What Every Woman Should Know About Hormonal Imbalance

Posted by Angie Quehl on Sep 12, 2013 10:08:00 AM

Can You Really Achieve 'Hormonal Harmony'?

Hormonal transitions occur throughout a woman’s life. The two most dominant are puberty and Menopause! But let’s give credit where credit is due: Perimenopause is no “walk in the park” either. Regardless of where you are in the Perimenopause /Menopause continuum, the normally occurring hormonal shifts can precipitate the onset of complex physical and emotional health challenges. 

Currently, there are nearly 50 million post-menopausal women in the US. Are you one of them?  If so, take heart. You’re in good company and probably well-versed on the symptoms most commonly experienced by your peers. However, in some ways every woman’s menopausal transition experience (this includes perimenopause) is unique. So, how is it possible for women of all ages to achieve Hormonal Harmony

There is no “one size fits all approach” but, there are solutions for nearly every woman’s menopausal transition issues. The first step is to identify where you are in the menopausal transition continuum by answering the following questions.  

Has your menstrual cycle become irregular or have you missed your period for twelve months?Hormonal Harmony resized 600 Do you have hot flashes? Are you fatigued? Is your sleep interrupted? Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning? Do you have night sweats, vaginal dryness, breast enlargement, or tenderness before your period? Have you experienced unexplained weight gain and muscle loss even with proper diet and exercise? Are you irritable? Do you have mood swings? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Have you experienced periods of forgetfulness? Have you lost interest in sex? Have you experienced hair loss, dry skin, and brittle nails? Do you crave sweets and salty foods? 

If you haven’t missed your period for twelve months, but have any of these symptoms, you may have entered the stage of perimenopause during which, the hormonal “ups and downs” and natural progression of hormonal decline gradually lead to postmenopause.  

Whether you are peri or postmenopausal, you may want to learn about or confirm your understanding of the following:

 

  • The most common hormonal imbalances and symptoms associated with each phase of the menopausal transition.
  • How a menopausal transition hormonal imbalance affects the thyroid and adrenal glands and often lead to age-related chronic diseases
  • How hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue can be misdiagnosed and symptoms can be mistaken for those associated with menopause
  • How underlying or under-diagnosed conditions can sabotage your menopausal treatments, physical fitness program and lead to weight loss resistance
  • What tests accurately diagnose underlying conditions 
  • How personalized wellness approaches  prevent or reverse unwanted symptoms and disorders caused by menopause-related hormonal imbalances 

Advances in Anti-aging medicine have made it possible for most women of all ages to overcome the challenges of a hormonal imbalance. Self-empowerment encourages today’s woman to seek the answers she needs to improve her quality of life at any age. So, get the answers you’re looking for! Please join me on June 19th for an informative lecture on how you can experience “Hormonal Harmony” for life.  

 

Article submitted by Dr. Eva Coleman of Harmony Medica, Reston VA

Dr. Eva ColemanDr. Eva Coleman is a Board Certified M.D. with more than two decades of experience in Internal Medicine; specializing in prevention and treatment of Diabetes, Cardiovascular and chronic systemic diseases. She has held affiliation with INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia, and completed a fellowship with the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.  

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Topics: women's health, Women's Wellness

The Coolest Abs Exercise on the Planet

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 15, 2013 2:44:00 PM

Up Against the Wall!

If you're looking for ways to keep your ab workout challenging and interesting, then you must try this

adult-beautiful-brunette-1089164-445813-edited-261687-edited

 month's essential exercise for women, the wall mountain climber. Much as the name would suggest, this move is like your traditional “mountain climber" only done with your feet against a wall. It is without a doubt the coolest abs exercise we've seen in a while and it can be done anywhere! While it is challenging, the mountain climber on the wall will not only fry your abs and core but also works your shoulders and glutes. Oh and bonus...it’ll help improve your performance at all the other exercises in your workout!

 

WALL MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

  1. Assume a pushup position with feet firmly planted on a stable wall.
  2. Place hands directly under shoulders. (You may place your hands slightly in front of your forehead for maximum leverage.)
  3. Drive heels into the wall. Bring shoulders down and back, brace through the core and squeeze the glutes.
  4. In a slow and controlled movement, bring one knee forward. (Make sure to push firmly through the foot that is against the wall, to maintain proper form. Do not allow your lower back to move up or down.) 
  5. Repeat on opposite leg. 

Repeat this move for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions

Here's How It's Done

 

**The mountain climber with feet on the wall is an advanced exercise! If you cannot do mountain climbers on the floor, you should not attempt this exercise.**

 

Wanna Try It?

If you would like to modify the wall mountain climber and work up to it, consult a personal trainer. If you are living in the Northern Virginia (Chantilly, Centreville, Fairfax, Herndon) area and want to find out how one of our trainers can help you learn to do this and many more moves just like it, schedule your free consultation today!

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Topics: abs exercises, exercise programs for women, personal training for women

5 Myths about Cholesterol Busted

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 2, 2013 1:21:00 PM

The Good, The Bad, The Whaaaaat?!

Did you know that American people overall have the highest cholesterol in the world...Pretty sobering when you look at it that way isn't it? Most people know that high cholesterol is a dangerous problem but many are not sure of the why's and the how's or what the heck is an LDL or HDL and what all of those numbers mean. In addition, there are a lot of myths out there about the causes, symptoms, and prevention of high cholesterol.  The first step to fighting high cholesterol is to sift them and search out the medical facts on both high and low cholesterol in order to make the best determination about what is good for you and subsequently good for your health!

cholesterol

Cholesterol Myth #1

You will experience high cholesterol symptoms if there's a problem.

Cholesterol Fact: Most people can't tell when their cholesterol is dangerously high.

About 20 percent of Americans have high cholesterol and don't know it. There are no real medical symptoms associated with high cholesterol. In fact, most won't find out their high cholesterol status until after they suffer a medical event like a heart attack or stroke.

If you would prefer to find out whether or not you have high cholesterol before such an event, you should begin having your high-risk cholesterol checked in your 20s and then once every five years. Your risk for high cholesterol rises with age, so men over the age of 45 and women who are 55 and over should be tested more often. Those who struggle with high cholesterol or have numbers close to the danger line should be tested more often, as well.

Cholesterol Myth #2

A prescription is the only way to lower dangerously high cholesterol.

Cholesterol Fact: Medication is one way to lower cholesterol, but you can do it without a high cholesterol prescription through dietary changes and exercise.

cholesterol medication

It is in fact recommended-as long as your cholesterol numbers are not too high-that you start fighting the dangers of high cholesterol issues by making changes to your diet and beginning to exercise regularly. If your cholesterol numbers are borderline, you may be able to avoid medication altogether. If your high cholesterol is already in a danger zone, then you may be able to stop taking your high cholesterol medication after some months of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Here a few goals that diet and exercise can help you attain:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise, even if gently, for about 30 minutes a day 5 to 6 days per week
  • Cut out trans fat from your diet (hydrogenated oil)
  • Reduce your saturated fats to under 7 percent of your calories
  • Reduce your cholesterol intake to 200 mg per day or less
  • Increase your soluble fiber intake to at least 10 gram per day
  • Increase your fish intake or take omega-3 supplements each day

Cholesterol Myth #3

All cholesterol is bad cholesterol.

Cholesterol Fact: There are different kinds of cholesterol and some are not only not bad for you, but necessary for your body to function properly.

There are three different kinds of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). HDL is good because it serves the purpose of helping your body transport waste to the liver, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, clear extra cholesterol from the bloodstream where it otherwise would collect, and block your arteries.

LDL is also responsible for carrying cholesterol from the liver to where it needs to go in the body, but it is much lighter and breaks more easily. This means that they hover in the bloodstream, often attaching to the blood vessel itself, collecting and causing a blockage that often results in a heart attack. VLDLs are even lighter than LDLs and affect the cardiovascular and circulatory systems just as negatively.

Cholesterol Myth #4

High cholesterol is only a problem for men.

Cholesterol Fact: High cholesterol is a problem for both men and women.

Estrogen is a hormone that helps monitor and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, so women who are experiencing a regular menstrual cycle are less likely candidates for high cholesterol than are men of the same age. However, after menopause when a woman's estrogen level plummets, her chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke due to high cholesterol significantly increase. It's important that women maintain low levels of cholesterol throughout their lives to prepare for the loss of estrogen later.

Cholesterol Myth #5

You should get your first cholesterol test after the age of 45.

Cholesterol Fact: You should start getting tested for high cholesterol in your 20s.

HDL - 60+ mg/dL Getting tested for high cholesterol is easy: a blood test done after fasting called a fasting lipid profile. You can have it done in conjunction with a batch of other blood tests to simply the process. The test will show your cholesterol levels in terms of HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. If you have any questions about how to get a test or your test results, ask your doctor. In general, your goals should be:

  • LDL - 100 mg/dL or less
  • Triglycerides - 150 mg/dL or less
  • Total cholesterol - 200 mg/dL or less

Don't Know Your Numbers?

know your cholesterol numbers

If you live in Northern VA in the Chantilly area, you are in luck! We are hosting a women's wellness event on August 12 which is open to the public where cholesterol screenings will be offered. Our screening will feature a simple "finger stick" test that will give you the results in minutes! If you are interested in learning where you are and what you can do to lower or even prevent high cholesterol in the future, get more details on our upcoming event.

 

 

Sources:
WebMD

About.com Cholesterol

Yahoo Health

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness

See How Easily You Can Get Your "Sexy Back"

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 19, 2013 1:48:00 PM

Most people spend far more time working the muscles on the front of their bodies and little time focusing on their back. That is why we have selected the reverse fly or bent over reverse fly as this month's essential exercise for women because it focuses on this area that is so often overlooked. 

We've Got Your Back 

Recently, I have noticed that many of our members have exceptionally weak back muscles. An exercise that I love and do with many of my clients is the Reverse Fly. This is an exercise that is done with free weights and can be done on days you do weight training exercises.


exercises for a beautiful back resized 600
You can do reverse flies while standing, sitting, or lying down. If you are standing, spread your feet hip-width apart and lean forward at a 45-degree angle with your arms down by your legs. If you are sitting, lean forward and hold the dumbbells by your calves. If you want to lie down during the reverse fly, lie on your stomach on a flat weight bench with your arms hanging off of either side of the bench. Choose light weight to begin! It is much better to start light and increase your weight until you determine what weight is right for you!!

Standing Reverse Fly

Standing Reverse Fly resized 600


How it's done
To do a bent-over reverse fly, hold your back straight and tighten your abs. Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent as you raise both of your arms. Arms should raise up slightly higher than your back, almost as if you are flapping imaginary wings. As you lift, pull your shoulder blades together, then lower your arms slowly back into starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions to complete the exercise. If you find that this seems too easy, try increasing the weight of your dumbbells.

 

Seated Reverse Fly

Seated Reverse Fly resized 600
Keep these points in mind...
If you have any joint, back, or muscular problems, be sure to consult your medical professional before attempting reverse fly exercises. Also, if you find lifting both dumbbells at the same time to be a challenge, you can alternate your arms so only one is lifting at a time. This is called an alternating reverse fly. As always, if you need guidance with this exercise, ask a personal trainer for help!

If you live in the Northern VA area (Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon, or Centreville) we would be more than happy to assist you. Schedule a free consultation and find out how a female certified personal trainer on our staff can help you reach your fitness goals!

 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

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Topics: exercises for women, strength training, back health

Alcohol and Weight Loss -- Does Drinking 'Really' Sabotage My Diet?

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jun 28, 2013 3:46:00 PM

To Drink or Not to Drink

So you are super pumped and committed to making some changes in your eating habits. Or perhaps you are trying to shed a few pounds to fit into that perfect outfit for a special occasion like a summer wedding or a class reunion. Buuuuuut you also still like to enjoy a drink two socially. What IS a girl to do?! What the heck is the relationship between alcohol and weight loss and will drinking even a glass of wine socially affect your diet and weight loss plans? 

The Down Low

Alcohol does have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, and rightfully so. But the consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the cavemen, so imbibing is not likely to go away any time soon. The question then is if an occasional drink has a place in a healthy lifestyle. The answer...yes, but we should have a strategy about how to consume. 

alcohol and weight loss


First things first

It is important to understand how alcohol affects your body. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and fluids. With a normal diet, of carbs, fats, and protein your body gets the energy it needs. These foods are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. This digestive process drastically changes when alcohol is consumed. The alcohol now gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion. When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down the foods containing carbohydrates and fat. So what happens? These calories are converted into body fat and stored permanently in your body.

So I Should Save My Calories then, Right?

WRONG. Skipping a meal or two because you know it will be a night out on the town or just knowing you will be drinking is a terrible idea for a few reasons. Since alcohol actually stimulates the appetite and then you go out on an empty stomach you are more likely to munch on those salty bar snacks (which makes you want to drink more), or more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline.

A Better Strategy-- Research shows drinking an alcoholic beverage before or during a meal reduces your inhibitions and willpower. Wait to order that drink until you're done with your meal! To avoid over-drinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage and, if you're planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You'll feel fuller, which will stop you from over-drinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.

Tip: To prevent post-drinking noshing you’ll regret the next day, prep some healthy, low cal options before you go out. If they’re ready to eat and right in front of you when you get home, you’ll be less likely to reach for chips or cookies. Good options include pre-popped popcorn, raw veggies with hummus, or cut fresh fruit.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Drinking before bed will keep you from having a deep, restful sleep, thus leaving you tired the next day which can trigger you to feel like you need to eat more. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid your stomach produces giving you an inflamed stomach lining. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly lesscalories in alcohol resized 600 than fats. More importantly, these calories have no nutritional value. None! A 12-ounce beer is about 150 calories. How many calories in a glass of red wine? About 88. And if you reaching for a shot of liquor that number can range from 85 to 115 calories. And who usually has JUST ONE? It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier? 

"Dry" 

Another big reason not to mix alcohol and exercise is that alcohol is a diuretic. It causes water loss and dehydration. You also lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.

Sip on This

So, to drink or not to drink? I say “In moderation." Limit your intake and take the occasional time off from drinking altogether to give your systems a much-needed break. Also, consider swapping out some of those high cal choices like fruity mixed beverages (even as cute as the little umbrella is) with some of these lower-calorie "fit chick" options.

goodchoices resized 600

What do you think?

How do you feel about alcohol? Does it tend to get in the way of your weight loss goals? Did any of this info surprise you? Please share your thoughts by dropping a comment in the box below or tweet them to us @Womensclub_va.

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Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, weight loss for women

Who Else Wants a Flat Belly?

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jun 6, 2013 1:48:00 PM

Get More Bang for Your Buck (and a flat belly) with the Ball!

adult-beautiful-brunette-1089164-445813-edited-261687-edited

If you are looking to maximize your time when doing your ab/core work look no further than this month's Essential Exercise for Women. With bathing suits and clingy, unforgiving summer fashions on the menu for the next few months, who doesn't want a flat belly to show off? Answer: NO ONE! So grab a ball, even a beach ball will work if you happen to be laying around poolside with a few extra minutes, and try the ball exchange core exercise. Your abs and core will thank you!

 

Ball Exchange Exercise

  1. Lying on back, place your workout ball above your head on the floor. Lay flat on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Now, bring your arms over your head and grab the workout ball. 
  3. Contract your abdominal muscles and hip flexors and bring the ball upwards towards the middle of your body, meeting your feet at the mid-line.
  4. Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet by gripping the ball between your ankles.
  5. Keeping your arms and legs straight, return to your starting position. 
  6. With the ball between your feet, repeat the same movement, except exchange the ball to your hands from your feet at the midline. 
  7. Slowly return to the starting position.


**You can vary the size of the ball to make this ball exchange exercise more challenging!

 


Ball Exchange Exercise for Core Muscle Toning—powered by eHow.com

 

Safety Note: Leg elevation while laying on your back can put a strain on the lumbar spine. Thus, the ball exchange is not recommended for those with lower back issues.

HEY YOU GUUUUUUYS!!!!

We've have heard from a few of our loyal readers but we want to hear from even more! So you there...yeah you in front of that computer or phone screen, if you love the ball exchange exercise, why not drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit other body part(s) you wanna work on. In turn, we will share our sage advice so that you can begin to tackle those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

 

Ask Fitness Questions Here
 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

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Topics: exercises for women, abs exercises, exercise programs for women, exercise at home

The Real Facts About the 7-Minute Workout

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 22, 2013 4:32:00 PM

Transform Your Body in 7 minutes? Hmmmm...

Have you heard the hype surrounding the “NEW” and "scientific" 7-Minute Workout? Wondering if this workout is for you? Is it effective, safe, really all you need to do? Let’s take a look at it!

What's it All About 

The 7-minute Workout is an example of a High-Intensity Circuit Training (HICT), which involves intense bursts of exercise intervals, combined with short rest periods with the workout being completed in as little time as 7 minutes. It is certainly very convenient for the modern exerciser, who may not have extended periods of time to devote to an exercise program. IS this a new approach to exercise? No way!! Classic Calisthenics were popular and highly promoted 50 -100 years ago! The only change for modern HICT calisthenics is that the old routines are done at a very fast pace with strict rules so that each type of 12 exercises is done at a very fast pace for only 30 seconds each, with 10-second rest between sets and exercise types. In about 7 minutes the entire session is finished. The old/new routine is backed up with research that shows that it generally meets guidelines for quantity and quality of exercise, made by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

How to do the 7-minute Workout

seven minute workout resized 600

 

What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics exercises consist of a variety of simple movements, such as planks, push-ups, and lunges, generally performed without equipment.‭ ‬These types of exercises are designed to increase the flexibility and strength of the muscles of the body, using movement, such as jumping, ‭ ‬bending, ‭ ‬swinging, kicking, ‭ ‬twisting, or stepping and jogging on the spot.

The ACSM recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate the desired amount of daily exercise. Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency, and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.

So What Do I Think?

So my advice and opinion is this... I think the 7-minute workout is a good addition to a well-rounded workout plan. Would I recommend ditching everything you have been doing and doing just this workout? No. I believe that a well-rounded exercise plan includes workouts that consist of sustained aerobic conditioning, strength training, AND interval training. This provides, not only a good mix of exercise but also ensures that your workout doesn’t get boring!

 

Article submitted by:

Pennie Watson, Director of Personal Training, The Women's Club

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Topics: cardiovascular exercise, fitness tips, exercise programs for women, weight loss for women, Strength training for women

5 Surprising Things You Don't Know About Sun Protection

Posted by Angie Quehl on May 14, 2013 3:21:00 PM

Fun in the Sun

Summertime is comin' and that means more hours of daylight and more time spent out in the sun. You slather on sunscreen and hope for the best, but are you doing right by your skin? Since burns, premature wrinkles, not to mention the big C -- skin cancer, are things that we all want to avoid, we’ve compiled a surprising list of items many people don’t know about sun protection. Read, and your skin will thank you.


1. Your washing machine can help protect your skin. The latest trend in sunscreen isn’t something you rub into your skin; rather, it’s something you throw in with the laundry. While clothing does provide a barrier between the sun’s harmful rays and your skin, many fabrics pack a pretty puny punch. Take clean-cleaning-funny-2371lightweight cotton, for instance. Don’t count on getting more than sun protection factor (SPF) 5 protection. However, a new product called SunGuard, endorsed by the Skin Cancer Foundation, can simply be added to your washing machine load along with detergent to add an extra level of sun protection to your clothes. After your favorite T-shirts and pants are washed and dried, the protective coating is said to block more than 96 percent of the sun’s rays from permeating the fabric. Best part? The product is very affordable. One package, just $1.99, gives a load of laundry sun protection for up to 20 washings. That’s an entire summer’s worth of tees!

2. Chocolate may protect your skin from the sun. No, don’t ditch your sunscreen in favor of a 

chocolates-close-up-cocoa-65882

chocolate bar, but researchers say there may be something to our favorite treat’s sun-protecting effects. According to a recent study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate may increase your own UV sun protection. The researchers suggest eating little bits of chocolate—preferably dark chocolate, with 70 percent cacao content or higher—throughout the day to increase your body’s natural sun protection. Hey, we’re not arguing with that!

3. Apply sunscreen everywhere—melanoma likes to crop up in strange places. “One of the most common places melanoma has been detected is between the toes, an area most women neglect,” says Brian Bonanni, MD, a dermatologist practicing at the New York City spa Gotham Skincare. “Sunscreen should be applied to scalp, ears, hands, and feet.” And don’t forget your lips, too. “A physical sunblock with micronized zinc and titanium should also always be applied to the lips. There are now formulas of sunscreen for women that do not leave white residue on the lips, which women are more likely to use.”

juja-han-149998-unsplash-885962-editedPhoto by Juja Han on Unsplash

4. You should never leave your sunscreen in a hot car. We’ve all done it—left our sunscreen in a bag inside a car on a hot summer day. But this may weaken its potency, says Dr. Bank. Instead, treat sunscreen factsyour sunscreen like you would prescription medication and keep it away from extreme heat. “Most preservatives in sunscreens are designed and tested in a range of temperatures close to room temperature,” he explains. “If you leave it in a hot car, there is a reasonable chance that the preservative and active ingredients may to some degree degrade so it won’t be as effective.”


5. Sunscreen can’t protect one vital area of the body, so take extra precautions. The one place that’s visible to the sun’s pelting rays yet can’t be protected by sunscreen? That’s right—your eyes. According to reports, 5 to 10 percent of all skin cancers appear on the eyelids. While you can apply sunscreen to your lids, it’s your eyes that sunglasses can really protect. The sun’s rays may play a role in eye degeneration and the development of cataracts. A pair of shades can go a long way in protecting your peepers. The American National Standards Institute requires that all shades (even the cheap drugstore varieties!) provide at least 95 percent UVB protection and 60 percent UVA protection. More about SPF, UVA and UVB

 

Article Source:  Blog post by Sarah Jio for Women's Day Magazine

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Topics: Women's Wellness, health tips, skin care for women

Finally Get Shapely, Toned Calves You'll LOVE to Show Off

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 24, 2013 3:08:00 PM

Stand and Deliver

Every woman wants to have a great pair of legs...you know those gorgeous gams you see peeking out of a skirt or leading up from a terrific pair of shoes? Shapely toned calves are a big part of creating that look, but they are also very important for stability, posture, and mobility. The low-intensity exercise of calf raises is a simple but excellent way to strengthen and tone your calf muscles, when done regularly and why we chose it as this month's Essential Exercise for Women. 

 

Standing Calf Raise

standing calf raise

Stand tall, with feet a comfortable distance apart, no more than a few inches. Make sure that your feet are pointing straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. This is your starting position. Raise yourself slowly until you are standing on the balls of your feet, squeeze the lower leg muscles, and hold for 1 second. Slowly lower yourself to the starting position. Repeat for 2 or 3 sets of 12-15. Need help with your balance? Grab on to the back of a chair or place your hands against a wall until your calves are stronger and you can maintain your balance more easily. 

Step it up!

calf raises with step

Kick those calf raises into high gear and stand on a step to do this exercise. This increases the level of difficulty. 

Note: Beginners should perform this exercise on the floor and it is advised to perform the exercise in front of a trainer, to be sure you are performing it correctly!

 

Get Sexy Legs from Hip to Ankle with these Great Moves:

What Can We Show You?

We love, love, love showing you moves you can use each month but we want to know what you want to see! Drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit the body part(s) you need the most help with and we will share with you some ways you can target those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!

Ask Fitness Questions Here
 

 

 

Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston

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Topics: exercises for women, leg exercises, strength training

The Benefits of Eating Raw Foods

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 5, 2013 11:47:00 AM

Eating in the Raw

No, don't worry...we're not talking about eating raw foods such as meat and fish, nor only raw foods such as celery sticks or salads. There are many healthy, vitamin-packed raw vegetables that taste better and are more nutritious in their fresh state, rather than cooked. Raw foodsraw food diet also include a wide variety of luscious fruits and crunchy, flavorful nuts and seeds.

You can even enjoy raw foods blended into juices and smoothies, or in dehydrated form as dried fruits or vegetables, such as sun-dried tomatoes. With proper cooking techniques, however, you can also include raw vegetables (as opposed to canned or frozen) in soups, so you can consume the nutrient-enriched water or low-sodium vegetable broth in the soup along with the vegetables. Eating raw foods in these various forms provides numerous benefits. Yummy Raw Foods Recipes

Specific Benefits of Eating Raw Foods:

  • One of the primary benefits of eating raw foods is the increased nutrients you will enjoy from not destroying them in the cooking process; nutrients include potassium, magnesium, folate, fiber, vitamin A, and health-promoting antioxidants.
  • Raw food is high in fiber content and low in sugar and fat content.
  • Eating raw food contributes to weight loss and fewer problems with hypertension.
  • Health benefits, espoused by proponents of "raw foodism," include lower cholesterol, better glucose levels, leaner body build, clearer skin, and higher energy levels and stamina.
  • While not conclusive, researchers reviewed findings from 50 or more medical studies showing that eating raw foods tends to lower the risks of a variety of cancers, including bladder, esophageal, gastric, laryngeal, oral, and pharyngeal cancers.
  • Another study showed that eating raw foods lowers the risks of heart disease and diabetes, because of lowered concentrations of plasma total cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, raw food has lower acidity and fewer damaging compounds; as a result, eating raw foods may reduce inflammation and slow the effects of aging.
  • Raw foods are easier to digest and stay in the body's digestive tract for less time than cooked foods--about 24 to 36 hours, compared to an alarming 40 to 100 hours for cooked foods.
  • Eating raw foods improves mental clarity and heightens the ability to concentrate.
  • Eating raw foods leaves you feeling energized rather than tired, and promotes a more restful night's sleep.
  • Raw foods do not build up toxicity in the body, nor cause the body to react by increasing the white blood cell count, as a natural defense of the body's immune system.
  • Raw foods are tasty and appealing "as is" with no need to add unhealthy and/or artificial flavorings.
   agriculture-antioxidant-carrot-33307

Numerous healthy diet studies also identified other benefits that contrasted with certain "myths" or misunderstandings about eating raw food in controlled research groups:

  • Raw foodists rarely exhibited problems with food allergies.
  • Raw foodists revealed healthy bones, less inflammation, and no problems with osteoporosis.
  • Serum sterols attributed as factors in rheumatoid arthritis decreased in raw food diets and relieved joint pain in subjects with arthritis.
  • Raw foods provide significantly more dietary antioxidants than cooked food, especially meats.
  • Eating raw foods alleviated symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • Eating raw foods improved overall cognitive performance.
  • Eating raw foods reduced abdominal obesity and lowered blood pressure.

Summing it Up

It is always best to check with your healthcare provider or nutritionist before making dietary changes. However, it is likely he or she will be happy to give you a "thumbs up" on a healthier lifestyle so you can enjoy the benefits of eating raw foods. 

 

 

 

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Topics: nutrition advice for women, Women's Wellness, healthy eating for women, weight loss for women

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