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16851992Walking is low-risk and easy to start. It can help keep you fit and reduce your risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.

A regular walking program can also:

American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Even short 10 minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal. If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40 minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity 3 to 4 times a week. You could do this by walking 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If that’s too fast, choose a more comfortable pace.

Get ready

All you need to get started are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters.

Work on your technique

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a stroll that feels comfortable (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20 percent by adding a few minutes or blocks. If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple of 10- to 20-minute walks instead of one long walk, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since they put extra stress on your elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down. At first, forget about walking speed. Just get out there and walk!

Pick up the pace

To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes. Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace. A good way to add variety is to incorporate some brisk intervals. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Concentrate on increasing your speed while maintaining good posture.

Walking hills is a great way to tone your legs. Using Nordic walking poles can help your burn more calories and give you better posture and overall muscle endurance. Treadmill walking, while not as scenic, can be convenient during bad weather.

The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Track your progress. Although experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Be safe

  • Avoid traffic accidents. Listening to lively music while you walk is a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Wear light colors or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick if you walk when visibility is low.
  • Walking on sidewalks is best, but if you have to walk on the street, stick to streets with lower speed limits. Faster streets are riskier because motorists are less likely to see pedestrians and cannot stop as quickly. Accidents involving pedestrians have an 85 percent chance of becoming fatal if the car is moving at 40 mph as compared to only 5 percent if the speed is 20 mph.
  • Know your area. Pay attention to what businesses are open in the area you’ll be walking and know the location of emergency telephones. Walk on well-traveled streets rather than taking shortcuts in less crowded areas such as alleys or parking lots. If you give the message that you are calm, self-assured and have a purposeful gait, you’ll lower your chances of becoming a victim.
  • Two heads are better than one. Walking with a partner or in groups discourages crime and may help alert you to dangers such as speeding motorists or unleashed dogs.

If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. But don’t stop exercising!

Source: Walking 101

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There are a lot of viable ways to get fit or maintain that optimal physique, but did you know that coconut oil could one of the best things you could use?  That’s right: the saturated fats that are found in high-quality coconut oil may actually increase your general health over time.  In a world where the average consumer is inundated with weight loss and health improvement options, it may come as a relief to some folks to hear that something as natural as coconut oil could make all the difference.  While certain folks hear the word “coconut” and picture sunny beaches and tropical drinks, others are hearing the same term and instead becoming reminded of its incredible health-related properties.

The Truth of the Matter

You may have heard some bad things about coconut oil, but your source was mistaken.  If coconut oil were so bad for your health, then those cultures who have been using it would have some serious health problems.  The truth of the matter is: those who use coconut oil regularly are often healthier than those who do not.  Although the benefits may not be obvious to some folks, it is important to understand the value of a good source of saturated fats.

Coconut oil is typically classified as a “medium chain triglyceride” (MCT) which means that the fats within it are passed through your body relatively quickly.  In addition, these particular types of fats rush to the liver which turn the MCTs into a quick burst of energy for you as well.  At the end of the day this benefit could translate into a better working metabolism and ultimately a stronger body.

Other Benefits

Did you know that there are a lot more benefits to using coconut oil besides for simply improving your metabolism?  In reality, coconut oil contains robust amounts of omega-3 fatty acids as well. On top of that, coconut oil is great for cooking because it does not go through oxidation as quickly as other cooking oils.  The slow oxidation makes coconut oil essential to removing harmful free-radicals and other toxins from the body.  These combined properties make coconut oil a wonderful addition to any recipe and are vital to healthy weight loss and fitness management.

Can Coconut Oil help with Diabetes?

Okay, so coconut oil is great for weight loss and fitness, but it is any good for those people who deal with type 2 diabetes?  The answer is a resounding “yes.”  Because coconut oil is turned into energy so quickly, it has the ability to help people manage their blood sugar levels more efficiently.  Over time, users of coconut oil could actually see their insulin sensitivity reduced to surprising levels.

What else should I know?

In our attempt to become optimally fit and healthy we often turn to some pretty desperate measures – ones which ultimately leave our bodies feeling the brunt of those bad decisions.  Thankfully, there are remedies such as coconut oil to come to the rescue.  Using a high-quality coconut oil in your recipes can help soothe any indigestion, all while lessening those cravings for sweets you may sometimes get.

Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil is a spectacular ingredient that you would be wise to incorporate into your everyday diet.  Losing weight is one thing, but being able to improve your overall health in a simple way is essential to your longevity.  Be sure coconut oil is right for you by speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist for more information.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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22571019The good news is that no matter which is first, cardio will improve everything from your heart health to your mood and weight training will improve everything from bone density to metabolism. However, depending on your fitness goals, there may be some benefit to doing cardio first followed by weight training or vice versa.

If power, strength or building lean muscle mass is what you’re after, you don’t want to fatigue your muscles with cardio first, so do it after your hit the weights. If general fitness is your goal, then definitely mix up the sequence of aerobic exercise and resistance training on different days. Each sequence has advantages. Research shows that a person burns slightly more calories when they finish the workout with weight training. However, studies also show that since a person has more energy in the first part of a workout, they can train at a higher intensity which is advantageous for those doing resistance exercise first. So for variety and total benefits, mix up the sequence on different days of the week.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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How to Eat Mindfully: Learn to Appreciate Every Bite.Most of the excitement and the emphasis on the cholesterol health issue have centered on the concept of lowering cholesterol and the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. There are many treatment plans, including drugs and nutrients established to lower LDL cholesterol.

In my opinion, what is of equal importance is looking at raising your “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol as this has a very beneficial effect on your risk of heart disease and stroke.

HDL cholesterol molecules are manufactured in the liver. These specialized, small, and dense molecules transport various types of fats including triglycerides and cholesterol throughout the blood stream. In the case of HDL, this molecule transports fat deposits from the artery walls back to the liver where it is metabolized. Typically, HDL can be measured by standard blood tests—and higher amounts of this good cholesterol have been associated with many positive health outcomes.

Here are some important things you can do which increase the production of HDL good cholesterol in your body:

Avoid Trans Fat

Trans fat is produced when liquid vegetable oils are heated and infused with hydrogen. The resulting fat produced is solid at room temperature but dangerous to ingest. The consumption of trans fats increases LDL and decreases HDL cholesterol synthesis within the liver. To increase your good cholesterol, avoid fried foods and commercially prepared snack foods, baked goods, hard margarines, and frozen entrées, which will help decrease your exposure to this dangerous fat. Make sure you read labels carefully, to ensure there’s no trans fat in the product.

Avoid Sugar

Diets which contain high amounts of soda, candy, sweets, baked goods, fruit drinks, and deserts have a tendency to lower good cholesterol levels in the blood by a direct influence on liver synthesis. Sugar causes high amounts of insulin which is secreted over prolonged periods of time which can decrease the production of HDL cholesterol in the liver. Cutting down and trying to eliminate the bulk of the sugar intake in your diet can greatly influence the level of protective HDL you have in your blood stream.

Consume More Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber found in oatmeal, bran, fruit and flax seed, can increase the synthesis of HDL cholesterol by increasing the concentration of lignans in your body. Lignans can exert a direct effect on the liver by increasing the formation of HDL cholesterol. Increasing the intake of soluble fiber also lowers blood sugar and insulin levels which directly affects the production of HDL in the liver. This is necessary to increase good cholesterol.

Consume healthy fats

Fats derived from salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines contain the omega-3 family of fatty acids known to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke. One of the ways these fats can achieve this is by increasing the production of HDL cholesterol in the liver. The fats of the omega-9 family commonly found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados can also exert a beneficial effect upon HDL cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Increase good cholesterol by eating more healthy fats.

Drink Moderately

The moderate intake of red wine and alcohol has been shown to be associated with higher amounts of circulating HDL cholesterol. Moderate intake of these beverages implies one glass of wine per day for a female (or one ounce of spirits) and one to two glasses daily (two ounces of spirits) for a male.

Physical Activity

Becoming more physically active has a tremendous benefit to your health in so many ways. Physical activity can improve the synthesis of HDL cholesterol by improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose utilization. It can also reduce inflammation and body weight while encouraging stored body fat oxidation for fuel. The net effect is, among other things, higher blood levels of HDL cholesterol. Exercising is a great way to increase good cholesterol.

Many people always focus on the ways you can lower your bad cholesterol, but it’s also important to increase good cholesterol to reap many health benefits.

by Dr. K.J. McLaughlin

http://www.foods4betterhealth.com/6-easy-ways-to-increase-your-good-cholesterol-3228

Source(s):
  • Schofield, J.D., et al., “High-density lipoprotein cholesterol raising: does it matter?” Curr Opin Cardiol. July 2013; 28(4): 464-74.
  • Hausenloy, D.J., et al., “Targeting residual cardiovascular risk: raising high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels,” Heart. June 2008; 94(6): 706-14.
  • Barter, P., “HDL-C: role as a risk modifier,” Atheroscler Suppl. November 2011; 12(3): 267-70.
  • Garneau, V., et al., “Association between plasma omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease risk factors,” Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. March 2013; 38(3): 243-8.

More Information

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With heart disease the number one killer of both men and women in this country, you would think a cure that could dramatically reduce these deaths would be big news. And yet the most effective remedy is so simple that most people can’t seem to believe it works.

The single most important step you can take for heart health starts with what you put on your plate. Along with staying active and getting enough daily heart-healthy exercise, what you eat can help prevent heart disease. Next time you go grocery shopping keep this list in mind to make sure you get foods that are good for your heart.

Tiffiny
Energy in Motion

heart healthy food

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Ready to get up and running? Congratulations! This simple yet powerful act will take your mind, body, and spirit to a better place. And the greatest thing about running is anyone can do it. You don’t need fancy equipment or an Olympian’s physique. If you were ever a toddler, you already know the basics.

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You’d think a simple activity like walking would be just that, simple. But fewer than 50% of American adults do enough exercise to gain any health or fitness benefits from physical activity. Is walking our salvation? I don’t know for sure, but evidence suggests that it’s probably a good start.

What Are the Top 10 Reasons to Walk?

  1. Walking prevents type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%.
  2. Walking strengthens your heart if you’re male. In one study, mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day.
  3. Walking strengthens your heart if you’re female. Women in the Nurse’s Health Study (72,488 female nurses) who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.
  4. Walking is good for your brain. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!
  5. Walking is good for your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
  6. Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression as measured with a standard depression questionnaire by 47%.
  7. Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Women who performed the equivalent of one hour and 15 minutes to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking had an 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer, and even if an individual person develops colon cancer, the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing mortality.
  8. Walking improves fitness. Walking just three times a week for 30 minutes can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness.
  9. Walking in short bouts improves fitness, too! A study of sedentary women showed that short bouts of brisk walking (three 10-minute walks per day) resulted in similar improvements in fitness and were at least as effective in decreasing body fatness as long bouts (one 30-minute walk per day).
  10. Walking improves physical function. Research shows that walking improves fitness and physical function and prevents physical disability in older persons.

The list goes on, but if I continued, there’d be no time for you to start walking! Suffice to say that walking is certainly good for you!

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