Archive for category Health and Fitness

Get Fit For Life!

AH THE PROMISE OF WASHBOARD ABS AND SCULPTED PECS. After eight long hours hunched over our desks, it’s enough to push us to drop the day’s earnings on fancy elliptical trainersw and treadmills, only to leave them languishing in closets collecting dust, along with our best intentions.

While a grueling workout may harden the bodies of those with rock-hard willpower, there’s good news for the rest of us.  The latest findings from the field of exercise science reveal that moderate exercise has a host of benefits, including a healthier heart and brain, and potentially even a longer life.

GET A MOVE ON

Mounting evidence that sitting still for too long is harmful to your health

couch potato“YOUR TV IS SLOWLY KILLING YOU,” screams one headline.  “Sitting for hours can shave years off your life,” says another.  What started with a few interesting studies has turned into a barrage of alarming media reports on the dangers of sedentary behavior.  Last year, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reported that people who spend four hours a day on screen based activities – computers, video games and television – are twice as likely to have a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack, than those who spend two hours or less sitting still. Another paper compared the mortality records and TV-viewing habits of 11,247 Australians and found that each hour of screen time clipped 22 minutes off study participants’ lives.  More sobering still: the lives of those who spent six hours a day glued to the screen were 4.8 years shorter.

While you rush to lace up your cross-trainers, here’s the real clincher: according to the latest findings, even a daily workout isn’t enough to offset the negative effects of sitting motionless for hours. The solution, researchers say, is to incorporate some movement – any movement at all – into your daily routine.

DESKERCISE

Simple strategies for keeping active on the job

  • Sit on an exercise ball.  A University of Buffalo study says you’ll burn six percent more calories than when sitting in a chair.
  • Stand up when you talk on your smartphone.  Better yet, take a walk.  The more breaks you take from your chair, the trimmer your waistline will be, according to a 2011 report in the European Heart Journal.
  • Stop e-mailing the guy in the next cubicle.  When the next big idea pops into your head, walk over to your coworkers and share it with them in person.
  • Take frequent and regular breaks.  Free downloadable programs like workrave.com remind you when it’s time to get moving.
  • Ask your boss for a stand-up workstation. Some ergonomically designed desks can electronically adjust to varying heights.

deskercise-exercise-ball“The potential adverse health impact of prolonged sitting (which is something we do on average for more than half of each day) is only just being realized. Even small changes, which could be as little as standing up for one minute, might help lower this risk.” – Dr. Genevieve Healy, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Australia

EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN

HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain

WHILE WE KNOW A GOOD WORKOUT can work magic on our bodies, we tend to underestimate the impact exercise has on our brains: reducing stress, enhancing mood, improving focus and decision making ability and stimulating the brain-cell growth that is key to learning.  That’s not all: what gets man neuroscientists up at the crack of dawn for a morning run is growing proof that exercise fuels the brain throughout all stages of life.  Where we once believed there’s no escaping the mind’s inevitable atrophy as we grow old, the advancing neuroimaging techniques such as MRIs show that older people who squeeze in a daily bike ride or a few laps around the pool actually revers the shrinkage of structures that are key to brain health. If this news doesn’t send boomers everywhere running to aquafit class, perhaps they’re having a “senior moment”.

woman stretchingBRAIN PLEASERS

  • Researchers recently put one group of sedentary older adults through a year of modest aerobic exercise and tracked two significant results: an increase in the size of the hippocampus deep inside the brain and gradual improvement on memory tests.
  • Both aerobic exercise and strength training play a role in maintaining a healthy brain throughout life, according to a recent review of 111 studies in the field of exercise neuroscience.

“If you are in middle age and begin to exercise at a moderate intensity, which means you’re sweating and a little bit breathless for 30 or 40 minutes a day, three to four times a week, you will push back cognitive decline by 10 to 15 years.  Some studies say the same kind of regimen can cut the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in your life by about a third.” – Dr. John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, and author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

HOW MUCH EXERCISE?

FITNESS CALCULATOR

How day-to-day tasks help keep you in shape

RESEARCHERS HAVE A FORMULA that compares various physical activities with the energy cost of quiet sitting. Measurements are in metabolic equivalent of tasks (METS). The more METS, the better.

1) LIGHT ACTIVITY (1-3 METS)

  • Sitting quietly watching TV … 1.3
  • Watering lawn or garden … 1.5
  • Fishing from boat or canoe … 2.0
  • Washing / Waxing car … 2.0
  • Playing fold or classical guitar … 2.0

2) MODERATE ACTIVITY (3-6 METS)

  • Kitchen activity … 3.3
  • Painting house (interior) or furniture … 3.3
  • Power yoga … 4.0
  • Golf … 4.8

3) VIGOROUS ACTIVITY (more than 6 METS)

  • Bicycling to and from work … 6.8
  • Carrying groceries upstairs … 7.5
  • Running, 6 mpg … 9.8
  • Swimming laps, freestyle, fast … 9.8
  • Boxing … 12.8

Source: Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities

MAN’S BEST FRIEND

There’s proof your pooch may be keeping you trim

TWO-THIRDS OF DOG OWNERS take their pets for regular walks, according to the 2011 report from Michigan State University. Nearly half (46 percent) of dog walkers exercise an average of 30 minutes a day, five days a week, while only one-third (38 percent) of Americans without dogs meet those standards.

Which is best, walking with your spouse or your dog? Experts at the University of Missouri compared human and dog walking companions and found that dog walkers showed much greater fitness improvements.

“There appears to be a strong link between owning and walking a dog and achieving higher levels of physical activity.” – Epidemiologist Mathew Reeves, Michigan State University

TIME CRUNCHED? NO PROBLEM

THIRTY MINUTES A DAY give five days a week, 150 minutes a week. For years we’ve been told that’s the bare minimum we need to get our hearts pumping if we want to reap any real health benefits from exercise.  Anything less just doesn’t count. A report published last summer in Britain’s prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, cut that Olympian effort in half.  Researchers tracked the health records of 416,175 active and inactive people for 12 years and discovered that people who exercised a mere 15 minutes a day had a 14 percent lower risk of death during the study than their couch potato peers.  Surprisingly, just a quarter-hour workout a day extended life expectancy by a whopping three years.  There’s more good news for those who’d rather burn their calories on the go than sweat their way through a punishing session of cardio boot camp.  New studies show that everyday activities such as gardening, moving the lawn and climbing the stairs also contribute to cardiovascular fitness, even if these takes last just a minute or two at a time.  So the next time you have to dash through the airport to catch a flight, imagine how great that little micro-burst of exertion is for your heart.  And whenever that infomercial for the Enormously Expensive Elliptical Exerciser comes on, why not save your pennies and walk the dog toward a healthier life?

 

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Eustress For Athletes

Eustress is the positive form of stress, it is the type of stress that brings our body to the next level of endurance and eustress-for-athletesperformance. It is interesting to note the effects on the body and to understand why eustress exists. It releases hormones into the body that propels us into action. It is important to note that is has a mental effect as well.  Eustress is usually related to enjoyable events in ones life. This is the major factor that separates it from distress (negative stress). It is applied when it is needed and the mind determines that. The stress response of eustress is different for this very reason. For example eustress supports us when we meet new challenges, have large family gatherings we need to prepare for, marriage, and having sex. We will focus on the physical form of eustress.

Eustress helps with strength and endurance

Eustress helps us win races, it helps us weight train, it helps us with endurance training. As said above it release hormones and chemicals in the body which jump start us into action. It also maintains these levels in a healthy balance. Distress on the other hand spikes these chemicals and hormones to a much higher level that is harmful to the body. Distress also, over time, can lead to deviating health conditions. It will lead to deadly conditions in many ways and make us much more susceptible to many viruses.

Hans Selye was a great stress scientist

Eustress is a term coined by Hans Selye in 1975. He is one of the most famous and respected scientists in the field of stress. He said that the body adapts to this stress, by choice, and lets it work for us in a sustainable and efficient way. Our body is a fine tuned, balanced, and a beautiful masterpiece of nature. Stress is there to help us in times of need as are many other biological functions. Pay attention to your body and how it feels. Try to not over exert yourself and focus on maintaining balance. Interval training is a popular method among athletes to improve endurance and strength. It isn’t the best for our bodies and make sure you don’t push yourself to hard. Stretching before and after this training and following a healthy diet will help much to this end.

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Eustress-ercise Your Stress Away!

Exercise is a word that wouldn’t be used in a natural state. We would get all the exercise we need and more living naturally. The benefits wouldn’t be benefits they would just be a way of life. Health would be at an optimum level; peace of mind and happiness would be second nature to us. However almost all of us live in the “real world” and are constricted to office/sedentary jobs. We are immersed in the chaos of life and finding time to exercise can prove challenging. It is very important, not just as a stress management activity but for your general health and well-being.exercise-your-stress-away

Getting healthy and enjoy the benefits

Jogging, swimming, yoga, rock climbing, backpacking, kayaking, playing sports, pilates, dance, and many more choices are yours. Exercise is great for stress relief, mental clarity, and emotional balance. The benefits definitely don’t end there and I feel the benefits received are much more than the effort exerted. Exercising can be fun and it doesn’t have to be hard. Finding or reconnecting with a way to exercise that you enjoy should be a focus of yours if you want all these benefits.

Getting started

In our western culture we want a magic pill to take, the cure all. We want instant gratification and the simple truth is that it’s hard to come by. Continued effort yields great results and a focused mind will bring this to you. Getting into an exercising schedule is the hardest part. Once you are in the groove then it becomes nearly seamless. You just do it. Trying joining a group that exercises, like an intramural sports team or a trail runners group. Find a friend that exercises regularly or wants to start as well. When you miss a workout you feel the difference and want to do it. If you can get over the obstacle of beginning it is easy sailing from there. It will of course still take your effort but it will come so naturally.

Get the most out of it!

Take your exercise to a new level and implement stress relief and stress management techniques into the workout. Meditate as you run to a phrase such as “I am in control of my life” or “stress has no power over me”. Mediate on your breathing, keeping it steady and as deep as possible while exercising, be without thought. Being fit is your choice and it always will be. Find the exercise that will be your most enjoyable stress management activity. Exercising is something nature never intended us to be separate from.  Reconnect with yourself and workout!

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Using Yoga for Stress Relief

Yoga StretchSeveral people looking for a way to combine relaxation with exercise turn to yoga as a perfect balance of the two.  Many people enjoy yoga because it gives them the relaxation they need after being stressed.  I spoke with a professor and long time advocate for yoga about the activity and she said she started doing it because she was looking for a total body exercise.  Even after a lifetime of activity in tennis, cycling and modern dance, yoga has improved her flexibility.

What is yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on individual abilities within different poses, each of which have different goals, like strength building, toning, or flexibility.  People who participate are encouraged to modify each pose to their own ability and avoid pushing themselves into something that is uncomfortable or impossible for them to do.  Practicing yoga will not only help you with your flexibility, but also with your breathing.  The combination of the two can greatly reduce pain as you grow older and reduce stress as well! Yoga can also have effects beyond simple fitness benefits and can help a person improve their life in general.

Yoga and stress relief

One of the best benefits of yoga is its ability to help you clear your mind.  As we rush about our days, we are constantly reminded of all the things we need to get done, racing from one thought process to another.  We need a break from this routine, and yoga can provide that for you.  Practice breathing deeply, this will help you concentrate on the activity at mind – breathing – and not hundreds of other thoughts that keep you worried all day long.  This also acts as a form of meditation and provides that mental break that you have been looking for.  Contrary to popular belief, yoga can actually be a physically demanding activity that is great for your cardiovascular system!  Holding poses and stretches for extended periods of time really puts a lot of stress and strain into stretching those muscles out to be good and healthy!  This also raises your heart rate and causes the need for oxygen to increase!  In this natural sense, yoga has proven for centuries to increase cardiovascular health and overall well being.

Is yoga for you?

Yes! People who practice yoga on a regular basis often report that it has helped them become a more compassionate person.  It is very calming and there is also that space where you can reflect on things that you have time to contemplate.  Anyone can do yoga, you just need to find the right teacher and approach it with the right attitude.  Yoga is for everybody, you just have to keep doing it and listen to and respect your body while you do it.  Use your intelligence and never give up.  Having the right attitude when attempting anything new that will require a schedule in life takes great mental strength, here at Stressreducer.org we encourage you to find this strength and better yourself!

So do yourself a favor and reduce your stress by taking up yoga.  Nobody has ever regretted it. Click this link to find yoga classes happening near you!

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Reducing Stress by Taking Good Care of Your Body

taking good care of bodyEveryone in this world has the right to be happy and pursue their happiness, and stress can be a major roadblock to that right. Stress can come from many different sources; really it can come from anything that aggravates you or pressures you into doing a difficult or strenuous task. Stress can lead to a multitude of different problems, with depression and decreased productivity as the two biggest problems. In order to regain your happiness and regain that driving force in your life you need to reduce your stress levels, and taking good care of your body is the perfect stress reducer no matter what the situation is.

Helping your self-image and your energy levels

Taking good care of your body directly affects your self-image positively, which puts you in a better mood and gives you that needed confidence to break out of that stressful habit. Exercising, a healthy diet, and just taking care of yourself in general will also increase your energy level and help balance your mind chemically. This will not only help you think clearly, but it will also help you get many more things done in the limit amount of time you have each day. Both your physical and mental health are significantly improved when you decide to live a healthier lifestyle and take care of your body, which is what makes it such a great stress reducer.

Getting started with your new healthy lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle Is fairly simple once you start taking action. Don’t over think it, just stick to the standard basics and you’ll find yourself getting fit and healthy in no time. Here are the healthy lifestyle basic essentials:

  • Nutrition: Probably the most important aspect of a healthy lifestyle is how you eat. In order for your new lifestyle to act as a stress reducer you need to be eating healthy foods that will fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to properly function. A 6-meal diet it usually recommended to help speed up your metabolism, which in turn will drastically reduce your body fat percentage as well as give you significantly more energy throughout the day. You can never eat enough fruits and veggies. Try to eat as many whole grains as you can since they are complex carbohydrates which digest slower and leave you full longer. Check out the articles Don’t Ignore What You Eat and Nutrition Advice for a Stress Free Life.
  • Exercise is the second most important aspect; weight lifting is recommended with 10-20 minutes of cardio daily. When starting out stick to standard full body workouts to get your tendons and ligaments accustomed to weight-lifting – from there you can modify your workout plan to meet your specific goals.
  • Dedication: the only way this new healthy lifestyle will work out is if you stick with it. That mean’s stick to your plan and don’t deviate from it, even on the days you’re feeling down and out.

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A Healthy & Free Multi-Mineral Vitamin For Men

Promoting a healthy immune system and overall health balance is essential to reducing your stress levels.  Taking a daily mult-vitamin is an easy way to supplement your daily diet with the nutrition and vitamins that you are missing – but may not know it.  We do not often talk about specific 3rd party brands, or products here on stressreducer.org because we like to keep things general.  However, I’ve found a great multi-vitamin that is available for free for all men to try (don’t try ordering more than one bottle!)

We strongly suggest a complete daily mult-vitamin for all men in your family to help foster health and wellness.  If you would like to try yourself a free bottle of multi-vitamins simply follow through the banner at the bottom of this article or click here to claim your free bottleIt’s risk free so why not right?  Leave a comment on this post to let everyone know how much healthier you feel.  After I received these vitamins (about 2 weeks ago), I started taking them once a day with dinner.  I’ve noticed a more natural feeling of energy, probably from the B-vitamin surplus, and my skin looks and feels healthier as well.

These multi-vitamins help to:

  • Support robust immune health
  • Promote prostate health
  • Help maintain a healthier heart and circulatory system
  • Support normal blood profiles
  • Enhancing your sense of well-being!

Click the banner below and fill in your address and name and they will mail you a free bottle to try.  Of course, they are hoping that you will fall in love and come back and purchase one later, but you don’t have to!  Although, karma might be on your side if you do 🙂

Have a good week everyone, and remember to stay healthy and stress free!

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Eustress – The Positive Stress

Eustress is a form of stress that the body procures when it needs to preform a very exerting physical activity. It is used to give your body an extra burst that it needs to complete the goal at hand. It can also be used in a variety of other ways and it can be very beneficial. It is much different from emotional stress and doesn’t even connect to emotional stress. Physically, it is just as taxing on the body as distress, but eustress obviously yields better results.eustress-the-positive-stress

Other ways eustress is used by you is less practical and more selfish. Watching a suspenseful horror movie is an example of the body producing the eustress response. That is one of the reasons some people are so drawn to those types of movies. The adrenaline rush that come with eustress along with it’s other effects. This is not what eustress is for, but nature didn’t intend on us having film and television. It’s not a bad thing, per say, to use eustress for this purpose but it will have the same taxing physical damage as distress.

Eustress is a powerful and interesting concept. For the few that are familiar with the concept, it is often overlooked and often forgot. It is used to your benefit without you knowing it. There aren’t many ways to increase its effects and anything short of experienced meditation there isn’t a way to stop it. It is just there, a tool hanging in the workshop of the mind, ready to be employed in the situations that arouse it.

In the coming months the Stress Reducer team will explore the idea of eustress more and look for ways we can use it to our benefit. As of yet though it doesn’t look like anything we can modify or enhance on our behalf. Until then look around for other ways to take a positive spin on distress and see what ideas are to come in regards to eustress.

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