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Blog posts tagged with 'Exercise'

The Role Diet Plays in Heart Health

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The Role Diet Plays in Heart HealthIf you’re currently taking medications for cardiovascular health and think that’s all you need to do to turn your health around, a new study reports that a healthier diet may also help prevent further heart health incidents. While it’s important to follow the advice of your physician and continue taking your heart health medications as directed, the study shows that it’s also important to revamp the current lifestyle that got you into the predicament in the first place. A healthier diet plays a big role in that change.

Heart-Friendly Diet Reduces Cardiovascular Risk

The study, published in the journal, Circulation, followed 32,000 people from 40 countries over the course of five years. The participants had an average age of 66.5 years old and all of them were currently enrolled in other clinical trials because of prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Eating habits were tracked with a food frequency questionnaire consisting of 20 food items. Over the course of the study, about 5,000 cardiovascular events occurred. However, it was found that participants who stuck to a heart-healthy diet had a lower risk of succumbing to cardiovascular events.

Eat More Fruit, Vegetables, Grains, and Nuts

Based on research results, people who consumed more fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and fish fared better in reducing their cardiovascular risks than those who relied on medications alone. American participants who adhered to current U.S. daily guidelines of four servings of fruit; five servings of vegetables; one serving of nuts or soy protein; and three or more servings of whole grains were among those at lower risk. The source of protein seemed to matter, too, as fish was more preferable to meat, poultry, or eggs. Older adults stuck to these guidelines more closely as they appeared to be more concerned with their health after the occurrence of previous cardio health events.

Make Your Lifestyle Work for You

Whether you have poor heart health or not, it’s always a good idea to adopt healthier habits, including eating a better diet, exercising regularly, and managing a healthy weight. If you haven’t already done so, switch up your diet to include more balanced servings of nutritious foods so that you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

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Sound Body Equals Sound Mind

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Sound Body Equals Sound MindPhysical exercise has a far bigger impact on supporting brain health in older people than previously thought. While seniors have been encouraged for years to do “brain activities” such as crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and reading to support cognitive function and memory, a new study points out that it’s physical exercise that helps protect aging brains from shrinking.

Brain Size Affects Cognitive Health

Brain shrinkage is typical with age and scientists have linked various degrees of shrinkage to its effects on memory and cognitive function.

In the study, which was published in the journal, Neurology, 700 people living in the UK were questioned about the leisure and physical activities they engaged in. When their brains were scanned three years later, those who were more physically active had larger volumes of gray and white brain matter. By comparison, those who engaged in nonphysical activities still showed signs of brain shrinkage despite engaging in their hobbies regularly. Regular physical activity also reduced the incidence of white matter lesions, which have been found to adversely affect memory and thinking.

Similar Study Supports Findings

A similar study showed that aerobic exercises—such as walking or jogging—were also more beneficial than nonaerobic exercises like stretching and toning. In this study, 120 individuals were split into two equal groups, with one group performing 30-45 minutes of moderate, aerobic exercise three times a week while the other group did stretching and toning exercises. MRI scans a year later revealed that the nonaerobic exercise group showed signs of shrinkage in a region of the brain known as the hippocampus whereas the hippocampus was larger in the exercise group. If you’ve been resting on your laurels waiting for yet another reason to start exercising for your overall health, the evidence above should hopefully convince you. So get up and start moving!

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30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at Bay

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30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Can Help Keep the Pounds at BayWorking out is a commitment that few people enjoy, but if you’ve been trying to shed some extra pounds and dread spending long hours in the gym, you’ll be pleased to learn that a new study reveals that 30 minutes of exercise a day is all it takes to help shed that weight. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology, moderately overweight men who exercised for 30 minutes a day for three months lost an average of eight pounds compared to men who worked out for 60 minutes a day, who lost an average of six pounds.

Work Out Smarter, Not Longer

The study authors based their research on 60 moderately overweight men who were randomly assigned to either a high aerobics group, which was required to work out 60 minutes a day, or a moderate aerobics group, which worked out 30 minutes a day. Both groups were required to exercise hard enough to break a sweat by doing activities such as running or cycling. At the end of 13 weeks, both groups lost about nine pounds of body mass, but the 30-minute-a-day exercise group lost about two pounds more body weight. The researchers theorize that the men who worked out for half an hour found the amount of time to be reasonable, so they were actually more committed to accomplishing their workout goals in the shorter time period. Compared to their counterparts who worked out for an hour, the 30-minute exercise group also burned more calories. Post workouts, the 30-minute group probably had more energy left over, so they remained more active throughout the day, too. The 60-minute exercisers probably ate more after their workouts, so on average they gained back some of the calories that they burned.

Be Inspired to Get Healthy

Although a difference of two pounds of weight loss may not seem much at first glance, over a year the results can add up. The study also shows that you don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym as long as you’re fully committed to doing as much as you can within the time that you give yourself. Being healthy begins with being smart, so plan your workouts accordingly to get the most benefits.

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Added Pounds May Mean Added Joint Discomfort in Women

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Added Pounds May Mean Added Joint Discomfort in WomenIt goes without saying that being overweight isn’t healthy. When your body carries excess weight that isn’t ideal for your skeletal frame and musculature, it forces your heart and other organs to work extra hard. Besides heart health challenges, such as high blood pressure, being overweight can also affect blood sugar management and bone strength.

Overweight Women More Prone to Joint Discomfort

A new study funded by the Mayo Clinic that was published in Arthritis Care & Research states that women who are overweight have a 20% greater risk of developing joint health challenges. According to Dr. Eric Matteson, one of the study coauthors and chair of the rheumatology department at the Mayo Clinic, “fat cells produce inflammatory proteins and they’re active in inflammation.” Inflammation in joint tissue can lead to swelling, stiffness, and discomfort in joints and surrounding tissues. So aside from putting extra weight on joints and wearing them away faster, extra fat cells can cause inflammation, which can further aggravate your joints. The National Institutes of Health also states that women are two-to-three times more likely than men to develop joint health challenges, and four-to-five times more likely to have bone density challenges, which can also affect joints.

Take the Strain off Your Body

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t just better for your joints, bones, and heart—it can also significantly lift your mood if you’re feeling self-conscious about your body. Exercise releases endorphins, which stimulate feelings of happiness in the brain. Long-term, regular exercise can also help lift moods, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Keeping your weight healthy isn’t something you should do to keep health challenges at bay; you should do it because being healthy makes you feel good!

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Sacrifices Can Lead to Big Health Benefits

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Sacrifices Can Lead to Big Health BenefitsAs gas prices, the stock market, and employment rates continue to yoyo, one figure has been steadily growing over the past few years, and it’s not a good one: It’s obesity. According to a joint study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Duke University in Atlanta, at current rates 42% of Americans will be overweight by the year 2030, and half of that figure will be due to childhood weight gain. A large part of it is simply due to the fact that people are consuming more calories, but exercising less.

Small Numbers Add Up Over Time

On paper, weight management seems like a simple task: If kids cut between 41 to 64 calories per day, it can lead to a national obesity rate of only 16.1% among youths aged 12 to 19. That equates to about cutting 4 ounces of apple juice or a quarter of an oatmeal raisin bar every day. These figures vary between racial demographics, but they are manageable, nonetheless, if parents and schools work together to curb kids’ appetites, and if adults themselves exercise a little more willpower. If obesity figures are left to their own devices, national healthcare costs due to weight-related health issues may exceed $500 billion over the next 20 years.

Cutting Back Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

As stated earlier, one doesn’t need to make drastic changes just to be healthier; small cutbacks to your diet every can be equally effective in producing lasting health results. So the next time you’re thinking about adding dessert to your meal, have one scoop of ice cream instead of two, or choose low-calorie frozen yogurt—then get up and add a little exercise into the mix. The long-term results may be a pleasant surprise!

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