Holiday Exercise!

Holiday ExerciseHoliday Exercise!

With the holidays around the corner again those old familiar fears are rearing their ugly heads. For me it’s: how am I going to get through this with my sanity and how am I going to keep from gaining a ton?

Exercise has always been my catchall solution, like Windex for the father of the bride in that movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

As those of you who read my column know, during the holidays I pretty much throw up my arms and prudently sample every goodie that comes my way. But I emphasize the word SAMPLE. If I come to the table hungry those samples could get quite large, so I use my Windex (I mean holiday exercise; I don’t use real Windex) to help me through.

Holiday Exercise Tips:

Here is a short video to kick start your Holiday Exercise:

Endorphins make you feel like all is right with the world. Maintaining sanity becomes much easier after a good workout.  They also tend to suppress your appetite. 30 minutes or so of aerobic exercise is enough to get your body to release those endorphins and it burns about 200- 300 calories. Strength training about a half hour every other day burns about 200 calories. It also raises your metabolism and keeps it up for hours after you’ve finished exercising. You see where I’m going here?

If you get started now you can stay sane, get in shape, reap all the health benefits daily holiday exercise has to offer, maintain or even lose weight, and get a jump on the 2 most popular New Year’s resolutions: Get in shape and lose some weight. Not bad.

Happy Holidays

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Heart Healthy Valentine

Heart Healthy

BERRIES

Heart Healthy Valentine: Eat Berries, Drink and Be Fit! Here is a heart healthy formula that just might help save your heart and the one that you love!

February is Heart Month. Since heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women and men in the U.S., I thought I’d focus on prevention. After all, if you prevent heart disease, you’re very unlikely to die from it.

Heart Healthy Research

A Harvard study says women who eat three or more servings of strawberries or blueberries a week can lower their risk of heart attack by 32 percent. The study also said grapes, eggplant and blackberries may work too. It’s those flavonoids again. The antioxidants you find in red wine, dark chocolate, green tea, apple skin, etc. Rule of thumb: The darker the color, the more flavonoid content. They slow down your aging clock and prevent disease by keeping free radicals from damaging cells in your body.

Free radicals are incomplete molecules looking for an electron so they can complete and stabilize themselves. Sounds like something you’d hear in therapy. They steal an electron from a neighboring molecule, turning it into a free radical and setting off a chain reaction. They contribute to the aging process and a wide range of diseases.

We form them naturally when we breathe and metabolize. Free radicals don’t wreak havoc with your body until you have too many of them. They can be formed by oxidative stress, like intense exercise, smoking and exposure to environmental toxins.

Enter the flavonoids. They give the free radicals one of their electrons and stop them in their tracks. They help prevent heart disease by stopping LDLs (bad cholesterol) from breaking down and forming plaque in your arteries.

Nowadays, you can get berries year round, and they are a perfect low-calorie food, alone, in yogurt, or sprinkled on your cereal. So let’s have a few servings of berries, some eggplant, a glass of cabernet and maybe a square of dark chocolate for dessert. Not such a major lifestyle change and it came help you stay heart healthy too!

Since we are talking about prevention, how about stress?

A series of studies by Columbia University Medical Center says whether or not we perceive ourselves as stressed can be a measure of whether or not we’ll have a heart attack in the future. So from now on, I’m not going to perceive myself as stressed. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Seriously: My clients who exercise regularly, particularly aerobic exercise, tend to think of themselves as being more relaxed. And they are more relaxed. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural tranquilizer, and they know they’re getting the heart benefits of all that cardio. To get the maximum benefit from cardio exercise, most people should build up to 45 or more minutes at 60 to 80 percent of your max heart rate. If you’re just starting out, you can ease in with a few minutes a day at a comfortable pace and add more as it gets too easy. But here’s the rub: Aerobic exercise, because it requires so much oxygen, is an oxidative stressor. It produces free radicals.

People who exercise once in a while or really hard only on the weekend are more at risk for producing harmful levels of free radicals. But studies have found that people who exercise regularly tend to adapt and produce enzymes that create antioxidants minimizing free radicals’ negative effect so that it helps them stay heart healthy.

So here’s the formula to be heart healthy: Eat berries, drink wine and get regular cardio so you don’t perceive yourself as stressed. It’s an eclectic concoction, but I think it’s tastier than one of those midnight vegetable smoothies. Don’t you?

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