Let’s Go Nuts

Eat nuts (small handful)  for a healthy and wholesome snack.  Nuts contain healthy fats and essential nutrients along with fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins such as vitamin E and magnesium.  But they are also high in calories, especially when they are encased in the various sugar and salt toppings that are available.

Nut Characteristics

Lowest Calorie:  Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios

Higher Calorie:  Macadamia Nuts, Pecans

Heart Healthy:  Walnuts

Brain Healthy:  Peanuts, Walnuts

Disease Prevention:  Almonds

Weight Loss Snack:  Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachio

Nutritional Highlights

Nut                  Calories    Fat (g)  Protein (g)    Carbs (g)        Fiber (g)                 Attribute
Almonds           161                14                6                        6                      3.5               L-arginine, calcium
Cashews            155                13                5                        9                      1.0               Unsaturated  fat
Pistachios          156               13                6                        8                      3.0              Substantial
Walnuts             182               18                4                        4                      2.0              Omega-3 fatty acid
Peanuts              176               17                4                        5                      3.0               Legume, not a nut
Brazil Nuts        182               18                4                         3                     2.0               Selenium
Macadamia       200               21                2                        4                     2.5                Monounsaturated
Pecans                193               20                3                        4                     2.5                Antioxidant
Hazel Nuts         176               9                  6                        6                     3.5                Anti-inflammatory

Consuming nuts may help reduce chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, some cancers, diabetes, arthritis and obesity (they help you feel full, suppressing appetite).  Eat nuts that have nothing added like salt, sugar, etc. – eat them raw or dry roasted.

Bottom Line:  For a healthy snack, choose an ounce of unsalted, raw nuts. They provide many nutrients and antioxidants without extra calories from sugar/toppings.

 

 

 

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Posted in Nutrition

Essential Glutes

Many of the jobs/careers out there require extended periods of sitting.  When sitting too much for too long, the glutes (buttock muscles) begin to not work as efficiently as they should.  This leads to tightening and shortening of the hip flexor muscles which can lead to injury, back pain, obesity and osteoporosis.

Also, other muscles will begin compensate, taking on the work load.  The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become too strong in comparison creating imbalance, increasing the risk of injury.

Strong glutes:

  • Stabilize the pelvis for walking and running to prevent injuries at the hip, knee, and ankle.  (Weak glutes can contribute to pulled muscles in your hamstring or groin.)
  • Help with back pain – strong glutes support the back.  When the glutes strong, the lower back doesn’t bear the brunt of activity.
  • Improve athletic performance – gain speed and agility with stronger glutes
  • Increase power- a stronger gluteus maximus buttock muscle, largest muscle in the body, works to create lots of power to improve daily life.
  • Give the body a nice shape.

To strengthen the glutes train them about once a week.  Start with an aerobic warm up for about 10 minutes, then perform the exercises described below to build your glutes:

  Hip Bridge
  • Lie on your back with knees bent, feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the floor.
  • Pushing through the heels, press hips up toward the ceiling.  Maintain back, hips and thighs in a straight line.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds.
  • Repeat 10 -20 times.
  Lunge, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart (wide stance), back straight and head up. May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Step forward, bending both legs simultaneously until thigh of front leg is parallel to the floor.  The heel of the back foot will come off the floor.
  • Straighten legs to rise up.
  • Repeat action on same side for 8-12 reps.
  • Switch sides, and repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Squat, with or without dumbbell
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet pointed slightly out.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Squat by bending knees and pushing hips out behind until thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Keep abdominal muscles tight; maintain body weight on heels.
  • Push through heels to stand back up to standing/starting position.
  • Repeat action for 8-12 reps.
  Standing Side Leg Lift, with or without leg weight
  • Stand with head up, back straight and feet about hip distance apart, toes pointed forward. May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Lift right leg out quickly.  (May hold onto a support, if needed.)
  • Slowly lower it back to start position, taking 3-5 seconds to do so.
  • Repeat 10 – 20 times
  • Repeat action with left leg, 10 – 20 times.
  Step Up, with or without dumbbell
  • Keeping head up and back straight, place right foot on a bench, step or a box.  May hold dumbbell in each hand at sides.
  • Bring left leg up toward chest, then place left foot on the step-up surface, so that both feet are now on the step-up surface.
  • Step down with the left foot, keeping right foot on the step-up surface.
  • Repeat on both sides, doing 15 reps on each side.
  Kick Back – with or without leg weight
  • Get down on ‘hands and knees’.  May use leg weight with this exercise.
  • Bring left leg to chest, keeping hips level.
  • Now drive leg back and up so that it is straight out and slightly up.  Contract glutes and hold the contraction at the top for a couple of seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat the process with the right leg.
  • Repeat, alternating legs.
  • Complete 20 reps on each side.
  Wall Sit
  • Stand with back against a wall.
  • Slide down until knees are at a 90 degree angle, thighs parallel to the floor.
  • Hold for 20 – 60 seconds, or more.
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Posted in Fitness, Whole Health

Why change up your exercise routine?

Change up your exercise routine to maintain muscle confusion (a positive thing) so that the body and brain do not adapt to a particular workout.  Variation serves to stimulate other muscle groups and overcome boredom, it also burns extra fat.  Your body will be more fit, overall, and the brain stays active and sharp.

One way to change things up, for example in strength (weight) training, is to occasionally switch from heavier weight / fewer reps to lighter weight / higher reps.

When using the lighter weight /higher repetitions regime, keep the rest periods in between sets short and at a minimum in order to burn extra fat and increase cardiovascular endurance.

For the senior population, lifting weights (low weight/high reps) a couple of days per week can help reduce the risk of falling and subsequent bone fracture.  Be sure to space your weight training workouts at least 48 hours apart to reduce the possibility of injury.

Consult with a professional healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise regimen as to whether the activity/exercise is appropriate for you.

Below is an example of a low weight / high rep workout routine that includes a change up – use lighter than usual weights:

Begin:  the first few weeks

perform 2 sets of 20 reps

Chest – Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulders. Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.

  Low Back – Deadlift

Hold  dumbbells in hands in front of body, palms facing body.  Keeping legs straight and back flat, bend over holding weights.  Raise back up keeping torso in line with legs.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

  Shoulders – Front Deltoid Raise

Hold dumbbells in hands, palms facing body.  Keep arm straight, elbow locked.  Raise dumbbell to shoulder level, and then on up over head.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat alternating arms.

  Arms – Bicep Curl, Standing

Hold dumbbells at sides of body, palms facing in; keep knees slightly bent.  Bending elbows, curl arms to shoulder level.  Rotate palms to up position (supination) when beginning curl.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Squat

Stand tall:  head up and back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  With feet shoulder width apart, lower body until thighs touch calves.  Push back up to start position.  Keep Abs tight, push through heels.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Abs – Side Bend

Stand, holding a dumbbell in left hand (palm facing body) place right hand behind head.  With feet shoulder width apart, bend at the waist to the right as far as possible.  Return to start.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Repeat with other side.

 

Change Up:  after a few weeks

perform 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps

  Chest – Incline Bench Press

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at should level.  Press to straight arms.  Lower dumbbells back to starting position. (That is one (1) rep.)

  Back – Trapezius, Upright Row

Hold dumbbells together in front of body, palms facing in.  With knees slightly bent lift weights to chin level.
Lead with the elbows  Lower dumbbells back to starting position.  (That is one (1) rep.)

  Shoulder(s) –  Press

Hold dumbbells, palms facing in.  Press up to straight arms while rotating palms to face forward at the end of the movement.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Maintain slightly bent knees throughout.

Arms – Triceps Extension

Position one dumbbell over head holding both hands under inner plate (palms facing up, supination).   Keep upper arms close to sides of head.  Elbows should be pointing up, over head.   Bend elbows to lower forearm behind upper arm.   Raise dumbbell back up over head by straightening (extending) elbows.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Return and repeat.

  Legs – Glutes and Thighs, Step Up

Stand tall: head up & back straight, dumbbell in each hand.  Step up on box using right leg, bring left leg up to chest level.  Repeat stepping up with left leg and bring right leg to chest.  (That is one (1) rep.)  Continue to alternate.

  Abs – Trunk Twist, using weighted bar or dumbbells

Stand tall: head up & back straight, holding weighted bar or dumbbells.
Tighten abs and slowly rotate body from one side to the other by twisting at the waist.  (A twist to the right then to the left is one (1) rep.)  Repeat.

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Should I Eat Before I Work Out?

Should one exercise on an empty stomach (Fasted) or have a snack beforehand.  It depends!  The table below describes the differing scenarios.

Training Type

Non-Fasted

Fasted

Endurance Athlete:

* Training Low,  low glycogen (energy) stores.

NO

To improve metabolic efficiency: body will adapt to use fat for fuel (can go longer before ‘hitting the wall’).

The desired effect is not immediate.

Maximize performance Eat before exercise: have snack/meal high in carbs, low fat with some protein:

Maintains energy & delays fatigue; augment performance, stay sharp; maintain blood sugar.

NO

Strength and muscle gains (hypertrophy- increase muscle size) Eat a meal with protein (easily digestible) & carbs before workout for energy needed to perform & to increase muscle mass.

NO

High Intensity Interval Training Need carbohydrates for fuel.  Also, need nutrition to maintain/gain muscle mass.  Otherwise body will break down lean tissue (muscle) for energy.

NO

Weight Loss   Helps to ‘burn fat’  BUT  also need to be mindful of caloric intake for the rest of the day.  Do not overeat afterwards.
Make sure to eat after exercising to rebuild muscle and reduce muscle soreness.  Consume carbohydrates and easily digestible protein, but not fat. Fat does not digest quickly so it would not be accessible for recovery.
*Rikki Keen, MS, RD, a certified specialist in sports dietetics and certified strength and conditioning specialist says, “science has shown placing the muscle in a stressful state of low glycogen levels during selected aerobic training sessions can trigger a cascade of hormonal and gene signaling that further enhance training adaptations within the muscle cell.”
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Posted in Whole Health

A Fun & Easy Way to Exercise While Cooking

Fitness + Cuisine = FitCui

Posted in Whole Health

REPS / STRETCH/ FLEX CLASS

Nancy L (ACE certified)  @  NancyLFitness.com is offering:

REPS / STRETCH/ FLEX CLASS

Monday, Wednesday and Friday

9:15 am-10:00 am & 12:00 pm-12:45 pm

Stretching, Balance and Strength Training and Flexibility Exercises

Questions:  Call Nancy L @ 541-921-7875.   Cost: $4.00 per class.   Location:  Nancy L’s on Devil’s Lake.

Bring a friend & start having fun.

SMILE…. BREATHE… AND FEEL GREAT!!!!!

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Calories Burned with Housework, Everyday Chores and Other Activities

Turn housework into a workout.  Ironing, washing dishes, cooking, raking leaves, walking the dog, everyday activities and recreation all burn calories.

Of course, the number of calories burned varies with each person, depending on weight of the individual and the intensity that one uses attacking the task.  It does not always have to be task oriented either!  Fun stuff like hiking counts, too.

For example, assuming a 150 lb. person with average basal metabolic rate for 30 minutes of movement, the average calories burned per task are:

         Task                       Calories

  • Walking (brisk)                   ~ 150 
  • Gardening                           ~ 200 
  • Washing & waxing car        ~ 300 
  • Riding a bike                       ~ 300 to 400 
  • Raking leaves                     ~ 150 
  • Dancing                               ~ 230 
  • Swimming                           ~ 250 
  • Skiing                                  ~ 225 Alpine; ~300 Cross Country
  • Climbing stairs                    ~ 100 per 10 minutes.
Help yourself stay in shape through general household chores!
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Don’t Like Push-Ups? Try This

When performing push-ups, exercise results are augmented for the amount of effort applied.  In other words, you get “more bang for your buck” because multiple muscle groups are being activated.  You can get toned and stronger (arms, shoulders, chest, back, legs and abs) sooner.

BUT push-ups are no fun and they are hard to do!!

Try this:  start with wall push-ups.  These will help build up your strength gradually, progressing to the traditional horizontal push-up. The benefits of Push-Ups are many:

  • Build strength and stamina
  • Help develop a fit upper body and core
  • Work multiple muscle groups
  • Burn calories / lose weight
  • Do them anywhere
  • Increase difficulty as strength increases
  • No equipment needed.

The muscles summoned and exercised are:

  • Chest, pectoralis major
  • Shoulder, deltoids
  • Upper arm (back of), triceps
  • Arms, biceps
  • Abs, rectus abdominis & obliques
  • Back, erector spinae
  • Legs (front of thighs), quadriceps.

To maximize results, use proper Wall Push-Up form:

wallpushup_blog  Wall Push-Up

  1. Face wall, standing an arm’s distance away.
  2. Place your palms flat on the wall, finger tips up. Hands should be at shoulder height and slightly wider than shoulder width distance apart.
  3. Lean in toward the wall, bending elbows.
  4. Keep heels on the floor and abs contracted.
  • Keep body straight like a plank (feet under hips).
  • Elbows up.
  • Do not let hips sag.
  1. Hold a few seconds.
  2. Then, push away bearing body weigh on arms, back to starting position.

While performing push-ups and increasing the number of reps, muscles will begin to fatigue.  To forestall this fatigue, breathe with control so that the muscles may receive adequate oxygen.  When doing a wall (or regular) push-up:

  • inhale as you bend your elbows
  • exhale as you straighten them.

To increase difficulty:

  • Place feet farther away from the wall, making the body more horizontal.
  • Keep your heels on the floor
  • Perform push-up from this vantage point.

Another variation is the Push-Up to Standing:

pushuptostanding_blog  Push-Up to Standing

  1. Inhale, lower body to push-up/plank position.  Elbows are next to the ribs
  2. Exhale, pushing arms to straight position.
  3. Inhale walking hands back to feet.
  4. Maintain forward bend position, hanging like a rag doll.
  5. Exhale, rolling spine up to standing position
  6. Inhale, repeat sequence back down to push-up position.
  7. Repeat steps 2 through7.
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Posted in Fitness

Exercise – Reduce the Risk for Dementia.

How does exercise work to help prevent dementia?

As aging occurs the brain begins to shrink, specifically the hippocampus.  The hippocampus is the area of the brain involved with memory function. 

Exercising helps to increase the size of the hippocampus.  Not only does exercise work to slow brain shrinkage; it also aids in:

  • lowering high blood pressure
  • promoting blood vessel flexibility (to maintain blood flow to the brain)
  • creating new neurons (for the transmission of nerve impulses)
  • enhancing mental capability
  • reducing stress.

Aerobic / high intensity exercise also increases levels of the brain protein that works to repair and protect the brain. 

Strength training is important too.  It:

  • improves mental skills and cognitive function
  • develops muscle mass for improved bone density, balance, resting metabolic rate (bigger muscles burn more calories).

 

 

Posted in Fitness, Seniors

Flex, Stretch and Compute

As we sit at the computer our shoulders are usually forward and we are hunched over for extended periods of time.  Our bodies are not designed to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time (10 hours or more per day) has a negative effect on health: circulation decreases, muscles tire, and tasks become more uncomfortable to perform.

It can cause pain and tightness in the back and neck, tingling in the extremities and poor posture.  Along with this, there are also increases in the risk of heart disease, Type II Diabetes and some cancers.

Immediately after sitting down, muscle electrical activity and metabolism (maintenance and function processes) slow down as a result less calories are burned (1 calorie per minute is burned while sitting, 1/3 of what the body burns when walking).

After a prolonged period of this lifestyle, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) increases and weight gain occurs.  [Also, sitting after eating a meal causes high blood sugar spikes. Instead move around after eating to cut the sugar spikes in half … move around, clean the kitchen, walk the dog.]

After just two weeks of sitting, muscles begin to atrophy (shrink and weaken) and oxygen consumption (use) decreases, making it more difficult to climb stairs and walk the longer distances.  Incorrect computer posture habits combined with long-term sitting may cause medical problems such as:  cumulative trauma disorder (CTD) or repetitive stress injury (RSI).

It has also been shown that in women bone mass can drop by 1% after a year of sitting for 6 hours a day.  Reduce these effects of long term sitting; take breaks; switch things up:

  • Stand every 45 minutes to 1 hour (set an alarm or timer). Standing up for 1 – 2 minutes every hour will reduce the negative effects of sitting all day.
  • March in place for twenty seconds.
  • Reach down and try to touch your toes for twenty seconds.
  • Wander around and pick up or reorganize for twenty seconds.
  • Maintain intervals of moderate activity during the day.

Below are examples of some exercises / stretches that can be performed without leaving your desk area.  Set your timer to take breaks and go for it!  Start small and slowly work your way up to more movement.

neckflexorNeck Flexors, Sitting or Standing

  1. Stand (or sit) head comfortable in a centered position.
  2. Draw in chin pulling head straight back.  Keep jaw and eyes level.
  3. Hold this position for 5 to 7 seconds.  Release. 
  4. Repeat.

standingbendSide/Torso – Standing Bend

  1. Stand with feet together and palms overhead touching.
  2. Bend body to one side as far as possible.
  3. Hold 5 to 7 seconds.
  4. Resume original position.
  5. Bend body to the other side as far as possible.
  6. Hold 5 to 7 seconds.
  7. Resume original position.

chest-scapula-adductionChest Scapula Adduction with Pectorals

  1. Stand in a doorframe, palms against frame and arms at 90 degrees.
  2. Lean forward, squeezing shoulder blades together.
  3. Hold 7 to 10 seconds.
  4. Release, then repeat.

hipflexorHip Flexors/Quadriceps Stretch

  1. Stand, may use chair as a support.
  2. Slowly bend left leg feeling the stretch.
  3. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds.
  4. Release.
  5. Repeat with other leg.

dorsiflexionDorsiflexion and Plantar Flexion, sitting

  1. Sitting with feet on the floor.
  2. Point toes up while keeping heels on the floor.
  3. Hold position 5 to 7 seconds.
  4. Now, press toes to the floor while raising heels.
  5. Hold position 5 to 7 seconds.
  6. Repeat several times.

 

upperback-stretchUpper/Mid Back Stretch, sitting

  1. Sitting in chair with knees apart, bend forward toward the floor.
  2. Feel the stretch in the lower back.
  3. Hold 7 to 10seconds.
  4. Sit upright.
  5. Repeat.
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Posted in Wellness, Whole Health

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