The Cumulative Effects of Exercise

Our activities tend to have a cumulative effect. Everything we do, from the food we eat, to the way we exercise, affects our health and has an effect on the people around us. It adds up. Eating all those extra calories will result in added pounds and fat. Walking a few extra minutes every day adds up to greater weight-loss, firmer muscles and a healthier body.

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Exercise helps improve the health of your whole body, including firmer muscles and stronger joints. You can lose weight and maintain your current weight by exercising regularly. Exercise not only benefits your body, but also has a positive effect on every one in your life. You will have more energy and stamina to handle the day-to-day chores, such as taking care of children, working, mowing your lawn or cleaning out your garage. Exercise helps boost your energy and creates a sense of well-being as your brain produces endorphins. You will probably sleep better at night, too.

Greater energy and stamina, as well as a healthy, firm body, can lead to greater self-confidence. This new-found self-confidence will shine through in everything you do at work and at home. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can help improve your metabolism, which will increase your energy levels. You may find that you can think more clearly as your physical health improves. Exercising with friends and family can also help strengthen your relationships. Stronger relationships can lead to a happier life.

Have you noticed that when you yawn, people around you start to yawn? It is contagious. The same is true of your mood. When you are happy, people around you tend to catch the happy mood. As your physical health and mood improves, you will notice that your mood is also improving. Your family and co-workers will notice your happier state too. Small annoyances that used to ruin your day may have no effect on you now that you are exercising regularly. You may even notice that you don’t mind the delay in traffic or the slow checkout clerk at the grocery store. The longer your exercise on a regular basis, the greater the happy effect will become.

The more you exercise the greater your health, strength and stamina. Regular exercise improves not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Improved relationships with everyone in your life, in turn, improves your mood and outlook even more. It all adds up to a happier, healthier you.



Nutrition Before, During & After Exercise

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Athletes who train every day and the weekend walker and everyone in between needs hydration and nutrition to stay energized and get the most from their workout. Fueling your body before and during a workout can give you that extra edge. Eating the right things after a workout provides the nutrients and trace elements your body needs to repair and recover. Should you eat some of energy bars, chug a sports drink between exercises or can you get all the nutrition and energy you need from a balanced diet? 
Before exercise, the best foods for strength, endurance and energy will contain carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates fuel your body and protein is necessary to repair and maintain muscle. Carbohydrates and protein are found in lean meats, whole grain breads, pasta, rice, many fruits and vegetables. A good pre-exercise meal will be low in fat, low in fiber but contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates and protein. Too much fiber will fill you up and make you feel a little sluggish. Drink a large glass of water with your pre-workout meal and drink a second glass of water just before you start to exercise. A sports drink that contains electrolytes and trace nutrients is a good idea if you plan to exercise for 1 hour or longer. 

During your workout it’s a good idea to have a light snack between exercises or during a break in the action if you are playing a sport. Eat a few slices of apple, orange or some grapes to replenish your body’s supply of natural sugars and antioxidants. Refuel your muscles with some carbohydrates available in low-fat cheese slices and whole grain crackers. A handful of granola, some dried fruit or a cup of fruit juice are also good choices to re-energize your body. 

After your workout, you need to replenish the nutrients your body needs to repair and recover. Your muscles need protein to repair and grow, as well as complex carbs to refuel your muscles for the next workout. Lean meats, eggs, whole grain pasta and breads, low-fat dairy  foods, beans and rice are good sources of protein. 
Muscles need protein for recovery and growth, and the best time to deliver protein appears to be right after exercise. Providing high-quality protein after exercise gives your muscles the fuel and the building blocks needed for both repair and for growth. A protein shake can also replenish your body’s store of protein. Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to stay hydrated. 

Kickboxing Your Way to a Fitter You

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Kickboxing has become more popular in recent years with gyms offering classes and people lining up to kick their way to a leaner, stronger body. There are instructional videos on the Internet and available for purchase. Many late night infomercials offer variations of kickboxing workouts to sleepless viewers. Many of the most popular kickboxing-style exercise DVDs and gym programs combine a high-intensity aerobic workout with punching, kicking and blocking m moves. These exercises help to build strength, flexibility, endurance and confidence. Kickboxing style exercise is not for everyone, but it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. A kickboxing class at a gym is a fun way to get fit in a group with a competent fitness instructor to guide you all along the way. 

Most routines in kickboxing are designed to be against an imaginary opponent, but some classes are designed where the members spar with each other or kick a heavy bag. You can burn more than 400 calories per hour in a kickboxing class. Get a checkup at your doctor’s office and tell him or her that you want to take a kickboxing class. If your doctor gives you a green light, join a class for beginners. Introduce yourself to the instructor and get a list of equipment you may need for the class. Come prepared to get a serious workout that will leave you feeling exhausted but confident. 

Exercise to Increase Lung Capacity

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Exercise can help to increase our lung capacity, which means you can take in more oxygen with less effort and better efficiency. Greater lung capacity can improve your endurance, especially if you like to run, jog, swim or engage in strenuous exercise for 90 minutes or longer, 3 to 4 times each week. Long distance runners and marathon runners are among those who need maximum lung capacity. One of the benefits of aerobic exercise, like swimming and running, is an increase in lung capacity and improved cardiovascular function generally. Breathing exercises focus on improving lung capacity and efficiency. If you suffer from any kind of lung condition like asthma or cardiopulmonary obstructive disease (COPD), check with your doctor before trying lung exercises. 
Breathing by using the abdomen, or the diaphragm, can help you improve lung function. The muscle primarily responsible for breathing is the diaphragm. The diaphragm is located between your chest and your belly. When the diaphragm contracts, air is drawn into the lungs and the belly expands outward. The function of the diaphragm is unconscious, and we breathe without even thinking about breathing. You can take control of your breathing by taking slow, deep breaths using the diaphragm. In addition to improving your lung capacity and oxygen stores in the cells, breathing exercises can help you to relax and improve your overall sense of well-being. 
Become aware of your breathing by placing one hand on your belly and the other hand on your chest. Relax your abdominal muscles and breathe in deeply through your nose. The hand on your belly should move out farther than the hand on your chest. Pull down with your diaphragm to fill your lungs completely. It may take some practice, but after a few deep breaths, you should feel the air being pulled into your lungs as the diaphragm moves downward and the belly outward. Hold a deep inhale for about 5 to 7 seconds. Exhale by pushing all of the air out of your lungs through your mouth. Continue to exhale by pulling your diaphragm upward for about 5 to 7 seconds. Repeat this breathing exercise for a total of 5 deep inhalations and 5 deep exhalations. Sit on a chair to perform this breathing exercise the first few times you do it, in case you experience some mild dizziness. 
If you sit in a chair to do deep breathing exercises, sit up straight and look straight ahead. Drop your shoulders down and back to straighten your spine. Relax your hands, palms down on your thighs. Perform this exercise twice each day. When standing to do deep breathing exercises, stand up straight by dropping your shoulders down about one inch and push them slightly toward the middle of your back. Place your hands on  your hips with your elbows pointing out to each side. Relax and then begin your breathing exercise.