EASY CARDIO WORKOUT COMBATS DEPRESSION

Easy Cardio WorkoutEasy Cardio Workout Combats Depression. I find myself as you may too, for no apparent reason, feeling a little blue. So I dust off my sneakers and get ready to move because I know cardio exercise improves mood.

Research shows that cardio exercise improves mood because it increases levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain. These are important neurochemical transmitters, which help to elevate and stabilize your mood.

In fact one of the known causes of depression is a lowered level of serotonin. Aerobic exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving mild to moderate depression in many cases.

Easy Cardio Workout: More Reasons Why Cardio Exercise Improves Mood

There is more to cardio  exercise than serotonin and endorphins. It helps lower adrenaline, a chemical associated with stress to help promote relaxation. And as you become more fit you feel better about how you look and feel. This can give you a positive outlook in general. Try some easy aerobics. You may just cardio dance your troubles away. I make sure I’m exercising aerobically most days of the week, at least for 30-60 minutes. I not only feel my spirits lift while I’m exercising but for many hours afterwards. However if you are just starting to exercise or haven’t been exercising for awhile here is a easy cardio Workout video to help you get going:


Are You Depressed?
The standard symptoms for depression are:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or “emptiness”
  • Sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt
  • Inability to enjoy ordinary pleasurable activities, including sex
  • Noticeable change of appetite, possibly accompanied by significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Shifts in sleeping patterns, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, persistent irritability, excessive crying
  • Preoccupation with thoughts of death or suicide
  • Decreased energy, fatigue
  • Persistent aches and pains

Many things can cause depression. They range from some medications to low levels of light during the winter months. Alcohol and a poor diet, as well as inherited predisposition, can lead to the condition as well. Before you decide on asking your doctor for an anti-depressant prescription, adopt the healthy lifestyle habits of a nutritious diet, regular exercise and enough sleep. If things don’t improve, of course, seek medical help.

So try my take on the old Arlen & Koehler song lyric that Judy Garland sang, “forget your troubles, come on get happy” you can exercise your blues away with this easy cardio workout!

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Triglycerides: Skinny On Your Hidden Fat

TriglyceridesTriglycerides Your Hidden Fat:

Triglycerides:  A too-thick waistline, plus high levels of a fat called triglycerides in the blood can greatly increase risk of coronary artery disease. Triglycerides are both produced by the body and ingested through the food you eat.

High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for heart disease and are more common among inactive people with larger waistlines. Normal triglyceride levels are below 150 mg/dL. The risk of developing coronary artery disease doubles when triglyceride levels are above 200 mg/dL.

Triglycerides are called the hidden fat because they are too often overshadowed by the highly publicized LDL bad cholesterol.

However triglycerides are above 200 mg/dL and “good” (HDL) cholesterol is below 40 mg/dL, a person is at four times the risk.

Triglycerides: How Aerobic Exercise Helps

Moderate aerobic exercise like walking a half hour at least five days a week can signicantly reduce the triglyceride levels in the blood as well as boost your HDL (good cholesterol). Burning 200 calories or so on that half hour walk doesn’t hurt either.

The study also showed that more intense exercise did help with belly fat but produced only half the triglyceride lowering results.

So my recommendation is: consult your doctor, find your triglycerides level and get clearance to exercise.

If it is elevated and belly fat is not an issue do moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or cardio dance. If you also have extra belly fat, consider adding strength training exercise every other day to raise your metabolism and help your body burn more fat.

Don’t over do it. Ease-in. Start with a few minutes a day of something fun. Pleasure is the key to sustainability.

Couple this with a low fat diet and moderate alcohol consumption and you’ve got a recipe for better quality of life and maybe even a longer one.

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Aqua Exercise: A Splash of Fabulous!

Aqua ExerciseAqua Exercise: A Splash of Fabulous!

Water babies, that’s us. We’re at home in liquid from pre-birth and we seem to naturally gravitate to it. We love the ocean, the lake the pool, the hot tub, and the bathtub.

What is it about water that means so much to us? It surrounds us, it cradles us, and it supports us. We’re nearly weightless in water. The largest of us can glide with ease and grace, feeling minimal resistance. And, I think it’s those endearing properties of water that make aqua exercise pleasant and effective.

Fitness
Swimming is the most common form of Aqua Exercise. It’s good for all ages. It uses all your major muscle groups, strengthens, tones, and helps build aerobic capacity. There’s almost no impact, so it’s kind to your joints while it gets you in shape.

I swim laps for 30 to 40 minutes four or five times per week. I find it relaxing and stimulating at the same time. Some days it melts my stress and puts me in a meditative state. Other days I do some of my best thinking during my swim workout. In any case, I always get out of the water with that energized good-tired feeling. Mornings are my favorite time to swim. But I’ll take a swim any time I can fit it in. I mostly swim outside so, as pretty as dusk is; I’m usually done before that, because mosquitoes love me.

If you’re a beginner, start slowly with a few minutes a day. Stay in your comfort zone and build up. I can swim for an hour or so now, when my body’s in the mood. But it took me over a year to get that conditioned, and I had a head start as a fitness professional. Take your time and keep it fun.

Aqua Exercise

Can’t swim? No worries. There are classes at the local rec. centers everywhere. There’s aqua cardio, aqua strength, aqua stretch, just about aqua everything. It’s done in about four feet of water so there’s no need to swim. You can get a great workout. It’s no-to-low impact, so it’s easy on your joints. And, if you have access to a pool or calm water, now you can stream a workout on to your tablet, prop it on a chair and exercise your brains out.

There’s some cool equipment to use in the water, too; aqua dumbbells, paddle gloves, jogging vests. Obviously if you’re going deep water running you’ll need one of those deep water jogging vests. But otherwise, you don’t need that stuff to get started. Many aqua cardio classes don’t use any equipment.

Here is an Aqua exercise you might try for cardio:

And, you can do Aqua Strength exercises using aqua dumbbells or a couple of empty plastic water bottles filled with air for resistance. Here’s a video with a few Aqua Strength exercises:

PT and Rehab
Immersion in water was used for healing by ancient civilizations more than 3,000 years ago.

They were on to something, though they probably didn’t know quite what. Immersion in water provides a supportive, low impact, low resistance environment for modern, medically based, physical therapy and injury rehab. A doctor usually prescribes this type of exercise.

Aging Fit
Someone really smart, and probably pretty old, once said: “Aging is not for the faint of heart.” Can I say I can relate to that without giving away my age? Guess not.

Luckily water is also a great medium for vintage bodies that simply can’t take the impact of other types of exercise, at least not every day.

Even if you’re pretty active getting older can make it hard to do land-based exercise on a regular basis. And water is fun. You don’t know you’re exercising until you get out and your body tells you “Oh, that was a workout.”

As our health-conscious population lives longer and longer, I think aqua, with it’s ability to surround and support our aging bodies while we keep them operational, is the wave of the future. Get those creaky bodies in the water. Try it, you’ll like it.

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Easy Summer Workout

Easy Summer workout

Mirabai Holland Wall Exercise For Thigh Strength

Easy Summer Workout! It’s time to jump start your exercise program. You can enjoy the weather while you get into shape.

Here are five easy exercises to tone you up; no equipment necessary. Try doing them every other day. For the first three start with eight reps and build up to 16. For the last two (isometric exercises) hold for 10 seconds and build up to 30 seconds. With all these exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.

In a matter of a few weeks you should feel your body getting stronger and see it get shapelier.

Easy Summer Workout

Warm-up by taking a 10-minute walk. By the tenth minute, it should be brisk enough for you to just barely carry on a conversation.

Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Standing Push-ups:
Stand facing a surface, with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back upright again.

Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders

Calf Raises:
Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again.

Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Squats:
Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in; gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.

Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Wall Sit:
Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs
Upper Back Squeeze:
Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart. Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)
Hope you enjoy this Easy Summer Workout

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Getting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

Getting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

I was back in my home town recently, where I taught for over 20 years. I missed my ladies so I decided to take some of my former students out for tea and dessert.

I thought for a minute the dessert part was a bad idea when a couple of them wouldn’t eat a piece of cake in front of me. But when I dug in, moderately of course, the party got started in earnest.  Ever the moderator, I asked them each to share things that were important in their lives over the past year.

As we went around the circle, they spoke of getting pregnant, daughter’s weddings, losing your job, becoming a gym rat, outliving heart disease, surviving menopause, the joy of grandchildren, and a trip to China.

Maybe because I was their host, the conversation drifted toward how getting fit had changed their lives.

They shared stories about feeling invisible, not sexy, not pretty, having no energy and feeling like a lump. One remembered showing up in my office, tearing her hair out saying my doctor told me I need to do something, I’ve got serious health issues, but I hate to exercise. What do I do?

She said, I told her “I’m going to give you exercise you can look forward to instead of dread.”

Getting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

Most of my work is done with women who haven’t been active in a while. My coaching style is to start people wherever they may be physically and emotionally and get them moving, gently, and pleasantly. If the first experience is pleasant, you’ll want a second and the third and so on. Sustainability is the key to getting fit and staying fit successfully. And that’s what happened with these ladies. But something else remarkable happened too.

They told me getting fit had given them the self confidence to pursue things they would never have dared to try; that the change in their bodies had kindled a change in the way they saw themselves. Instead of feeling invisible they felt fabulous and that Fabulosity had spilled over into the rest of their lives. As much as I would love to take all the credit for this transformation, I think that it boils down to healthy body, healthy mind;

Getting fit was the key that unlocked the door to their potential.
Pretty cool huh?

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Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainAlthough specialists once thought that resting was the best prescription for a bad back, it is now shown that exercise relieves back pain. And carefully designed exercises may be even more effective in reducing back pain. A sedentary lifestyle and unnatural alignment of the spine have a lot to do with back pain, a condition that affects 31 million Americans at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. One study found that half of all working Americans report back pain symptoms whether they are seated or standing on the job.

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainIf you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, it’s easy to hunch your shoulders and neck forward to look at a computer screen without even noticing. And if you hold that position for hours at a time, especially with your legs crossed at the knees, your spine can really suffer. For women, wearing high-heeled shoes can add to spine stress.
By the time we reach our fifties, many Baby Boomers have created bad habits and bad backs.

Luckily, it’s possible to change your posture for the better, standing or sitting, and relieve that chronic pain – as well as the restricted breathing, digestion and circulation that holding an unhealthy posture may cause.

The most effective way to improve your posture is by stretching your spine and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles so that your whole core area gets stronger. Exercise also works to remedy sudden injury to back tissue and muscles.

One of the most effective ways to relieve back pain is back extension. Back extension helps to reset your vertebrae into proper alignment and to relieve nerve pressure. You can do it standing, sitting or lying face down (yoga cobra pose).

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainHere’s the standing version:

Stand feet comfortable apart. Place your two hands behind you at the lumbar area. Gently arch your back and look upward without stretching the neck too far back. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try this anytime your back feels fatigued. You’ll be surprised at how much relief it gives you. But don’t do it if you are in severe back pain. In that case it’s time to call your doctor.

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Strength Exercises Outdoors

Try these strength exercises outdoors to jump start your strength exercise program this Fall.. You can enjoy the weather while getting leaner and stronger with these easy strength exercises.  No equipment necessary!

Take a look at these easy strength exercises on video!

And here are all the exercises written out!

Strength Exercises Outdoors

Here are five easy exercises to tone you up; no equipment necessary. Try doing them every other day. For the first three start with eight reps and build up to 16. For the last two (isometric exercises) hold for 10 seconds and build up to 30 seconds. With all these exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.
In a matter of a few weeks you should feel your body getting stronger and see it get shapelier.

Warm-up by taking a 10-minute walk. By the tenth minute, it should be brisk enough for you to just barely carry on a conversation.
Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Strength exercises

Mirabai Holland Standing Pushup

Standing Push-ups: Stand facing a surface, with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back

Strength exercises
SQUATS: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in; gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Strength exercises
Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Strength exercises
Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again. Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Strength exercises

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart.  Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Interval Training Workouts

Interval Training WorkoutsInterval Training Workouts Can Spice Up Your Exercise Routine!

If your exercise routine is getting a little stale it’s time for some interval training workouts. These interval training workouts combine periods of lighter exercise with bursts of more intense exercise. You get faster results without knocking yourself out. It’s a great way to jump-start your body again and keep your exercise program fresh.

You can apply the same interval training workouts in the water as well as on land. Here’s a simple interval-walking, jogging or swimming program that will help you get and stay in shape. You will need a watch. (waterproof if used in the water.)

 

Interval Training Workouts

Start walking, or swimming at a slow pace for the first 5 minutes to warm-up, help elevate your core body temperature and increase blood flow to your working muscles.

Then pick up the pace for the next 3 minutes so you start to feel more effort but you can still carry on a conversation comfortably. Then pick up more speed for a 1-minute interval; either faster walking, a light jog or faster swim. Then go back to your comfortable conversation pace for 3 minutes. Alternate between 3 and 1 minute of faster walking or swimming intervals until you are able to sustain about 30-40 minutes 4-5 days a week.

I like to mix up my own interval training workouts alternating the days to get the most variety and training. For instance, do the walking /jogging interval workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then do the swimming interval workout on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Either way, you’ll find yourself enjoying your interval workouts more, increasing your fitness level, and looking forward to your next interval training workout. Have fun and remember you can be Fabulous Forever!

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Arthritis Exercises: Aqua and Land

Arthritis ExercisesHere’s a question about Arthritis Exercises.

Recently, I got a question from a woman who said, “The arthritis in my hips has progressed to the point where I’m really feeling it after my half hour walks. I want to stay mobile as I age. Are there any Arthritis exercises that will help me do this?”

It so happens, my husband also has osteoarthritis in his hips and I have been helping him with a couple of gentle stretches after his treadmill workouts.

Arthritis Exercises: Land

Here are two exercises that flex and extend the hip as well as stretch the front and back of your thigh muscles.

1. Lie on your back with one knee bent with your foot firmly on the floor to help support your back. Wrap a towel around the arch of your other foot. Hold the ends and pull back as you extend the leg towards the ceiling flexing your foot. Hold for 10-30 seconds. Feel the stretch in the back of the thigh (hamstring) and in your hip. Repeat on the other leg.

2. Lie on your side with both knees bent Take your top hand and grab your top foot at the ankle. Tilt your pelvis forward and pull in your abs as your bring the ankle towards your buttocks. Hold 10-30 seconds. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh (quadriceps) and in your hip. Turn over and repeat on the other leg.

Arthritis Exercises: Aqua

Also, if you have access to a pool, light aquatic aerobics or swimming is great. Your buoyancy in the water will help take the pressure off your joints and allow you to work on increasing your range of motion. The warmer the water the better. If the water seems cold to you, invest in a neoprene shorty weight suit. You can find them in a sporting goods store or dive shop. Here’s is a short aqua video that you can use to get started:
Of course always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

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Heart Health News

Heart Health NewsHeart Health News: Eat Berries, Drink and Be Fit! It just may help to save your  heart and the one that you love!

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 Health News 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, and maybe a square of dark chocolate for dessert. Not such a major lifestyle change.

Heart Health News: 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 here’s the formula: Eat berries, dark chocolate 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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