The Significance Of Working The Core

The Significance Of Working The Core

One advice you will hear often from your trainer is that you need to work your core, even if you are slim. That’s redundant, right? I am slim, duh. I don’t need to work my abs. If you really think that, then I am sorry to inform you that you are wrong. A strong core is more than not having abdominal fat and strong abs; it also includes the muscles of the back and the glutes.

To be a fit individual, a strong core is a necessity. Your core muscles work in synergy with the muscles of the rest of the body, and things do really fall apart when the centre cannot hold. Improper alignment is often a result of a weak core, and it brings with a multitude of problems and can cause pains from the ankle to the neck.

Reasons To Build A Strong Core

When the skeletal structure is misaligned, the bones cannot support your weight efficiently and muscles have to work extra in order to support the body. This leads to tight and aching muscles, and injuries such as bone spurs, tendonitis and more in the long run.

The core muscles are engaged in almost all day to day activities such as getting out from the bed, bending down to pick up your shoes, wearing a pair of jeans, etc. Even sitting and standing require a well activated core!

The core’s importance is often neglected because we don’t pay enough attention to it unless and until we develop minor, or sometimes major, aches that hinder our activities.

Another reason is that before the ushering in of the machine age and technological boom, most work involved physical activity. Nowadays, work for many people entails sitting for 12 hours, which means that core muscles get less regular activity and become weak. This degeneration is often accelerated by improper posture.

Once these aches develop, they can become chronic if the root cause is not corrected. Chronic pain means that a lot of activities, from daily chores to recreational activities such as sports, are hampered.

Lower back pain is something which affects a majority of people at some time in their life. It is often debilitating and frustrating. A core strengthening routine is prescribed to all patients who complain of lower back pain.

Another important activity which is affected by a weak core is balance. The core muscles are required in all activities that require balancing; they stabilize the body and ensure that you don’t fall. Imagine wearing socks while standing because you are in a rush, a lot of people are injured while doing this mundane activity because they lose balance. A strong core will not only keep you away from aches and ensure that you can enjoy all kinds of activities, it will also make sure that you can count on your body to come through when required.

A core that works optimally can also keep the balance of your life in check; the pains that happen because of a weak core often destroy the balance of your life.

The weekend is spent nursing the pains instead of relaxing and engaging in activities that give you pleasure.

Good Core Workouts

Consider taking Pilates or Yoga lessons a few times a week; once you understand the basics and know how to work the muscles correctly, you can perform the exercises at home for a few minutes every day.

Some stretching after every half an hour of sitting will ensure that your muscles remain supple and pain free.


Exercising for Health and Fitness

Exercising for Health and Fitness

If you have decided to start exercising, then congratulations on taking this big step towards becoming healthy! Exercising is one of the essential ways we can achieve optimum health. It lowers our risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help improve our brain function and boost our mood. Regular exercise can also alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.

Exercising for health and fitness can quite often appear daunting, as there are so many different types of workouts, machines, gyms, etc. Seniors especially worry their current physical limitations may make them unfit for certain exercises.

It’s time to put many of the concerns aside as anyone can become fit at any age.Here are some tips and different exercises to get you started on your fitness journey.

Before Exercising

For those who are new to exercising, it is recommended to get a clearance from your doctor first. If you have lived a sedentary existence until now it is essential to not overdo things in the beginning. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your current fitness level and any health problems you need to address. People with pre-existing health conditions are also advised to see their doctor and obtain clearance before exercising.

Different Types of Exercises

Doctors recommend that an exercise session should always start with a series of light stretching as a warm-up for a few minutes. Once your muscles are warmed up, you can now begin your workout.

There are three types of exercises that help you achieve overall physical wellness. There is no need to do these exercises all at once, but doing them all regularly can help you achieve more balanced fitness.

Cardiovascular Exercises

These are exercises that increase your heart rate, such as walking, running, dancing, cycling, or moves like skipping and jumping.

Strength Conditioning

These are moves that target specific muscle groups, like the upper or lower body. Weights and resistance bands are used to build strength and tone the muscle. Begin by doing various moves such as squats and lunges using only your body weight before moving on to using weights.

Flexibility Training

You can end your cardio and strength workouts with slow and static stretching for about 10 seconds per stretch. Or you can do a stretching session on its own.

For those who are new to exercising, working out with a trainer in the gym is highly recommended. A trainer can guide you in doing the different moves that are appropriate to your fitness level. Your trainer will teach you the proper position and placement of your body as you go through the different exercises.

If the gym is not your thing, you can join a yoga or pilates class. Both disciplinesare great for building strength and flexibility, too, and a certified instructor will be able to guide you as you go through the workout.

Doing sports that you enjoy is also good exercise. Whether it is running, swimming, or playing tennis, sports can increase your stamina and build your strength, as well.

Dancing is another amazing exercise that does not only increase your heart rate, itis also a great confidence booster, and to mention, fun! You can try joining a Zumba class or do ballroom dancing. The instructors are also well-equipped in guiding students from all fitness levels.

Working out at home is another option. The Internet is full of various resources and materials to help you exercise. You can also download a fitness app on your phone to guide you in every move. Exercising in front of a mirror will help ensure that your posture is correct.

The most difficult part of exercising is actually starting to exercise. Exercising regularly can help you form the habit. When exercising, you must listen to your body and know when to stop or lessen the intensity. Never rush yourself in achieving your goals and give yourself enough time to reach them.

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to enjoy working out. There is no sense in working out if you see it as a form of punishment. Find ways to make it fun for you, and before you know it, you will be reaping the benefits of a healthy and fit body.


Body Weight, Waist Size, and T2D

Body Weight, Waist Size, and T2D

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high. Our cells burn blood sugar for energy, and blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin a hormone produced by the pancreas. In type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to insulin, leaving too much sugar in your blood. This can cause damage over time.

Most cases of type 2 diabetes are brought on by lifestyle factors, including being overweight or obese, having a high waist-to-hip ratio, and inactivity. Stress and lack of sleep also contribute to the development of diabetes.

Fortunately, diabetes can be prevented, delayed or controlled by changing your lifestyle including managing your weight and body composition.

Body Weight and Diabetes

The food we eat is used for energy to get us through the day. When we eat more calories than we need, the excess energy is stored as fat.

Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, and our ancestors lived through long periods of scarcity, during which this stored fuel came in handy. Unfortunately, in today’s world, with treats on every street corner, we rarely need to call on these stores. When too much fat is stored in our bodies, it can cause a variety of problems, including diabetes.

Your risk of diabetes goes up as your weight increases past a healthy range. However, total weight isn’t the only consideration. Many larger people are very healthy, with excellent diet and exercise habits, and a low risk of diabetes, while many thin people who eat poorly and don’t exercise have a high risk of diabetes because of visceral fat.

Visceral fat is fat that builds up around your organs, rather than being carried in more visible places such as your thighs. While it isn’t always visible, visceral fat can be a danger to your health, since it can interfere with organ function. Fortunately, visceral fat responds quickly to improvements in diet and exercise habits.

Measuring Visceral Fat

Your waist-to-hip ratio is a good measure of your visceral fat (and diabetes risk), regardless of body size. To measure your waist-to-hip ratio, measure the smallest part of your waist, just above your belly button, and the largest part of your hips. Divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference to get your waist-to-hip ratio. Here’s how your results stack up:

For men:

0.95 or lower = low health risk

0.96 -1 = moderate health risk

1 or higher = high health risk

For women:

0.8 or lower = low health risk

0.81 0.85 = moderate health risk

0.86 or higher = high health risk

In addition to waist-to-hip ratio, guidelines suggest that for optimum health, men should keep their waist measurement below 40” and women should keep their waist below 35”.

Regardless of your size, getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can reduce your visceral fat and lower your diabetes risk.

Running For Weight Loss

Running For Weight Loss

Running is a great way to lose weight. Countless folks have shed excess pounds and kept them off with the aid of this simple form of exercise. Success is not guaranteed, however. A sensible diet plan is an essential complement to running for weight loss.

Understanding the most effective ways to run for weight loss before you start helps you avoid common mistakes — and get you the results you want.


There is a widely held belief that exercise — including running — is not an effective tool for weight loss. This belief comes from studies showing overweight people fail to lose much weight when given a structured exercise program to follow. In a recent review, scientists involved in this line of research concluded: “Unless the overall volume of aerobic exercise training is very high, clinically significant weight loss is unlikely to occur.”

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for running to lose weight. However, in the real world, the vast majority of people who lose significant amounts of weight and keep it off are exercisers. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) researched a population whose members have all lost at least 30 pounds and kept the weight off at least one year. Ninety percent of these individuals report exercising regularly, and the average member burns more than 2,600 calories a week in workouts.

If exercise is so ineffective for weight loss, as the scientists say, then why do almost all of those who are most successful at weight loss exercise? The answer appears to be that while exercise is not as effective as dietary changes in stimulating initial weight loss, it is wonderfully effective in preventing weight regain.

As you probably know, most people who lose weight gain it all back. But studies involving NWCR members and others have demonstrated exercisers are much less likely to yo-yo. So unless you are interested only in temporary weight loss, you should change your diet and exercise.

There’s another benefit to combining diet changes with exercise when you’re trying to lose weight. When people lose weight through calorie restriction, but without exercise, they tend to lose muscle along with body fat. But when they change their diet and exercise, they preserve muscle and lose more fat.

Many kinds of exercise can be effective for weight loss, but running is among the most effective. In a 2012 study, Paul Williams of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found runners were leaner and lighter than men and women who did equivalent amounts of any other exercise. The main reason seems to be people typically burn more calories per minute when running than they do when swimming, riding a bike or whatever else.


No matter which exercise you choose, it’s important to ease into your new exercise program. Increase the challenge level of your workouts gradually to lower injury risk and get the best results. This is especially true for running. As a high-impact activity, running causes more overuse injuries than other forms of cardio. Ironically, the risk of injury is greatest for heavier men and women who are likely to run specifically for weight loss.

Experts recommend that overweight men and women use these three rules to start a running program on the right foot:

Walking is less stressful than running to the bones, muscles and joints of the lower extremities, yet it’s stressful enough to stimulate adaptations that make these areas stronger and more resilient. This makes walking a great tool to prepare your body for running.

Your early workouts may consist entirely of walking or a mix of walking and running, depending on how ready your body is for running. As the weeks pass, tip the balance further and further toward running until you are comfortable doing straight runs.

Running For Weight Loss

Bones, muscles and joints need time to recover from and adapt to the stress of running. For most beginners, one day is not enough time for these tissues to come back stronger. So, limit your running to every other day for at least the first several weeks of your program. If you wish to exercise more frequently, do walks or non-impact workouts, such as cycling, between run days.

To continue getting results from your running program, you need to run more. But if you increase your running volume too quickly, you are likely to become injured or overtired. The 10 percent rule is a good guideline for sensible running increases. To practice it, simply avoid increasing your total running distance or time by more than 10% from one week to the next.

 Running For Weight Loss


To lose weight, you must maintain a daily calorie deficit. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you eat each day. There are two ways to do this: Eat less and move more. Running helps you maintain a calorie deficit by increasing the number of calories you burn. You can increase your calorie deficit and your rate of weight loss — at least in theory — by eating less also.

The problem is running, like other forms of exercise, makes it difficult to eat less due to increasing appetite — something known as the compensation effect. This is the primary reason exercise often fails to meet people’s expectations for weight loss.

Individual appetite responses to exercise are varied. Working out has little effect on hunger in some people and makes others ravenous. There’s not much you can do about it either way. If running increases your appetite, you will probably eat more. What you can do to ensure the compensation effect doesn’t stop you from reaching your goals is increase the quality of the foods you eat.

High-quality foods are less energy dense and more satiating than low-quality foods, so they fill you up with fewer calories. By increasing your overall diet quality, you can eat enough to satisfy your heightened appetite without putting the brakes on your weight loss.

Here are lists of high-quality and low-quality foods, given in rough descending order of quality.

Running For Weight Loss

When you start your running program, make a simultaneous effort to eat fewer foods from the right-hand column and more from the left-hand column — especially from the top of the left-hand column. There is proof that it works. Earlier this year, Danish researchers reported new runners seeking weight loss who ran more than 5km (3.1 miles) per week for one year but did not change their diets lost an average of 8.4 pounds. Meanwhile, new runners seeking weight loss who ran more than 5km (3.1 miles) per week for one year and did change their diets lost an average of 12.3 pounds.


Even 12.3 pounds of weight loss in one year might not seem like a lot. If your goal is bigger than that, there are two things you can do: Run more and eat less.

While it’s important to progress slowly, you can continue to progress with your running until you are doing as much as you can with the time, energy and motivation you have. If you are highly motivated, consider aiming for a long-term goal of building up to 60 minutes of running per day, six days per week. A 150-pound person who runs 10-minute miles burns more than 4,000 calories per week on this schedule.

These additional increases in running likely stimulate additional increases in appetite and eating. But chances are such compensations won’t cancel out your hard work. Research tells us that the average person eats roughly 3 extra calories for every 10 calories she or he burns through exercise.

As mentioned above, increasing your diet quality minimizes the compensation effect. But if you’re already running as much as you can or wish, and you’ve already improved your diet quality and you’re still not losing weight as fast as you would like, there’s something else you can try: Decrease the size of your meals by about 1/5. Research by Brian Wansink of Cornell University has shown people can eat about 20% less at meals without noticing the difference in terms of satiety. That’s because, in our society, we have been trained to eat beyond our natural satiety level. Just be sure to do this only after you have allowed your food intake to adjust to your increased amount of running.


The compensation effect isn’t all about increased appetite. For some people there’s also a reward effect at play. Too often, runners celebrate the completion of workouts by eating low-quality treats such as cookies and potato chips. In many cases, these treats contain more calories than were burned in the workout.

The best way to avoid this type of self-sabotage is to view your runs themselves as rewards rather than as chores to be gotten through and rewarded. A recent study by Wansink found people ate less than half as many M&M’s offered to them after a walk when they had been told before it that it was a “scenic walk,” compared to when they had been told it was an “exercise walk.”

As this study shows, the mindset you bring to your running program is important. In fact, whatever your weight-loss goal may be, your number 1 goal should be to enjoy running — or learn to enjoy it. That’s because you will only benefit from running if you keep doing it, and you will only keep doing it if you enjoy it.


For this reason, you should do whatever you need to do to enhance your enjoyment of running. Studies have shown that when people manipulate their workouts to make them more fun, they are more likely to stick with their programs. If you enjoy running with music, run with music. If you prefer running with a friend or group, do that. If you like running in the park, run in the park. There’s no wrong way to run for weight loss if you’re having fun.


Prepare for Your Weight Loss Programme


Prepare for Your Weight Loss Programme 

Prepared foods are your friend.  It seems silly to pay three to four times as much for a bag of cleaned prepared salad as for a head of lettuce.  But it can be a boost to your diet program. 

If you have to take the head of lettuce apart, wash, dry and tear into bite size pieces, you might be tempted just to skip the whole thing and throw a frozen pizza in the oven instead. Bagged ready to eat salads are a boon to weight watchers.  But don't stop there.  Lots of fresh produce comes ready to eat or cook.

Besides salad, and carrot and celery sticks, you can buy ready to go cabbage slaw mixes, crudités, peeled and sliced fresh fruit, veggies ready to steam or sauté, and baby vegetables.  Next time you're in the produce aisle take a few minutes to see what's available. 

In the deli section there is a wide variety of freshly prepared individual entrée salads for your selection.  You can choose Southwest Chicken, Cobb, or seafood, to name just a few.   The salads come with the dressing in a separate container so the lettuce remains fresh and you control how much dressing to use.  The salads are portion controlled, so when you're finished there isn't anything to tempt you into 'just one more bite.'

Of course stay away from the prepared salads which are high fat. or made with mayonnaise, like potato, or macaroni.  Avoid smoked deli meats. Stick with roasted meats like chicken or turkey, and low fat cheeses. 

Snack packs of fresh fruits with yogurt, crunchy veggies with dip, even hard boiled eggs can round out your snack menu.  All ready to go and to get you going. 

The frozen foods case contain well known diet brand names but also have the grocer's house brand for those on a weight program.  The entrees are very similar in taste and nutritional benefits but the house brand is usually less expensive.  Use the entrée for lunch as well as dinner.  Most offices have a refrigerator and a microwave.

Stick with individual bags and containers when you're in the snack and cookie aisle.  Look for baked low fat crackers and cookies. 

Use prepared foods to keep your weight loss program on track.  Don't let a busy schedule be an excuse.  Grocery shop for three or four days at a time, so you have the foods you want on hand when you need them.