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What was once bad for you is now good

Red wine and chocolateWhat was once bad for you is now good. Let’s celebrate with a glass of wine and some chocolate! Remember the old days when your mom cut back on the number of eggs she served you because it could cause your cholesterol to skyrocket? Or when chocolate was a no no?

Well, no more. New studies have proven that many of the foods we once avoided for their villainous reputations may actually be good for us and it’s OK to keep them in our diet. In fact, there are health benefits to indulging, so let’s celebrate with a glass of wine and some dark chocolate. Now no one is suggesting over-indulging, but in moderation such things as red wine, dark chocolate, eggs and even popcorn can help our heart health, lower breast cancer risk and even reduce body mass.

Of course, doctors and researchers are also quick to point out that no one should make broad-based dietary changes based on just one study. New and varied data comes out every day, so it’s possible that tomorrow we’ll be removing these treats from our diet once again.

For now, here are some things that were once thought to be bad that we can now happily consume:

Red Wine and Heart Health: Red wine in moderation is now thought of as heart healthy. The antioxidants like flavonoids and resveratrol found in red wine more than other types of alcohol may actually help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. Good news for anyone who likes to imbibe a glass with their evening meal. Though doctors are wary of encouraging anyone to take up drinking since too much can be harmful, they have given the go-ahead to enjoy a nightly glass without feeling guilty.

Chocolate and brain health:  Recent studies have found powerful health benefits to dark chocolate, linking it to many things including helping protect against intestinal diseases like colon cancer, to reducing risk of developing heart disease and boosting brain health in seniors.

A study published in the journal Hypertension looked at data from 90 seniors who already had mild cognitive impairment and found that their attention and other mental skills improved when they drank cocoa with high amounts of flavanols.

Chocolate is not only full of antioxidants that protect against many types of cancer, it also has a positive effect on mood and cognitive health. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), the same chemical your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release endorphins, so eating dark chocolate will make you feel happier — as if we didn’t already know that!

Eggs and Good Cholesterol: Once we thought an omelet that included the yolks was practically a heart attack on a plate, but no more. There’s been a shift due to new research that indicates that eggs – yolks included – aren’t so bad for your heart. But don’t get us started on bacon!

Studies have found that yolks contain some important nutrients that aren’t found in the whites, including the all-important vitamin D and that their high cholesterol content actually boosts the heart protective “good” cholesterol and not the blood level of cholesterol, which is associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Popcorn and Antioxidants: Instead of being off-limits because of its fat content (if you drench it in butter), popcorn is now being heralded as a low-calorie snack that may contain more healthy antioxidants – called polyphenols — than fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols have been shown to boost cardiovascular health and protect against chronic diseases and popcorn has a very high concentration of them, especially in the hulls.

It’s also a whole grain food, which makes it a high-quality carbohydrate source that is low in calories and a good source of fiber. So air-pop some fresh kernels (stay away from the pre-packaged microwavable varieties that can be laden with fat, salt, chemicals and calories) and head to the movies.

The bottom line is that so called “bad” foods can actually have some good properties. So don’t go overboard but know that having a little can be good for you. Have you put any foods back in your diet due to current research?  Let us know.





Interval Training on Elegant and Touch Treadmill Consoles

Looking to improve your race times, increase your running speeds, burn more calories in less time or simply break up the monotony of your regular or steady pace treadmill workouts? Try the Interval program on a Vision Fitness treadmill equipped with the Elegant or Touch console. The treadmill Interval program included on these consoles is a speed-based program.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When training for your next 5K, 10K or 1-mile race against yourself, it is important that you break through your comfort zone in a way that challenges your body’s desire to achieve homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s natural need to achieve balance, to stay the same and to only expend as much energy as is needed to accomplish what it is asked to accomplish. Quite simply, if you don’t force or trick your body into trying something it isn’t used to doing, you will never know if you are even capable.

We humans are programmed to seek out comfort, which is why so many people hop on the treadmill, press go, select their favorite speed and incline and do the same workout they have done any number of times before. This bad habit will not make you more fit – It will not make you faster, decrease your run time or burn any more calories than it did last time. In order to accomplish any of these things, you need to get past your comfort zone. Enter – the Interval program.

What is the Interval Program

This program will give you segments of alternating speeds (adjusted in length according to the total workout time you have selected). The speeds will vary from a “challenge” speed to an “active recovery” speed. As you progress through the program and get warmed up, the “challenge” speeds will increase until the final two segments, which are where the program has already pushed you past your comfort zone and gets you ready to cool down.

A few common questions come up, which left unanswered seem to become excuses for individuals to not try a new program. So, to help you gather up the courage to try something a little more challenging, here are some answers to a few of those questions:

Q: How long should I go for?

A: One option is to base your exercise time on how much time you have available, some exercise is better than none. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a perfect program because it is higher in intensity than your regular steady workout. Plus, there are a multitude of studies that show a short higher intensity workout is as effective, and sometimes more effective, than a longer workout at a lower intensity. Or base your workout time on how quickly you would like to be able to complete your next race.

Q: What level should I use/how fast should I go?

A: Look up the program chart in the owner’s manual and choose a level where the “challenge” speeds are 1 mph faster than you would choose to go if you were just doing a steady or “comfortable” time-based workout. Or, figure out how fast you need to go to achieve your next race time and pick a level that “challenges” you at a speed just higher than that. Remember, the “challenge” speed is always followed by an “active recovery” speed.

Q: How far should I go?

A: You don’t really need to go any further than the distance you are training for and will even benefit with shorter training sessions. One of the reasons to participate in speed intervals is to get your body used to moving faster and taking longer strides. These adaptations will carry over to your race distances.

There you go! Don’t you feel better already? Next time you’re looking to throw yourself a fitness curveball and take your workout to a new level of intensity, start an Interval program.



The perks of workout buddies

It wasn’t until she was 60 that Ginny Hlavenka, of Holmdel, NJ, got in shape. “I never thought exercise was for me. I found it boring and could never stick with it for more than a few weeks at a time.”

Until her friend invited her to tag along at a water aerobics class. “The class was hard, but it was also enjoyable. My friend and I were laughing throughout the hour. I got exercise and had fun at the same time, something I thought was impossible.”

Ginny returned to the class with her friend the next week. And the next one, and the one after that. In fact, Ginny and her group of friends have been attending the same water aerobics class for the past five years.

Friends and benefits

Ginny’s experience is hardly unique. Many studies show that workout buddies are good for health and fitness. Exercising with a friend can:

·         Hold you accountable. Ginny says,“I’m not sure I’d enjoy water aerobics if I took it at another gym. My friends and the instructor are what really make it for me. After a long day at work, I often consider skipping, but I know everyone is counting on me to show up, so I go.” People who work out with friends are more likely to stick with their fitness regimens because someone is counting on them. This can help you lose weight or meet other goals faster.

·         Add years to your life. Exercise, in general, is good for your health, but getting fit with others may be even better. Two recent studies looked at the health effects of social interaction. Results from one study showed that people who are physically active with others were more likely to report that they were in good to excellent health. The other study found that socially isolated individuals were more likely to die at younger ages.

·         Boost athletic performance. For over 100 years, research has shown thatathletes perform better with a group or in front of a group. Sports psychologists say that you’re more focused and less distracted by pain when you train with others. Getting fit with a training buddy and having some friendly competition can push you to be your best.

Find a fitness partner

These tips can help you find a fitness mate:

·         Chat up people in group fitness classes. If you attend the same exercise classes regularly, chances are you’ll make a few friends like Ginny did. Invite them to take other classes with you, too.

·         Join an intramural or athletic club. Most cities have club soccer, kickball, or softball teams. If you join a team, you’ll have organized practices and games. Or search for local running or triathlon clubs or ask a running specialty store. These groups often host regular training runs.

·         Encourage your loved ones to get active with you. Catch up with your girlfriends on the elliptical trainer instead of over a glass of wine. Ask your coworkers to join you on walk instead of going out to lunch.

Do you exercise with friends? I love running with others – they really help the miles fly by!


How to sneak exercise into your everyday routine

Instead of hitting the snooze button, many disciplined people wake up early every morning to hit the gym before work. Some manage to carve out time during the day or get in their reps or a run before bed. But for others, it’s hard to find the time to squeeze exercise into their busy days.

Maybe that’s because they think they need a solid hour to exercise, never mind the time to get to the gym and back again, shower, dress, etc. But what if you just did a little bit here and there? Everyone is out and about doing other things all day long so let’s look at some ways to keep moving even when you don’t have time for your regular routine.

After all, something is much better than nothing. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that “one continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.” So there you have it!

“Some people are scared of the gym or not in the mood to do formal exercise, and that’s fine,” says Ivy Larson, an American College of Sports Medicine certified Health Fitness Specialist from Jupiter, FL.  “There are ways to be active that seem more like play than work.”

And the benefits are the same, says Larson, co-author of “The Gold Coast Cure: The 5-Week Health and Body Makeover” (Health Communications Inc., 2005).  Being physically active for at least 30 minutes, five or more days each week not only helps you look and feel better, it can reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevent and even reverse type 2 diabetes.

Remember, she says, you’re not only doing it for yourself.  “Being an active role model for your children will teach them the joys and importance of exercise for a lifetime lesson.”  So make exercise a daily habit.  It’s never too late to start.

Here are some ways to fit fitness in beyond the gym:

1. Be a kid again

Let loose and join your kids by kicking a soccer ball, tossing a Frisbee, or swinging a hula-hoop.  They’ll love your involvement and you’ll not only have fun, but get fit, at the same time. Remember: play can be exercise just as much as a treadmill and weights.

2. Get in the groove

Dance to wake up each morning, before bed, or during commercials.  Put on some oldies and teach your kids the swim, the twist, or even the hustle.  Then let them show you today’s moves.  Rock out to the latest Katy Perry hit while you wait for the pasta water to boil.

Vigorous dancing gets your heart rate up and can burn 150 calories in a half-hour – the equivalent of an ice cream cone.  And if you boogie with baby in your arms, you’ll tone your muscles just like lifting weights.

3. Move more

Help your digestion, catch up with your kids’ lives and end your day on an up note by taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood with the family after dinner. It will enable you to bond and burn all at once.

4. Don’t just sit there

Instead of just parking your body on a bench while your kids have all the fun, get moving yourself.  Larson does a 30-minute circuit of laps, crunches, lunges, push-ups, and curls with small weights while her son builds sandcastles at the beach or climbs the jungle gym at the playground.  When your older kids are playing in the tub and you are just there to supervise, put down that magazine and do some crunches. (But always monitor young children at all times.) I even do some leg lifts when I’m waiting for an elevator or a bus, not wanting to waste a minute when I could be slipping exercise in.

5. Make yourself walk

Park at the furthest parking spot at the mall so you’ll get a good walk in. Take the stairs when you can instead of an escalator. Get off a stop early when you ride the subway to work. Do a few laps around the office when you’re feeling the mid-afternoon slump instead of reaching for a snack.

Have you found some great ways to sneak in your exercise?  Let us know.


·         ACSM Recommendations:

·         The Gold Coast Cure: The 5-Week Health and Body Makeover (Health Communications Inc.)

Use Goal Programs to Spice Up Your Workouts

Want to add a little variety to a stale workout routine? Maybe you need a little extra motivation?  Try a Goal Program! Having a fitness goal can increase accountability and make workouts more fun. By using a goal program, you’ll finish your workout and reach those fitness aspirations more quickly. Thankfully, there are four different Goal Programs available on the Vision Elegant and Touch consoles for you to try.

5K and 10K Goal programs are distance-based workouts with 10 available levels of intensity.

  • The elevation/resistance adjusts automatically throughout the workout. The height of each hill is based on the level of intensity you choose. Speed is controlled by      you, the user.
  • The Touch console offers you a Stage Meter, which helps you monitor your progress through the different elevation/resistance changes in the program. This can mentally prepare you for the elevation changes ahead. The Stage Meter has a percentage completed number that changes as you progress through the stage as well as a meter visual. vision touch console stage meterWhen the meter is almost full and your percentage completed hits 95 percent you know it won’t be long before your hill is over. The Elegant console offers a more traditional profile view which will fill in as you move through the program.
  • Did you choose a level that was too hard? Don’t worry, the level of intensity can be adjusted during the workout to make sure you don’t have to stop and restart. Press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.
  • Another motivating feature of the 5K and 10K programs is the Time Remaining feedback window. This window will constantly readjust based on how fast you      are moving. Want to finish in 30 minutes? The Time Remaining window will tell you exactly how long each workout will take you. Vision touch console time remaining window

Calorie Goal is a program that allows you to select a desired number of calories you would like to burn.

  • Set your calorie goal and the console will estimate your total time based on the starting speed, elevation and user weight prior to the workout.
  • During the workout, the Time Remaining feedback window will constantly readjust based on your intensity level. Want to burn those 300 calories in 20 minutes? The Time Remaining window shows you if you are on track. Going faster or increasing your intensity level allows you to reduce the remaining time of the workout.
  • Feeling good and not ready to stop? You can readjust your calorie goal right on the fly. No need to start over. Simply press the “Workout” tab at the top of the screen and use the arrows to change your goal.Vision touch console change calorie goal

Distance Goal is a program allows you to set your goal based on distance and not time.

  • The Time Remaining feedback window constantly adjusts based on your speed. That way you don’t need to wonder how long those 5 miles are going to take you.
  • Feeling strong today or maybe you bit off a little more than you can handle? You can add or subtract distance mid workout.

Try one or all of these Goal Programs available on Vision Fitness Elegant and Touch consoles and take your workouts to a whole new level.

Are you functionally fit?

In your everyday life, how often are you required to do something that even remotely resembles a bench press? And even though they are all the rage in the fitness world right now, how useful is a muscle-up to the average person?

This line of thinking has lead to the growth of functional fitness. This style of workout focuses on exercises that mimic, and therefore strengthen, movements that you would encounter in your daily activities. What sort of benefits come with this sort of training? Who can benefit from functional training? What sort of exercises make up a functional fitness routine?

The Benefits

There’s a good reason that functional fitness has gained footing so quickly: It has a plenty to offer.

Think about the classic bicep curl, for example. While some muscles such as those in your back, shoulders and abs may work to stabilize you, the vast majority of the emphasis is placed on movement across your elbow. A functional exercise, though, is a compound movement that crosses several joints. This type of activity more closely resembles what your body might go through when you’re cleaning the house or doing yard work.

A properly designed functional fitness routine can be tailored to fit specific activities in your life, as well. The idea is to pick exercises that target, not just muscles that are important to your activity, but entire motions. This means that if you’re training for basketball, for example, you may build up your jumps while holding a medicine ball or even do passing drills.

The Target Audience

While functional training has been adapted to appeal to athletes in a variety of sports, it has a particularly interesting application for more casual exercisers. Research regarding the efficacy of functional training has also focused specifically on older adults.

One study conducted by exercise scientists at the University of Wisconsin, assigned 24 volunteers aged between 58 and 78 to one of two groups. The first group would participate in a functional fitness training routine, the other would follow a more traditional exercise program. All of the subjects had some medical condition and were asked to complete a test that evaluated their strength, endurance, balance and agility in performing daily tasks.

At the end of the four week program, the groups were given the same test again. The researchers found that the group who followed the functional training routine had greater gains in all categories.

Designing Your Workout

The beauty of functional training is that it’s completely adaptable to you and your needs. As mentioned before, seek out exercises that mimic the movements of your particular sport. Even runners could benefit from incorporating balance exercises into their workout.

For a more personalized routine, do your research and consult with a fitness professional. Be sure to consider, not just the requirements of your sport, but those of your day-to-day life.

Some of the most common exercises featured in functional training include the multidirectional lunges. Practice performing the traditional lunge but also use reverse and side lunges to strengthen various parts of your legs. Although you may not realize it, you depend on similar motions when your vacuuming or even doing yard work.

A squat, immediately followed by a bicep curl is another exercise with many practical applications. The movement very closely resembles picking up a laundry basket or heavy bag from the floor.

Logically, after you pick up the weight, you’re going to need to carry it somewhere. Practice doing step-ups while holding dumbbells to simulate this final action.

Functional fitness is a highly customizable approach to fitness that could help to improve both your exercise performance and your daily life. However, you should always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

Have you used functional training? Please share your experience with us in the comments.


Ask an expert: Returning to running after an injury

Ask Coach Jenny

Q: I am very out of shape having broken my ankle last July.  I’m healed and released to exercise (low impact) and we just bought a Livestrong Elliptical.  I looked at the fitness fusion programs and there is no way that I can start at 20 minutes.  I’m more like 3 minutes.  I couldn’t even make it through the fitness test.  How can I get a plan or program that will help me start from below ground zero where I am?  Thanks very much.  ~Sarah

A: Hi Sarah. I’m glad to read you’re healed and ready for a comeback. You’re very wise to ask this question and avoid pushing through something that is beyond your fitness level right now. Doing so will only frustrate you and delay your progress.

The elliptical is a fantastic way to return to regular exercise as it is low impact, but weight bearing, which aids in improving balance, muscular strength and bone density without the risk of impact.

The key is to develop a plan that is tailored to what your body is able to accomplish now. Seeing that you’re coming back from an injury, it is even more important to take it easy early on. Here are a few strategies that will help make the process more fun and highly effective.

  •  Include a variety of activities in your comeback fitness routine. For instance, performing the elliptical three times per week (M-W-Sa) and walking or a strengthening workout 20-30 minutes on the days in between. This allows for a variety of body movements and keeps your program fresh. Including a total body strengthening routine will also help develop your core strength and improve all aspects of your health and well being. Plus, it’s a great complement to your cardiovascular exercise on the elliptical.
  •  Circle a date on your calendar three weeks from your start date. Commit to staying with the same routine for three weeks before you increase time or intensity. This is the secret to success as we all try to improve too quickly. Gradually increasing as your body adapts will keep you happy, loving your exercise routine and coming back for more!
  • Set the Livestrong Elliptical to Manual mode and to the lowest level.  This affects the resistance and incline settings on the machine and will allow you to adapt to the movement at its lowest setting first. Don’t worry about the fitness test or doing programs just yet. That will come in time. For now, focus on getting to know the movement of the machine in its natural state in the manual mode. This mode allows you to control the intensity, which is what you need right now.
  •  Start with moving only your legs in the first few weeks and hold onto the non-moving hand grips. Not moving your arms with your legs will keep your heart rate lower and allow you to perform the exercise longer with less energy expenditure to avoid fatigue.
  •  As you become more fit, add in the arm movement gradually. At first, warm up and cool down without the arms for several minutes. Then, weave in 30 seconds to one minute with the arm movement – followed by several minutes with just your legs. This is an example of how a workout might look at this level;
  1. Warm up 3-5 minutes – legs only.
  2. 10-15 minutes – alternate 30 seconds on arms+legs, followed by 2-3 minutes of legs only to recover and catch your breath.
  3. Cool down 3-5 minutes – legs only.
  •  Making these changes should allow you to perform the elliptical for a longer period of time. If you find that it is still a challenge, combine it with a walking routine. For instance, you could walk 10 minutes, perform the elliptical for 3-5 minutes and then walk another 10 minutes. As you gain fitness, you will be able to increase the time on the elliptical machine and you can reduce the walking minutes. You can also walk in place and perform intervals right there in your house.  Here’s an example of an interval workout;
    1. Warm up walking in place with high knees for 3 minutes
    2. Elliptical for 3 minutes
    3. Walk in place with high knees for 3 minutes
    4. Elliptical for 3 minutes
    5. Walk in place with high knees for 3 minutes
    6. Repeat this until fatigued and cool down walking in place for 3 minutes.

You are standing at the most challenging point in your return to fitness. The first step you take is healthy movement towards improvement. The secret is to listen to your body, practice patience and finish feeling fatigued but not exhausted so you’ll want to do it again soon.

You can do this…one step (or stride) at a time.


Use Internet Product Reviews and Claims to Your Buying Benefit

Buying the right fitness equipment for your home gym can be a daunting task. If you are like most people making a significant purchase for your home, you will probably turn to the Internet to do some research on product reviews, or even make a purchase. It has become almost second nature for a majority of the population these days.

Although the Internet is a wonderful invention that has significantly changed the way we live our lives, it has also become a source for an incredible amount of misinformation and marketing chicanery. Like shopping or researching in any channel, you should consider the source. A combination of affiliate marketing websites, product reviews and pay-per-click advertising can make your research more challenging. However, there is a ton of accurate and legitimate information out there. Here are some tips to help you find reliable information.

Get Information Directly From the Source

Use manufacturers’ websites to find correct product information (features/specifications) and local distributors’ websites for information on where you can actually try, test and talk to a sales professional about the products you are interested in. Exercise and your health are very personal, and what is right for your friend or cousin, may not necessarily be right for you. I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself on the programs and equipment options that are available to you.

Be wary of the temptation of late night infomercials

Some fitness “gadgets” sold on TV are of inferior quality and questionable design. However, there are some very successful workout programs out there. If you do watch infomercials, don’t forget to do your research before making a purchasing decision. Look for those products that offer a guarantee without charging fees for returns, show results from actual customers and have research to back up their claims.

Educate Yourself on Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing websites have grown significantly over the years. Affiliate marketing is using one website to drive traffic to another via methods such as search engine optimization, paid search engines, email marketing, loyalty programs and product reviews. The affiliate is then compensated when the customer purchases from the original merchant.

Affiliates can help manufacturers generate awareness and sales through their large network. Affiliate websites are usually sales or content focused. Affiliate sites that are content focused often promote product reviews. Consumer product reviews are generally the most credible. If a specific website features product reviews they should list their review methodology and their experience in the health and fitness space to help you decide for yourself if the review is credible. Look for websites that offer original content and not just content that is copied from the manufacturer.

Read credible product reviews

Product reviews can be a very useful way to get the inside scoop on a product you’re considering purchasing. However, the source of the reviews should be considered. Some online shopping sites are well known for their reviews, and a manufacturer’s website tends to be a good bet. Look out though for websites with no negative reviews. Not to say it’s impossible, but tread carefully as sites with purely positive reviews may not be transparent.

Fortunately there are ways to spot fakes and bogus reviews. One study conducted at Cornell University, found that fake reviews focused more on narratives and superlatives than concrete product descriptions – probably because reviewers rarely have actual experience with the products. According to the website, the following tips can be used to spot a fake review.

  • First, check to see if the outgoing links on reviewed products include an affiliate tracking code.
  • Look at what else is on the site.
  • Look to see if the date of the review is current or has been changed recently. Often fake reviewers will change dates to make their page look more recent that it really is.

Affiliate reviews may contain questionable ethics, as low and behold, the products they are trying steer you to buy from their partner merchant often end up as the “number-one rated” or “best buy” when they really are not. Of course, there are award-winning and number-one products out there, but it is a good idea to confirm directly with the manufacturer or awarding entity to make sure the award is accurate.

If someone else praises a product, we’re more likely to think it is worth our time and money. Yep, there are still some fabricated reviews out there but that is why you should look for products with multiple reviews from multiple people. There should also be reviews that are not 100% positive.

When Reading Blogs, Look for Full Disclosure

Paid bloggers is becoming another way for corporations to spread the word about their products on the Internet and to create buzz. It is a relatively inexpensive way to advertise. And bloggers are very eager to turn what was once a hobby, in to a way to make money. The Internet is becoming so populated with paid bloggers, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is considering imposing new laws regulating how products can be pitched on the Internet. Full disclosure of compensation is one way in which a blogger would have to inform their readers about the products they choose to talk about. It probably won’t happen soon, but the fact they are looking into it is      recognition enough that this practice should be monitored.

Use the web to educate yourself on certain models and specifications, and then go talk to a fitness professional at a nearby store and try different models to see which one fits your body properly. The experience will be worth your while and will help get you on the right track to a healthier lifestyle.

Get up to ward off diabetes

Do you sit down for more than four hours each day? If so, it’s time to get up!

Recent research suggests that the more time you spend sitting, the higher your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a dangerous condition marked by high blood sugar levels. It’s the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., and it’s on the rise. Once you have diabetes, you have it for life; there’s no cure for this debilitating disease. Having diabetes also increases your risk of other health problems too, like heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage.

The research

Results from two diabetes prevention programs were published in February 2013 in the scientific journal Diabetologia. The research showed that people who sat more than eight hours per day had the highest risk of diabetes, while people who spent less than four hours each day sitting had the lowest risk.

What’s also significant about these studies is that people’s odds for diabetes increased with sitting time regardless of how much they exercised. This means that even when physical activity recommendations are met, a person’s health can still be compromised if they sit for a large portion of the day. If you hit the gym for an hour each morning, for example, but you sit for long periods after that – whether at your desk for your job or on the couch in front of the TV – you’re putting yourself at risk for diabetes.

Move more throughout the day

In light of these findings, one step towards diabetes prevention would literally be taking more steps and sitting less. Experts say that reducing sitting time by 90 minutes each day may be enough to reduce health risks. Here’s how:

·         Stand up for breaks. At the bottom of every hour, get up from your chair, stand up and walk around for a few minutes. Those minutes can add up over the course of a day.

·         Make your job more active. Walk to a coworker’s desk and speak in person rather than using email, walk briskly around the office building during part of your lunch break and take the stairs instead of the elevator. A few times per week, consider active commuting. Walk, bike or run to and from work. If you use public transportation, get off the bus or train a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work.

·         Break up couch time. Don’t lounge idly on the couch in the evening watching TV. Instead, stand up often and move. Do squats and lunges during commercial breaks and spend a few minutes doing housework every half hour.

Other ways to prevent diabetes

The key to warding off type 2 diabetes is reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. The best approach to lasting weight loss is to combine healthy eating with regular physical activity. Know that weight loss does not have to be drastic to cut diabetes risk. Lowering your body weight by 5 to 10 percent- just 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds- can significantly lower your risk of health threats.

Tell us: How will you stand up more today?


The full effects of appetite suppression pills

Weight control, in its simplest form,seems pretty straightforward: We gain weight because we eat and we eat because we’re hungry. It’s completely logical, then, to assume that appetite suppressants hold the key to weight loss. But do these supplements really offer a useful solution? Are there any potential side effects associated with common,  over-the-counter products?

How They Work

Appetite suppressants, as the name suggests, limit your cravings for food. The hope is that this will stop you from taking in the excess calories that get stored as fat. Different products try to . Generally, a stimulant such as caffeine, is also included to increase the effects. In fact, caffeine itself has appetite suppressing effects.

Because of all this variety, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact mechanism by which these products actually suppress your appetite.

The question of whether or not appetite suppressants actually work is as difficult to answer as how they work, and for the same reasons. With all this uncertainty, you may not be comfortable investing money in some of these pills. Is there anything else you should know if you’re considering using appetite suppressants?

Potential Concerns

A major source of concern when it comes to the efficacy of appetite suppressants is this very lack uniformity.

When combined with a lack of evidence regarding the usefulness of some compounds, the situation becomes even more difficult. Substances such as hoodia and green coffee extract are commonly promoted and featured in appetite suppressants. Both of these substances, despite their popularity, have little backing from the science.

There’s also the issue of your nutritional needs that comes into play. While you do need to achieve a caloric deficit to lose weight, you need to do so in a way that will still provide the necessary nutrients. This is especially critical when you’re following an exercise program and need proper amounts of carbs, protein and fat to perform and recover.

Of course, safety should be the deciding factor when it comes to any supplement. Many of the substances used in over-the-counter products have not been fully tested and may have severe side effects. You should always consult your doctor when considering a supplement.

Do have experience with appetite suppressants? Please share your thoughts in the comments.