Saturday, 28 December 2013

Four Benefits of lifting weights

Here are some important  benefits you will gain from lifting weights

Balanced Hormones
Continuous and non-stop strength training will help reduce chronic inflammation and  reduce the possibility of having diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. A rigorous weight lifting compared to a moderate cardio exercise plan can help lessen hunger, junk food cravings and abrupt energy drops according to Jill Coleman, co-founder of Metabolic Effect in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Superior Aging

Strength training improves your body natural release of human growth hormone that helps in creating muscle and bone, improves metabolism and support a healthier body composition as you get older.

Better Overall Health
Base on a 2010 study, subjects that lift weights have sharper memory, better sleep and self confidence.

Greater Resistance to Disease
Those who lift weights for more than four months have a better immune defense in the skeletal muscle tissue after training, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology. Consistent resistance workout improves white cell counts which can help deter various infections.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Junk Foods can make you Dumb

Junk food makes you dumb
Time to skip those junk foods in the supermarket and fast food. Consistently eating junk foods can help decline your brain power according to the latest Australian research.
After that amount of time, rats that ate high-fat, high-sugar foods performed worse on special memory tests, and couldn't locate things as well as rodents fed a normal diet. These rats had problems noticing if an object had moved; for you, that’s like when you can’t find your keys.
We know what you’re thinking: another rat study. But the results likely apply to humans as well, says study coauthor Margaret Morris, Ph.D. In fact, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed healthy people who ate junk food for 5 days performed worse on cognitive tests measuring attention, speed, and mood.
Researchers aren’t sure what’s causing the memory problems, but they suspect a poor diet may produce inflammation in the brain—specifically the hippocampus, the region that’s associated with memory and special recognition, says study coauthor Margaret Morris, Ph.D. Even worse: Damage to the hippocampus can mess with hunger and fullness cues, leading to weight gain and obesity. 
Even though the holidays mean sugar cookies and pigs in a blanket being pushed in your face, this study shows that just a few days of poor eating can be bad for your brain. Balance the no-so-healthy party food with the good stuff: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean protein.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Eating Peanuts in Pregnancy May Protect Kids From Nut Allergies

Expectant mothers who eat lots of nuts during pregnancy are less likely to have children with peanut or tree nut allergies.

 A new study of 8,205 children revealed that children who nonallergic mothers who ate nuts five or more times a week had the lowest risk of developing nut allergies. 

However, this benefit was not found in children of mothers who had a peanut or tree nut allergy. 

"Our study supports the hypothesis that early allergen exposure increases the likelihood of tolerance and thereby lowers the risk of childhood food allergy. Additional prospective studies are needed to replicate this finding," researchers wrote in the study. "In the meantime, our data support the recent decisions to rescind recommendations that all mothers avoid P/TN during pregnancy and breastfeeding."

Experts said that the latest findings suggest that expectant mothers should not avoid eating nuts.

"Frazier and colleagues report a strong inverse association between peripregnancy nut intake and the risk of nut allergy in children among mothers who did not have nut allergies," Dr. Ruchi Gupta of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who was not part of the study, wrote inan accompanying editorial.

"Although the dietary surveys were not specific for the actual dates of pregnancy, these findings support recent recommendations that woman should not restrict their diets during pregnancy. Certainly, women who are allergic to nuts should continue avoiding nuts," Gupta added.

"For now, though, guidelines stand: pregnant women should not eliminate nuts from their diet as peanuts are a good source of protein and also provide folic acid, which could potentially prevent both neural tube defects and nut sensitization. So, to provide guidance in how to respond to the age-old question 'To eat or not to eat?' mothers-to-be should feel free to curb their cravings with a dollop of peanut butter!" he concluded.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Man Devours 8,000-Calorie Sandwich

The Gigantwich challenge at Mangetout Bistro, in Southend-On-Sea, England is an insane 8,000-calorie, 5.5-lb sandwich consisting of six pieces of bread, 8 kinds of meat, cheese, an omelet, and several condiments. Gigantwich challengers have 45 minutes to clean their plate or else they have to pay for the almost $30 sandwich. 116 people had tried and failed the challenge until one man, James Bretell, came along and conquered the monster this week. Congrats, James! How are you feeling?

Saturday, 21 December 2013

How Heart Rate Is Related to Fitness and Longevity

The human heart can beat only 220 times per minute, and that maximum can only be attained by a young child. The maximum number of times your heart can beat declines with age for reasons that are not clearly understood. The decrease in the number of beats per minute with age has nothing to do with stamina or fitness. Marathon runners often peak in their late 30s despite their hearts beating less times per minute than a 10-year-old or a 20-year-old.

If you want to determine your maximum heart rate, or the maximum number of times your heart can beat per minute, subtract your age from 220. Say, for example, you are 40 years old. Subtracting 40 from 220 leaves 180, the maximum number of heart beats per minute for a 40-year-old.

Your maximum heart rate helps you determine what sort of a workout is best for you from an aerobic standpoint. If people were to push their heart rate to the maximum for their age, they would quickly tire and have to stop and rest. Many believe that the ideal maximum heart rate for a workout should be about 80 percent of the maximum for your age. In other words, multiply your maximum heart rate by .80 and you'll get the ideal heart rate for a workout, also known as your target maximum heart rate. So for the aforementioned 40-year-old, his target maximum heart rate would be 144 beats per minute, or 180 x .80.

If this 40-year-old were doing a serious workout -- such as running at a good pace -- he might want to hover around 144 beats per minute for much of the workout and slowing down or speeding up as needed.

However, many people prefer workouts that are not this intense but still effective. They might want to target 60-70 percent of the maximum beats for their age as an ideal number. Still others like to vary their workout intensity from day to day or even within the same workout, such as walking a bit, then jogging a bit, then walking and so on.

Whatever works for you is best. However, workouts less than 60 percent of the maximum for your age may not be intense enough to promote good cardiovascular fitness.

What Your Heart Rate Reveals About You
Did you ever wonder why your doctor takes your pulse? Well, it's a quick indicator of how fit you are. The average person has a resting pulse rate of between 70 and 75 beats per minute. Fit people who get lots of aerobic exercise having resting pulse rates in the 50s and 60s. Some professional athletes have resting pulse rates as low as the upper 30s. On the other side, unfit people have resting pulse rates of 80, 90 or more beats per minute.

Any of you who take up regular aerobic exercise will notice that your resting pulse rate will drop over time -- meaning that your heart does not have to work as hard and beat as many times per minute to get nutrients and oxygen distributed to all of your body.

The best time to measure your resting pulse rate is when you first wake up in the morning and are still in bed. Even light walking will cause the heart to beat a little faster, and drinking coffee or soda with caffeine will artificially raise your pulse rate by a great deal. During the night, your body flushes out most caffeine, so taking your pulse the next day is the best true indicator of your resting pulse rate.

If you have ever had a cardiac stress test done, this test is controlled by your heart rate. You are initially at rest on a treadmill with an apparatus hooked up to you, which monitors your heart rate and provides EKG readings, among other things. The treadmill is gradually increased in both speed and incline. This continues until you reach a heart rate that's 80 percent of the maximum for someone of your age. Then the test stops.

People who are sedentary and unfit might get to their maximum in less than 5 minutes of very slow walking. A very fit runner might be on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and at the end of the test the treadmill forces the person to run fast and the incline is high. So the stress test determines how fit you are in addition to abnormalities in your heart.

How Many Beats Do I Have Left, Doc?

There's been some thinking among researchers that your heart has only so many beats in it. It will beat a certain number of times and no more. This is similar to -- and perhaps connected to -- the Hayflick limit, which has shown that most of the cells in our bodies can divide a certain number of times and no more.

There can be a dramatic difference in the number of times a person's heart beats if they are fit and unfit. Say, for example, that a fit person's heart beats 55 times per minute and an unfit person's heart beats 85 times per minute, a difference of 30 beats per minute. That difference amounts to 1,800 heartbeats per hour, 43,200 beats per day, and more than 15 million heartbeats per year. Over 20 years, the fit person's heart will save approximately 315 million heartbeats over the unfit person. That's about 11 year's worth of heartbeats!

It has never been proven that the heart has only so many beats in it because the research is impossible to do, but this idea makes sense to many. It would certainly be nice to have millions of extra heartbeats in your savings account if there is any truth to the idea.

It HAS been shown that people who get regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don't exercise, and have other benefits such as: less cardiovascular disease, less cancer, less hypertension, less diabetes, weight loss, better brain functioning, and still many more.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Breast cancer study sees exercise benefit

SAN ANTONIO - Exercise might help women beat breast cancer. Researchers found it can ease the achy joints and muscle pain that lead many patients to quit taking medicines that treat the disease and lower the risk of a recurrence.

The study is the first major test of an exercise program for women on aromatase inhibitors. These estrogen-blocking pills, sold as Femara, Aromasin, and other brands, are recommended for five years after initial breast cancer treatment for hormone-driven tumors, the most common type.

The pills also increasingly are being used to help prevent breast cancer in women at high risk because of family history, bad genes, or other reasons.

A separate study found that one of these medicines - anastrozole, sold as Arimidex and in generic form - cut this risk by 53 percent. It's the second aromatase inhibitor shown to lower risk that much.

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Despite how effective the drugs are, many women shun them because they can cause aches and pains, hot flashes, and other side effects. About 15 percent of U.S. women have enough risk to merit considering the pills to prevent breast cancer, yet less than 5 percent take them, said Powel Brown, a doctor who is a prevention expert at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The exercise study involved 121 postmenopausal women taking various aromatase inhibitors to treat breast cancer who complained of achy joints on a pain survey.

About half were assigned to two supervised strength-training sessions a week plus at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week. The rest got advice on the benefits of exercise and did their usual activities.

After a year, joint pain scores fell 20 percent among exercisers and 3 percent among the others. The severity of pain and how much it interfered with daily live also declined more in exercisers.

The exercise group improved cardiorespiratory fitness and lost weight - nearly 8 pounds versus a slight gain in the others. Eighty percent stuck with the program, helped by free access to a gym and a personal trainer.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

The Truth about Post-Workout Shakes

You probably heard one of the basic tenants of getting bigger and stronger: Eat protein within an hour after exercise to fuel muscle growth. It’s called protein timing, and the idea behind it is this: Resistance training increases amino acid delivery to muscles as well as absorption. Therefore, the sooner you consume protein post-exercise, the bigger the stimulation in muscle protein synthesis. In theory, proper protein timing leads to bigger long-term gains in strength and lean body mass. 

Here are three truths you need to know about protein timing:

1. The “magic window” is longer than you think
Some experts say that you should consume protein 20 minutes post-exercise, while others claim it’s an hour. The reality: You’ve got longer. Studies show muscles’ elevated sensitivity to protein lasts at least 24 hours, says Aragon. In fact, one 2012 review study by McMaster University showed that muscle protein synthesis may continue for 24 to 48 hours post-workout. “The effect is higher immediately after exercise and diminishes over time, but that certainly doesn’t imply a magical window closes after an hour,” says Aragon. That means, theoretically you would want to eat protein right away—but because there’s not a huge post-exercise drop off in muscle protein synthesis, you don’t have to rush to pound a protein shake. Why? See our next point. 

2. Total protein intake matters more
For the average active guy looking to be healthy and lose weight, protein timing won’t make a difference if you don’t meet other nutritional needs first, says the leading researcher and a big advocate of post-exercise feeding, Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Ontario. Not that timing isn't helpful, just that it’s not the most important factor in building muscle and weight loss. What is? Along with consistent workouts, you need to consume an ample amount of protein during the day. 

Spacing out protein intake may maximize its effects: One of Phillips’ 2012 studies published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming 20 grams of protein (roughly the amount in a container of Greek yogurt) every three hours four times a day was better at helping men build lean body mass than eating protein more often (10 grams of protein eight times a day) or less frequently (40 grams of protein twice a day). Moderate amounts may more effectively stimulate muscle protein synthesis, researchers note. “In addition to the muscle benefits, protein is remarkably satiating, so this will also help with weight loss,” says Phillips. The good news: Most of us eat three or four times a day anyway—just make sure your meals are well-rounded and include protein. Sick of chicken?

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The Shocking Truth About Protein Bars, Shakes & ‘Enhanced’ Foods

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Dad's diet can influences baby

Women are told to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy, and a new study suggests men may want to do the same: Researchers found male mice deficient in B9, or folate, had a higher likelihood of producing offspring with birth defects.

A father's diet influences the health of his offspring, according to a study published on Tuesday that suggests men, like women, should plan to eat and live healthily in the run-up to conception.

Researchers led by Sarah Kimmins at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, looked at what happened when male lab mice had a diet that was poor in vitamin B9.

B9, also called folate, is present in green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruit and meat.

Women often take folic acid supplements, before and during pregnancy, to reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects in their offspring.

But Kimmins' team were startled to find that male mice that had a B9-deficient diet also fathered mice with a higher rate of birth defects, compared to counterparts which had eaten sufficient folate.

"We were very surprised to see that there was an almost 30-percent increase in birth defects in the litters sired by fathers whose levels of folates were insufficient," said one of the team, Romain Lambrot.

"We saw some pretty severe skeletal abnormalities that included both cranio-facial and spinal deformities."

The problem, according to the investigators, lies in the sperm's epigenome, or the "switches" that turn genes - the protein-making codes for life - on and off.

This switchgear, influenced by diet or other life experiences, deregulates key genes during the embryo's development, according to their theory.

If the findings in rodents also turn out to hold true for humans, there are important implications for men's diet, said Kimmins.

"Despite the fact that folic acid is now added to a variety of foods, fathers who are eating high-fat, fast-food diets or who are obese may not be able to use or metabolize folate in the same way as those with adequate levels of the vitamin," she said.

"Our research suggests that fathers need to think about what they put in their mouths, what they smoke and what they drink and remember they are caretakers of generations to come."

The study appears in the journal Nature Communications.

A Man in Pink Tutu

A loving husband found a unique and heartwarming way to help his wife get through chemo. This video tells the story of Bob Carey, a professional photographer, who traveled the world taking beautiful photographs of himself in a pink tutu just to put a smile on his wife Linda's face. Linda, who was diagnosed with breast cancer, describes the pink tutu as Bob's own version of a super-hero's cape.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Regular Exercise Could Boost Creativity

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Here's one more thing people who regularly exercise can add to their brag list: They may be more creative!
A new study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows that regular exercisers do better on tests of creativity than their more sedentary peers.
Specifically, researchers noted that regular exercise seems to be associated with improved divergent and convergent thinking, which are considered the two components of creative thinking; the former involves thinking of multiple solutions for one problem, while the latter involves thinking of one solution for a problem.
"Exercising on a regular basis may thus act as a cognitive enhancer promoting creativity in inexpensive and healthy ways," study researcher Lorenza Colzato, a cognitive psychology at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said in a statement.
To determine the association between exercise and creativity, researchers had 48 athletes (who exercised at least four times a week) and 48 non-athletes (who didn't regularly exercise) do a creativity test. For the first part of the test, the participants had to think of alternate uses for a pen and write them down. Then, the participants were presented with a series of three words and asked to find the link that connected them (for instance, "long" connects the words "time," "hair" and "stretch").
Researchers found that the regular exercisers did better on the second task compared with those who didn't regularly exercise.
Past research has identified other unlikely factors that seem to be associated with creativity. Messiness, for instance, has been tied to innovation and willingness to try new things in a Psychological Science study published earlier this year. Being bored at work could also spur creativity by providing more daydreaming time, researchers from University of Central Lancashire found.

Winter Workout Tips That'll Keep You Motivated Through The New Year

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Wintertime brings cold temperatures, darker days, rain and snow, so it makes sense that most Americans are retreating from regular exercise in favor of things like hot chocolate by the fire and other equally toasty activities.
But not you, brave warrior. Armed with these tips from fitness experts, you'll be downward dogging and burpee-ing your way straight into the New Year, while your stiff and sore friends will be dusting off their workout shoes for the first time in weeks come January.
Besides, there's always time for hot chocolate -- after your run.
1. Make An Investment
Maybe the cold is weighing a little too heavily on your mind. It could be because you're not wearing the right clothes. Celebrity fitness trainer Lacey Stone recommends investing in a hat and hoodie to keep your head and chest warm, plus gloves.
"Buy the right workout apparel," Stone tells HuffPost Healthy Living. "You don't want to stop just because of the elements." Plus, ear muffs and scarves have a serious cuteness factor!
Or maybe the investment isn't in gear. Consider splurging on a personal trainer for a month of two. "You invest in a lot of things in your life," says Stone. "Why not a coach?" Or sign up for a challenge: It could be a month of Spinning rides, a winter race or a competition at your gym. The Sweat Garage in Los Angeles, for instance, is holding "December Challenge" classes in which trainers will record your two-mile runs and reps on exercises like pushups, burpees and crunches. By the end of December, you'll see some noticeable gains.

2. Make The Season Work For You

Corin Safe, an Olympic weight lifting coach who works at a CrossFit gym in Chicago, grew up in Minnesota and is no stranger to extreme weather. During the winter, Safe goes snow-shoeing, sledding and ice skating with friends -- all the activities that are pretty much impossible to do any other time of year. Her favorite activity, though, is a simple winter walk.
"I am a huge fan of going on a walk, no matter what the temperature is," says Safe. "Put on your boots and get out there. After 30 minutes, you'll feel awesome, because walking reduces stress and promotes a little bit of meditation."
"Plan one active outing for every holiday celebration," says Elle Penner, MPH, RD, who works for the weight loss app MyFitnessPal. "While you're adding those holiday parties and dinners to the calendar, pencil one active outing into your schedule as well."

3. Take Stock Of Your Exercise Routine

Safe also likes to ask her clients to take a step back and mentally reassess their fitness goals. "What do you want to get out of it? How committed are you?" she asks. List the reasons you have for prioritizing exercise, and think about everything you've achieved in 2013. How are you going to keep it going or take it up a notch in 2014?

4. Think Ahead

Taking stock of your exercise goals also means forecasting ahead to sunnier times. Ryan Ford, who owns the Parkour gyms APEX Movement in Colorado and California, encourages students to train with their spring and summer goals in mind.
"What are your goals for spring or summer? Half-marathon? Tough Mudder? Parkour in Paris?" asks Ford. "Whatever it may be, training with that forward-thinking mindset can make [exercise] a little less depressing and a little more exciting. There's no pressure now to perform or compete."