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Reasons to Exercise

“I’m embarrassed to start working out.”

“I want to lose some weight before I go to the gym.”

“I’m out of shape.”

Everyone has an excuse not to exercise but how about some excuses to exercise.

  1. Keeps your heart healthy: Strengthens your heart muscles and reduces your risk of a heart attack
  2. Helps lose weight and keep it off
  3. Helps prevent back problems and back pain.
  4. Increases self-confidence and self-esteem.
  5. Strengthens bones and helps reduce risk of osteoporosis.
  6. Improves sleep.
  7. Improves immune function which decreases risk for infectious diseases.
  8. Maintains physical and mental functions as you age
  9. Reduces anxiety and depression.

So every time you give yourself an excuse not to exercise, counter your excuse with one of these. Having a bad day? Go exercise to reduce anxiety and depression. Feeling tired? Exercise improves sleep. Worried about health related issues? Talk to your doctor, exercise can help prevent and/or treat a wide variety of common issues.

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Get a Step Ahead of Stress with Exercise When You Travel

You probably understand the importance of a good fitness routine for your overall health. In fact, you may regularly incorporate a healthy exercise program in your daily life when at home. If you travel much, you’ve probably noticed the difficulties that arise in keeping this healthy routine when you’re on the road. The varying schedules, time changes, unfamiliar surroundings and other stressors of travel simply don’t accommodate your regular exercise routine. You can, however, learn to find fitness opportunities while traveling and take advantage of them.

Like most things, great trips begin before you ever embark on them. Planning is key. Do some research before your trip to learn about fitness opportunities at your destination. If possible, book a hotel that features fitness amenities you can utilize. These might include a well-equipped, onsite fitness center, classes and fitness sessions for guests, onsite running trails or in-room yoga videos. On a recent trip to Maui I booked a hotel with a 24-hour fitness center so I could do my workouts in the morning as to not ruin any of my travel plans. I used a site called Gogobot to make the distinction between which Maui hotels had the right fitness amenities.

Working out in your hotel room is easier if you pack for success. Bring along your choice of portable exercise equipment to help you get a powerful workout in minimal space and a short amount of time. Equipment options include a simple exercise band, a TRX trainer, a yoga mat and fitness videos. Be sure that you also pack comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to wear while exercising.

You can also get exercise at the airport. Many airports have begun to cater to health-conscious travelers in a number of ways. Some supply walking areas for flyers on layovers. Others have Zen rooms where travelers can do yoga, stretch or spend some time reducing stress by meditating. Many airports have also begun offering healthier food options at restaurants and snack shops. If you have particular concerns about the food options you will face, bring some of your own snacks. Raw almonds are a particularly powerful snack that you can easily slip into a bag or purse.

Getting exercise during your travels helps greatly to reduce the stress traveling can cause. Take the above tips to get yourself started on the road toward successful fitness when traveling. Remember to be mindful of the opportunities that arise. If you don’t have a full hour for working out, take advantage of smaller time slots. Simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator will improve your overall fitness level. Every little step counts.

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Exercising with Osteoporosis

About half of all women over 50, and about one out of every four men, will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Those with osteoporosis often think that exercising will lead to a fracture, but actually osteoporosis can help protect your bones. When you exercise, you not only build muscle and endurance, you also build and maintain the amount and thickness of your bones. This is called “bone mass and density.”

After consulting your doctor about starting an exercise training program, those with osteoporosis should choose the right form of exercise.

    Recommended exercises include

  • Strength training exercises, especially those for the back
  • Weight-bearing aerobic activities
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Stability and balance exercises

Make sure to avoid high-impact exercises, such as jumping, running or jogging. These activities increase compression in your spine and lower extremities and can lead to fractures in weakened bones. Try to stick to exercises with slow, controlled movements. Also avoid exercises where you bend forward and twist your waist, like touching your toes or doing sit ups. These movements put pressure on your spine.

Also remember that bones need calcium, protein, and vitamin D. This will also help keep your bones stronger.

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The Effects Of Alcohol While Body Building

Self control and will power are much like the muscles in your body. They require time, focus and dedication to build and strengthen. When it comes to abstaining from alcohol while body building or focusing on physical fitness, self control and will power are needed. Just like you would pass up fattening, sugary or high carbohydrates foods, alcohol does not typically fit into a healthy lifestyle. People typically do not consume alcohol for various reasons when sticking to a firm diet or trying to compete in body building or strength competitions.

The Effects Of Alcohol While Body Building:

Here are a few reasons why alcohol can interfere with an exercise routine:

•  Alcohol in any form is empty calories and there are simply no nutritional benefits that alcohol can offer you. For extreme weight lifters or athletes it is vital to consume the best foods that will give them the best nutritional benefits such as protein, vitamins and heart healthy fats. Alcohol will leave your body not only dehydrated, but you will be consuming excess carbohydrates that are not benefiting your workouts or your physique.

•  Alcohol does have the ability to slow down your metabolism. Studies have also shown that since alcohol is a natural depressant it can decrease strength, digestion time, reaction time, hand eye coordination and increase fatigue. None of these side effects are ideal for someone looking to improve their fitness to a peak level or for a professional athlete.

Ultimately drinking alcohol is a personal choice, just like physical fitness is. Many people find time to enjoy an occasional drink during a cheat meal but for those who do not take any risks, will completely abstain from alcohol. In social settings this may become difficult, especially due to peer pressure, but those who know your personal goals will respect your decision to not drink. When temptation comes across you, always remember your personal goals and the end result. This will help you pass up a drink.

For someone who has developed a serious problem with alcohol, rehab is not always necessary to overcome it. Will power and self control have the same effect on resisting alcohol as it does when staying on an extremely strict diet. It’s important for people to know that they can change their drinking habits and be the person they want to be, regardless of their past history with heavy alcohol use.

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Is Your Partner Derailing Your Diet

Diet experts say it’s not unusual for those who are closest to you such as your BFF, significant others, or family members to try to get you off track from your weight loss goals. This trend is especially prevalent when you initially start to make changes.

There are multiple reasons for this. Firstly, people don’t want you to change your eating and exercise habits for the better because it makes people feel guilty about their own. Misery loves company – those who are unhappy with the way their body looks would rather have you be unhappy with yours, as well. Another reason friends and family might try to sabotage your effort is because the idea of a thinner you may intimidate them. They might be concerned that after you drop a dress size other people will find you more attractive, and you might find your current partner or friends less attractive. Insecurity and Jealousy may be to blame for your guy wanting to take you out to a fast food venue for dinner after you start making changes to your diet!

Fortunately, you don’t have to pick between a weight loss plan and your relationships! There are things you can do to help your friends and family come around to the idea of supporting you, and maybe even joining you on the path to being more fit and healthy! Talk to your friends about why you are not going to order fries at the restaurant. Explain to them that you want to become more healthy and feel better about yourself. Being real with them is the best way to stop them from nagging you about your newfound healthy choices. You might even inspire some of them to join you!

If your partner is the one trying to derail your diet, explain to him why you are trying to become healthier as well. In addition, tell him your commitment to him will not change and that you will still make time to do things with him including going out to eat occasionally. Lastly, tell him you love doing things together with him and ask if he would want to join you on your journey to living a healthier life! Talking to loved ones about why you are changing your habits will make it easier for them to the change and more likely to lay off the next time you insist on taking the stairs.

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Fun Motivation Tips

The biggest barrier to working out is seeing it as “work”. Sometimes all we need is a little fun to keep us going! If you need some exercise motivation, give the following tips for making your workout seem less like work and more like play a try:

  • If you love to read, try reading while riding a stationary bike! Reading can be a fun distraction while working out – just make sure you don’t slack in your pedaling progress!
  • Instead of being a couch potato the next time you watch TV, hop on a treadmill or elliptical while you watch your favorite shows! Or, try doing a certain amount of crunches or jumping jacks between commercial breaks.
  • Try working out with a partner. Setting a time and place when you will exercise together will both be more fun and keep you from talking yourself out of working out in the end!
  • Make a playlist of up-beat pump-up songs that energize you and keep you moving! Fast paced songs that you love will keep your body and mind stimulated, making you less likely to slack off during a workout.
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Harmful Effects Of Stress

Studies have shown that the majority of Americans feel stressed out every day. According to the American Psychological Association, almost half of us eat unhealthy as a result of our stress, and it makes one in three of us depressed. If we don’t find a way to release the pressure we accumulate throughout the day from stressful situations, there can be a variety of negative consequences for our health.

Stress doesn’t just affect the functioning of your mind; it affects your waistline as well. Whenever someone is faced with a stressful situation, their body secretes the hormone cortisol, which is a well-known culprit for causing the accumulation of excess belly fat. When the cause of the stressor goes away, our bodies return to normal. But with all the chronic stressors people live with today such as relationship problems, credit card debt, and facing the possibility of being laid off from a job, the hormone cortisol can stick around for days at a time. Increased and prolonged levels of cortisol leads to an increase in the storage of belly fat. In addition to belly fat, illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and some cancers are associated with chronic stress.

While many people attempt to relieve stress through taking a bubble bath, watching TV, or taking deep breaths, these methods encourage trying to “think yourself calm” which is not always effective. Since the stress response is a largely physical one, taking a more active, physical approach to relieve the pressure caused by stress can often be more effective. In fact, the latest research suggests that exercise may be the best stress solution!

Exercising – especially performing cardio workouts – may actually remodel the brain to make it more resistant to stress hormones! So the next time stress gets you feeling down, simply get your body moving to help reduce its negative effects on your body and brain.

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