Can building muscle help to live longer?
Everyone wants to have a good looking and toned body, young and old alike. Scientifically, it has been proven that a person with low fat levels and high muscle mass is much healthier than someone who has lower muscle mass.
According to one research at the Health Sciences Department of the University of California – Los Angeles, it was found that The more muscle mass older Americans have, the less likely they are to die prematurely. The findings add to the growing evidence that overall body composition — and not the widely used body mass index, or BMI — is a better predictor of all-cause mortality.
Also, one Swedish scientist claimed that a person who has low strength, especially in arms and legs will be more susceptible to an early death in comparison to a person who keeps themselves strong and maintains good muscle mass.
As our age progresses, our muscles become weaker and sooner or later this affects our life expectancy. Frailty, as a condition results in lower levels of physical activity, decreased muscle strength, increased fatigue, slower walking speed, and unwanted weight loss or weight gain. Weaker elderly people also tend to fall more frequently and have greater difficulty standing up from sitting or lying positions.
There are two things which lower the effect of muscle and life expectancy. According to Gerontologists, our defective mitochondria (the powerhouses of our cells) are to be blamed. As we age, our mitochondria start to degrade, resulting in weaker cells and muscle fibers and the elderly experience this as decreased levels of endurance, strength, and function.
Another fundamental problem of aging is our decreased production of telomerase. Telomerase is a crucial enzyme that maintains and repairs the little caps on the ends of our chromosomes. When we can’t produce enough telomerase, our genetic integrity is compromised, and so too is cellular division. Chromosomal degradation acts as rust in our body and affects our muscles.
In order to beat these complications, it helps to have a leaner and muscular body. To have a leaner and more muscular physique, muscle strengthening and endurance exercises are a must, which will not only build strength and endurance, but will even increase longevity.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Strengthen Your Bones With These Tips
Bones are always at a risk of Osteoporosis, especially the spine, hip and wrist bones. They get stronger once you use them, so exercise acts as a medicine for people suffering from bone related diseases. If you’re not worried about bone loss because you’re young, keep in mind that weak bones can strike at any age and occur in both men and women, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Bones are also benefited if you lift and carry things. Weight training is ideal, but even carrying shopping bags, gardening and housework counts.
Bones, likes muscles, are living tissues .Young women and men who exercise regularly generally have higher bone density and strength than those who do not. For most people, bone mass peaks during the third decade of life. After that time, we can begin to lose bone density and mass. Women and men older than age 20 can help prevent bone loss with regular exercise. Exercising allows us to maintain muscle strength, coordination, and balance, which in turn helps to prevent bone related issues and other medical conditions. This is especially important for older adults and people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.
Exercises for healthy bones
According to Dr. Jon Tobias, a professor of rheumatology at the University of Bristol who studies bone health, running and jumping are the most effective ways to improve bone health because these exercises create ground forces that move through the bones and stimulate them to reconstruct themselves. It even increases bone density.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the best exercises for building and maintaining bone density are:
Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, that makes you work against gravity while staying upright.
Muscle-strengthening exercise, such as weight lifting, that makes you work against gravity in a standing, sitting, or prone position.
There are some non -impact activities which are posture related, balancing exercises and might help one get relief from bone related problems. Although these exercises don’t build or maintain bone density, they may increase muscle strength and decrease the risk of falls and fractures.
If your doctor determines that it’s not safe for you to perform high-impact weight-bearing exercises, he or she may recommend low-impact weight-bearing exercises that are less likely to cause fractures and also build and maintain bone density. These include:
elliptical training machines
walking (either outside or on a treadmill machine)
If you’re new to exercise, or haven’t exercised for a while, you should aim to gradually increase your level of weight-bearing exercises to 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Can exercise help you sleep better?
Many people even after sleeping for 8 hours feel sleepy and tired by mid-day. This can happen because of low quality sleep. Do you also feel the same way during the day? It might be the time to examine your lifestyle habits in terms of food and exercise. Did you know that including exercise in your daily routine can help you in getting better quality sleep. Let’s see how this actually works.
According to a poll in 2013 by the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S, people who worked out or exercised regularly seemed to have better quality sleep than people who did not do any physical activity even though they said they slept well every night. If you are inactive then even starting with adding a 10 minute walk initially every day could improve your likelihood of better quality sleep. In fact, it was also found in the poll that non exercisers are at a higher risk of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep. Its symptoms often include tiredness, snoring, and high blood pressure. It also increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Not having enough sleep or lack of good quality sleep can also lead to weight gain. When you do not exercise it leads to poorer sleep which in turn makes you lethargic for the whole day and keeps your energy levels low. Therefore, not exercising and low quality sleep becomes a vicious cycle. In fact lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep will make you crave for comfort food like potato chips, ice cream, etc which in the long run will make you gain weight and attract lifestyle diseases. The major drawback of this vicious cycle is you start drinking more of tea/coffee to keep yourself going for daily activities. This adds more caffeine and sugar in your daily diet which if consumed in high quantity can affect your health adversely.
To have good quality sleep, try to inculcate the following in your routine:
1. Include a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity in your daily routine. If you are a beginner than start with light exercises like walking or running or you can even include some other physical activities like kickboxing. But, don’t exercise at the expense of your sleep.
2. Keep the environment of your bedroom calm and quiet with a comfortable mattress and pillow because this will help further relax your body and might help in improving sleep quality.
3. Before going to bed relax yourself and try some meditation or deep breathing. Switch off the television or laptop at least 1 hour before going to bed or you can include some relaxing rituals like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
4. Make a routine of going to bed and waking up at a same time daily. Stop spending extra time in your bed when you are already awake.
5. Don’t keep your desktop, work files or TV in your bedroom.
Include the above to improve sleep quality but if you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or “stop breathing” episodes in your sleep, you must get in touch with a physician for a sleep apnea screening.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
How smoking is affecting your fitness
Smoking not only causes lung disease and cancer, it is also bad for your teeth, skin and makes you look older. Now studies show that smoking even kills your motivation to be physically active.
Researchers in Brazil found that smokers are less likely and have less motivation to be physically active than non-smokers.
The reason is here:-
To achieve peak performance, your heart and muscles need more oxygen, but when you inhale tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide binds to the red blood cells, that displace the oxygen, preventing oxygen delivery to muscles and other tissues.
This causes increase in lactic acid (the substance that causes muscle ‘burning’, fatigue, heavier breathing, and increased soreness post exercise). This decrease in oxygen will even reduce your physical endurance, making it more difficult for you to not only exercise or play an active sport, but will even hamper daily activities, such as walking up the stairs and doing household chores.
This decrease in oxygen causes a smoker’s resting heart rate to be higher than a non-smoker’s, because the heart must work harder to deliver adequate oxygen to the body.
Apart from lung disease and exercise capacity, there are other adverse effects of smoking on physical fitness, such as:
1. Obtaining less benefit from physical training because smoking makes you feel tired, and drives down your performance.
2. Lesser muscular strength, lower endurance, stamina and flexibility. That makes you more prone to injury and stiffness. Also, it leads to poorer results from physical training.
3. Disturbed sleep patterns because tobacco contains nicotine, which is a stimulant, to increase your heart rate, blood pressure and makes you more alert and awake. That makes it harder for you to get to sleep.
4. Smokers suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as non-smokers because after smoking the amount of mucus released by the lungs increases which makes it difficult for the cilia to clean the lungs.
5. Twice as likely to suffer an injury as non-smokers
6. Require more time to heal after an injury. Muscle repair takes longer.
It is ironic that exercising can actually help smokers to quit smoking, since it decreases craving for nicotine, according to a 2012 review of studies in the journal Addiction.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
What is Better and More Effective than Walking?
Many people include walking in their routine because they think this will help them manage their weight. But did you know that simply walking everyday is not sufficient to shed those pounds, unless you are actually following a strictly balanced and healthy diet. Check out some options that might be more effective than walking, to accelerate your fat loss.
Jogging burns more calories than walking for the same amount of time spent. It increases your body temperature, which in turn helps your muscles burn more calories. It even provides more benefits for heart health. But, if you are older in age or have any medical condition always consult your doctor before starting any new physical routine.
2. Skipping rope
Skipping rope is a great cardiovascular exercise. It is a great exercise to improve your endurance also. Since you jump up every few moments while skipping, it puts more pressure on your muscles as compared to walking. It also helps your body to burn way more calories than walking. You can skip rope for 1 minute and then rest for 30 seconds; this will help you in maintaining your stamina and speed.
3. Spot Jumping
This is a strenuous aerobic exercise that can help you in managing your weight. It increases your heart rate and your heart has to work harder to transport oxygenated blood. This helps you in keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. If you are overweight and have any medical condition then do this exercise in intervals.
It is an exercise which involves jumping on one leg at a time. It puts extra stress on one leg at the time of the jump as the entire body weight will be on that single leg. It works on your core, leg muscles and helps improve overall balance. Include intervals while doing this exercise. You can hop for 30 seconds on one leg, the rest for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
Cycling is a low impact exercise and does not put much stress on joints as compared to running. It increases calorie burn and also raises the metabolic rate, which helps in managing your weight. It also provides strength to your muscles and tones them. But before you start cycling in the outdoors, make sure you are wearing sufficient protective gear.
Including any physical activity in your routine is the key to managing your weight and keeping various lifestyle ailments away.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Does Low Calorie Diet Work?
Have you ever wondered why you have gained weight over a certain period of time? Many of your answers would point to not eating healthy food, not exercising or simply – not making health and fitness a priority. If you know the reasons that have resulted in weight gain then working on those factors could help you lose those pounds again. But does it actually work this way or is there more to losing weight than just eating food.
Lifestyle has a major impact on your weight loss efforts. You were lean before and still eat the same food, but somehow you started gaining weight. Weight gain can happen due to many factors other than just eating unhealthy food. Your sleeping patterns, stress at work, late nights, changing eating patterns, hormonal change, skipping meals, alcohol consumption, smoking, no workouts, sedentary work life, leisurely lifestyle etc. The list can go on and on and there innumerable such reasons which might seem small, but all add up to have a huge impact on weight management.
Exercise plays a vital role in weight management as it helps to improve blood flow and circulation in the body, accelerates metabolism for faster calorie burn and lowers your stress levels. Most people who are really not into working out regularly, walk or jog for 20 minutes once in a while or maybe hit the gym occasionally. What happens after this workout? Drinking some energy drink or eating an unhealthy snack instantly neutralizes the calories burnt and there is no net fat loss! If you are looking to lose weight then you need to burn enough calories through the day to see actual weight loss. It is vital to understand that the calories burnt per day should not exceed the calories consumed. Your regular body functions such as digestion also burn calories. Regular exercise increases calorie burn during rest, making the process easier and faster.
It is difficult to count calories at every meal. Knowing which foods are healthy and unhealthy food is also not enough. Unhealthy foods are fattening but high calorie healthy foods could also lead to weight gain. Dairy,nuts, certain meats, etc. are healthy but excess of it could lead to weight gain. Eating more food than the body requires will store the extra calories over a period, converting it into unhealthy fat.
If you are trying to lose weight and get fit then look for a healthy weight management program where the plan is made according to your lifestyle and your basic body and health requirements. Every human body is unique and responds differently to the same foods and meal patterns. Along with the diet, exercise plays an important role in weight management.
A successful plan should be able to offer you flexibility as well as a structured routine to compliment your fitness level. This is key to keeping you motivated. Your goal should be fitness and not simply weight loss because the main incentive to lose weight is to be healthy. Going after only weight loss might deprive you of key elements, such as loss of muscle and immunity. So you might have lost weight on the scale, but are not healthy and fit. Being on a weight loss diet does not mean you deprive yourself of essential nutrients. Your diet should be healthy and balanced so that whatever weight you are losing, is only unhealthy fat.
So, to lose weight and get fitter and healthier, you need to follow a healthy and balanced diet with proper guidance, supplemented with regular exercise and rest.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Best Exercises for Butts
We have written a lot about how to work your abs, biceps and even back and whip them into shape in our various articles on Fitho’s exercise routine. Its time we gave the “butt” the importance it deserves. A good butt doesnt only look good on women but men need it as much to complete the look. You can work your butt according to your body shape, meaning whether you are a pear shape or straight shape this routine will even out your minus points and highlight your plus points.
The idea is to target the relevant muscles directly to first lose the fat and then tone up. These set of exercises can be done any where at anytime without any equipment. 15 minutes a day for 5 days a week and you should see results in just two weeks.
Squats: One of the best exercise which will not only train your butts but your hips and thighs. They also help build body strength. Stand with feet apart and bend your knees while going down. Keep your butt out and torso straight. Do 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets in a day. You can do it in the morning before leaving for office or in the evenings. This exercise will tone your butt quickly.
Lunges: Another highly effective butt exercise which works the hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. It is easy to perform and its intensity can be varied by holding weights in the hand. To perform this exercise stand straight. Take one step forward and bend the front knee along with the back knee. Keep the front leg put and move your back leg up and down. You could do lunges while walking, doing alternate legs in the same exercise.
Step-ups: You could do this exercise on any platform that is not very high. On stairs on a step box. Like we climb steps put your feet on the platform and pull your body help pushing the heels. Do as many reps you can though 30-40 would be sufficient for the day.
Hips Raise: Lie down on a floor and keep the knees bent while keeping your back touching the floor. Slowly raise your from your butts and hold it for a few second. Get down to normal and repeat 10-15 times. You could not let the body touch the ground holding it in the air. Count it as one everytime you near the ground. Keep your glutes squeezed while doing the exercise.
Planks: This is a great core exercise as it works your abs, obliques, legs and your butts. Lie down on the ground on your stomach. Place your forearms on the ground and lift your body with it keeping toes on the ground and keeping the body straight. They help build strength and stamina.
Include these exercises in your schedule and see the difference. Do the exercises in the correct posture. Stay tunned if you want to increase the intensity and graduate to the next level of fitness.
— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Diet for Diabetics
Dealing with a therapeutic condition can be difficult. Managing the diet is of utmost important but it mostly comes at a cost of either following a very difficult routine or being given options that are unappetizing making it difficult to manage the condition through diet.
Diabetes is one such therapeutic condition where managing the diet is critical to ensuring that the insulin levels are in control. Diabetes is relatively easy to control with a help of correct diet and exercise program.
The rise in blood sugar is seen due to eating unhealthy, not exercising and consuming fattening foods. This can be managed or controlled by eating foods that slowly breakdown in the body and slowly release the glucose in the body preventing the blood sugar levels to rise quickly. These particular kind of foods are also known to have a low-glycemic index. Every diet program also needs to be customized your body type and physical needs. People that are more active require different calorie intake versus people who are not so active.
Some of the foods highly recommended for diabetic patients are vegetables like green peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bitter gourd, garlic etc are some of the healthy options. Eat beans, green vegetables, chickpeas, dals etc which will keep you fuller and maintain blood sugar levels. Include fengureek, Basel leaves and some quantity of lean meat and fish.
Diet alone will not be as effective. Exercise fit for your physical ability and body type is essential to show results. If you find it difficult to get started then condition your self slowly to set a routine. Tell yourself everyday in the evening you will go for a walk, water your plants or just engage in mid intensity household chores. Slowly increase the intensity and explore activities that will keep this routine going. Better still you can even get together with your friends or family to play a light sport or go for a walk /jog in the evenings or early mornings.
Lastly maintain a strict routine for your meal timings. Even if you watch what you eat and exercise regularly but don’t care about your meal timings it can completely harm the momentum. Make sure you dont skip your meals and eat them at recommended intervals so that the body is able to function normally.
In case you find it difficult to get started on your own then you can get professional help. This can help you atleast get started on a routine and get you on track before you can independently take charge of your health and adopt a healthy lifestyle for good.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Do you have pain in your knees and have problems walking? Does your knee pain in the mornings and cause trouble while walking down the stairs? You probably have some inflammation in the knees and needs to be looked into.
Tips to Reduce Knee Pain
1.Dont run on the metal as it stresses the knee causing further pain. Metallic surfaces are all hard surfaces like road, cemented surfaces and tough surfaces.
2.Manage your weight – The more you weight the more prone are your knees to injury.
3.Eat anti-inflammatory foods- The foods will naturally heal the inflammation reducing the pain and helping the kne recover.
4.Light Eercises: Don’t go for heavy weights or doing high intensity exercises because it will increase the problem. Do light exercises to strengthen it and increase blood flow, do warm water bath to increase blood flow again.
Knee Exercise with Elastic Band: Sit on a chair with the elastic band tied to the front foot. Attach one leg with the elastic on the same side and lift your ankles up and hold for 3-4 sec and bring back to normal. Perform 10 reps with both legs.
Knee Exercise with Chair: Stand behind the chair and hold the top of the chair back. Now lift your heels up keeping your tes touching the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and come back. Do 10 repetitions.
Bent Knee Exercise with Chair: Stand behind the chair and lift your knees. Hold one leg and bend it making the ankle touch your glutes. Hold on for a few seconds and then change legs. Perform 10 repetitions.
Side Leg Lift: Stand besides a chair while resting one hand on it. Spread one leg on the side lifting it in the air while the other leg is on the floor. Make sure the knee is not bent.
The above exercises will build the adjoing knee muscles providing support to the knee by absorbing shocks and share the knee tension before it reaches the knees. If knee pain is due to your weight then get started with a weight loss program to lose weight.— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
Household Chores to Burn Calories
Does signing up at the gym seem like a herculean task? Maybe regaining your energy levels by actively participating in daily chores can help you finally get on with your life and get fit. Interestingly doing basic chores at home or office can help you burn off those calories and help you get more energetic. Here are a few basic chores to get started with:
Wash your (more…)— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo