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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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30 Minute Workout

This total body circuit workout includes circuits for each muscle group: Chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, core and lower body. Many of the exercises combine movements for both upper and lower body to save time and add intensity. This workout may take more than 30 minutes, depending on your rest periods.

Equipment Needed:

Various weighted dumbbells, bench, a step or staircase, a medicine ball and kettlebell (optional)

How To:

  • Begin with a 5 minute warm-up of moderate cardio
  • Perform the exercises in each circuit for the suggested time , completing 2 circuits
  • Move quickly between exercises, but rest when needed
  • Modify exercises to fit your fitness level. Skip any exercises that cause pain or discomfort

Chest Circuit

Chest Squeeze with Wide Squats and Squat Jumps
Stand with feet wide and hold a medicine ball or weight in both hands close to the chest, squeezing the ball. Keeping steady pressure on the ball, lower into a wide squat and come up, completing 4 slow squats, following that with 4 slow squat jumps while continuing to squeeze the medicine ball. Repeat, alternating 4 squats with 4 squat jumps for 30-60 seconds.
Walking Pushups

Begin in a pushup position with the left hand on a piece of paper, band or other marker. Perform a pushup and, as you press up, walk the hands to the left until the right hand is on the paper plate. Continue pushups, alternating walking the hands to either side for 30-60 seconds.
Low and High Flies
Chest Fly Chest Fly
Lie on a bench and hold weights over the chest. A) Lower the arms out to shoulder level, elbows slightly bent. B) Bring the weights back up, but at a lower angle so that the weights are over the hips. C) Lower the weights back down in a fly. D) Then lift them back over the chest. Continue alternating a regular fly with a low-angle fly for 30-60 seconds.
Repeat the circuit, performing the moves on the other side, for unilateral movements

Back Circuit

Side Lunge Row to Low Lunge Row

Stand with feet together, weights in each hand. Step out to the right into a side lunge and pull the arms up into a double arm row. Lower the weight, step back to start and take a small step forward with the right leg, lower into a low lunge and pull the arms up into a double arm row. Step back and repeat the side lunge row/front lunge row for 30-60 seconds on one side. Do the exercise on the other side in circuit 2.
Reverse Flies on One Leg
Stand 2 or so feet in front of a step or platform and prop one foot on it, bending forward (back straight, abs in) with weights hanging down. Squeeze the shoulder blades to lift the arms up to the shoulder level, elbows slightly bent. Lower and repeat for 30-60 seconds, switching legs on the 2nd circuit.
Circle Rows

Hold a weight in the right hand, palm facing the back of the room. Squeeze upper back to pull the arm up to shoulder level. Hold briefly and rotate the elbow next to the body, as in a regular row. Lower the arm on a slow count. Repeat for 30 seconds on each arm.
Repeat the circuit, performing the moves on the other side, for unilateral movements

Shoulder Circuit

Step Knee With Overhead Press

Hold weights at the shoulders and step onto a tall step or platform with the right foot. Lift the left knee as you press the weights overhead. Step down and take the right leg back into a reverse lunge, lowering the weights. As you step forward with the right foot, curl the weights back to the shoulders and repeat for 30-60 seconds on the right side. Do this exercise on the left during circuit 2.
Goblet Squat with Rotation

Hold a heavy weight or kettlebell (optional) in both hands at the chest. Lower into a deep squat, bringing the elbows to the inside of the thighs. As you stand up, take the weight overhead and rotate to the right, pivoting on both feet. Lower and repeat for 30-60 seconds on the same side. Do this exercise on the left during circuit 2.
Lateral Raise with Rotation

Stand with arms bent in front of you, palms facing up. Rotate the forearms out to the side and then lift arms into a bent arm lateral raise, tilting the weights down slightly as though you’re pouring from a pitcher of water. Lower and repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Repeat the circuit, performing the moves on the other side, for unilateral movements

Biceps Circuit

Wide Squat with Hammer Curls

Take the legs wide, toes out at a slight angle, weights in each hand with palms facing each other. Lower into a squat, as low as you can go, keeping knees in line with toes. Press through the heels to stand up while curling the weights into a hammer curl. Lower and repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Walking Lunges with Biceps Curls

With feet together, step forward with the right foot into a lunge and curl the weights up into a bicep curl. Step the left foot forward, lowering the weights, then step that foot forward into a lunge, again curling the weights. Continue alternating legs and curling the weights for 30-60 seconds.
Concentration Curls

Sit on a step or bench and hold a heavy weight in the left arm, elbow propped on the inside of the left thigh. Contract the bicep to pull weight towards the shoulder. Lower and repeat for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Repeat the circuit, performing the moves on the other side, for unilateral movements

Triceps Circuit

Bear Crawls to Triceps Pushups
Squat to the floor and walk your hands out until you’re in a plank position, placing your hands so that the forefingers and thumbs touch in a triangle shape. Bend the elbows into a triceps pushup (knees down for a modification). Walk the hands back to a squat and stand up. Add a jump at the end for more intensity. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
Core Kickbacks

In a plank position, feet wide, hold a weight in one hand. Bring the elbow up next to the torso and extend the arm out into a kickback. Repeat the kickbacks while holding the plank position on the same side 30-60 seconds. Drop one knee down to the floor for a modification if needed. Do the move on the other side during the next circuit.
Dips with Leg Extensions

Sit on a step or chair, hands next to thighs, knees bent. Push off the step and bend the elbows into a dip. As you press up, extend the right leg, reaching for the toe with your left hand. Lower and repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 30-60 seconds
Repeat the circuit, performing the moves on the other side, for unilateral movements
 
 

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Cardio vs Weight Training = Do Both

 

Switching up your weekly workouts doesn’t just lead to a better physique—it also protects against disease. Lifting weights and engaging in aerobic activity for a total of 300 minutes a week total (that’s an hour of exercise five days per week) can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 59 percent, according to a new study from Harvard University.

 

Researchers observed more than 32,000 men from 1990 to 2008. Every two years, participants reported their physical activity, which ranged from running and biking to tennis, swimming, and stair climbing. At the end of the study period, those who had engaged in both weight training and aerobic exercise had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to men who did only one type of exercise.

 

Why? The combination of cardio and strength training delivers a long-lasting one-two punch that keeps blood sugar low and reduces insulin dependency. “Weight training improves muscle strength and lean body mass, which leads to improved insulin sensitivity, and aerobic exercises improves cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity,” says study author Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.

 

Source: http://www.menshealth.com

 

 

 

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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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10 Signs You’re Out of Shape

10. You have a low level of appetite.

If you aren’t eating enough throughout the day because your appetite level is low, this could make it difficult to meet key nutritional requirements to maximize your health. Physical exercise regulates your appetite, so if you’re never hungry, this is likely a sign that you aren’t active enough as well.

9. You struggle to maintain good posture.

Maintaining good posture is not only important to help you feel more confident, but also to help ensure that you don’t experience back pain down the road or use improper form as you go about your exercises. If you struggle to maintain good posture throughout the day, this indicates that the postural muscles are not as strong as they should be, so that’s something you’ll need to work on.

8. You don’t sweat quickly upon intense workout.

You might think that sweating is an indication of not being in good physical conditioning, but this is completely untrue. The fitter you are, the better your cooling system will be, therefore the better your body will be able to regulate itself. If you start sweating almost as soon as you boost the intensity of your exercise program, that’s a great sign you’re in good physical shape.

7. Your body aches more than it used to.

If you find that you when you do exercise you’re sore for days after your workout session, this is yet another sign that you’re not active enough. Many people believe that working out too frequently is what makes you sore, and while this may be the case if you really overdo it, working out not often enough can cause greater soreness as well. Frequent sessions minimize this because your body will stay accustomed to the movement pattern.

6. Your weight is steadily increasing.

If you’ve noticed your weight is creeping up over time and you do make an effort to eat healthy, the reason is likely your activity level. Regular physical activity will not only maintain your lean muscle mass, which is important for keeping your metabolism strong, but it will also help to boost your metabolism after a workout. This also helps give you a little more leeway with your diet so you’ll see a decreased risk of gaining body fat.

5. You can’t perform push-ups.

A good standard to aim for when it comes to muscular strength for most men is the ability to perform 30 push-ups in a row, and 20 for women. If you find that you start to falter in form beforehand, you need to work on improving your overall strength capacity.

4. You have unstable blood sugar levels.

One of the best benefits of regular physical activity is that it will deplete your muscle glycogen levels so that you maintain a higher degree of insulin sensitivity. This means when you do include carbs in your diet, you’re less likely to shuttle them off to body-fat stores or have them sitting around in your blood stream causing problems. They’ll quickly move straight into the muscle cells where they’re stored as muscle glycogen. For anyone looking to fend off diabetes, regular exercise is a must.

 3. You’re very fatigued at the end of the day.

While some people will believe that intense exercise is going to cause greater fatigue at the end of the day, the opposite tends to be true. If you’re always dragging as your day wraps up and feel more like lying on the couch rather than doing something active, your fitness level could use a jumpstart. A good workout program should leave you feeling energized almost all the time so fatigue isn’t a factor in your week.

 2. It takes your heart rate a long time to return to normal.

Those who are in good physical condition will notice that their heart rate increases and decreases quite quickly with ease to accommodate the intensity of exercise being performed. If you feel very winded for 5 to 10 minutes after you perform a sprint or other exercise that requires physical exertion, this could be a sign you need to spend more time in being active.

1. You’re highly stressed out.

If you’re suffering from chronic stress, there’s a good chance that you aren’t getting enough movement in your day. Physical activity will cause a release of endorphins in the body, which will help put you in a feel-good state and help calm down your stress level. Even if you can’t do intense physical activity, even a brisk walk a few times a day can help.

 

Read more: http://www.askmen.com/top_10/fitness/top-10-signs-you-need-to-be-more-active_1.html#ixzz1zuMVkAlu

 

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