Uncategorized

The Almighty Pumpkin

As far The Almighty Pumpkinas I can remember, the Jack-o-lantern and Halloween have gone hand in hand. Year after year, families taking a ride to the pumpkin patch, looking for the perfect orange melon or melons. Once picked, they’re taken home, gutted, and cut into a scary looking facial figure- usually with a candle burning on the inside, thus becoming the Jack-O-Lantern.

Aside from sitting on the front porch, as a Halloween ornament, many families also take the seeds from the pumpkin and roast them in the oven for a snack, bake pies, cakes, even pumpkin soup. However, there are many people who simply discard the insides of this fruit, not realizing the nutritional value they provide and dumping it into the trash. Today, we will take a look at 8 Health Benefits you may not know that the Pumpkin Offers:

Cancer
Pumpkins, and their seeds, are saturated with zinc and carotenoids, which help protect against prostate cancer. These compounds prevent growth of the prostate and over-stimulation of the male hormones that cause prostate problems. Similar to their cousins the sweet potato, the carrot and the butternut squash, pumpkins boast the antioxidant beta-carotene, which may play a role in cancer prevention, according to the National Cancer Institute. Food sources of beta-carotene seem to help more than a supplement.

Cholesterol
Pumpkin contains high amounts of phytosterols- plant-derived compounds that are similar in structure and function to cholesterol.  It can replace and or reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol, taking it back to a healthy level.

Potassium
A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium than a banana, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422. A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best.

Immune System
It does wonders for boosting the immune system by increasing the production and performance of white blood cells; building resistance to various kinds of infections. Packed with Vitamin C, one cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 11 milligrams, or nearly 20 percent of the 60 milligrams the IOM recommends women need daily. (Men should aim for around 75 milligrams.)

Depression
One of the cause of depression is the lack of tryptophan- precursor of serotonin and was used formerly as a dietary supplement especially to promote sleep and relieve depression in our diet.  Pumpkin is rich with L-tryptophan. When this chemical compound is supplied, it activates the feeling of happiness and well-being, reducing the depressed mood.

Kidney Health
Pumpkin seeds are also great for the kidneys. By taking about 5 – 10 grams of pumpkin seeds daily prevents stones formation in the kidneys.

Skin
The high quantity of anti-oxidants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, and zinc, provide the synergistic healing virtues that are great for the skin. These healthful properties are best obtained by drinking of its juice regularly.
Pumpkin seeds have anti-inflammatory properties that are very useful against the arthritis and joint inflammation.

The next time you’re carving your favorite Halloween masterpiece, keep in mind of the nutritional value that is available when you hollow out the insides. Keep the seeds, as they are a rich source of nutrients, including unsaturated fat, antioxidants, and fiber. Boasting almost 12 grams of protein per cup, pumpkin seeds also include many other vitamins and minerals, especially zinc (almost half of the daily recommended intake). Simply roast your pumpkin seeds in the oven with a little cooking spray, then toss them in your salads, mix them into your granola, or eat them alone for a snack.

Take advantage of all the benefits the “All Mighty Pumpkin” has to offer this Halloween season and all the ones that follow! And did I forget to mention Thanksgiving as well… Pumpkins are great at any time.

Fitness and Supplements

The supplement in384x324-images-stories-supplements_702_277_s_c1dustry has become inundated with ineffective supplements, with false claims of helping you reach your fitness goals, making it even harder to figure out which supplements actually work. It is vital that we do our research and consult our physicians before adding any supplement to our diets. While you gather your questions for your next doctor visit, we’ll take the hard part out… The research. Here’s a list of supplements that can actually help you reach your fitness goal.

Whey
Whey tops the list of mass-gain supplements because it’s the most crucial for pushing protein synthesis. Whey is a milk protein that has a high level of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs, No. 4 on our list). Bottom line: Whey takes the crown because it digests fast and gets to your muscles rapidly to start building muscle. Whey also contains peptides (small proteins) that increase blood flow to the muscles. This is why we always recommend consuming whey protein immediately after training.

Green Tea
Green tea fights fat. Animals who are given the extract in studies gain less weight and burn substantially more fat than animals getting a placebo. You can drink the tea, experts ideally recommend about eight glasses a day-or go the easier route and just take a supplement. Aim for 90 milligrams three times daily.

Creatine
Creatine is perhaps the most efficient supplement if you’re doing a high-intensity activity. There are very few supplements that have the solid scientific foundation available that creatine has. Experts say that creatine is beneficial to 80% of the people who have used it. Since creatine is found naturally in meat, the more meat you eat, the less likely you’ll need creatine supplementation. However, vegans or those who rarely eat meat can get huge boosts from these supplements.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids is the one type of fat you don’t want to cut back on. Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits. Fish oil supplements can lower elevated triglyceride (Blood fat) levels. Having high levels of this blood fat puts you at risk for heart disease. Omega-3s also help prevent several types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancers.

Keeping our testosterone levels high when we are training is important for building muscle mass. Testosterone is the leading hormone that is largely responsible for building lean muscle mass and increasing strength. One of the best bodybuilding investments you can make is to consume all natural test boosters.

8 Tips to Maintaining Fitness in the Cold Season

The colder 8 Tips to Maintaining Fitness in the Cold Seasonseason is upon us. For some, that means their workout sessions will slow down, while for others it will come to a complete stop until next season. Don’t allow the cold to frighten you from your daily routines. Exercising in the cold can have its benefits. Sometimes the chill allows you to do a more thorough workout than you would get in the warmer weather. If you’re exercising in particularly frigid temperatures, your body will expend more energy to regulate core temperature, increasing your heart rate and boosting the number of calories you burn during a workout. While it may be a challenge, here are a few tips for getting through a winter workout:

Warm Up Wisely
Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes, recommends Olympian Jeff Galloway, coauthor of A Woman’s Guide to Running. When you head out, give your body time to adjust to the conditions by taking 30-second breaks every few minutes for the first 10 minutes.

Hydrate
Even if it’s not as obvious as in the summer, you’re still sweating during cold-weather workouts and pushing yourself, so stay hydrated. Mayo Clinic suggests drinking water before, after and during your runs, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Dress Warm
Dress in removable layers, sometimes two or three. Wearing a sweater adds inches to the bar, making it harder on exercises like Front Squats to put the bar correctly. I remove my sweater during work sets, and put it back on between sets. Try also a wool hat to avoid sinus & ear infections from the cold weather.

Don’t forget your hat and gloves
Keeping hands and feet warm is key in the cold temperatures since your body will shunt blood away from extremities to keep your internal organs warm. Gloves will help prevent skin damage and frostbite in sub-zero temperatures. To keep your feet warm, make sure your torso is properly insulated. That will drive blood back down to your lower extremities. About 50 percent of body heat is lost from an uncovered head when the temperatures hit the freezing mark. Wearing a hat will help your body retain heat.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
Symptoms of hypothermia include an inability to think clearly or move easily, shivering, exhaustion, memory loss, drowsiness, fumbling hands, slurred speech, pain in the extremities, a slow and weak pulse, as well as collapse or unconsciousness.

Don’t Overdress
Wearing too many clothes during a workout can cause you to sweat more. In the winter, sweat being soaked into your clothing may leave you feeling a bit more chilled. If you notice that you are feeling colder, immediately remove an additional layer of clothes. Try to stay away from heavy cottons, as they’d promote and soak up more sweat.

Check the weather
knowing the forecast allows you to properly prep for the next workout, adjusting your wardrobe accordingly

 Plan your route
Having a set destination is important for any exercise, regardless of weather conditions. During the colder season, try on planning a route with heavily lined trees or buildings. This allows some protection against the wind. Another great practice is to be sure there is a store or cafe along the way, in case you need to step in and warm up a little.

There are some safety risks to consider when exercising in the cold. The most dangerous conditions to work out in are those that involve extremes in temperature. Cold weather exercise can lead to hypothermic symptoms. When exercising in the cold, you need to think more about your clothing and your exposure to the elements.

 

Halloween Fitness

It’s that timHalloween Fitnesse of year again, the “Fall Season” the smell of fresh leaves in the air, daylight begins to fade earlier each day and of course Halloween will be peaking around the corner. Halloween allows us to dress up as our favorite character, animal, thing, or whatever creative costume you’re able to come up with. We have fun, take pictures, laugh at each other’s costumes, and attend parties and other functions. We also spend a great deal of time walking around the neighborhood, allowing the children to knock on each door one by one, screaming, “Trick or Treat!” Are you ready for this much physical activity? We’ll help get you there.

First, if you’re not usually into fitness, you’d want to start out slow and easy. Simply walk out the door and take a walk for 10 minutes, and walk back. Do this routine every day for a week. When this becomes easy for you to maintain, add five more minutes to your walk the next week. Each week add an additional 5 minutes, until you are walking at a brisk pace for 30 mins. Be sure to keep your posture upright. Hold your head up and eyes forward. Your shoulders should be down, you’re back relaxed. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and fall into a natural stride.

The quicker you walk, the farther you can go and the more pounds you’ll melt off. An amazing routine you can try is, after warming up for 5 minutes, walk as fast as you can for 10 minutes. I suggest using a pedometer like the Garmin Vivofit, to keep track of distance. Then turn around and walk back at a brisk pace, slowing your speed to cool down as you get closer to your starting point. Each time you do this workout, aim to walk faster and go farther than your initial turnaround point. Get into the habit of logging your time and pace after each workout and you will soon be surprised at what you have accomplished after a few weeks.

Another great way to get walking is shop. That’s right, go to the Mall! Several malls open early for walkers, as do some larger stores. Gather a group of friends, or go alone and make some along the way, and window shop. Check out the prices of the newest items. If your local mall has more than one level, try to refrain from taking the elevators or escalators, and opt for the stairs. Walking the mall allows you to walk in a more social environment, potentially forgetting the fact that you’re even working out. The floors are usually concrete, so you may want to wear a more cushioned shoe than you would for a treadmill. Time your walk to finish when the stores open, especially during the holiday season when the mall will fill up fast with shoppers.

Now the day has arrived, Halloween is here and the little ones are ready to go trick or treating. Even better, so are you! Keep in mind all of the calories in those little Halloween candies. We know you may want to do a quality check on your child’s bag or basket but for their sake and your calorie intake, limit your sampling.

Also, make sure your trick or treaters brush thoroughly after they have had their limit, as that’s plenty of sugar in those candies, but we’ll save that for another blog post. Have Happy, Safe, and Fit Halloween!

Does Exercise Build the Immune System?

As of September 22, 10:29 P.M we have officially said “so long to Summer,” and welcomed in the Fall Equinox. The color of the foliage will offer somDoes Exercise Build the Immune System?e of the most beautiful scenery nature has to offer. Unfortunately, this season usually brings the cold and flu with it. Many people will protect themselves with the flu shot, but did you know that working out can also help to fight off the common cold? Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Scientists do not really know how exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses, but different theories are being tested. Exercising regularly improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Another theory is physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing the chance of a cold and flu, or other airborne illness. This same process may flush out cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. Others may argue that exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a quicker rate. As these antibodies or white blood cells circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.
Be careful of exercising too much. Yes, there is such a thing as too much. “People who already exercise regularly are cautioned not to develop too vigorous a workout program in the hopes of increasing the immunity benefits. Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running and intense gym training) could actually decrease the amount of white blood cells circulating through the body and increase the presence of stress-related hormones,” according to an article published by Medline Plus.
Some scientists are trying to take the next step to determine whether exercise directly affects a person’s susceptibility to infection. For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. According to Harvard Medical School, “While some changes have been recorded, immunologists do not yet know what these changes mean in terms of human immune response. No one yet knows, for example, whether an increase in cytokines is helpful or has any true effect on immune response.”
Have a little cold or the flu? Do you usually get the cold or flu like symptoms this time of year? Maybe you don’t have either, but don’t want to take any chances. Grab your Vivofit by Garmin and challenge yourself to a nice 30 minute walk, or maybe you’d like to grab yourself a Polar Loop Activity Monitor and put together a workout routine. Whatever you do, Be Active, Be Fit, Be Healthy!

Polar Loop

The Polar Loop is the very first activity tracker on the market that not only counts steps, but also has the ability to connect to Polar Heart Rate Monitors, such as the Polar H7 Heart Rate SensorPolar Loop, allowing you to track steps, calories, sleep and other activities. This removes having to guess how many calories have been burned during your workout.

Opening your package, you may notice minor alterations may be required. With the maximum circumference of the band being 9.3 inches, you may have to cut it to your size. Please carefully follow sizing instructions. The minimum circumference will be 5.7 inches. Once properly sized, no additional adjustments are required. The Loop can be paired with the iPhone via Smart Bluetooth and have access to the companion app’s dashboard. If you’re an Android user, you must remove the device and sync it with a computer using the supplied USB cable. Polar says that an Android app is due out soon. The software, called Polar FlowSync (flow.polar.com) is designed to allow you to sync your activities to the web, as well as update the firmware on the unit.

If you’re heavily into exercising then adding on the H7 Heart Rate Transmitter is great for you. This allows you to your heart into the target zone and keep it there. A good thing to point out is that “the Bluetooth Smart doesn’t allow multiple devices to connect to the HR strap at once.  This means that if you have a phone app that’s otherwise using the strap you’ll need to disconnect that app from using the strap.  The inverse is true as well if you want to use it with your phone, you’ll need to disconnect it from the Loop.” The Loop doesn’t require a given starting point or ending point.  It just knows you’re wearing a strap and records the data from it, a feature setting not seen in many other activity monitors. Now when you’re cycling or running you can get the actual calorie information from the HR Data.

We have not forgot about the swimmers either. Most activity trackers are barely even rain proof, let alone the lame IPX7 standard (which is 1 meter for 30 minutes), but the Loop is waterproofed up to 20 meters (60feet). Polar Loop has a capacitive touch button that reacts to water as well as to a human touch. The soft strap, included with the H7 Transmitter, is not machine washable. The Polar H7 transfers heart rate information while swimming with products which support 5kHz transmission.

So, what are you waiting for? Order your Polar Loop Activity Monitor and H7 Heart Rate Transmitter NOW!

The Importance of H20

Did you know that water makes up more than 50 percent of your body weight? It is one of the main components your body relies on to survive. Proper hydration allows the heart to easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. It also allows the muscles to remove waste so that they can function normally. “If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t haThe Importance of H20ve to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport, and an American Heart Association volunteer. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to properly function.

Water comes packed with health benefits as well. Proper hydration is, by far, one of the best solutions to decreasing wrinkles. H2O also promotes stronger teeth, while the additional fluoride now added to most treatment facilities promotes extra bone density to the bones and teeth.

Because synovial fluid contains water, it is also crucial to the joints, keeping them properly hydrated.

Due to the amount of sweat lost while exercising, it’s essential that everyone, athlete or individuals should keep hydrated to help ward off the possibility of “cramping”.

Drink more to promote a healthier mind as well. The human brain is composed of 95% water, blood is 85% water, and lungs are nearly 90% water.

It is generally recommended that most people drink 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water daily. Carrying something like the Camelbak 1L Chute BPA Free Water Bottle with you as you go about your exercise regimen will help you stay hydrated. Even the elderly may have to consume more water than average. They may have a medical condition requiring more water intake.

Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water needed daily as well. Sports drinks are helpful for those exercising due to the carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar, but water is more than enough to keep you hydrated.

Is exercise safe during pregnancy?

Women are often torn over whether they can work out while they are pregnant or not. There’s always people around who say “Sit down!” “Let me get that.” I’m sure we all have more that we can add. You can be confident telling these people that pregnancy does not mean sick. You can exercise!! Of course, you’d want to be sure to use caution. Pregnancy itself can leave you feeling tired, but regular shifts of eIs exercise safe dur​ing pregnancy?xercise can help you gain some of that energy back.

In the beginning, you should start slow, especially if you were not very fit prior to pregnancy. Aiming for 10 minutes each day should suffice, until you’re able to build this up to 20-30 minutes. Because you are with child, you’re not pushing to feel the burn, as this causes exhaustion. Your goal is to be fit. Be careful to eat properly and get enough fluids. Being pregnant means you need approximately 300 extra calories each day, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. You also want to be sure to stay hydrated!! This cannot be stressed enough. Lose fitting clothing is also recommended on hotter days.

Women who are active during pregnancy usually have the normal pregnancy complaints such as back pain and sleep troubles, it also triggers the flow of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, making you feel good overall, in addition to keeping off extra baby weight and making labor itself easier.

Sports that may cause you to fall or be thrown off-balance, such as horse-riding, skiing, gymnastics, waterskiing or skating should be avoided. Diving is also unsafe during pregnancy. Contact or collision sports, such as football, rugby, tennis and squash, are also risky, because you may be hit in the stomach. Studies also show that if you develop diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), exercise can help you to manage your blood sugar levels.

It has also been shows that as long as you have a low-risk pregnancy with no contraindications, such as high blood pressure or symptoms of premature labor, exercise is good for you, and aiming for a target heart rate adding a heart rate monitor may be beneficial, while the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women use the “talk test” when exercising (if you can talk normally, your heart rate is acceptable). For a list of safe pregnancy exercises check out http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-best-kinds-of-exercise-for-pregnancy_7880.bc! And as always, consult your doctor before you begin any exercise routine!

Over the last few weeks, I have come across quite a few different articles promoting physical fitness to increase the brain, and decided to look into this a little bit more. Sure, working out will make you feel better about yourself, look better, and maybe even boost your confidence, but does it really make the brain more “fit?”
Exercise benefits the brain in a number of ways. One of the main examples of this is that it increases the heart rate, which in turn pumps more oxygen to the brain. Physical activity also releases hormones which “participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.” USNews.com recently posted an article in which a team, led by Laura Chaddock-Heyman researched this exact subject. “We know from previous work that higher fit children outperform lower fit children on tasks of attention, memory and school performance,” Chaddock-Heyman says. “Thus, it is possible that white matter structure is another pathway by which fitness relates to improved cognition.”
Physical fitness, to promote a healthier brain, is now making its way around the world. In Iowa, gym students will now be required to wear a heart rate monitor in order to pass the class. Livermore Elementary School has also implemented a special fitness element into their classrooms in the form of desk cycles. Children will be able to cycle, at their leisure, as they sit at their desks. The desk cycles keep track of distance and calories burned. Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn and retain new information. An added tidbit of information for you, Studies show just one hour’s exercise a week can reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s disease by almost half, according to a landmark study which ranks the seven lifestyle threats fuelling rising levels of dementia. Although the brain is an organ, it’s safe to think of it as a muscle. Use It or Lose It!

Never Be In The Dark Again!

Ok, you’re camping, throwing an outside party or just having a get together with friends on your deck. When the sun starts to set the one thing that all of the above have in common is that you’re going to have to turn on some lights.

A great way to provide a light source for every occasion is the Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern

There are various models of the Luci Lux from straight white led light to a model that provides various colors that fade in and out for a soothing mood that can help set the tone for any gathering or celebration.

The Luci Lux is very portable, lightweight and can be used indoors and out! It’s great for taking on a hiking/camping trip in that it only weighs 4 ounces and collapses to only 1 inch. Contains a solar charged lithium ion battery, which makes it a great energy saving alternative to candles or conventional batteries. This solar battery can be charged from either sunlight or incandescent light and produces light from 10 led bulbs, this will provide you with up to 12 hours of illumination.  It will easily provide enough light for a 10 sq. foot area.

Another great feature is that the Luci Lux is also completely waterproof.  So you don’t have to worry about any rain events or possibly dropping it in a body of water while you are camping!

With the Luci Lux, you will never need to worry about not having enough light at hand for any outdoor function.