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Maintain Exercise Momentum

Want to maintain your exercise momentum? Commit to shorter, moderate-intensity workouts rather than lengthy, high-intensity ones.

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Here’s an early Christmas present: 30 minutes of moderate exercise is about as beneficial to your health (not to fitness) as a full hour of intense training (and much easier to fit into your busy schedule). What’s more, you’re more likely to be energized by moderate workouts and more motivated to keep doing them. “When you do a 30-minute moderate workout, you increase your energy levels without depleting them completely, leaving you with more energy to continue with the rest of your day,” says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. So pop in your favorite workout DVD, take a vigorous walk or hop on the elliptical at your gym and watch how quickly those 30 minutes fly by.

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Outsmart Sugar Cravings

Outsmart sugar cravings by eating small meals regularly to prevent blood sugar swings. For weak moments, keep fruit on hand.

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Got a sweet tooth with a mind of its own? It doesn’t have to rule your food choices. One way to keep sugar cravings in check is to eat small, regularly spaced meals or snacks to prevent hunger, irritability and uncontrolled urges for a quick sugar fix. Those snacks should contain protein, healthy fat and fiber to keep your energy level steady throughout the day: Think peanut butter on a whole-wheat pita or celery; hummus and vegetables; dried fruit and nuts; or grapes and walnuts. Remember to keep temptations like cookies or candy out of reach (and maybe out of your home or office completely). You’ll have an easier time making healthy choices. For those moments when your craving just won’t be satisfied, choose quality over quantity. A luxurious piece of dark chocolate is healthy and rich enough to hit the spot. Eat it slowly and savor it. Believe it or not, you’ll derive more pleasure from eating a small piece of chocolate than eating an entire bar.

source: the Cleveland Clinic Daily Wellness site

 

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Walk your way to Younger Skin

Exercise flushes toxins and improves cell regeneration for a healthy, youthful glow.

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If you already think of exercise as the fountain of youth, you’ve been paying attention. After all, it helps us to feel good, look good, and stay limber and independent. Climbing up a steep hillside to catch a glimpse of the sun setting, for instance, gives you an invigorating and powerful sense of self. Huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs? Not so much. But one benefit of exercise that you most likely rarely think about is how it affects your skin. Physical activity increases circulation throughout the body. Better blood flow to these regions means an influx of nutrients and a flushing of toxins. For the skin, this means quicker healing and cell regeneration, which promotes a more youthful glow. So get out for a daily walk, run or activity of your choice, and watch what happens — as long as you don’t mind whistles.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Tone Muscles using Resistance Training

While you can’t target fat loss in trouble spots, you can tone muscles in those areas for a more defined look.

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You can’t spot-reduce the parts of your body you don’t like (your body decides where the weight comes off first). But that doesn’t mean you can’t target the muscles in your trouble areas. But how? Incorporate resistance training into your workout. The best way to tone your muscles: Do each exercise with a higher number of repetitions (about 15 to 20) and a lighter weight than you could lift just eight to 10 times. You can also get a leaner look by lengthening your muscles through stretching and yoga.

source: the Cleveland Clinic Wellness site

 

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Perk Up Your Energy Levels

To perk up your energy levels, spend a few minutes outside each day — rain or shine. Outdoor activity and nature boost your well-being.

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Feeling frazzled or lethargic? Regulate your mood and energy levels by getting outdoors a few times each day — yes, even in the rain or snow! Spending time in nature (urban parks count), or just enjoying outdoor activities, can elevate your mood and put a little pep in your step. Go for an after-dinner stroll, take a quick walk around the block at lunch, or ride your bike to the corner store. When it’s raining or snowing, bundle up in waterproof outerwear with your favorite kids, then jump in puddles and do your best reenactment of singing in the rain, or help build a snowman. You’ll feel invigorated, and maybe even a little like a kid again.
source: The Cleveland Clinic Wellness Tips

 
 

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Proper form for Squats…

Hate squats? You may not realize it, but you probably do them as part of your daily activities. So it’s smart to know proper form.

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Many people avoid doing squats because they believe they’re going to hurt their knees. However, any time you pick something up from the floor (assuming you’re lifting safely from your legs and not your back), you engage in a squat. Knowing how to do the move properly will ensure that you don’t injure yourself. Besides, says Melissa Hendricks, MEd, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers, contrary to popular belief, adding squats to your exercise routine will actually strengthen, not weaken, your knees. “Squats target the muscles in the front and back of your legs, along with your gluteals and core. The stronger these muscles are, the more stable your knees will be. In fact, stronger muscles above and below your knees serve as shock absorbers for your knees. The fact that most people do not do squats correctly is what can lead to injury,” she says. Here, Hendricks offers a primer on how to perform squats properly.
• First, try not to bend forward at your waist; this is quite common and is usually a sign of a weak core. Bending forward while you’re squatting puts a lot of pressure on your lower back, and it also drives a lot of the strain straight into your knees. To prevent this from happening, keep your back as straight as possible. Try finding a spot on the wall to focus your gaze on throughout the exercise. You may also want to limit how low you squat until you gain more strength in your core and perfect your form.
• Next, make sure you’re not shifting your weight forward into your toes and lifting your heels off the ground. Not only does this put a lot of pressure on the knee joints, it also takes away a lot of the effectiveness of the exercise, since you aren’t using the strong gluteus (butt) muscles to lift you from the squat. When going down into the squat, make sure you can always see your toes. If your knees travel past your toes, then shift your weight back into your glutes more. Try putting a chair or bench behind you, and then aiming for the bench.
• If you are just learning how to squat or have very little lower-body strength, you may also want to consider placing a stability ball behind you, against a wall, and allowing the ball to guide you up and down. This will help you to feel more secure in the exercise, and it will train your muscles for when you’re ready to do your squats without the ball.

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Fit but Overweight…

Fit but overweight? Take a look at your plate. Protein is important, but complex carbs like veggies and beans are key to shedding pounds.

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Sometimes we think that, because we work out, we can eat whatever we want. But research shows that more athletes are overweight than ever before. “One of the potential causes of extra weight among athletes may be the ‘healthy halo’ that athletes tend to put on their food and beverage intake when they are active,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, director of wellness coaching at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute. “For example, some runners I know feel that they can load up on foods high in sugars, fats and salt because they are running a few miles. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.” Here are Jamieson-Petonic’s tips for staying fit and trim while working out:
• Focus on slow-digesting, or complex carbs like legumes, fruits and vegetables, and 100 percent whole grains. These foods will provide longer-lasting energy, are rich in nutrients, and tend to be lower in calories than stripped carbs, so they’ll help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.
• Load up on fruits and veggies. These foods offer a multitude of vitamins and minerals, plus plenty of fiber for staying power.
• Hydrate. Even slight dehydration (approximately 2 percent) can hinder performance and weight loss. Keep in mind that your body is 60 to 70 percent water, and keep your tanks full for optimum functioning.

source: Cleveland Clinic Wellness

 
 

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Walking Can Help Prevent Negativity & Stress

To protect against bad moods and stress, exercise regularly. A 30-minute walk most days of the week can help prevent negativity and stress.

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Picture this: You had a long day, but now, as you’re grooving to your music and breathing in the smell of fresh-cut grass as you walk through the park, you feel your stress (and that afternoon cookie) melt away. “Exercise is not only for losing weight and looking better. It helps you feel better mentally,” says Melissa Hendricks, M.Ed, manager of the Cleveland Clinic Fitness Centers. “People who exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes a day tend to have more overall energy throughout the day, handle stressful situations better, and sleep more restfully. Combined, all of these can help you perform your daily tasks more efficiently and with better results,” she says. The fact that physical activity fends off stress is nothing new. But newer research suggests that exercise also stimulates the creation of new brain connections that help induce calm even in the face of stress. Since motivating yourself to exercise during a period of high stress or anxiety can be a challenge, says Hendricks, try using exercise as a way to calm your mind and body. “Walking, yoga and tai chi are all great physical activities that can help you feel more calm and less anxious.”

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Posted by on September 17, 2013 in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Tips

 

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Keep Muscle in tact with Protein-packed Foods

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Keep muscle mass intact! Protein-packed foods like fish, chicken, tofu and egg whites help stave off age- or diet-related muscle loss.
Dieting can make you lose muscle as well as fat. To help prevent muscle loss, fill your plate with leucine-rich protein. Leucine is an essential amino acid that can help you burn fat while maintaining lean muscle tissue. Because the human body cannot manufacture leucine, you must get it in your diet. Great sources of leucine are fish, tofu, egg whites fish and chicken.

 

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