It can be tough to exercise when your joints are aching from arthritis. Find out how working out in water can strengthen muscles without stressing joints.
Entries tagged with: fitness
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He beat cancer and got a new heart. Now Kyle Garlett tackles the Ironman World Championship.
Can you be overweight and still in good shape? Our Healthy Skeptic shows you how a few extra pounds don’t have to get in the way of good health.
Resolved to get healthier in 2010? If so, good for you. Of course, the big challenge with any resolution is following through. When it comes to health resolutions, there's another one: making sure you're following sound advice.
Too often, the health advice we get is filled with hype, half-truths, and spin. While we think we're helping ourselves, our efforts may actually be wasting time and money, and doing little to promote our health. They may even cause harm.
Here are some pitfalls to avoid for three common resolutions.
1. LOSE WEIGHT
We're bombarded with ads for weight loss plans that promise dramatic results, and bookstore shelves bulge with guides that offer all kinds of "secrets" to help us shed those unwanted pounds. The sad reality is that there are no magic bullets for weight loss, and over the long term, dieting rarely works. About 95 percent of dieters eventually regain lost weight.
One reason is that most diets leave us feeling deprived, and we fall back on our old eating habits. Another is genetics. No matter how much they diet, people prone to be heavier are unlikely to become skinny, and even if they do shrink substantially, their bodies eventually return to a higher weight. (Just ask Oprah.) This doesn't mean we're completely powerless regarding our weight, just that there are limits to how much we can control.
If you've tried and failed at counting calories, cutting out carbs, or combining foods, consider a different approach: focus on eating healthfully (meaning more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and less junk food) and getting more physical activity. Unlike many diet plans, this method offers no guarantees to melt away pounds quickly. But it will make you healthier, give you more energy, and help you feel better.
2. EAT BETTER
Every day, it seems we hear about another food that we're supposed to eat to ward off illness. Acai berries, pomegranate juice, green tea, dark chocolate, yogurt, garlic, tomatoes. The list goes on and on. While there's nothing wrong with most of these foods–indeed many are quite healthful–the claims for them tend to be overblown.
In recent years, there's been an explosion of research on all kinds of constituents in superfoods–everything from alpha-linolenic acid to zeaxanthin. Though this line of inquiry is interesting scientifically, it's still in its infancy. Because foods contain multiple nutrients, which may interact with one another and with other foods to affect our bodies in a myriad of ways, teasing out the precise effects of a single constituent in one food is tricky, to say the least. But that hasn't stopped superfood promoters from pushing the misleading idea that specific foods, in isolation, are proven to keep us healthy.
While it's tempting to believe that tossing some blueberries into a cup of ice cream will keep heart disease at bay, what matters in the long run is our overall diet–not whether we include one specific food or another. Instead of stuffing yourself with superfoods, focus on broad categories–fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, legumes–that constitute a healthful diet. When you can choose a variety of foods you like, rather than specific ones you feel compelled to consume, it makes eating far more enjoyable.
We've all seen those ads for gadgets promising to give us rock-hard abs or thinner thighs. Targeted exercises can in fact strengthen muscles in a particular area, but they can't get rid of fat that covers those muscles. How quickly and easily fat disappears depends on where it's located, as well as your age, gender, and genes. But in any case, it requires vigorous, whole body exercise. Unfortunately, you can't spot reduce flab with ab crunches or leg lifts alone.
Likewise, you generally can't reshape your body with moderate exercise. Yet that's sometimes the promise we get from fitness clubs or personal trainers. Certainly, a half-hour a day of walking on a treadmill or riding a bike is highly worthwhile; it can provide an array of benefits from improved heart health to increased energy. But don't expect it to give you a perfectly-sculpted body. Changing your physique requires far more intense, sustained activity.
False promises about exercise create unrealistic expectations that eventually lead to disillusionment. After failing to get the results we're led to expect, we may give up entirely. Don't let that happen to you in 2010. Set reasonable goals–and get going!
Learn why adults are reviving an easy children's game that can kick your social life and fitness into a higher gear.
Doing stretching exercises on a regular basis can benefit your health. Here's how to keep your muscles loose and improve your workouts.
Stand on a vibrating platform and shed pounds. No exertion required. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, maybe not.
A recently-released study from Belgium looked at the effects of whole body vibrating machines (in this case one known as Power Plate), which are in a growing number of health clubs. The researchers assigned 61 subjects - all of them overweight or obese - to one of four groups: 1) a restricted-calorie diet and no exercise; 2) diet plus a conventional fitness program consisting of activities such as swimming, cycling, and strength training; 3) diet plus vibration training; and 4) no diet, no exercise.
So who were the biggest losers? Believe it or not, the vibration group. After six months, they had lost 11% of their body weight, compared with 7% of the conventional exercisers and 6% in the diet only group. (The control group's weight increased slightly.) After one year, the vibration group had maintained their weight loss more than the others.
The study, presented at a European obesity conference, has not yet been published. But it comes on the heels of published research out of the University of Oklahoma, which found that in older women, resistance training plus whole body vibration decreased body fat more than resistance training alone.
So how can this be? The machines' vibrations of 30 to 50 times per second are thought to trigger the body's reflex response, which causes muscles to contract. But the evidence regarding benefits is still preliminary, and some scientists are concerned about unknown risks.
Even if whole body vibration lives up to the claims, it shouldn't replace regular exercise. Instead, use it as a way to supplement to your routine. As this clip on exercise gadgets for the office reminds us, technology can add some fun and variety to your workout, and as a result, help you stick with it. Now get shaking.
What do you get when you cross an elliptical with a bike? See how some gadgets are taking bikers on a wild ride.
Before you buy a bicycle, here are some tips for finding the right type for your workout.
Learn how strength training can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar in top form.
Taking therapy off the couch and into the gym makes for a physical—and mental – workout.
Ever wonder why conductors get so sweaty? Leading an orchestra is good exercise, as this musical fitness program proves.
Can a waltz around the dance floor help keep your heart in rhythm? Dr. Bruce Dan shows you how even people with two left feet can make dance part of a heart-healthy fitness program.
Samurai sword fighting meets fitness training to create the ultimate workout.
For people who love to sing and dance, Cardioke is one exercise program that brings out the inner diva in everyone.
Shimmy and shake your way to a healthier body with this modern fitness twist on an ancient Middle Eastern dance.
This self-defense-based fitness program is not only good for weight loss, muscle building and coordination, it’s also a real kick.