Fitness & Wellness

Exercise Lowers High Blood Pressure

Exercise Lowers High Blood Pressure

There’s a lot of clients in Louisville, KY that ask for help from a personal trainer to help shed weight. They also know that exercise lowers high blood pressure in the process. When you participate in a program of exercise, you’re heart pumps hard, making it stronger. That means it pumps with less effort and causes the force exerted on your arteries to be less. Lowering that force means lower blood pressure.

Exercise helps you lose weight.

Losing weight is often recommended when a person has high blood pressure. That’s because the more you weigh, the higher your blood pressure tends to rise. In fact, often just losing as little as 2.2 pounds can lower your blood pressure by one millimeter of mercury. If the weight loss was in the abdominal area, blood pressure dropped more significantly. That’s because visceral fat, the fat that collects around the middle, crowds organs and is far more dangerous than regular fat that accumulates other areas. Taking waist measurements is as important as weighing in. Women with waist measurements higher than 35 inches and men with measurements higher than 40 are more at risk to higher blood pressure.

You’ll reduce the hormones of stress when you workout regularly.

When you’re under stress, the body sends out hormones to prepare it for the fight or flight response. I makes changes like sending more blood to extremities and temporarily raising your blood pressure by making your heart work harder. It narrows the blood vessels, while also making the heart beat faster. Exercise burns off the hormones of stress that causes the changes, lowering the blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke and heart attack.

It’s more than just working out, it’s also a healthy diet.

If you want to lose weight or just want to see your blood pressure come down without the aid of medication, you need to switch your diet. Eat more whole foods, cut out salt and increase foods that are high in potassium. You can’t out exercise an unhealthy diet when it comes to losing weight, so changing your diet is important, particularly if weight loss is part of your goal.

  • Regular exercise can help you sleep better at night. A good night’s sleep can help you lower your blood pressure.
  • Get active and enjoy it. Working out in the gym is a start, but living an active lifestyle is the key to a healthy body. Start doing active things you love and spend time with family and friends doing them. It adds to a healthy social life that also lowers blood pressure.
  • If you smoke, quit. Working out can help you through the nicotine withdrawal. It helps improve your mood and makes quitting far easier.
  • A program of regular exercise can help prepare your body for life events that come along. Whether you find you have to lift something heavy or need to maintain balance and flexibility for something, you’ll be ready.

A Teenager's Nutritional Needs

A Teenager’s Nutritional Needs

A teenager’s nutritional needs are different from their parents and even different from younger children in the family. I see so many teens in Louisville, KY that are consuming junk food for their primary meals and wonder whether they even know what constitutes a healthy meal. It wouldn’t be unusual to find they don’t, many adults don’t have that knowledge either. As a parent, you probably have very little control over what your child eats when he or she is away from home, but you can control what they eat at home.

Help your teen with an outline of a menu that will guide him or her.

Don’t over complicate things with a specific menu. Make it general. Teach your child about portion size and how much they need of each type of food. For teens, three meals a day and two snacks a day are important. It should contain two servings of fruit and three of vegetables with three and a half servings of dairy, which includes cheese and milk—throughout the day. The amount of protein necessary for teens is based on age, body weight and activity level. You can estimate it by multiplying the body weight by 0.43 to get the number of grams. A 100 pound boy would need about 43 grams a day. It should also contain whole grains and healthy fat. The more active the teen, the more protein is necessary.

Help the teen develop healthy habits when it comes to what they drink.

Too often soft drinks are a big part of a teens daily calorie intake. These are loaded with sugar and slightly acidic, so they cause damage to the teeth. Don’t have soft drinks available in the house. Instead, have bottled water. An active teen needs about 9 to 14 cups of water a day to help keep joints lubricated, keep a healthier complexion—pimple free—and regulate body temperatures. It’s a huge beauty aids for teenage girls and can help with weight loss, improve skin and hair.

Focus your encouragement on things that are important to the teen, rather than just good health.

There’s a lot to gain from eating healthy. The ability to think clearer and get better grades, a better complexion, improved athletic performance, weight loss and silky smooth hair. Find what’s important to your teen and identify healthy foods that will be beneficial to what they think is important. Staying healthy and living longer isn’t what most teens are concerned about, but a pimple free complexion is.

  • Keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator, cut up and ready to eat. If it’s easy and right in front of them, most teens will opt for healthy food.
  • Keep junk food out of the house. There’s no reason you need potato chips and cookies in the house. Not only will your teen eat them, you will too.
  • Add family activities that get everyone moving if your teen is sedentary. Regular exercise is important for everyone. It builds confidence, improves coordination, endurance, strength and transforms a body.
  • When your teen starts eating healthier, you’ll not only notice a difference in how they look, you’ll notice a difference in their energy and mood.

The Role Stress Hormones Play In Health And Illness

The Role Stress Hormones Play In Health And Illness

When man lived in caves, stress hormones were extremely important for to remain alive. They prepared early man to flee or fight if necessary. Today, stress hormones also play a role in good health, but they also play a major role in illness when left unattended. Blood pressure increases, the flow of blood to extremities and away from non-essential smooth muscles like the digestive system occurs. Returning the level of stress hormones back to normal would involve running or fighting, but today’s stresses don’t call for either, so they remain causing damage to the body.

Stress and the change caused by stress can affect your health dramatically.

Most doctors now recognize the symptoms of diseases and conditions caused by stress. In fact, it’s estimated that about three fourths of all doctor visits come from stress related ailments. If you had statistics on all the people in America, you’d find that about half of the adult population has a stress related disease. Some of those conditions or diseases would include high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure. It increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, asthma, headaches, backaches and gastrointestinal problems. It causes aging to accelerate and premature death.

The hormones of stress are necessary if you’re in real physical danger, but you need to burn them off if you have only mental stress.

You need the hormones of stress, but if you don’t run or fight, you also need to burn them off and get back to normal. If you don’t, it can shut down your immune system or damage it, leaving you open to all illness and disease. It can leave an opening for cancer and bacterial or viral disease, since the immune system plays a role in fighting it.

It’s not always easy to get rid of stress, but you can do something about burning off the hormones and getting back to normal.

When you workout hard, your body is often mimicking the things you might be doing if you were running or fleeing. The changes that were made by the hormones start to return to normal when the workout is near the end. Not only that, your body starts to produce hormones that make you feel good, adding another benefit to the list for exercising. You can learn ways to help control stress, like meditation and deep breathing exercises, but for most people working out regularly provides the biggest benefits.

  • If you’re under stress, you may gain weight. Ancient stressful times often included food scarcity. We may be internally wired to eat as much as possible even when not hungry because of that. One study showed people who were under stress ate 40 percent more than normal.
  • Stress shortens the telomeres that protect chromosomes. That means fewer replications and earlier cell death. It leads to premature aging and affects muscles, skin vision and all other parts of the body.
  • Stress can trigger tension movements, like tooth grinding. That’s linked with broken or worn teeth and periodontal disease.
  • Stress leaves you with a sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach. It can lead to anxiety and depression, beside putting you in a bad mood. Taking a walk or working out can break that cycle.

Is Chronic Cardio Making You Fat

Is Chronic Cardio Making You Fat

Are you pedaling for miles on that stationary bike riding to nowhere or running down the street each morning at the crack of dawn, but still find you can’t lose those excess pounds. It might be the type of workout your doing. Is that cardio making you fat? Is it sabotaging your efforts to lose weight, while teasing you into believing that it’s what’s going to work? Before you throw your running shoes in the garbage or change the stationary bike to a clothes rack, cardio workouts have a place in your fitness program. However, doing ONLY cardio won’t beef up your metabolism and may make it harder to shed weight.

You might be burning off the muscle tissue that boosts your metabolism.

Cardio does burn a lot of calories, so how could it sabotage your efforts? Long bouts of cardio triggers a reaction in your body that lean times have arrived. It makes your body want to store fat, rather than burn it, so if food is scarce, there’s a source of energy. The first part of a cardio workout your body burns the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles for fuel. When it hits the thirty minute mark, that runs out. The body still is using more calories and if the cardio is intense, it starts burning muscle tissue instead. Moderate workouts tend to keep the body burning both fat and lean muscle tissue.

Running daily or doing any form of cardio daily makes your body too efficient.

Your body is an amazing machine. It’s created to burn as few calories as possible, which helped with survival. The longer you do any type of exercise, the more efficient your body becomes at doing it. Efficiency is great everywhere else, except if you’re trying to lose weight. It means the body burns fewer calories. That causes plateauing that can slow weight loss. You have to vary your workout and do more than just cardio for the best results.

Cardio workouts burn lean muscle tissue for fuel as well as fat tissue.

The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn. That’s because muscle tissue requires more calories for maintenance than fat tissue does. If cardio uses lean muscle tissue for energy, you’ll have less, slowing your metabolism. Adding strength training to your workout can burn calories, while also build muscle tissue that gives your metabolism a boost.

  • Doing high intensity cardio creates stress. One of the hormones of stress is cortisol. It converts muscle tissue to energy, but also is associated with accumulation of visceral fat—abdominal fat—the hardest type of fat to lose.
  • While doing cardio exclusively may make you gain weight, you need it to remain healthy. Just make sure you balance it with other types of exercise that build strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Strength training will do more than just help you build muscles and lose weight. It also helps prevent serious conditions, like osteoporosis.
  • No matter what type of exercise you choose, a healthy lower calorie diet is a must. Eating a healthier diet and combining it with resistance training sheds pounds faster than eating healthy and doing moderate cardio.

Benefits Of Workout Partners

Benefits Of Workout Partners

The benefits of workout partners are easy to identify. In fact, one of them is the very reason people use personal trainers. Workout partners keep you accountable for your workout. If you have an appointment to meet a buddy at the gym, the odds of you going increase, just as they do when you workout with a trainer. Some studies show that even having someone check on you to see if you worked out that day can improve your chances of maintaining a regular workout schedule. +

There are lazy days that just making it to the gym isn’t enough.

At one time or another, everyone has managed to make it to the gym only to put in a half hearted effort. It’s on days like that a workout partner can be a huge benefit. A workout buddy often makes you work harder than you might on your own, just because they’re watching and you know it. You also may workout harder as part of friendly competition. Workout buddies may keep you going longer. If you are by yourself, you might skip the last few exercises because you’re tired. You’re more likely to push through it with a partner there.

You’ll pick up more ideas when you workout with a partner.

Whether you and your partner are working out alone or in a group, you’ll get more from having a partner. In groups, partners often pick up things you miss and visa versa. When working out alone, a partner can provide new ideas that will add to your workout and techniques to make each workout better.

Safety can be an issue that a workout partner can help.

Not all exercises can be done alone safely. Weight training, for instance, needs a spotter. If you run, especially in the early morning or late evening, there’s safety in numbers, making a partner important. If something does happen when running, there will always be someone there to get help. There are many ways a partner can boost the element of safety and make the difference between an effective, safe workout and one that isn’t.

  • Working out with someone can make it more fun. That’s one reason group sessions are so popular. The more you enjoy something, the more likely you are to do it, so it helps you stay on track, too.
  • A workout partner can encourage you and help you through the tough times. Whether you want an “atta’ boy” for accomplishing a tough goal or a nudge to keep going, a workout partner can help.
  • You can get help with more than just exercise when you have a workout partner. You can also get help to stick with healthy eating. Sharing menu ideas and recipes or other information keeps you eating healthier.
  • You’ll have someone to talk to that understands the problems faced when getting fit. It doesn’t take long for people not involved to mentally turn off your conversation when you talk or get that deer in the headlamps look.

How To Break A Plateau

How To Break A Plateau

In fitness, there are lots of different types of plateauing. You can have a plateau that puts a ceiling on the amount of weight you lift, a plateau where you’re stuck at the intensity of a workout and a plateau for weight loss. Most people hear plateauing and think of weight loss. That’s because it’s one of the biggest frustrations people who try to lose weight often face. There are ways to break a plateau, but first you need to identify why it occurred.

Weight loss can start with a huge drop in weight and then almost none.

When you consider what occurs during weight loss, it’s easy to understand how the weight comes off faster at first and then becomes obstinate. It’s all about numbers. The first number is 3500. That’s the amount of calorie deficit it takes to lose a pound. The second is your own weight. The heavier you are, the more calories it takes to do everyday things. The more weight you lose, the fewer calories you burn, even if you’ve built more muscles. When this is the cause of plateauing, making your workout harder is the route to take.

Not only should you ramp up your workout, you should vary it, too.

One of the leading causes of plateauing is doing the same workout for a long time. Your body is amazing. After you do so many repetitive moves, it finds a way to do them that burns fewer calories. That’s called efficiency. While that’s not so great for modern day people with burger castles on every corner, it was great for a caveman who wasn’t sure where to find his next meal. Varying the workout frequently keeps your body off balance, never quite becoming as efficient and burning more calories.

Sometimes even when you do everything right, those stubborn pounds remain.

Maybe the problems isn’t coming from lack of progress, but great progress. When you’re working out, you’re building muscle tissue. That muscle tissue may be the culprit. It’s a good culprit and not the enemy. Muscle tissue weighs per cubic inch than fat tissue does. It also takes a smaller container to hold ten pounds of muscle than it does take to hold ten pounds of fat. You may be losing inches instead of pounds, but you’ll look better, thinner and fitter, even if the scales won’t budge. Gauge success with a tape measure, not a scale.

  • Look for ways to increase your daily activity not at the gym. Just by taking the stairs, rather than the elevator, can help you make those last few pounds budge.
  • You may be eating healthy, but are you drinking healthy. Sugary drinks, especially soft drinks, add loads of calories to your daily intake, include drinks in your healthy eating plan.
  • Are you putting forth your best effort at a workout? You won’t if it bores you. Find ways to add exercise you enjoy. Shoot hoops with the guys or ride bikes with the kids as an alternative.
  • Fight the urge to weigh yourself every day. Weight fluctuates and that fluctuating can cause a lot of discouragement if you hit a day when it’s on the upside.

Does Your Workout Gear Matter

Does Your Workout Gear Matter

Does your workout gear matter? If you don’t have the funds for those “spectacular” workout clothes or don’t want to spend the money, since you’re planning on shedding lots of weight and will have to buy new clothes. It shouldn’t stop you from going to the gym. Here in Louisville, KY, my clients dress in a number of different ways, but what they all have in common is that the clothing allows them to move easily. Whether it’s made from the latest fabric or your gym shorts from high school and a T-shirt, dressing in clothing that allows easy movement is top priority.

Wear clothes that are made of breathable fabric.

Breathable fabric allows the heat from your body to release. That can help keep you cooler longer and prevent cutting the workout shorter because of overheating. Having a workout outfit made of material that wicks the moisture away from your body also helps prevent excess heat and that drippy feeling you may well know that comes after a tough workout and lots of perspiration. Tops made from 100% cotton won’t cut it. The material absorbs sweat and holds it against your body, making you miserable. While cotton is breathable, sweat evaporates more slowly from it, so look for tops made of spandex, polyester blends, polypropylene or those specifically created to wick moisture away from your body, while allowing the material to breathe.

Good shoes can help your performance and prevent injuries.

If you’re running, the type of shoes you wear is top priority. Your feet and joints take a pounding and the right shoes can help prevent injury. For those that workout in the gym, finding the right type of shoe is also important particularly if you have high impact exercises. Blistering can keep you out of the gym for a couple of weeks, so ensuring they fit well is also a priority.

You can boost your recovery with the right type of clothing.

You see compression clothing more and more when you go to the gym. Many professional athletes are using it because there’s been more findings that it actually helps recovery and performance. Compression clothing was originally created for people with problems with their veins, but now it’s used to help during workouts to stimulate circulation and increase blood flow, which can help recovery by removing lactic acid. It can be used after working out by increasing direct pressure to the muscle for reducing inflammation and soreness. While the jury is still out on the benefits, there are no negatives to wearing this type of clothing so it may be worth a shot.

  • Wearing too short of shorts can cause chaffing, especially if you’re a runner. Stick to shorts that are mid-thigh to avoid it.
  • If you aren’t wearing material that gives and is supposed to be snug, make sure your clothing isn’t too tight. A tight cotton shirt can restrict movement and even make breathing more difficult.
  • Of course, you’ll feel more confident if you look great, but the gym isn’t a place for a fashion show, it’s a place to get fit. Never let your lack of the latest workout clothing stop you from going to the gym.
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune on gym clothes. If you’re trying to lose weight, you may not wear them long. Instead, start saving for a great look in the size you WANT to be and use it as incentive.

Relieve Some Holiday Stress

Relieve Some Holiday Stress

During the holidays, did you feel like you could wrestle someone to the ground for the last Pomsies or Fingerlings HUGS? Maybe you even did! You had two months of holidays and that takes longer than just a quick workout to relieve stress from that kind of pressure. Even things that seem a bit inconsequential when you really stop to think about them, like the best dish to take to a holiday celebration or whether you’re wearing the perfect outfit for a celebration, can take its toll. Add to it the dreary cold weather and you have a mix that can get you down. Think of January and February as your cool-down period to eliminate that stress and get back to feeling great again.

Start eating healthy again.

Yes indeed, the holidays are a time to binge out and go into a sugar coma. Even if you’ve been super good about skipping the holiday treats, there’s always someone that buys you your favorite candy or brings you homemade goodies that taste so delicious, you have to eat them all. All that sugar can boost your energy level and then drop it into the pits, adding to the stress. It’s time to start eating fresh again and choosing whole foods. Detox with super healthy eating for a week. Include lots of water and water filled fruits and vegetables like melons. Watermelon is a great system flusher. Stick with low glycemic soups for lunch and eat a healthy breakfast such as oatmeal. Be sure to include plenty of fiber. Salads are a great addition.

Get back to your workout schedule if you’ve neglected it.

Creating a schedule and sticking with it is a good stress buster. It puts your brain on automatic. When that schedule is for exercise, it’s even better. Exercise works your body and burns off the hormones of stress. It also triggers the creation of happy hormones that make you feel more content. Make the new year be a time where you take care of you. Start doing extra things, like walking more or taking the steps, to boost your fitness.

Learn a new way to relax.

It’s the new year, learn a new technique. Breathing exercises and meditation can help you cool down in seconds, but they take time to learn. Make this the year you finally conquer them so it only takes seconds to de-stress and get back to normalcy. Over the years, the subject of finding your “happy place” has become almost a joke, but it really isn’t. Finding a visual image in your head that makes you feel good is a true stress reliever and emotional booster.

  • If you find yourself ready to boil over, walk away. Not only will it give you a chance to recompose, that walk will help you blow off the steam. The more frustrated you are, the faster you should walk. For super stressful times, run up and down the stairs.
  • Take time for yourself. Take a leisurely bath, enjoy a few minutes relaxing to your favorite music. Take a mid afternoon nap. Whatever it takes to feel a bit pampered is okay.
  • Get adequate sleep. You can’t burn the candle at both ends and expect to feel good. Getting adequate sleep is important no matter what time of the year it is.
  • Switch out that caffeine for plain water. Nobody would expect you to give up that first cup of coffee in the morning, but switching to herbal tea or plain water throughout the day can help you feel more relaxed.

How Important Is My Posture

How Important Is My Posture

Most people don’t start working out in our gym in Louisville, KY to improve their posture, it’s just one of those great side effects that comes with getting fit. That improved posture also has some benefits, besides making you look taller and thinner. However, looking taller and thinner is one of the things people notice most about my clients after a few weeks of working out. Standing taller pulls everything in and up, giving a thinner appearance almost instantly. It’s the same look people try to get by sucking in their stomach, which is extremely hard to maintain if you’re out of shape. .

Bad posture boosts your potential for cardiovascular ailments.

Your body was meant to walk, stand and sit in a specific manner that allows the blood to flow easily and uninterrupted. Just like a hose with a kink, bad posture can create blood vessel constriction that in turn can cause many problems like blood clots, aneurysms and even a constriction of blood vessels that affect the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body.

That acid reflux may not come from the spicy burrito burger you had right before bed.

Okay, it probably is, but there’s a lot more that can cause poor digestion and even acid reflux. One of the keys is posture. Posture compresses your stomach and digestive organs. You don’t process food correctly and if your posture is bad enough, may even force food back out. It can cause a number of issues from a few incidences with heartburn to full blown GERD. Studies show that if you sit in a specific position for 20 minutes, your body starts to conform to that position. If your inner organs aren’t aligned and everything is squished to non-functioning, that can lead to a chronic condition.

You probably already know that poor posture leads to back pain.

Did you know it can also cause disc degeneration and thinning? Yes, just like that hole in your sock when your foot constantly rubs in a certain way or the wear on shoes from an uneven gait, when your spine isn’t in alignment for long periods, there’s excess pressure that causes discs to thin and the cushioning to disappear. That leads to back pain.

  • If you have a headache, don’t blame it on your boss, it might come from poor posture. It can cause pinched nerves and even constrict blood flow. TMJ and headaches and tech neck come from chronic posture problems.
  • It may sound odd, but setting an egg timer for twenty minutes can remind you to get up from a seated position, stretch and improve your posture. Focusing on posture can improve your overall health.
  • If you want that flat stomach, look toward your posture. When your posture is good, it pulls the stomach in and stretches the trunk of your body. That makes your middle look thinner in the process.
  • Don’t wait until its time to go to the gym to work on your posture. Do it throughout the day. Make an effort to sit up straight with your shoulders back. Stretch periodically to relieve muscle stiffness.

Remember To Cool Down After Exercise

Remember To Cool Down After Exercise

Most people that workout regularly ensure they warm up so they get the best performance and reduce the potential for injury. However, some fail to cool down after exercise, which is just as important. Cooling down does many things for the body. Too often people are ready to get out of the gym and neglect this important part of their workout. There is a price to pay that’s often higher than you might think.

DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness—can be prevented with a cool down session.

If you feel sudden pain in a muscle, which often occurs with runners in the back of the leg or have an abnormal contraction of a muscle, you have a muscle cramp. These are caused by microtears in the muscles. It can start within twenty four hours but may occur as long as forty-eight hours after a workout. Normally, you expect muscle aches, but not the debilitating pain of DOMS. A California State University study showed that a cool down cycling session after strength training could reduce the potential significantly. Stretching and cooling down after exercise can help relax the muscle tissue and help prevent the problem.

Cooling down helps prevent blood pooling in your legs and arms.

When you workout, you’re boosting the rate that your heart pumps. Moving helps it pump through the body. However, if you stop abruptly, the squeezing action of the muscles that help with that causes blood pooling by slowing its return back to the heart and also the brain because no muscles are helping it. It can be trapped by the valves in the veins. This causes you to get faint and lightheaded. While this isn’t typically dangerous, it can mask the potential of serious conditions that require medical attention. Most of all, it can be scary and quite concerning.

Cooling down helps prevent injuries.

That jelly-legged feeling after a tough workout comes from the muscle tissue being extremely warm, which means extremely pliable. That’s the best time to do some stretching and begin the slow lengthening over time that increases the range of motion. The improved range of motion helps reduce injuries and can relieve back problems that can occur when your hamstrings or hip flexors are too tight. It’s one of the best You’ll clear out the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. That ten minutes of stretching helps the body to clear out this byproduct of exercise and prepare the muscles for the next endeavor.

  • Cool down helps the body come back to homeostasis, the body’s balanced state. The body does it slowly, giving the biggest benefit to the body from the endorphins that makes you feel good.
  • A short session of cooling down is worth the ten minutes. It slows the heart rate gradually, lowers the breathing rate and gradually allows the body temperature to cool.
  • Static stretching, swimming and even walking at a brisk pace are great cool down exercises after a tough workout. Save the ballistic and dynamic stretches for warming up.