Fitness

Another reason to get off the couch! You may reduce your chances of getting the two to five colds the average adult suffers each year.

Activity Each Day Keeps Runny Noses Away

Another reason to get off the couch! You may reduce your chances of getting the two to five colds the average adult suffers each year. The couch potato is more likely to suffer from a cold than a regular exerciser, according Dr. Charles E. Matthews of the University of South Carolina. He reported in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (August 2002) that the most active people have 25 per cent fewer colds over a year compared to the least active.
–Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2002; 34: 1242-1248

Did You Know?

  • Physical inactivity is responsible for approximately 21,000 premature deaths per year.

  • About $2.1 billion of direct health-care costs are attributable to physical inactivity.

  • A 10 per cent reduction in physical inactivity would result in a savings of roughly $150 million a year.

–The Public Health Burden of Physical Inactivity in Canada by Peter T. Katzmarzyk, July 14, 2002, yorku.ca/suevail/asc/peterk.ppt

Help for Your Hands

If you work your hands during regular sports or gym activities, try these simple suggestions to prevent injury to your hands and wrists.

  • Warm up your hands prior to a workout. Spread hands and fingers wide open and then curl into a fist. Repeat five times. Circle wrists five times in one direction and then five times the other way. These easy movements help reduce muscle strain and keep hands and wrists moving freely.

  • Treat hands and wrists like any other muscle group and properly strengthen them and prepare them for exercise or play.

  • If you have a sustained hand or wrist concern, contact a specialist for proper care.

–American Society of Hand Therapists, asht.org

Tips for Tummy Fat

Crunches and other abdominal exercises will help your abs become stronger, more lean and toned, but no specific exercise gets rid of abdominal fat. “Spot reduction” is not possible; you cannot point to a certain area of your body and say, “I want to lose fat right here.”

So why do we have areas where the fat hangs on and other areas where excess rolls are easily reduced? This has to do with fat “mobilization.” When your muscles require energy, they call upon your fat and sugar stores. The stored fat is “mobilized,” transported to your liver, then finally routed to the working muscle to use. Therefore, doing abdominal crunches does not mean you are burning abdominal fat. You could be utilizing stored fat from your arm to supply energy to your abs to do the work, so other areas such as your arms or legs may first tone up. Although your abdominal fat may be the last to go, with persistence it will eventually give up its cozy home.

There are many exercises to work your mid-section but not just one that is the absolute best. Instead, incorporate a variety of movements into your exercise plan to ensure you are getting a well-rounded and effective program. Try including abdominal crunches, trunk rotation movements to target side muscles and other exercises that focus on the lower abdominal wall. Good examples are a basic crunch (you lift your head and shoulders off the floor) and a crunch with a twist, which involves moving your left shoulder toward the right knee and vice versa. Think about consulting a personal trainer because they specialize in designing specific programs and will also ensure a perfect technique!

Finally, to lose body fat, even only in one area, it’s best to combine cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, cycling and swimming) with resistance training (free weights, weight-training machines, rubber tubing or weighted balls) and a well-balanced healthy eating program (including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes). As for those stubborn areas: be patient and persistent–and let them know who’s boss!
–Tanya Rouble

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