Aug 29

Beware With the Abdominal Exercises Myths

If you have ever read a fitness magazine, if you have ever watched TV ads about latest machines that will magically reveal your abs, or if you have ever gone to a gym and saw tens of people lying on the floor doing crunches, then beware because chances are you are a victim of the two biggest abdominal training hoaxes!

Myth No: 1; just doing some midsection exercises can reduce your “love handles”.

Fact

You cannot reduce fat from a certain targeted area of your body just by using exercise alone. And the abdominal area is no exception.

So if you want to get a flat stomach and to reveal your abs, losing the fat covering them is the way to go. And the only way to do this is to lose fat proportionately from your entire body by burning more calories than you consume.

How? By doing these two things:

Have a healthy and balanced permanent diet: dark green vegetables, fresh fruits, whole wheat and whole grain products, non-fat dairy products, fish, poultry breast, lean red meat, egg white.

Yes, you should cut out all sugar, soda, non-whole grain products and saturated fats: these aliments should only be a reward for achieving a goal, not a habit!

Start exercising

Aerobic and weight training will raise your metabolic rate. In result, your body will burn more calories.

Aerobic exercising, 3 times per week, practice an exercise that keeps your heart rate elevated for at least 30-45 minutes (ex: walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc)

Weight training, alternate days of aerobics with weight training. You will build muscles that will burn more calories, even when at rest!

Myth No: 2; you have to do tons of crunches.

Fact

Overuse of crunches will only shorten your abs, pull your head forward and gives you a bad posture. Any standing exercise that will contract your abs will do but you should specifically target your lower back to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

Time now for YOU to take action!

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

Aug 22

More Information About Hiking Boots

If you’ve ever been 5 miles from the trailhead with painful blisters, or even a sprained ankle, you will appreciate how much your hiking enjoyment rests literally on your feet. The selection of the correct hiking boots can be the difference between a great experience and a disaster. The choice of the right pair of boots can add considerably to your comfort and personal safety, especially in rugged or difficult terrain.

Before you start comparing the many brands and styles of hiking boot, consider the type of terrain and your style of hiking. Do you take extended treks through the mountains or just stroll through the local park or greenbelt?

Select a boot based on the most difficult terrain you will encounter. Do you carry a heavy pack? The heavier the pack the sturdier boot you will need. Are you an all-weather hiker? Do you need a lightweight breathable fabric or a heaver waterproof material?

Modern hiking boots do not weigh as much as older styles. Lightweight high-tech materials have replaced the metal shanks used in older boots and modern fabrics offer many advantages.

A lightweight boot can still offer plenty of support and be a lot easier on the feet over less rugged trails. Many of today’s top quality lightweight hiking boots offer a Gore-Tex┬« liner that helps keep water out while still allowing your feet to breathe.

All-leather boots provide more support than the leather and fabric styles and they are easier to waterproof. They lend themselves to rocky terrain but they are heaver and less flexible. In my experience, leather boots will outlast the lighter styles, partly due to the heavier construction but also due to the fact that they have less seams which are always the weak point in any boot.

Have your feet properly measured and wear the type and thickness of sock you will be wearing on the trail when trying on boots. Boots should fit snugly but not too tightly. Remember they will become more comfortable with wear.

Make sure they fit and provide support around your ankle and instep. You will need good ankle support, especially when carrying a pack. Hiking boots will never feel as comfortable as that old favorite pair of sneakers, but if you develop blisters or have pressure points, then you need a different boot.

Look for boots with foam padding around the ankle and tongue for comfort. Removable inserts will help to fine-tune for a perfect fit.

Once you’ve found the perfect pair of hiking boots, be sure to break them in slowly. Start with short walks around the neighborhood and progress to 3 or 4 hour hikes before that week long hiking vacation.

Aug 15

The Importance of Good Hiking Socks

Hiking SocksGreat hiking socks are critical. Do yours deliver in all these important areas? Learn how to pick the hiking sock that is smart for your trip.

Your hiking socks are probably like you at work, they do a lot more than they’re given credit for. They must be comfortable, wick moisture, protect against shear, support your natural posture, keep your feet at a good temperature, distribute pressure, promote circulation, absorb shock, and be tough. That’s no small order.

They are almost as important as your boots and shoes when it comes to your comfort. Here are some things to consider.

Blood flow This is the circulation of blood through the foot. A decrease or cut-off in blood flow can be caused by unyielding fabrics in hiking socks. Acrylics in combination with other fibers and a terry weave can help with this and shear.

Moisture With exertion one foot can sweat 1-2 pints of vapor/fluid per day. That’s why wicking technology in hiking socks is so important. Without it bacteria and fungus can become a problem.

Position If your hiking socks don’t help to maintain correct anatomical alignment this can cause premature fatigue. Correct posture also helps to correctly position your foot in your boot or shoe to make it feel like it’s an extension of your body.

Pressure areas Pressure can cause discomfort and lead to damage if it’s not addressed. A good example of this is a bedsore. Most people hopefully won’t experience pressure to this degree, but it’s something you want to keep in mind when looking at hiking socks. Padding is especially important around bony areas like the heel and ball of the foot.

Shearing force This happen when your tissue is moving in opposite directions, like when jumping over a stream, or descending a steep slope. Part of your skin is moving one way and the tissue under it another, this causes a tearing action just under the surface of the skin. This is the most common way of getting blisters.

Temperature Good hiking socks need to be appropriate for their intended use, from a warm weather day hike to a week-long mountaineering trip. Once in their appropriate environment they should maintain a consistent comfortable temperature.

Like a shoe or boot your hiking socks should be matched to the type of hiking you’ll be doing.

Liners Thin socks called liners are made to be worn under your hiking socks next to your skin so they can wick the moisture away and keep your feet dry…

Aug 08

Tips to an Enjoyable Hike

Enjoyable HikeSome people have fought many years of their lives to preserve the rich heritage of the outdoors and nature we now enjoy. That dedication and effort has been rewarded by fantastic hiking opportunities in our local, state, and national park systems.

In honor of their efforts, let’s break out of our winter hibernation and venture into the crisp, clean outdoor air and hit some of those dirt trails. Let’s Go Hiking!

Here are steps to having an enjoyable hike, no matter where your feet decide to take you.

Know the area you will be hiking in to. Although many states, like California, Colorado, or Wyoming have exceptional hiking hot spots, even your local park will have some kind of useful information. Whether it’s a website with information and trail details, or a map at the park office, trail head, or visitor center, always check before you head out on your hike so you know what to expect.

Know the conditions you will be facing, wherever you go. Nothing is worse than traveling to a hiking destination only to miss the hike, because it was raining or freezing and you weren’t prepared.

If the trail is flooded out, or snowy conditions have shut it down for an extended period, you should be able to find this out as well. It is also good to know if there are any plants or animals to watch out for at your hiking location. Wiping with poison ivy won’t feel good in the morning.

Wear clothing that works and fits the terrain and hike conditions. There are many options in your clothing arsenal, to keep yourself comfortable, here are a couple of pointers:

Try and stay away from cotton. Instead, look for synthetic and natural fibers that pull moisture away from your body, or at least stay warm when wet.

Also, go for layers to keep yourself warm, versus carrying around a huge parka, in case you are hit by a freak snowstorm.

The two most important pieces of clothing for any hiker, are good socks and good shoes. Don’t underestimate the pain a hike can cause with uncomfortable shoes and socks.

Finally, a hat in cold weather is a great addition, since your body loses over half its heat through your head.

In addition to knowing the weather conditions, you will need to be prepared with a first aid kit that’s appropriate for the hiking you will be doing. In most cases a simple kit will do. You can pick up a simple first aid kit at a local department or sporting goods store. Or you can build you own, which should include these basics:

Different sizes and shapes of bandages and gauzes

Various types of tape for wounds or fixing tools

Suntan lotion

A light emergency blanket (preferably with some kind of water resistance)

Aspirin, allergy, laxative, and anti-diuretic medications

Small multi-use tool with a knife, scissors, and a needle and thread

A cell phone can come in very handy in emergencies.

It’s a good idea to pack all of this in a waterproof bag or container. Using these tips, your next hiking adventure should be quite comfortable, safe, and enjoyable!