Monday, June 30, 2014

6 Mistakes You Might Be Making in Boot Camp Class

1) Not Paying Attention
People often say they like boot camp classes because someone tells them what to do. "I confess: I love the person who gets so into the workout that she doesn't hear me," says Alexandra Allred, lead instructor at the Main Street Gym in Midlothian, TX. "She came to work, to sweat, to put in full effort and embrace the entire training experience." But if being in the zone borders on zoning out, you could miss corrections that can protect you—or others—from injury. It's essential to stay present and aware, both of your own body and of your surroundings, rather than going on some kind of exercise-induced autopilot. That means both hearing the instructor's cues and observing your own form and being aware of your neighbors in the class. No one likes a space hog—or being smacked or kicked by a flailing limb.

2) Rushing Through the Moves
News flash: A 45-minute class or a 60-second interval won't go any faster because you're moving on hyperdrive. "The goal with timed workouts is to do every rep properly first and foremost—not to get in X amount of reps," says Derek Durkin, instructor at Barry's Bootcamp in Boston "Using poor form to race through will often lead to injury, and even chronic injuries."

3) Not Taking Advantage of Modifications
There's a learning curve in terms of training your body to move a certain way. Even regular boot campers can benefit from sometimes taking it down a notch, in favor of perfecting the range of motion or improving a particular skill. If the instructor doesn't offer a way to scale it back, ask for one. And get into the habit of mentioning to an unfamiliar instructor before class begins if you have any physical limitations (a bad knee, a trick shoulder), so he or she can work with you to keep the moves safe and effective for you.

4) Playing it Too Safe
On the other hand, if you've been doing the same versions of the same moves with the same weights for months, it's time to challenge yourself. Good instructors will notice if you're ready for the next step, but if you're feeling up for it, grab an extra set of heavier weights (ahem, you won't get bulky), or attempt those on-your-toes pushups—worst case, you can slip back into your comfort zone for the last set.

5) Not Eating Right
Boot camp is demanding. Yes, that should be a no-brainer statement. But Allred can easily spot those who aren't eating right. "They slow down, can't keep up, can't lift as much or jump as high—and they end up burning fewer calories," she says. "They can't go as long as they could've if they would only eat properly." On the flip side, returning all those calories you burned back to your bod in the form of a large post-workout protein shake also defeats the purpose.

6) Skipping the Stretch
We know you're busy. You raced out mid-conversation with your boss to make it on time to class, and you have a date for skinny margs with your girlfriends right after. But not only is it bad form to blast out of class before it's over, it's bad for your form literally. Boot camp, like any high-intensity interval class, pushes up your heart rate and taxes every muscle. Your body worked hard for the preceding 40 minutes, now reward it with some much-needed recovery. That tequila happy hour can take five.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Does outdoor play help keep the doctor away?

Is modern living resulting in more people becoming disconnected from green spaces and the natural world, at the expense of our health and well-being?

Most concern is centred around children, who - say campaigners - are missing out on opportunities afforded to previous generations, ones as simple as climbing trees or getting their knees dirty.

In an increasingly urbanised, electronic-based, risk-adverse world, the adults of the future are displaying the symptoms of "nature-deficit disorder".

The term was coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Wood.

In the introduction to his book, he said that over the past few decades the way children understood and experienced nature had "changed radically".

"The polarity of the relationship has reversed," he wrote.

"Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment - but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading.

"That's exactly the opposite of how it was when I was a child."

Mr Louv acknowledged that nature-deficit disorder was "by no means a medical diagnosis".

But, he added: "It does offer a way about the problem and possibilities - for children and for the rest of us as well."

'Balanced diet'

Consultant Tim Gill, author of the report Sowing the Seeds: Reconnecting London's Children with Nature, agreed that the phrase did not have any meaningful clinical basis.

"Forest schools" help children with behavioural or emotional problems, research suggests.
"I think it is slightly overstating the case to imply that there is some sort of clinical condition that children that do not get into nature will have," he told BBC News.

"The way I unpack the idea is that regular contact with nature is part of a balanced diet of childhood experiences. If children do not have those experiences then they are not going to thrive to the same degree as if they did," he added. "They are also likely to grow up not caring about the world around them; while it is not a clinical condition, it should be something that worries us."

A 2009 report by Natural England found that only 10% of children played in woodland, compared with 40% of their parents' generation.

Mr Gill's listed 12 recommendations that it felt could help address the deficit.

Among them were:

  • Promote better use of accessible green space in order to increase the use of under-utilised areas,
  • Promotion of "forest schools" and similar approaches to learning in the outdoors,
  • And encouraging schools to give greater emphasis to offering children "engaging nature experiences".

The report championed the use of forest schools because it quoted research by the Forestry Commission that showed lessons and activities within a woodland appeared to have a beneficial effect for children with emotional or behavioural problems.

A recent study by researchers at the University of Sheffield found that visitors to urban green spaces in the Yorkshire city felt a greater sense of well-being in areas they perceived to have greater biodiversity.

In Japan, the health benefit of spending time in forests has its own word - "shinrinyoku", and literally means "forest bathing".

'Not a treat'

Play England - an organisation that focuses on giving children access to free play areas - has funding from Natural England to run a programme to re-engage children with the natural world.

Is it time for medical professionals to turn over a new leaf and prescribe a dose of "vitamin N"?
"Fundamentally, we believe that kids should be outside playing for a good proportion of the day because it is how you can stay happy, less stressed but it is also good in a whole range of ways," said Play England director Cath Prisk.

However, she added: "Research we carried out last year showed that parents think taking their kids to the park is something you do as a treat instead of something you do everyday.

"I have a dog, and if I did not take my dog into the park two or three times a day, I would be considered a very bad dog owner.

"Yet there… is more of a stigma that you have not made sure that your kids did their homework than if you do not take your kids out to the park," Ms Prisk observed.

"There is a growing body of research that says getting outside regularly is good for kids, but that is fighting a massive zeitgeist, which says that if you let your kid out of your sight, then they will come to harm."

The Sowing the Seeds report also identified the perceived risks associated with children playing outside without supervision as a reason for the nature deficit.

"Children today do not enjoy the same everyday freedom of movement as previous generations," it concluded. "However, the underlying causes of this change are complex and linked to wider changes in society, including increasing car ownership and use, loss of green spaces, longer parental working hours, a rising fear of crime… and the growth of indoor, screen-based leisure activities."

Nature prescription

But is the growing volume of studies, evidence and grassroots support making a difference to the way certain conditions or symptoms are treated? Are doctors starting to prescribe a dose of "vitamin N" for nature?

Last year, the chief medical officers for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland updated recommendations on the amount of physical activity people should take each week.

Introducing the guidelines, they wrote: "Across the physical activity sector, we need to build on the diversity of opportunities to be active including… exercising in a natural environment."

Tim Gill concluded: "There is enough evidence for medical sector to run pilot or trial (forest school) schemes.

"This would give us more answers and I would not be at all surprised to see greater interest from the clinical world in the benefits of taking kids into green spaces.

"We are not quite there yet, but the evidence is building and I think it is time that the health sector took proper notice."

Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Myths About Getting Flat Stomach

We all want to have that sexy flat stomach, especially when the summer is near, and we are willing to work for it. The problem is that lots of people are wasting their efforts simply because they have a wrong information about getting flat stomach. Here’s 5 myths you should not believe about it:

Extra Crunches for A Flat Stomach

Extra crunches don’t lead to tight abs. The truth is that everyone has ab muscles. They just stay hidden underneath a thick layer of fat on the stomach. If you want a toned look, you need to focus on burning the layer of fat that may be covering your belly. The key is to not obsess about crunches, but focus on burning fat.

Starve Yourself to get A Flat Stomach

At times, you may think that starving yourself is the only way to lose weight and get a flat stomach. Starving yourself is not only ineffective, but also dangerous for your overall well-being. You may think that severe calorie reduction may lead to better and quick results. It is important to understand that the human body is complex. As a result, starving yourself may disrupt your body’s metabolism. This will only slow down results. It is important not to starve yourself, but eat wholesome meals after short intervals of time. Eating less may be the key to weight loss, but starving yourself is not.

Diet Pills and Supplements

Well, diet pills and supplements can be quite tempting. There are many pills and supplements which claim to give you a flat stomach. However, you should not fall for it as there is no ‘magic pill’ available in the market. In fact, diet pills and supplements are more likely to hurt your pocket than showing any results on your belly. Instead of popping a pill, it will be better to burn calories with intense exercise.

Packaged Diet Products for Better Results

There are many packaged foods which are considered to be a solution for weight loss. Usually, such packaged products are packed with refined sugar. There are also some artificial ingredients which your body does not really need. Some ingredients in packaged foods don’t lead to weight loss. In fact, they may have a high-calorie content. You should try to avoid packaged foods and stick to a nutritious diet. Whole grains can be a good choice.

Avoid Carbohydrates for Tight Abs

Many notions and misconceptions make you think that carbohydrates are bad for your health. However, if you are one of the people who believe this, it is quite unfortunate. You can eat carbohydrates while slimming down. As mentioned earlier, it is important to avoid packaged foods and stick with oatmeal, whole grains and brown rice. In other words, you should stick with wholesome carbs rather than giving up all carbohydrates.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Is Sleep Quality Influenced by Physical Activity?

Exercise to Increase Sleep Quality!

According to a study, people had better sleep quality and felt more alert throughout the day if they get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise every week.

From a sample of over 2,600 18 – 85 aged women and men, researchers found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week gave a 65 % improvement in sleep quality. Participants also felt less sleepy throughout the day, in comparison with individuals having less physical activity.

The research adds more evidence to growing research demonstrating how important exercise is for numerous health factors. Approximately 35 to 40 % of the adult population has problems with daytime sleepiness or with falling asleep.

The scientific proof is encouraging since regular physical activity could be a non-pharmaceutical option to improve sleep quality.

After controlling for BMI, age, health status, depression and smoking status, the relative risk of frequently feeling overly sleepy throughout the day in comparison to never feeling overly sleepy throughout the day decreased by 65 % for individuals meeting guidelines for physical activity.

Similar outcomes were also seen for having trouble concentrating when tired (45 % decrease) and getting leg cramps when sleeping (68 % less likely).

The results show a connection between regular physical activity and perceptions of sleepiness throughout the day, suggesting that participating regularly in physical activity could positively influence an person’s work productivity, or in the case of a student, affect their ability to focus in class.

Earlier research linking physical activity and sleep made use of only self-reports of exercise. The problem with this is that lots of people have a tendency to overestimate how much activity they do.

All You Need to Know About Sleep

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How social media is ruining our body confidence

Are you one of those affected?

According to a new survey by Dove, carried out as part of its Changing Face of Beauty: 2004 to 2014 project, social media is having a powerful effect on our beauty confidence, and it's not all good.

While 57 per cent of us say a Facebook 'like' does our sense of self-confidence wonders, the background story is that half of us also feel the constant pressure to present ourselves in our best light online - as well as off it. 

While friends, family, partners, and colleagues might compel us to look good, 21 per cent of us believe that the bulk of that pressure now comes from social media; evidence of which comes from the fact that the average selfie takes a whopping 20 minutes to get right, while 42 per cent of us admit to de-tagging a less than flattering photo of ourselves.

In fact almost half of us feel that social media has changed the way we feel about beauty, 55 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds going as far to say that the digital age had not enhanced their beliefs in their appearance, but rather made them far more self-conscious about the way they looked. Dove's survey of 1,000 women in the UK also highlighted the fact that unlike 10 years ago when happiness was deemed the most important attribute to how beautiful we feel, today it is self confidence that makes us feel pretty. And if social media is effecting our confidence - well then the modern maths is depressingly easy to see. (No wonder 69 per cent of us wouldn't describe ourselves as beautiful, and one in five of us has considered plastic surgery).

And it's not a trend women are likely to buck. As Dove puts it, "we are the stars of our own media," more visible than ever 65 per cent of us own a smartphone and 31 million of us are Facebook users, "where once we consumed media, now we are the media," compared to 2004, we are now public by default, not private. The future prediction too is that social media will become far more influential over beauty, ahead of other women, fashion and style, celebrities, entertainment and models.

But what Dove is hoping for, as it champions greater diversity and encourages women to recognise their own individual beauty, is a reclamation of reality; for starters it wants to end de-tagging "as an expression of confidence - with #nofilter becoming a statement of body confidence." It's now that we need to start "loosening up the collective pressure of life on display," says Dove.  source

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Nutrition info : Only one glass of fruit juice a day

A single glass of fruit juice a day is the most anyone should drink, new guidelines say, as a British report warns that families are consuming unsafe levels of sugar. 

There is rising concern that sugar is one of the greatest threats to health, creating an obesity time bomb and contributing to spiralling levels of diabetes.

Health officials issued the warning as a nationwide study in England found that children and teenagers are consuming around 40 per cent more added sugar than the recommended daily allowance.

Fruit juices and fizzy drinks are the chief culprit, providing the largest source of sugar for children aged between four and 18, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey by Public Health England found.

The country's most senior nutritionist yesterday advised limiting children and adults to 150ml of fruit juice per day, and always accompanied by a meal. It is the first time health officials have outlined such a limit.

Dr Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at the body, part of the NHS, said: "The best drinks for school-aged children are water and low-fat milk.


"Fruit juice is also a good choice as it can be included as one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

"However it should only be drunk once a day and with a meal because it can be high in sugar and can cause tooth decay." Some fruit juices and smoothies contain four times as much sugar as is recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Dr Tedstone said the survey demonstrated the need for a change in habits, particularly for children and teenagers.

It found that every age group exceeded the recommendation that added sugar should be no more than 11 per cent of daily calorie intake.

Among children under 10, added sugar made up an average of 14.7 per cent of their intake, while for those aged 11 to 18 it constituted 15.6 per cent.

Among adults, the figure was 12.1 per cent. For boys under 10, fruit juice accounted for 15 per cent of their daily added sugar and other drinks a further 17 per cent.

For girls the same age, fruit juice accounted for 12 per cent and other drinks 16 per cent of added sugar.

As children got older, the proportion from soft drinks including juice rose, to 42pc for boys, and 38pc for girls.

Cereals and cereal bars were the next biggest contributor.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Nature-Deficit Disorder

Your day breaks, your mind aches for something stimulating to match the stirrings of the season. The gate at the urban edge is open, here to the Santa Catalina Mountains, and yet you turn inward, to pixels and particle-board vistas.

Something’s amiss. A third of all American adults — check, it just went up to 35.7 percent — are obese. The French don’t even have a word for fat, Paul Rudnick mused in a mock-Parisian tone in The New Yorker last week. “If a woman is obese,” he wrote, “we simply call her American.”

And, of course, our national branding comes with a host of deadly side effects: heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer. Medical costs associated with obesity and inactivity are nearly $150 billion a year.

This grim toll is well known. Cripes: maybe surgery is the answer, or a menu of energy drinks and vodka (the Ann Coulter diet?). Count the calories. Lay off the muffins. Atkins one week, Slim-Fast the next. We spend more than $50 billion on the diet-industrial complex and have little to show for it (or too much).

But there is an obvious solution — just outside the window. For most of human history, people chased things or were chased themselves. They turned dirt over and planted seeds and saplings. They took in Vitamin D from the sun, and learned to tell a crow from a raven (ravens are larger; crows have a more nasal call; so say the birders). And then, in less than a generation’s time, millions of people completely decoupled themselves from nature.

There’s a term for the consequences of this divorce between human and habitat — nature deficit disorder, coined by the writer Richard Louv in a 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods.” It sounds trendy, a bit of sociological shorthand, but give the man and his point a listen.

Louv argued that certain behavioral problems could be caused by the sharp decline in how little time children now spend outdoors, a trend updated in the latest Recreation Participation Report. The number of boys ages 6 to 12 who engage in some kind of outdoor activity, in particular, continues to slide.

Kids who do play outside are less likely to get sick, to be stressed or become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns, Louv said. Since his book came out, things have gotten worse.

“The average young people now spends practically every minute — except for the time in school – using a smartphone, computer, television or electronic device,” my colleague Tamar Lewin reported in 2010, from a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

You can blame technology, but behind every screen-dominant upbringing is an overly cautious parent. Understandably, we want to protect our kids from “out there” variables. But it’s better not just to play in dirt, but to eat it. Studies show exposure to the randomness of nature may actually boost the immune system.

Nature may eventually come to those who shun it, and not in a pretty way. We stay indoors. We burn fossil fuels. The CO2 buildup adds to global warming. Suburbs of Denver are aflame this week, and much of the United States is getting ready for the tantrums of hurricane and tornado season, boosted by atmospheric instability.

Last week, an Australian mountaineer named Lincoln Hall died at the age of 56, and in the drama of that life cut short is a parable of sorts. Hall is best known for surviving a night at more than 28,000 feet on Mount Everest, in 2006. He’d become disoriented near the summit, and couldn’t move — to the peril of his sherpas. They left him for dead. And Hall’s death was announced to his family.

But the next day, a group of climbers found Hall sitting up, jacket unzipped, mumbling, badly frostbitten — but alive. He later wrote a book, “Dead Lucky: Life After Death on Mount Everest.”

Still, having survived perhaps the most inhospitable, dangerous and life-killing perch on the planet, Hall died in middle age of a human-caused malady from urban life — mesothelioma, attributed to childhood exposure to asbestos.

Various groups, from the outdoor co-op REI to the Trust for Public Land, have have been working to ensure that kids have more contact with the alpine world than one lined with asbestos. And they don’t even have to haul children off to a distant mountain to get some benefit. An urban park would do.

This week, Michelle Obama appeared in the glow of spring’s optimism to kick off the fourth year of the White House Kitchen Garden, a component of her campaign to curb childhood obesity. If she is successful, it will be because people learned by their own initiative — perhaps at her prompting. A worm at work can be a wonderful discovery if you’ve never seen one outside of a flat-screen. But so are endorphins, the narcotic byproduct of exercise.

“Hope is the thing with feathers,” wrote Emily Dickinson. The First Lady supplied her own variation on the theme, with two powerful words that can go a long way to battling nature deficit disorder: “Let’s plant!”


Thursday, June 5, 2014

High cholesterol may hit chances of having a baby

HIGH cholesterol levels may reduce a couple's chances of having children, a study has found.

The US research suggests a link between raised cholesterol and infertility as well as heart disease.

When both partners in a couple had high amounts of cholesterol in their blood it took the longest time to achieve a pregnancy, the research showed.

It also proved harder for couples to become parents when the woman had high cholesterol but the man did not.

Why cholesterol should affect fertility remains unclear, but the fatty substance is closely involved in the manufacture of sex hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen.

Lead scientist Dr Enrique Schisterman, from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said: "We've long known that high cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart disease. From our data, it would appear that high cholesterol levels not only increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, but also reduce couples' chances of pregnancy.

"In addition to safeguarding their health, our results suggest that couples wishing to achieve pregnancy could improve their chances by first ensuring that their cholesterol levels are in an acceptable range."

The study looked at links between fertility, environmental chemicals and lifestyle.