Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Super-easy, super-quick 7-minute workout

And when I say, super-easy, I mean all you have to do is watch the screen -- well, okay, and do the exercises! But there's minimal thinking involved! Once you click "START", there's a visual depiction of each exercise, and a counter that ticks down the seconds you have left.

This is just an image. The link to the video is at the bottom of the post.

And as for quick? Who doesn't have seven minutes?! And each set is only 30 seconds. And this isn't even seven minutes of solid exercise; there are 10-second rests in between!

A tip: I put my laptop on the fourth step of my stairway, and use the first two steps when the instructions call for using a chair. This is more stable, and it also lets me use a higher or lower stair to accommodate my fitness level.

For someone in moderate shape, most of the exercises will be doable. But if you're in beginner shape, or some of the moves are too hard, you can still adapt the moves as needed. Here are a few ways:

- When the instructions call for a chair, use the first step on a stairway. After a few workouts, try the second step, or alternate between the first and second.

- Instead of jumping up and down for the jumping jacks, just step out to the side as you raise your arms, and step back as you lower them. Switch sides at 15 seconds. When that gets easier, add in a jumping jack or two between each easier rep.

- Adjust the plank and push-up to your capability; start with doing them on your knees or the lowest stair, rather than your toes on the floor.

- Instead of high-knee running in place, do marching in place. As you get more fit, add more running in.

The last two exercises are the most difficult. For either or both of them, substitute an easier exercise of your choice. Here's one I like to use.

Want a harder workout? Do it two or three times through.

Here's the link: Seven-minute workout. Just click the big blue button that says, "START."

Need an even easier workout? That's okay! Check out these seated workouts.

So go! Start where you are today!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A simple explanation of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Here is a 7-minute video that does a great job of explaining in very simple terms how insulin and glucose work together to control your blood sugar/glucose and get your cells what they need, and also explains the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes:

What happens to blood sugar levels after you eat

You've probably heard the term "blood sugar" and heard people talk about whether theirs is high or low. "Hyperglycemia" just means high blood sugar; hypoglycemia means low blood sugar. Your body works best when your blood sugar levels stay within a certain range. Too low, and your energy and ability to think clearly will crash; too high, and all kinds of things start to go out of whack. Long-term high levels -- which happens when you have diabetes -- can do permanent damage in your smaller blood vessels: feet, hands, and eyes.

Here's a 9-minute video from Khan Academy which explains -- in a very simplified manner - what happens to your glucose (blood sugar) levels after you eat. And how the blood sugar levels in a diabetic differ from those in a healthy individual.

image source: girl eating sweet

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fitness: It's about you

Fitness is not about being better than someone else; it's about being better than you used to be.

Start now: A few simple steps to better health

The single best thing you can do to improve your health is to stop putting it off! The biggest mistake most people make is starting off with some crazy-big effort that can't be sustained for more than a few weeks -- or days.

Don't despise small beginnings. Start now, start where you are today, with tiny, doable steps. Baby steps, really. So small, it takes more effort to defend why you're not doing than to just shut up and do them!

And don't bite off all eight at once! Start now, with one - or, at the most, two. Then keep that up for a week before you add another.

Here are some to choose from:

1. Enlist help. Ask an upbeat friend or family member to call, email, or text you every few days to encourage you in your journey.

2. Read an inspiring health-related book. Or watch an inspiring video.

3. Walk for 10 minutes a day, preferably in sunshine. If you can't walk for 10 minutes, walk as long as you can, sit till you catch your breath, and continue until you've walked a total of 10 minutes. Even if it takes you an hour. You started! Yay, you!

4. Try one of these beginner-level, seated workouts.

5.Write an encouraging note to yourself about this journey. Re-read it while you eat breakfast every day, and/or before you go to bed every night.

6. Write an encouraging or challenging verse or phrase on a card and put it on your mirror. And your computer. And your dashboard.

7. Set aside 30 minutes on the weekend to prep and pack healthy snacks and/or lunches for the week.

8. Start to develop the habit of marching in place or doing the twist as you brush your teeth. (Feel silly? Do it anyway! Laugh at yourself; laughter is healthy, too!)

Okay, pick one - now! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Inspiration: If he can do it, you can do it! Incredible weight loss success story.

Arthur Boorman was a 47-year-old Veteran. He weighed almost 300 pounds. He couldn't walk unassisted, and for 15 years, doctors had told him that would never change. And he believed them.

But he gave one last effort, with the help of a patient yoga coach, and... well, just watch this.

There is hope! Start where you are today!

Don't know where to start? Here are some baby steps.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Food cravings: Why you have them; How to beat them

Why do you have food cravings? Not genuine hunger, signaling that your digestive tract is ready for more, but craving for a particular kind of, or a very specific food.

If you've struggled with weight issues, you may be quick to blame yourself and your "will power" -- after which you will probably beat yourself up, and/or say "that's just me; I'll never change."

USA Today health reporter (and nutritionist, fitness expert, and health coach) Yuri Elkaim explains that there are actually a few different reasons for cravings. He posits that "everyone is different – cravings can be caused by one factor or multiple reasons." And here's the good news: One type of craving is a healthy signal from your body, and all of them are changeable.

Here are the three types of cravings he addresses:

1. Simple conditioning. This is where you associate a certain kind of food with a certain event or setting. He uses the example of pizza being associated with home movies. For me, road trips trigger expectations for junk food. (New Year's Eve and summer vacations being the only times in my childhood when my mom freely gave us junk food.) "Once you know the 'why' behind your food cravings," he says, "you can begin to actively fight them. Remind yourself, 'My body doesn’t need this food. I have conditioned myself to crave this food, and I can condition myself to stop.'”

2. Physiological craving. This the type that may actually be your body crying out for more of a certain nutrient. For example, craving salt after a workout may be a signal that your body isn't processing sodium correctly. He recommends testing to get to the bottom of this issue.

3. Food addiction. Yes, here's the uncomfortable truth: we can be emotionally addicted to food. But sometimes, it goes deeper than emotions, actually involving the same areas of the brain that respond to drugs like cocaine and heroin. This topic deserves more explanation, but his summary is accurate: "This isn’t easy, because you will go through a withdrawal process, but it’s critical you stick to it if you want to kick the habit. The good thing is that you only have to do this for about two weeks. "

Those two weeks can be brutal! I can personally testify that after you make it through the withdrawal, cravings subside substantially and it gets much easier to pass up sweets. If, however, you give in and eat something sweet, you're basically setting yourself up to be like this guy:

Don't be that guy! Here's one of the most important things you need to know when you're trying to kick the sugar habit.

The original article at USA Today: This Is Why You Have Food Cravings