Run Smart, Not Hard

Run Smart, Not Hard

It takes a lot of determination to be able to have the motivation for going on a run on a regular basis, but fortunately there are many benefits that come along with it. Running is great for losing weight, preventing diseases, and is also an excellent stress reliever. However, you will only see these benefits last for long if you’re running properly. You may feel confused right now and it’s completely understandable because you may be thinking that there is no “proper” way to run. Many people might think that it only has to do with moving your legs but there is actually way more to it than that- there’s a whole strategy and technique behind it!

A running coach, Michael Olzinski, says “The most common thing that I seem to point out every week to runners is simply the way they position their upper body, namely their shoulders, arms, and upper torso.” Although that may sound strange at first, your upper body has to do a lot with when your legs give up while running. The more relaxed your arms and shoulders are, the faster and longer you will be able to run.

Proper Running Form Cues InfographicBefore going for a run, it is important to always do warm up exercises that incorporate the upper body. It is also important to mentally prepare yourself to feel relaxed before you go for a run. According to many runners, the mind can be your greatest obstacle and that you can actually keep running even if your mind tells you to stop. The same rules apply for the treadmill as well. Even if your mind is constantly telling you to stop, you should push yourself to always reach your running goal. Another mistake many runners make is doing the same running routine everyday. Although it’s great to have a routine, sometimes it’s good to switch it up a little! So the next time you go for a run, be sure to keep these tips in mind and you will see many lasting results!

 

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Can Caffeine Make Your Workout Better?

Can Caffeine Make Your Workout Better?

Caffeine is one the most well known and accessible stimulants consumed by many people around the world on a daily basis. Sometimes on a multiple basis daily. It is great at helping anyone who drinks it feel more alert, and can help some people stay awake for long periods of time. If taken an hour or so before exercise, it can even help boost athletic performance tremendously. Not only can caffeine help an athlete feel more alert but it can also allow athletes to run, bike, and swim for longer and faster. It also allows exercise to feel less exhausting and it makes it easier for the muscle to burn fat. But, many coaches or trainers believe that caffeine would only boost performance if athletes would avoid consuming any type of caffeine prior to a big event. However, a new study proves that someone can drink a cup of coffee everyday and still have boost from the caffeine.

Bruno Gualano, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, recruited 40 male cyclists to prove that caffeine will always boost athletic performance no matter how often an athlete consumes it. He and his team divided up the cyclists in to three teams: low-caffeine group, moderate-caffeine group, and a high-caffeine group. First, they were each given a caffeine pill, then an identical-looking pill as a placebo, and then no pill at all. After the 3 trials, the researchers compared their times. Almost all of the riders completed their ride 3.3 percent faster on average after they took a caffeine pill compared to when they had had no pill and 2.2 percent faster than after they took the placebo. The results were all the same among the three groups no matter how much caffeine drinks they usually had.

If you would like to have a better workout and feel less exhausted while exercising, we suggest you drink a cup of coffee an hour before! But we suggest doing everything in moderation and start off with small doses. One cup would be enough to help make your workouts easier!

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Take it Easy with the Vitamin D!

Take it Easy with the Vitamin D!

When vitamin D is taken at moderate levels, it has many excellent and necessary health benefits. It’s great for fighting various different bone diseases and even goes as far as to preventing the flu. However, a recent study suggests that people are ingesting way more vitamin D than they should be. Researchers found that 18.2 percent of Americans ingest more than 1000 IU than they need. Ingesting more vitamin D than you need in your body can lead to developing hypercalcemia, which is when you have too much calcium in your blood, and this can cause issues like fatigue, kidney problems, weakness, and poor appetite.

Vitamin D is produced when our skin is directly exposed to enough sunlight. However since it is best to avoid direct contact from the sun’s UV rays, it is advised to only spend about 10 to 15 minutes unprotected in the sun for vitamin D. We also get vitamin D through the foods we eat fairly regularly, such as milk, orange juice, salmon and eggs.

Since vitamin D is regulated in our bodies, people who have too much vitamin D in their system likely have it as a result of taking supplements. The reason why so many people have been excessively ingesting vitamin D supplement pills in the past few years is because of all the new research being found that proves all the beneficial effects of vitamin D. Although it is very important to maintain the suggested daily intake and amount of vitamin D required in our bodies, too much of it is never good for you! It can turn toxic, and lead to nausea, vomiting, weakness, frequent urination, bone pain, and kidney problems.

But when done properly, here are some of the health benefits of vitamin D:

  1. Better bone health
  2. Prevention of rickets and osteomalacia
  3. Prevention of osteoporosis and fractures
  4. Improved physical performance
  5. Protection against multiple cancers
  6. Beneficial for brain development and function
  7. Improves cognitive functions
  8. Reduces risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  9. Beneficial in Multiple Sclerosis
  10. Improves sleep quality
  11. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  12. Reduces blood pressure
  13. Prevents obesity and metabolic syndrome
  14. Reduces severity of asthma
  15. Protects kidney function
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Check Out the Foods that Nutritionists Avoid the Most

Check Out the Foods that Nutritionists Avoid the Most

It’s always best to eat foods in moderation. However, there are actually a few foods and drinks that nutritionists suggest cutting off altogether. Here are some foods and drinks that nutritionists never eat or drink and believe should be cut off from our diets as well, in addition to varieties to opt for should you decide to give in to the craving:

Soda

Sodas are made up of mostly sugar and other ingredients that are potentially harmful. Additionally, sodas contain many calories and it’s best to avoid drinking soda at all because there are no nutrients. We suggest drinking healthier drinks like tea or a homemade smoothie!

Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

The fat in peanut butter is actually a very healthy monounsaturated fat. When it is removed, it is replaced with many types of sugars and is far worse than regular fat peanut butter. So don’t be fooled by the “reduced fat” label on the peanut butter bottle the next time you buy peanut butter. Stick to the original!

Hot Dogs

No matter what type of meat hot dogs contain, they are always very highly processed. Hot dogs also contain ingredients that are laced with cancer-causing nitrates which make hot dogs one of the most unsafe foods to eat. There are so many other items you are better off

Margarine

Margarine is often used as a replacement for butter but is very highly processed. It is extremely high in saturated fat and like peanut butter, it’s best to stick to the real thing. But, if you deal with high blood pressure or cholesterol, we recommend enjoying it in moderation or using trans fat-free margarine instead.

American Cheese

American cheese is factory made cheese that has many added chemicals and is very high in saturated fat. Eating highly processed foods like American cheese is linked with chronic inflammation which increases the risk of developing diseases like cancer. Instead of eating American cheese, try mild cheddar which is not as nearly processed.

Red Meat

Red meat should not be consumed for many reasons. Trimethylamine N-Oxide, produced when a compound in the meat metabolizes, is linked to inflammation, heart diseases, and atherosclerosis. A sugar molecule, Neu5GC, found in red meat promotes chronic inflammation. Compounds, like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heterocyclic amines, and advanced glycation end products are all carcinogenic compounds formed after the meat is cooked. Overall, it is best to avoid eating red meat as it can have many negative effects.

Raw Milk

Raw milk could contain many harmful bacterias and cause illnesses such as food poisoning. Always make sure to drink pasteurized milk to avoid any negative effects on your body.

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Don’t Blame Metabolism on Age-Related Weight Gain

Don’t Blame Metabolism on Age-Related Weight Gain

As many people age, they tend to lose interest in taking care of their body physically. In some cases, many feel that they may be past their prime, and in other cases, they would blame their metabolism rate for being the reason why they gain weight. In reality, the weight gain that comes as people get older has very little to do with metabolism.

Okay, we must say that yes- every year from age 30 onwards our metabolism rate does indeed begin to slow down, however, it slows down at a very minimal and almost unnoticeable rate. Instead, the weight gain that comes with older age has to do with the fact that as people get older, they tend to get less active. Even if you didn’t formally exercise as a kid or teen, you did surely go out more and be more active. You played with friends in the park, and took part in other physical activities such as dance or gymnastics routines. At the very least, you simply ran around more from store-to-store, or from school to your job. And those things pretty much tend to come to a halt once people become established in their careers and adult life in general.

At first, the idea of gaining weight as a result of being less active at an older age may not seem so relieving. However, it actually is very alleviating because now you know that you can slowly work your way to start being active and do something to prevent age-related weight gain! The best calorie-burning and weight losing activity is simply to just get active. Making small changes in your daily life that you know will lead you to becoming a more active person overall can efficiently help you avoid gaining those extra pounds. For instance, by doing something as simple as taking the stairs more often, you may notice feeling more energized and motivated to being more active. Staying more active is also great for avoiding diseases like diabetes and heart disease that people commonly develop at an older age.

In addition to being less active, as people get older they tend to not pay attention to what foods they eat and are more likely to eat unhealthy foods. We advise you to stick to multiple small portioned healthy meals throughout the day, and be mindful of what exactly you are eating. By staying active and eating healthy, you can definitely steer clear of age-related weight gain.

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Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Weight Loss Myths And The Truth Behind Them

Every year or so, a new weight loss trend spreads either through social media or from what celebrities suggest. Yet sometimes these trends don’t actually work and may even make it harder for some people to lose weight. Here are some weight loss myths that many people who are on their weight loss journey may hear, and the truth behind them:

Carbs are Bad for You
A common misconception that many people tend to believe is that any form of carbs are terrible for you. Complex carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, etc.) are actually very important for providing energy. However like any other food group, portion sizes and what you eat the carbs with are important to control.

Skip Meals
Skipping meals is never a good idea. Not only will you end up gaining more weight, but people who skip meals, like breakfast, are more likely to develop heart diseases and mess up their metabolism rate.

Diet Pills are a Quick Solution
Any dietary pill or supplements that claim to have quick results are never long term solutions and can possibly end up being extremely dangerous! Most diet pills are not regulated by the FDA. Your body may react very badly to some of the ingredients and there are many negative side effects that come with it.

Cut off Whole Food Groups
Many people believe cutting off dairy or gluten is healthier. However, cutting off gluten and dairy also means losing out on calcium, protein, and carbs that your body needs. This can lead to serious long term effects.

Always Count Your Calories
According to many dietitians, counting calories may actually be a complete waste of time. Firstly, you don’t actually know how many calories your body needs or ends up absorbing.  Sometimes, many nutritional panels will not even have an accurate calorie count as the FDA allows up to a 20 percent margin of error. Instead of constantly counting your calorie intake, go for healthier food choices, and remember that moderation is key.

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Are Your Beauty Products Toxic? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Are Your Beauty Products Toxic? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Many of us try our best to buy the beauty products we find the healthiest and safest for our body. We would opt for products with labels that claim to be “natural” or “chemical-free”. But are these labels actually always what they claim? Do we know if these companies are telling the truth? Are our beauty products actually safe to use? Unfortunately, these claims are not always true. For instance, according to the FDA, hair-straightening products from the company, Brazilian Blowout, contain high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde even though the company claimed that the products were free of it. Yes- that is outrageous.

Although claims made by beauty product companies may not always be true, researchers say that many of the ingredients are actually safe to use, but the lack of data to back those claims is concerning. Russ Hauser, the chair of the department of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spent almost 20 years studying different chemicals that include parabens and phthalates. These ingredients belong to a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, which can get in the way of the hormonal system and even contribute to issues like infertility, obesity, and huge changes in metabolism. Due to products marketed specifically for certain racial groups, many people of color may be more exposed to these harmful ingredients. For instance, some darker skinned women may regularly use skin lightening creams that contain high levels of mercury. Age is also a concern for all women. The longer that older women have used toxic cosmetic products, the more harmful the effects can be.

The good news is that lawmakers are trying their best to enforce stricter government regulations on these beauty products, but in the meantime it can be hard to understand how to protect yourself from toxic ingredients. Always check your beauty product’s ingredients and avoid using too many products. Buy from well-known sources and be careful when companies claim they use all “natural” ingredients. Always do your research before buying a beauty product because no matter what, your body, skin, and hair deserve the best!

 

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Everything you Need to Know about Hunger Pains

Everything you Need to Know about Hunger Pains

Hunger pains are caused by contractions in the stomach as a reaction to feeling hungry or having an empty stomach. However, many people do not know that hunger pains can also happen even when the body does not need food. Sleep deprivation, dehydration, hormones, and medication side effects can all be causes of hunger pains.

Hunger pains feel like a gnawing in your stomach. Along with the sensation in your stomach, you may feel tired, lightheaded, and have cravings for specific foods. Sometimes these types of hunger pains can even be the reason why many people have a hard time sticking to a diet.

In response to an empty stomach, a hormone called ghrelin is released. Ghrelin signals the body to release stomach acids to digest food in your stomach, but if your stomach is empty, the stomach acids can attack the linings of the stomach which can cause hunger pains. Ghrelin levels also rise when you eat junk foods containing high amounts of sugar or carbs which can also cause hunger pains. Even smells or pictures of foods can trigger physical symptoms. People who have diabetes tend to also have hunger pains when blood sugar is too high or too low. Sometimes antidepressants can intervene with hunger signals and pains as a response.

It is actually really easy to relieve hunger pains. Start eating at regular times so ghrelin is released after you actually eat to digest food. Eat a balanced meal that contains fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Make sure to fill up on low calorie foods so you feel fuller without having to eat too many calories. Additionally, get enough sleep at night and always stay hydrated! If these do not alleviate your hunger pains, consult a doctor.

Sometimes stomach pains can actually indicate a developing infection or a gastrointestinal disorder and it is always better to be safe than sorry by going to your doctor to get checked and ensure that the pains aren’t actually early stages of something more serious.

 

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Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Skipping breakfast has become very normalized in today’s world due to just being busy for it, or simply just not wanting to eat a meal so early on in the day. Sometimes people skip breakfast because they think they can lose weight easily that way. Researchers claim that people who eat breakfast are less likely to overeat the rest of the day, and that there actually is no difference in weight between people who eat breakfast and people who skip breakfast. In fact, people who eat breakfast tend to have lower risks of developing heart diseases and higher cholesterol. Still, there is not enough research to prove that people who don’t  have a habit of eating breakfast should actually start.

Other research has also suggested that not eating for a certain period of time (e.g., having dinner at an earlier time) could actually help people lose weight efficiently. Researchers from the University of Hohenheim in Germany conducted an experiment on 17 healthy adults on three different days. On the first day they skipped breakfast, the next day they skipped dinner, and the third day they ate three regular meals. At the end of the experiment they found that on the day they skipped dinner, they actually burned the most calories compared to the other two days. So if you skip breakfast to lose weight, you might want to consider skipping dinner instead. They also found that on the day they skipped breakfast, they oxidized more fat, meaning their body broke down their stored fat.

Although this may sound like a good thing, this actually leads to the body’s inability to switch between burning fats and carbohydrates. Skipping breakfast can essentially even cause the body to slowly become metabolically impaired which can raise the risk of diabetes and obesity. It is also known that our body has better sugar control and metabolism rates earlier in the day, so eat more food earlier in the day! Therefore, breakfast is actually a really important meal which is not worth skipping, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

 

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