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weight lifting help Adding weight can be a good thing : if you are adding to your resistance training!

In an article on Medicinenet.com Richard Weil, an exercise physiologist and the director of the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program provided a thorough question and answer guide to those interested in or beginning a weight training regimen.

In the article, Weil explains what resistance exercise consists of as well as the benefits of an effective weight resistance program.

Resistance exercise is defined as any exercise where muscles contract against an external resistance with the objective of increasing strength, tone, mass, and/or muscular endurance. The resistance can come from dumbbells, weight machines, elastic tubing or bands, cinder blocks, cans of soup, your own body weight (for example, pushups), or any other object that forces your muscles to contract. Results occur when you train consistently over time.

The benefits of adding weights to your exercise routine includes improvement of muscular strength, endurance, functional capacity and ability, blood pressure, osteoporosis, low back pain, insulin resistance and glucose metabolism, resting metabolic rate and psychological well being.

Senior Workout - PowerAnd it's never too late to start a resistance program either. In a classic study in a Boston nursing home, 100 residents ranging from 72 to 98 years of age performed resistance exercise three times a week for 10 weeks. Muscle strength increased 113%, walking speed increased by almost 12%, and thigh-muscle area increased 2.7%!

Although it may be intimidating to start, Weil provides some basic rules for properly lifting weights:

Take your time and lift mindfully. Feel it in the belly of the muscle you're trying to work and not in the joints. Select weights that your body can handle without having to cheat or force the weight up (leaning way back, using momentum, etc.).

Here are a couple starter weight lifting programs that Weil suggests. They are broken up by muscle group and are three days per week. You can experiment with splits, exercises, and the number of days per week. He suggests 12-15 repetitions and one to three sets per exercise for beginners (remember, you can gain significant strength with just one set). He's included more than one exercise for each muscle group. You can stick with one exercise if you like, or experiment with more than one. Increase the weight when you can perform 15 reps easily. If you're using elastic tubing, start with the tube that you can lift 12-15 times to fatigue, and then increase when you get stronger.

Day 1: Chest (bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flies, pushups), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks)

Day 2: Back (bent-over rows), biceps (curls, standing or seated)

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges)

Here's a different split.

Day 1: Chest (bench press with bar or dumbbell press, flies, pushups), back (bent-over rows, pull-downs)

Day 2: Biceps (curls, standing or seated), triceps (bench dips, kickbacks)

Day 3: Shoulders (lateral raises, front raises), legs (squats, lunges)

Resistance exercise is worth it. You'll gain strength, endurance, and confidence. It's feels great to feel strong, so give it a try! For more information and examples of resistance exercises that will help you to “put on the weight,” visit Medicinenet.com.

BBQ cooking Just about everyone will attend some sort of picnic, cookout or outdoor get-together this spring or summer at some point. And while this may be a good time to get together and enjoy a great meal outdoors with friends, this is also a good time for a seasonal health woe that we all need to be made aware of: food-borne illness.

According to MSNBC.com, each summer, the Centers for Disease Control and USDA report that food safety-related illnesses increase over 150 percent. When the temperatures outside are higher, the chances of leaving food in the “danger zone” : anything above 40 and below 140 degrees : is also greater and is bound to happen at family outings and picnics.

In the “danger zone” microorganisms that cause food-borne illnesses multiply and your chances of being affected by a food-borne illness multiply as well. Here are a few guidelines provided by MSNBC.com to prevent such illness from ruining your picnic.

Cook- Make sure that all meats are cooked thoroughly. And be sure your grill is hot before you cook. Electric grills should be heated at least 15 minutes prior to cooking and gas grills at least 10 minutes. Don't rely on a visual image thinking that meats that are brown are thoroughly cooked. Experts suggest using a thermometer when you are cooking for a picnic or an outdoor event. By using a thermometer you will know that your food is adequately heated and able to be consumed without harming others. Make sure that ground beef is heated to 160 degrees, steaks and roasts to 150, poultry to 180. If you are BBQing fish make sure it is cooked thoroughly and be especially careful with shellfish.

Clean- Whether you are planning on being outside or not, when you are working with foods that others will be eating it is especially important to remember to wash your hands with soap and water. The amount of bacteria that can be passed from uncooked foods to your hands is great, so it is best to be as safe as possible. If soap and water are not available, then a hand sanitizer will work just as well. Also, fill a spray bottle with water and one tablespoon of bleach to keep handy to wipe off surfaces and utensils. Wipe dry with a heavy duty paper towel and throw those germs away — don't use cloth towels that help germs breed and multiply.

Chill- When you are heading outdoors with your meal, remember to use a cooler that will keep your food at a cool temperature. Here's an idea, freeze juice boxes; kids and adults love them and they also are terrific temperature controllers. Intermingle them with your foods and they will help keep your foods cold. Also make sure to pack a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature. You would be surprised to see just how quick the temperature changes — and that means the foods' temperature as well. Be sure to keep your cooler and all foods in the passenger compartment and out of direct sunlight. Most trunks are not air cooled and can raise the temperature of your foods to well over 100 degrees.

If you don't have a cooler or are unable to refrigerate your food, then perhaps you should bring an item that does not require heating or cooling to your picnic. And don't forget to refrigerate leftovers as soon as you can- no more than one hour after cooking, especially when it's warm outside.

Separate- Never, never, never use the same utensils to serve a hot meal that you used to prepare that same meal. Be sure to wash all of your prep utensils with hot water and soap before using them in any way. Also use plastic Tupperware-type containers or Zip-Lock bags to separate foods and securely seal them. Avoid paper bags, aluminum foil or plastic wrap where the foods can leak and cross contaminate other foods.

By following these four simple rules, your next picnic or get together won't be ruined by any nasty food-borne illnesses and your guests will enjoy themselves even more.

mosquito bite Just like we have been cooped up all winter, so have a number of those creatures that we've come to despise: insects. With summer just around the corner, insects are beginning to emerge and are readying themselves for attack.

According to MSNBC.com every year, bug bites and stings send more than 500,000 people to emergency rooms with potentially fatal allergic reactions. So what's the best way to avoid bug and mosquito bites? Experts suggest that the best way to deal with insect bites and stings is to prevent them before they happen.

Here are a few ways, provided by MSNBC.com to prevent these nasty little bites:

Apply repellents to exposed skin. Insect repellents can help reduce exposure to mosquito bites that may carry viruses like West Nile and Lyme disease while still allowing you to play and work outdoors. Do not apply repellents directly to your face, instead spray the repellent into your hands and apply to your face that way.

Consider DEET. DEET is considered the most effective repellent in bug sprays. Even though it has scared away some consumers because of its potent chemical properties, in 1998 the EPA ruled DEET safe for repelling mosquitoes and ticks. However, it's still a good idea to only apply DEET every 6 to 8 hours.

If you prefer a more natural and eco-friendly approach, try natural repellents that rely on herbal ingredients. Herbal repellents work by masking human odors and fooling mosquitoes and other biting insects. Some repellents also use odors that are unpleasant to the bugs and deter them away from the scent. Plants whose essential oils are reputed to repel insects include cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender, pine, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, thyme, allspice, garlic, and peppermint.

Stay indoors at dawn and dusk as this is when the flying insects are most likely to hit.

Get rid of standing water in your yard. These are huge breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Clear clogs from gutters, change the water in birdbaths twice weekly and change pets' outdoor water dishes daily.

Do not swat or attempt to hit a flying insect. This will only make them mad and attack you more frequently.mosquito biting

If you're being swarmed by mosquitoes try holding a branch above your head to deter flying bugs. Some mosquitoes and gnats naturally swarm to the highest part of the body-or to an extension of it.

Take Vitamin B-1: Studies suggest that taking 25 to 50 milligrams (a safe dosage for adults and children) of thiamin (vitamin B-1) three times a day, starting two weeks before mosquito season reduces your chance of getting bitten. This is due to the fact that vitamin B-1 produces an odor on your skin that wards off mosquitoes; however, the odor is undetectable to humans.

Cover food when it is outdoors. Insects flock to food and the less chance you give them to get to the food, the greater your chance of avoiding them all together.

Avoid bright colored clothes when you are outdoors for extended periods of time. Honeybees, wasps, and yellow jackets see in the ultraviolet spectrum and are attracted to bright colors and floral patterns. If possible wear light colors and long sleeve shirts and pants when you know you'll be in insect territory.

Try to avoid wearing heavy smelling perfumes outdoors as insects are also attracted to the smells.

Keep these tips in mind before you head outdoors and you won't be dealing with the wrath of insects biting or stinging you this summer.

 

i'll eat you According to MSNBC, a recent study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience”, states that a high-calorie diet, including junk food, may be as addictive as drugs like nicotine or cocaine, and could cause compulsive eating and obesity.

The study, conducted on rats, shows that overconsumption of high-calorie foods can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain, thereby turning the rats into compulsive eaters. Decreased levels of a specific dopamine receptor : a brain chemical that allows a feeling of reward : have been found in these overweight rats, as they are found in humans with drug addictions.

For the study researchers with The Scripps Research Institute in Florida headed to the grocery store and bought all of the stuff that people really like but really shouldn't eat very often, items such as Ding-Dongs, cheesecake, bacon, and sausage. They also bought healthy foods and devised a diet plan for three groups of rats.

One group of rats ate a balanced healthy diet. Another group received healthy food, but had access to high-calorie food for one hour a day. Rats in the third group were fed healthy meals and given unlimited access to high-calorie foods. The rats in the third group developed a preference for the high-calorie food, munched on it all day and quickly became obese.

All of the rats in the experiment were also trained to expect a minor shock when exposed to a light. But when the rats that had unlimited access to high-calorie food were shown the light, they did not respond to the potential danger. Instead, they just continued eating their snacks.

"What we're seeing in our animals is very similar to what you'd see in humans who overindulge,” researcher, Paul Kenny says. "It seemed that it was okay, from what we could tell, to enjoy snack foods, but if you repeatedly overindulge, that's where the problem comes in."

The research was conducted in conjunction with the announcement that obesity-related diseases cost the U.S. and estimated $150 billion each year and an estimated two-thirds of American adults and one-third of children are obese or overweight.

 

low carb diet The Atkins “carb-cutting” craze has produced controversy since its debut in the 1970s. Yet the popular diet plan is not only still around, but it was also recently revised. The latest version, The New Atkins for a New You, is a more flexible approach to “carb cutting,” according to an article on WebMD.

Under the old plan, dieters could eat as much high-protein food such as red meat and cheese as they wanted, but most carbohydrates were banned. The latest 12-week program is split into four stages. Within each stage the amount of carbs one is allowed to consume is increased. The basic principle, however, remains the same: to train your body to burn more fat by cutting back on sugars and other refined carbohydrates. Dieters count carbs, not calories.

According to the dailymail.co.uk, the rules advise dieters to get the fat intake right, exercise, eat until they are full and include protein in every meal. For the first two weeks, dieters eat only 20g of net carbohydrates (carbohydrates minus protein) made up of foods such as seeds and berries.

In the period called 'ongoing weight loss', this allowance rises to between 30g and 60g and includes carbs such as oatmeal, brown rice, wholegrain pasta and whole wheat bread. Those who want to eat more carbohydrates just balance the increased intake with exercise.

When thin enough, it's time for the 'life maintenance phase', in which white bread, sandwiches and desserts can be introduced with about 120g of carbs a day.

While the old Atkins diet did include vegetables, the new version encourages even more greens. Dieters, though, are warned to stay away from the starchy ones, such as corn. In addition, dieters are now advised to subtract the amount of fiber, which doesn't affect blood sugar levels, from the total number of carbs in a food. This focus on "net carbs" allows more vegetables to be eaten.

Take a look at a sample plan on your new Atkins diet revamped:

Breakfast: 2 eggs Sausages Steamed spinach

Snack: String cheese Half an avocado

Lunch: Roast beef on 4 cups mixed salad ½ cup mung bean sprouts 5 black olives Onions 2 tablespoons vinaigrette

Snack: 10 green olives 1 slice cheddar cheese

Dinner: Salmon with 2 tablespoons garlic mayonnaise 6 asparagus spears2 cups arugula 5 cherry tomatoes ½ cup sliced cucumbers 2 tablespoons Italian dressing

The new version of Atkins does not come unjustified. In fact, more than 50 research papers verify the safety of low-carbohydrate diets. However, it seems likely that the latest plan will come in for similar criticism to its predecessor. In 2005, an Oxford University study found the diet could damage the heart. And demand further dropped after founder Dr Robert Atkins died in a fall in 2003, at 72. A report showed he had heart disease and was clinically obese.

In the new version of the Atkins Diet, besides sticking to the diet in each of its phases, the new plan also recommends that you take a daily multivitamin and mineral with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

For more information on the new Atkins diet, please visit www.atkins.com.