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13 Easy Ways to Sneak Exercise Into Your Day

By Maire,

exercise daily life

Regular exercise has so many benefits. It can help ward off health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure, boost your mood and relieve stress, increase your energy, and even help you sleep better. What’s not to love?

Experts recommend adults get a minimum of 150 minutes a week (a little more than 20 minutes each day) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and do strength-training that works the major muscle groups at least two days a week. But there are other ways to boost physical activity outside of your regular workouts and reap additional health benefits. Here are thirteen ways to sneak more exercise into your day.

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15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Best Tips For Getting In Shape

By Maire,

15 Former Couch Potatoes Share Their Best Tips For Getting In Shape –  – BuzzFeed

So you want to eat healthier and get in shape? That’s great! Learn from some people who’ve definitely been there.

Getting into shape and living a healthier lifestyle can be seriously daunting.

That’s why BuzzFeed Life reached out to people who’ve been there to ask them to share their advice. For one guy, that meant learning a way to trick himself into using the spin bike more often. For another woman, that meant transforming her eating and fitness habits, losing over 150 pounds, and getting her diabetes and blood pressure under control.

Whether you’re looking to make a big change in your life or a few small ones, you can probably use some of the tips these former couch potatoes shared. And if you’ve made a healthy living change in your own life, share it with everyone in the comments!

1. Make it easy for yourself to workout in the mornings.

“I never exercised. Very rarely. I knew I needed to because I needed the outlet for stress, and I wasn’t sleeping well. But I also didn’t want to exercise after work, because I’d always want to go out with friends, or come home and relax and just watch TV. So I knew I needed to try morning exercises if I was going to fit it into my day.

Here’s how I do it: When I get home from work I lay out my exercise clothes. I fill a bottle of water and put it in the fridge. I pack the outfit I’m going to wear to work the next day. I pack everything — makeup, shoes, outfit — have it all ready to go, and then set my alarm for the next morning. I do everything I need to do before I start to unwind. This forces me to just get up and do it, and not have to take the time to find everything or make excuses for why I can’t.”
—Cat Fuentes, 28

2. Master the art of portion control.

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“It hasn’t happened overnight, but in the past seven years or so I’ve lost over 70 pounds. I’m about to run in the New York City Marathon on Sunday — it’ll be my second marathon. Back 70 pounds ago, I never could’ve dreamed that.

Tricks for myself, in terms of weight loss: Portion control is huge when you’re trying to lose weight. I’ve never been someone who wants to cut something out completely, so I had to figure out a way to allow myself little indulgences. I still go to restaurants, but now I’m all about tapas-style dining, which allows me to try a little of everything. It’s something I’ve gotten myself into that allows me to eat better without sacrificing my lifestyle.

Another tip: I snack throughout the day to keep up my energy, so I keep healthy things by my desk. My trick is making sure the snacks are in reasonable portion sizes, so I’m not just mindlessly munching on them all day.”
—Emily Abbate, 26

Emily Abbate is an editor at Fitbie, where she writes about health and fitness. She’s also been actively training for the 2014 New York City Marathon, and has beendocumenting her progress in a video series on Fitbie.

3. Get enough sleep.

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“I had a breast reduction a couple months after I graduated high school, and then moved to Chicago to start college. Once I was out on my own, I had to learn to cook, which is typically healthier than dining out. And because of my class schedule, I had a lot of time on my hands to workout. Now that I no longer had HUGE BOOBS, working out was easier/more fun.

My number one tip for living healthier is to get enough sleep every night. You cannot eat healthy or stay motivated if you’re really tired. Sleep is legitimately the basis of all my healthy decisions. I just set a bedtime and stuck to it. Also, setting the alarm on your phone is really good for creating a new bedtime routine. Like if you need to be in bed sleeping at 11 p.m., set an alarm for 10:15 to remind you to like… stop checking Facebook and go wash your face. And sort of related: Unplug before bed. I put my phone in airplane mode to sleep better.”
—Rachel Miller, 29

4. Don’t aim for perfection.

“In 2007 I lost about 80 pounds, and then in 2012 gained most of it back. I wanted to get back in shape, so I decided to try running every day. And I was maybe running half a mile, maybe a mile at the most — I wasn’t good at it. I gave up about three times, saying, “It’s not working out, I’m not good at it,” and just went back to doing nothing.

I had a friend who lost 100 pounds running. And she helped to hold me accountable to get in shape. She would send me texts and Facebook messages saying, “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” That became my motto. Every time I didn’t want to get up: “You don’t have to be good at working out, you just have to do it.” So I started running every day.

I run probably three times a week now, I go to a simulated surfboard class three to four times a week, and I swim three to four times a week. And I’m so happy I do — I feel great.”
—Laura Prescott, 30

5. Find a workout you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.

“I was never active or in shape… at all. I had years of failed attempts at fitness that mostly included running on the treadmill and failing at the gym. After a doctor ordered me to quit drinking, I needed an outlet to keep me sober. I looked into hip-hop dancing but felt out of place and hated it.

I used to pass a Krav Maga school every day on the way to work. One day, I stopped in for a trial class and signed up for membership that day. Feeling empowered and excited, I went four times a week. I was hooked. Not long after I started, they invited me to join the instructor program. After weeks of grueling training, I completed it — an accomplishment my 220 pounds, 20-year-old self would never have imagined.”
—Ben Ronne, 34

6. Try to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes (or three miles) every day.

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“I suffer from body dysmorphia, and consequently I really abused my body like crazy. Whether it was overeating, eating the wrong things, or eating to stuff my emotions down. I was also drinking a lot. Those habits didn’t go away when I became a trainer, and I felt like a humongous hypocrite. As time went on, I realized that I had a responsibility to my clients to walk the walk and talk the talk. I needed to make changes.

My big tip is consistency is key to getting in shape. The rule I set for myself (and that I set for my clients) is Thirty by Three: 30 minutes a day of some sort of exercise, whether that’s walking for 30 minutes, or five exercises that last about five minutes each with some breaks in between. OR you do three miles of something — three miles on a treadmill, elliptical, hiking. Sometimes an hour feels like just way too much, but 30 minutes always feels attainable.

For the past eight years, since I began focusing on my health, I’ve remained consistent — my body has stayed the same weight, I’m healthy, I’m a normal weight, I’m fit, and I’ve maintained it, and that’s what matters to me.”
—Kit Rich, 31

Kit Rich, an NASM certified personal trainer, is a Los Angeles-based celebrity pilates trainer. She’s been featured in Vogue, SHAPE, SELF, Women’s Health, Real Simple, US Weekly, and Pilates Style. She’s also made appearances on Access Hollywood, Access Hollywood LIVE!, E! News, E!Online, EXTRA, and The Today Show. She blogs regularly for Beautylish.com.

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How Fat Turns to Muscle Through Exercise

By Maire,

How Exercise Changes Fat and Muscle Cells

BY: Gretchen ReynoldsNY Times

Exercise promotes health, reducing most people’s risks of developing diabetes and growing obese. But just how, at a cellular level, exercise performs this beneficial magic — what physiological steps are involved and in what order — remains mysterious to a surprising degree.

Several striking new studies, however, provide some clarity by showing that exercise seems able to drastically alter how genes operate.

Genes are, of course, not static. They turn on or off, depending on what biochemical signals they receive from elsewhere in the body. When they are turned on, genes express various proteins that, in turn, prompt a range of physiological actions in the body.

One powerful means of affecting gene activity involves a process called methylation, in which methyl groups, a cluster of carbon and hydrogen atoms, attach to the outside of a gene and make it easier or harder for that gene to receive and respond to messages from the body. In this way, the behavior of the gene is changed, but not the fundamental structure of the gene itself. Remarkably, these methylation patterns can be passed on to offspring – a phenomenon known as epigenetics.

What is particularly fascinating about the methylation process is that it seems to be driven largely by how you live your life. Many recent studies have found that diet, for instance, notably affects the methylation of genes, and scientists working in this area suspect that differing genetic methylation patterns resulting from differing diets may partly determine whether someone develops diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

But the role of physical activity in gene methylation has been poorly understood, even though exercise, like diet, greatly changes the body. So several groups of scientists recently set out to determine what working out does to the exterior of our genes.

The answer, their recently published results show, is plenty.

Of the new studies, perhaps the most tantalizing, conducted principally by researchers affiliated with the Lund University Diabetes Centre in Sweden and published last month in PLoS One, began by recruiting several dozen sedentary but generally healthy adult Swedish men and sucking out some of their fat cells. Using recently developed molecular techniques, the researchers mapped the existing methylation patterns on the DNA within those cells. They also measured the men’s body composition, aerobic capacity, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and similar markers of health and fitness.

Then they asked the men to start working out. Under the guidance of a trainer, the volunteers began attending hourlong spinning or aerobics classes approximately twice a week for six months. By the end of that time, the men had shed fat and inches around their waists, increased their endurance and improved their blood pressure and cholesterol profiles.

Less obviously, but perhaps even more consequentially, they also had altered the methylation pattern of many of the genes in their fat cells. In fact, more than 17,900 individual locations on 7,663 separate genes in the fat cells now displayed changed methylation patterns. In most cases, the genes had become more methylated, but some had fewer methyl groups attached. Both situations affect how those genes express proteins.

The genes showing the greatest change in methylation also tended to be those that had been previously identified as playing some role in fat storage and the risk for developing diabetes or obesity.

“Our data suggest that exercise may affect the risk for Type 2 diabetes and obesity by changing DNA methylation of those genes,” says Charlotte Ling, an associate professor at Lund University and senior author of the study.

Meanwhile, other studies have found that exercise has an equally profound effect on DNA methylation within human muscle cells, even after a single workout.

To reach that conclusion, scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and other institutions took muscle biopsies from a group of sedentary men and women and mapped their muscle cells’ methylation patterns. They then had the volunteers ride stationary bicycles until they had burned about 400 calories. Some rode strenuously, others more easily.

Afterward, a second muscle biopsy showed that DNA methylation patterns in the muscle cells were already changing after that lone workout, with some genes gaining methyl groups and some losing them. Several of the genes most altered, as in the fat cell study, are known to produce proteins that affect the body’s metabolism, including the risk for diabetes and obesity.

Interestingly, the muscle cell methylation changes were far more pronounced among the volunteers who had ridden vigorously than in those who had pedaled more gently, even though their total energy output was the same.

The overarching implication of the study’s findings, says Juleen Zierath, a professor of integrative physiology at the Karolinska Institute and senior author of the study, is that DNA methylation changes are probably “one of the earliest adaptations to exercise” and drive the bodily changes that follow.

Of course, the intricacies of that bogglingly complex process have yet to be fully teased out. Scientists do not know, for instance, whether exercise-induced methylation changes linger if someone becomes sedentary, or if resistance training has similar effects on the behavior of genes. Nor is it known whether these changes might be passed on from one generation to the next. But already it is clear, Dr. Ling says, that these new findings “are additional proof of the robust effect exercise can have on the human body, even at the level of our DNA.”