Thursday, March 06, 2008

Food Ingredients! A Cause For Concern!

The general lack of health seen in our society has a direct connection to the products produced by the food manufacturing industry and the pharmaceutical companies. It appears that we humans are the testing ground, eating foods that cause and/or contribute to disease, then taking drugs to mask our health issues instead of getting to their underlying cause.

We have become a society of over-eaters, ingesting these so called safe and approved ingredients for years, not knowing the detrimental health robbing effects they have on our health and longevity.

Today, processed foods line the grocery store shelves. These food products are beautifully boxed, canned, or packaged with large add campaigns to entice the consumer. Most of these so called foods are convenient and easy to prepare, but are generally not healthy for us. Have you ever heard of the term overfed and undernourished? Well, that about covers it when we consume these nutrient deficient foods.

During the manufacturing process many vital nutrients are lost. Then additional ingredients have to be added to "fortify" or make these foods more palatable, and with a longer shelf life. These dead foods not only fill our stomachs, but contain ingredients that over time can be detrimental to our health. These include, artificial preservatives, flavorings, trans fats and hydrogenated oils, processed sugar or artificial sweeteners, and many other fake ingredients as well. Is there any wonder why cancer, diabetes and other life altering diseases are a epidemic proportions.

Lets take a look at just a small sampling of ingredients commonly used in to boxed, canned or package foods.

Sodium nitrites/sodium nitrates: These preservatives are used in processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, ham, bacon, and sausage, etc. to enhances flavor and stabilize color. They have been shown to contribute to some forms of cancer, with a large emphasis on pancreatic cancer.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate): MSG, also known as "hydrolyzed protein" "yeast extract" or even "natural flavors" is not a preservative, it's only purpose is to enhances the taste of food so that it is more appealing and addicting to the consumer. Yet it is an excitotoxin that over stimulates nerve cells until they are damaged or killed. MSG has been linked to brain cancer and seizures.

Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet and Equal): Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that entered into the food supply in the early 1980s. Its use in diet sodas and other diet products accounts for 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. It too is an excitotoxin.

Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose is another artificial sweetener used in many boxed and canned products today. It is hyped as "natural" because it is made from sugar, but it is not really natural at all. This synthetic chemical consists of two molecules of sugar (sucrose) and three molecules of chlorine. Some experts believe that this "so called sugar substitute" more closely resembles the chemical composition of pesticide than it does sugar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: A substitute for sugar, high fructose corn syrup is considered by some to be even more detrimental to our health. The fructose however, in HFCS is metabolized differently by the body. Fructose, does not enhance leptin production, a hormone that regulates appetite and fat storage and it doesn't suppress another hormone, ghrelin that helps regulate food intake. Hunger normally declines after eating carbohydrates made up of glucose. Not so, with high fructose corn syrup. For this reason, eating it may also contribute to the over consumption of calories.

Limiting these as well as other artificial ingredients may not be easy, but well worth the effort. Eating a clean diet of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds goes a long way in turning around are health.

Are you worth it?

Secrets to a Restful Nights Sleep!

Just how many of us are getting the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep? If you fall asleep, can you stay asleep throughout the night? With the amount of prescription sleep aids sold in this country it appears that many of us are having difficulty meeting our sleep requirements.

Getting approximately 8 hours of sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system and a must to regulate our hormones. Poor sleep habits increase accidents, affect memory, eating habits and the ability to deal with stress. Lack of sleep also contributes to symptoms of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and accelerates aging.

Are you one of the 82 million who experience these common symptoms:
  • Wake up feeling un-refreshed
  • Have difficulty falling asleep
  • Wake up early and are not able to get back to sleep
  • Waking frequently during the night
Is taking a sleep medication like Ambien and Lunesta the answer? Recently there have been multiple reports of bizarre behavior with no conscious recollection of their actions, by folks taking these prescription sleep aids. Some report that they have felt drugged the next day and attribute their corresponding car accidents to the taking of these types of medications. These hazardous behaviors may indicate that the long term effects of taking these types of drugs may be worse than the original problem.

So what can you do to gain a good nights sleep:
Develop a sleep routine. Going to bed early and at the same time every night helps to assist your body in gaining a handle on restful sleep. You get twice the benefit from the sleep you acquire between the hours of 10 pm to midnight than those gained after 12 am.
Daily exercise reduces stress and assists in getting a good nights sleep. Studies have shown that 20 to 30 minutes of daily Magnesium and calcium are also beneficial to those looking for a solution to their sleep issues.

When all else fails you may want to try massage, acupuncture, cranial sacral manipulation or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

I would like to make clear, that there is a direct relationship between sunlight and sleep. Sunlight initiates the production of serotonin which slows down at night when the pineal gland starts converting its stores of serotonin to melatonin. This is another reason that sleeping in a dark room and moving away from the television and computer (due to the light they give off) helps promote sleep. While waiting to restore your natural sleep clock you may want to investigate or supplement with melatonin, or melatonin’s precursors 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) or L-Tryptophan.

Hopefully, you will find restful sleep in one or more of these tools, techniques and supplements. Sweet dreams!

Aspartame: A Toxic Choice!

Aspartame: What you need to know!

There has been a great deal of controversy circulating on the internet as of late, regarding aspartame. Even with this the news and media seem for the most part to keep the damaging effects of this artificial sweetener under wraps.

However the information that we’ve seen points to a very toxic and possibly lethal substance which for many reasons has managed to get the approval of the FDA.

There seems to be a conspiracy of sorts to keep us from being informed about the dangers of this poison. But after more than 20 years of aspartame use, the public is beginning to discover for themselves that aspartame is at the root of many of their health problems.

Sold commercially as Equal or Nutra Sweet, and owned by Monsanto, this artificial sweetener was hailed as a solution for those trying to lose weight and refrain from sugar.

But the negative effects that people have reported vary. Symptoms such as memory loss, slurred speech, hyperactivity, rashes, anxiety and seizures along with fibromyalgia, MS, just to name a few adverse reactions reported to the FDA. Seizures are common among aspartame users but it is headaches that are the most common complaint. Although pregnant women and children under 7 are cautioned not to us this sweetener, it is becoming clear that the general public should be warned against its use, since it appears this product will not be removed anytime soon.

According to FDA spokesman Thomas Wilcox, “…the reports to the FDA aren’t sufficient to warrant a change in the product’s classification ” Even though 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA are from Aspartame.

Aspartame is owned by the Monsanto Corporation which funds among others, the American Diabetes Association, The American Dietetic Association, and the conference of the American College of Physicians. Since these associations take money from the Monsanto Co. they must endorse their products and therefore can not criticize this additive or convey any link to the Company.

According to an article on, there are over 90 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption including: brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and epilispsy/seizures, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

Furthermore, when aspartame is stored for long periods of time or kept in warm areas it changes to methanol, an alcohol that converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Call to Wellness: Regenerative Health 101!

Today is the day you can begin to learn and take action that will help you to achieve your health and wellness goals. We understand that with this information and knowledge comes power...the power to change your life, the power to heal, the power to find health, energy and happiness again.

This page is designed to explain some vital concepts about your body and nutrition.

Welcome to Regenerative Health 101

Every Sickness & Disease Begins On a Cellular Level

The human body contains around 80 to 100 TRILLION CELLS! It is an incredibly complex system of resources that is necessary to keep this machine called a human body working. If we are to address any issue in the body or help keep the body functioning, we must learn how to provide our bodies with the necessary resources it needs in the correct form. This all occurs on a cellular level.

Around 60 million of body cells die and rebuild EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY! To keep this fantastic process going 24 hours a day, we must provide each and every living cell in our bodies 5 specific resources:

- Minerals
- Vitamins
- Oxygen
- Water
- Proteins

The Bloodstream Is the 'River Of Life'

Our blood circulates through our body for very important reasons, to carry oxygen and other key elements INTO every cell in our body and to carry dead cells, wastes and contaminants OUT OF our body through natural biological processes.

Because this must occur to keep our trillions of cells alive, the bloodstream is literally the 'River of Life'. It is the messenger which transports the RESOURCES in the form of NUTRIENTS throughout the body. The level of cellular health within the body can be directly traced to the types of resources we consume through food and drink everyday. If we were to look at our cells under a microscope, we could identify many, many 'inferior' dying or mutated cells in people who consume low nutrient or poorly prepared foods. Conversely, we could identify many, many 'superior' health cells in people who consume well-prepared or raw foods high in nutrient value.

The key is simple; everything you put into your mouth has consequences. What you eat and drink everyday has a direct result reflected in your current health and energy levels. When cellular resources deplete, the aging process begins to accelerate.

The 4 Stages of 'Degenerative Health

As we grow older, we often find that we have less energy, we are sick more; issues, re-occurring symptoms, conditions, and often diseases begin to occur more often. Fundamentally, this is a direct result of depleting cell health. We call this condition 'Degenerative health -or- the Aging Process. The 4 Stages of 'Degenerative Health (The Aging Process)

Stage 1 -Cell Health Depletes
- No symptoms are visible.
- You feel fine regardless of what you are eating.
- Your body is responding to nutritional deficiencies without any symptoms.

Stage 2 -Organ and Gland Reserves Are Drained
- Still, no outward symptoms are visible.
- Internally, your body is working hard to balance cellular resources.
- Your internal organ cellular health is changing and beginning to mutate.
- Gland and organ are no longer functioning at a normal level.

Stage 3 -Microscopic Changes in Living Tissue
- Sub-clinical symptoms begin to surface - You begin to feel different or worse. Your energy is down.
- Occasional internal or external pain is occasionally noticed.
- Gland and organ are now functioning at nominal levels.
- Worry begins to creep into your conscious thoughts and habits.

Stage 4 -Macroscopic Changes in Living Tissue
- Clinical symptoms appear.
- Disease often sets in and is diagnosed.
- Many physical and mental challenges begin to surface.
- Often physical exhaustion and difficulty sleeping occur.
- Glands and organs are now functioning at low levels.
- Real fear sets in and people often don't know where to turn.

Although the above information is accurate and somewhat disturbing, there is always hope.

Your body CAN regenerate cellular health from Stage 4 (or any other stage) and return to optimal health with RESOURCES and a PLAN.

Fish Oil / Omega 3 Fatty Acid! Why So Important?

While health experts argue the benefits of some health supplements, the evidence continues to mount in favor of fish oil. Fish and fish oil supplements supply us with the Omega 3 fatty acids that are needed for heart and brain health. Even the American Heart Association strongly endorses the use of fish oil for cardiovascular health. Why? Because those with diets rich in Omega 3 fats are less likely to have high blood pressure or irregular heart rhythms, and are less likely to die from heart attacks or strokes.

Omega 3 fatty acids are also beneficial for brain health. The human brain is more than sixty percent structural fat. But, the type of fat needed for the brain to function properly is Omega 3 fatty acids. According to recent research, decreasing your intake of Omega 6 fats (primarily vegetable oils) along with increasing Omega 3 fatty acids, reduces the risk of depression, aggressive behavior, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia and lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Other current studies with Omega 3 fats have shown benefits with regards to cancer, inflammatory diseases, diabetes and other health related conditions.

Of course we all know that there are good fats and bad fats. Any artificially produced fat, called transfats are not good for us and saturated fats should always be kept at a minimum.

There is a type of fat called EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) that are not only good for you but essential for normal growth and development. Furthermore, your body can’t manufacture them, so you must get them from your diet. Essential Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated and are grouped into Omega 6 and Omega 3s.

Although both types of Omegas are essential for health, experts agree that our diet ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids is greatly unbalanced. While our ancestor’s diets consisted of a diet ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of about 1:1, our modern dietary habits now reflect a ratio closer to 20:1 to 50:1.

According to Dr. Donald Rudin, author of Omega 3 Oils, fatty acids are the main structural components of every cell membrane in the body, and therefore influence every process in the cell. He concludes that a balanced intake of essential fatty acids is necessary for both healthy cell function and a sense of well-being.

The permeability of the cell depends on the essential fatty acids. This allows nutrients into the cell and toxins to escape. When we rely on other fats to do the job required of Omegas 3 fats the structure of the membrane of each cell becomes stiff and unable to remain healthy enough to do its job.

The primary sources of Omega 6 fats are canola, soy, corn, safflower and sunflower oil. These oils are overabundant in the typical diet, which explains our excess Omega 6 levels. Meanwhile Omega 3 fats are typically found in flaxseed oil, walnuts and fish.

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold-water fish, such as tuna, salmon, trout and mackerel consists of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Omega 3’s in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) can be found in flaxseed and walnut oils, and seaweed. However, the body must convert ALA to DHA and EPA to derive the heart & brain healthy benefit. This conversion however, is often difficult for some people to make. Therefore getting your Omega 3 fat acids directly from cold water fish or fish oil supplements may be your best bet.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Stevia! Dangerous Substance or Healthy Alternative to Sugar?

We are all aware that sugar is not our friend. Sugar increases insulin levels and may lead to a myriad of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, inflammation, premature aging and so on.

Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) and Splenda come with their own set of debilitating and damaging effects. These chemical substitutes are not the answer for good health or for caloric restriction. Aspartame for example has been linked to brain cancer, emotional disorders, seizures, and birth defects. More than 75% of all non-drug complaints to the FDA are about Aspartame. These side effects are but a small sampling of the 100's of adverse reactions caused by Aspartame.

Animal research has linked Splenda (succulous) with enlarged liver and kidneys, shrunken thymus glands, reduced growth rate and aborted pregnancies. Available only since 1999, the reports of adverse effects on humans is beginning to evolve, but understand that people having adverse reactions may not make the connection.

Reducing or quitting sugar altogether is beneficial to good health. Yet, we all know how very hard this is to do. In our house, we have consciously reduced sugar to almost nothing. We do however, need a bit of sweetener on occasion, for example to sweeten lemon aid, ice tea, coffee, whole grain cereal, oatmeal etc. We therefore recommend choosing Stevia over sugar or artificial sweeteners.

What is Stevia?

Stevia is a non caloric sweetener, an herb, native to Paraguay. It has been used as a sweetener for centuries in Paraguay and decades in Japan without a single complaint regarding harmful effects. This small green plant bears leaves which have a delicious and refreshing taste that is 10-15 times sweeter than table sugar. This extracts called steviosides, claim as much as 200-300 times the sweetness of table sugar.

This is a natural dietary supplement which studies have shown offers a bounty of health benefits. Here are just some of the nutrients found in the leaf.

Vitamin A & C, Phosphorus, Potassium, Riboflavin, Fiber, Protein, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Calcium

Because the human body does not metabolize the sweet compound in Stevia, called glycoside, (causing the body to pass it through normal channels without raising blood sugar) it is an excellent sugar substitute for those wishing to lose weight.

Research carried out in Japan and South America, clearly demonstrates the beneficial effects of Stevia in regulating blood sugar levels and supporting the pancreas, reducing the symptoms of diabetes and hypoglycemia. Other traditional uses of Stevia are to lower elevated blood pressure (hypertension), as a digestive aid, to reduces gas and stomach acidity, and inhibit the growth and reproduction of bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.

Stevia is widely used all over the world, from Japan (claiming 41% of the sweetener market, including sugar), China, Germany, Israel, South Korea and so on. And we repeat, with no reports of toxicity. In the US, the FDA banned this natural non-caloric alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners in 1991. But, since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), Stevia can be sold legally in the United States, but only as a "dietary supplement." Why?...Well, money talks and pockets and influence run deep.

Many companies today are using this as a sweetener (whoops! dietary supplement) in nutrition bars, meal replacement drinks, protein powders, etc. And generally, you don't have to go to the health food store to find it. Most grocery stores are now stocking it. If yours does not, just ask. I'm sure they won't mind stocking it. Ours didn't.

If you give Stevia a try, be patient, it may not suit you the first few times you try it but believe me, soon you'll wonder why you ever used anything else. Stevia is actually good for your health! It's a no-brainer! Do yourself and your family a big favor and try Stevia like our family has. It just may be a health changing experience.

Monosodium Glutamate! Dangerous For Your Health!

Eating out as well as eating boxed or canned foods is commonplace today. Over the last thirty or forty years fast food restaurants have sprung up on every corner. And almost everyone eats at one of these quickie restaurants at least once or twice a week. But, at what cost to the body and the mind!

There are many ingredients in today’s food that are unnatural, keep food fresh, make foods tasty and also cause disease. One such ingredient is MSG…Monosodium Glutamate.

Whether you consider yourself health-conscious or not, it would benefit you and your family to have information on this additive. Making healthy choices and taking appropriate action can save you or a loved one, a slow poisoning via our food supply.

Tests run on mice and rats that have been injected with MSG show that this ingredient tripled the amount of insulin in the pancreas, causing the rats to become obese. Could ingesting this ingredient act the same on humans? MSG has not only been linked to obesity but also to Diabetes, Migraines, Autism, ADHD, Depression, and Alzheimer’s.

What’s that old milk commercial slogan…it does a body good.
In this case…Not!

Go to your cupboard and check to see just how many of your favorite foods have MSG on the label. If not MSG then look for Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, which is just another name for Monosodium Glutamate. You’ll be shocked…amazed…perplexed even! How could we have this ingredient in our food supply!

Is MSG a preservative? NO! We can find no reference that this ingredient has any value, other than to make food appealing and ADDICTING to the consumer. It simply makes you eat more…and more…and more! How clever! We do have an obesity epidemic in this country and generally, we wonder why. Could it at least be partially attributed to this food additive? It’s definitely something to consider!

The amount of MSG in our food has increased over the 50 years since it’s introduction into the food supply. The FDA has set no limits to how much of it can be added to food. Is it harmful to humans? Well…think about it. What foreign substance isn’t! How much can our bodies handle anyway? Not just MSG…but the multitude of other substances, like nitrates, aspartame, hydrogenated fats and the list goes on.

But if you are still unsure, go to and search MSG. That way you can come to your own conclusions.

You know how the system works today…Money Talks! You won’t hear this type of information on TV for obvious reasons. But we must educate ourselves and empower our family and friends.

Spread the word: "It does a body Good!"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Water! Keep Your Body Functioning At Optimal Health!

Drinking water is one of the most simple yet important steps you can take with regards to your health. Not only does water play a role in nearly every bodily function, from cushioning your joints to removing waste from your body, adequate water consumption is crucial to good health. Almost every cell in your body needs water to function properly.Drinking enough water makes everything function at optimal levels. When we don’t keep our bodies well hydrated, they may react with a variety of signals.

Some of these include:
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Dry Skin

Over the long term, dehydration can affect kidney function, digestion, or blood pressure. Without ample water intake the pancreas is less efficient, acids in the stomach are not properly neutralized and the functions of the intestines are inhibited. Water is just what the body needs. Not only as a source of energy but also as a vital aid to help cleanse the body and ensure that every cell in the body functions properly.

It is believed that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. In some, the thirst mechanism is so weak it is mistaken for hunger.Obviously if you are trying to lose weight, water intake is important. Actually, water is the single most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off. And if you have water weight, it may seem strange, but to get rid of the excess water, you must drink more water.

Water also helps with digestion and keeps you from overeating. If you are not drinking plenty of water, you will probably eat more to satisfy your body’s need for water.

Spring or filtered water is your best choice, as tap water contains chlorine and possibly fluoride that can cause dire consequences for your health. Some folks add minerals to distilled water and believe it's the way to go. But for us the jury is still out on distilled water.

Generally, the recommended water intake is one quart to every 50 lbs of body weight. Therefore, an average 150 lb person should drink three quarts of water a day. But don’t confuse water consumption with fluid consumption. Soda and coffee are not acceptable substitutions. Caffeine causes increased urine production and acts as a dehydration agent. These drinks can actually cause the body to lose water making proper hydration more difficult to obtain.

You may also want to begin drinking your water at room temperature if possible, as ice cold water can actually harm the delicate lining of your stomach.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Antioxidants! What Are They And What Do They Do!

Antioxidants act as cell protectors, and are believed to help protect the body from free-radical damage. In order to fully understand this mechanism we would need a brief refresher course in Physiology/Chemistry 101 ... well skip that here :-).

Just to sum it up, antioxidants help to prevent cell tissue damage that has been linked to disease and aging. They do this by donating one of their own electrons to neutralize damage to cells by free radicals. This ends the electron-stealing reaction because antioxidants themselves are stable with or without this electron.

Eating a balanced diet and getting 5-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is an excellent start to ensure an adequate intake of antioxidants. A few of the better-known antioxidants include carotenoids--the substance that gives fruits and vegetables their deep rich colors. Apricots, broccoli, pumpkin, cantaloupes, spinach, carrots, red bell peppers, and sweet potatoes, are some good choices in addition to lycopene in tomatoes.

Other examples of antioxidants include, Vitamin C, E, A (which is converted from beta-carotene), and selenium (a mineral).

Vitamin C - The most abundant water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Acts primarily in cellular fluid. It also helps return vitamin E to its active form. Present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.

Vitamin E - d-alpha tocopherol. The most abundant fat-soluble antioxidant in the body.Primary defender against oxidation. Present in nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains (esp. wheat germ), fortified cereals, and apricots.

Vitamin A - (Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A (retinol) by the body) The body will only convert as much vitamin A from beta-carotene that it needs, which makes this a safe source of vitamin A. However, be careful of supplementing with Vitamin A. Too much via supplementation can be toxic.

Selenium - A trace mineral and a proven antioxidant. The most concentrated food source is in the Brazil nut, which contains about 120 mcg. Seafood and poultry are also good sources, as are grains…especially oats and brown rice. But the amount of selenium in foods depends on how much was in the soil to begin with. With the mineral depletion in the soil today, it is unlikely that you will get too much in your food.

Adding a rich source of antioxidant foods into your diet will help protect your body from the long-term and cumulative effects of free radical damage. Antioxidants have been shown to protect the body from diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer's disease.

Sea Salt! The Healthy Alternative!

We’ve all heard that salt is bad for you. But actually salt is essential to living a healthy life. What many do not realize is that there is refined table salt and there is Sea Salt. They are completely different.

Regular refined table salt is an unnatural substance striped of its valuable nutrients and is about 97.5 % sodium chloride. Sea Salt that has not been unrefined is pinkish or gray in color, moist and full of important minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper etc. It’s a natural salt source of twenty one essential minerals and many more lesser elements. This makes Sea Salt much better for you than regular salt. And you need salt to make hydrochloric acid which helps you digest proteins.

It was Linus Pauling, Ph.D. (Two time Nobel Prize Winner) who said: “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency.

”Your body can not make minerals therefore it’s important to get your mineral needs met in someway. Using Sea Salt is just one tool to help you meet this need. And using natural salt is as old as human history. Salt was even a major source of exchange in the distant past because it was seen as such a precious commodity.

Since we are going to use salt in our diet anyway, maybe its time to get rid of the over processed refined variety and try SEA SALT! There ARE health benefits!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Importance of Exercise

Regular exercise is absolutely imperative for good health, because like it or not, a sedentary lifestyle leads to disease. We were designed to be active, productive and youthful. Along with eating a healthy diet we must move and build our strength in order to be able to maintain it. As we put a greater demand on our body it will rebuild a little stronger each time to compensate for the new greater demand.

Exercise has these additional benefits:

1. The heart and cardiovascular system become stronger.
2. Our metabolism becomes balanced, burning calories and unused fat for energy.
3. Our glands will release the proper hormones for growth and repair, helping our hormones stay balanced.
4. The lymphatic system will rid the body of toxins.
5. Assists in the regulation of blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
6. Controls diabetes or cuts the risk.
7. Improves emotional well being.
8. Protects against forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The new dietary and fitness guidelines recommend 30 to 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day. If you feel that 30 minutes 3 times a week was hard enough to find time for, much less the new recommendation, all is not lost. There are experts that feel once you work yourself to a good level of fitness, backing off to 30 minutes 3 times a week may suffice for sustaining a maintenance level of fitness.

Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

There are many forms of aerobic exercise that you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Lets take a look at what you might do to get an aerobic work out.

Aerobic/Cardio Exercise

1. Walking (indoors in place or outdoors) at a vigorous pace.
2. Running or Jogging (be careful, these can be hard on the joints).
3. Bicycling (stationary, spinning or standard outdoors).
4. Aerobics (step, dance, kickboxing, jazzercise etc.) take a class at the gym or purchase one of the many videos on the market to workout with at home.
5. Equipment (Elliptical, Rower, Stepper, Treadmill, Rebounder etc.)
There are many different pieces of equipment to assist you in performing cardio.

Start slow and easy. Work your way up to a good intensity level but don’t work yourself to exhaustion. This can over tax your system by creating a high level of oxidative stress, making your exercise more harmful than beneficial. A good rule of thumb to create a safe, but intense enough level to yield healthful benefits, is if it’s a little difficult to carry on a regular conversation. If you can’t carry on a conversation at all, you’re going to fast, so back off a little. Practice makes perfect.

No matter what type of aerobic/cardio activity you decide to use, consistency is the key to being successful. Being a weekend warrior doesn’t get the job done.

It has been proven that strength training is just as important as aerobics or cardio. You don’t have to become an avid bodybuilder, just do enough to keep the muscles working and strong.

Strength Training

Strength training (anaerobic activity) comes in many different forms and is just as important as aerobics/cardio. Our muscles will gradually waste away if they are not worked (use it or lose it). By working the muscles and putting a greater demand on them, they will respond and build stronger to meet the greater demand. We will have more strength, which in turn will make daily activities much easier. This will keep us from becoming weak and frail as we grow older.

You’ve probably heard the term “NO PAIN NO GAIN”. Well, it is true, but let’s keep it in perspective. There is good responsible pain and there’s bad pain. Let’s look at the bicep curl for instance, and see how it creates the good pain.

With the proper weight dumbbell in hand, arm hanging down to the side of your leg, and your palm facing your leg, elbow into your side staying stationary and acting as a hinge, raise your lower your arm and dumbbell rotating your palm to face your shoulder on the way up. Do not pause at the top, but immediately lower the dumbbell back to starting position. Repeat this movement several more times in a smooth controlled manner.

Lets say you were able to repeat that movement 8 to10 times. On the last couple of movements you would begin to feel a tight burn in the bicep (muscle on the front of your upper arm). You would have worked the muscle to partial failure (meaning it would have been difficult to have done one or two more movements). What you would be experiencing in this scenario is good pain. If you train incorrectly or try to lift too much weight, you might feel pain in a joint or damage a muscle (this is bad pain). Stop immediately and seek medical attention.

In weight lifting terms, you just completed one set of 8-10 repetitions.
When you started to feel the burn, you were slightly tearing down your muscle and with proper rest and nutrition, over the next several days it will rebuild slightly stronger. This is basically how the process works. You tear it down and it rebuilds. If you are a beginner or especially a senior, please take it slow. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t overdo it in the beginning, because you will become injured or discouraged. This could cause you to give up and quit all together.

Your muscles, joints and nervous system will adjust and your strength will increase gradually over time. You can use this as your clue to add additional weight. This is what you strive for. No matter what your age, if trained correctly, you will see great improvement over time.

Cardiovascular experts now realize that strength training offers a significant benefit to health and fitness that far exceeds just shaping muscles. The results from strength training studies on the elderly have been outstanding. If you are elderly and your doctor has cleared you for exercise, we highly recommend joining a gym or hiring a certified fitness trainer. This will insure that you do the exercises correctly so that you do not injure yourself. Cardio, strength training, flexibility and balance training are handled quite well using professionals.

Falling is the leading cause of death in the elderly. This is due in part, to inactivity, poor eating habits, wasting of muscles and the fragility of the body. Studies prove that if exercise is done correctly, strength, flexibility, and balance can be increased and maintained by an amazing percentage, regardless of age.

Strength Training Equipment

Let’s look at the types of equipment that work great to strengthen your muscles and improve your health.

1. Free weights (dumbbells and barbell, weight plates)
2. Machine weight systems
3. Elastic bands and cords
4. Free hand exercise (push ups, chin ups, etc.)

Free weights are very easy to use. They come in one solid piece that is as light or as heavy as you like or you can get a complete set with two small bars, longer barbell and varying poundage plates that can be added. With the addition of an adjustable bench, you have a very inexpensive basic home gym.

Machine weight systems come in all sizes and prices. They are very user friendly and easy to get accustomed to. You can find them in most gyms or you can purchase one for home use. They come with instructions.

I’m sure you’ve seen commercials on TV for Bowflex and Weider’s Crossbow (similar to Bowflex). We own a Weider Crossbow and have owned one of the very first Bowflex units made by Schwinn in the past. With no ties to either company we highly recommend both units. They provide a very safe and efficient workout. We alternate using the crossbow and free weights for variety. Some bodybuilding experts feel that you can’t get a quality muscle building workout with either of these machines, but they work quite well for us and many others.

We’ve also used the Total Gym (advertised by Chuck Norris) and can tell you, it will give you a great workout if used correctly. It’s probably not for someone who wants to become a competition bodybuilder, but it will definitely give you a quality workout (cardio and resistance).

All of the above equipment comes with instructions and workout programs, so you really can’t go wrong with most equipment on the market. There is one exception in our opinion and that’s expensive abdominal gadgets. Fitness experts say, there is no such thing as spot reduction, especially the stomach. You can work the abs til the cows come home and if they’re still covered with layers of fat, their not going to show. The key is overall body fat loss. Then adding the standard variations of crunches and leg lifts needed to train the abs. That’s when the abs will begin to show. Just be patient.

There are many total body workout books, videos, and TV programs on the market. It doesn’t matter which equipment, gym, or program you decide to use, it’s dedication and persistence that will pay off in the long run. Diet is key also. When you exercise with enough intensity to yield health benefits, your body is under extra oxidative stress and needs to be properly nourished to protect and rebuild. A good diet is absolutely imperative.

Adding a cardiovascular and strength training program in your life will let you exercise “Our Birthright to Good Health”.