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Weights vs. Cardio - Which is Best?

silver_weightThe data can be so confusing when you're trying to lose weight and burn fat. You know you need to exercise but there are only so many hours in the day and you want to make most of your exercise time.

So which is best? Cardio or weights?

Calorie for calorie you'll burn more with cardio but that's not the whole picture. If you lift weights for thirty minutes, you'll burn less during that time than if you were swimming, running or on a stair machine. 

However, once you stop your cardio workout, the calorie burning is done. Oh, you'll still burn calories as your body functions but the results from your cardio are essentially done the moment you stop moving.

With weight training, you continue to burn calories as your muscles recover. And muscle keeps your metabolism running more efficiently and burning more fat around the clock.

So in planning your weight loss fitness routine, be sure to include weight training with your cardio plan. When combined with a healthy diet and an active day, unwanted body fat will be gone in no time!
How To Eat Out at Restaurants and Still Stay Healthy

ordering_foodRestaurants are notorious for sneaking in unhealthy ingredients. Some people think that the only way to remain truly healthy is to avoid eating out altogether. Or perhaps you can only eat at restaurants that are geared solely towards maintaining health.

This simply isn't true!

The truth is that with a little research and smart thinking you can enjoy most restaurants from fast food joints to four-star establishments and still maintain a balanced diet.

Here are some important tips to keep in mind as you continue to enjoy eating out:

1. Look for the light menu. Every restaurant won't have a light menu but a growing number of chain restaurants are promoting light alternatives. You may even find light menus up on the fast food board. You'll soon find that light doesn't always mean you'll be giving up flavor.

2. Take half your dinner home. Dinner is served in larger and larger portions all the time. Sometimes it's not your meal that's unhealthy but it's the portion size. To avoid overeating you can simply ask your waiter to serve half the meal and box up the other half for you to take home. You can eat the left overs for lunch the next day.

3. Go grilled. One way to eat smart is to opt for grilled instead of fried items. Fried foods have gobs of additional calories and fat. Grilled chicken or fish make great choices not to mention they're lean proteins as well.

4. Avoid drinking extra calories. If you're watching those calories, don't forget to count the calories that you drink. Drinking soda products or alcoholic beverages while you're out can add calories quite quickly. Choose water as an alternative and then you'll only need to worry about the calorie content of your meal.

5. Be salad smart. You can choose a salad as your main dish as a way to eat smart. You'll probably find a variety of salad choices on the menu beyond the house or side salad. Many of them contain a bigger vegetable variety or meat such as chicken.
Ask them to serve your salad dressing on the side rather than on the salad. Then the amount of dressing you put on the salad is up to you. When it comes to dressing, a little bit can go a long way. Here's a rule not to break: avoid the creamy dressings. That's the fatty stuff!

6. Appetizers can make the meal. If the restaurant serves tasty appetizers, you can order an appetizer as your main dish. If that's not enough food, you might want to order two appetizers. Many times two appetizers will still be less food than a main course selection.

7. Choose healthy sauce. Be aware of how the sauce is made in the dish of your choosing. Avoid cream based ones if possible as they are highly fattening.

8. Look to steamed veggies and fibrous fruits. You know that veggies are an important part of your diet at home, so you should continue to seek them out when you're making your making your selection at a restaurant. Steamed vegetables can be a great side dish, and fibrous fruits (if allowed in your meal plan) can likely be ordered in place of a dessert item.

Just because you're trying to lose weight, don't be afraid to go to a restaurant from time to time when out with friends or family, just follow your program and maintain an awareness of your eating habits including portions and you can't go wrong.

Women and Heart Disease

hearthealthy This year The American Heart Association presents "Go Red for Women" a movement providing information to women about cardiovascular disease.

Traditionally, we think about men being the primary victims of heart disease, but each year, it claims the lives of hundreds of thousands of women. The older you are, the more likely it is that you will get heart disease. But healthy living at any age is the foundation for disease-free later years. 

While some people are genetically predisposed to heart disease; high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use and second hand smoke are associated risk factors for this condition which can be reduced or controlled. No matter what your age, there are ways that you can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease.
In your 20s, health isn't on your mind, and you believe there will be plenty of time later to think about it. Wrong. Heart disease can develop at any age, so it's crucial that you make health conscious-decisions that will benefit you now and in the long run. Don't smoke, drink in moderation, and choose birth control methods carefully.

In your 30s, life is a balancing act between family, work and yourself. But you're not a kid anymore. Now is the time to build heart-healthy habits. If you avoid the conditions that put you at risk for heart disease until you turn 50, you may never develop heart disease. Check your family history, quit smoking, and avoid gaining weight.

In your 40s, it becomes even more important to make healthy choices. No matter what life brings, it's important to stay happy and healthy so you can enjoy the years to come. Make healthy lifestyle choices now that will benefit you in the long run. Eat well, exercise, watch your weight, and get a checkup.

In your 50s, your body is changing and that affects your heart. Check with your doctor to see if your numbers are acceptable for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and body mass index. To get your estimated heart risk, go to

In your 60s, heart disease is more likely, but you have the power to prevent it. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. It's never too late to quit so...Stop Smoking Today! Keep an eye on body weight
, continue to exercise, and have your blood pressure checked. For more heart-healthy tips, go to

Consider taking vitamins and other supplements. Your doctor can help you determine which ones can be of benefit to you. Vitamin E is believed to reduce the risk of a heart attack, as are supplements such as CoQ10 and L-carnitine.

Because so many of today’s typical diets lack fundamental nutritional elements, supplements such as Vitamin E, CoQ10 and L-carnitine, just to name a few, can add to one’s ability to control the risk factors of heart disease.

Is Your Diet Behind Your Pain?

diet_iStock_000002427158_300x210_95ppiThere's an epidemic that is circulating the globe and it is one that seems to be taking all of us by surprise. I'm talking about the epidemic of obesity!

Besides the added stress those extra pounds put on our joints, if you're a joint pain sufferer, a poor diet can indirectly have a negative effect on your joints. Fortunately, this is not a situation that is without hope.

If you're presently suffering with acute or chronic joint pain, you can ease your pain by first cleaning up your diet and adding healthy foods to your daily meal plan. Even if you only eat a small salad with every meal, it will make a positive impact on your overall health and can go a long way in improving the way you feel.

Did you know that changing dietary fat intake and/or eating plant foods containing anti-inflammatory agents can help ease pain by limiting joint inflammation?

In fact, excessive consumption of dairy products, meat, & refined starchy carbohydrates like white flour can actually make inflammation worse by increasing the production of prostaglandins!

Therefore, switching your diet to whole fruits, vegetables, and lots of cold water oily fish (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids) is a powerful way to naturally “close the gates of pain”.

Other Things You Can Do To Ease Your Pain:

• Hydrate your body properly - This is something that many individuals do not take the opportunity to do and they end up paying the consequences as a result.  Dehydration can cause a number of different difficulties for humans and chronic pain is one of those.  It is also often behind many of the diseases and other ailments that we may have to deal with regularly. Therefore, making sure you're hydrated properly should be paramount in your life.

• Watch your weight -  It is necessary to make sure that you are maintaining the proper weight, as obesity is often a precursor for the pain that we are experiencing.  Even if it is an external source which is causing the pain, it can often be aggravated by the fact that we are carrying around too much body fat.  Studies have shown that losing as little as 11 pounds can not only decrease pressure on weight bearing joints but also cuts the risk of developing knee arthritis by 50%. Begin with a clean and healthy diet, adding exercise whenever possible and you will not only see the weight come off naturally but you may also notice a reduction in the amount of pain that you feel.

• Supplement your diet -
Keeping the body in balance can be a full time job and many individuals have a difficult time keeping on top of it.  The unfortunate thing is, when an imbalance occurs within the body it can cause a number of different problems that end up causing us some kind of pain.  Many times, all that is needed is to bring the body back into balance to help manage the pain successfully and in many cases, get rid of it all together.

One of the ways that you may be able to bring this balance back is by supplementing your diet with certain vitamins and minerals.
Your doctor as your health coach can help you determine which ones can be of benefit to you in reducing your pain.  Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM are recognized as the leading supplements for the maintenance of healthy joints while Boswellia, Rutin, Whilte Willows Bark and Turmeric along with enzymes such as Pancreatin, Papain, Bromelain, Trypsin and Chromotrypsin are designed to support your body’s natural response to inflammation.

Stretching May Reduce Back Pain

StretchingStretch out your muscles each and everyday to get them ready for action and reduce back pain.

We've all been there. You go to lift something and feel a pain halfway between the starting point and the destination. Or you were running around hitting a tennis ball, shooting buckets, tossing around a football, or anything you might not do very often and your back goes out.

We have many muscles that make up our body, and some of those muscles support the spinal column in your back. Having strong muscles in your back as well as your abdomen will work wonders to help ward off back pain. But, having flexible muscles in your back is just as important as having strong muscles.

When muscles are cold or underused it is hard to get them as flexible as they need to be to work well without pain. If you've been sedentary and decide to participate in an activity that requires some form of exertion, you are asking your back to perform a task that it is not prepared for. The result? Back pain.

Stretch out your muscles to get them ready for action!

Stretching is important for your muscles. It works as a wakeup call. Stretching your muscles says "Get ready. We are about to move." Muscles that are stretched routinely are more flexible, not only for the immediate strenuous activity, but throughout the day, weeks, months, and beyond. If your job is physically demanding, stretching each day is a good idea. You'll notice even after the first time you stretch, you will feel more flexible and energized. That small amount of movement gets the blood moving and sends more oxygen into the muscle tissue.

How do you go about stretching? Are all stretches good for the back?

There is a technique to each stretch and you want to stretch the muscle in the right way. Incorrect stretching could cause you frustration and further pain to your back. Here are a few stretches to get you started: (use a mat to cushion your back and wear comfortable clothing).

1. Flexing your back
– Lying flat with your back on the mat, pull your knees to your chest. At the same time, lift your head, aiming your chin for your chest. Hold for a few seconds and return to the beginning position. Consciously push your abdomen in toward the floor at the same time so there is no space between the small of your back and the floor.

2. Leg stretch – Lying flat with your back on the mat and knees bent, feet on mat, reach and lace your hands behind one knee and pull it towards your chest. This stretch works one hip flexor at a time. The hip flexors support your lower back. Return to start and stretch the opposite leg.

3. Cross leg stretch – Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on mat. Take one leg and cross it over the other just above that knee. Hold behind the bent knee of the lower leg and pull both legs towards your chest. Be careful with this stretch and move slowly. It stretches the hip flexor, the lower back and the muscles of the buttock that can contribute to back pain. Be sure to press your abdomen toward the floor to eliminate any space between the small of your back and the mat.

It doesn't take very long at all to complete these simple stretches. Make stretching a part of your regular meditation time each day. Relax your mind and strengthen your body at the same time. Then you'll be ready to jump up and tackle your day!
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