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Are Muscles The Key To A Longer Life

If you check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for exercise this year, you’ll notice something different. While the CDC used to simply recommend any type of exercise a few days a week, it now recommends both cardiovascular activities and toning exercises in the form of strength training. Specifically, Americans age 65 and older are encouraged to learn how to build muscle and do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, arms, shoulders, chest, and abdomen) at least twice a week.

 

Why this change to the government recommendations? Experts now realize just how important toning exercises are to your overall health and longevity. “Every health professional will agree that strength training is essential for health, injury prevention, and prolonging quality of life,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Cody Foss, owner of the Fitness Loft in Newtown, Conn.

 

Whether you’re a young person just learning how to build muscle or an older person looking for toning exercises to increase your longevity, strength training has benefits for everyone. “The major advantage of strength training is to keep older adults active and moving,” says Glenda Renee Westmoreland, MD, a geriatrician at Wishard Health Services and an associate professor of clinical medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “Strength and resistance training are helpful to reduce functional decline and loss of endurance.”

 

When it comes to preventing some of the health concerns and accidents that befall the elderly, this advice about learning how to build muscle with toning exercise is especially true. For example, a group of researchers recently looked at 111 studies with over 55,000 total subjects on the topic of falls in the elderly. After examining all this data, what they found was that exercise programs that focused on at least two of these — building strength, balance, flexibility, or endurance — were the best way to prevent future falls in the elderly.

 

Tips on Toning Exercise

 

If you are an older individual who is first learning how to build muscle, it’s important to start slowly to avoid overexerting yourself, says Dr. Westmoreland. “The major consideration before embarking on strength training as an older adult is to make sure that from a cardiovascular standpoint you are fit to start,” she says. That means getting the okay from your primary care physician before you begin.

 

Once you receive clearance from your doctor, walking is a good place to start. Then, as your fitness improves, you can incorporate some light strength training exercises into your routine. “The older adult should do muscle-strengthening exercises that work all the different muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms,” says Westmoreland.

 

If you’re concerned that strength training means lifting massive weight over your head, you needn’t be. You can do toning exercises that are low-impact but will still build muscle.

 

For example, tai chi is a very effective strength training exercise that has helped promote longevity in many people. Find a local class to participate in or simply follow a video at home to get the benefits of tai chi.

 

Other simple toning exercises are actually not that different from stretches. Val Walkowiak, the medical integration coordinator at Loyola Center for Fitness in Chicago, recommends the following exercises to strengthen your core every other day:

 

Abdominal twist: Sit in an armless chair with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Your hands should be in the center of your torso and your elbows along your sides. Slowly twist to the right, then to the left. Your shoulders should face to the right and then to the left during the movement, but you should not be swinging your arms from side to side. Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Lying abdominal crunch: Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands by your ears. Keep your elbow and shoulder joints aligned during the movement. Slowly curl your upper body upward until your rib cage comes up off the floor. The goal is to create a “C” with your torso by bringing your chest toward your legs. Don’t let your lower back come up off the floor, just your rib cage. Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your belly button in toward your spine until your abdominal muscles feel tight. Slowly shift your pelvis up toward the ceiling until you feel your lower back press against the floor. Your buttocks should not come off the floor. Return to starting position. This exercise works the lower portion of the abdominal muscles.

Bridges: Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Pull your belly button in toward your spine. Slowly lift your torso off the floor until you have formed a bridge with your body. Your upper back, shoulders, and head should remain on the floor. Return your body to the floor and repeat. Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

 

If you have osteoporosis, particularly if you have had compression fractures of the vertebrae in your back, you should get your doctor’s okay before doing these floor exercises.

 

Adding a strenth training component to your fitness routine doesn’t have to be complicated, and the benefits to overall health — including reducing your risk of falling — are more than worth the time you put in.

 

Source:  http://www.everydayhealth.com/longevity/physical-health/add-muscle.aspx 

Last Updated: 01/18/2011

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Listen Up!: Toning Requires Weight Training

All of us want to “tone” our muscles to achieve a cut, fit look. But what exactly is “toning”? Let me clarify a little: The word “toning” has nothing to do with the size of a particular muscle; it refers rather to making a muscle lean by burning intramuscular fat, and conditioning the muscle for better performance.

You can’t actually build muscle mass unless you’re eating more calories than you’re burning, but you can tone a muscle to make it leaner. To tone your muscles, you should weight-train four days a week, working each muscle group twice a week. After you work a particular muscle group, you should give it two days of rest before you focus on it again.

Here’s a sample toning program that works each muscle group without overdoing it:

Monday: Work the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, upper abs, obliques.

Tuesday: Work the back, biceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower abs.

Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: Work the chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, upper abs, obliques.

Friday: Work the back, biceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower abs.

Saturday: Rest.

Sunday: Do a cardio-only workout.

Remember: Exercise is the architect, but recovery is the builder. You have to give your body adequate recovery time to heal itself and grow stronger. If you work out too often without resting, you’ll just break your muscles down.

 

JILLIAN’S TIP OF THE DAY

Afraid of Bulk?

Women always tell me that they feel hesitant about toning exercises that require weights because they’re afraid of building bulky muscles. Hear me out, ladies: It’s extremely difficult for women to gain muscle mass simply by doing toning exercises — we don’t have the testosterone that guys do that lets them build mass. Using weights to tone your muscles will make you look trim and terrific, not big and bulky.

 
 

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Does Your Antibacterial Soap/Gel Have This? not good

(FYI – also found in antibacterial hand gels.)

It turns out antibacterial soaps aren’t so “clean” after all. A common chemical in antibacterial products, triclosan — which can be found soaps, toothpastes and mouthwashes — was found to impair muscle function in lab and animal tests.

Originally, the chemical, developed in the 1960s, was used in hospitals to prevent bacterial infections. Since then, it’s been used in countless household products, and several studies — mostly in animals — have hinted that the effects of triclosan may not be entirely beneficial.

According to a recent Smithsonian article:

Studies have shown that the chemical can disrupt the endocrine systems of several different animals, binding to receptor sites in the body, which prevents the thyroid hormone from functioning normally. Additionally, triclosan penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream more easily than previously thought, and has turned up everywhere from aquatic environments to human breast milk in troubling quantities.

Now, in a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the University of California, Davis, found that triclosan also interferes with muscle function. In the lab, they exposed human muscle cells, from the heart and elsewhere, to triclosan and discovered that the chemical interrupted cellular communication necessary for muscle contraction. Then the researchers exposed mice and fathead minnows to the chemical to see what would happen: after a single dose, the exposed mice showed 25% reduced heart muscle function and 18% reduced grip strength. In the fish, which were exposed to as much triclosan as would be expected in a week in the wild, the chemical led to poor performance in swimming tests that simulated escape from a predator.

For its part, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not found the chemical hazardous to humans, but is in the process of reviewing the safety of products containing triclosan; those findings are expected at the end of the year. The FDA notes further that there’s no evidence suggesting that antibacterial soaps containing triclosan offer any additional health benefits over regular soap.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/15/freaky-clean-chemical-in-antibacterial-soap-weakens-muscle-function/#ixzz23fuUAQep

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Health and Science

 

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Body Fat Percentage (BFP) or Body Mass Index (BMI) ?

Those digits can deceive, making you feel pudgy when you’re not or giving you false slim-security. Use BMI or body-fat percentage (BFP) to suss out your true fatness. We’ve got the skinny on the way that’s right for you.

Reality check: Body-fat percentage

Who it’s for:  Athletes or fitness fanatics who might be dubbed overweight by BMI because their muscle mass makes them naturally heavier. BFP is also a wake-up call for “skinny fat” women, whose BMI is fine but who, because their muscle tone is zilch, could have dangerously high body fat, which can increase the risk for diabetes, heart disease and other serious ailments. (Not either? Anyone can use it to gauge her body fat.)

How it works: The easiest way to get an accurate BFP reading is a skin-fold test. Calipers (they look like long prongs) measure thickness near your hip and at your thigh and triceps.

Where to get it: Many gyms offer the test gratis to members, or you can ask your doc to test you.

What your number means:

  • 14-20% Oh, yeah! You’re athlete-level fit.
  • 21-24% Sweet. You’re in great shape.
  • 25-31% OK, but your health risks may rise; up your strength training.
  • 32+% You’re actually obese (even though you may not look it).

 

Reality check: Body-mass index

Who it’s for:  Workout novices who need to lose a lot of weight in order to get fit, says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise. As you shed major pounds, you’ll see your BMI go down–an encouraging sign that you’re on track. BMI also helps average-weight, average-muscle-tone folks get a snapshot of their health. (To know your actual body fat, you need to use BFP.) But if you’re just looking to drop a size, skip this calculator. Replacing a few pounds of fat with muscle won’t always change BMI, and you may think you’re not progressing when you are, McCall notes.

How it works: The formula takes how tall you are and how many pounds you carry, then estimates if you’re at a healthy weight.

What your number means:

  • 18.4 or less Underweight. You actually need a little fat to be healthy.
  • 18.5-24.9 Normal weight. You’re in the zone.
  • 25.0-29.9 Overweight. Health risks rise in this range.
  • 30+ Obese. Time for a major body transformation!

 

Source:  http://www.self.com

 

 

 

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5 Fixes For Flabby Problem Areas

 

We’ve all got a soft spot that bugs us. One of these moves will firm it up.

Here’s a fact about flab: It results not only from lack of muscle tone but also from excess body fat. “You could do 1,005 crunches, but if you don’t do enough cardio, you’ll just have very toned muscles under a blanket of fat,” says Johanna Subotovsky, learning manager at Equinox Fitness. You need at least 30 minutes of cardio, three times a week. Then try this spot-specific advice.

HELP FOR:
Bra bulge

To get rid of the little roll that spills over your bra strap in the back, try bent-over rows.

  • Stand next to a chair with a dumbbell in right hand. Place left knee and hand on seat and extend right arm toward floor. Bending elbow out to side, slowly bring weight up to chest.
  • Do two sets of 15 reps on each side.

HELP FOR:
Inner- and outer- thigh mushiness

The hips and thighs are the first place most women tend to store fat and the last place they lose it. In addition to lots of cardio, try the four-way lunge.

  • With hands on hips, step forward with right foot and lunge (don’t let knee go past toes); return to start. Lunge backward; return to start. Lunge right (keeping left leg straight); go back to start. Then with left foot, lunge to left side. Repeat, leading with opposite foot.
  • Do two sets of 15 reps on each side.

HELP FOR:
Underarm flab

Triceps respond fast to exercise and fat loss, which means that you could see a change here in just a few weeks with chair dips.

  • Place your hands on the edge of the seat of a chair and walk your feet out. Slowly lower butt toward floor, bending elbows to about a 90-degree angle; press back up.
  • Do two sets of 15 reps.

HELP FOR:
Armpit overhang

The flesh that peeks out over the top of a strapless gown can be tightened with push-ups. But the issue may be the dress, not you.

  • “It’s all about the cut,” says stylist Cristina Ehrlich, who’s worked with Penélope Cruz. “Look for a dress where the top is high enough that it doesn’t dig into your armpit skin. It should come up and over the area.”

HELP FOR:
Belly pooch

Along with plenty of cardio, you can flatten your lower abs with planks.

  • Get in a raised push-up position, except with forearms on the floor; hold the pose with back flat and belly in for 30 to 90 seconds. For more definition, try the bicycle.
  • Lie on floor, knees bent, hands behind head. Lift shoulder blades and twist right elbow to left knee; then twist left elbow toward right knee. Do two sets of 15 reps.

Source: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2007/03/flab-fix#ixzz21hPfwmyZ

 

 

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The Best Pre- and Post- Workout Snacks

Food is fuel. Skimping before workouts is not the path to success. It only increases the lack of energy and promotes the loss of muscle mass.
Since basic exercise does not burn all that many calories, the purpose is to build muscle mass to aid in muscle-caloric burn. High intensity interval workouts are recommended for best results.
Although some studies differ on the effectiveness of the timing of your workouts (AM vs. PM in relation to an empty stomach vs daily caloric ingestion), you should eat something before your workout.  In turn, allow enough time for digestion and aim for 1.5-2 hours prior to your workout. Higher fat content meals can increase digestion time and an Increased intensity of your workout can interfere with the blood needed to provide nutrients to muscles during a workout.

Pre-Workout:

  • Eat 1.5 – 2 hours before your workout to allow for digestion.
  • An ideal pre-workout meal should consist of : 10-35% protein; 45-65% carbohydrates; 20-35% fat.
  • Examples: Yogurt, Oatmeal.

 

Post-Workout:

  • Eat within an hour of intense workout in order to refuel the body’s cells which aids in proper recovery and lean muscle build-up.
  • An ideal meal consists of 4:1 carbs:protein.
  • Examples: Chocolate Milk, Hummus on Whole Wheat Pita.

 

Sources:  http://www.askmen.com; http://www.everydayhealth.com

 

 

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Possible Fat Loss Supplements

There’s a lot of debate out there about the use of fat loss supplements (versus simply adjusting your diet and exercise). But the truth is, that’s yesterday’s news. After years of testing and refining, most of today’s fat loss supplements are both safe and effective.

But that doesn’t mean diet and exercise should be left behind. The fastest approach to fat loss is a combination of regular exercise, a healthy diet, and the right supplements.

As for exercise, make sure you’re getting at least 4-5 days of both cardiovascular and resistance training. Your diet needs to be cleaned up immediately – cut down on carbs, reduce your fat and sugar intake, and get lots of protein and fiber.

Adding supplements can give you that extra boost you’re looking for, just in time to show off at the beach! Let’s take a look at my top 5 picks…

Top 5 Summer Fat Loss Supplements

1. 7-Keto – 7-keto is completely revolutionizing the weight loss industry. This supplement is a byproduct of the hormone DHEA, which is directly related to your metabolism. Combined with the other metabolism-enhancing supplements green tea extract and CLA, these 7-Keto LeanGels might be just what you’re looking for!

2. Muscle Pharm Shred Matrix – This fat loss supplement has everything you need. Shred Matrix is a metabolism-booster and appetite suppressant in one, allowing you to get through your day with more calories burned! Muscle Pharm Shred Matrix contains a unique blend of natural fat-busting herbs, roots, and plant extracts to give you real results.

3. Hydroxycut South African Hoodia – Hydroxycut has been around for a while, but this product is taking advantage of a new, all-natural weight loss ingredient. South African Hoodia has been shown in a number of studies to significantly reduce your daily caloric intake by controlling your hunger and suppressing your appetite. If you’re looking to try something new, give Hydroxycut South African Hoodia a try.

4. Universal Animal Cuts – If you hit the gym hard and on a regular basis, this is the kind of fat loss supplement you’re looking for. This specially designed fat loss stack not only improves your metabolism and gets you burning more calories, it also reduces your water weight, giving you that toned and ripped look you’ve been aiming for. Universal Animal Cuts is the best summer fat loss supplement for seasoned weight lifters and gym newbies alike.

5. Matcha Green Tea – I’m rounding out this list with something a little less intense. If you’re just looking for a bit of an added boost to your body’s thermogenesis (its ability to burn fat and calories), consider adding Magic Matcha Green Tea to your diet. It’s an easy and effective way to burn more fat, boost your energy at the gym, and control your hunger!

 

Source: http://weightlossandtraining.com/top-5-summer-fat-loss-supplements

 

 

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