Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Health Tips for a New Year

I have started a Get Fit Challenge at my office, with the challenge I am sending out  weekly email with tips on living a healthier lifestyle. I thought it would be a great idea to share those tips with everyone who reads my blog so here you go:


It’s probably the most important thing you can consume when trying to get healthy, stay healthy or lose weight. So what better topic to discuss on our first week? This article was pulled from as well as the books “The Biggest Loser” and “The Biggest Loser – Fitness Program”. Both books are on my desk and are available for anyone to come browse through.

Proper Hydration

When you exercise, you sweat. And when you sweat, you lose fluid. Our bodies are mostly water, so even a slight shortage can make you dehydrated, which describes an insufficient amount of water in your system. Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, which means less oxygen gets to your working muscles; it negatively affects your heart rate; and it compromises energy systems in your muscles. There’s a drop in your energy levels, so you don’t get as much from your workout when you’re dehydrated.

Recent studies show that water may play a role in the regulation of your metabolism – your body’s calorie-burning engine. For one thing, if you become dehydrated, you’re metabolism tends to slow down, meaning that you won’t burn as many calories as normal while at rest. In addition, ample water may reduce appetite and control food intake by making you feel full. Water also dilutes sodium levels in the body, making it the best remedy for fluid retention.

You can avoid dehydration – and the accompanying drop in energy and metabolism – by taking steps to protect yourself ahead of time. Here are some guidelines for staying hydrated:

- Upon rising, drink 2 cups of water to help cleanse and detoxify your system. You tend to be dehydrated in the morning so this is a good time to replace fluids.

- Although the traditional recommendation is to drink a minimum of eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day – which is a good move – it’s more accurate to base your water intake on your body weight. For example, try to drink at least half your body weight in ounces daily. If you weigh 200 lbs, your daily intake would be at least 100 ounces. That’s
12 ½ glasses (8 ounces each) a day.

- Drink water during your workout. You should consume 6 to 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes while exercising.

- Water your body after exercise. Have two 8 ounce glasses of water to restore fluids.

- Limit caffeinated soda, tea and coffee as well as alcohol. All of these have a diuretic effect, causing fluid loss from you body. If you enjoy caffeine or alcohol, follow them up with a water chaser just to stay in balance.

- If you feel hungry, you might actually be thirsty. How can you tell the difference? Simply drink a glass of water if you think you’re hungry. If the water satisfies you, you were thirsty, not hungry.

- Don’t like plain water? Flavor a pitcher of plain water with herbs like mint or basil or slices of citrus fruits or cucumber.

- Watch liquid calories in general. If you’re not careful, it’s quite easy to get a lot of excess calories from beverages. Because they are liquid, those calories go down easily, and we can ingest a lot of them without even knowing it. The most common culprits are sodas and fruits juices. An average can of soda alone can have up to 60 grams of sugar – that’s the same amount of sugar in four pieces of bread. That said, you’ll want to pass on the sodas and fruit juices and learn to enjoy your water instead.

- If you’re eating more protein and fiber and exercising more (which you should be if you are trying to lose weight), you’ll need more water than normal.

- If you can, drink your water ice cold. Your body needs to heat up this water in order to use it properly. Metabolically heating up water takes energy. In other words, it burns up calories. In fact, you can automatically burn up and extra 50 to 100 calories a day by drinking just 4 to 8 cups of ice cold water.

5 Little Known Benefits of Drinking Water

The benefits of drinking water have been much discussed in the media. Water helps keep you hydrated, which is important because every single cell in your body needs it in order to absorb nutrients and expel waste products. But what are some of the less well known benefits of drinking water?

1) Drinking Water Keeps You Young

Drinking plenty of water is great for your skin. If you don't drink enough water, you'll suffer from dry skin, and you'll be likely to use more creams and lotions to moisturize. However, creams and lotions don't strike at the root of the problem. Drinking plenty of water keeps your skin moisturized and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
If you don't drink enough water, your body will try to retain it in order to conserve resources. This retention makes your skin puffy and can even lead to bloating.

2) Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight

There's a reason why most diets and fitness programs ask you to drink a lot of water. One of the benefits of drinking water is that it helps you lose weight.
Water suppresses your appetite, so you don't eat as much. Drinking plenty of water also prevents fluid retention, because your body won't try to retain water if it's getting enough.
Drinking water also helps your body burn stored fat. If you're not drinking enough water, your liver will be forced to help your kidneys detoxify your body. When you drink plenty of water, your kidneys don't need any extra help, so your liver will be able to metabolize stored fat more efficiently. Drinking water flushes toxins from your body and prevents constipation.

3) Drinking Water Helps You Build Muscle

Another benefit of drinking water is that it makes your muscles stronger. That's because water carries oxygen to the cells of your body, including those of your muscles. Drinking plenty of water enables your muscles to work harder and longer before they feel tired, and this can help you build muscle.

4) Drinking Water Makes You Smarter

Drinking water can increase your cognitive function. Your brain needs a lot of oxygen in order to function at optimum levels. Drinking plenty of water ensures that your brain gets all the oxygen it needs. Drinking eight to ten cups of water per day can improve your levels of cognitive performance by as much as 30%!
Drinking plenty of water also supports nerve function. It ensures that your body's electrolyte levels remain high enough to allow your nerves to relay messages to and from the brain in the way they were meant to.

5) Drinking Water Is Good for Your Joints

One of the lesser known benefits of drinking water is that it helps keep your joints strong, healthy and lubricated. Your joints need moisture in order to remain strong and flexible, so that your movements are smooth and pain free.

In other words… drink up!!!

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