Thursday, May 31, 2012

Health Tip: Eat Right to Help Protect Your Vision

Health Tip: Eat Right to Help Protect Your Vision

Health Tip: Eat Right to Help Protect Your Vision

Posted: 30 May 2012 01:32 PM PDT

Concentrate on vitamins A, C and E (HealthDay News) — What you eat plays an important role in healthy vision, and may help prevent eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says. The academy mentions these food sources that can help promote vision health: Vitamin A: Select...

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Cash, Coaching May Boost Healthy Living

Posted: 30 May 2012 01:22 PM PDT

Study finds that simple changes, reinforced by incentives, can reap rewards By Randy Dotinga TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) — A new study finds that people with unhealthy lifestyles are more likely to eat better and watch less TV if they receive financial incentives, use technology to track their progress and get reminders from coaches....

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‘Nordic Walking’ a Winner for Heart Failure Patients, Study Says

Posted: 30 May 2012 01:13 PM PDT

This four-limbed form of exercise appears safe for cardiac rehab TUESDAY, May 29 (HealthDay News) — A popular European fitness routine called Nordic walking improves the health of heart failure patients, according to a small new study. In Nordic walking, people walk with poles and move their arms in motions similar to those in cross-country...

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Health Tip: Keep Off the Weight You’ve Lost

Health Tip: Keep Off the Weight You’ve Lost

Health Tip: Keep Off the Weight You’ve Lost

Posted: 29 May 2012 04:41 PM PDT

Don’t neglect exercise (HealthDay News) — Maintaining weight loss can be more difficult than losing it in the first place. The American Council on Exercise suggests how to help maintain weight loss: Weigh yourself every week. Move as much as possible, walking frequently, watching less TV and even fidgeting while you’re seated. Stock your kitchen...

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Key to More Active, Slimmer Kids: Friends

Posted: 29 May 2012 04:08 PM PDT

Small study found they adjust physical activity based on their social network By Randy Dotinga MONDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) — Could your young child be putting on excess pounds because her friends sit around? A small study suggests it’s possible: Kids seemed to become more active in after-school programs if they hung out with...

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Monday, May 28, 2012

John Is Fit

John Is Fit

7 Summer Activities to Help You Lose Weight

Posted: 27 May 2012 07:14 AM PDT

This is a guest post by Tracy Sheldon.

As summer approaches, you're probably anticipating the chance to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. After being cooped up all winter, the sunshine will provide a welcome relief. It is a time to relax and soak up the rays. Summertime also affords the perfect opportunity to shed some of that extra weight you may have picked up laying around doing nothing. Following are a few summer activities you can engage in that may help you lose weight.

Surfer Woman

Swimming Builds Stamina

Although it may not seem like it, swimming is one of the best ways to tweak your muscles and lose weight. While you’re in the water, you may not be aware of sweating like you would be if you were on dry land, but you'll be burning calories at a rapid rate. Most champion swimmers have very little body fat, which is a testament to this form of exercise.

Peddle Your Way to a Better You

Riding a bicycle is a great way to take off the pounds. It is a highly efficient way to move your body from one point to another–the energy used to move you any particular distance is far less than it would be if you were walking or running, yet it is a great way to burn calories.

Nothing Beats Jogging

One of the most popular ways to lose weight, improve stamina, and build up your lung capacity is to go jogging. If you're not used to jogging, you'll want to start slow and rest when you get tired. A slow, steady pace will enable you to increase the distance you travel, and your speed. As you are able to go further and faster, the pounds will come off more quickly and you'll be able to put on more miles and burn even more calories.

Go for a Hike

Some of the more vigorous activities will surely burn calories quickly, but they may also tear down muscle tissue if you're not careful. A good way to build up muscle tissue and stamina without a tremendous amount of strain is to go for a hike. In fact, hiking is a great way to lose weight because, once you build up to it, you'll be able to walk all day without needing a great deal of rest–and the pounds will come off.

Roll the Pounds Off with Rollerblades

Moving your body along on wheels is a good way to lose weight because you're using muscles and building stamina, all while burning off those unwanted pounds. Rollerblading, also called inline skating, is a good way to do that. Try and develop a fluid movement of your muscles and the pounds will melt away. Be sure and wear the proper safety gear.

Softball and Baseball are Fun

Baseball is a favorite pastime. Its cousin, softball, is popular as well because the ball is easier to see and much more hittable. Although some people prefer to join a league in order to participate in a baseball or softball game, one of the best things about the sport is that you don't really need any type of organization to enjoy the game. All you need are a few friends, a bat, a baseball or softball, fielding gloves, and an open place to play. Most towns and cities have community parks with ball diamonds that are open to the public. Playing baseball or softball uses a variety of muscles, builds stamina, and will help you lose weight in the process.

Play Some Tennis

Another sport that will help you lose those unwanted pounds is tennis. It is an activity that will shed calories quickly, because you'll be using a variety of muscles–there is a lot of stop and go involved in tennis. Due to the fact that there are periods of relative inactivity, followed by bursts of tremendous physical exertion, you could easily pull a muscle if you're not in good shape. If you approach the sport slowly, you can build up your muscles, coordination, and stamina–and lose weight.

Safety First

The number and variety of things you can do to lose weight are nearly endless, but it may be a good idea to see a doctor before you begin vigorous physical activity, just to be sure you're in good enough shape to exert yourself.

Good luck and have fun on your weight loss journey!

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Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

7 Summer Activities to Help You Lose Weight

How to Build Muscle Mass

Posted: 27 May 2012 07:03 AM PDT

This is a guest post by Payton Price.

Getting healthy and staying that way is something that many people strive for. The best way to do that is to eat right and get plenty of exercise. Although losing a few pounds is a priority for some people, others would like to add weight for a variety of reasons. If you fit in this category, you most likely want to make sure the additional weight comes in the form of muscle, not fat. Following are a few tips on how to build muscle mass.

Venice Muscle Beach

Use Common Sense

There are various ways to increase your muscle mass quickly, but some of them aren't very safe. In order to build your muscle mass quickly and safely, you'll need to use a little common sense. Do not use products that can prove to be detrimental to your overall health.

Lift Weights

The simplest way to build muscle mass is to lift weights. In fact, it is the single best way to increase muscle mass and strength. The act of lifting weights, especially if you do it regularly and correctly, will increase your muscle mass exponentially. Going to a gym to lift weights along with other people will help you learn how to do it the right way. Your muscles will get larger and you'll become stronger by increasing the amount of weight you lift and by doing repetitions of each lift. This combination of lifting more weight, and doing it repetitiously, will increase muscle mass quickly.

No Pain, No Gain

There is an old saying among weight lifters and athletes in general: no pain, no gain. What that means is that if your muscles aren't protesting after a workout, you're not working hard enough. Although you don't want to do any damage to your muscles by making them strain too hard, you want to make sure you're making them work. That's the only way to actually increase your muscle mass. If you overdo it, you could pull a muscle, or worse yet, tear it. If you damage your muscle, it could take a long time to heal, and you could end up having to start your exercise regimen all over again.

Ever Increasing Weight

In order to boost your muscle mass by lifting weights, you'll need to employ the no pain, no gain rule by increasing the amount of weight you lift on a regular basis. This will cause the muscles to grow larger and stronger. As you add more weight to your workouts, you'll realize a tremendous increase in strength. It's a repetitive process.

Repetitions Count

Along with adding more weight to your lifting routine, you should be sure and continue doing each exercise over and over again. This is referred to as doing reps, or repetitions. Each round of repetitions is called a set. You'll want to do a number of different sets that work on various parts of your body, especially the large muscles. If you don't belong to a gym, you may want to talk to some of your friends who already lift weights to find out which exercises will work best for you. If you do belong to a gym, consult with the people who work there. Ask them to help you work out a lifting routine that will help you reach your desired goals.

Eat Healthy

If you combine your regular weight lifting sessions with a healthy diet, your physical condition will improve immensely. Eating right is conducive to helping build muscle mass because your body will use the fuel you're supplying it with more efficiently. If you lift weights but fail to eat the right foods, you could end up gaining a lot of weight, but not all of it will be muscle.

Consume Foods that Build Muscle

You will want to avoid processed foods as much as possible. They contain a lot of excess calories that may add weight, but won't help build up your muscles. Instead, you should eat red meat, eggs, poultry, fish, and other natural foods that contain a lot of protein. You'll also want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. You don't need to cut out fats altogether, but you'll want to eat foods that have the right kind of fats, such as nuts, olive oil, fish oil, (unprocessed) butter, or flax seeds.

Follow these tips and add some dedication and you’ll have that muscle mass in no time.

photo by: RightIndex

Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

How to Build Muscle Mass

Physical Education Is Good for Kids’ Grades, Study Finds

Physical Education Is Good for Kids’ Grades, Study Finds

Physical Education Is Good for Kids’ Grades, Study Finds

Posted: 27 May 2012 11:41 PM PDT

More intense PE curriculum paid off academically in Swedish trial SUNDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) — Boosting students’ levels of physical education improves their grades, a new, small study says. Swedish researchers followed more than 200 schoolchildren, starting from first through third grade, for nine years. Some children were assigned to an intervention group that...

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Exercise Helps Older Adults Stay Fit

Posted: 27 May 2012 11:07 PM PDT

Expert offers advice on working out in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond SATURDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) — People tend to exercise less as they grow older, but keeping physically active is essential for remaining healthy and independent, an expert says. “Exercise is important for almost everyone. There are very few medical conditions that...

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Keep Food Safety in Mind This Memorial Day Weekend

Posted: 27 May 2012 10:51 PM PDT

Even locally grown or organic fresh produce can become contaminated, experts warn SATURDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) — Picnics, parades and cookouts are as much a part of Memorial Day weekend as tributes to the United States’ war veterans. But, before tucking into that leafy, green salad or strawberry shortcake, remember that fresh fruits and...

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

John Is Fit

John Is Fit

3 Overweight Beginner Runner Tips

Posted: 27 May 2012 04:35 AM PDT

This is a guest post by David Dack.

Starting a running program with the right training strategies is key to staying injury-free and achieving long-term consistency—this is especially true if you're an overweight person. In fact, overweight people should be extremely cautious when it comes to starting a high impact activity such as running as they are more prone to experience injury and burnout.

Therefore, if you're an overweight person who's seeking the best approach to tackle a running program, then below are 3 of the best guidelines to help get the most out of your training sessions while steering clear of injury and early setbacks.


Beginner Running Tip 1: Walk First, Run Later

One the most common gaffes among novice runners, overweight or not, is trying to do too much too soon at quick of a pace. Or what's commonly known as overtraining. This is a recipe to disaster and can only leave you injured and discouraged. Nevertheless, you can avoid this pitfall by starting slowly and building the intensity up gradually.

For that, walking first is the best approach. Of course, you can introduce the running later on but only when you feel confident enough about your cardio power. You may be excited about your new weight loss goals, however, that's no excuse to overdo the exercise. Doing so will only backfire on you. Instead, follow a walk-run-walk training pattern and see your fitness level increase gradually with each training session.

Beginner Running Tip 2: Check your Pulse

One of the most overlooked training tools among beginner runners is keeping tags on proper heart rate. See, most beginners get obsessed with the scale that they totally ignore the importance of heart rate for healthy performance. This is a big mistake. For starters, checking your pulse on a regular basis can help you spot the risk of overtraining before it gets any worse. For instance, if your pulse is spikier—6 to 12 beats per minute—than its usual pace, then the chances of overtraining are high. No panic here. You only need to back off a bit and only resume the training when your heart rate has dropped to its normal pace.

Secondly, regular checkups can help you keep track of your progress. See, as the training progresses forward, your heart becomes much more adept at pumping blood to your body and working muscles. Hence it'll need less beats to do the similar task for you as it used to do. For that reason, if you take notice in a drop of your heart rate, embrace it and congratulate yourself. That's a cheers sign you're heading into the right direction.

Beginner Running Tip 3: Take Recovery

Taking ample recovery during your first weeks of training is mandatory. In fact, recovery and consistent progress go hand in hand. You can't get one without the other. The human body needs adequate time to adapt to the training load so it gets stronger for future workouts. Otherwise, skipping on recovery day will only leave you extremely fatigued and prematurely disappointed.

As a result, make sure to space out your training days with a recovery day. Take as much recovery as you need especially after a hard training session or when your heart rate is unusually spiky. Not only will recovery days help your body to get stronger, it'll also help you keep your mind fresh and have positive outlook on training. Your mental energy plays a crucial rule as well.

Here you have it. Now you have a basic knowledge of what it takes to start and keep running without much trouble. These are the 3 tips you need if you want to keep training within your fitness levels. Nonetheless, speed of implementation is key to success. So take action now!

photo by: midwestnerd

Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

3 Overweight Beginner Runner Tips

How to form an exercise habit

Posted: 27 May 2012 04:25 AM PDT

This is a guest post by David Dack.

Making exercise a daily habit is the way to go if you're looking to achieve staggering consistency with your training program, thus get the fitness results and the body of your dreams. On the other hand, letting momentum dictate your exercise choices can spell disaster on your fitness resolution and overall health levels.

As a result, to take control over your exercise program, you must turn it into a habit. For that, here are 6 ways that can help.


Start simple

The human mind dreads complexity. As a result, to successfully turn your exercise resolution into a habit, you need to follow a simple and straightforward program. Otherwise, confusion and bewilderment will take their toll on your fitness vision, thus leading to more frustrations and setbacks. Opt for a simple yet challenging program; try out running or cycling if the gym is no option.

Commit to thirty days

The best way to turn your exercise—or any other activity—into a daily habit is by making the commitment to stick to the new activity for 4 consecutive weeks, non-stop. The act of engaging in the activity forces your body to readapt and establish the new habit—even if you're not a big fond of it from the get go. For more, make sure to sketch out your new resolution on paper by writing and rewriting your training goals on a daily basis; this usually boosts motivation and leads to better consistency.

Peer up with a partner

Human beings are social creatures. No doubts. And turning your exercise into a mini-social event can help you get more consistent, thus turn it into a habit effortlessly. Therefore, if you find it hard to attack the gym or the track solo, then you may need to peer up with a training partner and see your consistency soaring as a result. You and your training partner must share the same training regime and must be at similar levels on the fitness leader. Ask your friends or family members to join you, or head to your local sports club and look for ideal partner.

Reward yourself

Giving yourself a pat on the back is critical for success. Therefore, make sure to reward yourself when achieving progress. Doing so teaches your brain to anticipate pleasure after a hard work, thus enhance your overall workout experience and consistency level. Nevertheless, your rewards must be non-food based as indulging in unhealthy eating habits will backfire on your health resolution. Instead reward yourself by doing something you like such as shopping, a full hour massage, dinner and a movie night with your loved one, and so on.

Add variety

Variety is the spice of life. And when you bring in this component into your exercise routine, the latter becomes more fun and easy to stick to. In addition, if you're doing a variety of activities—running, tennis, walking, or weight lifting—you'll ensure consistent action regardless of whether conditions, time of the day, or injury. Furthermore, sticking to the same training program for a prolonged period of time is a sure way to suffer from mental burnout and lack of enthusiasm for the training itself.

Exercise first thing in the morning

According to many studies and my personal experience, people who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to develop a consistent exercise routine over people who exercise at other times of the day. The reason is simple: During the early morning, there are not much errands to run or issues to take care of, thus leaving the mental and time space for a workout.

To successfully exercise in the morning, make sure to get ready for the workout the night before by laying out your training gears and deciding in advance your workout option, so when the alarm goes off, you'll be both mentally and physical ready for the workout.

Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

How to form an exercise habit

The 4 most important factors when choosing a gym

Posted: 27 May 2012 04:03 AM PDT

This is a guest post by Joe Pawlikowski.

It's getting a little late to trim down and get those six-pack abs before beach season, but that should deter anyone from finally joining a gym. The healthy benefits of remaining fit go beyond glimmering abs and bulging biceps. Keep yourself in shape and you can stave off health problems that affect so many people as they age. (As an anecdote, my parents, religious gym-goers, are on no meds as they turn 60 this year. Almost all of their friends are taking something or other for high blood pressure and other ailments.)

Whether you're a gym neophyte or veteran, there's no bad time to start looking for a new facility. It seems they're popping up everywhere, so you should have ample choices. Of course, not every gym will meet your needs. Here are four significant factors to consider when you're looking for a new workout home.

Gold's Gym

Equipment variety

Personal trainers and fitness magazines frequently tout the concept of periodization. That is, in order to realize the best results you should change what you're doing every few weeks. Oftentimes people suggest this to mean changing the number of reps and the weight. Sometimes it's also suggested to mean changing the specific movements. But periodization can be so much more.

Periodization is even more effective when completely switching the style of exercises you perform. Perhaps lifting weights will be effective for a while, but there are other things you can do. Plyometric exercises have become more popular lately. Many gyms have installed what amount to adult jungle gyms, allowing exercisers to perform movements that freeweights, and even cable machines, cannot offer. Some have even installed studios for boxing and martial arts.

The greater variety of equipment, the more you can vary your workouts. That will keep your body from adapting, and will prevent you from becoming bored with the same old routine.

Class space

One way people remain motivated to work out is to attend classes. Nearly every gym offers instructed classes, from yoga to ab routines to full-body workouts. It's not quite like having a personal trainer, but the guided instruction in a relatively personal setting works for many people.

If a gym does offer classes, and you would like to attend some of these classes, make sure to check out the space they offer. One gym I joined had classes in just one room. Problem was, there were boxing classes, meaning there was a boxing ring. Essentially, all other classes had to be conducted within the ring. That meant no class could have more than seven or eight people. They were not worth attending.


Years ago, gyms were essentially the same. There were free weights, some cable machines, cardio equipment, and perhaps a studio for classes. Alternative gyms weren't much of a choice for the average consumer, because there wasn't much appeal in them. They're typically more expensive, and they don't have the range of equipment of a generic gym. That has changed recently.

Boxing gyms and MMA gyms have cropped up in big numbers in the past few years. Many of them offer a much better experience than a generic gym, because they provide instructors and classes for all. The same goes for CrossFit gyms. These specialty gyms might not look as impressive, in terms of equipment, as a generic gym, but they can get you in shape much faster.

Specialty gyms are still more expensive, though, so it's all a matter of preference and affordability. But even a bit of specialization in a generic gym — the presence of a martial arts studio, say — can go a long way.


While the primary focus of a gym is the workout itself, there are other little things that can make a difference. They shouldn't be a primary reason, but they can play a role when deciding among a few finalists.

  • Towel service. It's so nice to have someone hand you a towel when you walk into the gym. It also probably means the gym is a bit cleaner than your average one.
  • Wi-Fi. Not every gym gets wireless internet coverage, particularly if it's in a basement. An available Wi-Fi network means more entertainment options when you're doing cardio.
  • Post-workout snacks. Maybe they're a bit overpriced, but the availability of protein bars and shakes at the gym can be a nice treat from time to time. They can also be great if you're on the run frequently.
  • Sauna. Because sometimes you just need to sweat it out.
  • Private lockers. Most gyms require members to remove their belongings from lockers daily. But some do offer private lockers, where you can keep changes of clothes and some equipment stashed all the time. They're worth it.

Choosing a new gym might seem like an arduous task, but it really boils down to just a few elements. If you take a look at this checklist and examine every gym this way, you should have no trouble choosing. And from there you can concentrate on getting the most out of your workouts, rather than where you will work out.

photo by: GaryPaulson

Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

The 4 most important factors when choosing a gym

Marathon Madness: The Essentials in Traveling for the Chicago Marathon

Posted: 27 May 2012 03:46 AM PDT

This is a guest post by Maire.

When you’ve set your eyes on running a marathon, you may as well go big or go home. The Chicago Marathon is the second biggest marathon in the United States, behind the New York Marathon. Although this means you’ll get to participate in a high-energy event, traveling to a destination marathon also presents some logistical considerations. From packing all the right stuff to eating well before the race and booking a room in one of the crowded Chicago hotels, you’ll need to consider many factors to plan for a successful trip for the marathon.

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon Registration

The Chicago Marathon happens every October, with the 2012 race set for October 7. However, you’ll have to register well in advance of that date, as registration closes when the participant cap is reached. Therefore, ensure that you have a confirmed registration before you plan any travel accommodations for the weekend. Since the marathon’s start in 1977, it has exhibited a steady growth that makes it one of the most popular marathons in the world today.

Travel and Accommodations

When you’re traveling by plane, plan to arrive early on the day before the marathon, or potentially even two days before. You wouldn’t want your flight to be delayed, putting you into Chicago late the day before the marathon. Chicago has two huge airports, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a flight into the city. Many organizations specialize in marathon travel and can offer assistance with booking your trip to Chicago.

You’ll want to book a hotel well in advance of the marathon because they fill up quickly. The Hilton Chicago is the official hotel for the marathon, and its location right next to Grant Park makes it an ideal choice. The only other hotel that is located less than a mile from both the start and finish lines is the Westin Chicago River North. If you’re looking for something close to the start line, other options are Palmer House, Hotel Burnham, Hotel Monaco, Embassy Suites Chicago and Sheraton Chicago. Because of the location of the finish line, you’ll have to walk back out of the park past the start line to get to most hotels.

Packing for the Marathon

If you’re flying to Chicago, you’ll want to make sure all of your essentials are with you in your carry-on bag in case your luggage gets lost in transit. Put your running shoes, socks and clothing in the bag. Expect a low around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and a high around 65. Unless you have someone traveling with you, bring a cheap long-sleeved shirt and pair of sweatpants to wear in the morning to keep warm and throw away before the race. Other items to pack include a race belt and the race tools you’ve been training with such as your watch, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Eating in Chicago

As a runner, you know how important it is to properly fuel your body before heading out for 26.2 miles of feet on pavement. Loading up on carbohydrates the night before the race gives you the energy you need, and one of the best places to get them is the Hilton Chicago Pasta Dinner Buffet the evening before the race. Some other good Italian restaurants include Scoozi and Maggiano’s.

On race day, good breakfast options include a bagel with peanut butter, cereal with milk or a piece of fruit and an energy bar. Make sure to drink at least 16 oz. of fluids in the morning, but avoid caffeine and don’t drink more than 8 oz. in the hour before the race begins. The race organizers provide Gatorade at many stations along the race course and bananas and energy gel in the later miles.

Enjoying Your Trip

In the midst of all of the logistics for traveling for the Chicago Marathon, make sure you give yourself room to enjoy the trip. The route goes through some of the most famous areas of the city, and there’s lots of fun stuff to do in the afternoon and evening following the race!

Good luck!

photo by: leduardo

Post from: John Is Fit - Personal Weight Loss Blog

Marathon Madness: The Essentials in Traveling for the Chicago Marathon