Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What should I be eating?

Eating a balanced diet is important for good health and to help reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. This booklet contains
practical advice to help you make some healthy food choices.
What should I be eating?

For a healthy balanced diet, aim to do the following:Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. These can be fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or a glass of juice.
Eat more starchy foods, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals and pulses (beans, peas and lentils). These should make up about a third of your diet.
Choose lean meat, and trim off the fat and any skin.
Try to eat fish twice a week, including one portion of oily fish, such as mackerel or sardines.
Grill, bake, poach, boil, steam or microwave your food, rather than frying or roasting. Or you could try ‘dry roasting’, without adding any fat.
Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.

Should I cut down on salt?

Sodium in salt can lead to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke. So, you should try to cut down.

On the salt you add to your food during cooking and at the table. Remember to check the labels of any readyprepared foods for the sodium content, before you buy.

(See the Salt stats and facts below.)
Potassium, on the other hand, has a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables such as bananas, tomatoes and avocados are all good sources of potassium.

Salt stats and facts

3/4 of the salt we eat comes from processed food
people in the UK eat about 9 g salt (about 3.5 g sodium) a day, on average
men should have about 6 g salt or about 2.5 g sodium a day
0.5 g sodium or more per 100 g is a lot of sodium
0.1 g sodium or less per 100 g is a little sodium

What is a portion of fruit and veg?

1 portion = any of these:
1 apple, banana or orange
2 plums or other fruit of a similar size
1/2 a grapefruit or avocado
2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of vegetables (raw, cooked,frozen or canned)
2 to 3 tablespoonfuls of fruit salad (fresh, stewed or canned)
1/2 to 1 tablespoonful of dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots)
1 handful of grapes, cherries or berries
1 dessert bowl of salad
1 glass (150ml) of fruit juice (however much you drink, fruit juice counts as a maximum of 1 portion a day)

Should I cut out fat?

It’s important to have some fat in your diet. Fat helps the body absorb certain vitamins, and it’s a good source of energy and the ‘essential fatty acids’ that the body can’t make itself.

But fat should make up no more than one third of the energy (or calories) in your diet. On average, men in the UK eat more fat than this.

Avoid fatty foods, especially those rich in saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fat include red meat, meat pies, sausages, butter, cheese, and cakes and biscuits made with hydrogenated fats. Choose foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, such as olive, sunflower and vegetable oils.

What about drinking?

Try to drink at least 6 to 8 cups of water a day, or more if you exercise. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you could try sparkling water, or add some squash or fruit juice for flavour. You could also try adding a slice of lemon or lime.

Should I eat the same diet all my adult life?
During the teenage years, when your body is growing, it’s especially important to eat enough food to meet your energy needs. But as we get older, we tend to need less food because our bodies use up less energy.

Throughout your life you should adjust the amount of food you eat according to how physically active you are. We all put on weight when our diet provides more energy than we use up. Although you may need to adjust the amount you eat, it’s always important to make sure you’re eating a wide variety of foods, including a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fibre, and vitamins and minerals.

Should my diet be different to the diet of a woman of my age?

Men and women should both eat a varied and balanced diet, and try to avoid becoming overweight. Men in particular need to avoid excess weight gain, because they are more likely to carry the extra weight in the abdominal area. This is known as central obesity and is commonly referred to as an ‘apple’ shape.

Carrying excess weight in the stomach area increases your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Men of African-Caribbean and Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) origin appear to have an increased risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. This may be related to a tendency to carry any excess weight in the abdominal area.

Being overweight also increases the risk of developing cancers. And severe obesity can place great strain on your joints.

Eating a diet that is high in fat can contribute to gaining excess weight, not only because fat is high in calories, but because it can reduce your sensation of feeling full.

This means you may end up eating more food than you need. So, try to make sure that your meals are made up of a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Short-Term Overeating Could Make Long-Term Weight Loss Tougher

Swedish study suggests pounds put on during high-cal, low-exercise periods stick around
By Alan MozesHealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- If you think a few weeks of slothful behavior and caloric overindulgence can be easily worked off at the gym, think again.

New Swedish research suggests that just a month's worth of unhealthy living changes physiology, making piled-on fat even harder to lose.

"A short period of [over-eating] can have later long-term effects," said study co-author Dr. Torbjorn Lindstrom, an associate professor in the department of medical and health sciences within the faculty of health sciences at Linkoping University. "Based on this, it can be recommended to avoid very high food-intake that might occur during shorter periods in normal life."

Lindstrom and his colleagues report their findings in the current issue of Nutrition & Metabolism. They focused on 18 normal-weight healthy participants (12 men and six women), averaging 26 years of age.

For one month, all 18 were placed on a restricted physical activity regimen that involved the equivalent of no more than 5,000 steps per day. Five thousand steps, the team noted, is the threshold for a "sedentary" lifestyle, whereas a "physically active" lifestyle involved 10,000 steps or more.

In addition, participants embarked on diets involving a 70 percent jump in daily caloric intake -- mainly from fast food -- amounting to about 5,750 calories ingested per day. The research also included a comparison group who did not change their diet/activity.

By the end of the month, the feasting group gained an average of 14 pounds. Their fat mass, specifically, was found to have gone up from about 20 percent of total body weight, to nearly 24 percent after the month-long intervention.

Participants lost most (more than 10 pounds) of that new weight over the ensuing six months. However, one year after the study's end, participants still registered a noticeable gain in fat mass (of about 3 pounds on average) compared with their pre-study status.

This fat stuck around despite the fact that the participants had returned to their lower-calorie pre-study diet and more active routines.

Two-and-a-half years after the study, fat mass gains were even greater, registering just under 7 pounds on average, the researchers found. There was no such long-term change among the control group who had stuck to their usual diet.

Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that a brief period of excessive over-eating, coupled with reined-in activity, may change body composition and lead to a significant boost in in body fat levels. And these changes appear to endure, despite a return to healthier behaviors.

Study author Asa Ernersson, a doctoral candidate at the university, said it's tough to tell whether older individuals might be impacted any more or less than younger people.

"Of, course there is a possibility that age has an important role for losing body weight gained after a short term period of overindulgence," he said. "But from this study we cannot draw any such conclusions, since most of the participants were between 20 and 30 years old."

Both Lindstrom and Ernersson said that more research exploring such questions is needed.

25 Ways to Build Your Biceps

Use this arm-curl guide to pack on muscle faster than ever
By Adam Campbell

For decades, the dumbbell curl has been helping us build bigger biceps—but it also seems to have stripped us of our imagination. After all, how often do you try a new variation of this classic arm exercise? If it's not every 4 weeks, then you need to shake up your workout to achieve faster results. Start today with this simple guide from The Men's Health Big Book of Exercises. By mixing and matching any of the five hand positions and five body positions described here, you can instantly create 25 different versions of the curl. The upshot: You'll never run out of new ways to build your biceps. (Learn the right sets for size and strength.)

The right way to curl: Let the dumbbells hang at arm's length straight down from your shoulders. Then, without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, and slowly lower the weights back to the starting position. Each time you return to the start, straighten your arms completely

Choose your hand position


With your palms facing forward, grip the handles in the middle

The benefit: This is the hand position for the classic dumbbell curl, which targets your biceps brachii, the largest muscle on the front of your upper arm. (Try these 8 exercise upgrades for more muscle.)


With your palms facing forward, touch the outside heads of the dumbbells with your thumbs.

The benefit: As you curl the weight, you're forcing your biceps brachii to work harder to keep your forearm rotated outward (so your palms are up).


With your palms facing forward, touch the inside heads of the dumbbells with your pinky fingers.

The benefit: This tweak shifts the way the weight is distributed, providing more variety to keep your muscles growing.


Turn your arms so your palms face behind you.

The benefit: You'll really feel it in your forearms: This position targets your brachioradialis, but it decreases the activity of your biceps brachii.


Keep your palms facing each other.

The benefit: You're forcing your brachialis muscle to work harder for the entire movement. Building your brachialis can make your arms look thicker.

Choose your body position


Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

The benefit: More muscle Anytime you're standing, you engage more core muscles than when you sit.


Stand tall and place one foot in front of you on a bench or step that's just higher than knee level.

The benefit: Stronger abs This stance forces your hip and core muscles to work harder in order to keep your body stable.


Sit tall on a bench or Swiss ball.

The benefit: Better form Performing the exercise while seated may make you less likely to rock your torso back and forth ("cheat") as you curl the weight. (Check out six tricks to get the most out of your workout.)


Lie chest down on a bench set at 45 degrees.

The benefit: Thicker arms Lying on a decline causes your arms to hang in front of your body, a position that challenges your brachialis more.

Lie on your back on a bench set at 45 degrees.

The benefit: Bigger guns Lying on an incline causes your arms to hang behind your body, which emphasizes the long head of your biceps brachii to a greater degree.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stomach Exercises For Abs

Walk For Your Health

By admin

Walking is one of the secured and trouble-free ways to maintain your health. It is the physical activity that helps to improve the blood flow in our body due to which every part of our body feels energetic. Walking also helps to develop a good respiratory and emaciated organization due to which the overall health improves quickly. It also improves the mental fitness due to which we can find improvement in our work.

Walking is the form of aerobic workout. It assists to decrease the hazard of diabetes and moreover it also lessens the danger of heart-attack. It also decreases the additional weight. The bone concentration amplifies with the help of walking.

It is an exercise that many people prefer to neglect. However the reason is noticeable. We do this act daily and we do not include the fact in our mind that it is an aerobic activity. It decreases the importance and due to which we start neglecting it. We need to understand that it is not a useless act. It can give us so many health benefits. So why not should we include it in our daily routine? The form of exercise-walking is different from simple walking. You need to be more active while doing exercise-walking. Start slowly and later on shift your momentum to fast walking. It can be very helpful if you want to control your weight. Try that you should not use your vehicle if you are going to a nearby area. You should walk for the better health. You should not think in a way that walking is not helpful. It would be better to make a habit to wake-up early in the morning and go out for a walk. It can give you immense benefits. Therefore do not make excuses and walk to stay fit forever

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Workouts for Desk Jockeys

by Jacqueline Stenson

How can you stay in shape when you sit at a desk all day? What's the effect of exercise on mood? Find out below.

Office job, flabby bod?

Question 1: I have been gaining weight since I started a desk job straight out of college. I've heard that if I suck in my tummy and squeeze in my butt when I am sitting at my computer, it will work out my abs and my behind. Does this exercise actually work?

Question 2: I work in an office where I am seated most of the day, and as a result my behind is getting a wide, flat look. Are there any exercises I can do that will take away my pancake behind and give me a nice tight peach?

Answer: We weren't designed to sit at a desk for eight-plus hours a day, but that's how many of us now spend our time. And it can take a toll on our bodies, particularly when we sit fixed before the monitor for hours on end -- a practice some have dubbed "binge computing" -- and skip regular workouts outside the job.

One of the risks of such a sedentary lifestyle, especially if it includes pastry from the cafeteria, is weight gain. As suggested by Reader No. 1, cutting back on physical activity -- from a lifestyle that requires hiking all over campus to one that necessitates little more than short strolls to the copy machine or coffee maker -- can pack on the pounds.

Another risk from sitting all day and not getting much activity after hours either is deterioration of muscles, such as the gluteus maximus muscles that define our backsides. Reader No. 2 complains of a "flat look," one that would indicate muscle atrophy.

But just because you spend a good deal of your time at a desk doesn't mean you're destined to become fat and flabby, experts say. It does, however, mean that you're going to have to make an effort to get in shape during your free time to help counteract the effects of those sedentary days.

That means burning calories through walking, jogging, biking, aerobics or other physical activity to help maintain weight and keep yourself in good cardiovascular health. And you'll need to strength train to keep muscles in shape. "It's use it or lose it," says Michael Bracko, an exercise and occupational physiologist at the Occupational Performance Institute in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and a spokesperson for the American College of Sports Medicine.

So for Reader No. 2, the issue isn't so much your sitting as your lack of physical conditioning. "Sitting down will not specifically cause your butt to be flat," Bracko says. The prescription: work out the glutes with exercises like the elliptical trainer and the leg press machine.

As for Reader No. 1, Bracko says contracting the stomach muscles and glutes (three sets of 10 repetitions each) can help firm those areas, but these exercises will not help you lose fat in those regions. For that, you'll need to burn calories.

It all adds up
Keep in mind that all exercise adds up. Health and fitness experts now say that people can get their government-recommended half hour of physical activity a day in short spurts. So if you have an extra 10 to 20 minutes at lunch, consider taking a brisk walk outside. Even brief bouts of activity, such as opting for the stairs instead of the elevator or walking a memo to a colleague down the hall instead of e-mailing it, help.

Little exercise breaks during the day are also important in preventing common work-related pains, such as back aches, Bracko emphasizes.

"Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for herniated disks," he says. Taking short exercise and stretch breaks alleviates pressure on the disks and nourishes them, in addition to getting muscles throughout the body moving, he notes.

Aim to sit no longer than 50 minutes at a time, Bracko recommends. Then take a few minutes to get up and get your body moving through a short walk or activities like side bends and arm or ankle circles. Stretching is a good idea because muscles get short and tight (particularly those of the neck, wrist, back, hip, shoulders, chest and the hamstrings) when we sit hunched over at our desks for long periods. Consider doing some of these exercises before work too, as a warm-up.

Weary typists can also do various stretches of the neck, fingers and arms while at their desks (see graphic).

"We want to avoid people engaging in binge computing," says Benjamin Amick, an associate professor of behavioral sciences and epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.

Of course, good work-station ergonomics also are important, says Amick, whose research has shown that correct ergonomics, including a properly adjusted chair, can help workers stay healthy and productive. If you have an ergonomics specialist on site, it's a good idea to set up a consultation to ensure you're not at high risk for repetitive stress injuries.

One note of caution for people who have aches and pains at work: your strength-training regimen may be worsening the problem, notes Bracko. For instance, if the muscles of your chest and front of your shoulders are tight from being hunched over at work, strengthening them too much without stretching them and also strengthening the back can spell more trouble. Aim for a well-rounded workout that takes into account any symptoms you're having on the job. A good personal trainer or physical therapist can offer guidance.

Exercise and mood swings?

Question: I frequently experience mood swings when I’m exercising regularly. I’ll feel mildly euphoric immediately after exercise, but unusually anxious or even depressed the next day. Are such mood swings a recognized side effect of regular exercise? Is there something I can do to prevent them?

Answer: No, mood swings are not considered a normal response to exercise, says Jennifer Davis, a health psychology counselor at the Duke University Health and Fitness Center in Durham, N.C.

Actually, research shows that regular physical activity, three to five times per week, can help people feel better all around -- both physically and emotionally.

"Exercise can be a great stress-releaser when done in healthy amounts," Davis says. "We know that exercise can improve mood and can lift symptoms of depression and anxiety." Some researchers believe, for instance, that physical activity may prompt the brain to release mood-enhancing chemicals known as endorphins.

The cause of your symptoms is not clear from the information you provided. Some people have underlying depressive or anxiety disorders that temporarily improve after exercise. Others have exercise addiction -- a compulsive desire to exercise, even multiple times a day -- and may feel depressed or anxious when they aren't exercising.

A mental health professional can determine the reason for your symptoms, and get you the appropriate help.

The desk workout

Your colleagues might look at you strangely, but stretching at your desk may make the daily grind less painful, experts say. The following exercises are recommended to ease muscle tension and promote healthy blood flow.

Chest stretch

Find an uncluttered corner in your office or cubicle. Stand about a foot away from the walls, facing the corner. Raise your elbows until they are level with your shoulders and then place both forearms directly on the walls. Next, keeping the body in alignment, lean into the corner and hold for 10 seconds. You should feel a good stretch across the pectoral muscles in your chest.

Finger pulls

Grasp each finger at its base and very gently pull it in the opposite direction. Hold each for a count of 5.

Forearm stretch

Position your right arm straight in front of you with your palm facing outward and your fingers pointing down. Using the left hand, gently pull the palm toward you and hold for a count of 10. Next, raise your hand so that your palm is facing away from your body and your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. With the left hand, gently pull the right hand toward your body and hold for a count of 10. Repeat with the left arm.

Neck stretch

Sitting tall in the chair with the neck relaxed, gently tilt the head to each side, then front and back, holding each position for a count of 10.

Start with one hand pointing toward the ceiling. Make a fist. Then touch your fingertips to the base of your palm, keeping the thumb straight. Next, make a hook with your fingers, and then straighten them out again. Repeat 5 times