Thursday, November 1, 2012

Achieve Your Health And Fitness Goals

Get SMART to Get Fit
I'm not sure who was creative enough to make the acronym work, but work it does and it can fit in quite nicely with your fitness goals.
If you want to succeed you need to get SMART about your goals.
SMART is a great way to help you stay on track and achieve
your goals.
The S stands for specific. Be specific about the goals you
want to achieve. Forget things like, "I want to get in shape", "I want to add muscle", or "I want to lose weight", or "I want to increase my bench press."
Instead try things like "I want to run a 6 minute mile", "I want to add 10 pounds of muscle", "I want to lose 20 pounds of fat, or "I want to add 40 pounds to my best bench press."
The M stands for measurable. This ties in very well with specific. You can't measure 'getting in shape", but you sure can measure 'running a 6 minute mile'.
With a pair of trusty skin fold calipers, you can also measure pretty accurately adding 10 pounds of muscle or losing 20 pounds of fat.
And of course, you can easily measure the poundage increase on your best bench press.
The specific and measurable aspect can be broken down even more to bring you closer to achieving your goals. For example, if you want to add 10 pounds of muscle, what other specific and measurable things must you do to reach your goal?
One could be that you must eat 6 high protein meals a day.
A second could be that you must eat 3,500 calories and 300 grams of protein every day.
You must train with weights three days per week.
You must add weight to your exercises at least every other workout.
All of these are specific and measurable. The more specifics that you have, the more likely you will add your 10 pounds of muscle as quickly as possible.
You can make a list of your daily, weekly, and monthly goals that you must do in order to meet your top goal of adding 10 pounds of muscle.
Each day, place a check mark next to each measurable and specific goal you achieved that will help you conquer your top goal. Obviously, the more checks you have, the more likely that you will achieve your goal.
In addition to specific and measurable, your goals must be A, or attainable. The R stands for realisitic. As I've said before, it's important to set challenging goals.
Challenging, but attainable, that is. A goal of a 50 pound increase on your bench press max in 12 weeks would be a challenging goal, but also one that is possible.
However, setting a goal of bench pressing 300 pounds in 4 weeks when you currently bench press 75 pounds will do nothing but set you up for failure and frustration.
Obviously, weight loss is on the minds of many people, which is why so many fall victim to promises like "lose 30 pounds in 30 days without getting hungry and without exercising."
As a reader of this newsletter, you know that the above is neither timely nor realistic. But many people do fall for such things because they want results NOW! They are setting themselves up for failure. Please don't join them.
The T stands for Timely. If you do everything previously mentioned, it's still not enough. You must give yourself a deadline to achieve your goal. More importantly, if your goal is attainable and realistic, but also long term, break it up into smaller goals.
If you wish to lose 75 pounds, start with losing just 10 pounds in 2 months. Reaching that goal will motivate you further and before you know it, enough time has passed that you've lost the 75 pounds.
But if you focus solely on losing the 75 pounds, which could take a year or more to accomplish, your motivation and discipline could wane, and you could fail to follow through on what you need to do to make your goal a reality.
Making goals timely hold you accountable and creates a positive sense of urgency. You may think twice about eating that piece of cake when you know you are having a body composition test and pictures taken in 2 weeks.
In addition to getting smart, celebrate your successes. And I don't mean that you should allow yourself to dust off a gallon of ice cream in one sitting because you lost 10 pounds. That would be self defeating.
But you could treat yourself to a movie, or a pair of jeans you've had your eye on, or an extra hour of sleeping in on the weekend. Don't sabotage your wonderful efforts by giving yourself destructive rewards for accomplishing your goals.
Gregg Gillies is a speaker, consultant, fat loss expert, trainer and author. He teaches fitness via his articles, books and courses at his web site [] . He is the author of two books: Complete information on his books, along with lots of free articles are available at his site. And while there, don't forget to sign up for his free newsletter, "Fit Physique".

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Enhance Your Flexibility

When it comes to the Big Three of exercise - cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training - it's pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring.
However, as the population ages, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance, and optimize functional movement in daily life. Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week.
How can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness program? Here are some guidelines:
Think in Terms of Serious Flexibility Training, Not Just Brief Stretching. Squeezing in one or two quick stretches before or after a workout is better that nothing, but this approach will yield limited results. What's more, generic stretches may not be effective for your particular body. The more time and attention you give to your flexibility training, the more benefits you'll experience. A qualified personal trainer, physical therapist or health professional can design a functional flexibility program specifically for you.
Consider Your Activities. Are you a golfer? Do you ski, run or play tennis? Do your daily home or work routines include bending, lifting or sitting for long periods? Functional flexibility improves the stability and mobility of the whole person in his or her specific environment. An individualized stretching program is best to improve both stability (the ability to maintain ideal body alignment during all activities) and mobility (the ability to use full, normal range of motion).
Pay Special Attention to Tight Areas. Often the shoulder, chest, hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, but you may hold tension in other areas, depending on your history of injuries and the existing imbalances in your muscle groups. Unless you tailor your flexibility training to your strengths and weaknesses, you may stretch already overstretched muscles and miss areas that need training.
Listen to Your Body. Stretching is an individual thing. Pay attention to your body's signals and don't push too far. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements to gain momentum; this approach can be dangerous.
Instead, slowly stretch your muscles to the end point of movement and hold the stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. Older adults, pregnant women and people with injuries will need to take special precautions.
Get Creative. Varying your flexibility training can help you stick with it. You can use towels, resistance balls and other accessories to add diversity and effectiveness to your stretching.
Warm Up First. Don't forget to warm up your muscles before you begin. Walking briskly for 10 to15 minutes is a simple way to do this.
Find a Flexibility Class That Works for You. Classes that include stretching are becoming more popular and more diverse. Some combine cardiovascular and strength components with the flexibility training; others focus exclusively on stretching.
Stretch Your Mind and Body. Did you know that your emotional state may affect your flexibility? If your body is relaxed, it will be more responsive to flexibility training. Listening to music and focusing on your breath can help you relax as you stretch. You may also want to explore yoga or Pilates. In addition to stretching, classes in these disciplines may include relaxation, visualization and other mind-body techniques designed to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.
It's Not Just for Wimps. Forget the idea that stretching is just for elderly, injured or unconditioned people. Many Olympic and professional athletes rely on flexibility training for peak performance.
Do It Consistently. It doesn't help to stretch for a few weeks and then forget about it. Integrate regular stretching into your permanent fitness program. For inspiration, look to cats and dogs - they're dedicated practitioners of regular stretching and you rarely see them getting the kind of joint or muscular injuries that humans get!
Shoulder and Trapezius Stretch
** Stand upright with shoulders back, chest out, and feet hip-width apart.
** Clasp your hands behind your buttocks.
** Slowly lift your hands up and away from your body until they have reached the furthest comfortable position.
** Keep your chest out and your chin in without hunching over.
** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your chest and anterior shoulders, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.
Lying Quadriceps Stretch
** Lie face down on a mat.
** Lift your right leg up towards your buttocks.
** Reach around with your right hand and grasp your foot. -Slowly pull downwards, stretching your quadriceps to the furthest comfortable position.
** Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.
Shin Stretch
** Using a wall or chair as support, place your left foot behind your right foot, with the top of your left on the ground.
** Extend the bottom of your left shin as far forwards as possible. Slowly lower yourself by bending both legs.
** Once you have stretched your anterior tibialis to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.
** Switch legs and repeat.
Hip, Gluteus and Back Stretch
** Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended in front of you.
** Bend your right leg over your left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.
** Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and extend your right arm behind you with your palm flat on the floor for support.
** Slowly twist your upper body to the right while looking over your right shoulder.
** Lightly apply pressure with your left elbow on the outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep your upper body straight.
** Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips, buttocks, and lower back, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.
** Switch sides and repeat.
Calf Stretch
** Put the sole of the top half of your right foot against the wall. Slide your right heel as close towards the wall as possible.
** Slowly lean forward towards the wall stretching your calves. Once you have stretched your calf to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

How to Lose the Most Fat and Gain the Most Strength in 30 Days

The dream of everyone who trains is to lose maximum fat and gain maximum muscle strength in the shortest period of time. While it is definitely possible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, in my experience, the best results come from concentrating on one major goal at a time.
Let me put it this way: to lose fat, you need a caloric deficit. To build strength, you need a caloric surplus. If you try to do both at the same time, you may just remain exactly where you are!
So the question before us is - how do we maximize both fat loss and strength gains, in only 30 days?
It's simple - we focus on both goals in the same program --- but not at the exact same time!
By alternating rapidly back and forth between reduced-calorie fat loss training and a slightly higher-calorie strength-oriented training, you can accomplish both goals at the same time. You can actually use the two opposing goals to feed on each other and send your results through the roof!
How quickly do you lose weight each time you start a diet after several months (or more) of not dieting at all? I'll bet it's pretty fast! That's your body rapidly adapting to a stress - the stress of rapidly switching diet and/or exercise routines.
What's the result of this switching back and forth? Extremely rapid fat loss and extremely rapid strength gain.
To maximize the effects of this switching, you must tailor your training, diet and supplementation towards your specific goal during that particular time. Proper manipulation of these factors will greatly enhance the body's hormonal response to this program, which is the real key to maximizing your results.
Here's an example...
For 5 days straight, you would target everything about your training and nutrition towards fat loss...
1. You would reduce your caloric intake below maintenance levels to promote fat burning.
2. You would reduce the rest periods between sets in your weight training to increase the intensity of the workload and boost your metabolism.
3. You would increase your training volume, performing more sets for each body part.
4. You would not push your body to muscular failure - pushing to failure can be too stressful to the muscles when on a reduced-calorie diet. Stop one rep short of this point.
5. You would include cardio training, preferably High Intensity Interval Training for best results, to burn calories and further boost your metabolism.
6. It is best to follow a low-carb diet during this time for maximum effectiveness. Eating this way will be especially powerful when you switch to the next phase of the program.
After five days, your metabolism would be just starting to get used to this new training and nutritional program. Now you would throw it a curveball and change everything!
For the next five days, you would be focusing your training, nutrition and supplementation completely on strength training.
1. You would increase your caloric and protein intake to promote strength gains.
2. You would increase your rest periods in between sets to allow for more recovery and increased strength in your sets.
3. You would decrease your training volume, doing fewer sets but with greater intensity. This is the time to really push your muscles to the edge! You're feeding them now, so don't be shy about training them hard.
4. You would eliminate all cardio training in order to maximize strength gains.
5. You would NOT follow a low-carb diet during this time. We want a few extra healthy carbs in you to provide energy and promote insulin release (the body's primary storage hormone). This insulin release will help shuttle protein and other nutrients into the muscles to help with building.
The body's hormonal response to this huge change in training, nutrition and supplementation is tremendous.
After 5 days of this training, your metabolism will be cranking along, happily building strength. Now we'll pull the rug out and go right back into fat-loss training for 5 days. Since your body is used to getting more food and your metabolism is still moving fast, switching to fat-loss training at this time will immediately result in your body burning far more fat than if you were using a conventional fat loss program.
In 30 days, you'll complete three rounds of this rapid-adaptation training. As you will soon experience, this switching back and forth between a short, targeted fat loss program and a short, targeted strength-building program can have a tremendous and rapid impact on your appearance.
Think this program sounds good? You ain't seen nothing yet...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reducing Blood Pressure

Recent research underscores the importance of a healthful lifestyle including a fitness regimen for both the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Often, changes in diet and exercise habits are enough to control blood pressure without medication, especially for people with mild to moderate blood pressure levations. Sometimes diet and exercise can even reduce the need for medication, and thereby reduce side effects and lower costs.
If you are already taking medication for hypertension, it's important to discuss your lifestyle changes with your doctor, and continue taking your medication as prescribed. If lifestyle changes result in improved blood pressure, your doctor will want to work closely with you to reduce your dosage in a safe and effective manner. Following are some of the most important things you can do to prevent and control hypertension.
Reducing your sodium intake is a major factor. Many people with hypertension find that reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure as well. Learn which foods are high in sodium, and avoid them as much as possible.
Regular exercise is the most important hypertension-prevention habit for three reasons:
First, it helps prevent and control hypertension. Formerly sedentary people who begin exercising regularly experience, on average, a drop of six or seven points in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Second, active people have lower death rates than their sedentary friends, even when they have the same blood pressure. Research has shown that exercise reduces risk for cardiovascular and other disease. Exercise also helps prevent obesity, another hypertension risk factor.
Third, regular exercise provides the foundation for successful behavior change programs. Exercise makes you feel good and feel positive about yourself. Stress reduction is one of the greatest benefits of exercise. Stress not only raises blood pressure, but it makes you less inclined to stick to your positive eating plan, your
smoking cessation program or your decision to cut down on your alcohol intake.
Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains increases your intake of important minerals such as calcium and potassium, not to mention vitamins and fiber. One study found that volunteers consuming a diet high in these foods and low in fats (such as the diets created by our on-staff nutritionist) reduced systolic blood pressure by four points, and diastolic by three points. This small but significant reduction was accomplished with diet alone. Add exercise, stress management and weight loss for people who are overweight, and blood pressure reductions often improve much more.
Eating well and exercising regularly are the cornerstone.
Deprivation programs are out! Don't focus on weight loss; focus on a healthy lifestyle. A little weight loss may occur by cutting down on "junk food," eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, and increasing physical activity. Even a relatively small loss, such as 5 to 10 pounds, can reduce blood pressure. The most important goal is the development of healthful habits that stay with you for a
lifetime, so that the weight stays off. Weight cycling (repeatedly losing and regaining weight) may raise your blood pressure and be harmful to your health.
Reducing stress is another lifelong task. Take a stress management workshop, develop your sense of humor and read some good books. Develop coping techniques that increase your resistance to stress related illness. And don't forget the importance of exercise for stress reduction.
Limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake will make a profound difference in your health. You should strive to drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation, if at all.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Phytochemicals for Your Immune Health

My mom used to dress the dinner plate in full matching regalia; yellow squash nestled next to green asparagus. Red and yellow peppers tossed around the salad added spectacular color. Now dear mom knew these foods were healthy and she loved to decorate my plate with the colors of the season; but did she know that these wholesome foods contain phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are the active substances in plants that give them their color, flavor, odor, and protection against plant diseases. Phytochemicals work as powerful antioxidants, which can increase our resistance to disease and boost immunity.
While most research focuses on the anti-carcinogen effects of phytochemicals, the results are equally important to those who just want to boost their immune system or help reverse the aging clock.
Scientists at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRC) rated 60 fruits and vegetables for potency of antioxidants, which stabilize cells and help fight the damaging effects of free radicals, which are molecules that weaken the immune system. Antioxidants can help keep cancer, heart disease and other degenerative conditions at bay.
The top scoring fruit in the HNRC study was blueberries followed by strawberries, prunes, black currants and boysenberries. The deeper the color, the better for you. Many of these antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties, and some naturally reduce blood cholesterol.
It's important to fill your diet with all the colors of the food rainbow. Eat the blues, reds, purples, oranges, yellows, and greens.
Fresh or Frozen Produce?
It's okay if you don't have time to steam your own fresh veggies, studies by the FDA and the University of Illinois show that frozen fruits and vegetables are nearly as nutritious because they can wait to be picked until they're at the peak of freshness.
Fresh produce is usually picked early, before it's ripe and fully nutritious, so that it ships well.
But if you're lucky enough to grow your own fruits or vegetables, or you can buy straight from a farm - then that's where you'll find the most nutritious fruits and vegetables!!!
What about supplements:
The value of most supplements is, at best, ineffective. The power of phytochemicals seem to be lost when removed from food. Except if you're fortunate enough to find a high quality 'greens drink'.
Click Here to get more info on our green drinks and other supplements!!!
Drinking one glass of a quality 'greens drink' supplies more than 5 servings of powerful, phytochemical rich nutrition.
Other Phyto Foods :
Phyto foods come in many varieties and for all palates. Among the most common sources are:
FRUITS: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, berries, cherries, citrus fruits, grapes, kiwi fruit, lemons, mangoes, melons, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, plums. GRAINS: Barley, cornmeal, whole grain, quinoa, brown rice, wheat germ. NUTS and SEEDS: Flaxseed (a small brown seed used in cooking), macadamia, pecans, sesame seeds, walnuts. VEGETABLES: Asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, dark leafy greens and lettuces, mushrooms, onions, green and dried peas, sweet and hot peppers, white and sweet potatoes, pumpkin, soybeans, watercress, winter squash, tomatoes. And a host of others.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Best Results

I'm not sure about you guys, but getting to the gym is sometimes a pain in the butt, but we all have to do some things we don't want to do, right...: }
At the gym I was doing bicep exercises and my goal was
12 reps each set.
Each set I did, I tried to increase the weight and make it a bit tougher.
It got much tougher.
So much, that by the 8th rep, I wanted to 'throw in the towel'...but I didn't!!!
I wanted to stop so badly, but I didn't.
What I did instead was give just 5% more effort and I didn't stop at 12 reps, I went to 15.
You see, we need to be reminded that the MAGIC doesn't happen on the 1st mile, it happens when you go the EXTRA mile for yourself and for others.
Anybody who knows anything about weight training or dieting will tell you that you get most of your results from those last 2-3 reps you don't want to do, or from those last few weeks that you really don't want to diet.
But here's the catch.
Most people quit on themselves and their dreams, right when it gets tough.
Unfortunately, they then never get to taste the MAGIC that could have taken place for them. That same magic that could have transformed their body from ordinary to extraordinary.
And that TASTE is so sweet, it really is unfortunate that more people don't give themselves the gift of going the extra mile, so they too can enjoy living life in the body of their dreams.
(Shameless plug: Some of the best feedback I get from my 'Living Health - Weight Loss Audio Program', is that it shows you how to easily go that extra 5% and win.)
I've said it over and over again, but I'll repeat it here one more don't have to be 50% or 100% better then everyone else when you diet or exercise.
5% is it.
Yes, that's it.
Persist past your desire to stop dieting or exercising. Do a little bit more today.
Do one more rep.
Workout 15 minutes longer.
Drink one more glass of plain, fresh water.
Eat one more large bowel of salad (without a lot of dressing).
And encourage one more person to exercise with you.
Are YOU ready to give 5% more today?
I can't tell for sure, but I really feel that you are ready.
Am I right?
Make your move.
P.S. In the last 30 days, over 1,012 individuals have used my Living Health Audio Program to quickly and easily add that 5% - 500% extra motivation into your life. Would you like to be next?
Are you ready? Learn More Now!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Laser In Situ Keratomileusis

SIK - laser vision correction, is a procedure for the correction of moderate to high degrees of myopia (nearsightedness). LASIK will also correct low to moderate degrees of hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism associated with myopia.
In order to really understand the LASIK procedure, the patient must have a working knowledge of the Cornea. The Cornea is a clear window to the eye and is transparent tissue. Generally, the cornea is 11.5mm in horizontal diameter, which is roughly ½ inch. The center most portion of the cornea is about 500 microns thick.
The day of the procedure begins with the arrival at the center of choice. Of course, the first matter at hand is collection of payment and consent forms. Oral Valium, in most cases, is dispensed to relax the patient. Pre-operative topical antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic drops are given.
The patient will be escorted into the surgery suite. The surgeon will then examine the eye under the slit lamp and will apply a gentian violet dye to the pupil. These markings give orientation for astigmatism, when patients lie down their eyes tend to roll slightly; therefore, these marks allow for a perfect line up. Also in the case of a "free flap", the mark would allow proper orientation of the cap back on the eye.
The patient is now ready to be placed in position in a reclining surgical chair. Eyelashes are covered with a plastic drape and a speculum, lid holder, is inserted to hold your eyelids open. The opposing eye is patched closed. LASIK is most commonly performed bilaterally (both eyes on the same day). Patients remain awake during the procedure, and the eye is numbed with drops. There is no discomfort during the procedure.
The patient will be asked to focus on a light, most surgeons provide a coach or hand holder to assist the patient through the process. The coach's job is to tell the patient everything that is going to happen before it happens. Patients will also be reminded to focus on the light, keep still, and breathe normally.
The surgeon will begin the placement of the suction ring (the microkeratome blade will attach to this), once good positioning is obtained, suction is applied. The patient will generally feel pressure and vision will go dark; however, there is no pain involved. The microkeratome will be placed on its track, after an adequate amount of pressure is fulfilled. The surgeon will then start the microkeratome blade across the cornea creating the flap. The flap is left attached to the cornea by a hinge, which is made by having the microkeratome stop before it fully traverses the diameter of the cornea, leaving an uncut portion. The flap is 160-180 (about 4 human hairs) of the 500 microns. The patient will hear a buzzing sound and feel a mild vibration. Once the flap is complete, the suction ring and the microkeratome are removed.
The flap is then lifted by the surgeon, and folded back out of the way. Then the excimer laser is used to reshape the remaining surface of the cornea. The laser treatment typically lasts less than one minute. During the laser treatment, the patient will hear the click sound of the laser and might also smell a slight burning odor. The treatment will last from 30 to 90 seconds. One diopter of correction will take approximately 8 seconds. The surgeon has control of the treatment at all times. Should the eye move off center, the surgeon could stop and then restart the laser treatment. The amount of laser treatment necessary is based on the patient's particular prescription. This information was programmed into the laser prior to arrival for surgery.
Once the laser treatment is complete, the surgeon will irrigate the treated area and lay the flap back into its original place where it will adhere to the eye without the need for sutures. Topical drops will be applied and the area will be smoothed. Most surgeons wait 1 to 3 minutes to insure the corneal flap has fully re-adhered. At this point, patients can blink normally and the corneal flap remains secured in position by the natural suction within the cornea. While it is possible to dislodge the corneal flap during the first day or two by physically rubbing the eye, this event is actually quite rare. Before the patient leaves, the surgeon will examine both eyes to insure that the flap is still in position.
Since the protective layer remains intact with LASIK, patients are only placed on an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drop for about a week. Preservative Free artificial tears are used initially for dryness. Vision is usually quite good the following day with LASIK.
LASIK patients are instructed to wear protective eye shields while sleeping the first night to prevent accidental trauma to the cornea flap during the early healing period. The excimer laser is an ultraviolet laser, which utilizes Argon and Fluorine gas to create a non-thermal, or cool beam, of laser light, which can break molecular bonds in a process commonly, referred to as "photoablation". A simple way to imagine how the laser works is to think of it as placing the curvature from your glasses or contact lenses onto the front surface of your eye, allowing you to see without corrective eyewear.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How to Develop the Attitude

During a catalogue search at my local library, I came
across this title: "Fitness without Exercise - The
Scientifically Proven Strategy for Achieving Maximum Health
with Minimum Effort." This book by Bryant Stamford and
Porter Shimer really misses the point. After all, fitness
is more of an attitude than a destination.
I found another title for a book that is a better concept
and is one with which I completely agree. "Walking: the
Pleasure Exercise," a book by Mort Malkin. Actually,
during my research at the library, more than 20 per cent of
the items had *walking* in their titles when I used
*fitness* as the search-word. Makes sense, doesn't it?
Walking is naturally one of the best places to start
creating a Fitness Attitude. For one thing, it gets you
outdoors, and that's good for the fitness of your head! In
addition, it uses all the large muscles in your body, it's
low-impact, and it doesn't require any special equipment.
It is something you are already expert at doing, and your
body is perfectly designed for it. Hooray! You've got an
awesome place to begin on your way to having a Fitness
Attitude: Go for a walk every day.
Now, I'm going to make a confession. Even though I place a
high value on health and nutrition and fitness in general,
I sometimes have to really make an effort to get out the
door with my walking shoes on. Today, for example, it was
rainy and cold. I had a back-log of emails to answer, and
had eaten a heavy lunch. It would have been really easy to
make a very good case for staying indoors by the woodstove
with my computer screen glowing away.
At a time like this, momentum helps. I feel weird when I
have to miss my daily walk because over time it's become a
part of my life. It easier to walk consistently when you
make it a routine, or you have a ritual to help you get out
the door. A routine will also to carry you along. Decide
on a length of time for your walk, rather than setting a
distance. Then, go! Some routes will become your
standards, and then you won't have to plan - which is one
of the benefits of a routine. Used appropriately, routines
free your thoughts, so you can contemplate topics more
interesting than whether to make a right or left turn at
the corner.
Good for you, if you use a treadmill, gym, or other
walking strategy such as mall walks. Still, if you can
possibly make arrangements, spend at least some of your
walking time outside. Time in the open air is part of
fitness as an attitude.
Which brings up the question of food as it relates to the
attitude of fitness. Generally, when you are eating foods
that have a good natural basis, (like salads that aren't
drowning in some oily vinegar dressing, or a vegetable stir-
fry that isn't heavily glazed with high-sugar sauce), you
don't crave garbage non-foods like my personal favorite:
red licorice. Still, the packaging of 'snack foods' and
the ease and portability they afford in our frenetically
paced culture means that sometimes, you're going to eat
junk. Once you've established your Fitness Attitude,
though, processed 'foods' stop being a staple in your diet,
and that's a better fit.
As you put attention on fitness, your life will soon
include the pleasure of walking daily and a natural hunger
for whole foods that are nourishing to you. A Fitness
Attitude isn't complicated, and you'll feel better. You
simply will.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Good, The Bad, And The Visually Acceptable

During consideration of having LASIK - Laser Vision Correction, each patient must weigh the benefits and risks of having such a procedure. It is essential that patients understand potential risks associated with the LASIK procedure. Although, it has received FDA approval and is considered to be safe, there is risk of having a serious vision-threatening complication. While approximately 1% of patients have complications with their LASIK procedure, even fewer experience a serious flap related complication. LASIK is an extremely effective procedure that is suitable for high, moderate or low prescriptions.
Complications can occur due to the Laser component of the procedure or the Keratectomy step of the procedure. There have been no reported cases of blindness following either PRK or LASIK, anywhere around the world.
Undercorrection, is when the intended amount of laser correction is not obtained during the primary procedure. In extreme cases of undercorrection, after stabilization, an enhancement may be necessary to obtain optimum results. Undercorrection can result from a number of factors: the healing response of the eye, the hydration of the cornea during treatment, the laser's calibration, or temperature and humidity. Often time undercorrection is deliberately induced to create a monovision effect.
Overcorrection occurs when the desired treatment is exceeded, this causes an eye to become farsighted. Often this condition will correct itself, as the cornea tends to bounce back somewhat towards its original shape following the procedure. However, should the patient remain hyperopic (farsighted), it is possible to perform an enhancement to obtain the desired correction.
Corneal haze occurs in the normal healing process of the cornea; however for most patients (95% +) it does not affect their vision. The haze is actually caused by a collagen protein that has developed on the surface of the eye. For those patients who do develop haze, it usually clears gradually over many months following the procedure.
People may experience poor night vision, night glare, haloes and starbursts even before having vision correction by laser. Night glare is common immediately following the LASIK procedure and typically last for a short period of time; however, it is important that you discuss your pupil size with your physician. Patients with large pupils when dilated are at a higher risk of having decreased night vision.
Although the risk of infection is rare, it is probably the greatest risk during the first 48 to 72 hours following LASIK. Because of the potential dangers resulting from infection, antibiotic drops are dispensed both before and after the procedure.
Another complication involves a non-infectious infiltrate developing beneath the flap. A cloudy accumulation of inflammatory cells gives the appearance of swirling sand and has been dubbed "Sands of the Sahara". The cause is unclear; however, it can be successfully treated by the use of topical steroid eye drops or lifting the flap to remove the debris.
Some patients find their best vision after LASIK not as good as with their glasses or contacts. This is called a loss of best corrected visual acuity. The final result depends not only the procedure but how a patient heals. Healing determines the speed of visual recovery, the sharpness of vision and the need for enhancement. As the degree of correction increases, the importance of healing to the final visual outcome also increases.
Blindness is the number one concern of all patients considering LASIK. In surgery, as in life, anything is possible; however, there has not been a reported case of permanent blindness occurring after LASIK surgery.
A major component of LASIK surgery is the creation of the corneal flap (keratectomy). The first complication associated with the keratectomy is an incomplete flap, which can be caused by an obstructed microkeratome. Second is a thin flap, which occurs if there is a loss of suction. These types of complications will not affect the final outcome; however, it can prolong the recovery process sometimes leading to a secondary procedure to complete the correction.
Another complication resulting from the keratectomy is a "free cap". A free cap occurs when the flap is cut completely across the cornea leaving no connecting tissue. Although this is considered a complication, LASIK was originally performed without a hinge. This condition is manageable by the surgeon, and excellent vision can still be achieved.
LASIK dramatically reduces your recovery time and decreases the chance of many of the procedural risks, as opposed to RK. The procedure takes only a few minutes to complete and entails minimal discomfort. LASIK requires more technical skill and training than other laser procedures.
The number of people considering refractive surgery is at an all time high and LASIK is considered by virtually all refractive surgeons to be the procedure of choice today.
Experience has shown us that vision correction using the excimer laser has been overwhelmingly successful in reducing myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. While vision improves following the procedure, the degree of improvement may vary with each individual. Overall, 98% of typical patients achieve 20/40 vision or better after one procedure allowing them to drive legally, play sports, and join the police or fire departments. Patients may receive a second enhancement procedure to further improve their results if their vision is below legal driving levels. Generally, there is a 10% chance that a patient will require an enhancement procedure. This chance is less in patients with mild myopia (approximately 5% chance) and greater in patients with extreme myopia (approximately 20% chance).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Prevent Suicide Now

A website called Prevent Suicide Now.Com recently came to my attention by chance. I almost sent it back into cyber obscurity with a mouse click as it seemed unlikely to be of any interest or use to me in my carefree home business programme.
My first thought was that a website dedicated to suicide must be macabre. However, a tour of the website revealed that a great deal of loving work had gone into its creation. The site's purpose is to prevent suicide and raise public awareness of the subject. In America alone over 31,000 lives ended in 2002 as a result of suicide. That is one suicide every sixteen and a half minutes. Trends show the suicide rate to be increasing.
There is a touching remembrance section on the site. The first memorial on the "wall of angels" is to a little girl aged 13 who was driven to suicide by school bullies. I could hardly bear to look at the photographs of the other beautiful, bright children who became "angels" in their teenage years. In the year 2002 in America a total of 4,010 people below the age of 24 committed suicide. That equates to 11 young lives destroyed each day. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15-24 age group.
Suicide is a subject which most of us would wish to avoid. We would rather not think about it, let alone discuss it. We are uncomfortable when dealing with people who have been bereaved through suicide and feel helpless when somebody we know is tormented by suicidal thoughts.
Our reluctance to contemplate the issue of suicide is understandable. It is painful and we don't want to be reminded of our own mortality, but we would be better equipped to deal with the issue if we were brave enough to face suicide and become familiar with its features. The ability to recognise the enemy would give us a better chance of knowing when help should be sought.
Seeing the photographs of the young suicide victims reminded me of two young women I used to know but had not thought of for some time. I was friends with both these women but they never met each other. Their lives, however, strangely paralleled each other for a while when they reached the age of 25.
My friend Janet had been engaged for two years and was looking forward to a traditional white wedding. The wedding dress and cake had been made and the big day was only two weeks in the future when her fiancé abruptly broke off the engagement. She was quietly devastated. Janet was a warm person with a wonderful sense of humour but she was not a pretty girl - not ugly - just not a head turner and she was rather shy. Being jilted shattered her self-confidence and she suffered through several lonely years before finding another boyfriend. He treated her abysmally but she felt that it was better to put up with his behaviour than to face the loneliness of being single. By then Janet was approaching the dreaded 30th birthday and felt like everybody else in the world was married. I was relieved when she finally found the courage to end that relationship.
My other friend was Cathy. Like Janet, she was jilted only a couple of weeks before her wedding was due to take place; with impeccable timing her fiancé chose to dump her on the very day her wedding dress was delivered. Cathy was a charming, sweet girl but, unlike Janet, she was also extremely pretty and outgoing. Cathy had many friends and, with her good looks and bubbly character, was very attractive to men. She bounced back from the rejection and had a new suitor within a matter of months. I thought her new boyfriend was much nicer in every way than the former fiancé and that the jilting had been a blessing in disguise.
The last time I spoke to Janet she was blissfully happy. She had met and married a lovely man and was living by the coast with him and their two gorgeous children. Cathy never married; she hanged herself at the age of 26. We were all utterly shocked: we had not realised that Cathy was hiding deep depression behind her pretty smile.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Magic of Pain Free Good Health

Has the use of aromas and herbs, only recently been appreciated for their healing, and recuperative qualities? Most certainly not.
Aromas had been used for medicinal, spiritual, and magical purposes going back as far back as Egyptian times 3000 B.C. Even further back in time 5000 B.C. the Tassili cave paintings showed women wearing fragrant flower garlands. There are frequent mentions of the use of potions throughout history - Pliny the 1st century Roman historian, mentions in his Natural History narrative, 32 remedies prepared from roses, 21 from lilies, 17 from violets, and 25 from pennyroyal. Ancient Indian cultures used sandalwood for genito-urinary infections.
Nostradamus, at the age of 21 received a licence, having studied in Montpellier France, to practise medicine. One of the formulae which he used as a remedy for several conditions, has survived to this day, and was compounded of rose petals, cloves, lignum aloes, and the dried roots of iris and sweet flag.
The ancient Greeks also contributed to the origins of herbal medicine. Dioscorides, a military doctor was the author of De Materia Medica a book on herbal medicine, which was the foundation of all subsequent books for a further 1600 years. Galen another Greek doctor also wrote a major book on herbal medicine De Simplicibus in the 2nd century which was used up to the middle ages by the Islamic physicians.
The word of herbalism was carried to Europe via the crusaders, and the texts were translated into Latin, which when printing was developed, the information became more widespread, though only if you could read. So herbal folklore passed on from generation to generation, by word of mouth. In the 16th century John Gerard published in 1597 the "Herbal or General Historie of Plantes". He had been greatly influenced by the great medical scholar Paracelsus.
Now in recent time the medical fraternity is becoming aware of the benefits of some of these ancient methods, and in the United Kingdom some areas are becoming available on the National Health System.