6 ways to reduce your stress

 

STRESSEverybody has to deal with stress in their lives. Stress can come from relationships or work. On the other hand, stress may happen because you are worrying about your health problems. Whatever happens throughout the day, it is better to return home and relax after a hard-working time.

There are some ways below which help you to reduce the stress:

1. LEAVE THE STRESS OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

It doesn’t matter what make you feel tired, just leave it outside when returning home. You can have dinner and discuss interesting stories with your family. In addition, talk about positive things throughout the day will make you feel better.

On the other hand, why don’t discuss with family about things that make you feel uncomfortable. They may think of any effective solution to help you overcome these challenges in life.

2. SPEND TIME RELAXING

Relax does not mean that you spend time watching a movie after dinner until midnight. Give yourself a deep breath is one of the most common ways to calm down. You should do this activity for 10 minutes whenever you feel uncomfortable. We sure that when doing this small task, you will remember all the positive things you had experienced during the day.

  • Sit in a position which make you feel comfortable.
  • Close your eyes slowly
  • Breathe slowly and deeply to release all the stress and things that make you tired.

3. FOCUS ON ONE ACTIVITY AT THE SAME TIME

For many people, they always have work to do. Even when they are at home, schedules are often include errands and chores, even a variety of tasks from the office. Instead of doing multitasks at the same time, why don’t focus on one activity to reduce all the stress. For example, you can do some yoga positions which you have learned from the internet.

ACTIVITYOn the other hand, some people have their house equipped with a variety of exercise machines. Therefore, they can work-out whenever they want which is not only good for health but also help reducing the stress. For people who have the same idea with us, this website ExerciseBikesExpert.com is full of various best spin bike reviews for you to consider carefully about our recommendation.

4. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

You should practice some positive self-talks as one of the ways to deal with stress when staying at home. You can encourage yourself like “I’ll do all the best I can” instead of saying “I can’t do this”. Some people think that this way is useless. However, why don’t try for one time? You will feel better in any situation.

On the other hand, some people often have stress in a period of time at the workplace. When you have too much responsibility, you will get stressed. To illustrate, the intense number of task makes people feel that they still haven’t caught up on work duties. If this situation sounds like you, read these tips below to manage stress in the working environment.

STRESS-AT-WORK

5. MANAGE THE TIME

Having the efficient time management is the best key to reduce stress in the working environment. You should begin to do the work far ahead of deadlines to prevent scrambling at the end.

Take note of the time and also make different plans for your jobs in order to get the best results. In addition, we also suggest that you should set your watch about 10 minutes ahead so as not to be late for work.

6. DO SMALL ACTIVITIES TO STOP STRESS

If you often feel nervous or stress before doing something, try these tips below. For example, people who are about to have an important meeting or a presentation always feel stressed and nervous.

  • Count from 1 to 10 before you speak
  • Take a deep breath when you feel uncomfortable
  • Go for a walk every day. Some people have to spend all time working at the office so they don’t have time to relax. Go for a walk not only helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle but reduce the risk of taking health problems as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” when you had made a mistake.

In conclusion, hope these tips above can help you overcome the stress not only at home but when working at your workplace as well. Hence, you can think about going on holiday with family and friends to fill your life with energy after a hard-working time.


The results are in

teen-and-health-habitsA recent survey suggests that the average teenager exercises outside of school, does not smoke or take drugs, drives with safety belts on and eats healthy snacks. Some girls said they weighed more than they wanted to and a large percent reported feeling stressed.

Here’s what you had to say about you and your health.

In September 1991, a Current Health 2 survey asked you lots of questions–about your health and safety habits, what you eat, what you think about your appearance, what’s stressful for you.

Your response was overwhelming! Nearly 12,000 of you completed the Health Attitude and Behavior Survey. Your answers have been tallied–and are you interesting people!

Just what are your health behaviors and attitudes? If you’re in the majority:

* You exercise (even outside of PE class!).

* You don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or take illegal drugs.

* You buckle up when you’re driving in a car.

* You eat healthy snacks.

Sound too good to be true? There’s more:

* You get less than eight hours of sleep at night.

* You feel (if you’re a girl) that you weigh more than you would like.

* Your most likely causes of stress are your parents and your grades in school.

* You’ve felt (again, if you’re a girl) sometime within the last 18 weeks that life is not worth living.

Who Participated?

Of those who completed surveys, nearly 6,000 were females, 6,000 were males. Slightly less than half of those who answered were between ages 12 and 14; just over half were between 15 and 18.

Here are some of the responses in detail.

Weighing In

weighting-inWhen students were asked how they felt about their weight, the most common response for the whole group was they were just about right (36.1%). Females appeared to be less satisfied with their weight than males. More than half the girls felt they weighed more than they would like. On the other hand, males were more likely than females to feel dissatisfied because they weighed too little.

Concerns about weight aren’t completely unfounded. A person who is overweight during childhood and adolescence is more likely to be overweight as an adult and is at increased risk for some chronic diseases later in life. All the same, health experts caution that many adolescents are overly concerned with being thin, and that worrying about thinness may contribute to eating disorders.

Some survey participants reported they would eat fewer meals in order to lose weight. Girls were more likely to skip breakfast and other meals than boys. The message has not been understood: Skipping meals to lose weight doesn’t work. Meal skippers often end up eating more calories at later meals or through snacks. The old idea that we should eat fewer starchy foods (complex carbohydrates) also has no merit. These foods are a good source of fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Experts recommend that as much as 60% of our calories should come from complex carbohydrates.

Overall, students made wise weight loss choices. Eating fewer snacks, choosing fruits and vegetables as snacks, eating less of everything, and eating less fat are all acceptable ways to go about losing weight.

Diet pills are not recommended to lose weight. When you stop using pills, any weight you lose is likely to come right back.

Milk and Moremilk

Calcium is important for bone formation and maintenance. Student surveys revealed that only 14% had four or more servings of milk a day. Seventeen percent of the males in the survey drank the recommended amount, while only 11% of females did so. Forty-two percent of the students in the survey reported drinking only one glass of milk a day.

More than three-fourths of the students in the survey rarely or never took vitamins. For students who get a good balance of nutritious foods, vitamins are not necessary.

Snack Attack

The favorite choice of snack foods reported was fruit. Fruits are excellent snack choices for all the reasons you obviously know. The next most popular choice for snacks was chips. Because most snack chips are high in fat, teens concerned about their weight should skip the chips.

The survey asked students about pizza. Almost half reported that pizza isn’t nutritious, but it tastes good. Almost a quarter correctly recognized that pizza can be a nutritious food (if you’re careful about what you put on it).

Counting Cholesterol

teen-and-health-habitsThe survey asked what students knew about cholesterol. Most students (75.6%) have heard about cholesterol and nearly half (49.2%) believe you should eat less of it. A refresher: Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the body and found in foods of animal origin. If cholesterol is found in excess in the bloodstream, it can form plaque on the artery walls, narrowing them, and can contribute to heart disease.

Iron is an important nutrient, essential for production of hemoglobin in the blood. About 80% of iron in the body is found in the blood. Females require about twice as much iron as males. When the survey asked about iron, the results were surprising.

Meat and poultry, dried beans and fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals are good sources of dietary iron. Fewer than half of the students surveyed correctly identified red meat, raisins, dried beans, and fortified cereal as good iron sources. Interestingly, more students thought milk was a good source of iron than many of the foods that really are rich in the nutrient.

Rest and Exercise

Less than half (44%) of the responding students get eight or more hours of sleep every night. Those who don’t regularly get adequate sleep at night may find that physical and school performance suffer.

More than three-fourths of the students reported exercising vigorously three or more times per week.

As you know, regular physical activity helps build fitness. Vigorous physical activity done three or more days a week for 20 minutes or longer provides the best overall health benefits. Three-fourths of the students surveyed preferred to get their exercise after school, but 44% exercise in physical education class only.

Smoking and Drugs

As for tobacco, most students surveyed don’t care to use it. More than half have never smoked or chewed, and another 15% have quit using tobacco. More than 80% feel that nonsmoking areas are a good idea. More than two-fifths (41.6%) agree that cigarettes should be banned. Most (63.4%) would prefer to date someone who doesn’t smoke. Of those students who do smoke, 82.1% say that they intend to quit. Fewer than 10% of the students reported using chewing tobacco or snuff.

Most students also reported that they never use alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine.

The survey results indicated that for the most part, the number of students who use drugs increases as they get older. But if you look at the chart on page 10, you’ll see what happens when we combine the number of students who never use drugs with those who have quit.

As you can see, the majority of students never use drugs or have quit using them.

Nearly half (45%) of the students who completed the survey believed that since drinking is illegal, it is wrong for them to drink. Another 20.6% were not interested in drinking. The remaining students felt that drinking is OK in moderation (20.7%), drinking is an acceptable part of socialization whether in moderation or not (9.6%), or that drinking is a necessary part of socializing for teens (4.1%). Just over a third (34.8%) of the students felt that it is acceptable to get drunk as long as the person doesn’t drive, but 43.6% disagreed. Drinking and driving is a serious problem in the United States. Studies show that half of all automobile accidents are alcohol-related. According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 8,000 young people age 16 to 24 are killed each year; another 40,000 are disabled in accidents involving alcohol.

The majority of students who drink do so on dates (44%) or with their friends (36.1%).

More than four-fifths (83.7%) of the students surveyed do not use drugs as an escape from problems. Only 4.4% strongly agreed and another 3.6% agreed that drugs help them escape from problems. It seems clear to the majority of respondents that using drugs provides only a temporary escape from problems. Asked if students felt that the benefits of drug use outweighed the danger and cost, almost two-thirds (65.2%) disagreed.

Your Mental Health

The two leading sources of stress for students surveyed were parents (39.6%) and grades and school (37.3%). To deal with stress, students reported sleeping or watching TV or movies (38.6%), and talking with someone (36.9%). More than one in 10 of the students reported using exercise (11.6%) or eating as a means of dealing with stress. Three percent of the students said that they used drugs to deal with stress. Sleeping or watching TV or movies can provide a brief break from stress, but doesn’t appear to interfere with the ability to deal with the stress.

Surprisingly, nearly half the students surveyed reported that they had felt life wasn’t worth living sometime in the past 18 weeks. Just about 12% felt this way often; 14.1% felt this way sometimes; and 22.4% felt this way rarely.

Students were also asked what they would do if a friend were contemplating suicide. The answer given most often (57.6%) was they’d talk to the friend about it. The next most frequent response was they’d tell an adult. Interestingly, the older the student, the more likely he or she was to talk to the friend and the less likely he or she was to tell an adult.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about people who talk about suicide is to take their talk seriously. While you may think you need to keep quiet about your friend’s talk of suicide out of loyalty to your friend, that decision may be deadly to your friend. By keeping quiet about suicide, you could lose a friend forever. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the friend. A suicidal person needs more than anything to know that you care.

Dating and Sexuality

Nearly one out of four (24.4%) students surveyed reported not having dated yet. Slightly more than that (27.4%) date by going out in groups of people, not with just one person. Nearly one in five high school students surveyed dates once a week.

When asked about sex before marriage, the most frequent response given (39.5%) was that sex is OK if the people love each other. Another 26.6% felt it is OK if birth control is used. Almost 24% of students responding felt sex before marriage is unacceptable.

When asked how the existence of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS affected their sexual behavior, 69% reported that they are not sexually active. Of the remaining students, 13.4% reported that they limit sexual activity to just one person. According to a 1992 report from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, AIDS is spreading most rapidly among heterosexuals. We also know that AIDS has an incubation period of seven to 10 years, which means that the majority of people who have AIDS today contracted the disease during their late teens and early twenties. Since it is possible to carry the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) without having any symptoms, it is possible that sexually active teens may have been unknowingly infected.

Safety First?

The majority of students surveyed (62.1%) reported that they always use seat belts. Only 5.9% reported that they never use them. If you don’t use seat belts for short trips, think again. The majority of accidents happen within 25 miles of home. Of students who ride motorcycles or mopeds, 42.1% always wear helmets, compared to 25.7% who never wear them. Of the students who ride bicycles, only 2.8% always wear helmets compared with 67.9% who never wear them. The motorcycle or bicycle rider is very vulnerable on the road. The majority of deaths and head injuries in bike and motorcycle accidents could have been prevented had the rider worn a helmet.

Asked if there is at least one smoke detector in the home, most (85.8%) said yes. More than one-third (37.5%) of the students knew there was one smoke detector and was sure it worked, and more than another one-third (34.6%) knew they had more than one smoke detector that worked. Only 13.9% didn’t know if their smoke detector worked, while another 3.3% didn’t know if they had a smoke detector. More than one in 10 (10.9%) students reported their homes did not have a smoke detector. A smoke detector can detect smoke before a human nose can. If you don’t know if your smoke detector works, check it today. And be sure to check it regularly in the future.

The Results and You

Now that you’ve read the results of this survey, how do you compare? How do your health behaviors and attitudes contribute to how you feel or your risk of illness or injury? Think about the things you’re doing right. Ask yourself if any of your attitudes or behaviors could use some change. The answers to these questions are up to you.


Follow You Body Clock

body-clockNatural body rhythms can be used to determine the best times to take medication, perform exercise, get a mammogram and plan other health behaviors. Women should consider their menstrual cycles when scheduling mammograms and breast cancer surgery. Some medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants, should be taken at bedtime.

When it comes to your health, timing is everything. Here, the best times to take pills, do your workout, get a mammogram … and more!

Did you know that having a mammogram at the right time in your menstrual cycle can improve its accuracy? That changing the hour at which you take asthma or blood-pressure medication may help you feel better? That you will get more from your workouts by hitting the gym at one hour instead of another?

Most of our bodily functions–digestion, respiration, hormone production–fluctuate over the course of a day, month, and even year, because of the ways we respond to light, darkness, temperature, activity, and sleep. In an exploding field called chronobiology, researchers are learning how to treat disease with these biological rhythms in mind. Following our body clocks, they’re finding, is an important part of keeping ourselves well. Here’s how:

Schedule your mammogram within two weeks after the start of your period. That’s when you have the best chance of getting the most accurate reading, according to a number of studies, including a recent One of some 2,500 women conducted at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Women who wait until the second half of their cycles, the study found, are twice as likely to get false reassurance, meaning the mammogram missed a cancer. During those two weeks, increased levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone cause fluid retention and trigger breast-cell growth, which can obscure any abnormalities. Also, your breasts are more tender at this time, and the discomfort makes it harder for the technician to sufficiently compress the breast for the clearest reading.

Because it’s also more difficult to feel lumps when breasts are swollen, experts advise doing self-exams about five days after you begin menstruating, when the breast fluid has drained.

If you need breast-cancer surgery, by to have it during the third week of your menstrual cycle. Studies show that women whose mastectomies or lumpectomies are performed in the week after ovulation are up to four times as likely to survive, disease-free, for at least ten years. Why? No one knows for sure, but it could be because progesterone levels are at their highest, which seems to bolster the immune system, helping to stop cancer cells from spreading. (If your doctor advises against delaying, however, then don’t; the benefits in waiting for the optimal day for surgery, especially if you need multiple procedures, might be offset by the additional time the cancer is given to grow, cautions Ruby Senie, Ph.D., of the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and one of the pioneer in this field.)

Have hay fever? Take antihistamines and decongestants at bedtime. The misery caused by nasal allergies follows a daily pattern, explains Monica Kraft, M.D., a researcher at the Cad and Hazel Felt Laboratory for Adult Asthma Research at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. During the day, the body’s naturally produced chemicals–cortisol (an anti-inflammatory steroid) and adrenaline (a hormone that dilates the airways)–help to fight off reactions to pets, grass, mold, and other outdoor allergens. In late afternoon, levels of these chemicals begin to drop; by late night, they are at their lowest, so that’s when you need medications to kick in and block reactions to dust mites and other indoor triggers. Also, some antihistamines van be sedating, so it’s obviously smart to take them at bedtime. As for decongestants, they may or may not be stimulating,, if you find they keep you awake, take them in the morning instead, advises Dr. Kraft.

For asthmatics, late afternoon may be the best time for medication. Everyone has a 5 to 10 percent decrease in lung function during the night, says Dr. Kraft, but for asthmatics, the drop may be as much as 50 percent. The good news is that patients who take oral or inhaled steroids between 3:00 P.M. and 5:00 P.M. experience much less of a decrease–closer to the normal 10 percent. And those who take theophylline, a nonsteroidal asthma medication, get the best results if they take it between 5:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. These drugs take a few hours to kick in, so they’ll go to work around 11:00, when your own cortisol and adrenaline levels are at their lowest and lung function is dropping.

There’s a monthly timing issue to consider, too, says Dr. Kraft. For many women, asthma symptoms tend to worsen around menstruation (for about three days before until three days after your period starts), possibly because of hormonal shifts. If you find that’s the case for you, talk to your doctor about increasing steroid dosages starting a few days before your period is due.

Pump iron in the morning. Go for a jog in the late afternoon. “The neck and lower-back muscles work all day to hold the head and torso erect, and by the end of the day, they’re fatigued,” says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, MA. That means you need to use less resistance during late-day weight training, in order to avoid injury.

Aerobic workouts, however–jogging, biking, walking–are best done between 4:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M., when your heart and lungs are strongest and metabolic rate is highest, so you’ll burn more calories. But don’t work out any later than that, cautions David Hill of the department of kinesiology at the University of North Texas in Denton. “Exercise acts as a short-term stimulant, so it will keep you awake.” And get your aerobics in before dinner; once you’ve eaten, your heart works hard to pump blood to the organs involved in digestion.

jogging

But if these suggestions don’t fit into your daily schedule, you’re not off the hook, experts say. It’s still better to work out at a less than ideal time than to skip the gym entirely.

Schedule dentist appointments for the afternoon. You probably don’t look forward to having your teeth worked on at any time of day, but it may be less of an ordeal after lunch. Anesthesia works best 12 hours from the middle of your deepest sleep, according to Michael Smolensky, Ph.D., director of the Hermann Center for Chronobiology and Chronotherapeutics at Hermann Hospital in Houston. For most people, says Smolensky this occurs at about 3:00 P.M.

But make the appointment on a day you’re not having your period, especially if you need an invasive procedure such as an extraction or implant, advises Thomas McGuire, D.D.S., director of the Dental Wellness Institute in Sebastopol, CA. Aside from the fact that a trip to the dentist probably won’t do much for menstrual crankiness, hormonal changes when the body’s blood-clotting ability and make you more prone to gingivitis–an infection that causes sensitive, puffy gums. Plus, aspirin and other painkillers for cramps can interfere with clotting; this, combined with blood loss from menstruation itself, may lower your resistance to infection.

If you have migraines, take your medication at night. More than half of these debilitating headaches occur between 6:00 A.M. and noon. If you’re only an occasional sufferer, simply taking your medication when a headache strikes is fine. But if you regularly get morning migraines and are on preventive medications, such as Elavil or other tricyclic antidepressants, taking them at night increases their effectiveness, says Fred Sheftell, M.D., director of the New England Center for Headaches. Also, the antidepressants can have a sedative effect. It’s also smart to cut out caffeine, or–if you can’t do without it–limit coffee drinking to the morning. That way, you won’t wake with a migraine induced by caffeine withdrawal during your sleep.

And if, like 70 percent of female migraine sufferers, you find that headaches are worse during menstruation, begin taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium a few days before your period is due and continue for three days after. Also, cut back on possible dietary triggers, such as alcohol, cheese, freshly baked bread, chocolate, and aspartame (Nutrasweet). Similarly, if ovulation is a migraine trigger, you should try following these measures for about three days at midcycle (usually day 14, counting the first day of your period as day one).

Ulcer sufferers should take medicine at bedtime. Because gastric-acid production increases in the evening, peaking between 10:00 P.M. and 2:00 A.M., most patients feel the bum just as they’re trying to get some shut-eye. Medications that stop acid secretion, such as ranitidine (Zantac) or cimetidine (Tagamet), should be taken at night to avoid the bedtime pain, advises John G. Moore, M.D., chief of gastroenterology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Make sure your blood-pressure medicine protects you in the morning. Your heart rate and blood pressure begin to rise every morning just before you wake. Although this change is harmless for most people, for those with high blood pressure, it can be problematic–even fatal. (Indeed, the chances of having a heart attack or smoke are much greater within the first few hours of waking up than at any other time of day.) Meditations such as beta blockers and calcium-channel blockers, which are administered once a day, don’t always get the morning surge under control, says William B. White, M.D., chief of hypertension and clinical pharmacology at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. Use a home blood-pressure monitor to take readings throughout the day, so you can see whether you’re protected in the morning. If you’re not–if you find that your pressure is too high–ask your doctor about taking medication more frequently. Or consider switching in the Covera HS brand of verapamil, a calcium-channel blocker you take at bedtime; the drug’s effects kick in at dawn, in sync with the start of the morning surge.

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), increase fiber intake in the second half of your menstrual cycle. Women with IBS–a condition marked by abdominal cramping, gas, and changes in stool consistency–often find that symptoms worsen two weeks before the start of their periods and continue to be worse until menstruation begins. Specifically, notes Margaret Heitkemper, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle, many women, especially those with IBS, tend to be constipated during the week after ovulation. The remedy? Increase the fiber in your diet and take a psyllium-containing laxative such as Metamucil from around day 15, then stop two or three days before your period is due.


How to get away from fat belly

Belly fat is the common situation with many women nowadays. An expanding waistline will make women look older compared to their instant age. However, belly fat can bring a lot of health problems for you in the future. In this article, we will show you some effective ways to get away from this problem.

Your expanding waistline can tell about your health.

fat-belly

To get a flat belly, it is better to take care of your health and lifestyle. When doing exercises, different types of practice such as planks, leg raises and crunches will definitely burn the calories in the belly; however, healthy lifestyle is also necessary for reducing the amount of fat in the body. So can we reduce the layer of fat to get a perfect shape?

There are various ways to lose weight and become healthier.

SLEEP

It is easy that sleeping on your bed also helps reducing the amount of calories. There are researches from fitness coach show that sleep-deprived people often get in the lack-of-energy situation. They always want to eat a lot so as to boost the energy for the whole day. In fact, when you sleep enough, a large amount of hormones will be released to detoxify the body and burn out the calories. Therefore, sleeping in the right amount of time also helps women achieve a sexy body.

So remember to sleep at least 8 hours a day. Some people may find it hard to sleep early at night, you can try some ways below.

  • Spend time to relax before going to bed. For example, you can listen to instrument music so as to fall asleep easier.
  • Drink tea! Some people often say that drink too much tea will make you find it hard to sleep at nights. So just drink one cup of tea before going to bed, it will help absolutely.
  • Stay away from electrical things as your mobile phone or laptop. You can find some interesting books to read at that time in order to relax and fall asleep.

EATING BALANCE

A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to stay away from belly fat. Keep in mind the types of food that you consume day by day. For instant, make sure that you pick up the right amount of food such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins.

Researches show that you will lose your weight if you contain a large amount of proteins when eating. Try to consume 2 grams of protein in every meal you take. You should not eat too much carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread and rice. These types of food will definitely make you become fatter and heavier. Choose green ingredients like vegetables, coconut oil or nuts are ideal things to stay away from fat belly.

eating-balance

EXERCISES REGULARLY

To get a sexy body and abs, create a fitness program for working out with intense fat-burning steps. It is easy that you work-out every day; however, an ideal program will help getting a perfect body as soon as possible.

  1. CREATE A BALANCED ROUTINE – Practitioners should do exercises at least 150 minutes a day with intense activities such as crunches, planks and cardio.
  1. KEEP IN MIND YOUR GOAL – when having a clear goal, this element will encourage you to work-out regularly. For example, you goal is practice to participate in a fitness competition. Therefore, having a clear goal can help you boost out your process.
  1. CONTAIN VARIOUS ACTIVITIES – Do not just work out in a gym day by day. You should consider practice outside such as swimming, cycling or running. When doing different types of exercise, this not only helps you relax but also strengthens the body.

exercise-regularlyFor people who do not have enough time to go to the gym, you can work-out at home conveniently with a variety of fitness machines. In addition, the Sunny Health & Fitness is the brand with a variety of effective cycling bikes for working out at home. To illustrate, Sunny SF-B1001 is a comfortable bike which is cheap and easy to use for most users. You can read reviews about Sunny SF-B1001 Indoor Cycling Bike at http://exercisebikesexpert.com/sunny-sf-b1001-indoor-cycling-bike/

In conclusion, women need to have a healthy diet and regular plan of exercises in order to shape a perfect body. You can combine different types of activitie to strengthen your body and become healthier. On the other hand, some people choose to pick one fitness machine and practice in their free time. It is up to you!


How to outsmart your metabolism

diet-and-exerciseWomen’s metabolism begins to wane in their late 30’s, but they can avoid gaining unwanted weight by engaging in proper diet and exercise strategies. Three women share their diet and exercise regimens for combating nature’s effects on their bodies.

Knowing the best diet and exercise strategies for your body type will slim you fast–and keep you that way.

Whether you need to lose five pounds, ten pounds (or more), you know it’s not easy. You’ve probably lost and regained those pounds lots of times by now. And it’s not going to get easier. Even if you’re at the right weight today, just staying there will become tougher. “In your thirties, your metabolism starts to slow down,” says June Lay, a certified nutritionist in New York. “And it keeps getting slower as you get older.” Which means that you can’t depend on diets now and then to keep the pounds off as you get into your late thirties or enter your forties. Indeed, dropping calories to too low a level will cause your metabolism to slow even more. You really have to develop healthier eating habits–and stay with them.

The same goes for your exercise routine. “A lot of women between 35 and 45 suddenly find that working out isn’t keeping their weight down,” says Manhattan fitness consultant Alix Redmonde. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to devote more hours to it. Instead, “you need to exercise smarter,” says Redmonde.

exercise-routineTo pinpoint the specific changes that will slim and tone you now–and keep you that way in the years ahead–we’ve taken a close look at the diets and exercise programs of three women with very different lifestyles. Match up your body type and eating habits, then learn the strategies–nutritional from Lay, fitness from Redmonde–that will work best for you.

Jean Garland

Unwitting fat eater

“I know I don’t eat enough greens!”

Age: 37 Kids: Luc, almost 3; Isabella, 5 Job: Stay-at-home mom Height: 5′ 5″ Current weight: 132 pounds Body type: Ectomorph-mesomorph (naturally lean on top, heavier on bottom) Projected weight in five years: 137 to 142 pounds

* Sample day’s food:

10:00 A.M.., breakfast: 1 slice rye toast with peanut butter and jelly; a cafe latte (1/2 espresso, 1/2 hot milk) with 2 tablespoons sugar

12:30 P.M., lunch: bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on white toast; diet cola

5:15 P.M., snack (during kids’ dinner prop): 5 raw baby carrots

5:30 P.M., snack (leftover kids’ meal): hot dog with bun and mustard

9:00 P.M., dinner: 2-egg omelet with tomato and cheese; 1 cup of French fries; 1 slice rye toast

* Diet analysis:

Total calories: 1,788

Fat: 53% of calories (ideal is 20% to 30%)

* Exercise:

Yoga 1 to 2 times per week

* What Jean’s doing right:

She’s getting 4 servings of veggies (but few greens and almost no fruit) and a low amount of sugary foods.

* What she needs to change:

Reduce fat

Why: Not only does fat contain more calories per gram (9) than protein or carbohydrates (5), but it’s hard to stop eating fatty foods once you start.

How: For breakfast, Jean should replace the peanut butter with a low-fat cheese. At lunchtime, for the BLT, she might substitute a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato. Instead of the high-fat omelet and fries at dinner, she could try a white omelet (no yolks) with tomatoes and peppers or have grilled fish or chicken with a baked potato. Adding fiber (beans, fruits) to her diet will also help Jean keep weight down.

Add aerobic workouts

Why: Jean has a very common combination body type–lean on the top and bigger on the bottom. Cardio workouts will help her bum calories and fat all over, and the right ones will help her lower body get lean.

How: At least three 30- to 60-minute sessions of high-intensity aerobics: Walking or running on level ground; bicycling in low gear; cycling classes; jumping rope; multi-impact aerobic classes; blading.

Add resistance training

resistance-trainingWhy: Resistance work in her slim upper half will bring it into balance, both visually and physiologically, with her more muscular lower half. It will also increase her muscle mass, which will up her metabolic rate.

How: Every other day, for 10 to 15 minutes, she should do exercises for the upper back, chest, and arms, lifting weights (as heavy as possible) for relatively few repetitions (two sets of, say, 8 to 12 reps).

Jolinda Mester

Nighttime Eater

“I have no time to eat at work, Often I’ll starve all day and make up for it when I get home.”

Age: 35 Kids: Justin, 6 1/2 Job: Radiologist Height: 5′ 2″ Current weight: 128 pounds Body type: Endomorph (naturally round) Projected weight in five years: 135 to 138 pounds

* Sample day’s food:

6:35 A.M., breakfast: 1 cup frosted oat cereal (no milk)

7:45 Am., snack: 1 cup de-caffeinated coffee with whole milk, artificial sweetener

12:15 P.M., lunch: Cinnamon raisin bagel

7:15 P.M., snack: 1 water cracker, 1-oz. slice muenster cheese

7:40 P.M., dinner: 1 bowl minestrone soup, 20 tortilla chips, 2 cups spaghetti with meatless sauce

8:30 P.M., snack: 1 table-spoon peanut butter

9:30 P.M., snack: Mug of fat-free hot chocolate with marshmallows

* Diet analysis:

Total calories: 2,090 Fat: 31% of calories

* Exercise:

Jogging, 3 to 4 times per week, 30 to 60 minutes; weight training, 3 times per week, 1 hour

* What Jolinda’s doing right:

As a near vegetarian, she’s close to the optimal amounts of fiber and fat. She also exercises almost daily.

* What she needs to change:

Spread out her calories more evenly through the day

Why: Jolinda’s pattern of eating little during the day, then making up for it at night, robs her of the energy she needs at work, and, because she feels deprived by the time she gets home, sets her up for high-cal snacking and weight gain.

How: breakfast, snacks, and a lunch that combine carbohydrates and protein (carbs for fast-release energy, protein for slow-release power) will keep Jolinda’s stamina on a more even keel. She might have a low-fat yogurt mixed with low-fat granola for breakfast, and for lunch, bring in a small can of water-packed tuna to eat with her bagel. At-work snacks could be a box of raisins or a banana (or other unmessy fruit).

Do more aerobics

Why: Endomorphs, who are genetically predisposed to put on weight, need to do more high-intensity aerobics than anyone else–at least four 30- to 60-minute sessions a week.

How: Same as Jean Garland, above.

Lift fight

Why: If you bulk up your muscles and they are covered with a thick layer of body fat, you will simply look heavy, not toned.

How: The strategy for firming–not bulking–is to do many repetitions (12 to 16; start with two sets, go to three) with light weights. She should aim for 2 to 3 times a week for 25 to 30 minutes.

Christine Moffatt

Sugar Snacker

“I resort to cookies or candy when I lose energy midafternoon because they are easy and quick.”

Age: 29 Kids: Meeghan, 2 Job: Graduate student Height: 5′ 5″ Weight: 108 pounds Body type: Ectomorph (naturally lean) Projected weight in five years: 108 pounds (but this may begin to rise as she reaches her mid to late thirties)

* Sample day’s food:

7:15 A.M., breakfast frozen waffle: 3 slices bacon; 8 oz. orange juice

9:00 A.M., snack: 8 oz. chocolate milk

Noon, lunch: 1 cup leftover Chinese chicken and broccoli; few spoonfuls of fried rice

1:00 P.M., snack: 2 chocolate chip cookies; 12 oz. cola

4:30 P.M., snack, 6 oz. cola

8:45 P.M., dinner fat restaurant): green salad; 6 to 8 oz. chicken in wine sauce with mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini; tartuffo (rich Italian ice cream dessert)

* Diet analysis:

Total calories: 2,172 Fat: 39% of calories

* Exercise:

Walk/run, 4 to 5 mornings a week, 45 minutes

* What Christine’s doing right:

Adequate veggie intake (4 servings)

* What she should change:

Stop running on amply

Why: Christine exercises before breakfast, which stresses her body–she’s pushing her muscles without having eaten for eight hours.

How: She might try a quickly digested sports drink (the lower-calorie versions) for a pre-breakfast energizer.

Reduce sugar intake

Why: While one or two sweets a day can fend off feelings of deprivation, Christine’s heavy reliance on sugary foods (especially those combined with caffeine, as in cola) causes an uncomfortable crash-and-burn cycle, in which her energy levels ascend, then plummet. In time, this pattern, which could lead to cravings, also sets her up for weight gain.

How: Replace cookies with low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit (which will help remedy her shortfall of complex carbohydrates as well as increase the day’s seriously low intake of fiber), or a low-fat cereal bar. In place of cola, which is dehydrating because of the caffeine, she might drink flavored seltzer.

Lower fat

Why: Not only is she consuming too much, but 13 percent comes from saturated fat, the most harmful kind.

How: In place of bacon, she could try lower-fat Canadian bacon or Virginia ham. Christine should replace whole milk and premium ice cream with lower-fat versions, and also try to eat fish or seafood once or twice a week. Also, one or two dinners a week might be vegetarian.

Reduce aerobic workouts

Why: As a borderline underweight person, Christine bums too much fat. She should limit herself to aerobic workouts three days a week (rather than her current five) and to 25 minutes (rather than 45).

How: Best bets are swimming, which builds both the upper and lower body without burning a lot of calories; walking up inclines (which will add curves to her lower body); and using a stairclimber (ditto).

Add resistance training

Why: Weight training for at least 25 minutes three times a week will make her meatier (and help protect against osteoporosis).

How: The strategy for building bulk is to lift heavier weights with few repetitions (8 to 12).


Working Out: What’s Safe, What’s Not.

Exercise is good for the body, yet there are two major types of injuries that can occur. Acute, or sudden, injuries and injuries ascribed to over use. Teens are especially prone to the latter type of disease. Warming up before exercise can lessen the chance of injuries as can regular, strengthening exercises.

Working out is great for your body and your brain. But overdoing it or exercising improperly is a surefire recipe for injury.

workoutHow do you get a good workout and not suffer nagging aches and pains, pulled muscles, or stress fractures? Simple. Work on getting your whole body in shape, including strengthening your muscles, building endurance, conditioning your heart, and increasing flexibility.

Overuse Abuse

You can get two types of injuries from working out:

  1. Acute or sudden injuries, such as tearing the ligaments that tie bones together, breaking bones, or pulling muscles.
  2. Overuse injuries such as Little League elbow, swimmer’s shoulder, and runner’s knee. Overuse injuries are usually the result of overtraining, although some people are more prone to muscle soreness and stiffness than others.

Because as a teen you may be experiencing a growth spurt, you might be susceptible to overuse injuries, especially where you have cartilage. Growth cartilage is the soft layer of new, not-yet-hardened bone that is found at the ends of long bones and at points where the major tendons attach to them. Until you stop growing, your cartilage is easily damaged by repetitive stresses. During growth periods, your muscles and tendons also lose some flexibility, making them more prone to inflammation (tendinitis) or strains. Gentle stretching is the best way to counter tightness in the muscles and tendons and to prevent tearing.

Pain Prevention 101

Aches and pains don’t have to be a part of your workout if you know how to prevent them. According to Nancy O’Neil, director of athletics and activities at Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School in Sudbury, Massachusetts, one of the biggest mistakes young people make is warming up improperly or not at all. “Muscles need to be loose before you begin the rigorous part of a workout, and they need to be stretched afterward,” she says. “A lot of kids neglect to warm up and cool down, but these parts of a workout are key to preventing injuries.” She recommends spending several minutes doing light calisthenics, easy jogging, or low-resistance cycling to warm up muscles and joints. Warm muscles are more limber and elastic than cold ones, and less likely to break down or tear.

Another common problem that leads to muscle stresses and strains, according to O’Neil, is uneven muscle strength. “It’s better for your muscles if they’re challenged in different ways–by doing different sports and including a variety of activities–than if you concentrate on just one muscle group and ignore the rest,” she says. “Muscles need a full day to recover after a workout. Otherwise, they get overstressed and sore. That’s why we try to emphasize cross-training.”

If you’re a runner, work on toning your upper body and abdomen as much as on strengthening your legs (check it out here http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/08/leg-workout_n_4563677.html). If you play football and want a strong chest, don’t ignore your back and triceps. Muscles in different parts of your body work together, so you need to work opposite sides of your body equally. The more balanced your muscle strength, the less likely you are to suffer an injury. If you work out every day, concentrate on a different set of muscles each time.

On-Screen Fitness

If you don’t have access to a gym, or prefer working out in private, consider getting a fitness video. Just be sure it’s right for your needs and abilities. “Workout videos come in all styles and fitness levels,” says O’Neil. “Some are for beginners, some are gender-specific, and some are questionable as to technique and may not be appropriate for adolescents.” She cautions teens who decide to use fitness tapes to ask their wellness instructor, gym teacher, or coach to recommend some that are safe for young people.

You might be impressed with a star’s body, but if you have to struggle and strain to keep up, you’ll be missing out on the fitness benefits and on the fun. Besides, with no teacher in the room making sure you’re doing the moves correctly, it’s easier to get hurt. Whichever tape you use, start your session with at least 10 minutes of slow total-body stretching (press pause if your workout tape doesn’t include enough warm-up time). And don’t be afraid to modify the program to your pace and fitness level. There’s no point in knocking yourself out trying to do a hundred sit-ups just because the video tells you to.

Exercise Knee-How

Knowing how much stress your body can handle and where you are most susceptible to injury is another important part of injury prevention. Tight calf muscles, an improper warm-up, or a sprint up a hill before your legs are properly conditioned, for example, can result in a torn Achilles tendon.

Your knees are just as vulnerable. Although they weren’t made to twist or turn as they carry an entire body’s weight, that’s what happens whether you’re running, playing basketball, dancing, or just climbing stairs. While some people are more prone to knee problems than others, most knee pain is the result of overexertion, weak leg muscles, or both. Often, getting a new pair of shoes or doing exercises to strengthen quadriceps and stretch the hamstrings is enough to eliminate the problem. Other times, cutting back is the answer. Working out too much and too hard can throw out the kneecap and get it out of alignment, causing your knee to ache or feel stiff, especially early in the morning. Do your knees a favor. Don’t try to do a grueling workout every day.

Working out shouldn’t hurt. By doing the right things before, during, and after exercise, you can avoid sore, stressed-out muscles and lessen the risk of more serious strains and sprains.

Common Problems and What to Do About Them

  1. Lower back pain: often the result of a twisting fall, from lifting or bending improperly, or even from sleeping on too soft a bed. Solution: exercises to strengthen back and abdominal muscles. A sheet of plywood under the mattress may help. See your doctor if the pain continues more than a few days.
  2. The blahs: the result of training too much. The blahs leave you feeling tired, sore, thirsty, and irritable. Solution: Train hard every other day with lighter workouts in between. And be sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  3. Side stitch: Pain on the right side is usually the result of faulty breathing, a weak diaphragm, or unusual stretching. Solution: During exercise, be sure to breathe regularly and deeply, and to stretch your mid-body often.
  4. Cramps: occur when the muscles are tired, overstretched, bruised, or deficient in salt or other minerals. Solution: mild stretching while rubbing the muscle; warmth helps too.
  5. Blisters: caused by friction, sometimes from ill-fitting shoes or a sock that slides back and forth over the skin. Solution: Wear new shoes for a short period until they are broken in. If you feel friction, stop and cover the area with a pad. Stop the activity that caused the blisters, and protect the area from further irritation. Avoid blisters altogether by getting shoes that fit well.
  6. Shin splints: caused by running on either very hard, concrete surfaces or very soft, sandy surfaces, running in spiked shoes, or trying to train too strenuously, too soon. The shin bone may feel sandpapery when you run your hand along it. Solution: rest and moist heat. Try a little backward running too. Be sure to do plenty of stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles of the lower leg. Stretch the shin muscles by pointing your toes as far forward (away from your body) as you can while seated on the floor or by having someone pull your toes forward. Decrease or avoid the activity that caused the shin splints. See your doctor if the pain continues more than a few days.
  7. Charley horse: a severe bruise, especially in the thigh, that causes bleeding within the muscle tissue. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling, and possibly muscle spasms. Solution: Use RICE–rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If you can, stretch the muscle immediately after the injury. That’ll help remove some of the blood.
  8. Athlete’s foot: a fungal infection that causes itching and burning. Solution: Wear dry socks and shoes and be sure to dry thoroughly between your toes after showering. See your doctor for a prescription for medication to treat the fungus and alleviate discomfort. Wear sandals in the locker room and thongs in the shower.

Exercise Your Common Sense

exerciseAbove all, try to avoid injuries.

  1. Jog early in the morning when the air is fresher and less polluted.
  2. Don’t run near busy roadways or on uneven or rock-hard surfaces.
  3. Wear reflective clothing.
  4. If you’re allergic to bees, carry your adrenaline kit (EpiPen) in case you’re stung.
  5. Don’t wear worn-out shoes.
  6. Use sunscreen and sunglasses or a cap with a visor if you’re exercising outdoors, especially at midday. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
  7. Wear a mouth guard to games and practices.
  8. Get plenty of sleep to keep your reflexes and reaction time sharp.
  9. Never play through the pain. Treat injuries with RICE–rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  10. Talk to a doctor. You may still be able to swim or cycle despite an injury.
  11. Avoid downhill running and avoid cycling with a seat that is too low.

The #1 way women drop pounds – and keep them off

Walking can be an excellent workout if done correctly. It burns calories, and improves mental attitude without the potential for injury that running conveys. Tips on posture, stride, arm swing and how to structure a workout are presented.

walkingForget the idea that walking is a wimpy workout. True, “you can’t undertake it like window-shopping,” says Therese Iknoian, exercise physiologist and author of Fitness Walking. But done correctly, walking can burn as many calories as running (if not more) — with far less potential for injury. Which means you won’t be sidelined every few months while you nurse a strained Achilles tendon or recover from a knee injury.

Walking also gives you a psychological boost. A recent study required a group of avid walkers to give up their routine for eight days and keep a journal of how they felt during their break. All the women had expected to be more productive, using the time they would have spent walking getting chores done. But most found they weren’t — they’d missed out on the time to mentally plan their days and work through problems relating to their jobs or their families.

Still, you have to commit to hitting the sidewalk for 30 minutes, three to five times a week. Then you’ll start to notice serious results — like dropping pounds and gaining more toned calves, thighs, buttocks, even arms — all in as little as six weeks.

The Workout

To figure out what your walking program should be, time yourself walking one mile at a steady pace. Then find your level on the chart and follow this plan, created by Iknoian.

Time                   Level
More than 17 minutes   Level 4
15 to 17 minutes       Level 3
13 to 15 minutes       Level 2
Under 13 minutes       Level 1
  • Level 4: Walk 30 minutes three times per week for a total of 4.5 to 5 miles (and burn about 360 calories each week).
  • Level 3: Walk 30 minutes four times per week. On alternate days, try to incorporate “speed play” into your routine: Several times during your walk, pick up the pact for short distances. One way to do it: Choose a landmark up ahead (like a telephone pole), walk to it as fast as you can, and then slow down again after you’ve reached it. Total: 7 to 8 miles (about 600 calories).
  • Level 2: Walk 30 minutes five times per week, with speed play on alternate days. Total: 10 to 11.5 miles (about 975 calories).
  • Level 1: Aim to walk 30 to 40 minutes five to six days per week, with one long walk (up to 60 minutes) once a week, if possible. This time, include extended speed play — go farther (two telephone poles, for instance). Total: 15 to 16 miles (about 1,650 calories).

As you get in better shape, up your mileage, but don’t add more than 10 percent per week, says Iknoian. (Otherwise, you could hurt yourself — your muscles may not be up to a more intense workout.) If you start off at Level 4, for example, walking five miles per week, add only a half mile a week until you are up to Level 3. Stick with each level for at least four weeks, gradually picking up pace, too. (Check your progress by repeating the original test every couple of months.)

If you only have three days a week to work out, be sure to alternate them, says Iknoian. This way you can incorporate speed play each day. And stick to the 10 percent rule; your muscles need time to work up to longer, faster walks.

The Right Walk

To get the most out of your workout, you also need to pay attention to technique, says Martin Rudow, former Olympic racewalking coach and judge.

1. PostureBad posture limits movement,” says Rudow, who suggests this test before you head out the door: Stand up straight (but not stiffly) with your back against a wall. If you’re standing properly, your head, shoulders, buttocks, and heels should all be touching the wall. Keep that mental image of your body in mind as you walk. Stop every ten minutes during your workout and do a quick posture check before continuing.

posture2. Arm swing. Just by getting your arms involved you’ll start working your midsection, toning your stomach and arms while you work your legs. The trick is to keep the motion controlled: Start with your shoulders relaxed and bend your elbows slightly more than 90 degrees. Keeping elbows close to your body, swing arms so that your fist never goes higher than your breastbone in front and the back hand goes no farther behind you than the back of your butt.

3. Stride. Surprisingly, you can walk faster by taking smaller steps than you can with great strides. “This doesn’t mean little Minnie Mouse steps,” says Iknoian. “It just means keeping your feet within a comfortable distance of your body and moving them faster.” Reaching way out with your heel at every step can lead to arch pain, shin pain, and even back problems. So try to roll through your entire foot, pushing off with your toes at the end.

The Excuse-Proof Workout

Part of walking’s enormous appeal is that it requires no more than a good pair of shoes and a little motivation. As for accessories like hand or ankle weights, the expert consensus is: Don’t bother. “To burn additional calories, you’d have to be holding two- to three-pound weights and swinging them vigorously with each step,” explains Iknoian. And if you actually did lug around that much weight, you would fatigue too early, slow your pace, and wind up burning fewer calories. Weight-swinging can cause injury to ligaments in your arms and shoulders, throw off your stride, and add unnecessary strain to your hips, she cautions.

If you want music, strap your Walkman onto your sweats or shorts and leave your hands free; holding something in just one hand affects your arm swing. As for what you listen to while you walk, make sure it’s something that keeps pace with you. You don’t want anything that distracts you or slows you down (like a book on tape).

And when leaving the baby at home isn’t an option, take him on the road with you — in a Baby Jogger. Whatever benefits you lose by not being able to swing your arms will be made up by the extra effort of pushing it. “The biggest concern is your posture while you push,” warns Annette Lang, a trainer at Equinox Fitness Club in New York. “Keep you back flat, don’t let your shoulders hunch or your upper back round over.” The same holds true for walking with a back-pack or front-carrier — be sure to use your stomach muscles to support your lower back and help you stand tall.

WALKING VS. RUNNING: A COMPARISON

Though it might seem running would give you a better workout in less time, walking offers benefits you won’t get from a jog — without the risks. Here’s how the two measure up:

WALKING RUNNING

* works * works whole body, legs and butt toning legs, primarily hips, buttocks, arms, back, even midsection

* builds * can build defined — bulky muscle but sleek — muscles

* is * puts a loot low-impact, which of strain on reduces joints (3.5 your risk of times your injury body weight each time your feet hit the ground)

BEFORE AND AFTER THE WALK

Just as with any workout, walking requires that you warm up, cool down, and stretch to help prevent injuries. Here’s how:

To warm up, walk at a slower pace for a few minutes. At the end of your walk, cool down by decreasing your speed back down to a stroll for a couple of minutes.

Your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps get a lot of use, so be sure to stretch these post-workout:

* FOR CALVES, stand with the balls of your feet on a step and gently hang your heels below it until you feel a stretch.

* STRETCH HAMSTRINGS by standing with one foot up on a chair or bench, toes pointing up. Slightly bend the standing leg; keep the other straight. Slowly bend forward (not down), bringing your chest toward your leg. Hold for a count of ten (without bouncing) and then switch sides.

* FOR QUADRICEPS, hold on to a tree or back of a chair, bend your left knee and point it downward, grab your foot with your left hand, and draw it toward your buttocks. Hold for ten counts; switch sides.


New baby? How to feel great again

New mothers often suffer from aches and pains associated with the pregnancy and taking care of a new baby. The care involves much awkward lifting, which stresses the back, so use of the arms and shoulders first is recommended. Exercises are described to strengthen parts of the body to relieve pain.

pregnancyYou knew pregnancy would bring its share of aches and pains. But no one ever told you about the cracked nipples, sore neck, and overtaxed knees. Fortunately, remedies are easy–and quick.

I had two babies in less than a year and a half, and when I finally saw a photo of myself, I was shocked. It wasn’t that I looked old, fat, and haggard–I did, but I knew that. It was my shoulders and neck. My whole life I’ve had good posture, and suddenly I was slumped over like a regular at some seedy bar. When I added up how many hours a day I spent hunched over a nursing baby, a bathtub, a stroller, and the like, it made sense–and would account, too, for the literal pain in the neck I had. And that’s just one of the various aches and pains that a new mother’s body may endure. Happily; most of the trouble spots ID’d below are fairly easily remedied.

Aching Back

Unless you worked recently as a longshoreman, your back was probably unprepared for life with a baby. Gingerly lowering and lifting a heavy object into and out of playpens, cribs, and bathtubs can tax your back beyond its limits. The usual suggestion is to follow standard safe-lifting procedure: Bend knees, keep back straight, hold the item high and close to the body, and lift (or lower) with your legs. It’s great advice. But just try it while extracting 20 pounds of dead weight from a car seat. “It’s much more realistic to try to adapt your body to the way you’re actually lifting,” says Willibald Nagler, M.D., chairman of rehabilitation medicine at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He suggests lifting with your arms and shoulders as much as possible before shifting the work to your back.

You should also start getting abdominal muscles back into recognizable shape as soon as medically advisable (typically six to eight weeks after delivery), since they support the back. One easy stomach strengthener from Washington, D.C., massage therapist Barbara Jazzo: Concentrate on slow, deep breathing, where you really expand your stomach on the inhale and force the air back out by contracting your abs. Do this exercise for at least two minutes anytime you think of it.

Last, limber up your back and hips to counteract extra stresses. Try Dr. Nagler’s back stretch: Sit in a chair, lean loosely forward to one side for five seconds, and roll back up with tight abs and buttocks. Repeat on the other side, and do six sets total. A good hip stretch is to lie on your back, bring both knees to the chest, then slowly slide one leg down until it’s as flat as possible; hold six counts, pull it back up, and repeat on the other side. Do six sets before you pass out in bed at night.

Sore Nipples and Breasts

It’s hard to imagine that the same nipples that are ultrasensitive under other circumstances can withstand being worked over every couple of hours by a baby. But the discomfort should never feel worse than a mild sunburn, and shouldn’t continue for more than ten days to two weeks, notes Judith R. Gelman, international board-certified lactation consultant in Washington, D.C. Rubbing a bit of breast milk into skin after a feeding and letting nipples air-dry helps prevent and treat run-of-the-mill soreness. Cracking. blistering, bruising, or skin breakdown of any sort may mean that the baby isn’t positioned well, or that you have thrush–a yeast infection of the baby’s mouth that can get transmitted to the mother’s nipples–in which case you should seek help from a doctor or lactation consultant.

Some women (especially those who don’t breast-feed) are almost literally sandbagged a few days after delivery by “engorgement,” which produces swollen breasts that have all the softness of a basketball. What’s bulking them up is a rush of blood, milk, and lymphatic tissue, which usually subsides within several days as your body adjusts to the demands of nursing (if you’re breast-feeding) or the lack of demand (if you’re formula feeding). Frequent nursing (10 to 12 times a day), ultragentle breast massage, and topical heat or ice or both, alternately, can help relieve discomfort.

Neck and Shoulder Strain

Habitual slumping is an occupational hazard of childcare, but it usually disappears by itself once you stop bending over so much, says Dr. Nagler. If you’re not willing to wait, he suggests the following posture retrainer: Try to get your shoulder blades to touch in the back, then hold for five seconds; repeat 10 or 12 times twice a day.

Your neck may also be “carrying” pain for shoulders overworked by hunching or, say, a couple of hours jostling a colicky baby. “If the shoulder isn’t strong or its muscles are tense, you transfer stress to the neck,” says Dr. Nagler. The exercise above can take care of the strength half; to loosen up, just add a series of slow shrugs and forward and backward shoulder rolls.

Hip Pain

The classic pose of one hip thrust out to balance a baby on it can take credit for hip pain. Rather than shifting the load from hip to hip, Dr. Nagler says that what feels most natural to you is probably the way to go: “The more dexterity you have, the less muscle strength you use–so if you feel clumsy holding the baby on your right hip and doing things with your left hand, you’ll strain the muscles even more.” Your best move is to limit hip strain by using a baby backpack, front carrier, or sling.

Overworked Knees

As soon as your child is old enough to throw things, you spend a lot of time squatting down to and getting up from the floor, which can strain knees. The best prevention is to do the hip stretch prescribed for backs and to strengthen your quadriceps–the muscles on the fronts of the thighs. One easy way: Walk up steps two at a time, hands behind back, once or twice a day–such as when you forget the baby’s hat, or blanket…

SINCE YOU CAN’T SLEEP LIKE A BABY.

sleepFor new moms, sleep deprivation packs a double whammy Both the quality and quality of sleep are decreased, reports Timothy Roehrs, Ph.D., director of research at the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. A mother on alert for a crying baby unconsciously monitors the environment even while asleep, causing her to sleep more lightly, less restfully.

Caffeine does counteract some of the effects of sleep deprivation, says Dr. Roehrs, but, he cautions, you quickly build up a tolerance, so don’t count on it to keep you alert unless you use it judiciously. A basically nutritious diet will help, as will keeping dieting efforts in check, since taking in too few calories can sap you of energy, says Bonnie Worthington-Roberts, Ph.D., coauthor of Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation.

Beyond that, the only remedy is sleep. Whenever you can steal extra sack time–sleeping in on weekend mornings or even a whole night at a (childless) friend’s house–take it. If you’re able to nap, try to do it when your body hits Its natural daytime low. For most people, that’s sometime during the afternoon. Thirty minutes is good, an hour’s better, 90 minutes better yet, but quit there–studies show two hours’ sleep doesn’t boost alertness any more than 90 minutes does.

THE 15-MINUTE FIX

Setting your body in motion can help fend off aches and pains, boost your energy reserves, and shed post-pregnancy pounds–but what do you do if your only free time is between feeding and folding tiny laundry? Elizabeth Trindade, president of Strollercize, a new mothers’ workout using strollers, offers these exercises to whiz through. Do 15 reps each of the moves below; then, whenever you take the baby out for a walk, make it a fast-paced stroll to add some aerobics.

SQUATS (top): Start standing, arms at sides. Then bend, extending arms straight out in front, with knees and toes forward, weight on heels.

SIDE LEG LIFTS (middle): Using a chair for balance, slowly lilt outside leg to side as high as you can with each rep.

PUSH-UPS Facing a sofa on knees, ken forward with hands on cushions, just beyond width of your shoulders. Lower chest to cushions; slowly push up.

DIPS Sit on sofa with legs out, butt and hands on edge of cushion, fingers forward. Slide your rear just off edge, then “dip” body, bending elbows no more than 90 degrees and pushing back up.

TIGHTENERS (bottom): Sitting straight, arms out in front with knees bent, slowly roll back until you reach the position pictured. Hold for five seconds, then put your hands on the floor and push yourself up to the starting position.


Swimming to Manhattan

swimming2For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to swim. I love the gear, love the tangy smell of chlorine, love that it’s a way to travel-a literal change in milieu-without leaving the confines of a gym. As a kid, I was an avid swimmer. I participated in swim meets and even won a bunch of races. As an adult, though, I never thought of swimming to keep in shape. Instead, like most city-dwellers, I joined a gym, where I spent occasional 30-minute spurts pedaling nowhere on a stationary bike. I decided to change my regimen this fall, after eating my way through Venice. The sight of so much water must have unconsciously stimulated my childhood impulses. I put two and two together: I had weight to lose. I had just vacationed in a lagoon. I should swim.

Most swim coaches will tell you that swimming is more efficient at burning fat than any other activity besides sleeping. But there’s swimming and there’s pottering, and pottering was a much more apt description of my first week in the water, when I lazily logged laps in various gorgeous pools in Manhattan-Reebok Sports Club, the Jewish Community Center. I ended my workouts not because I was tired but because I was bored.

Swimming, I realized, was deceptive. I thought I had immersed myself in a physical activity when all I had done was immerse myself in water. Web sites devoted to comparison-calorie counting agree: “Leisurely swimming” (my style) burns only 370 calories per hour for a woman of my weight (133 pounds). Leisurely jogging, on the other hand, burns 600. I was swimming roughly 20 minutes a day, barely enough to burn off a dozen peanut M & Ms.

It was time to join the “swim team” at Equinox. (Hilary Swank, who swam in the Junior Olympics, apparently took this same class.) The experience was-and I am being neither modest nor hyperbolic when I say this-an utter fiasco. The session was true to its name, a swim team, if not in actual practice then in character. The participants all wore zippy racing gear. They swam rapid laps of freestyle-as a warmup. Most were former college swimmers, and the few who weren’t swam with serious goals in mind-like triathlons. I stopped about fifteen minutes into class, a blur of frenetic activity involving kickboards and sprints and modified strokes. I was breathless, clumsy, carving the erratic path of a drunk.

The coach, an energetic former swim-teamer named Marcelo Ehrhardt, gave me a private workout about a week later, taking me slowly through each exercise, which included clutching a kickboard (to build leg strength), swimming with a pull-buoy between my legs (to build upper-arm strength), and swimming underwater, coming up only occasionally for breath (to build endurance). But it seemed unlikely I’d be able to regularly attend the class: I could barely do two 25-yard laps of freestyle without collapsing-and 35 of them made a mile. The swim team completed at least that during one of its workouts. So I did what any self-respecting swimmer in New York would do. I called Asphalt Green.

Asphalt Green is an improbably mammoth fitness complex at the northeastern corner of Manhattan. Their Olympic pool is where Michael Phelps, winner of six gold medals in the 2004 Olympics, trains when he’s in town. Among its many programs, Asphalt Green offers underwater stroke analysis. For $150, Neil Cook, a veteran swim instructor whom I came also to regard as a swim philosopher, recorded my swimming with an underwater camera and evaluated my technique.

We began our session. As usual, I was exhausted after just two laps. “Your feet are nowhere near the surface when you kick. It’s creating a lot of drag,” Cook told me. He has a Father Christmas beard and lightning tattoos-one yellow, one red-on each of his calves. “If you look at the bottom of the pool, you’ll be able to swim for much longer.”

I looked at him incredulously. “It’s not because I’m out of shape?”

He laughed. “I have sub-three-hour marathoners that come to my triathlon stroke clinic,” he said. “They do 25 yards, they’re out of breath, and they complain of being out of shape. Do you think they’re out of shape?”

At the end of the session, we popped in the tape. An image came to mind: the scene in Fantasia of the dancing elephants in tutus. That lumbering creature was me? Cook was scrupulous in his analysis, showing me where my legs were too bent, where my back was arched, where I breathed too late.

It was amazing what a difference this one lesson made. Over time, as I swam three or four days a week, my strokes became efficient and my timing vastly improved. Before long, I could do 20 laps of freestyle in a row. I began incorporating Marcelo’s exercises. Now when I swam, I emerged from the pool panting and exhausted, as gratified as I’d ever been after a long run.

After about three weeks of this routine, I looked at myself in the locker-room mirror one afternoon and noticed that my thighs had firmed up and my waist had slimmed down. I reached over to scratch my arm and discovered-what the #@?!-a muscle. I’d never before been able to discern any bodily differences from my gym workouts. And I’d never felt so healthy in my life.

Swimming5

On a Thursday evening not long ago, I arrived at Equinox, hardly in a swimming mood. My boyfriend and I were teetering on our last legs. But I changed, jumped in the pool, and, for the first time in my life, I swam a mile, 35 laps, almost all of it freestyle. My inner sound track of self-blame stopped about a quarter of a mile in. All I heard was my own breathing, which by then I’d come to think of as the sound of a popping can of Diet Coke. Forty satisfying minutes later, I emerged from the water, pleasantly exhausted and amazed. Only later, on the subway, did I realize: I had just learned the double meaning of the word buoyancy.


Get in the swim! Enjoy a workout in the water

Did you watch the swimming events during the 2008 Summer Olympics? Then you, along with millions of other people, probably saw Michael Phelps win an unprecedented eight gold medals. Now the elite athlete wants to keep swimming in the spotlight.

Michael-Phelps.jpgPhelps is off to a strong start. Teens across the country are finding that swimming is fun and an excellent way to stay fit at a low cost. It’s an activity that builds lean bodies with powerful muscles. But you don’t need to compete or swim like a fish to reap the many benefits of swimming.

Body Builder

When you swim, you use almost all the major muscle groups, including the heart. The activity “engages a lot of arm and leg muscles,” says Dr. Michael Joyner, an exercise researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In addition, swimming develops muscle strength and endurance and improves flexibility.

“I like the strength I get from swimming. I have more energy and feel fit,” says Emily M., 16, of Fairbanks, Alaska, who swims on both her school team and a club team.

Deep Breaths

Swimming can help your lungs work better. “When you swim, you breathe from the diaphragm,” says Dr. Holly Benjamin, a pediatrician and the director of primary care sports medicine at the University of Chicago. To understand why, think about how the diaphragm–a strong, thin muscle below the lungs–works.

As you breathe in, your diaphragm and other muscles contract and air rushes into your lungs. Your rib cage expands, and lung volume increases. When you breathe out, the diaphragm and other muscles relax and lung volume decreases.

Deep breathing means that you breathe from the diaphragm, which increases lung volume. That’s just what you get from swimming, according to Benjamin. “This deep breathing requires the swimmer to concentrate and control his or her breathing,” she says. Better breathing control and increased lung volume help you breathe easier even out of the water.

Young Girl Swimming Underwater

Strong Heart

Add swimming to the list of heart-healthy exercises. This activity makes the organ stronger and more efficient as it works to supply blood to all the exercising muscles and the rest of your body. The heart is a muscle, so exercise is good for it. Furthermore, swimming improves your circulatory system by expanding blood vessels. That allows more blood to circulate and can decrease blood pressure in people who suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure).

Fewer Injuries

In water, you weigh 10 percent of what you weigh on land. That buoyancy makes swimming a super-low-impact form of exercise. Swimmers move against the resistance of the water, which builds strength but with less pressure on joints, muscles, and bones.

This activity isn’t associated with a lot of injuries. It is forgiving because “you have less tension on your muscles, so you have less strain, or pull, on muscles,” says Megan Romano, 17, a top competitive swimmer from Florida who has her eye on the 2012 Olympics.

Faster Metabolism

Swimming speeds up metabolism–your body’s process for turning food into energy-which “can help [keep] you from becoming diabetic or developing high cholesterol,” says Joyner. Increased metabolism may also result in weight loss, but that depends on how many calories you eat and burn. Researchers report that many lap swimmers lose weight or stay the same, and occasionally, they may even gain a few pounds. That’s because muscle weighs more than fat. However, increased muscle, or lean body mass, increases metabolism.

Keep It Fun

Just splashing around won’t provide health benefits. You need to do a real workout, which means swimming laps from one end of the pool or the beach to the other. Swimming can contribute to the 60 minutes of aerobic activity a day that the American Academy of Pediatrics says teens should get.

Instructor Lana Whitehead, owner of SWIMkids USA in Mesa, Ariz., recommends writing goals for each swimming session. For instance, you can pledge to swim five minutes longer than you did last week or try to shave a few seconds off your butterfly stroke. Achieving your goals feels good!

To make swimming laps more fun, some teens play music on a stereo while in the pool or think about their favorite songs. You can also prevent boredom by varying your stroke; incidentally, that helps your fitness because freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke use different muscles. Another way to spice up swimming laps is interval training, in which you swim 50 yards, and then take a 10-second rest. Next, swim 100 yards and rest 10 seconds. Continue this pattern with 150 yards, 200 yards, 250 yards, and 300 yards. Then reverse the pattern.

Where to Swim

Public and private high schools with swimming pools usually offer open pool times. Local colleges and universities may have open pool for a small fee. Check your local recreational parks too. In the warmer months, some cities have temporary “mobile” pools that can be transported from one location to another.

And don’t forget about the natural resources in your area: Oceans, bays, lakes, and rivers can be great places to paddle. Local communities regularly post safety precautions at these sites. Before swimming, always consider riptides, shallow bottoms, and high bacteria count.

Diving In: Places for Classes

Just about anyone can swim. All you need are some lessons and a commitment to doing it at a level that’s right for you. You can find classes at Y’s, recreation centers, and swim schools, as well as through community education programs and your local American Red Cross chapter. Perhaps taking one-on-one lessons or getting involved with a swim team is more your style. Whatever you do, you can enjoy swimming–and staying in shape–for the rest of your life.

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LOW-BUDGET FITNESS

Other than a swimsuit, a towel, a pair of flip-flops, and maybe a bathing cap in certain pools, you don’t need much equipment for swimming, it’s a good idea to buy a pair of leakproof goggles. Wear glasses or contacts? You can still keep them on in the water, covered by goggles or a mask.

MORE WATER WORKOUTS

Not ready for the deep end? There are other ways to get fit while you float. Water polo is popular among teens. You can check out water aerobic or low-impact cardio water classes. Other water exercises include kayaking, canoeing, rowing, and diving. Even scuba diving is great for building your lungs.

Before Reading

  • Ask students about their favorite warm-weather exercise activities.

Discuss

  • How does swimming help the circulatory system? (It strengthens the heart and expands blood vessels to lower blood pressure.)
  • How much aerobic exercise should teens get every day? (60 minutes)
  • Besides health benefits, what makes swimming a good choice for exercise? (It’s a cheap activity almost everyone, everywhere can enjoy.)
  • Of the other water activities mentioned in the article, which would you enjoy doing for fitness? Why? (Answers will vary.)