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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Eat These 7 Energy Foods, Increase Energy Levels

If you’re starting an exercise routine, perhaps you’re doing so because you feel tired all the time and want to improve energy levels. You may feel your mood shift as your energy levels rise and fall throughout your day. If your car was moody or unreliable, you would probably look into getting fixed or maybe even get a new car altogether. Well, the whole body transplant hasn’t been invented yet, so for now you’ll have to fix the body you got. Starting a regular exercise program is a step in the right direction towards increasing energy levels, but you need to change your fuel, first.

As a fitness professional, I recommend solid meals that consist of whole, nutrient-rich, energy foods to my clients. Most have told me it’s hard to make all that food, or eat that way. I understand this. Eating healthy isn’t always convenient. It isn’t always cheap. But hey, what’s the alternative. You have low energy and feel like crap in large part because you eat crap. If you want to increase your energy levels, lose weight, or get a better body, you must work to change your eating habits.

I recognize that many of you are faced with long commutes, longer workdays, and family obligations that make it difficult, if not impossible, to follow. Many busy professionals fall into the trap of not eating at all for long stretches of the day, breaking for fast food, and then topping up with a huge supper. Clearly, this isn’t the way you increase energy. In fact, eating habits like this increase stress, irritability, decrease energy, and impair the function of your immune system.
Make sure you read every word of this. Don’t skip to the end.

Before I get into what specific energy foods are great for boosting sagging energy levels, let’s start with the basics. If you’re screwing up basic healthy eating and fat loss principles, the specific energy boosting foods can’t help you.

Let’s examine the 5 basic energy increasing tips a bit closer:


You should aim to eat 4-6 small meals per day. Spacing out your meals will help regulate your blood sugar and maintain good energy levels throughout the day.

Avoid drinking your calories whenever possible. Drinking liquid sugar like the kind found in fizzy pop, juices, sodas, and booze is the last thing you need when you’re trying to lose fat and increase energy. Stick with water and green tea. Make sure you get at least 8 glasses per day.

Fast food doesn’t equal fast energy. Grabbing high fat, high sodium foods made with low quality ingredients can increase your waistline and cholesterol, but not your energy levels.

Eat 5 to 10 servings of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Your energy levels will increase and you’ll get more done in less time as a result.

Eat healthy fats. Most North Americans consume way too may harmful saturated fats, and virtually eat almost no healthy fats. Good sources include fish, olive oil, raw almonds, just to name a few.

Take a half-hour each night to plan what you’re going to eat tomorrow. This is something that healthy people have in common. They don’t leave their nutrition to chance. Again, I know it’s not easy. I’m not going to stand here and tell you anything other than the truth. You might not want to hear it, but it doesn’t make it any less true. It's going to take time to clean, cut, and cook your own healthy food. It’s going to take effort to plan, shop, and prepare healthy meals.

But, you CAN do it.

And believe me, when you do, you’ll never feel like crawling under your desk at 3 o’clock for a nap, again. Okay, pep talk’s over. Now that you understand the basics, we can get a bit more specific. Certain foods have energy properties and nutrient profiles that help to increase alertness and energy.

Here’s my short list of the top 7 energy foods that you can eat to boost your energy levels:


Blueberries. Blueberries help fight off urinary tract infections and contain tons of antioxidants with cancer fighting properties.

Oranges. Oranges are an energy food that contains a valuable source of Vitamin C, increases iron absorption, and boost energy levels.

Spinach. Popeye was no dummy. Green vegetables contain powerful cancer-fighting compounds.

Salmon. This energy food is a top source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, and can help decrease your risk of heart disease and cancer. There is also some preliminary evidence that shows that fish oils can help increase fat loss.

Almonds. Snacking on almonds between meals can help to decrease you appetite, helping you to maintain or lose weight. They are a healthy fat and a rich source of protein. Stick with raw almonds though. Most roasted almonds are cooked in hydrogenated oils.

Olive Oil. Olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat that lowers bad cholesterol and increases heart-healthy good cholesterol. It should be in your kitchen.

Green Tea. Green tea is another great source of powerful antioxidants. With less than half the calories of coffee, it’s also a better energy boosting choice.

Source: Dale Andrew, M.A., Fitness Professional

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Goji Berry – Number 1 Superfood!

It may seem odd to start this list of superfoods with one you’ve likely never even heard of. But studies have shown that this little berry is one of the most nutritious and powerful foods in the world! Goji is the high-energy berry of a special Himalayan tree.

Harvested in the Himalayan, Goji berries taste like a vibrant blend of berries and chocolate. Hidden within its ruby pigment is the magic that makes it nature’s perfect energy fruit. Goji is packed full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. Although Goji may not be available in your local supermarket, you can find it in several health food and gourmet stores (often in juice form). A new product featuring the unsweetened pulp is now also available, and I highly recommend that you choose this form of Goji.

Goji pulp contains:

* A remarkable concentration of antioxidants that help combat premature aging, with 10 times more antioxidants than red grapes and 10 to 30 times the anthocyanins of red wine.
* A synergy of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, dietary fiber and phytosterols to help promote cardiovascular and digestive health.
* An almost perfect essential amino acid complex in conjunction with valuable trace minerals, vital to proper muscle contraction and regeneration.

The fatty acid content in Goji berries resembles that of olive oil, and is rich in monounsaturated oleic acid. Oleic acid is important for a number of reasons. It helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate the cell membrane; together they help make cell membranes more supple. By keeping the cell membrane supple, all hormones, neurotransmitter and insulin receptors function more efficiently. This is particularly important because high insulin levels create an inflammatory state, and we know, inflammation causes aging.

Source: Dr. Shiroma

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hemp and Goji Berry Smoothie.... Mmmmm!

This is comfort food in a glass as well as being a great alternative for anyone missing the dairy ice-cold thick creamy milkshakes of their childhood.

•Cupful of hulled (shelled) hemp seeds (providing us with the most nutritionally complete source of 1st class protein there is)!
•¼ cup of sesame seeds (rich in the much needed calcium non veggies are always challenging us about)
•Handful of cashew nuts for that rich creamy taste
•1 frozen peeled banana (fibre and potassium)
•Couple of dried apricots (more fibre, Vits A, C & K, more calcium as well as iron) and or
•¼ of raisins (though high in natural sweetness, they are also full of antioxidants)
•¼ cup of goji berries (superfood – packed with more antioxidants)
•Splash of vanilla (just because I adore the smell)!
•Dash of cinnamon (optional)
•Distilled water to dilate to desired consistency.

Serve in a tall tumbler and sip slowly (straw optional), it is after all a complete meal!

Easily digestible, non toxic hemp seeds contain the perfect ratio of all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.

Goji berries (also known as Wolfberry) grown in various parts of Asia especially in the Himalayan regions are fairly rare. Dubbed the new superfood, they are rich in vitamins and good for the eyes.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Eat Lots Of Vegetables!

The best way to eat is lots of vegetables, a couple of fruits, some animal protein, an egg or two, some nuts and seeds, and plenty of healthy fat every day. I know there are so many schools of thought when it comes to the ideal diet. The last 20 years could not be any more confusing for the average person looking to lose some weight and eat healthy. After studying nutrition in school, then reading just about every best selling diet book that was published and finally using my experience working with a few hundred personal training clients over the years, I have concluded that eating whole natural foods are the way to go.

You have to eat a rainbow of colorful vegetables every day. Vegetables offer excellent nutritional value with minimal calories. Vegetables are my favorite source of carbohydrates. They provide steady energy, and are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, while very low in calories. All vegetables are good for you but check out my list of the Top 10 Healthiest Vegetables.

Some of my best friends are vegetarians; however, and they will not agree with me but lean organic meats are a great way to get your protein. Lean cuts of red meat, chicken, pork, wild game, fish and whole eggs are all healthy ways to get your protein, iron and healthy fats. I’m not talking about eating a 16-ounce steak every night for dinner or a double bacon hamburger for lunch every day. What I’m talking about is four to six ounces of chicken, fish or meat per serving. Small servings of meat can go a long way to fill your protein requirements. Check out this article Do Athletes Need more Protein. It will give you an idea about how much protein you need even if you’re not an athlete.

Keep an eye on the amount of fat you are eating but don’t be overly concerned if you are at a healthy weight. Most of my calories come from the healthy fat in my diet, even though my diet compared to conventional wisdom is high in fat. I usually keep my body fat around 9% to 10%. My cholesterol is always good and I’m in my late forties. The only time I get into trouble is when I start eating too many grains or drinking beer. Most of the fat in your diet should be in the form of Omega 3’s and monounsaturated oils. Some saturated fats are ok as long as you don’t over do it. But at all cost avoid trans-fats that are found in processed food like cakes and cookies, and limit your intake of high omega-6 oils.

This Principle is all about avoiding processed foods and replacing them with whole natural foods. When you eat simple whole foods you can’t go wrong.

Source: Mike Cola, Personal Trainer

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to Get Rid of a Spare Tire

Getting rid of that spare tire around your waist isn't just a matter of feeling better about yourself physically. Excess weight at the midsection has been shown to lead to heart disease and diabetes. The stomach muscles also help support the lower back. But toning exercises alone won't improve the area, as spot reducing is ineffective without cardiovascular exercise and a proper diet.

Moderately Challenging


* 1 Start by evaluating your diet. Make sure you are eating at least five fruits and vegetables a day and that your diet has no more than 20 percent fat. Eat lean meats, look for cereals and breads that consist of whole grains and drink eight glasses of water a day to keep properly hydrated. Getting rid of a spare tire has to start with getting rid of excess weight, which can only be done by a proper, healthy diet.

* 2 Incorporate exercise into your daily life. In addition to planned exercise like biking, park at the far end of the lot when you go shopping and take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk around while you're talking on the phone. Every step you take burns calories.

* 3 Decide what kind of cardiovascular/aerobic exercise you enjoy and stick to it. Biking, jogging, walking and aerobics classes are all excellent ways to elevate heart rate. Start with small, easily attainable goals, such as walking at a brisk pace for 10 minutes each day. Even modest exercise will help you to improve your overall fitness level and reaching that goal will encourage you to continue.

* 4 Learn exercises that work the three sections that make up the abdominal muscles: upper (just under your rib cage) lower (below your belly button) and the obliques (on the sides of your waist). The basic abdominal crunch is a good place to start. Be sure to isolate the set of muscles you're working on, keep your chin up (don't bring it to your chest with each crunch), keep your neck/head in line with your spine (don't pull your neck) and keep your elbows out to the sides.

* 5 Reward yourself for attaining small goals at first, but it's best not to do it with food. Do something to pamper yourself (like a manicure), buy a new book by your favorite author, or take in a game of your favorite sports team.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Benefits of Glutamine: Fitness and Health Tips

Some of you haven't even heard of Gultamine before or didn't even know Glutamine was a word. Gluta-what?? Well even though you have no clue what Glutamine is, at least you now will know what the benefits are!

Glutamine isn't just used as a workout supplement. It's also used for:

* irritable bowel syndromes,
* ulcerative colitis,
* celiac disease,
* ulcers,
* leaky gut,
* speeds up the healing process and immune system.

Today I am want to continue to focus on Glutamine used as a weightlifters supplement choice for muscle building!

What are the benefits of Glutamine?

* Muscle growth
* prevents muscle break down
* improves immune system functions
* decreases illness
* decreases infections in endurance athletes
* maintains muscle mass
* prevents protein breakdown
* improves glycogen synthesis which increases muscle glycogen stores

I have found countless websites that state how Glutamine helps prevent you from getting sick. I beleive public gyms are one of the top places you can get sick from.

After you work out your Glutamine levels can be striped up to 50%. So instead of your body taking the Glutamine out of your muscles, you can replace your Glutamine from your pre and after work out shakes.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Best Fresh Tomato Pasta Recipe

Try this fresh tomato pasta recipe while tomatoes and basil are plentiful in the garden and farmer’s markets. It is a very simple recipe, going over the basics. It is so easy to make your own tomato sauce, and also much healthier than sauces in a can or jar.

There are lots of options for whole grain noodles now, like kamut or brown rice, and they are much more nutritious than a white pasta.

As you probably know, tomatoes are fruits, but they are served as a vegetable. They are in the same family as potatoes and peppers. They originated in South America and only became popular in North America in the last century.

Serves 2 for dinner.

Fresh Tomato Pasta Recipe Ingredients

* 1 tsp olive oil
* 1 diced onion
* 2 cloves minced garlic
* 4 diced tomatoes
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
* pinch sea salt & pepper
* half a 454g (1lb) package of whole grain pasta

Fresh Tomato Pasta Recipe Directions:

1. Sauté the onions with a bit of olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat until translucent. Sauté the garlic next, until it softens.
2. Stir the tomatoes in, and then leave them to cook until they soften.
3. Stir in the basil, oregano, pepper and salt onto the tomatoes next, and leave the sauce on the heat at least another 10 minutes for the flavors to combine.
4. Cook the noodles by adding them to a pot of salted boiling water. If you are using brown rice or corn/maize pastas they cook a bit differently than wheat pastas. As the water hits the boil, add enough cool water to break the boil. Keep doing this until the pasta is cooked.
5. Assemble this simple, healthy meal by topping the pasta with tomato sauce, and garnish with fresh herbs.

Source: Heather Nauta is a registered holistic nutritionist who teaches you how to live a healthy vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, including how to get proper nutrition, enough protein, vitamin b12 and other minerals, and how to make an amazing variety of simple, fast healthy recipes that taste incredible for you and your family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Natural Mosquito Repellents

When I was pregnant, I wanted to avoid using toxic chemical insect repellents, yet the mosquitoes seemed to find me tastier than ever. My solution at that time was to wear what I called my 'DEET sheet', which was an old cotton sheet that had been sprayed with S.C. Johnson's Off! Deep Woods formula. While this was highly effective, it wasn't practical for use around kids, so I did research into safer, natural mosquito repellents. I learned that many so-called natural mosquito repellents don't repel mosquitoes (e.g., ultrasonic electronic devices), but some are backed by reputable research and really work.

Mosquitoes have complex methods of detecting hosts and different types of mosquitoes react to different stimuli. Most mosquitoes are active at dawn and dusk, but there are also mosquitoes that seek hosts during the day. You can avoid being bitten by making sure you aren't attracting mosquitoes, using attractants to lure mosquitoes elsewhere, using a repellent, and avoiding actions that diminish the effectiveness of the repellent.

Mosquito Attractants

Use this list of items and activities that attract mosquitoes as a list of things to avoid or that can be used as bait to lure mosquitoes away from you.

* Dark Clothing

Many mosquitoes use vision to locate hosts from a distance. Dark clothes and foliage are initial attractants.

* Carbon Dioxide

You give off more carbon dioxide when you are hot or have been exercising. A burning candle or other fire is another source of carbon dioxide.

* Lactic Acid

You release more lactic acid when you have been exercising or after eating certain foods (e.g., salty foods, high-potassium foods).

* Floral or Fruity Fragrances

In addition to perfumes, hair products, and scented sunscreens, watch for the subtle floral fragrance from fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

* Skin Temperature

The exact temperature depends on the type of mosquito. Many mosquitoes are attracted to the slightly cooler temperatures of the extremities.

* Moisture

Mosquitoes are attracted by perspiration because of the chemicals it contains and also because it increases the humidity around your body. Even small amounts of water (e.g., moist plants or mud puddles) will draw mosquitoes. Standing water also allows mosquitoes to reproduce.

Natural Repellents

It's very easy to make your own natural mosquito repellent. These natural products will effectively repel mosquitoes, but they require more frequent reapplication (at least every 2 hours) and higher concentrations than DEET. Because of the differences between types of mosquitoes, products that contain multiple repellents tend to be more effective than those containing a single ingredient. As you can see, natural repellents tend to be volatile plant oils.

* Citronella Oil
* Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
* Cinnamon Oil
* Castor Oil
* Rosemary Oil
* Lemongrass Oil
* Cedar Oil
* Peppermint Oil
* Clove Oil
* Geranium Oil
* Possibly Oils from Verbena, Pennyroyal, Lavender, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, Allspice, Soybean, and Garlic

Another plant-derived substance, pyrethrum, is an insecticide. Pyrethrum comes from the flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium.

Things that Lower Repellent Effectiveness

* Many Sunscreens
* Dilution from Rain, Perspiration, or Swimming
* Absorption into the Skin
* Evaporation from Wind or High Temperatures

Keep in mind that 'natural' does not automatically imply 'safe'. Many people are sensitive to plant oils. Some natural insect repellents are actually toxic. Therefore, although natural repellents provide an alternative to synthetic chemicals, please remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these products.

Source: Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Alcohol and Fitness: Party Hardy and Still Stay Lean

For many of you out there, summertime increase the partying rate. And if you’re in your early 20′s like myself, partying and alcohol often go hand in hand. While 80% of what you look like is determined by what you eat, it’s also determined by what you drink; and as many fitness buffs might tell you, alcohol and achieving your ideal physique are somewhat conflicting with one another.

Personally, I’m not a big drinker anymore. I knocked most of that out the past few years, but I do drink on occasion, and have a strategy to go along with it. First, I want to go over some facts about alcohol and it’s effects on your physique, and second, go over what I feel is the best approach to having fun this Summer (alcohol included), while not turning that six pack you’ve been working on into a bona fide beer gut.

Hoegaarden and Patron - My drinks of choice. I know, I'm so refined these days :)
Tequila shot? Sure, why not?

Actually I hate tequila, unless it’s good tequila, in which case I love tequila. Patron Silver is my personal favorite. Any night that includes Patron, it’s hard to have a bad time. Like I mentioned earlier, I am not a big drinker anymore, but kicking back with a beer and nights of going out are bound to happen to the majority of us. I have seen too many people go overboard with drinking and it consumes their lives. That’s not good. I’m sorry, but if you let alcohol over run your life, something needs to change. I’m not trying to pull a Tony Robbins here but come on. Now, for those of us who just like to party, let’s take a look at what happens when you tap the Rockies.
Caloric overload

Calorically, it’s pretty obvious: The calories you consume drinking, have to be accounted for in your daily caloric intake. And let’s face it, when you’re out, it’s easy to stack those calories up pretty quickly. Start the night off with a couple games of beer pong, some King’s Cup, and a couple glasses of jungle juice, and it’s not uncommon to have surpassed 1000 calories without realizing it. Here is the Caloric Content of a few of the more “innocent” alcoholic beverages:

* Bud Light (12 oz.) = 110 calories
* Budweiser (12 oz.) = 146 calories
* Shot of 100 proof liquor (1.5 oz.) = 124 calories
* Shot of 80 proof liquor (1.5 oz) = 97 calories
* Merlot red wine (5 oz) = 123 calories
* Pinot Grigiot white wine (5 oz) = 123 calories

And onto the heavy weights:

Per 200 ml/7 oz:

* Margarita = 453 calories
* White Russian = 360 calories
* Pina Colada = 381 calories
* Bailey’s Irish Cream = 442 calories

It's safe to say this guy probably loves beer just a little too much
A couple examples of how easily things can add up

A) So if Bailey’s is your drink of choice for the night, and you have five them throughout the night, you’re looking at 2,210 calories right there alone! That’s roughly a day’s worth of calories for a lot of you, so unless all you’re doing is drinking 5 Bailey’s for the day, plan on gaining weight. Not to mention, drunken nights usually include a trip through the Taco Bell drive thru, or In-N-Out, or Del Taco, or McDonald’s. None of which are conducive to getting lean and fit. Tack on another 1300 calories of fast food (easy to do) and that’s 3500 calories from booze and junk food, or exactly enough to add on a pound of fat.

B) If you were to drink just one regular Budweiser a night, it would add up to 53,290 extra calories per year, which equates to just over 15 lbs of fat! I normally don’t like these type of examples, because they don’t tell the whole story, but it’s pretty shocking to think of what a beer a night can do to a person’s physique.
Alcohol and fat metabolism

Hormonally, there are a few reasons why alcohol will deter people from their fitness goals.

Not only is consuming crazy amounts of calories easy to do on drinking nights; alcohol also puts a halt on your body’s ability to burn fat. When alcohol is in the bloodstream, insulin levels are spiked (which like a carb overload, can lead to fat storage). Not only that, but alcohol recognized as a poison by the body and your body will turn its attention to ridding the alcohol from the body and neglect burning fat while doing so.

It’s also been shown that testosterone levels drop when alcohol is consumed excessively. And for guys trying to build muscle, you need all the testosterone you can get. So muscle building is also put to a screeching halt.
Ways to reduce the damage

Personally I try and not drink unless there’s an occasion to do so. I don’t really get the urge to just “have a beer”. That’s just me though. So I drink when there’s an event going on or some other reason to do so. Some other ways to improve the situation:

* Drink less often. The less often you drink, the lower your tolerance. You’ll get a buzz going with less drinks which is good for your body and your wallet!
* If you’re a mixed drink drinker, avoid sugary mixers like juice, soda and sour mix. Also tonic water is full of sugar. Opt for club soda and a lime instead. Great drink: Gin and Soda with a lime
* The drunken munchies are bound to happen – but instead of hitting up the local fast-food joint, have some chicken and veggies already made at home. Anything will taste good by this point of the night! People just opt for fast food because it’s appealing at the moment and convenient. Make a better choice convenient.
* Eat less total on your drinking days. To compensate for all the liquid calories you’ll be downing, it’s a good idea to plan on eating less beforehand so your calories will be more in check when the day’s said and done.

I know I've said it before, but cruise ships are THE place to party! And the alcohol definitely flows here.
The Take Home

In short, alcohol simply isn’t your body’s friend. Your body stops burning fat, stops building muscle, and it makes you want to eat anything and everything in sight. Not exactly the best formula for getting lean is it?

Is that to say you should never ever drink? Of course not. As in life, balance and moderation are what count here. It’s like eating pizza. Can you eat pizza? Sure you can, just don’t eat the whole pie. Can you drink alcohol? Sure you can, just try not to drink the whole 12 pack.
Summer Fun

It’s no fun to go out if you’re paranoid the whole night about each and every calorie you eat or drink. Just train yourself to be aware beforehand and it will naturally lessen the damage. Night’s out are for letting loose and having fun! If alcohol is part of that game plan, then so be it. Just limit these nights to times when it’s actually worth it. I’ve had too many nights out that I overdrank, ended up lame anyway, and set me back in my fitness goals. Fitness isn’t everything, living life is! So have fun this Summer – nothing really beats a Corona on the beach.

Source: Hollywood Body Fitness

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Importance of the Body's Core

As personal trainers we emphasis the importance & promote exercises to build a strong core for spine and low back protection.

The trunk and low torso is the power centre of the body, which comprises over 50% of the body's total mass. Essential for maintaining the body's equilibrium and posture are the muscles of the lower torso and inner abdominals, an area commonly referred to by many personal trainers and myself as 'the body's core'. This core provides supportive pressure to maintain necessary stability with minimal stress on the lower back. As personal trainers we emphasis the importance and promote exercises to assist in building a strong core for spine and low back protection.

Dealing with the public every day I've found that 80% of the people who walk through the doors are lacking in postural strength and core stability, affecting their body's functioning and in turn inhibiting their work, fitness and health. As a standard practice within my training, my initial step is to visually assess the clients posture. Having done this we can commence the appropriate corrective exercises.

There are many different causes of back pain through poor posture and they need to be identified and fixed appropriately.

Some of these causes are due to:

1. Tight muscles in the back of the leg (hamstring).

Solution: Tight hamstrings can be corrected through stretching and lengthening the hamstring muscles.
2. Tight hip flexors (muscles that assist with bending at the hips).

Solution: To correct and lengthen the hip flexors, these muscles need to be stretched.
3. Excess weight around the stomach area pulls the upper torso forward and applies pressure and fatigue, weakening the lower back.

Solution: To correct this a well balanced diet and an exercise program is required to help reduce weight.
Some strengthening exercises that will help strengthen the lower back include:
* Prone hold
* Dead lifts
* Fit ball roll in and outs

(All these exercises are performed under trainer supervision).
4. In most cases tight chest muscles and overworked front shoulders lead to rounding forward of the shoulders. This often causes a weakening of the shoulder blade muscles, a hunch in the upper back section and a weakening in the lower back area.

Solution: To correct this defect in posture, the chest muscles must be stretched and exercises must be given to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder blade area (scapula). Additional exercises must also be given to strengthen the inner abdominal and lower back area.

Everyday we place our spine and lower back under unnecessary stress, through poor posture while standing, sitting, bending and lifting. Here are some pointers to help maintain correct posture and reduce stress on the lower back during daily activities:

1. When sitting or standing, maintain good posture by keeping the back straight and upright, stomach tight, chest out, shoulders pinned back and chin up.

Continuously regaining posture helps exercise and strengthens the core postural muscles. Placing red dots (stickers) on computers or desks at work, the car rear view mirror and on the fridge at home is one method I find effective for reminding individuals to regain awareness of correct posture.

2. Constantly sitting and standing in one position for an extended period of time decreases good posture due to the fatiguing muscles of the core. This inturn applies stress to the lower back and spine. An ideal way of reducing this type of stress and fatigue is through movement.

After 15-20 minutes of sitting at a desk or in a car, it is a good idea to break free from this tiresome position and walk around for a minute or two, giving the body a light stretch.

By keeping your posture and core strong you are on your way to achieving a stronger and healthier body, minimising any stress and discomfort from back pain.

Source: Paul Marasco - Personal Trainer

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Optimal Health Begins With Spinal Alignment

Maybe chiropractic care is shrouded in a cloud of uncertainties for you: What processes are used? What are the benefits you can gain from regular adjustments? Why is there such emphasis placed on the spine? Why should you seriously consider visiting a chiropractor on a regular basis? Keep reading for the details!

Chiropractic Care Explained

To really understand the dangers associated with spinal misalignment, it is crucial to have some basic knowledge about the importance of chiropractic care.

Chiropractic is a practice of organized and regular treatments or adjustments that correct the misalignment of the vertebrae in the spinal cord. According to chiropractic theory, these misalignments are the cause of all dis-ease or the break downs in the body. Malfunctioning nerves can eventually lead to internal disease and a lot of pain if left untreated.

There are three key causes of misalignments:

(1) Trauma or physical stresses placed on the body as a result of exercise, your job, car accidents, etc.

(2) Stress resulting from everyday life including work, family, social expectations, spiritual issues, etc.

(3) Chemicals or other substances we put into our bodies, either knowingly or not, such as food, prescription or illegal drugs, diet ingredients (e.g. aspartame), etc.

Maybe you are wondering if it is really possible for all dis-ease (and eventually illness) in the body to actually be the result from these three causes? You are not alone! Dr. Henry Windsor had similar doubts and decided to carry out a study of the body to examine the relationship between these three factors and sickness in the body.

A Revealing Case Study

To dispel his uncertainties, Dr. Windsor, a physician from the University of Pennsylvania, studied fifty cadavers from the pathology department to find unhealthy organs. In those fifty cadavers, Dr. Windsor uncovered 139 diseased organs, such as hearts, livers and gall bladders, in various levels of disease. Next, Dr. Windsor studied the nerves connecting the infected organs with the bones of the spine.

The breakthrough by Dr. Windsor was tremendous! In all of the cadavers, there existed a misalignment of the curvature in the spine, which was directly connected to the nerves leading to the unhealthy organs.

This is what takes place within the body:

(1) The vertebrae shift out of place and the spine becomes misaligned

(2) This causes nerve irritation

(3) The nerve irritation causes a limited level of blood flow to the vital organs

(4) This causes organ disease

Why Receive Regular Treatments?

Not only is there a direct correlation between spinal misalignment and sickness of the organs, but the sickness appears to precede old age and even to produce it! Initially the spinal column becomes rigid, reducing the blood flow to the vital organs, and the feelings of old age in the body follow.

Think about this: most of us visit the dentist at least twice a year, but only about seven percent of the population regularly see a chiropractor for adjustments.

Given that your spine is the most vital element in your body to preserving your health and longevity, be sure you head in to see your chiropractor!

Source: Dr. Steve Van Laecken