Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stay Fit While Pregnant With These Top 5 Exercise Routines

Staying in shape while you’re pregnant is great for you and for your baby. It’s important to enhance your endurance and muscle tone to make labor and delivery much easier. This will also help you recover faster after the baby is born. Staying fit will also help you get back to your original weight after pregnancy. Remember to always ask your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

Here are the top five favorites of pregnant women:

1.Walking tops the list of exercise favorites of pregnant women. Not only is it beneficial for your body (and your baby), it's the kind of exercise that can be done anytime, anywhere. And, it's much easier on your knees – not to mention your breasts – than running. Before you begin, be sure to invest in a good pair of walking shoes that are supportive and comfortable. If you are just starting out, take it slow and set realistic goals. It's a good idea to warm up for at least 10 minutes prior to walking. A few simple leg stretches, arm swings, and neck rolls should suffice. While walking, keep your posture straight and swing your arms in unison with your legs. During the last 10 minutes, start cooling down by slowing your pace and relaxing your arms. Once stopped, perform a few stretches to prevent muscle cramps.

2.Swimming is a great option for pregnant women. This low-impact form of exercise works the large muscle groups while improving your circulation, helping you build endurance, and increasing muscle tone. As with all exercise, you'll burn calories, feel more energized, and sleep better after a workout. As for the best type of stroke? The breaststroke is probably best suited to pregnant women as it doesn't require any rotation of the torso, and you'll exert less energy than, let's say, the crawl or the butterfly. Swimming poses a very low risk of injury, so you'll be able to swim throughout your entire pregnancy. Best of all, as your belly gets bigger, you'll appreciate the feeling of weightlessness in the water.

3.Yoga soothes the mind and body – and who better to reap the benefits of a calming workout than a pregnant woman? It's important to find a program (DVD or class) that's specifically designed for pregnancy as these routines focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles that will be used during pregnancy and labor. Yoga calms both body and mind, providing a much-needed physical and emotional outlet. Breathing exercises will teach you how to cope with the pain of contractions, as rhythmic breathing during labor maximizes the amount of oxygen available to you and your baby. If you opt to take a class, you'll have the opportunity to meet other pregnant women who can offer support and advice.

4.Stationary Cycling is the perfect choice for those who enjoyed biking before pregnancy because you can continue doing what you loved without having to worry about falling and harming your baby. Your breasts and belly will thank you, too, as stationary cycling will prevent your body from bouncing around as you won't be traversing any tough terrain. Even better, you can read or watch television while exercising, something you may not have time to do once the baby arrives! To avoid back strain, opt for a stationary cycle that allows you to sit upright or reclined.

5.Light Weight Training is very beneficial during pregnancy. Not only will it strengthen your muscles (which will help tremendously during labor and delivery) it will also speed weight loss after pregnancy. You'll feel more energized and sleep better, too. Keep in mind that if you've never used weights before pregnancy, it's probably not a good idea to start now. And, machine weights are definitely safer than using free weights. It's a good idea to check with a trainer about the types of exercises best suited for pregnant women. You should increase your caloric intake by 300-500 calories (yeah! ) to keep up with the additional demands of weight training and your pregnancy. Be sure to give your muscles a rest by training no more than 3 times a week, and perform all exercises in a sitting position to prevent your blood from pooling.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Big FAT Lie

Over two thirds of Americans are over weight, and half of them are considered obese. Most of the remaining third of Americans are concerned about becoming overweight! While we are obsessed with avoiding food that is high in fat, America has the dubious distinction of its population having the highest percentage of overweight people of any nation in the world! England is number two!

One of the most common and harmful misunderstandings is the misinformation (lie) that we are fat because we eat too much fat. Though eating excess fat can contribute, the primary culprit for excess body fat and many degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes is NOT eating foods high in fat, but eating too much carbohydrates and sugar, and especially in combination with fat, such as French Fries and corn or potato chips. People on a high carbohydrate and low fat diet tend to be more unhealthy, carry more excess body fat and don’t live as long.

Putting the Brakes to Your Metabolism! 

What creates excess body fat, more than anything else, is a high RATIO of the carbohydrates to protein and fat, and especially certain types of carbohydrates that have a high conversion rate to fat. When the percentage of a meal (not just for the day) is higher in sugar or carbohydrates (a long chain of sugar molecules), much more of that food will be converted to fat instead of being burned as energy (calories). The effect of this is putting the brakes on your metabolism, which results in lower energy and greater storage of fat. Obviously, this is NOT what you want!

Plus this sets up a vicious cycle of over eating. Once the carbohydrates are converted to fat, you get a blood sugar drop, which makes you hungry for more carbohydrates. So you eat more to raise your blood sugar, and the whole vicious cycle repeats! Soon, you’ve gained weight, and feel even more like a failure.

According to the Glycemic Research Institute, many of the “fat-free” foods are much more fattening than they were before the fat was removed, because sugar has been added (and often disguised) to compensate for the low fat!

This is because carbohydrates and sugar, and especially certain carbohydrates, stimulate insulin production. Insulin directs your body to convert the food to fat and store it as fat instead of just burning it as energy. To measure this fat conversion and storage effect, foods are rated by what is called the glycemic index. The higher the index, the higher percentage of that food and the other foods eaten with it, will be converted to fat, regardless of the fat content of the food.

So for an example, eating high glycemic foods like baked potato, rice cakes, corn flakes or cooked oatmeal which are low in fat, is more fattening than eating a juicy beef steak or a bowl of ice cream!

High Fat Conversion Foods 

These are some common foods with their glycemic index numbers, that are especially high on this index, and thus stimulate fat storage:
Common sugar (sucrose)—92
Macaroni and cheese—92
Potatoes (mashed—100; French fries—107; baked—121; potato chips—high)
Corn—78; pop corn—79; corn chips—105; corn flakes—119
White rice—83; brown rice—79
White and wheat bread—101
Cold cereals (most). E. g. Life—94; Grape nuts—96; Cheerios—106; Total—109
Cooked cereals (e. g. Cream of Wheat—100, oatmeal—87 (steel cut is less)
Most juices and all drink mixes and soft drinks (97)
Desserts (ice cream—87); donuts—108
Fat-free bottled “lite” dressings (due to added corn syrup and maltodextrins).
High fructose corn syrup—89
Maltodextrins—150 (added to many foods, but deceptively not counted as sugar! )

Did you notice that some of these foods are worse than pure sugar? It is wise to eat these foods sparingly. And when you do eat these foods, balance the glycemic index for the whole meal by eating low index foods with them.

Fat Burning Foods 

Here are some of the foods that are rated as having a low glycemic index:
Trutina Dulcem (a fruit sugar fifteen times sweeter than regular sugar)
“Super sugars” (glyconutrients)
Stevia—though not “approved” by the FDA as a sweetener, it is often used as such
High protein foods (e. g. fish, meat and eggs)
Most vegetables including sweet potatoes and yams
Stone ground bread and sprouted grain—low
Most pastas—varies; spaghetti—59 (but very low nutritional value)
Dairy products; whole milk—39 (there are other concerns mentioned previously)
Soy milk—43
Seeds and nuts—as low as 21 (peanuts)
Butter (in moderation—far superior to margarine)
Olive oil
Soy beans—25
Celery—very very low

There is one other huge advantage to using low glycemic foods besides weight control: longevity! According a study by T. Par entitled "Insulin Exposure and Aging Theory" in the Journal of Gerontology - 1997; 43: 182-200, high insulin levels, which result from consuming high glycemic foods, promotes accelerated aging. Both calorie restriction and a low glycemic index diet appear to be important for longevity, BUT a diet of low glycemic foods is even more effective than calorie restriction for longevity.

Click here for more information

Total Body Warmup