the time out of your busy schedule to work out -- that's important, too -- but infusing life- and limb-saving movement into your waking hours.
"Just move. Pace during phone calls, while you're brushing your teeth, while watching your son's soccer game," says Bryant, noting that every 20 steps a person takes is 1 calorie burned.
An eight-year study of 13,000 people also showed that people who walked 30 minutes daily had a significantly reduced chance of premature death compared with those who rarely exercised, reports the American Council on Exercise.
And there are plenty of opportunities to move those legs:
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk to the store.
  • Window shop at the mall.
  • Leave your desk and visit your co-worker instead of sending him an email.
  • Walk and talk with friends instead of meeting for a meal.
Healthy Habit No. 13: Plan
There is, perhaps, no better word in the English language to better illustrate how you can incorporate healthy habits into your everyday life.
"A little planning goes a long way," says Johnson. "Eating healthy never happens by accident."
For the most part, neither do good fitness, skin protection, healthy teeth, weight loss, and social ties. Many of these habits take effort that need to be scheduled into busy lives.
To eat healthy, for example, it would help to set aside time to draft a menu, make a grocery list, go to the store, prepare meals, and pack breakfast and lunch.
Article by Dulce Zamora - WebMD Feature.

4 Healthy Habits That Cut Disease Risk

Study Shows People Who Follow 4 Habits Sharply Reduce Risk of Serious Disease.

Don't smoke. Get off the sofa and take a walk. Stay away from the junk food. Watch your waistline. You may have heard the advice before. But did you know that if you follow all four of these healthy habits together, you could decrease your chances of developing some of the most common and deadly chronic diseases by nearly 80%?

Researchers reporting in this month's Archives of Internal Medicine analyzed the health, lifestyles, and diet of 23,513 German adults 35 to 65 years old, starting in the mid-1990s. The study showed that those who had more healthy habits were much less likely to get diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The analysis included a detailed look at each person's body weight and height, disease background, food frequency, and how well they followed these four healthy lifestyle habits over the eight-year study period:

  • Never smoked
  • Exercised at least 3.5 hours per week
  • Maintained a body mass index (BMI) under 30
  • Followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads, and limited in meats
Most of the people in the study had at least one healthy habit; only 9% said they followed all four.

After adjusting for risk factors that might influence the development of disease, the researchers learned that those who followed all four healthy habits had a 78% lower risk of developing a chronic condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer compared to those who reported none of the healthy habits.

Specifically, in the study, all four of the healthy habits combined were linked to a:
  • 93% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • 81% lower risk of heart attack
  • 50% lower risk of stroke
  • 36% lower risk of cancer
Researchers say it's important to adopt and teach healthy habits early in life. Their findings "reinforce current public health recommendations to avoid smoking, to maintain a healthy weight, to engage in physical activity appropriately and to eat adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables and foods containing whole grains and to partake of red meat prudently," study author Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH, of the CDC, and colleagues write.

The following habits may help you lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. They are listed in order of largest to smallest impact on disease risk, as determined by the recent study.
  1. Maintain a healthy weight. Your body mass index should be lower than 30.
  2. Never smoke. (But if you already do, you should quit.)
  3. Get at least 3.5 hours of exercise every week.
  4. Follow a healthy diet. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
By Kelli Miller Stacy-WebMD Health News.

Promoting Healthier Body Image

Body Image is defined as the mental representation of your physical self at any given point in time. Body image refers to how you see yourself, how you feel others perceive you, and what you believe about your physical appearance. Body image is influenced more by self-esteem than by how physically attractive you are to others. It is how YOU feel about and in your body.

According to recent survey, about 60%-70% of women are dissatisfied with their weight, and 50%-60% are dissatisfied with overall appearance. The ultra-thin standards of the fashion and magazine industry influence girls and women, in terms of their body image and vulnerability to developing eating disorders. Today's generation is "growing up in the culture of dangerously skinny."

Essentials to developing healthy body image include:

  • Eating healthy
  • Regular exercise
  • Plenty of rest
Eating healthy can promote healthy skin and hair, along with strong bones; exercise has been showed to increase self-esteem, self-image, and energy; and plenty or rest is the key to stress management - all of these can make you feel good about your body.

Steps towards developing a Healthy Body Image
  • Always remember, healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes! Developing and nurturing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to your happiness and wellness! Be realistic about the size you are. Your size is likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history.
  • Stop dieting; avoid participating in the diet culture. This does not preclude striving to eat healthy foods, but dieting solely to lose weight can be very unhealthy and, for many, is futile. Healthy eating and dieting are definitely not the same.
  • Listen to your body; eat when hungry and stop when full.
  • Avoid labeling food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Food is not a moral issue.
  • Try a new physical activity just for fun, not to lose weight. Stop weighing yourself, and change your goal from weight loss to improving your health. Exercise has been showed to increase self-esteem, self-image, and energy level. Research shows that exercising women of all ages are generally more positive about their bodies than non-exercisers. However women who exercise primarily for weight and appearance concerns, tend to have a poorer body image and are more likely to have problems with their eating behaviour, than those who are motivated by other reasons, such as health and well-being.
  • Try not to use the words "fat", "ugly", or "disgusting" to describe yourself or others.
  • Show respect for other women's work and accomplishments instead of talking about how they look.
  • Consider not having scales in your home.
  • Learn to manage stress in your life. Ask for support and encouragement from friends and family when life is stressful.
  • Become media savvy and educate yourself about the hidden powers of advertisement. Advertisers spend tons of money on strategies especially designed to make you feel there is something wrong with you, thus making you feel deficient by comparison. Never forget that how you look is only one part of who you are. Develop a sense of identity based on all the many things you can do, the values you believe in, and the person you are deep inside.
We wish you a fresh and inquiring mind, body, spirit and soul. Don’t live a trivial life. Live a well rounded life. You’ve got just the body your mother line sent to you over thousands of generations. Don’t let corporate advertisers rape you of your inner or outer self. Enjoy. Article by WomenFitness.net

How to Choose a Health Club

Are you thinking of joining a health club? How many times have you skipped a workout because the gym is too far away or will be too crowded when you get there? If you’re like a lot of people, the answer is “too many.”
Why give yourself an out? Cut the excuses by doing your homework and choosing a club that’s right for you. It’s no secret that picking a quality club is key to sticking with your program.
But choosing a health club can rank high on the confusion meter. Sign-up specials scream in all forms of media, and it seems there’s a new club on every corner. Before you jump on the latest two-for-one membership deal, take the time to consider these helpful tips:

  • Location—For your fitness routine to be successful, exercise has to be convenient. You’re more likely to use a club if it is close to either your home or workplace. While you don’t want to choose a health club only because it is close to your home or work, joining a club that isn’t convenient will make you more likely to find an excuse to stop going.
  • Classes—If classes are what keep you motivated, make sure the club offers an eclectic mix of classes you like and that they are offered at a time of day that fits your schedule.
  • Staff—Staff members should be CPR and AED trained. Personal trainers and group fitness instructors should be certified through a certification organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies like the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Credible certification can assure you that the instructor meets the guidelines to provide a safe and efficient workout. ACE offers referrals to certified fitness professionals via its website—www.acefitness.org.
  • Hours—Lots of health clubs open early and stay open late. Before you join, though, make sure your club is open when you plan to go. Then visit the club at the times you intend to work out. Check whether the club is too crowded or if there are long lines for equipment at that time.
  • Try it before you buy it—Salespeople are trained to hype the benefits of their health club, but you need to actually try out some of the equipment and get a feel for the club’s atmosphere before you sign up. Request a day pass or a trial membership, which is a good way to ‘’test drive’’ the health club’s services.
  • Payments—Many clubs have a variety of payment options. Find a payment schedule that meets your budget needs and take advantage of any sign-up specials. Find out exactly what the membership fee is and what it includes. Will you have to pay extra for childcare and towels? Don’t forget to ask if they require an initiation fee. And if you are joining a new club that hasn’t opened yet, make sure that any deposits or payments are held in an escrow account until they officially open.
  • Reputation—Before you join, talk to current members about their experiences with the club. The Better Business Bureau or state Attorney General’s office can tell you if the club is a member or if any complaints have been registered against it. Added security comes if the club is a member of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). IHRSA clubs must oblige by a code of ethics that protects the health and safety of their members, as well as protects consumers from unscrupulous business practices. To find an IHRSA club in your area, visit www.healthclubs.com.
  • Little details—As you tour the club, pay attention to details. How clean is the facility? Is the music too loud? Is most of the equipment in working order? Too many ‘’out of order’’ signs may indicate poor maintenance. Are new members provided with a club orientation and instruction on how to use equipment? Make sure the club is a place where you would enjoy spending time.
With a little research and patience, you will be rewarded with a membership at a health club you can call “home.” More importantly, you will be reaping the long-term benefits of a structured exercise program that perfectly suits your lifestyle. Article from American Council on Exercise.

Stealth Signals That Your Health is At-Risk

We all know the basic messages our body sends us: A grumbling stomach means we need a meal. Chills and a fever could be a harbinger of the flu. Red, burning skin scolds us for skipping sunscreen. And a pounding headache after a big night out is a reminder that we're not in college anymore--and require a little more hydration. But there are other more stealth signals that, while less commonly chatted about, still deserve your attention. Check out the following clues (start with your hands!) and read what they could indicate. Then take charge of your health to ensure you continue living your long, vibrant life.

Nails that turn white when you press on them
French manicures aside, all nails pale a bit when you apply pressure. But if yours stay white for up to a minute, you may be anemic and low on iron. Tons of women can become anemic without even knowing it--low intake of red meat and heavy periods can be two culprits.
What to do: Ask your doctor to test your blood's ferritin levels. He or she may advise you to pile your plate with more iron-rich foods such as salmon and spinach and/or take an iron supplement.

Super-chapped lips
During summer months, cracking a smile takes on a whole new meaning: Sun and salt air can suck the moisture out faster than you can say "Where's my lip balm?" In this case, you either need to find a faucet and guzzle some H20 or examine your vitamin A intake. In healthy amounts, vitamin A is essential to skin-cell turnover. But some people double up on supplements and get too much additional A, which can be dangerous: Too-high levels can be dehydrating and, if you're pregnant, cause birth defects.
What to do: If you pop vitamins, check the labels to confirm you're not taking in more than 5,000 IU of A daily and make sure to consider the vitamin A you get from natural sources such as eggs and fortified milk, too. Soon after you stop overdosing, your pucker should plump up again. And no matter what your A game is, gulp plenty of water--especially if you exercise regularly (you do, right?). Don't forget: If you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.

Dark circles under your eyes
If you find yourself layering concealer like spackle beneath your peepers (when you haven't pulled an all-nighter), your allergies might be acting up. Allergens can inflame the sinuses and compress nearby blood vessels, causing blood to pool beneath the eyes.
What to do: Take an over-the-counter antihistamine. Circles not budging? Ask your dermatologist about an anti-inflammatory cream such as Elidel.

Swollen fingers
Filling up on foods high in sodium and PMS may lead to puffiness, but if you're not a salt fanatic, your monthly bill isn't due for weeks and still your rings are tight, a sluggish thyroid may be the culprit. This condition, called hypothyroidism, occurs when the gland underproduces the thyroid hormones needed to regulate metabolism, heart rate and more.
What to do: Don't blow off the bloating--when left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to heart disease, and if you're pregnant, it could affect development of your baby's brain. Get a blood test, which can reveal if your thyroid isn't producing enough hormones; if so, your physician may prescribe synthetic hormone pills. Once you find the correct dose for you, your metabolism (and fingers) should return to normal.

A change in your bikini line
When hair begins to migrate from your bikini line to your thighs and up your belly, forming a more square "rug" shape than a triangular one, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome. Caused by excess male sex hormones, PCOS can spur body-hair growth and disrupt ovulation, which often leads to infertility.
What to do: Many women with PCOS don't realize they have it until they have problems conceiving, but it can impede more than your fertility. It raises insulin levels and could eventually lead to diabetes and heart disease, so see your doctor to have your hormone levels tested. Some M.D.s prescribe diabetes medication, which helps lower insulin, in turn balancing sex hormones and restoring regular ovulation and fertility.

White patches in the corners of your mouth
Surprisingly enough, you might have a yeast infection. (Yes, it occurs in zones other than below the belt.) Anything that causes the corners of your mouth to crack--such as a B vitamin deficiency, which can damage your mouth's mucous membranes, or even drooling during sleep--creates a warm, moist environment where yeast thrives.
What to do: Visit your derm or primary care doc, who can prescribe a topical anti-yeast medication. You should also make sure there are enough B vitamins in your diet (nab them in lean proteins like eggs and whole grains such as oatmeal). If the infection keeps recurring, consider avoiding white breads and sweets. Yeast feeds on refined flour and sugar, so cutting back or eliminating them may help your cause.

Yellow eyelid bumps
Time to check your cholesterol. When it's too high, this fat can collect on your upper lids, forming tiny deposits. And because fat is yellow, so are the splotches. Regardless of your skin tone, they will be apparent.
What to do: A blood test can confirm whether you have an excessive amount of cholesterol in your body. What's too high? A total count above 239 with your LDL (aka "bad") cholesterol greater than 159 or your triglycerides 200 or higher. Eating more fruit, veggies and whole grains as well as exercising 30 minutes a day and, when prescribed by your doctor, taking medication can help lower your numbers. As for your eyelid bumps? They'll likely shrink with your cholesterol count, but if not, a dermatologist can remove them by scalpel or laser.
Article by By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief.

8 Power Foods to Protect Your Health

Here's some food for thought: You can eat your way to better health. Sure, if you fill your plate with fruit, veggies, whole grains and lean protein, you'll slim down. But certain menu options pack more nutritional punch than others and some have downright super powers when it comes to staving off cancer and other diseases. Help yourself to a few of my favorite health-boosting bites and learn why choosing these can help you live a longer, stronger, happier life.

POWER FOOD: Cherries
Way more than just pie filler, cherries are the piece de resistance of the fruit world. They have more flavonoids, aka powerful antioxidants, than almost any other food analyzed by the USDA. Cherries, both sweet and tart, are particularly rich in anthocyanins, micronutrients that may jump-start the immune system and mop up disease-causing free radicals. What this means: They may have the ability to ward off cancer. Other research suggests they may also reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and gout.
TRY THEM: Fresh cherries are ripe now (the season runs from May through August), but frozen and dried versions are equally nutritious. Toss a fresh bag into the freezer for a sweet, cool treat; add tart dried cherries to salads; or try topping pancakes with the canned, no-syrup-added kind.

POWER FOOD: Black tea
You don't always have to go green: Black tea, the type in your basic bag, may offer similar protection from heart disease and some cancers as its highly-praised cousin; people with heart disease who drank it daily for a month saw a 50 percent improvement in the functioning of impaired blood vessels, a study from Boston University reports. And another study, from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, found that a compound in black tea triggers colorectal cancer cells to destroy themselves.
TRY IT: Sip it hot at breakfast or cool down with an iced version at lunch. To brew your own, use boiling water and steep for three minutes to get the most antioxidants. Worth noting: Decaf varieties are lower in antioxidants, while bottled and instant teas have barely detectable levels. Instead, make it yourself and drink it fresh--time in the refrigerator depletes tea's powers.

POWER FOOD: Celery
This traditional diet staple is a great source of potassium, a nutrient that helps reduce blood pressure and regulate the balance of fluids and minerals in the body. Most Americans get less than 50 percent of the suggested 4,700 milligrams a day. People usually use bananas as their go-to potassium source, but four medium stalks of celery deliver about the same amount of potassium as a 105-calorie banana for a mere 24 calories. The crunchy crudite also contains compounds called phthalides, which moderate blood pressure, too.
TRY IT: For a quick, healthy snack, stash precut celery sticks immersed in a tub of ice water in the fridge (the cool bath keeps them at their crunchiest). Dip in hummus for an extra dose of fiber. Add celery to soups, stews and stir-fries.

POWER FOOD: Quinoa
This grainlike seed (pronounced "keen-wah") is as close as you can get to a perfect food, because it provides almost all the nutrients a body needs. Quinoa delivers significant amounts of 20 different amino acids your body uses to maintain and repair tissues, including all of the essential amino acids--protein building blocks your body can't make and has to get from food. (Only animal protein can make the same claim, and it's usually higher in calories and fat than quinoa.) It's also a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate blood pressure. A half cup gives you more than 50 percent of your daily needs, as well as some iron and potassium.
TRY IT: Boiled quinoa is a nice alternative to brown rice. (Slightly undercook it, or it will get mushy). You can also eat quinoa like oatmeal, with milk and maple syrup.

POWER FOOD: Mushrooms
They're low in calories and are a top plant source of B-complex vitamins, including riboflavin, which helps keep skin healthy and eyesight sharp. They also leave other produce in the dust when it comes to selenium, an antioxidant that may protect against some cancers. And according to a study from researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, mushrooms contain betaglucan and chitin, two types of fiber that absorb fat and whisk it out of the blood, lowering your risk for heart disease. All mushrooms offer benefits, but the big winner is the meaty portobello. It's high in selenium and potassium.
TRY THEM: Pop portobellos on the grill this summer and cook them as you would a burger. You can also mix any type into salads, or saute and add to pizza.

POWER FOOD: Pomegranate juice
Presqueezed pomegranate juice offers almost all the health perks of the whole fruit without the hassle (seeds to dig out, red-stained fingers!). The beverage has more antioxidants than red wine, green tea, cranberry juice and orange juice and is loaded with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that may protect against cancer and promote heart health. In one study in the journal Clinical Nutrition, people with carotid-artery disease, which can lead to stroke, reversed some artery damage by drinking a little less than 2 ounces daily.
TRY IT: To balance the flavor and reduce calories, mix with an equal amount of seltzer or freshly brewed tea.

POWER FOOD: Sunflower seeds
With 25 percent more vitamin E than almonds, sunflower seeds are the new go-to snack for reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin E may also fight inflammation, which can lead to joint pain and cartilage deterioration. Only 4 tablespoons of dried seeds provide 12 milligrams of vitamin E--that's 80 percent of your daily needs. They're also full of fiber, healthy fats, protein and iron. Make sure to choose the unsalted type--the salted version may taste great, but they're higher in sodium.
TRY THEM: Shelled seeds are great tossed into salads, baked goods such as muffins or spice cake, meat loaf or any recipe that calls for nuts. You can also crush them, add some olive oil and use them as a coating for baked chicken or fish fillets.

POWER FOOD: Whole-grain cereal
No need to think outside the box: Many brands of breakfast cereal are loaded with filling fiber, which will help you head off a midmorning trip to the vending machine. Some even boast health claims: Shredded wheat, for example, is made from whole grains, which may lower cholesterol and reduce your heart disease risk. With about 250 calories (including lowfat milk) and only a few grams of fat, a bowlful also gives you an energy lift from the mix of good carbs and lean protein (when you add the milk). Note: Only whole-grain cereals offer these benefits.
TRY IT: Choose types with at least 4 grams of fiber and no more than 6 g sugar per serving--I love steel cut oatmeal--and check serving size to make sure you keep calories in check. Then pour a bowl for breakfast, a snack or even dinner. By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief.

8 Ways to Help Your Health Naturally

I've always been a little squeamish about taking medicine. Blame my dislike of forced medicine as a kid, but if there's a way to treat an ailment without drugs, sign me up. I usually opt for an ice pack to treat postworkout soreness instead of a painkiller, and I try to get all my vitamins and nutrients from whole fresh foods (fruits, veggies, nuts and lean meats) rather than popping a pill. Maybe that's why I love these all-natural ways to help your health. Salud!

Soothe sinus trouble
If you're congested, headachy or feverish, it could be the start of a sinus infection. Boil a few white onions. Breathing in the stinky steam with your head under a towel for several minutes can help open stuffed-up nasal passages, plus onions have proven antiviral properties.

Strengthen your heart
A handful of nuts (particularly almonds or walnuts) can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The snacks are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol and keep the walls of the arteries healthy and elastic. Nuts also naturally curb cravings: People who eat 2 ounces of almonds a day consumed less food at subsequent meals, researchers from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, report. They seem to curb my desire for sweets--the fatty-sugary treats like brownies or cookies I usually reach for when I'm in need of a sweet fix.

Stabilize your blood sugar
Sprinkle cinnamon on your latte: Consuming as little as 1/4 teaspoon daily helps reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The spice, which has insulin-enhancing compounds, also lowers triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol.

Heal wounds
Honey can disinfect cuts and help them heal faster. The syrup contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which kills germs, as well as antioxidants that may reduce inflammation. Raw honey is the most effective, but even the variety in packets will work. Warm it in the microwave, apply a tablespoon to a gauze pad and secure with medical tape. Reapply daily.

Banish bad breath
Cinnamon-flavored chewing gum has been shown to reduce bad-breath-inducing bacteria by more than 50 percent, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Prevent tummy trouble
Love sushi? Don't ignore the wasabi on your plate. Yes, it looks like Play-Doh, but the green paste, which is the Japanese version of horseradish, has antibacterial properties that can help stave off food poisoning. Swirl it into soy sauce (low sodium is best!) for a kick of flavor and tummy protection.

Avoid falling asleep at the wheel!
Put a drop of peppermint essential oil in a tissue, and inhale the scent while you're delayed in traffic or on a long, leisurely drive. Catching a whiff can help make you more alert as well as lessen frustration of being stuck at the wheel.

By Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief.

Fitness Program Tips

Pursuing a Healthy Lifestyle Cuts Your Risk of Strokes Drastically

From previous studies, it had already been shown that living a healthy lifestyle contributes to lower risks of contracting various serious illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes. But little had been proven about the link between healthy living and one's risk of getting a stroke.

This gap has been closed by the findings of a recent study conducted by the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

"This study shows that following a healthy lifestyle, which has been associated with up to 80 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and 90 percent lower risk of diabetes, may also prevent more than half of ischemic strokes," said Dr. Stephanie E. Chiuve, leader of the study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Stroke – a major killer today
Each year, it is estimated that over 780,000 people in the United States alone suffer a stroke -- this works out to about one person every 40 seconds. Of this figure, about 600,000 are first-time occurrences.
An ischemic stroke takes place when the blood supply to a part of the brain is reduced, and the affected brain tissue suffers dysfunction and necrosis. This could happen, for example, when a blood vessel becomes blocked. Ischemic strokes are the most common kind of stroke, with about 87% of all strokes estimated to be of this nature.
When categorized separately from other cardiovascular diseases, strokes are the third highest killer in the United States today, behind cancer and heart disease.

Details of Stroke Study
This latest study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, analyzed the living habits and health status of a total of 43,685 men as well as 71,243 women from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) and the Nurses' Health Study respectively.
The participants reported on their medical status and lifestyle factors every two years, with the males tracked from 1986 to 2002 and the females from 1984 to 2002. In the course of the respective periods, 994 men and 1,559 women suffered strokes, of which 600 and 853 respectively were ischemic strokes.

In the study, a healthy or low-risk lifestyle was defined to contain the following elements:

  • Maintenance of a healthy weight (body mass index less than 25)
  • At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day
  • Not smoking
  • Moderate drinking of alcohol
  • Consumption of a relatively healthy diet, as indicated by a calculated healthy diet score. Some factors here include the consumption of good amounts of fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, chicken and fish, as well as low amounts of trans fats and saturated fats.
Findings of the Study
The results of the study were quite astonishing. Men who met all five healthy lifestyle criteria were 69% less likely to suffer any type of stroke and 80% less likely to get an ischemic stroke as compared to those who did not meet any of the five criteria.
For women, the corresponding figures were 79% for any type of stroke and 81% for ischemic stroke.
Further, it was estimated by the researchers that 52% of ischemic strokes suffered by men, as well as 35% of all strokes suffered by this group, could have been avoided by following a healthy lifestyle.
As for the women, the proportions of ischemic and total strokes which might have been prevented through healthy living were estimated to be 54% and 47% respectively.

Conclusion
All in all, the findings of the study revealed that people who fit the definition of having a healthy lifestyle were about 80% less likely to get an ischemic stroke, as compared to those who did not meet any of the five mentioned criteria.
This has led the study team to conclude that "a low-risk lifestyle that is associated with a reduced risk of multiple chronic diseases also may be beneficial in the prevention of stroke, especially ischemic stroke".

Living a healthy lifestyle and having a decreased risk of killer diseases –- this is a relationship which many of us would have been convinced of through common sense alone. Now, with the release of these findings, we will all have one more concrete and proven reason to embark on a healthier lifestyle.

Living a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

Health and wellness is a privilege that everyone should be able to afford even in difficult economic times. With the right experience and know-how, anyone can make smart choices about healthy living while also being wallet wise.

Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg has mastered the art of staying fit, while also being financially responsible. She is a busy mom of three, runs a private practice in New York City and serves as chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com – an informative Web site that helps people live healthier, longer lives. Through her extensive experience of balancing work, life and wellness, she has learned how to keep living a healthy lifestyle, while keeping out of the red.

Dr. Trachtenberg shares her top five tips for staying healthy on a budget:

Tip 1 – Buy Frozen for Good Nutrition
The fresh produce section at the grocery store can be a budgeter’s nightmare as pricey fresh foods can really add up. The budget-conscious can find much needed relief in the frozen food section. Frozen fruits and vegetables typically have the same levels of nutrients as their fresh counterparts, because the produce is frozen at the peak of its ripeness, locking in the maximum amount of nutrients .

Tip 2 – Get Fit in the Great Outdoors
No matter what the season, the outdoors is a great place to move your body and bond with family and friends without the confinement and encumbering expense of a gym membership. Calorie-shedding activities can be enjoyed year round:

  • Winter – Ice skate at a local rink or work the biceps with some snow shoveling
  • Spring – Get some friends together and form a softball league, or ride a bike on weekends
  • Summer – Try to walk instead of driving short distances or take up swimming
  • Fall – Get some cardio by raking leaves or challenge yourself to participate in a local road race
On rainy or chilly days, visit the local library and check out a workout video. It can be a lot of fun and doesn't cost a thing.

Tip 3 – Let the games begin!
Lately, board games are making a major comeback with the reinvention of the traditional Family Night. Flexing your mental muscle by opting to play cards, trivia games or parlor games of yesteryear can help cut costs on expensive movie rentals and excessive cable charges. Plus, leisure time spent with friends, family and neighbors is always a healthy and fun way to de-stress.

Tip 4 – Drink to your health!
Water is a necessity and getting the recommended eight glasses a day is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Switching from bottled water to tap can save hundreds of dollars (not to mention it also eliminates the amount of plastic bottles that get discarded!). To ensure tap water is healthy and clean, consider a PUR Water Filtration System, which could save up to $600 each year in comparison to bottled water. PUR is certified to reduce many unwanted contaminants to help ensure drinking water is clean and healthy. Visit www.purwater.com for more details.

Tip 5 – Sweet Dreams
Getting much needed sleep no matter what your age is crucial to mental, emotional and physical health. You will feel better, be more productive at work, have increased levels of physical and mental alertness, and your body will get the rest it needs to fight off diseases. For these reasons, make a commitment to schedule your day so you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Children, depending on age, might require more.

New study promotes healthy lifestyles to fight cancer

Many people think getting cancer is just the luck of the draw. A new poll found 43 per cent of Canadians think this way, but new research shows one-quarter to one-third of all cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. It’s this groundbreaking evidence that links diet, exercise, and weight management to preventing cancer which sparked an international symposium in Halifax starting today.

“What will come out of this is a change of thinking, it will be a new look and understanding of the evidence. It will be more compelling change opportunities,” said Theresa Marie Underhill, CEO of Cancer Care Nova Scotia.

“Just imagine the impact if we take what we know and apply it.”

More than 120 people from a number of sectors will ruminate on how to start a wave of societal change that will lead to fewer diagnoses of cancer. An estimated 74,000 Canadians die of some form of cancer every year. Based on their own research in Nova Scotia, Underhill said most people — at around 72 per cent of those polled — think cancer is the greatest risk to their health. Getting the word out about how people can prevent this disease in the first place in crucial.

“Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. We’re putting the power with individuals to make a difference for themselves and change their luck, quite frankly,” she said.

“Not too many times you have the opportunity to change your luck.”

Healthful Choice for a Healthier Lifestyle

Healthful Choice is all about helping people make the right choices so they can live a healthier lifestyle. We are all about sharing the information needed to get you on the path to a lifestyle that is healthier and more fulfilling. Although living a healthy lifesytle is a choice, it has to start by focusing on spiritual growth, proper nutrition, daily exercise, and personal finances. We have a ten step daily guide that you can use to begin your journey.

Everyone of us are faced with making choices everyday. Everything we due in life is based on choices. Our choices, whether good or bad, have a direct affect on our our lives. Although we may not see the immediate affects, the results of choices we make today will affect our lives tomorrow, next month, and in the coming years. Do you believe

  • You can do something in the next few days that will make your life worse?
  • You can do something in the next few weeks that will make your life better?
  • he choice is yours?
  • every choice you make has an end result?
By answering yes to these questions, you have just admitted that no matter how good or bad your past was, or how good or bad your present situation is, there is something you can do right now that will either make your future situation better or make your future situation worse – whether you belive it or not, it's your choice.

The answers to these simple questions have proven that you already know the choice is yours. Although the ultimate outcome of your life is in God's hands, there are choices you can make that will make your life more exciting and fulfilling. Even though many people make it a proclaimation, the outcome of your life is NOT the fault of your parents, spouse, teachers, or children, but rather a combination of daily choices. And these choices are yours and yours alone!

If you're looking to make a change for the better, take that first step today! I promise, you will not regret it.

Fitness Program Tips

How To Live a Healthier Life


People are obsessed with dieting and weight loss! Don't believe me? Just tune-in to any source of advertising...you're instantly bombarded with the latest diet schemes and "Hollywood" food fads.

Here in America, we have built a thriving industry trying to control our weight and treat the consequences of over-indulgence. The cost of weight loss and obesity related health care treatments is staggering...Americans alone spend around $114 billion every year! And even with all this interest in losing weight, we continue to pack on the pounds like never before...

- A whopping 64 percent of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese...up about eight percent from earlier estimates.

- Among children and teens ages 6-19, 15 percent or almost nine million are overweight...triple the rate in 1980!

- Nearly one-third of all adults are now classified as obese.

For Americans, modern life may be getting TOO easy. Our cushy lifestyle means we expend less energy and consequently need fewer calories to sustain our normal body weight.

Think about it for a moment...

Entertainment no longer requires energy expenditure. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. We now entertain ourselves in the comfort of our own home while watching TV and munching on our favorite snack. Whether it's television, computers, remote controls, or automobiles, we are moving less and burning fewer calories. Common activities that were once a part of our normal routine have disappeared...activities like climbing stairs, pushing a lawn mower or walking to get somewhere.

And please do not misunderstand me...I appreciate comfortable living just as much as the next person. But, here is the problem...

With all of our modern day conveniences and "cushy" style of living we have not adjusted our caloric intake to compensate for our decreased caloric expenditure. We consume more calorie rich and nutrient deficient foods than ever before. Consider a few of the following examples comparing what we eat "today" vs the 1970's (U.S. Department of Agriculture survey):

- We are currently eating more grain products, but almost all of them are refined grains (white bread, etc.). Grain consumption has jumped 45 percent since the 1970's, from 138 pounds of grains per person per year to 200 pounds! Only 2 percent of the wheat flour is consumed as whole wheat.

- Our consumption of fruits and vegetables has increased, but only because French fries and potato chips are included as vegetables. Potato products account for almost a third of our "produce" choices.

- We're drinking less milk, but we've more than doubled our cheese intake. Cheese now outranks meat as the number one source of saturated fat in our diets.

- We've cut back on red meat, but have more than made up for the loss by increasing our intake of chicken (battered and fried), so that overall, we're eating 13 pounds more meat today than we did back in the 1970's.

- We're drinking three times more carbonated soft drinks than milk, compared to the 1970's, when milk consumption was twice that of pop.

- We use 25 percent less butter, but pour twice as much vegetable oil on our food and salads, so our total added fat intake has increased 32 percent.

- Sugar consumption has been another cause of our expanding waistlines. Sugar intake is simply off the charts. People are consuming roughly twice the amount of sugar they need each day, about 20 teaspoons on a 2000 calorie/day diet. The added sugar is found mostly in junk foods, such as pop, cake, and cookies. In 1978, the government found that sugars constituted only 11 percent of the average person's calories. Now, this number has ballooned to 16 percent for the average American adult and as much as 20 percent for American teenagers!

Unfortunately, it would seem that the days of wholesome and nutritious family dinners are being replaced by fast food and eating on-the-run. We have gradually come to accept that it's "OK" to sacrifice healthy foods for the sake of convenience and that larger serving portions equate to better value.

It's time to recognize that we are consuming too many calories and it's time to start doing something about it! Each of us can decide TODAY that healthy eating and exercise habits WILL become a normal part of our life!

We can begin by exploring our values, thoughts and habits... slowly and deliberately weed-out the unhealthy habits and activities and start living a more productive and rewarding life. And remember, it has taken a long time to develop bad habits, so be patient as you work toward your goal!

Fitness Program Tips

Get Healthier Life With Physical Activity

The Benefits of Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can help:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you're an older adult
  • Increase your chances of living longer
If you're not sure about becoming active or boosting your level of physical activity because you're afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.

Start slowly. Cardiac events, such as a heart attack, are rare during physical activity. But the risk does go up when you suddenly become much more active than usual. For example, you can put yourself at risk if you don't usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like shoveling snow. That's why it's important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.

If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. If your condition stops you from meeting the minimum Guidelines, try to do as much as you can. What's important is that you avoid being inactive. Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.

The bottom line is - the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt.

If you want to know more about how physical activity improves your health, the section below gives more detail on what research studies have found.

Control Your Weight
Looking to get to or stay at a healthy weight? Both diet and physical activity play a critical role in controlling your weight. You gain weight when the calories you burn, including those burned during physical activity, are less than the calories you eat or drink. For more information see our section on balancing calories. When it comes to weight management, people vary greatly in how much physical activity they need. You may need to be more active than others to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

To maintain your weight: Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week. Strong scientific evidence shows that physical activity can help you maintain your weight over time. However, the exact amount of physical activity needed to do this is not clear since it varies greatly from person to person. It's possible that you may need to do more than the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to maintain your weight.

To lose weight and keep it off: You will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your diet and reduce the amount of calories you're eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan. The CDC has some great tools and information about nutrition, physical activity and weight loss.

Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. But following the Guidelines and getting at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for these diseases. You can reduce your risk even further with more physical activity. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.

Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which you have some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. Research shows that lower rates of these conditions are seen with 120 to 150 minutes (2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity. And the more physical activity you do, the lower your risk will be.

Already have type 2 diabetes? Regular physical activity can help control your blood glucose levels. To find out more, visit Diabetes and Me.

Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers
Being physically active lowers your risk for two types of cancer: colon and breast. Research shows that:
  • Physically active people have a lower risk of colon cancer than do people who are not active.
  • Physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than do people who are not active.
Reduce your risk of endometrial and lung cancer. Although the research is not yet final, some findings suggest that your risk of endometrial cancer and lung cancer may be lower if you get regular physical activity compared to people who are not active.

Improve your quality of life. If you are a cancer survivor, research shows that getting regular physical activity not only helps give you a better quality of life, but also improves your physical fitness.

Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles
As you age, it's important to protect your bones, joints and muscles. Not only do they support your body and help you move, but keeping bones, joints and muscles healthy can help ensure that you're able to do your daily activities and be physically active. Research shows that doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening physical activity of at least a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.

Hip fracture is a serious health condition that can have life-changing negative effects, especially if you're an older adult. But research shows that people who do 120 to 300 minutes of at least moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week have a lower risk of hip fracture.

Regular physical activity helps with arthritis and other conditions affecting the joints. If you have arthritis, research shows that doing 130 to 150 (2 hours and 10 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, low-impact aerobic activity can not only improve your ability to manage pain and do everyday tasks, but it can also make your quality of life better.

Build strong, healthy muscles. Muscle-strengthening activities can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Improve Your Mental Health and Mood
Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and may help you sleep better. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these mental health benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial.

Improve Your Ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls
A functional limitation is a loss of the ability to do everyday activities such as climbing stairs, grocery shopping, or playing with your grandchildren.

How does this relate to physical activity? If you're a physically active middle-aged or older adult, you have a lower risk of functional limitations than people who are inactive.

Already have trouble doing some of your everyday activities? Aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities can help improve your ability to do these types of tasks.

Are you an older adult who is at risk for falls? Research shows that doing balance and muscle-strengthening activities each week along with moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, can help reduce your risk of falling.

Increase Your Chances of Living Longer
Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from the leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers. This is remarkable in two ways:
  1. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.
  2. You don't have to do high amounts of activity or vigorous-intensity activity to reduce your risk of premature death. You can put yourself at lower risk of dying early by doing at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
Everyone can gain the health benefits of physical activity - age, ethnicity, shape or size do not matter.

Fitness Program Tips

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