5 Things You Should Do After Every Workout

K. Aleisha Fetters, a health and fitness writer, and a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA shared that you crossed the finish line, crushed your circuit routine or cranked out your last set at the squat rack — but you’re not done yet. For optimal health and exercise results, you need to cap off every sweat session with these five post-workout tasks.

1. STRETCH ANY MUSCLES YOU WORKED   Static stretching (Think: bend and hold) is best reserved for after your workouts. A comprehensive review published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports concluded that pre-exercise static stretching can reduce levels of strength, power and explosive performance during the subsequent workout. When performed immediately after your workouts, however, static stretching can help you cool down, increase muscle relaxation and potentially get tight muscles back to their resting length.

“Many exercises shorten muscles and it is important to stretch them out after the workouts,” says Todd J. Sontag, a board-certified physician with Orlando Health Physician Associatesin Florida. “For example, runners typically will have tight hamstrings if they don’t consistently stretch after their long runs. The tighter the muscles get, the more likely they are to develop injuries and lose their speed.”

Immediately following your workouts, when your muscles are still warm, aim to spend 30 seconds to one minute stretching each muscle group that feels particularly tight.

2. WASH UP   One study, by FitRated.com, found that free weights are covered in 362 times more bacteria than a toilet and a treadmill in 74 times more bacteria than a water faucet. Once trapped on your skin and in your workout clothes, those germs thrive in hot and sweaty environments.

The best way to nix them is to get those sweaty threads off ASAP and scrub up with an antibacterial wash, says Philip Tierno, PhD, clinical professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine. While taking a shower right at the gym is your best bet for combating any viruses stuck on your skin and preventing yeast infections, it’s a good idea to keep shoes on your feet at all times, according to a position statement from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

If possible, keep your dirty workout wear separate from other belongings and wash them using your washing machine’s sanitize cycle (if it has one), hot water or (if you’re working with whites) bleach. The heat setting on your dryer can also help kill any germs that weren’t washed away.

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For Schoolchildren, Weights Rise Along With Summer Temperatures

Jan Hoffman shared in th New York Times that summer is the season when children play outdoors tirelessly until nightfall, burning up all the energy they had stockpiled throughout the school year, right?

Reality check: According to a new national studyof younger elementary school students, the risk of gaining excessive weight is far greater during the summer than when they are in school.

A nationally representative sample of 18,170 kindergartners was weighed in the early fall and again in the late spring from 2010 through 2013, when the children were finishing second grade. The prevalence of children who were overweight increased to 28.7 percent from 23.3 percent. The prevalence of those who measured as obese grew to 11.5 percent from 8.9 percent. Most strikingly, according to the study published on Wednesday in the journal Obesity, all of the increases were during the summer breaks. No increase in the prevalence of being overweight or obese was seen during the school year.

“It’s dispiriting how little progress we can see as a result of all these school-based fitness and nutrition programs,” said Paul von Hippel, the lead author and an associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He was referring to initiatives such as soda bans, recalibrated school cafeteria food and more attention to physical education and nutrition curriculums. Read more

How To Control High Blood Pressure Without Medication

Irshad Alam, (romanberes12@gmail.com),  an experienced freelance writer shared with Healthy Lombard that blood pressure or hypertension can be extremely dangerous. The fact that it has no obvious symptoms makes it of a life-threatening proportion. So, it makes sense to consult the doctor on a regular basis and consume the right medication to get the numbers down. In fact, you can control your blood pressure without being on medication by following a healthy lifestyle. Making changes to the lifestyle can help you either go medication-free or at least delay the need for the same. After all, the way we lead our lives has a huge role to play in hypertension.

You can control high blood pressure without medication by following these recommended steps –

1#   Lose weight

There is a strong connection between weight and hypertension and both rise in proportion to each other. So, your blood pressure will increase if the weight goes up gradually. The focus thus should be on losing those extra pounds by making changes to the lifestyle. Not doing the same might expose you to a greater risk of the disease. Maintaining a healthy waistline will in turn maintain your blood pressure successfully.

2#   Regular exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can help you lower the blood pressure to a manageable level. You can walk, jog, swim or cycle daily for at least 30 minutes and keep hypertension in check. Even strength training provides benefits you should not miss.

 

3#   Healthy diet

What we eat has a huge bearing on the blood pressure levels in the body. The focus thus should be on eating a healthy diet – a diet that comprises of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Keep a blood pressure checker by your side so that you know the levels of blood pressure in a gradual manner.     Read more

3 Ways to Tame Inflammation

Laura Tedesco shared inTivity Health”s  Silver Sneakers newsletter that there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute is generally the good kind. When you stub your toe or come into contact with germs, your immune system leaps into action, summoning its first responders—white blood cells known as neutrophils—to the scene within minutes. They assess the damage and, if they spot an invader like a virus, prepare for battle.

Meanwhile, the cells themselves release inflammatory chemicals called cytokines to help fight invaders and recruit other immune cells to the injury site.

Once the neutrophils defeat the enemy, white blood cells known as macrophages arrive and clean up, allowing your body to heal and resume its normal, healthy functioning. Crisis averted.

Here’s the problem: Sometimes, the switch from killing to cleanup doesn’t happen—trapping your body in a state of chronic inflammation. “It’s usually not pathogen-driven,” explains Wajahat Mehal, Ph.D., M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Yale University. That means the invader isn’t bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic.

More likely, it’s an inert enemy: air pollution infiltrating your body, cholesterol burrowing into your arterial walls, gunk building up in your brain. Even stress hormones and self-particles—bits of our own DNA from cells that have died—can send your body into attack mode, Dr. Mehal says.

The constant immune activity wreaks havoc on your organs. Inflamed fat cells promote fat storage. Inflamed arteries develop pimple-like lesions that can burst and cause sudden death. An inflamed liver can lead to fatal cirrhosis. An inflamed brain can open you to dementia.

“Chronic inflammation is like having a sore on the inside of your body that never heals,” says Lori Shemek, Ph.D., author of How to Fight FATflammation!

Make no mistake: Chronic inflammation is bad news. But there’s good news too. You can control and even largely prevent it, says Barry Sears, M.D., an expert in anti-inflammatory nutrition and founder of the Zone Diet. “Eighty percent of your ability to control inflammation comes from your diet, 15 percent comes from moderate exercise, and 5 percent from meditation,” Dr. Sears says.

So let’s fix them, one by one.

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5 Non-Stimulant Fat Burners for People Sensitive to Caffeine

Alex Eriksson   at alex@anabolichealth.com asks, “Do you want to lose fat but maintain muscle mass?” Most people do! One way to support your fat loss goals is to use fat burner supplements along with regular exercise and a proper diet.

The problem with many popular fat burner supplements today is that they contain stimulants that induce changes in your adrenalin release and heart rate. These stimulant-based fat burners also directly affect the nervous system and raise blood pressure. People who are sensitive to caffeine are thus not able to use these supplements for fat loss.

In this light, which supplements can be safely used by caffeine-sensitive people wanting to lose body fat?

 

Why Some People Don’t Do Well with Stimulants

It has something to do with genetics. The COMT gene is one of the many genes that affect the way stimulants work in the body.

Caffeine increases the production and release of substances called catecholamines. High concentrations of catecholamines in the blood may cause damage in the heart muscle and eventually lead to higher risks of heart attacks.

Catechol-0-Methyl Transferase (COMT) breaks down the catecholamines released through caffeine ingestion. Now, caffeine-sensitive individuals often have COMT genes that aren’t that active. These slow-acting genes are unable to process excess catecholamine activity, leading to higher risks of muscular heart damage and increased heart attack risk. This explains why caffeine-sensitive people often experience rapid heartbeat after ingesting just a small amount of caffeine.

 

Going for Non-Stimulant Fat Burners

People who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid taking stimulant fat burners for the important reason – stimulant fat burners contain caffeine or stimulants such as ephedrine which increases risks of heart attacks and other heart conditions such as arrhythmia.

So, take your hard work in losing body fat up a notch by using non-stimulant fat burners to speed things up in a safer way. Non-stimulant fat burners utilize healthier substances instead of stimulants to remove excess fat in the body.

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WHAT IS THE BEST ANTI-AGING EXERCISE?

New research shows that certain forms of exercise have the most profound anti-aging effects.

A study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, assigned participants in two age groups — 18–30 and 65–80 — and divided them into three training categories: high-intensity interval training (HIIT), weight training or a combination of the two.

After three months, researchers compared muscle biopsies of both groups and found that strength training increased muscle mass and HIIT increased mitochondrial activity, a cellular process that declines with age and is associated with increased fatigue and inability for muscles to burn excess blood sugar. The HIIT/strength training combination had the biggest effect in older adults, helping to decrease aging at the cellular level.

In a statement about the research, K. Sreekumaran Nair, MD, a diabetes researcher at the Mayo Clinic and senior author of the study noted, “These things we are seeing cannot be done by any medicine.”

The research points to the benefits of incorporating HIIT and strength training into your routine as you get older.

“The rate at which we lose muscle mass varies dependent upon our level of activity and engagement in meaningful exercise,” Bell says.

In other words, you’re more apt to maintain muscle mass and keep body fat in check as you age if you’re physically fit.

To maximize the benefits, Bell suggests incorporating HIIT and strength training into each workout.

HIIT is defined as mixing intense bursts of exercise with short periods of active rest; a run-walk combination is a good example of HIIT. Interval training can be incorporated into activities ranging from walking and biking to swimming. These bursts keep your heart rate up and help burn fat and, according to Bell, “High-intensity interval training is considered one of the best ways to improve cardiorespiratory and metabolic function.”

BUT DON’T FORGET STRENGTH TRAINING

Strength training is also important to maintain good health as you age. A 2016 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine found that older adults who did strength training at least twice per week had a 46% lower odds of death from all causes during the study period, a 41% lower risk of cardiac death and 19% lower odds of dying from cancer than those who did not strength train.

Bell suggests building strength by training with weights 2–3 times per week. “In order to optimize results a person must be utilizing the appropriate amount of resistance, performing the exercises with proper [form] and building in recovery time,” she says.

A physical therapist or personal trainer can create a workout regimen that incorporates interval and strength training that is targeted toward your current fitness level. The effort could help keep you looking and feeling stronger, healthier and younger.

Is it Possible to Work Out Too Much?

Brittany Risher a writer, editor and digital strategist specializing in health and lifestyle content shared with My Fitness Pal that economics is probably not something you associate with fitness. However, there is a concept from econ that may also apply to your workout — and learning it can help you ensure that every second you put into your exercise is helping you achieve your goals, rather than wasting your time.

If you didn’t sleep through Economics 101, you may recall the law of diminishing returns. Whether or not you recognize this term, the gist is: If you increase one factor of production (say number of workers) but not others (time, machines, etc.), the resulting profits, benefits or other positive outcomes slowly decrease.

In layman’s terms: You put in more effort for less results.

And when you think about that concept in terms of a workout, ain’t nobody got time for that. Luckily there are ways to avoid the law of diminishing returns when it comes to fitness.

HOW THE FITNESS LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS APPLIES

Given how HIIT classes have taken over the fitness industry, it’s common sense that we want to build the most muscle and burn the most fat in the least amount of time. And it turns out that your workout can be too long.

Take a squat, for example, says Miguel Aragoncillo, strength coach at Cressey Sports Performance. “Your first rep will theoretically be your best rep. You’re fresh, and your central nervous system is not tired or taxed,” he says. “But if you do the exercise repeatedly, by rep 100, your form will not be as good, you’ll be very slow, and you need to watch your upper back and joint integrity.”

Poor form, of course, means you’re not targeting the muscles you want to, which means you won’t get the results you’re aiming for. Plus you risk injuring yourself.

Worse, if you go too hard for too long, you may break down your muscle. While breaking down muscles is the point of a workout, you build muscle when it repairs itself post-workout. If your exercise keeps going and going, your muscles won’t have a chance to recover.

“That’s why runners and athletes use sports drinks,” says Jonathan Ross, spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise and author of “Abs Revealed.” “Carbs are your primary fuel for quick, explosive types of sports or activity. If you don’t replenish those carbs after about 90 minutes or two hours, your body can get into last-resort mode, breaking down muscle to turn it into carbs for fuel.”

Keep overdoing it without giving your body time to recover, and in about two to four weeks you can see an elevated risk of increased heart rate, disrupted sleep patterns, repetitive motion injuries and, in women, disruption of the menstrual cycle, Ross adds. Read more

Cardiac rehab key to recovery and new lifestyle

Jana Tindall, RN and Lisa Reid, MS from Healthy Driven Hearts shared that cardiopulmonary rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is an essential part of your continued care following a heart attack, heart failure or a heart procedure, such as angioplasty and stent, heart surgery or transplant.

Your doctor will likely recommend you make some changes in your life, and cardiac rehab is key to helping you implement these lifestyle changes and restore your heart health. In fact, cardiac rehab decreases the risk of a future heart event by stabilizing, slowing or even reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

The process starts when you are in the hospital, and continues on an outpatient basis with the goal of continuing and/or integrating fitness and wellness into your daily life.

The program consists of three phases and is led by registered nurses, exercise physiologists and respiratory therapists:

    • Phase 1 is focused on educating you in the hospital. You are given information regarding your specific heart condition, activity/home walking program, nutrition, medications, risk factor and lifestyle changes, and emergency planning.

 

    • Phase 2 begins 3-4 weeks following your hospitalization. You receive an individualized treatment plan and work toward personalized goals with the cardiac rehab team. The team works closely with you as you progress through the program. They monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to evaluate for possible concerns as well as improvements. You attend an exercise program in cardiac rehab 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Each 60-minute session consists of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching. There is also an educational component that consists of topics such as stress management, nutrition, risk factor management and overall cardiac education.

 

    • Phase 3 is a non-monitored, self-directed exercise program offered to you after you complete phase 2. It is important to continue to exercise on your own and make fitness a regular habit. This program is open to anyone who has participated in a cardiac rehab program or has a doctor referral.

 

Cardiac rehab doesn’t change the past, but it can improve your heart’s future. Your participation and completion of the program will give you the confidence to live well with heart disease.

If you or someone you know may be eligible for cardiac rehab, speak to your doctor and obtain an order for cardiac rehab. You will need to verify your insurance coverage prior to beginning cardiac rehab.

Are You Geocaching?

This activity is part of Healthy Lombard’s summer Flat Apple activity and their version of the popular geocache hobby. The sites are not registered /official geocache sites but finding them by the Longitude and Latitude coordinates provided by NASA provides a fun, healthy family activity.  All you have to do is follow the coordinates to the official site, find the Flat Apple sign, take a selfie with it, and then post to the Healthy Lombard Selfie Facebook Page or send to jay@healthylombard.com.

If you want to participate but are unsure how to find the sites, these links might be helpful:

Using Google Maps to Find or enter latitude & longitude with Android

Finding a location with latitude & longitude with an  iPhone

Healthy Lombard’s Flat Apple Summer Program is designed to motivate kids (and their parents since adults are children’s role models) to start, or continue physical exercise,  participate in healthy group activities, and practicing healthy habits. The program is designed to encourage kids to keep their bodies moving when they are on summer break from school.

The fine print:

Children ages preschool through high school are eligible to participate.

  1. Children must be registered to win.  To register EITHER Click on the Facebook link at the top of the Healthy Lombard website at www.healthylombard.com  and then click “Sign Up”or use        THIS LINK TO REGISTER.
  2. WHEN REGISTERING, PLEASE REMEMBER AFTER YOU FILL IN THE STUDENT INFORMATION TO COMPLETE THE PARENT/GUARDIAN INFORMATION. Once registered you will receive confirmation and a copy of the 2017 logo.

So … Ready Set Go to:

5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight, 20 Minutes at a Time

Paige Smitha freelance health and lifestyle writer, editor and perpetual optimist from Southern California wrote for My Fitness Pal that committing to losing weight is a big enough challenge on its own, and even more challenging if you have a jam-packed schedule. You may think you need to block off a big chunk of time to hit the gym or cook meals from scratch, but that’s not the case. Even if you have just 20 minutes to spare, you can use that time to stay active, dial in your diet and make serious progress.

 

Try these five 20-minute activities to conquer your weight-loss goals.

1. DO A HIIT WORKOUT

If you only have 20 minutes a day to exercise, ACE-certified personal trainer Amanda Dalesays you should focus on HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. Add resistance by using weights, kettlebells or resistance bands.

“Working in high-intensity intervals burns fat faster than working at a steady-state intensity,” says Dale echoing many studies, “and the afterburn effect of working out at high intensity means you’ll burn more calories after the workout as well.”

2. STOCK UP ON HEALTHY STAPLES AT THE MARKET

A good grocery store haul can simplify your meal prep process and help you make smart food choices day in and day out.

Dietitian Kimberly Gomer, director of nutrition at Miami’s Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa,recommends buying whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. “Stock up on fruits, veggies, whole grains [like] oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice, plant protein [such as] beans and lentils, egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and some salmon and chicken breast,” she says.

It’s also important to pick up easy, nutrient-rich snack foods to help manage your appetite throughout the day, according to dietitian Cara Harbstreet of Street Smart Nutrition. Think: fresh fruit, raw nuts and protein bars.


READ MORE > YOUR QUICK & EASY GUIDE TO CREATING A CALORIE DEFICIT


3. GO FOR A WALK AFTER LUNCH

Carve out an extra 20 minutes during your afternoon break to get moving. “Taking a walk after a meal won’t necessarily negate [your] calorie intake,” says Dale, “but it can [increase] the rate at which food moves through [your] stomach, resulting in lower blood sugar,” which, in turn, helps stabilize your appetite and reduce cravings.

4. PREP DINNER INGREDIENTS FOR THE WEEK

Planning your dinners in advance is a foolproof way to ensure you’re eating nutritious, satisfying meals each night. Harbstreet recommends preparing your main ingredients first, whether that means roasting veggies, cooking a batch of quinoa or making salad dressing. “Then, when it comes time to reheat and serve, I [just] add my favorite toppings, seasonings and spices so I can avoid boredom with the same foods,” she says. Check out our Beginners Guide to Meal Planning for more info.

5. ADD INTERVALS TO YOUR CARDIO

Your cardio workout doesn’t have to be a long slog to be effective, according to Dale. To get your heart rate up and simultaneously burn more fat, experiment with a progressive interval workout. “Instead of running 20 minutes at a 6.0 speed” for example, she says, “try running one minute at 9.0 and walking 30 seconds at 4.0, progressively adding 10 seconds to the running and recovery times until you’ve reached 20 minutes.” For more details, we recommend this short treadmill workout.

If running isn’t your favorite form of cardio, you can incorporate intervals like these into a cycling, swimming or jump-roping workout for the same effect.