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Woman refusing offer of cigarettes

Kick Butts This Summer

If you’re still smoking, you must be a pretty tough cookie. Let’s face it, those anti-smoking ads can be pretty discouraging if you don’t want to shake the habit. In fact, if you’re still smoking, that means you’ve toughed it out through media scare tactics, dirty looks, bad seating, no seating, fines, and price hikes- OUCH! But there is one thing that’s going to break you- smoking itself. You may have pretty thick skin when it comes to popular opinion, but lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke can be a lot harder to take in stride. If you are looking to quit this summer, here are a few tips that might be worth checking out.

Find A Reason
If you’re going to do something, you need a reason to do it, and giving up smoking is no exception. Why is it you want to quit? Is it to feel better, look better, lessen your risk of disease, or just to protect loved ones from second-hand smoke? Remember, the first step is motivation.

Don’t Try To Go Cold Turkey
One of the biggest mistakes people, when they attempt to quit smoke, is by trying to do it “cold turkey.” Nicotine withdrawal needs to be done in small doses to avoid unpleasant symptoms.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy
If nicotine cravings prove too overwhelming, replacement treatments including nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches are available, just don’t smoke while you’re using them.

Prescription Pills
Talk about nicotine replacement with a doctor. Medical professionals may be able to refer you to prescription medications that can help to reduce cravings and reduce symptoms of withdrawal.

Get Support
You’re never too tough to ask for help. If you don’t like the idea of asking for assistance from the same people who kept bugging you to quit, consider going to a counselor. Behavioral therapy has been used to varying degrees of success and can increase the odds of quitting in certain people.

Manage Stress
If you look to cigarettes for stress relief, you may want to consider other options. Yoga, massage, Tai Chai, and exercise are all good ways of relaxing butt free.

Avoid Alcohol
Smoking and drinking often go together, as do coffee and cigarettes, and it can be very tempting to smoke after meals. Try to find replacements for cigarette triggering activities and chew gum or brush your teeth after a meal.

Clean Your House
So, you’re probably thinking you’d rather smoke than clean your house any day, but that’s not quite what this advice is getting at. Ashtrays, lighters, and smells can all trigger the desire to smoke. Empty your house of those reminders and try using some air fresheners to rid your home of the smell.

If At First, You Don’t Succeed….
Remember, relapses happen. If you find yourself returning to the nasty habit, just ask yourself what got you smoking again and try to avoid it next time.

Exercise
Movement and exercise can be a good way of curbing your nicotine cravings, and it also keeps your weight down. Next time you find yourself getting the urge to light up, light out!

Are you trying to kick butts this summer? Let us know your best advice! And good luck, we know you can do it!

Aspirin in woman's hand

This OTC Drug May Increase Your Risk Of Heart Attack

Pain. Barring the occasional UFC fighter, most of us have a very low tolerance for it. In fact, the majority of us want to rid ourselves of it as soon as possible. Luckily, pharmaceutical companies have long recognized the public outcry for quick and effective pain relief, and, as such, there is no shortage of accessible drugs and medications designed to stop every burning, aching, throbbing, and stinging sensation as soon as it hits. However, historically, when a product is in such demand, consumers are often not that particular about the risks involved, and pharmaceutical companies are not likely to highlight them. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the hidden dangers of a common OTC.

NSAIDs
The FDA is set to begin a program of strengthening existing warnings on Drug Facts labels to indicate that NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack. Over the counter NSAIDs are generally used to treat aches and pains and reduce fever. Common examples include ibuprofen, like Advil and Motrin, and naproxen.like Aleve. Some combination medications, like multi-symptom cold relievers, may also contain NSAIDs. According to Karen Mahoney, MD, and deputy director of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products, “Be careful not to take more than one product that contains an NSAID at a time.” She suggests checking the active ingredients list on the Drug Facts label to determine whether or not the product contains an NSAID.

Woman reading labels on her medicine

New Information
NSAIDs already provide information on stroke and heart attack risk on their labels; the FDA have been adding boxed warnings to prescription drug labels since 2005. However, more recent data has prompted the FDA to require companies to update the labels with more specific information. Among the more recent findings is the knowledge that risk of stroke and heart attacks may occur as early as within the first weeks of NSAID treatment. Judy Racoosin, MD, MPH says, “There is no period of use shown to be without risk.” While those who have cardiovascular disease are at the greatest risk for adverse effects of NSAIDs, Racoosin says, “Everyone may be at risk- even people without an underlying risk for cardiovascular disease.”

Consumer Advice
So, if NSAIDs are out, what should you do for pain relief? Experts say consumers can still take them but need to be aware of the implications, especially at high doses. Mahoney says, “As always, consumers must carefully read the Drug Facts label for all nonprescription drugs. Consumers should carefully consider whether the drug is right for them, and use the medicine only as directed. Take the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible.”

If you have a preexisting heart condition or high blood pressure, get a doctor’s opinion before taking an NSAID and weigh the risks and benefits. Also, if you are currently taking aspirin to protect against possible heart attacks and stroke, you should be aware that some NSAIDs, like naproxen a and ibuprofen can interfere with that effect. Mahoney suggests that you do everything possible to reduce risk factors for stroke and heart disease. “Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are significant risk factors for these conditions,” she says, “If you smoke, work on quitting. See your doctor regularly to find out if you have these other strong risk factors, and commit yourself to taking care of them and of your health.”

What are you doing to avoid taking NSAIDs or lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke? let us know how you weigh in! We love to get your thoughts.

Woman with dog at beach

Go Outside To Relieve Anxiety

Technology seems to be determined to deliver everything to us at the push of a button. We can shop, watch movies, eat, date, and even go on roller coasters all within the comfort of our own home. However, if life has become so easy, why do one in five women claim they suffer from anxiety all or most of the time, a figure almost double what it was two years ago? Perhaps it is because they don’t get outside often enough. Coinciding with the advent of Mental Health Awareness Week, ending on May 16, British Military Fitness has released research findings showing a direct link between outdoor exercise and the prevention of anxiety and depression. Could it be that the very technologies designed to lessen stress are really exacerbating it?

The Stats
Not only has the number of women suffering from anxiety been on the rise in the last five years, 22 percent admit being caught up in money worries and concern over the welfare of those close to them. This number has soared since 2009 when a survey by the Mental Health Foundation reported only 12 percent admitting to feelings of stress. In addition to the ladies, the charity Living with Anxiety found that over 50% of all people say they get more anxious now than they did in the past., and in a poll of 2,300 people by YouGov, almost a fifth reported feelings of anxiety about money, debt, and finance.

Anxiety
While anxiety can be a positive and even motivating emotion, constant unease can lead to panic, obsessive behaviors, and social phobias. Some sufferers resort to self-medication, including drugs, alcohol, and overeating, however, there are more healthful ways of coping.

Friends cycling

Benefits of Outdoor Exercise
Research by British Military Fitness shows a direct correlation between outdoor exercise and decreased stress levels. Of 1,000 people surveyed, 53.3 anxiety sufferers reported feeling better after spending time outdoors. Thirty-five percent said exercise boosted their moods, eased nervous feelings and lowered built up angst. According to Rob Love, managing director of BMF, “Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, whether it’s preparing for a job interview or managing a household. The research is encouraging, as it shows there is a recognition that being outdoors and participating in physical activity does help with both anxiety and depression.”

Get Moving
If you’re finding life becoming overwhelming, exercise may be a good way to help you unwind. Exercise releases invigorating chemicals in the body that can have a positive effect on your mood and leave you feeling more relaxed. Added bonuses include a more toned body, higher levels of energy and better sleep. Exercising to reduce stress does not have to be stressful! You don’t have to commit to hours at the gym or high impact activities. A quick stroll or just walk upstairs instead of taking the elevator are both easy ways of sneaking a little movement into your day. Leisure activities can also be a fun way to get your heart rate up. Consider taking a dance class, or playing some golf or tennis.

Are you exercising to stave off depression? Let us know how you lighten up when things get heavy. We love to hear from you!

Woman running across track

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 outside

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 sneezing into napkin

A Novel Treatment For Influenza

Silver. In the world of chemistry, a shiny, white metal found in the earth’s core. In the world of sports, a respectable second place. In folklore, the only material capable of being cast into a bullet effective against a witch, werewolf, or monster. In cutlery, the table setting that your mother only used for “occasions.” In fashion, the symbol of disco, rock and roll, outer space, self-expression, and general rebellion. In medicine, a powerful treatment for influenza. While you may be familiar with most of the above applications of silver, it may surprise you to hear of the last one. New evidence has been found suggesting silver could be Tamiflu’s newest ally in the fight against influenza. Read on to find out more.

Research
The revelation that silver may be an aid in the treatment of influenza was tested when researchers exposed a combination of silver derived test materials and Tamiflu to a type of flu virus called H1N1 and then exposed the virus to Tamiflu alone. The findings show that silver has “remarkable inhibition against H1N1 infection.”

Two-Step Effect
In addition to inhibiting the virus, silver was also found to be effective in preventing the virus from attaching to host cells. This classifies it as a neuraminidase inhibitor. Neuraminidase in an enzyme on the surface of the influenza virus. It is required for the virus to be released from the host cells and spread into the tissues in the body. Silver blocks this from happening. The second step of viral invasion is replication. During this step, viruses need to attach to tissues with a binding material. Influenza HA has a glycoprotein on its surface that lets it bind to the virus. Silver blocks this as well.

Tamiflu pills

Kills Flu Viruses
According to a 2013 study conduct by the Journal of Virological Methods, silver kills many types of flu viruses. Adenoviruses are associated with ocular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal disease which can be especially dangerous to babies and those with weakened immune systems. Because silver has been shown to be able to kill viruses such as H1N1, Hepatitis B, and immunodeficiency viruses, investigators wanted to see if it had the same effect on the adenovirus type 3. Results revealed, “Silver nanoparticles exhibit remarkable inhibitory effects on Ad3 in vitro, which suggest silver nanoparticles could be a potential antiviral agent for inhibiting Ad3 infection.”

Protects Against Second Infection
Silver has also been found to be active against bacteria that can cause secondary complications and infections to a body already weakened by the flu virus. A report in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Journal found that a combination of nano silver particles with sodium alginate, a phytochemical found in brown kelp was able to inhibit the growth and development of several types of pathogenetic bacteria.

Silver You Need
Experts advise the purchase of bio-active silver hydrofoil as a dietary supplement. Look for a solution with 10 parts per million 99.95% dispersal silver nanoparticles in pure hydrofoil as opposed to colloids. Take a tablespoon three times daily for prevention of flu, and up to every 30 minutes during an episode.

Would you take silver as a dietary supplement the next time you have the flu? Let us know, although we hope you never have to find out.

Two female friends hugging

Hug It Out To Slow Down Aging

Have you heard of professional cuddlers? For about $60/hr, you can hire someone for a platonic cuddle up without the complications of a relationship. In fact, some of the services even offer cuddling parties. Sound a little creepy to you? Well, what if you found out that hugging can help to slow down the aging process? According to the University of California, Berkeley, people who don’t hug age faster. Ready to cash in your $60? Let’s look at the effects of oxytocin on the aging process.

The Love Hormone
Oxytocin is also known as the “love hormone” or “trust hormone, and it gets released when people let down their guard and participate in a good hug. As we age and get fewer hugs, the levels of the hormone drop and muscle loss are one of the major side effects. In fact, science shows that we lose five percent of muscle mass per decade once we reach our thirties. In the study at UC Berkeley, oxytocin was injected into older mice who were showing signs of aging and muscle loss. Within nine days of the injection, their muscle mass improved to within 80% of that of the younger mice. Wendy Cousins, coauthor of the Nature Communications study says, “This is good because it demonstrates that extra oxytocin boosts aged tissue stem cells without making muscle stem cells divide uncontrollably.”

Friends laughing

Oxytocin Increases Happiness
Paul Zak, PhD, hypothesized that there was a direct correlation between well-being and happiness and oxytocin, at least for women. To test his theory, he drew blood from 60 female college students after receiving a gift from a stranger of $24. The women were given the option of returning a portion of the money or keeping it. The women were also required to fill out a survey on their satisfaction with life. Results showed that women who showed a larger increase in oxytocin after receiving the money reported being more satisfied with life and were also more likely to share their money with the stranger. They also tended to be more trusting. According to Zak, “Those with higher oxytocin had more sex with fewer partners,” indicating a likelihood to form more long lasting relationships and be liked by others.

Oxytocin Increases Generosity
Another of Zak’s studies found that men treated with oxytocin were more likely to donate money after watching public service ads. Forty-one men were divided into two groups, one of which was given the hormone, and the other of which was given a placebo. They were then shown public service ads on topics such as smoking, drunk driving, and global warming. Zak says, “Those on placebo donated to 21% of the ads, those on oxytocin, 33%.” The men given the hormone donated 56% more money than those given the placebo.

Oxytocin and Social Anxiety
Researcher Jason Yee, PhD, says that oxytocin can help relieve anxiety in social situations. Prairie voles are known to form strong monogamous bonds. Yee exposed the animals to a brief period of stress, and then gave them oxycontin to reduce anxiety and compared the recovery from stress in the animals who recovered alone to those who recovered cuddling with another prairie vole. Yee found that those who were assigned a partner showed less anxiety, and were less likely to try to escape from their cage.

What do you think of professional huggers? Yay or nay? Let us know what you think about paying for hugs.

Woman exercising in the gym

The Importance Of Choosing An Exercise Routine You Enjoy

Looking for a long term love connection is serious business. After all, this is the person you’re thinking of spending the rest of your life with, waking up next to every day, allowing to see you without your makeup. These things can’t be taken lightly; you need to find someone for the long haul. The same can be said of your exercise routine. When it comes to your workout, you need to find something you can see yourself doing on a regular basis; something built around you. The last thing you need is another short-lived fling. Here are some ways to help you pick the right one when it comes to the long haul.

Determine Your Goals
Give yourself a routine that will get you where you want to go. You don’t need to run several miles a day if you’re not planning to run a marathon. Think in terms of what it will take to get you to where you will be healthy and comfortable.

Train Your Whole Person
People tend to get so focused on muscle development that they forget about coordination, breathing, and circulation, even though these are really more important for long term health. Make sure you keep your perspective on achieving larger goals as well as immediate ones.

Separating Weight Loss From Fitness
If you try to equate burning calories directly with weight loss, you may end up very frustrated. According to science, you need to burn off 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Good luck jogging for six hours. Unrealistic goals of burning off a certain number of calories may motivate you to take on routines that are too demanding and may not even accomplish your weight loss goals. A pure recipe for disaster when it comes to formulating a comfortable routine.

Friends working out together

Fit Your Schedule
Remember, exercise is supposed to reduce stress, not create it. If getting to the gym is a problem, exercise at home. if you don’t have two hours to devote toward exercise, a focused twenty-minute workout in the living room is better than an interminable hour or more at the gym. Exercise too boring? Find a buddy to workout with. It may provide the fun and motivation your need to keep at it.

Look for Something With More Than One Training Benefit
Western thinking is often categorical. It ends to separate workouts into categories. Some are done for strength, others for meditation, others for cardio. Eastern disciplines, such as yoga, are more focused on whole person development. You may find that a workout that engages your whole person, mind, body and nervous system, may be more rewarding and stimulating.

Do Something That Fits Into Your Life
There is no reason for extreme exercise unless you’re lifestyle demands it. You don’t need a heavy weight lifting program or intense cardio if you’re not planning to fight in the UFC. Remember, your main goal should always be to live a happy and healthy life.

Have you found the right one? Let us know your exercise love story. We love happy endings.

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!

Senior couple walking in the park

Tips For Starting A Summer Walking Routine

To some, high-intensity internal workouts are the most efficient way of exercising; to others, they are a bizarre three-minute self-torture ritual. Although at times it may seem like the world is being overtaken by the overachieving and impossibly healthy, there are some who still prefer to keep their exercise routines a bit more humane.

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re eighteen months – so let’s talk about an exercise routine so easy that even a baby can do it. Here are some tips for beginning a summer walking routine.

How To Start
The first thing you need for walking is a good pair of shoes and some comfy clothes. Start out slow. Head out the door, walk for ten minutes and walk back. Repeat every day for a week. If you find yourself building stamina, add five minutes to next week’s walk. Keep increasing as is comfortable.

Posture
Keep good posture in mind when you walk. Walk tall. Keep your mind on elongating your body. Your head should be up, your eyes focused forward, Keep your shoulders down, relaxed and back, with your abdominal muscles and buttocks tight.

Preparation
Make sure to have water handy at all times. Be sure to get enough to drink before you walk, and take the water bottle along for mid walk hydration. Try adding stretches to your routine. For example, you might start at a slow pace and stop to do a few warm up drills for flexibility. Slow down your pace at the end of the walk and take some time for a few more stretches. This will help you to feel better while preventing injury.

Sticking with It
The toughest thing for most people starting a fitness routine is making it routine. You should try to walk daily, aiming for a minimum five days of exercise per week. Walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you find yourself short of breath.

Three friends walking

How Much Should You Do?
Speed and distance should not be a priority in the beginning, but once the habit starts to stick, you may want to start developing goals. Here are some general health guidelines:

People walking for general health benefits should try and get in a half hour minimum each day, most days of the week, keeping to “talking pace,” or a comfortable pace at which you can still hold a conversation.

For improvement of cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week are recommended, doing 20 to 30 minutes at a very fast pace. You will find your breathing is elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. Warming up and cooling down time should be additional to the time spent walking.

Those walking to lose weight should probably aim to do 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk rate. The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn. However, make sure to increase pace and mileage gradually to prevent injury.

Tips For Walking Faster
Once you become comfortable with your routine, you may want to speed it up a little. Here are some guidelines for walking faster:

  • Use good posture. Walk tall, keep your gaze forward, focused about 20 feet ahead of you, chin level and head up.
  • Your chest should be slightly raised with your shoulders down, back and relaxed.
  • Your arms should be bent at an angle slightly less severe than 90 degrees. Gently cup your hands and swing arms front to back. The faster you swing your arms, the faster your feet will go, but do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone.
  • Tighten abs and buttocks; keep back flat and pelvis slightly forward.
  • Visualize yourself walking in a straight line.Take smaller faster steps to go faster, trying not to elongate your stride.
  • Push off with your toes, concentrating on landing on your heel and rolling through the step. Use the spring of your calf to propel you.
  • Take deep rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen. Your breathing should be heightened, but not strained.

Have you started your summer exercise routine? How are you staying hot this summer? Let us know!

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