I know protein is good for me, but do I need a supplement? Whey, egg, casein and soy which one protein is right for me and what does each one do?
Letís get the facts straight. Protein exists in virtually everything that moves and makes sounds, or in almost any animal. Primary dietary protein sources include fish, eggs, chicken, pork, beef, venison, buffalo and many other wild animals.
But which is the best source of protein? Ah, the million dollar question. As with any supplement, no protein powder will match what Mother Nature provides on earth. Natural proteins deliver more quality nutrients to your body than any protein powder ever could. Still, protein powders do have their place.
Scientist have come a long way in their development of protein supplements, including how they taste. Even recently, the best you could hope for with a protein shake was that you could choke it down in spite of its chalky taste and consistency. Now they actually taste good. Today there are plenty of protein powders and meal replacement shakes on the market. The key is finding the best quality products with the highest level of bioavailability.
Your primary source of protein should be meat, fish, poultry, eggs and other seafood. The protein source should be organic and grass-fed, free-range or wild. These furnish the body with the highest quality protein, provided that they are not cooked, or cooked very lightly, because heat denatures protein (kills proteins).
Other sources include commercial meats, farm-raised fish, and other genetically modified organisms like soy. Protein also can be found in other foods like nuts, legumes, some veggies and certain grains. However, your best sources of protein for packing on the muscle are organic meat and fish.
Protein shakes or meal replacements should be the last place you should look to fulfill your bodyís protein requirements. Although they can be beneficial, remember, nothing beats Mother Natureís proteins ó not even a scientist-developed protein ó for making you healthy and strong. Protein supplements are particularly useful for vegans, vegetarians and non-meat eaters, as well as for people with problems digesting heavy proteins or whose lifestyle prevents them from consuming proteins during the day.
A protein drink or meal-replacement shake is a great morning meal for those get-up-and-go types who only are short on time but understand how important breakfast is to losing fat and gaining muscle. Breakfast is the most important meal of any healthy diet, so a quick protein shake is a must for people who just donít have time to prepare a good breakfast.
The best protein powders or shakes are made from egg or whey. Use casein, protein from dairy products, sparingly. Avoid soy proteins, as these are the cheapest products you can buy and typically are genetically modified. Genetic modification means scientists have altered the organism from its natural state, a practice discouraged by most non-soy-paid scientists. Do your own independent research if you like, but always consider the source. Take with a grain of salt the comments of specialists who are paid by companies to say theirs is the best stuff for your body.
Remember, these are general protein recommendations. If thereís something on this list that you are allergic to, that obviously would not be a good product for you. A food allergy test is recommended before you begin any supplementation program to determine if you have specific allergies and if there are particular substances your body has problems processing.
One last note: All the protein in the world wonít help you if your body is deprived of other nutrients, such as essential vitamins and minerals. For optimal health, make sure you consume enough protein, eat organic and supplement with a great multivitamin.
The Number One Recommended Protein Products that will deliver your body the highest amounts of quality protein. These Supplements will give you the most gains and help you lose the most fat.
Modifying our diet is one of the keys to losing weight.
But the statistics on diet successes aren't good and only a very small percentage of dieters achieve permanent weight loss. To help you become one of those that do achieve permanent weight loss from dieting, here are Ten Golden Rules to Dieting that you can trust to help you lose those unwanted inches and pounds.
Rule 1: Never Skip Breakfast
The old saying that 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' is certainly on the money when it comes to dieting.
Nothing gets our metabolism going faster than breakfast after a good night's sleep.
Sleeping causes our metabolism to slow right down and breakfast kick-starts it again for us.
But always remember that just as important as having breakfast itself, it's also important to choose healthy breakfast options like wholegrain cereals and breads, low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt, and fruit or fruit juice.
Rule 2: Drink Plenty of Water and Get Plenty of Sleep
Drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep are critically important when we are dieting.
As well as helping to keep us healthy, drinking sufficient amounts of water can help us when dieting because it helps keep us feeling full and stops us from feeling hungry, and when we drink plenty of water we usually drink less soda, coffee and alcohol, all of which can add significant amounts of calories to our daily intake.
New links to the importance of sleep to weight loss are being uncovered all the time.
One case in point was a series of studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which showed that sleep loss can make weight loss far more difficult than it needs to be.
So to make sure your weight loss doesn't encounter any hidden barriers to success, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.
Rule 3: Count your Calories
Do you know how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and do you know how many calories you therefore need to consume in order to lose weight?
Once you know these things, you also need to keep track of how many calories you consume each day so that you can compare them to your target and make any necessary adjustments.
Writing down your calorie consumption after each meal will help you realize how much of an effect the little piece of candy here and the occasional cookie there has on your weight.
Writing down your calorie consumption needn't be hard, most of us eat the same things week in week out so chances are you'll only need to get to know the energy values of a relatively small number of foods and drinks in order to keep track.
Rule 4: Don't try to lose weight quickly
Gaining significant weight usually takes years and so should losing a significant amount of weight.
Our bodies don't like sudden and significant change; in fact it is built to resist it.
This resistance has a scientific name called homeostasis.
When our body heats up to a temperature above its preferred level what happens?
We sweat, which is an automatic response designed to cool us down to the preferred level again. That's homeostasis at work.
When we lose weight too quickly, what happens?
Our body automatically slows down its metabolism, that is, the rate at which we burn energy to survive and function. That's homeostasis at work again.
In addition to keeping our body from fighting against us on the weight loss front, losing weight too quickly doesn't work because early rapid weight loss usually results from losing body fluid and muscle tissue which is not healthy nor helpful in our battle to lose weight.
Rapid and significant weight loss from dieting alone is usually indicative of a very calorie restrictive diet which is also counterproductive because for most of us it is unsustainable.
Rule 5: It's not just what you eat that counts
Weight gain isn't a sign that we have been eating the wrong food; it is a sign that we have been eating too much food.
The great news about this is that we don't need to all start eating lettuce to lose weight; we just may need to cut down a little on the foods we enjoy each day.
Rule 6: Keeping your metabolism up
Muscle and activity keep our metabolism up which is why weight training to build or maintain our muscle mass and aerobic activity like walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are so important to those of us wanting to lose weight
Dieting alone is not the best route to weight loss and to staying in an ideal weight range.
To lose weight safely and keep it off for as long as possible, always combine dieting and exercise.
Rule 7: You won't continue to eat foods you don't like
Most diets fail because they require us to eat plenty of foods we don't actually like.
If we don't like what we're eating we're not going to stick with our diet for more than a week or two.
The key to successful dieting is to reduce the amount we eat and introduce healthier and lower calorie options of the foods we like gradually into our diet over time.
Rule 8: Watch what you drink as well as eat
Almost everything we drink, except water, has calories in it.
Drinks highest in calories are typically sodas, colas and alcoholic drinks.
If we typically drink a lot of any of these high calorie drinks, it may be them and not what we're eating that is causing us to get fat.
This being the case, for many of us simply reducing these drinks or eliminating them altogether from our diet may be all that is necessary for us to lose a significant amount of fat and weight.
Rule 9: Avoid extremes of any kind
Balance is not only the key to a happy, healthy life; it is also the key to a healthy diet and dieting.
Be very weary of any diets that completely cut out some foods or food groups or severely limit some foods or food groups, for example very low or no-carb diets.
Diets that are extreme in one way or another are likely to be very unhealthy at best and very dangerous to our health at worst.
If you're ever considering such a diet, which will probably promise very rapid and significant results, remember what we said about rapid weight loss and how our body is designed to maintain the status quo.
Rule 10: Seek help
If you have a lot of weight to lose, you've got a better chance of success if you get help.
If your weight is affecting your health to such an extent that it is or is becoming life-threatening or is leading to you suffering from weight related diseases like type-2 diabetes, seek medical help from a doctor or professional help from a dietician or another suitably qualified health care professional to lose weight immediately.
Even if your weight isn't directly affecting your health now, it is a great idea to get help in your battle against the bulge from professionals like dieticians, personal trainers, gyms, psychologists (overeating is often caused by emotional factors) or weight loss program providers and other weight loss specialists.
In addition to getting professional help, non-professional help, support and encouragement is also vital in improving your chances of dieting success.
For this type of help turn to friends, family and the support of other people with similar weight related goals, such as those that can be found on weight loss forums.
Good luck with your weight loss and remember that if you keep in mind the ten golden rules of dieting you are sure to be a dieting success story in the making.
Imagine you need to look great to get all the attention at the biggest party of the year. The cloak has already started ticking and you have got 7 days to fix yourself for the D-Day. If you can take out 15 to 30 minutes in the next few days, you can be ready for action.
Exercise: Start with skipping and jogging and chin-ups by hanging from a rod for warming up.
Two steps of crunches or sit-ups for strengthening and toning your abdominal muscles.
Then go for Flat bench press and dumbbell flyers for the entire chest area, focusing mainly on the inner chest and followed by 2 sets of push-ups.
Work on your trapezium for the collar muscle and shoulder pressing.
For biceps the exercise to be followed is standing barbell curl.
Next you can work out on your Triceps with Single dumbbell or French press and fore forearms.
Skipping will have an effect on your legs, other wise you can go for Squats and back with lat pull down.
Diets are just as important as exercise, because it is the most important part of getting the body you want. You have to eat good to look good. You need protein, and you don't need fat. Stay away from junk and fatty foods. Not all fat is bad; there is a healthy fat. This fat can be found in fish, Nuts and some oils. Have Lots of fibers such as leafy vegetables, salads and daily products.
Is the 'I Feel Fat Day' (IFFD) syndrome affecting your output? That extra flab can overpower you and your work. Thee feeling of being fat can morph into an emotion like 'happy' or 'angry'. Days overpowered with that feeling have been designated as 'I Feel Fat Day' (IFFD). So don't let your weight determine your mood.
How many times have you heard your colleague quipping, "I feel fat" or "It's a fat day feeling?" Can't fit into your favorite pair of jeans? How about a snide comment from a relative or colleague? That's all it takes to turn an ordinary Monday or Tuesday into IFFD(I Feel Fat Day).
Perhaps just like the national celebrations, 'fat' is important enough to get a day named in its honour and it doesn't just come one a year! Carrying extra pounds is necessary but not exclusive prerequisite to an IFFD. To have an IFFD, one must also carry an element of shame. A good IFFD is not complete without tears, self loathing and a frantic scramble for concealing clothes.
So, how to keep away 'fat' from becoming an emotion? Simple semantics: fat is fat. Don't confuse it with the emotions so often attached to it, and recognize that shame and self-loathing are useless distractions. Neither of them will help you get closer to your goal. The way out is simple: instead of wasting time and psychic energy on IFFDs, we could use those special resources for the job at hand.
Here's the ultimate plan for coping with an IFFD:
. Make your very next meal a healthy one. By choosing a lightly dressed salad instead of the usual, you are putting yourself on anew path and abruptly ending the IFFD.
. Get Moving. A body in motion is beauty in progress. Even if it's the middle of the day and you cant hit the gym because of your tight schedule, you can still go up and down the stairs.
. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful and enjoy your unique look.
. Hang out with positive people. Try to be in company of winners, people who feed you energy and inspire the best in you.
. YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE AND TRANSFORM YOUR OWN AS WELL. LEARN TO APPRECIATE AND VALUE YOURSELF.
Tip: Many of us feel too flabby while making love, feel too many bulges in the wrong place, feel awkward when lights are on and ask, what's the way out? Obviously there is hope and certain exercises, habits and lifestyle changes one can adopt to get rid of those unsightly fat deposits. You can strengthen your lower back. It is specially improtant when you are working on your abs. Besides that. cut on sodium and try to create a "V" shape in your upper body. Crunches are vital in your quest to eliminate love handles. Also reduce the consumption of alcohol as they contain "empty calories". The magic key lies with the cardiovascular exercises
In large part, youíre in control of your health, not your doctor. And taking control of your health doesnít really depend on whether or not you have medical conditions.
Taking control means developing habits and discipline.
The most important thing you can do is educate yourself. Learn about your health problems and how you can take care of your body. What do the latest studies say? The Internet is an excellent place to research health issues. Sometimes just finding different ways of doing things can help.
Now, take the time to decide what your health goals for the next year will be. Write the goal(s) down.
Some examples of goals might be:
- to stop yo-yo dieting and focus on get healthier.
- to start exercising regularly.
- to move toward my perfect weight.
- to find alternative ways to control diabetes.
Then list specific ways you can accomplish these goals. For instance, try a new healthy dinner recipe once a week, go to the gym five days a week, or research nutrition on the Internet 10 minutes a day.
Work on your mind and thought patterns. You have to believe that you can become healthy and reach your ideal weight before you will be able to do so. Learning to accept what you canít change, but striving to change what you can, is key. A large part of succeeding in health improvement is being comfortable with yourself to begin with.
Find time to do something good to reward yourself for making this commitment to improve your health. Reward yourself each week as you find yourself accomplishing your goals.
If you have another person to work with, you will be more successful in meeting your health goals. This partner should be someone you can trust to share your feelings with.
It helps to have a partner for accountability. We work harder when we know someone is watching us and holding us accountable. A good partner also helps us stay realistic in our goals and challenges us to grow.
Try to find someone who will encourage you in the down times and celebrate your successes with you as you accomplish your goals. And of course you need to be that kind of a partner to your friend in return.
You might consider forming an informal support group with some of your friends or acquaintances. People who belong to a group with mutual interests and a shared purpose accomplish more. A group might get together weekly or monthly and discuss progress or concerns and help encourage each other. Sometimes all a person might need is another opinion or just a little encouragement to help them get past a place where they are having problems. Even if you are doing great, perhaps you could be of help to someone else who is struggling.
Communication is important when putting together a group. Set up a regular time and method to report progress to each other and stick to it. Set realistic benchmarks to monitor your progress. Reward yourselves for your effort. Do something fun as a group once in a while.
There can be great rewards in working with others toward common goals. It makes the journey more enjoyable as well as more productive.
When you think of developing a strong, muscular physique what type of exercises do you think of doing? To improve and develop strength most individuals focus on lifting weights ñ exercises such as bench press, push ups and flies ñ that focus on powerful pushing and pulling movements. Cardiovascular activity usually takes the passenger seat, when it comes to developing strength - unless youíre involved in a sport that requires a lot of endurance training, or if you want to loose excess body fat on top of improving your strength.
Stretching- unfortunately isnít even put in the strength development category, because most of us figure that since itís a low intensity movement itís purely for cooling down after our workouts. However stretching isn't merely a great way to cool down ñ trust me it can actually help make you stronger. Thatís why I feature a great stretching diagram on my website, FitnessGear101.com.
The benefits of stretching have numerous effects on your weightlifting progress. Just remember when you stretch you should feel slight tension in your muscles, but no pain!
Stretching is your key to the following fitness pluses:
Increased Strength - Stretching actually helps to increase your muscular strength because it expands your range of motion, and range of motion literally applies to weightlifting. For example when you lift in a wider range of motion compared to a smaller range, youíre enlisting the help of more fibers, making your muscles stronger.
Reduced Stress - We all know that stretching helps reduce the stress and tension in our exercised muscles, but did you know that a quick 20-mintue session of stretching can also release most of the tension that built up throughout an entire workday?
Improved Posture - Flexible muscles are your key to good posture, because stretching promotes balanced muscle tone in all the major joints in the body. This affects your strength training because good posture reduces stress and soreness in the muscles and joints, letting you get back to the gym faster.
Improved Speed & Reaction Time - if you are an athlete you are aware of how important agility is to top performance. Flexible muscles make you quicker on your feet. This allows for you to run faster in sports like soccer; react quicker by making saves in hockey and by maneuvering around opponents in football.
Decreased Muscle Soreness - This means less time off from the gym and your game, and more time to devote to developing those muscles.
Ease of Movement - If you are not an athlete, never fear, stretching does more than improve sports performance. It makes simple daily tasks easier as well, by lessening the general stiffness in joints so you can bend down, reach up and lift things easily. Stretching will also affect the future of your joints by making you less likely to develop joint pain later in life.
Reduces Chances of Injury ñ More flexible muscles translate to less chance of injuring tight muscles during exercise. Take for example your hamstrings, the muscles that run down the back of your upper legs. I like to compare the hamstrings to an elastic band ñ the flexible hamstring has a lot of stretch; whereas the inflexible hamstring is that dried out elastic that breaks when itís stretch too far.
Strength training is often thought of as the lurking ground for the strong and muscular among us. Only a few years ago the free weight area was a breeding ground for modern day Herculean men. Men that had on barely there tank tops and those 80's M.C. Hammer pants.
They strutted around and stuck out their chest, they made loud grunting noises and often times slammed down the free weights. The lesser among us, mostly women and average Joe's, were left to the cardio area and fitness classes.
Fast forward a few years and things have changed. A lot. Strength training is now becoming recognized as one of the best weight loss methods around. After all the more lean muscle someone has the more calories they will burn per day. Women and men, average Joe's and Jane's are all making their way to the free weight area.
They all know a thing or two about strength training. They know to lift a heavy enough weight over a period of several sets. They know to do strength training before they do their cardio. They also know to have proper form at all times. Or do they?
The other day I was walking around the gym and noticed one of my average Joe members on one of the neck machines. My eyes popped out of their sockets and I stood there in disbelief as this average Joe was whipping his head back and forth.
I quickly walked over to him and asked if he would like a few pointers. He stopped the back and forth motion of the neck machine and agreed to listen to some of my suggestions.
I started to explain that doing exercises for the neck is not necessary to do several times a week. I also mentioned that if he decided to do strength training for his neck muscles then he could get by with doing them about once per week. Anything more really was not necessary.
The average Joe sat attentively as I explained that his form was a bit off. All movements and motions should be done in a slow and controlled form when performing strength training exercises for the neck. It's not a good thing to have whiplash.
There are several neck exercises that can be performed in the gym or at home. Typically there is one machine in the gym that pertains to strengthening the neck. The side of the head will rest on a cushioned bar. The exerciser can slowly begin to push the cushioned bar down to their shoulder. Obviously this would need to be repeated on the opposite side of the head as well.
Similar exercises can be done at home. One friend can place their hand on the left side of another friend's head. The first friend can begin to apply resistance as the second friend slowly pushes their left ear towards their left shoulder. The right side should be done afterwards.
Another option to strength train the neck is to lie face down on a bed. Allow the head to relax off one of the sides. Slowly pick the head up as far as possible before you slowly begin to lower it back to start.
Alternatively, lie face up on the bed. The head should still be relaxed off the side. Slowly lift the head up as far as it is comfortable and then slowly lower back to start.
Work at a slow and controlled pace while strength training the neck. It is also important to stretch and warm up as one would with any other exercise program.
Several studies have shown that strength training the neck reduces neck pain in most individuals. It has also been show to increase neck strength and increase range of motion. The only caveat is to strength train with caution. Always talk with a qualified professional if you are not sure how to perform an exercise.
You burn most of your daily calories with little to no conscious effort. Whether you're talking on the phone, working at a keyboard, or just watching television, your body is burning calories to keep your heart pumping, your lungs breathing, and your organs functioning. The calories used to maintain these basic bodily functions add up to your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. Basal essentially means base — think of it as the number of calories that’s just enough to cover all your body’s bases.
These are what I call your couch-potato calories. It amounts to 60 percent to 75 percent of the total calories you use daily, and there's no physical activity required for this."
In other words, this is what you burn without lifting a finger. That’s why BMR is also known as the resting metabolic rate, or RMR.
Knowing your BMR can help you create a more effective strategy for weight loss, allowing you to better keep your calorie count on track and better understand the effect exercise will have on your waistline.
Metric BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )
Once you know your BMR, you can calculate your Daily Calorie Needs based on your activity level using the Harris Benedict Equation.
Harris Benedict FormulaTo determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
Total Calorie Needs Example
If you are sedentary, multiply your BMR (1745) by 1.2 = 2094. This is the total number of calories you need in order tomaintain your current weight.
Once you know the number of calories needed to maintain your weight, you can easily calculate the number of calories you need to eat in order to gain or lose weight:
- Calorie intake to gain weight
- Calorie intake to lose weight
Calorie Needs to gain weight
Once you know the number of calories you need to maintain your weight (using our BMR Calculator in conjunction with ourHarris Benedict Equation, you can easily calculate the number of calories you need in order to gain weight.
If you want to gain body weight, you need to consume more calories than you burn. One pound of body weight is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories, so eating an extra 500 calories per day will cause you to gain one pound a week.
For optimum health, if you increase your calories to gain weight then (health permitting) gradually increase your level of physical exercise in order to maintain or increase your lean body mass. The benefits of exercise on physical and mental health are well documented and shouldn't be ignored.
Calorie Needs to lose weight
There are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat. So, if you create a 3500-calorie deficit through diet, exercise or a combination of both, you will lose one pound of body weight. (On average 75% of this is fat, 25% lean tissue) If you create a 7000 calorie deficit you will lose two pounds and so on. The calorie deficit can be achieved either by calorie-restriction alone, or by a combination of fewer calories in (diet) and more calories out (exercise). This combination of diet and exercise is best for lasting weight loss. Indeed, sustained weight loss is difficult or impossible without increased regular exercise.
If you want to lose fat, a useful guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level. For people with only a small amount of weight to lose, 1000 calories will be too much of a deficit. As a guide to minimum calorie intake it is recommended that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men. Even these calorie levels are quite low.
An alternative way of calculating a safe minimum calorie-intake level is by reference to your body weight or current body weight. Reducing calories by 15-20% below your daily calorie maintenance needs is a useful start. You may increase this depending on your weight loss goals.
Adjust your exercise output. Calculators ask for your level of physical activity for a very good reason. You can influence your BMR through exercise, spurring your body to burn more calories even when you are just lounging about.
The advantage of knowing your BMR is that you can adjust the number of calories of any diet you choose to meet your personal guidelines for weight loss.
Back pain exercises are much sought after these days because back pain is a common phenomenon amongst people under the age of 45 and can be rectified effectively only if the true cause behind the pain is identified. Barring a few exceptions, exercises for back pain are effective for all types of back pain, be it the pain in the lower back ore pain in the upper back. Exercises also provide a solution for back pain related to genetically or trauma related deformities and subsequent pain.
Causes of Back Pain
Before we understand about the exercises to relieve back pain, we should have an understanding of human spine and possible causes of back pain. Human body depends on the spinal column for structural stability and mobility. It is the spine which provides us the necessary support to bend, twist or move around. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae which are placed one on another from the skull to the pelvis. The spinal column is tightly wrapped by muscles and ligaments. Now any type of injury in these muscles or ligaments can result in pain. You can rectify or reduce such back pains by carrying out proper back pain exercises.
Exercises- The Safest Cure For Back Pain
Backache usually is a result of the spasm of muscles supporting our spine. This occurs due to improper posture, or sudden movements or jerks or repetitive actions. Diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, viral infection, and bladder or kidney infection, gynecological problems in women, tumors and trauma can also cause back pain. Excess body weight, wearing of improper shoes and carrying heavy weights can also result in back pain. The best remedy for backache occurring from these reasons is back pain exercises. This is mainly because exercises to relieve back pain are safe and free from any possible side effects that is a possibility with other treatments for back pain.
However, back pain exercises may not prove to be effective in cases where the pain is not caused by an improper posture or sudden movements, jerks or is accompanied by bowel or bladder control problems. In such cases, it is advisable that the person suffering from backache consults a physician and gets a proper treatment.
The best way to avoid back ache is to maintain a proper posture and keep your muscles well conditioned by undertaking proper back pain exercises. One should never bend at the waist or stoop to pick up an object. Instead, we should lower our body to the level of the object by bending our knees.
The most common back pain exercise is to stand straight or sit on a comfortable chair that provides adequate support to your back. You should avoid sitting or standing in a single posture for a long time. Even while sleeping, you should be careful as to the type of mattress being used. Slouching or leaning forward should be avoided at all times. Yoga and mediation go a long way in relieving back pain and are very good exercises.
Prevention, it is said is the best cure for back pain. You can avoid backache by undertaking back pain exercises on a regular basis. These exercises strengthen the muscles in the abdomen and the spinal area and ensure that there is adequate support to the spine. Wall slides, leg raises and leg swings are the best exercises and abdominal strengthening exercises prove to be effective in toning up our back muscles.
Youíre right, the headline is a very strange one! Exercise is vital to maintain good health and most of the time, the benefits of exercise far out-weigh the drawbacks. But if you suffer from a stressful or a depressive illness, exercise can actually make you feel worse. But how can this be?
Iím sure youíve heard the following statement over and over again: exercise can help you to beat stress, or alleviate anxiety or boost a depressed mind. This is only true in part. Because many exercises can actually worsen these illnesses. And even if you perform exercises that can help, these exercises will only help temporarily.
The reason many people believe exercise to be helpful in combating stressful and depressive illnesses is because when you exercise vigorously for longer than 20 minutes, your body floods with endorphins. These chemicals give us a buzz, and this is why it is widely believed that exercise can cure stress, depression or anxiety.
If youíre suffering a stressful or depressive episode, youíll know that no matter how regularly you exercise, the bad feelings return. The only way to beat these illnesses is to treat the root cause ñ flawed modes of thinking. Exercise, though great for our bodies, simply doesnít do anything to address modes of thinking.
When my anxiety was at itís worst back in 2000, I exercised 4 times a week. For 2 days, Iíd perform weight-training exercises. These exercises are the type of exercise that can actually make you feel worse because you have time to think about all of the issues and problems you have in your life at the time. Iíd also warm up and warm down on bike machines or cross-trainers. Again, you can perform these exercises easily so you can think about your problems.
For my other workouts, Iíd perform instructor-led circuit training sessions. As youíre listening out for instructions and performing sequences of exercises at a high tempo, you donít have time to dwell on your troubles and worries. The problem is that once you stop exercising, you return to the modes of thinking which lead to stress, depression or anxiety.
As soon as my workout had finished, Iíd perform flawed modes of thinking, that made me anxious and depressed. Exercising did very little to stop me performing these flawed thought processes.
Do be aware of whatís happening when you exercise. Exercises that donít require much concentration may have you brooding over your troubles as you perform them. Jogging, walking, exercise machines, weight-training are all examples of such exercises. Instead, try ones that are more intensive or competitive so your whole concentration is required. Circuit-training worked for me, so did sports like soccer and badminton.
The idea is to give yourself a period of time where youíre not thinking about your problems and worries. And of course, youíll do your body a whole heap of good too!
The point here is to understand that exercise can only provide temporary relief. The only way to find permanent relief from your suffering is to understand and address flawed modes of thinking. And, just as physical exercise benefits our bodies, mental skills leading to better modes of thinking will bring enormous benefits to our minds.
The following quote sums it up in a nutshell:
ìThought can make you, thought can break you.î - Swami Sukhabodhanada
Until next time.
Written, Gerald Lim
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.