Importance of hydration during exercise!!

Water- An absolute essential to all forms of life- Not only covers 71% of earth surface but also makes 55-60% of our own body composition. Water is the second most important criteria for survival after Oxygen. This becomes doubly true for fitness enthusiasts.

You can lose a lot of water content while exercising- maybe a liter or more. So it is important to be hydrated. A simple way to make sure you are hydrated is by checking the color of your urine. If the color of urine is colorless or light yellow, you are most likely to be hydrated. Dark color or amber color urine can be sign of dehydration.

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How much water you should drink while exercising?
The requirement depends on factors like workout intensity, duration of exercise, type of clothing while exercising and climatic conditions.

The American Council of Exercise has given guidelines on how much water to consume before, during and after exercise.
• 500ml-750ml of water 2-3 hours prior to exercise
• 250ml of water 20-30 minutes prior to exercise or during the warm up session
• 250ml-300ml of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise
• 250ml of water within 30 minutes after exercise.

For athletes, it is important to measure how much fluid they lose during workout. The easiest way to identify it is check your weight before and after the session. The difference seen is the amount of water lost which needs to replenished.
Not replenishing the lost fluid may lead to dehydration.

Dehydration can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of dehydration can include the following:
• Dizziness or lightheaded feeling.
• Nausea or vomiting.
• Muscle cramps.
• Dry mouth.
• Lack of sweating.
• Hard, fast heartbeat.
In case of severe dehydration, can lead to mental confusion and loss of consciousness.

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Do you need to consume sports drink??

Now water is not the only thing you lose when you sweat while exercising. Sweat also contains electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium. Sports drink helps to maintain right electrolyte balance of the body resulting into improved performance and better energy levels.

Ideally a sports drink carbohydrates should come from glucose, sucrose or fructose which are quickly and easily absorbed by the body.
• If you’re doing moderate amounts of exercise, you won’t need them. Simple water is often the best thing to drink during and after a workout. If you’re exercising for less than an hour, water is all you need.
• If you’re exercising for longer than an hour, sports drinks can help you keep going for longer.

Choose your sports drink wisely. Always check the nutrition label before buying or consuming. They are often high in calories from added sugar and may contain high levels of sodium. Some sports drinks contain caffeine. So be careful not to add too much caffeine to your diet. Caffeine may cause a diuretic effect on your body. This means that you may have to urinate more often.

How much is too much??

Drinking too much can potentially be harmful as it can cause a rare condition called hyponatremia. This is when you drink more fluid than you lose through sweating and peeing. The excess water dilutes the salts in your body and your cells swell up, which can cause a number of problems. The amount you have to drink to get hyponatremia varies hugely from person to person.

The symptoms include:
• bloating
• Headache
• Confused or disorientated
• feeling sick or vomiting

If you have any of the symptoms above while you’re drinking while exercising, seek urgent medical advice.

 

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Dash diet

DASH Diet: Hypertension Eating Plan

Hypertension or high blood pressure has been on the rise in the US for the past 50 years. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. First introduced in 1997, it is a diet promoted by the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for reducing blood pressure. Various organizations have ranked it as one of the “Best Overall Diets.” The DASH diet is a well-balanced, lifelong approach to healthy eating that was discovered in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine the role of dietary eating patterns on blood pressure.

Hypertension
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MANAGEMENT OF HYPERTENSION :

Initial management of hypertension uses a two-pronged approach, with emphasis on Pharmacotherapy and Non-pharmacotherapy. Non – pharmacological therapy (Lifestyle modifications) has an important role in both non-hypertensive & hypertensive individuals. Lifestyle modifications have the potential to prevent hypertension as well as to reduce BP and lower the risk of BP-related complications.

The following non-pharmacotherapeutic interventions:

NUTRITION :

The following Dietary changes are of paramount importance: Reduction of salt intake to an average of not more than 5 g per day (WHO, 2012), moderate fat intake, following the DASH diet plan (Dietary approaches to stop hypertension), the avoidance of a high alcohol intake, and restriction of energy intake appropriate to body needs.

What is the DASH Diet?

The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, was developed through research funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It is effective in lowering blood pressure and blood lipid levels, which ultimately reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease.

This diet plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and seeds, nuts, and legumes. It also recommends limiting sugary beverages, sweets, sodium, and red meats. The DASH diet is rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which are protective against high blood pressure. DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also contains less salt and sodium, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages, fats, and red meats. This diet helps to lower blood pressure and also has suitable effects on blood lipids.

Dash Diet
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Origin of DASH Diet

The DASH diet originated out of clinical studies by the National Institute of Health. These studies were designed to test which diets are best suited to reducing hypertension. The National Institute of Health examined three different diets in the clinical studies and then examined their results. The DASH diet is not necessarily a “diet” rather it is a way of eating that will promote long-term health. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) recommends the DASH diet as “an ideal eating plan for all Americans.”

Dash Diet
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The characteristics of the DASH diet:

Lower sodium intake

The DASH diet provides guidelines for your sodium and caloric intake. The standard DASH diet allows up to a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day and the low-sodium version of the DASH diet allows up to 1500 mg of sodium per day. The average American diet contains up to 3500 mg of sodium per day.

Increased vitamins and minerals

All your essential vitamins and minerals are provided on the DASH diet by the many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods that you are encouraged to eat on the diet. The diet also includes an ample supply of minerals like magnesium and potassium that help to lower or improve your blood pressure.

Increased good fats

Consuming a lot of good fats and minimizing bad fats is highly encouraged on the DASH diet. Saturated and Trans fats should be replaced with lean meats, omega-3’s from fish and seafood, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. Good fats help to optimize our overall health by lowering bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.

Increased fiber consumption

The DASH diet recommends increasing your fiber consumption by eating several servings of fruits, vegetables, and grains every day. This keeps you feeling full and helps to reduce blood pressure. High fiber consumption also helps to maintain good blood sugar levels and it also encourages weight loss.

Reduction of alcohol and caffeine

The DASH diet suggests limiting your intake of alcohol, soda, tea, and coffee because they offer no nutritional value, typically contain a lot of sugar and they can elevate blood pressure. This is an important lifestyle modification for reducing blood pressure. Alcohol raises blood pressure and also can harm vital organs like the liver, brain, and heart. For persons who consume alcohol, the recommendations are, that men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and women no more than one drink per day as supported by the AHA 2006 scientific statement of hypertension management.

Customized sodium and caloric intake

In the same way that you can choose a 2300 mg/day or 1500 mg/day sodium intake DASH diet, you can also choose the most suitable caloric intake level for you

Dash diet

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Benefits of the DASH Diet

The DASH eating plan is effective for the prevention and management of hypertension. Hypertension is a clinical term for high blood pressure. Approximately 1 in 3 American adults have hypertension. This “silent killer,” which often lacks overt symptoms, can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.

Hypertension, a chronic disease, is treated with prescription medications. However, diet and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce blood pressure. Research shows that in some individuals, the DASH eating plan may reduce blood pressure as much or more than prescribed drugs. The DASH eating plan, in combination with a sodium-restricted diet (1500mg/day), can produce even greater results in lowering blood pressure.

The DASH diet is supportive of digestive health and decreases the risk of the development of colorectal cancer. This may be due to an increased level of fiber or higher consumption of dairy.

The DASH eating pattern support kidney health. Studies have shown that a DASH diet decreases the risk for urinary albumin excretion and protects against rapid decreases in glomerular filtration, both of which are indicators of decreasing kidney function. It is also protective against the development of kidney stones.

dash diet
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Researches on DASH DIET

Over the years several studies have proven that the DASH diet is not only effective for lowering blood pressure through diet but it is also effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, several types of cancers, stroke, heart disease, kidney stones, kidney disease, diabetes, heart failure, and many other diseases. The DASH diet has also been shown to promote weight loss and improve overall health.

Research has found that diet affects the development of high blood pressure, or hypertension (the medical term). Recently, two studies showed that following a particular eating plan—called the DASH diet—and reducing the amount of sodium consumed lowers blood pressure. While each step alone lowers blood pressure, the combination of the eating plan and a reduced sodium intake gives the biggest benefit and may help to prevent the development of high blood pressure.

The DASH diet research findings, which tells about high blood pressure, and how to follow the DASH diet and reduce the number of sodium consumptions. The menus and recipes are  for two levels of daily sodium consumption —2,400 milligrams (the upper limit of current recommendations by the Federal Government’s National High Blood. Pressure Education Program, or NHBPEP, and the amount used to figure food labels’ Nutrition Facts Daily Value) and 1,500 milligrams.

NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR DASH DIET

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is an eating plan that originally lowers blood pressure but also is “heart-healthy” and lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke. This eating plan is for 1,800 calories per day. The DASH plan is high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and protein that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. The plan also focuses on lowering salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day. Even lower salt intake (1,500 mg per day) can lower blood pressure even more. Eating nutritious foods will help to control blood pressure. The DASH diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk products, and whole grains. It is a Mediterranean diet full of nutrients that are good for your heart and good for your health.

DASH Diet means eating a variety of foods and food groups that research has shown can be beneficial to heart health while avoiding others, that are harmful.

Key components include the following:

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Whole grains
  3. Nuts, seeds, and legumes
  4. Lean protein—fish and poultry are emphasized, while red and processed meat consumption is limited
  5. Low-fat or fat-free dairy
  6. Avoidance of sugar-sweetened beverages
  7. Low sodium—when kept under 2,300 mg daily the diet is even more helpful with blood pressure, which can drop even lower with less than 1,500 mg daily sodium intake
  8. Higher levels of dietary nutrients like potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber
  9. Lower levels of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
  10. Increased the fiber intake slowly, so that people can avoid becoming gassy or bloated.
  11. Keep food allergies and intolerances (e.g., lactose intolerance) in mind as you tailor this diet to individual needs.
  12. For example, most DASH diet guides don’t cover avocados. Some foods are may not be the best choice for their category. For example, pretzels are grains but don’t have a lot of fiber or nutrients.

DOES THE DASH DIET WORK?

The DASH diet has shown several benefits. It lowers blood pressure (systolic and diastolic) for people with hypertension, and also for people who have blood pressures in the normal range, whether or not they lower their sodium intake. Reductions in pressures occur within one week and keep dropping if sodium restriction is ongoing.

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The DASH diet reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death on the order of approximately a 13% decrease in 10-year Framingham CVD risk. It is helpful with weight loss, it lowers hsCRP levels relative to usual diets (comparably to other healthy diets), and it also offers therapeutic benefit for a wide range of other clinical conditions, including the following:

  • Abnormal lipids
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Heart failure
  • Colon and rectal cancer chemoprevention
  • Insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Urolithiasis (kidney stones)
  • Gout
  • Kidney disease

OTHER LIFESTYLE CHANGES 

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WEIGHT REDUCTION:

The prevention and correction of overweight/obesity is a prudent way of reducing the risk of hypertension and indirectly coronary heart disease. The greater the weight loss, the greater the reduction in blood pressure. Meal patterns that rely heavily on processed foods containing more fats, sugar, and sodium, lead to steady weight gain and high BP.

QUIT SMOKING :

Smoking is a major risk factor leading to HTN and heart disease. Nicotine and Carbon monoxide present in smoke damages heart & blood vessels. Smoking also increases blood viscosity, clot formation and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. In patients with coronary heart disease, smoking cessation is associated with a 36% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY :

The role of physical activity in the treatment of hypertension is well known. Regular physical activity enhances the sense of well-being, improves functional health status, & reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.

EXERCISE:

Researches showed that exercise incorporated lifestyle intervention can result in significantly better BP control among patients taking Pharmacotherapy for Hypertension. 30-45 minutes of moderate level activity on most days of the week can lose/maintain weight & helps to lower Blood pressure.

YOGA/ MEDITATION :

Yoga is a beneficial multifunctional therapeutic modality in the treatment of a variety of psychological and medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and COPD. Meditation helps to calm the body and soul and relaxation techniques such as massaging relieve stress. It might be that a reduction in stress and stimulation of the body might impart physiological benefits, says the American Heart Association.

CONCLUSION :

In conclusion, Hypertension is a major risk factor and a powerful predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The main thrust of primary prevention of hypertension includes a sustained effort on lifestyle modifications. Established nutrition recommendations are proven to help reduce blood pressure in general populations. Thus, decrease the load of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and renal which are associated with hypertension. It encourages you to take a diet rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium and reduce your intake of sodium in your diet.

DASH diet is rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, fish, meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy products. The diet helps you to reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 3 mmHg, which could make a lot of difference in reducing morbidity and mortality in hypertensive patients. DASH diet also prevents osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as it has a high quotient of antioxidant-rich food.

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Sarcopenia

What is Sarcopenia?

Sarcopenia has become exceedingly common among older people. Almost 10% of adults above 50 are affected by it. Sarcopenia is characterized by muscle loss, that can decrease both the quality of life, as well as life expectancy. However, the good news is that sarcopenia can be prevented and reversed in certain cases. Indeed, sarcopenia is often related to aging of an individual, and therefore is a natural consequence of growing older; some of the causes that lead to sarcopenia can be prevented. A healthy diet and regular exercise regime are germane in reversing sarcopenia, thereby increasing both the lifespan and the quality of life.

Sarcopenia literally means “lack of flesh.” To understand how this occurs we need to delve deep into the life cycle of a cell. Like everything in Nature, growth and decay are inherent to the cells as well. The process by which cell grows is called “anabolism” and the process of teardown of cell is called “catabolism”. Sarcopenia happens when this natural cycle is tilted in favour of catabolism. We have growth hormones in our bodies. These hormones help counteract the effects of injury or stress, and keep muscle steady by healing them. This goes on inside our bodies throughout our lives. However, as we grow older, our bodies become resistant to normal growth signals. This further results in tipping the balance towards catabolism and muscle loss. The degeneration of muscle becomes more common among people above fifty. After middle-age, a person, on an average, loses 3% of their muscle strength in a year. And therefore, as he becomes older, the ability of performing many daily routines decreases, along with decreasing muscle strength.

Causes:

Sarcopenia is mostly caused by a decrease in physical activity. However, although less frequent, some people with a very active physical life may also develop sarcopenia, which points to other probable reasons for this disease.

In addition to decreased physical activity the following might cause sarcopenia:

  • Decline in nerve cells that send signals from the brain to the muscle to move.
  • Reduction in the hormone levels
  • A lowered capacity of our body to convert protein to energy
  • Lack in protein and daily calorie consumption that help maintain muscle mass

Symptoms:

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Symptoms of sarcopenia is not uniform among the people it affects. It depends entirely on how much muscle mass a person has lost. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • a decline in muscle mass
  • loss of endurance
  • weakness
  • decrease in balance
  • trouble climbing stairs

The most debilitating part of developing sarcopenia is the spiral decline it causes. As one develops sarcopenia, his physical movement decreases, which in turn further exacerbates sarcopenia. This cycle continues resulting in weakness, increase the risk of falling, and most importantly limits one’s physical independence. Sarcopenia can adversely affect one’s life quality and therefore, a decline in muscle mass is something we should be extremely mindful about.

Dietary management for sarcopenia 

Diet plays an important role in the management of sarcopenia. If someone takes a calorie deficient diet, or has insufficient quantity of protein and certain other vitamins or minerals, she stands at a higher risk of muscle loss. For those who aren’t nutrient deficient, focus on taking higher proportion of certain types of foods that promote muscle growth can be beneficial.

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Protein:

An increased proportion of protein in the diet directly signals muscles to enhance building and strengthening itself. With age this signal weakens and much higher quantity of protein is needed for muscle growth. The amino acid leucine is enormously helpful in regulating muscle growth. Whey protein, eggs, fish, meat, and soy proteins are good sources of leucine.

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Vitamin D:

Deficiency in Vitamin D is extremely widespread among older people, and this lack supersedes racial and geographical boundaries. As a person gets older the levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)] is decreased, which further results in the lowering of muscle strength. Vitamin D levels, therefore, should be regularly monitored and necessary supplementation must be given.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids :

Irrespective of one’s age, studies have found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, through seafood and supplements are enormously beneficial in facilitating muscle growth. The anti-inflammatory nature of omega-3 fatty acid foods might be contributive as well.

Creatine:

Creatine is a protein found in the liver that help in muscle growth. Our bodies make enough creatine; however, studies have found that having creatine through meat or as supplement help in muscle growth. However, creatine should be used in tandem with exercise to make it more beneficial to us.

Exercise regime for preventing and reversing sarcopenia

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Regular exercise might be the single most beneficial way to fight sarcopenia. The more active our muscles are, the lesser are the chances of succumbing to sarcopenia. For optimal results and even for reversing sarcopenia a combination regime of aerobic exercise, resistance training and balance training is needed.

Resistance training:

Resistance training includes weightlifting, pulling against resistance bands and other exercise where our bodies muscles need to counteract gravity. The tension produced in muscles fibers during resistance training results in generating growth signal that in turn helps in increasing muscle strength. Resistance exercise also help in producing growth-promoting hormones.

Fitness Training:

Exercise that helps to increase heart-rate, when combined with resistance and flexibility training can control and reverse sarcopenia. A fitness regime would include these combinations to deliver the most productive outcome against sarcopenia.

Walking:

Walking is an exercise that many of us ordinarily do. A more regular walking schedule can be extremely helpful, in addition to other exercise in controlling and reversing sarcopenia.

When we think about muscle loss, especially among older people, we do not take the problem seriously. But very few things can be as detrimental to the quality of life as losing physical independence and sarcopenia does exactly that. Food N Wellness understands how debilitating sarcopenia can be, and hence have carefully designed a geriatric program that aims at preventing and reversing sarcopenia through dedicatedly curated diet and exercise regime.

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4 common myths debunked!

With so much of nutrition advice out there, everyone seems to have an opinion on what to eat and what not to eat. People do become a victim in believeing the food myths and nutrition quacks which is being followed blindly since years as old wives tales. Here we bring you the truth behind four common food myths:

Myth 1- Drinking more cups of Green Tea leads to more fat burning.

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Fact: Fat is burned when metabolism is good. Metabolism is a process which converts food into energy, as a fuel to carry out different body functions. For weight loss to happen, you need to eat a calorie deficit diet. Calorie deficit means the energy expenditure is more than the calorie consumption.
– Green tea has an antioxidant named catechins which increases your metabolism and thereby fat burning. But, catechins play a small role in increasing your total energy expenditure.
Studies have shown that 2 cups of green tea increases 4.5% energy expenditure. Let’s understand this- If a person consume 1500 kcal, then 4.5% is only 60 calories which is negligible.
– If you try to consume 5-6 cups in a day, the high caffeine content makes you dehydrated and acidic. Rather than increasing your metabolism, it slows down. So there is no ‘extra’ fat burning when you consume more!
– So it is better to try other ways of increasing metabolism rather than just sticking to drinking green tea
JUST FOR LAUGHS: You will lose weight alone from green tea only if you go to mountains and pick it up for yourself!!!!!

 

Myth 2- Homemade ghee makes you fat and is unhealthy!

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Fact: Homemade Ghee is rich in Conjugated Linoleic acid (CLA). CLA helps you to mobilise and burn the stubborn fat thereby help you to lose weight. So always, add a spoon of ghee to your meal plate.
– Ghee is rich in Butyric acid. Butyric acid is a short chain fatty acid which promotes the growth of good bacteria in stomach, balances the quantity of hydrochloric acid produced in stomach ( improves the acidity issue) and helps in bile production in liver.
– Ghee is rich in DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain development. Our body cannot make these fats and so important to get from food sources.
– Ghee is rich in Vitamin E- so being good to hair and skin.

 

Myth 3- Doing a detox diet after a binge day will nullify the cheat calories.

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Fact: A big NO!! Detox diets only remove toxins from the body but not fat. Detox process will make you lose water weight and not fat weight. So the moment you stop doing it after a day or two the lost weight will bounce back.
– When we binge, we end up eating more than required, later punish the body with working out extra hours or starve the body using detox techniques. You deprive the body of its primary fuel that is energy, mind becomes lethargic.
– Detox also leads to muscle loss. Only in presence of sufficient muscle content our body burns calories. If the muscle content goes down, metabolism is slow, calories don’t get burned and there is no sustainable weight loss.
– Body has its own limitation on how many calories will be burned on a daily basis. So f you go for detox every now and then, you won’t see any desirable effects. Better is to eat mindfully when binging, as brain will signal on where to stop.

 

Myth 4- People who are thin don’t need to exercise!

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Fact: The most common and widely accepted myth. Exercises are done to remain fit and healthy. Being thin does not qualify as being healthy. Everyone needs to workout. However, the type of exercise and its intensity will vary depending upon the person’s health and fitness goals.
– Muscles are denser and weigh more than the fat. Example, if you pour 1 spoon of oil/ghee in water it will float and any meat or muscle source poured into water will settle at the bottom.
Often, thin people have the same percentage of fat as the person who actually looks fat. This is because the person who looks thin usually has least amount of muscles and thus, the body weight is lesser as muscles are very dense.
– Thin people need to aim at gaining muscles. One can practice strength training exercises at home like crunches, walking lunges, push ups, squats, triceps dips & etc focusing on increasing the reps and sets in a periodic manner.

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Why Stretching is important for your Body

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone who loves to exercise the brain more than the body, one of the most important things to do is to recognize the importance of stretching as an everyday activity.

Stretching regularly immensely benefits your joints and your muscles keeping them flexible and strong.

Flexibility being an important aspect of fitness is achieved best by including stretching in your fitness regimen.

WHY IS STRETCHING NECESSARY BEFORE EXERCISING

Stretching is the first step before you begin any workout. It prepares your body for the exercise routine, be it Yoga or athletics. It helps us prep our body for the action.

Stretching gives your joints the freedom to use their entire range of movement. The flexibility you achieve through stretching gives you freedom from restricting certain movements, or motions, and allows you to test the limits of your joints or muscles.

BENEFITS OF STRETCHING

HELPS YOU IN ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:

Be it an athletic activity or your everyday routine, stretching is the warm-up your body needs to ease itself into any movement.

The first thing you do on waking up is to stretch yourself. This helps get rid of any stiffness you might experience upon waking and also increases the blood flow. You could say stretching awakens your muscles and joints to help them get you started!

TIPS:

*For relieving stiffness in your legs or feet:

1) Sit on the bed with your legs in front of you and your hands straight behind you, supporting you.

2) Stretch your feet by pointing the toes outwards and inwards for a few times.

3) Next, rotate your toes clockwise and anti-clockwise.

*For relieving stiffness in back:

1) Lie on the bed without your pillow and place your hands by your sides. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the bed.

2) Slowly, lift your torso with your head still on the bed so that your chest, torso, and your thighs are in a line, your feet firmly on the bed, and your hands flat on the bed, supporting you. Breathe easy for a few seconds and come back with your back on the bed. Do it twice, as slowly as possible. Do not hurry.

3) Finally, lie on your back with your legs stretched in front of you, the way you sleep, and focus on your breathing. This exercise gives relief from back pain, neck pain, and opens up the chest.

HELPS IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE AND GIVES RELIEF FROM BACK PAIN:

A correct posture is necessary for the proper functioning of our body, for maintaining our balance and keeping the back pain-free.

TIPS:

*To help improve your posture and strengthen your spine:

1) Get down on all fours, like a cat. Place the knees slightly apart. Breathe in and push your torso towards the floor so that your spine is arched. Turn your head up and look at the ceiling.

2) Inhale and exhale thrice before straightening the spine.

3) Next, breathe in and turn your head down to look at the floor and your back arched upwards towards the ceiling, like a cat when it stretches its body. Inhale and exhale thrice before returning to the normal position.

This gentle stretching exercise works on the spine improves your posture and gives relief from neck and back pain.

CALMS AN ANXIOUS MIND:

To find relief from anxiety, the first thing you need to do is to breathe deeply. Stretching helps you focus on your breathing as you exercise your body. This gives your mind a moment away from anxiety by helping you focus on breathing and being mindful of the moment.

Stress affects the way we carry ourselves. Our muscles tend to get tensed and this results in aches and pains. Stretching gently helps the muscles in reducing the tension in those areas.

TIPS:

*To ease the tension buildup in your neck and shoulders:

1).Turn your head up and then bend down a few times. Bend your neck side to side a few times, slowly and gently, without jerking the neck.

2).Rotate your shoulders clockwise and anti-clockwise a few times.

3) Push your shoulders to the back and your chest to the front for a few seconds and come back to the same position. These stretching exercises relieve tension in the shoulders and neck and help you calm down, too.

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Pedal towards Healthy Lifestyle

United Nations has assigned 3rd June as World Bicycle Day, to promote the benefits of health, better environment and sustainable development. This year choose to celebrate this day for the betterment of your health and do your bit towards our planet, Earth.

Generally most of us learn to bike at a very young age, but do not pursue this hobby for a long time. Let’s make bicycles our companion and make it a habit in our day to day life as much as possible. This will benefit you in protection from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.
Riding a bike is not only healthy but also fun for all ages.

Cycling for health and fitness

  • It only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health. Cycling is:
  • Low impact – it causes less strain and injuries than most other forms of exercise
  • A good muscle workout – cycling uses all of the major muscle groups as you pedal
  • Easy – unlike some other sports, cycling does not require high levels of physical skill
  • Good for strength and stamina

As intense as you want – cycling can be done at very low intensity to begin with, if recovering from injury or illness, but can be built up to a demanding physical workout
The health benefits of regular cycling include: increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility and decreased stress levels. It also improves posture and coordination, strengthens bones and decreases body fat levels. Cycling is also a good factor for reduced anxiety and depression. This habit once cultivated is going to a blessing factor in life.

Cycling in Kuala Lumpur
Get to know the real Malaysia with original bike tours from Mike Bikes. Mike Bikes arranges for bicycle guided tours where you are taken to landmark places of KL, the tour is filled with fun, excitement, culture and a lot of cycling. Learn about the city’s history and choose a tour based on your convenience of day and night. Hop on the orange bike and smile towards a fun filled healthy activity.

Source: Mike Bikes
Some of the other local guides are Bike with Elena or KL by Bicycle, these guides are designed for families and experienced cyclists. KL is rich with beautiful parks too, which make it an amazing place to enjoy a ride: Perdana Botanical Gardens, Desa Park City Central Park, Shah Alam National Botanical Park, Bukit Kiara Park @ TTDI and many more. In most of the parks you can rent a bikes which are in good condition and available economically.
If cycling outdoors is not feasible for you, you can always try stationary bike at the gym/home or take some spinning classes. Spinning classes are done in group and these are fun, energetic and filled with some great music.
Some of the spin classes in Kl are: Aloha Cycle Club, Peak Fitness, Cycology, and Fly Cycle. This is a more intense version of stationary bike and leads to a full body workout.

Source: Aloha Cycles
Spinning classes are for everyone, and there’s no faster way to burn over 600 calories in less than an hour – and it’s all as easy as riding a bike.
Cycling outdoor or indoor will lead to a fitter you, choose your option and adapt this lifestyle today.

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Gallstones

Gallstones are small stones, usually made of cholesterol, that form in the gallbladder. In most cases they don’t cause any symptoms and don’t need to be treated.

However, if a gallstone becomes trapped in a duct (opening) inside the gallbladder it can trigger a sudden intense abdominal pain that usually lasts between one and five hours. This type of abdominal pain is known as biliary colic.

Some people with gallstones can also develop complications, such as inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis), which can cause:

  • persistent pain
  • jaundice
  • a fever

 

When gallstones cause symptoms or complications, it is known as gallstone disease or cholelithiasis.

 

 

gall

The gallbladder

The gallbladder is a small, pouch-like organ found underneath the liver. Its main purpose is to store and concentrate bile.

Bile is a liquid produced by the liver to help digest fats. It’s passed from the liver through a series of channels, known as bile ducts, into the gallbladder.

The bile is stored in the gallbladder and over time it becomes more concentrated, which makes it better at digesting fats. The gallbladder releases bile into the digestive system when it’s needed.

Causes of gallstones

Gallstones are thought to be caused by an imbalance in the chemical make-up of bile inside the gallbladder. Bile is a liquid produced by the liver to aid digestion.

It’s still unclear exactly what leads to this imbalance, but gallstones can form if:

  • there are unusually high levels of cholesterol inside the gallbladder (about four in every five gallstones are made up of cholesterol)
  • there are unusually high levels of a waste product called bilirubin inside the gallbladder (about one in every five gallstones is made up of bilirubin)

These chemical imbalances cause tiny crystals to develop in the bile. These can gradually grow (often over many years) into solid stones that can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a pebble.

Sometimes only one stone will form, but there are often several at the same time.

Gallstones are very common. You’re more at risk of developing gallstones if you’re:

  • overweight or obese
  • female, particularly if you’ve had children
  • 40 or over (the risk increases as you get older)

Treating gallstones

Treatment is usually only necessary if gallstones are causing:

  • symptoms – such as abdominal pain
  • complications – such as jaundice or  acute pancreatitis

In these cases, keyhole surgery to remove the gallbladder may be recommended. This procedure, known as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, is relatively simple to perform and has a low risk of complications.

You can lead a perfectly normal life without a gallbladder. Your liver will still produce bile to digest food, but the bile will just drip continuously into the small intestine, rather than build up in the gallbladder.

Who’s at risk?

Gallstones are more common if you:

  • are female, particularly if you’ve had children, are taking the combined Pill, or are undergoing high-dose oestrogen therapy
  • are overweight or obese
  • are aged 40 years or older (the older you are, the more likely you are to develop gallstones)
  • have a condition that affects the flow of bile – such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), primary sclerosing cholangitis, or obstetric cholestasis
  • have Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome(IBS)
  • have a close family member who’s also had gallstones
  • have recently lost weight (from either dieting or weight-loss surgery)

Preventing gallstones

From the limited evidence available, changes to your diet and losing weight (if you’re overweight) may help prevent gallstones.

Diet

Because of the role cholesterol appears to play in the formation of gallstones, it is advisable to avoid eating too many fatty foods with high cholesterol content.

A healthy, balanced diet is recommended which includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

There’s also evidence that regularly eating nuts, such as peanuts or cashews, can help reduce your risk of developing gallstones.

Losing weight

Being overweight, particularly being obese, increases the amount of cholesterol in your bile, which increases your risk of developing gallstones. You should control your weight by eating a healthy diet and regular exercise.

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High Blood Pressure

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure: The silent killer

Hypertension, or an abnormally high blood pressure, is almost as common as common cold in the present times. However, this abundance is not the worst manifestation of this medical condition. It is rather the fact that it comes and stays without prior warnings, which means there are no specific symptoms to signal its presence. It is a long term medical condition and one can be affected for years without having the knowledge of it.

The fact that it does not announce its presence with symptoms makes it difficult to identify and hence treat. Some people report headaches or dizziness but these can’t be considered as symptoms directly associated with high blood pressure.

There are two categories of Hypertension:

Primary or Essential, where the cause is mostly unknown and symptoms almost absent; and

Secondary, which suggests sustained stage of the same where it is accompanied by additional signs and symptoms. These additional symptoms are of medical conditions that coexist with hypertension, that are also deemed to be the cause of it. The prevalent cause of secondary hypertension is kidney diseases, but hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome and other endocrine conditions are also potential causes.

Although apparently harmless initially, a prolonged state of hypertension can be damaging in two ways— increased work load on the heart, and its effect on arteries. The increase work load on the heart causes the size of tissue of the cardiac muscles to expand. As the state of hypertension progresses, the heart becomes weaker. This wear and tear ultimately leads to a plethora of hypertensive heart diseases, coronary and peripheral artery diseases, stroke and chronic kidney diseases, causing multiple organ damage.

Like in most medical conditions, hypertension too should ideally be nabbed at the primary stage before it progresses to cause additional damage to the body. Experts advise regular health check-ups to keep track of the blood pressure, especially if you have a family history of hypertension behind you. Although mostly unknown, the following have been loosely considered causes of primary hypertension:

  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Maternal smoking and lack of breastfeeding in women

Nutrition and exercise: The role of well-balanced lifestyle in a condition of hypertension

At the primary stage, the few causes that can be kept in check are obesity, stress, depression and poor choice of lifestyle. The role of nutritional management in keeping a medical condition of hypertension, therefore, is paramount. A gradual weight loss in overweight obese individuals and maintenance of body weight slightly below normal levels is what one should aim for when targeting hypertension at the essential level. Expert-monitored diet plans that are crafted to individual need, coupled with regular aerobic physical activity, like brisk walking and light jogging are instrumental in maintaining a healthy lifestyle so as to check the onset of complications in a medical condition that arrives unannounced but leaves behind damaging consequences.

 

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