Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Keep climbing the hill even after you get over it...

It's a commonly known fact that we lose muscle mass as we age, but not many of us know the actual reason behind the process (other than the fact that we're getting older and that is just one of the lovely perks).

The biological process (called AMP-activated protein kinase, or AMPK), responsible for fortifying muscles, begins to slow down as we get on in years. Less muscle means less calories burned, less strength and a higher health risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes. The good news is that exercise helps stimulate AMPK production, which helps the body burn off fat by producing mitochondria, the power sources of cells (athletes have been shown to have a much higher number of mitochondria, which is assumed to be linked to AMPK activity).

Need a reason to exercise today? It's all about AMPK.

Source: Mercola.com

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Be the change you wish to see.

So, I have been doing some critiquing of my blog lately based on feedback and my own personal exploration of blogs out there, and I realize that there is a huge, important factor from my forum. My voice! I’ve been writing this more like I was writing an article and less like I am having a conversation with you.

Well, this is me clearing my throat.

Bear with me as I try this out – I am hoping that we’ll connect a little better as you realize that I, like you, am constantly dealing with challenges and obstacles when it comes to life and wellness.

Today’s challenge? A major case of the blah’s!
I came to this realization about my blog this morning, while I was mulling around, drinking my coffee this morning, answering emails, perusing the news and checking in with my favorite blogs. It’s a chilly, windy Sunday here in Miami (yes, 56 degrees is now chilly for me - my blood has thinned out since I left NYC!) and I’m feeling rather blah :-P

I was sitting here thinking, “hmmm.. maybe I will just be a total slouch today and wallow in my blahness”. But then I looked at the quote that’s posted on my bulletin board that says:

Be the change you wish to see.
I don’t want to feel like this, so I am taking actions I know will make me feel better: I put on my favorite CD and now I’m gearing up and lacing up my sneakers to go for a run outside. And I booked myself a massage (a complete self-indulgent act that is way out of my budget, but hey) for early in the evening.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but just by making the decision not to feel like this, I already feel better! The mind truly has so much power over our moods, emotions and bodies. Instead of denying how I felt, I just decided to recognize it and I believe I can change it.

(I’ll check in with you tonight to let you if I have truly cured my case of the blahs ;-)
Enjoy the day!
Update: After my massage, I am left with only two words: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

6 60-second health solutions

OK, you want some of the easiest, quickest ways you can improve your health and wellness?

Take 60-seconds out of your day to:

Eat a handful of blueberries. A recent study by Tuft University ranked blueberries the number one free radical fighting food. High in flavor and nutrients and low in calories, blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

Buy a new toothbrush. The ADA recommends replacing your brush after three months or after an illness like a cold or the flu in order to keep your mouth and body healthy.

Use earplugs. A University of Michigan study finds that blood pressure is more affected by overall noise exposure than sudden loud noises. So turn down your ipod and wear a pair of earplugs to your next rock concert and your heart will thank you.

Snack on some dark chocolate. Chocolate? Healthy? Yup! Not only is It full of antioxidants, there is even evidence that the cocoa phenols found it dark chocolate also lowers blood pressure. Just make sure that its dark chocolate.

Take several deep breaths. The expression “take a breather” has some merit – deep breathing helps reduce stress, clear and focus the mind and release endorphins (that help relieve headaches, sleeplessness, backaches and other stress related aches and pains).

Drink a glass of red wine. Moderate red wine consumption may help protect against certain cancers and heart disease, and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The power of simplicity

I had the wonderful opportunity to take a great walk on the beach with a good friend this morning on this beautiful day here in Miami. While we were walking on the white sand, with the sun shining down on us, gazing at the crystal clear aquamarine water, I had one of those moments when you step outside of yourself and look around and say, “Wow! This is my life!” Needless to say, it was a fantastic start to the morning.

Now I know we don’t all live on the beach (I know, I hear those of you who are stuck in inches of snow cursing me right now), but there is something beautiful and inspiring in your environment somewhere (even if it may be buried in snow at this moment). Maybe you can go for a walk today in your snowshoes – admiring the way the sun makes the snow sparkle and enjoying the crunching of the snow beneath your feet. Snowshoeing happens to be an amazing workout – it is possible to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour!

My point is that it is so easy to overlook the simple things. Don’t get so carried away with forcing yourself to the gym in order to squeeze in a 45-minute cardio session – sometimes all it takes is a walk outside. Fitness begins from within. Start the change from the inside, and soon your outside will reflect that same great energy. Appreciate and work with what you have today, while you continue to build a foundation of change for tomorrow.

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Thought for today:

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
- Buddhist proverb

Friday, February 2, 2007

The best/worst junk food out there!

And the award goes to: the caffeinated doughnut!

Are you finding it just too time consuming to drink a cup of coffee with your morning doughnut? Well, relief is in sight! A North Carolina molecular scientist has created the ultimate in convenience junk food: the caffeinated doughnut. Each doughnut is equivalent of two cups of coffee, with no bitter aftertaste.

What will they think of next?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Can exercise reduce your risk of getting sick during this cold and flu season?

The weather outside is frightful, and all is not so delightful – amid all of the sneezing, sniffling and coughing, it is only a matter of time before you come down with that nasty cold, right?

Not if you are a regular exerciser!

We know that exercise can help relieve stress (which can lower the body’s ability to ward off infection). But exercise has also been shown to more directly assist in the prevention of the common cold.

One research team found that more active people can more easily resist the common cold. The study, published in the August 2002 journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine, confirmed what had long been assumed: consistent exercise can reduce the risk of catching a cold. After studying over 500 healthy men and women, the more active people average one cold (23% less than the average) over the course of the year long study, and they reduced their overall risk of catching a cold by 32%.

And it can reduce the duration of it if you do catch the dreading cold.

Another study, conducted by David Nieman of Appalachian State University, found that with women who had colds but still walked regularly had symptoms that lasted five days or less, while women who did not walk suffered through seven days of symptoms.

If you are sick, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends:

> Mild to moderate exercise only if your symptoms are from “the neck up”

> Taking a minimum of two weeks off from intensive training if you have more severe symptoms such as fever

> Reducing the level of intensity of your usual workouts until you have completely recovered

Exercise seems to stimulate immune cells that attack cold infections. While the heightened immunity stimulation lasts only about 1-3 hours, a regular workout routine may continue to increase immunity enough to lower overall risk and duration of colds. Don’t go overboard though, overtraining can suppress the immune system and actually make you more susceptible to getting sick. So use those sick days to squeeze in an extra workout, not to stay at home in bed suffering from that nasty cold that has going around the office.

“Exercise may reduce risk of colds.” TB & Outbreaks Week; September 17, 2002, NewsRx.com.
“Statement on Exercise and the Common Cold.” Rose, Verna L.
American Family Physician; June 1, 1998, Vol. 57 Issue 11.
“Exercise, Immunity, and Susceptibility to Infection.” Physician and Sportsmedicine: Exercise is Medicine; June 1999, Vol. 27, No. 6.