How To Get Moving, Stay Fit, And Stay Motivated
When it comes to staying or getting into good shape, motivation may be hard to come by. As the seasons change so do our motivation to stay in shape. Work schedules, cold winter days, and all those electronic gadgets that keep us from drudging up the motivation to get in shape or maintain a daily routine of exercise are definite culprits. But we should be totally aware of the effects that inactivity has on the body.
Heart disease, stroke or diabetes is just some of the unhealthy affects of inactivity in the body. The good news is that studies show without discrepancy that these affects can be prevented or reversed; meaning that switching from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one can be extremely beneficial over time. Exercise alone, without change in diet, can greatly reduce the risks for these diseases even in small amounts. Doing what ever you can to increase your motivation to exercise is the first step to overcoming the lack of motivation to actually do it. Any of the arrays of methods to motivate you will be of great importance. Listening to music while running, simply finding out the exercises that you truly enjoy, setting particular times when exercise is the main focus of the day, all help you to stay motivated to stay in motion. Developing a habit or pattern for exercising is the best way to stay motivated; your body will become accustomed to working out heavy at a certain time each and every time. Your mind posses the ability to create positive ideas that leads to positive actions allowing you to live a strong and healthy life. Positive self talk can do wonders for motivation as well as just viewing the results of previous attempts (i.e. thinner waistline, six pack, etc). Self encouragement is the ultimate motivation. You’ll have no one to thank but yourself.
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Fitness motivation is the essential part of changing your body, so creating a fitness motivation plan maybe the answer for you. For men, setting goals and providing adequate challenges work best. Changing scenery from indoors to outdoors may be the answer. If you just don’t feel like exercising or giving up on an established routine, constantly reminding yourself that the pay off is great will help. Psychological benefits like increased confidence, self-esteem, and relief from anxiety, stress and depression and better sexual performance can be all the motivation that’s needed. Remaining realistic about your goals will also aid in the fight to stay motivated to exercise. Setting a goal that is extremely difficult to obtain is depleting and counterproductive. Achieving a challenging appropriate goal boosts pride, satisfaction and will create more motivation. Making the exercise routine fun by adding variety in routines, exercises, or persons that you exercise with is a likely way to stick to any exercise routine.
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Setting attainable goals, adding things to increase enjoyment of the exercise routine, challenges, and the addition of a buddy to assist are all great ways to stay motivated, stay fit, and most importantly stay moving. You will benefit in the short term, and in the long run as well with physical and mental benefits in almost every way.
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The Natural Diet: Best Foods for Weight Control
You can eat more and still lose weight. It’s all about the fiber.
It seems natural: You want to lose weight fast, so you do a diet slash-and-burn, eating less and thinking about food more. The usual result also seems pretty natural: You feel denied, so you give up. Repeat as diet fads come and go and never reach your goal. That’s depressing.
The Secrets of Fruits and Vegetables
The first secret of fruits and veggies is simple: they’re nutrient dense. This means that for their weight, most produce is low in calories; so you can eat a lot more when your diet is rich in veggies and fruits — and still not consume a whole lot of calories. Just try that with chocolate!
The second secret: Satiety. All produce, from a juicy pear to a crispy bunch of red lettuce is packed with water and fiber, says Seattle dietitian Kerry Neville, MS, RD, and both of these not only keep the calories down, they make you feel fuller longer. This means you could be satisfying cravings for something sweet or crunchy every day — and still lose weight.
Think about it. Maybe you’re in a 3 p.m. slump and want a snack to get you through to dinner. Which will fill your belly better, a handful of potato chips with 155 calories, or three cups of whole strawberries with 138 calories? A can of sweetened cola at 136 calories, or a heaping cup of grapes with about the same number? In each case, the produce lets you eat a lot more, fills you up fast, and keeps you full longer.
Fiber is your friend. Eating it naturally or use a fiber supplement added to a glass of water in the morning before breakfast. Both will fill you up and you can still eat regularly just smaller portions. As you start to turn your fat into muscle you will notice lower consumption of food. All around win, win situation. No Starving yourself.
Getting in shape is a lot easier than you might think..
Childhood Obesity And How To Combat It
With the increase in fast foods, plus the increase in electronics and the cyber world. Childhood obesity has become nationally recognized.
This chronic condition has increased rapidly over the past years with many more children becoming the next generation of obese teens, and eventually obese adults and obese seniors. With obesity being one of the leading causes of morbidity, disability, discrimination, and employment problems, it has become one of the biggest public problems since tobacco use and exposure.
Bad eating habits are not the only culprit, genetic diseases that can predispose children to become overweight cannot be forgotten. However still playing a larger role in the general overall population is bad eating and exercise habits which equals to poor life style choices. Parents play a key role in standardizing life style choices for their children.
Professionals are treating this as a major public health concern that is threatening to damage our most precious resources, the children. Introduction of healthy play, healthy food choices, and recreation that promotes physical activity is on the top of the list for discussion and plans of battling this epidemic.
The annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come to the conclusion that as many as one third of U.S. children are overweight or at high risk for childhood obesity. The health problems that will begin to manifest themselves from the heavy weight of such young children will start kids down a road with problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and increased risks of diabetes. These are diseases usually reserved to adults, not children.
Combating this troubling condition must however, begin at home with the caregivers for these children. Improving overall diet, not dieting, and exercise is the key to resolving the problem. Protecting children’s health now and in the future will depend greatly on education of parents and caregivers to implement healthy daily living strategies.
Parents and guardians of children do have help!
There are programs created and designed for overall health and wellness. Not only will these programs help parents and guardians, but will put the focus on family fitness and healthy lifestyle choices.
Preventing an at-risk child from becoming overweight can start a process of healthy and active lifestyles to ensure longevity and energy throughout the child’s life. Little things such as: not getting into power struggles with the child over food, never use food as a behavior modification tool, and setting a good example are some starting places. This only perpetuates the same behavior and may cause psychological behaviors that are unwanted.
Emphasizing what’s positive and benefits of changing behavior can make all of the difference in the world. Just fostering the child’s natural inclination to please you, have fun, and explore are perfect opportunities to introduce fitness routines, and reduce such incidents like eating out of boredom. If these things are done with every child in danger of becoming obese, then the numbers suffering will likely decrease.
Therefore, you should always keep in mind the health of yourself and your children. By keeping in shape yourself and displaying a good diet, you can impress upon them the importance of being a health-oriented individual. These habits will stay with them for all of their lives. You will also have quite a few benefits from eating healthy and slimming down. If you shed your extra weight, you will feel much better about yourself.
Its time to moderate cell phone use, video games and most electronic devises. These have all become babysitters for your children.
If you want to find out more information about how you should or how you can change your child’s lifestyle habits, please check out our blog.
7 Proven Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
By Kris Gunnars, BSc November, 2015
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark chocolate (not the sugary crap) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease.
- Dark Chocolate is Very Nutritious
If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals.
A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:
- 11 grams of fiber.
- 67% of the RDA for Iron.
- 58% of the RDA for Magnesium.
- 89% of the RDA for Copper.
- 98% of the RDA for Manganese.
Of course, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is a fairly large amount and not something you should be consuming daily. All these nutrients also come with 600 calories and moderate amounts of sugar. For this reason, dark chocolate is best consumed in moderation.
The fatty acid profile of cocoa and dark chocolate is excellent. The fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated, with small amounts of polyunsaturates. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine, but is unlikely to keep you awake at night as the amount of caffeine is very small compared to coffee.
Bottom Line: Quality dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.
- Dark Chocolate is a Powerful Source of Antioxidants
Have you ever heard of a measure called ORAC? ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It is a measure of the antioxidant activity of foods. Basically, researchers pit a bunch of free radicals (bad) against a sample of food and see how well the antioxidants in the food can “disarm” them. The biological relevance of this metric is questioned, because it’s done in a test tube and may not have the same effect in the body.
Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others. One study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than other fruits they tested, which included blueberries and Acai berries.
Bottom Line: Cocoa and dark chocolate have a wide variety of powerful antioxidants, way more than most other foods.
- Dark Chocolate May Improve Blood Flow and Lower Blood Pressure
The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), which is a gas. One of the functions of NO is to send signals to the arteries to relax, which lowers resistance to blood flow and therefore reduces blood pressure. There are many controlled trials showing that cocoa and dark chocolate can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but the effects are usually mild .
Bottom Line: The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate Raises HDL and Protects LDL Against Oxidation
Consuming dark chocolate can improve several important risk factors for heart disease.
In a controlled trial, cocoa powder was found to significantly decrease oxidized LDL cholesterol in men. It also increased HDL and lowered total LDL in men with elevated cholesterol. Oxidized LDL means that the LDL (“bad” cholesterol) has reacted with free radicals. This makes the LDL particle itself reactive and capable of damaging other tissues… such as the lining of the arteries in your heart.
Dark chocolate can also reduce insulin resistance, which is another common risk factor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Bottom Line: Dark chocolate improves several important risk factors for disease. It lowers the susceptibility of LDL to oxidative damage while increasing HDL and improving insulin sensitivity.
- Dark Chocolate May Lower The Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The compounds in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against the oxidation of LDL. In the long term, this should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries and we should see a lower risk of heart disease over the long term.
It turns out that we have several long-term observational studies that show a fairly drastic improvement.
- In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death by a whopping 50% over a 15 year period.
- Another study revealed that eating chocolate 2 or more times per week lowered the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%. Eating chocolate less frequently had no effect.
- Yet another study showed that chocolate 5+ times per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 57%.
- Of course, these 3 studies are so-called observational studies that can not prove that it was the chocolate that caused the reduction in risk.
However, given that we have a biological mechanism (lower blood pressure and oxidized LDL) then I find it plausible that regular consumption of dark chocolate can in fact reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Dark Chocolate May Protect Your Skin Against The Sun
- The bioactive compounds in dark chocolate may also be great for your skin.
- The flavonols can protect against sun-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin and increase skin density and hydration.
- The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is the minimum amount of UVB rays required to cause redness in the skin, 24 hours after exposure.
- In one study of 30 people, the MED more than doubled after consuming dark chocolate high in flavanols for 12 weeks.
- Dark Chocolate May Improve Brain Function
The good news isn’t over yet. Dark chocolate may also improve the function of the brain. One study of healthy volunteers showed that 5 days of consuming high-flavanol cocoa improved blood flow to the brain.
Cocoa may also significantly improve cognitive function in elderly people with mental impairment. It also improves verbal fluency and several risk factors for disease.
Cocoa also contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason cocoa can improve brain function in the short term.
There is considerable evidence that cocoa can provide powerful health benefits, being especially protective against cardiovascular disease. But of course, this doesn’t mean people should go all out and consume lots of chocolate every day. It is still loaded with calories and easy to overeat on. Maybe have a square or two after dinner and try to really savor them.
Be aware that a lot of the chocolate on the market is crap. You need to choose quality stuff… organic, dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.
Dark chocolates often contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.
There are of course other benefits to chocolate that I have not mentioned… such as the awesome taste.