Woman running

Here's How To Increase Your Stamina

So you’re all set. You’ve got your sports bra, your yoga pants, your sweatband, and your athletic sneakers. You’ve even got a cool pair of those cut-off gloves to help you grip the equipment better. You’ve got it all planned out. Ten minutes on the treadmill, a few lifts, ten minutes on the stationary bike, and a few reps on the elliptical. Start with a few stretches, check yourself in the mirror, you’ve got this. You step up on the treadmill, start it up, two minutes later, you’re ready to hit the showers. If you want to make your investments in workout gear and gym memberships pay off, it’s probably in your best interest to be able to use them for more than ten minutes at a time, and that means you need to build stamina. Stamina is the body’s ability to partake in physical activity without fatigue or having to quit before reaching your goals. If you need to increase your endurance and make your investments pay off, here are some exercises that may help.

Balance
Balance is key to endurance. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, improving balance is a crucial component of stamina building. Training tools like a balance pillow, balance disc, foam roller, balance board, or a stability board are all great for building balance. If you’re using a balance disc, try to stand or sit on it while keeping your body steady.

Woman lifting dumbbells

Free Weights
Free weights can increase stamina while increasing your muscles size and boosting overall health levels. Use hand-held barbells for lifts, focusing on the legs, torso, and upper body. One to three sets of 15 to 20 reps should help with building muscle endurance.

Intervals
Interval training entails alternating between short bouts of high-intensity exercise with longer bouts of lower intensity ones. Research published in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise,” found that while subjects who engaged in moderate cycling for an hour a day for six weeks showed improved physical endurance, they showed no such change in anaerobic endurance. In contrast, cyclists performing eight sets of high-intensity 20-second intervals with 10 second rest periods for six weeks improved not only aerobic endurance but also increased anaerobic stamina by 28 percent.

Woman working out

Circuits
Circuit training refers to the use of three to twelve different exercise stations that combine strength training with cardiovascular exercise, putting all muscle groups to work. Because circuit training challenges both anaerobic and aerobic endurance, it is a great way to build stamina. Aim to perform each exercise for thirty seconds, giving yourself a 30-second break in-between. As your stamina increases, try reducing rest periods to 15 seconds while increasing work time to 45 seconds.

Medicine Balls
Working out with medicine balls is another way to lengthen staying power, and are great for doing V-ups. V-ups require lying on your back with your arms outstretched overhead holding a medicine ball with your legs down. Raise your legs into a V-position while using your arms to raise the medicine ball over your head. Lower your arms and legs and repeat.

How are you working to improve your stamina? Let us know how your lasting longer to reach your goals!

Woman running

Get Your Workout Without Hitting the Gym

If a tree falls in the forest with no one to hear it, does it make a noise? The same can be applied to real life situations. If we eat at home alone, did we really eat? If we drink at home alone, did we really get drunk? And if we exercise at home alone, did we really work out? Doing things publicly seems to affirm that they really happened, but they usually involve extra expense, extra energy, and, of course, leaving the house. Sometimes there can be advantages to eating without a restaurant, drinking without a bar, and working out without a gym. Here are some ways you can do the last, and when you see the results, there will be no doubt you had a great workout.

Running
You definitely don’t need a gym to take off running. And no one will deny the results. You’ll get fabulously toned legs and burn tons of calories. Plus, there is no shortage of places to do it. There are running and jogging trails all over the place, or you can run along the street to change up the scenery.

Walking
If running is too brutal for you, walking may be more your thing. You’ll get in your cardio and your calorie burn. You can join a walking club if you need some people to motivate you, or start your own.

Woman exercise to video

Exercise Videos and TV Shows
Videos are great because they provide you with a structured exercise that you can do in the privacy of your home at a time most convenient for you. They also cover every type of workout known to man, from yoga to high intensity, to step aerobics, so you can find the one best suited to your abilities and preferences.

At Home Exercise Equipment
Stationary bikes, treadmills, and stair masters are all great ways to workout without the gym. They can cost a pretty penny but are well worth it when considering what you may be saving in time and gym membership fees.

Woman swimming

Swimming
Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories without damaging your joints, and you don’t even have to break a sweat. While you may not have the luxury of an Olympic sized pool in your back yard, there may be a community center or park nearby that does.

Bicycling
Bikes are functional as well as beneficial to your health. You can get a quick workout while running an errand, or take a more intensity focused ride. Neighborhoods are making their streets more bike friendly, and, biking is a good way to exercise your environmental consciousness while you exercise your body.

Woman playing with pug

Play With Your Kids Or Pets
You’ll get a workout and your family will love you for it. See who lasts longer, you or the kids. Plus, it’s more entertaining than walking on a treadmill.

Public Courts
Public courts are ideal for cool summer nights and lazy summer Saturday mornings. Many parks offer tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts to the public. It’s BYO on the equipment, but space is free.

Are you working out without a gym this summer? Good for you? Let us know what you do when the gym is not an option?

Woman with headphones on the bed

Add Pink Noise To Your Bedroom Routine

Let’s face it, everything is better in pink. If there are two cupcakes, one with white icing and one with pink, which one do you pick? Hostess snowballs? Definitely better in pink. If your Mom bought you and your sister notebooks, she had better have made sure both or neither were pink. Party dresses? Don’t even go there.

If you are familiar with white noise, you know it to be that pleasant buzzing that often occurs when the radio loses reception. It is often used in healthcare to block out noise caused by hearing impairments or as a sleep aid, but did you know about pink noise? Although it may sound like the latest psychedelic rock movement, pink noise is more accurately the latest proposed solution to sleep interruption. And, according to a recent study, it may actually help to improve memory as well.

Sound Stimulation and Sleep
According to recent research done at Northwestern University, when gentle sound stimulation is synced up to the rhythm of brain waves, it can not only lead to a better sleep in older adults, but can also improve their ability to remember specific words.

Why Deep Sleep Is important
Memory loss typically occurs throughout the process of aging; so does the gradual decrease in deep sleep. Scientists suspect a connection. Because deep sleep is a critical component in the consolidation of memory, it is believed that a reduction in one may be responsible for a reduction in the other. Therefore, scientists believe that using sound stimulation to induce deep sleep may be the solution to memory loss.

During deep sleep, brainwave production is reduced to a rate of one per second, quite a bit slower than the 10 oscillations that happen during the seconds when one is awake. Giovanni Santstasi, co-author of the study was able to create an algorithm capable of transmitting audio during the rising of slow wave oscillations, to boost the synchronization of neural activity.

Woman sleeping

The Study
The study was comprised of 13 individuals aged 60 and up recruited from Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. It targeted individuals suffering from low levels of sleep and memory loss.

The aim of the study was to monitor brain waves in individuals using a breakthrough audio system that can lock in audio stimulation at the moment when specific neuron communication occurs during deep sleep.

Participants were exposed to a night of acoustic stimulation followed by a night of false stimulation. The two stimulations were identical, except for the fact that the individuals did not hear noise in the false stimulation. Upon awakening, the subjects were given memory tests, with another set given the following morning.

Results
The study found that while memory recall ability rose by a couple of percentage points following the false stimulation, those who listened to the pink noise showed a vast increase in memory recall. In fact, those who were subjected to the acoustic stimulation showed three times as much improvement as their counterparts. These finding suggest that slow wave sleep can indeed have a significant impact on memory.

What Does This Mean?
For those suffering memory loss, the new is good. It suggests that there might be a way to safely improve memory without the use of expensive, side effect inducing medicine. “Pink noise” may offer a completely safe and simple alternative.

What do you think about the latest findings? Is pink the new white? Let us know!

Pump Up the Fiber In Your Diet

Fiber is necessary for a person’s well being. It increases the immune system in the gut, keeps the digestive lining healthy, supports the good probiotic bacteria, and absorbs excess cholesterol, fat, and toxins from our bodies. Here are some ways of increasing the fiber in your diet.

Cereal
Eating whole grain, unsweetened cereal with 4 grams of fiber is the ideal, but some studies show that just any old cereal might do the trick. According to research done by the University of California, cereal eaters eat less fat and more fiber than those who make other breakfast choices.

Two Apples A Day
Keep two doctors away? Apples are a source of pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that digests slowly and helps to keep you full. One study showed that just 5 grams of the stuff left people feeling satisfied for four hours.

yogurt parfait

Yogurt Parfait
Here’s a great breakfast idea that’s packed with fiber. Mix one small container of yogurt with 1/3 cup all-bran cereal, 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and 5 diced strawberries. Not only will you get a delicious breakfast, you’ll also get 12.2 grams of fiber, which is almost half your daily allowance.

Carrots and Broccoli in Low -Fat Ranch
Each cup of veggies will give you five grams of fiber. Snack on this three times a week.

Oatmeal
If a bowl of the stuff is not your style, you can use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs on your meatballs and meatloaf, sprinkle it on your ice cream, or bake it into cookies and muffins.

Trail mix
Mix raisins, peanuts, chocolate-covered soy nuts, and high fiber cereal for a great munchie mix. One handful makes for great high fiber between- meals snack.

whole grain crackers

Whole Grain Crackers
A little cracker can go a long way. One whole wheat cracker has 1/2 gram of fiber; do the math and that translates to 5 grams in ten crackers. Next time your looking for something to spread your peanut butter on, look for some whole grain crackers instead of bread.

Kidney Beans and Chickpeas
Lisa Andrews, RD, and nutritionist at the VA Medical Center in Cincinnati, says that you can get an additional 5 grams of fiber by adding a quarter cup of chickpeas and kidney beans to your next salad.

Switch From White to a Brown Foods
Rice is a great example. You can also switch regular pasta to whole wheat along with your corn burritos, white bread and cous cous. Working these into your diet gradually can increase your daily fiber intake by an easy ten grams without making a radical change to your diet.

What are you doing to pump up the fiber in your diet? Let us know!

Medical consultation

Prostate Cancer Does Not Discriminate

Getting screened for prostate cancer is not glamorous, it’s not enviable, and it’s certainly not something young men dream about. However, it is necessary to get one in order to prevent serious health risks. Here is some information on what you need to know about the PSA test.

What is the PSA Test?
PSA , or prostrate specific antigen, is a protein that is produced by the cells in the prostrate gland. The level of PSA in the blood is often elevated in men with prostrate cancer. Men who report prostate symptoms are subject to PSA testing to determine what is causing their problem. The test is done in combination with a digital rectal exam (DRE).

Who Should Get a PSA Test?
Traditionally, doctors have recommended yearly PSA screening beginning at the age of 50. Some recommended that men at a higher risk, including African American men and those with prostate cancer in their family history, begin the screening at 40 or 45. However, due to recent revelations about the potential benefits and harms associated with the screening, some organizations have begun to argue that a man who is considering testing should be informed in detail about the possible outcomes. The test is covered by Medicare and most private insurers.

What Are the Possible Harms or Limitations of a PSA Screening?
Early prostate cancer protection may not reduce the risk of dying from the disease. PSA screenings may detect small tumors that grow too slowly to become life threatening. Detecting these tumors is called an “over diagnosis” and treating them is called “over treatment.” Over treatment can expose meant to harmful side effects of the treatment, including urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and problems with bowel function.

Doctor and patient

Tests may give false positives or false negatives. A false positive test can occur if a man’s PSA level is high.but no cancer is present. This is the case with most men; only about 25% of men who have an elevated PSA level test positive for cancer.

What Should You Do If Your Screening test shows a high PSA level?
Usually doctors recommend that a man showing an elevated PSA level have another screening to confirm the results. If the level is still high, the doctor will probably suggest that the man continue with DREs and PSA tests at regular intervals.
If the levels continue to go up, or if a lump is detected, doctors will order additional tests. If cancer is suspected, a doctor will recommend that the patient have a prostate biopsy to determine the nature of the problem.

Research
The largest of research studies done on prostate and cancer screening was conducted by the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Unit. Evidence showed that most men who were treated for prostate cancer would not have been detected without the screening.

If you’ve had or are thinking of having a prostate exam done, let us know how you weigh in. And keep in mind, prostate cancer does not discriminate, even against international spies.

Too Much TV Can Increase Your Child's Risk Of Diabetes

Is your television the elephant in the room? That huge flatscreen that claims the attention of everyone in the room, sucking the attention away from books, exercise, and school work. Even turned off, it tempts us as the ideal solution to awkward silences, forced conversation, and strenuous activity. The kids want it, it’s easier than coming up with alternatives, and, let’s face it, you kind of want to see it yourself. So why not just give in and put it on? Because there is a laundry list of research proving that too much television is bad for your kids, and now there’s a new addition. Recent studies link television viewing with childhood diabetes.

The Facts
In a study done by British researchers, 4,500 children between the ages of nine and ten were asked about the amount of time they spent playing computer games and watching television. Of that number, 37% reported screen time of 60 minutes or less, while 18% claimed a daily habit of three or more hours.

An examination of the children to determine insulin resistance, blood sugar levels, amount of body fat and levels of physical activities followed. Results revealed that the children who admitted to three or more hours of screen time per day had a high level of insulin resistance, lower levels of the appetite controlling leptin, and a higher BMI, all of which are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

Group of children watching TV

However, before you push the off button on the remote control, keep in mind there are qualifying factors. According to Claire Nightingale, PhD, “Screen time could be capturing something about your behaviors-how much sedentary time you have and how much you break those up, (or) what your dietary habits (are), potentially, In other words, the tv watching may not be the problem, but rather the symptom of a larger problem.

Healthy Media Use
While there are no strict guidelines on how much tv viewing is dangerous, there are a few ways of keeping your child’s screen time down:

  • Plan to have media free family time together, like family dinners.
  • Designate media free locations in the home.
  • Find out how much time your child is spending on media and place limits on hours and types of media.
  • Engage in family activities like reading, sports, and talking.
  • Model behavior by turning off tv and smartphone during media free time.
  • Share media rules with grandparents or caregivers to make sure the rules remain consistent.
  • Get together with other parents in your community to advocate for healthier habits.

What are you doing to make sure that your kids’ viewing times are down to a minimum? Let us know what steps you’re taking as a parent to keep your kids healthy.

Causes of Adult Malnutrition

Malnutrition. It is defined as an excess or deficiency in intake of nutrients It refers to both the overweight and the underweight and, for the first time in centuries, the numbers are getting close. While feeding the hungry has always been always a priority, it is increasingly becoming the case that hunger is merely being traded for obesity, with one form of malnutrition simply being replaced by another, resulting in heart disease, cancer, chronic illness and shorter life expectancies. Ironically, at time when out nation has the most potential to eliminate the epidemic, it has boosted to record levels. Here are some of the most common causes of adult malnutrition.

Poor Diet
One of the leading causes of malnutrition is a poor diet. When an individual does not eat enough food, or if the food they do eat does not provide them with the nutrients required for good health, malnutrition may occur. Improper diet my be cause by several factors, including dysphagia, which is a difficulty swallowing due to an illness.

Sad woman

Mental Health Disorders
Poor mental health is often linked to a malnutrition. Depression may interfere with healthy eating habits and patients with eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia, may also suffer from malnutrition.

Limited Mobility
Individuals who have a hard time getting around may become victims of malnutrition because of difficulty getting out to go shopping or simply finding food preparation difficult.

Digestive disorders
Despite eating properly, certain people have health conditions which prevent their bodies from absorbing the nutrients necessary for good health. Examples include individuals with ulcerative colitis of Crohn’s Disease.
Patients with Celiac disease have genetic disorders that make them gluten intolerant. This results in an increased risk of damage to the lining of their intestines. This condition also results in poor food absorption.

Woman drinking

Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a long-term disease that can result in gastritis or pancreatic damage. These conditions interfere with the body’s digestion and prevent the body from absorbing vitamins and producing hormones necessary for the regulation of metabolism. In addition, the calories supplied by the alcohol may reduce food cravings, and result in the person’s lack of desire for food. Consequently, the person’s meager diet may not supply him or her with essential nutrients.

Food Shortages
Poor and developing nations often suffer food shortages due to lack of agricultural technology, such as fertilizers, pesticides, and advanced methods of irrigation.

Food Prices and Distribution
Shockingly, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 80% of malnourished children live in nations that actually produce a surplus of food. In these cases, economist blame high food prices and problems with distribution of food to the needy.

Lack of Breastfeeding
Certain experts believe that much of the world’s malnutrition in children and infants is due to lack of breastfeeding. Some women are of the belief that bottle feeding is better, while other mothers, usually in the developing countries, abandon breastfeeding because their babies do not latch on properly, or the mothers find breastfeeding to be painful and uncomfortable.

Do you have any ideas for combatting malnutrition? Let us know how you believe this worldwide epidemic can be addressed. We’d love to start the conversation.

Woman using barbells

Use Muscle, Don't Lose It

We’ve all seen it. The celebrity weight transformations. A celebrity gets a role and that calls for an actor with a muscular physique and all of a sudden they’ve transformed into the “Incredible Hulk,” seemingly overnight, adding masses of muscle to their formerly moderate frames, only to slim down just as quickly to normal or even emaciated proportions depending on their next role. Of course they will openly discuss how they “bulked up” or “slimmed down” with tales of excessive carb, consumption and exhausting workouts or stories of food deprivation worthy of a homeless orphan.

However, while we are used to the seemingly impossible becoming commonplace in Hollywood, we hope for a more stable body weight for ourselves. When we build muscle, we generally hope to maintain it, but we need to use it to make sure we don’t lose it.

The Bad News
If you don’t start exercising now, your muscles will shrink by the time your are seventy. Two recent studies found that the atrophy of muscles previously though to be a normal part of aging is not inevitable.

One study used MRI snapshots to compare muscle mass in the mid thighs of athletes aged 40 to 81. Images revealed not much difference between the younger and older athletes and found very little decrease in mid thing muscles with age. In contrast, in healthy but sedentary 70 year old, the results were very different, showing a significant decrease in muscle mass.

Another study looked at the “motor units” of the leg muscles. Motor units are the basic units of the muscles, each of which is connected to a single neuron. It is believed the part of the general weakening that occurs with age is attributed to the atrophy of the motor units. The study revealed a close similarity in the number of motor units of 60 and 20 year old runners. However, this did not apply to the arm muscles, with older runners and non runners alike experiencing similar decline in the motor units of the arms.

Woman with prominent biceps

The Good News
The loss of muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, can be managed with exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of hormones crucial to healthy muscle mass, such as the growth hormone, crucial to the mechano growth factor. Exercise can also prevent the loss of essential bone and muscle associated with aging.

Although aerobic exercise is great for the cardiovascular system and effective in keeping down fat levels, it is only mildly helpful in maintaining the lean body mass you already have. When it comes to the preserving and increasing lean mass, resistance training is the way to go. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises strength training, such as using weights, machines, bands, and other devices to promote mobility, improve fitness, and increase bone density.

The Big Four For Muscle Building
Because your body is made primarily of “push and pull” muscles, it is important to focus on exercises that focus on those movements. The squat is a great whole body “push” exercise and should be coupled with a whole body “push-pull” like the deadlift, which incorporates core and lower body muscles. For the upper body, the bench press and barbell row are the two main lifts to incorporate into your strength training routine. Doing these will let you minimize finishing exercises for the abs and calves.

How are you using your muscles? Let us know! You’re looking great!