Balance and Health, How They Fit Together in Our Daily Lives

Imaging balance in health is easy, right? It looks something like this:Rested
‘Healthy’ diet,
Daily exercise routine that keeps you fit and aerobically chargedLet’s not forget:Bright eyes
Glowing skin
Glossy hair and strong nailsOr:Never sick
Always on-time with a bounce in your step and eager for the day’s work that lies ahead of youAnd lastly:Positive and proactive mindset
Being totally in love with your job
Contributing back to society and fun-timeDoes that sound like you? Does this reflect your health or your lifestyle? Can you pull the two apart? I don’t think so.

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What is Health?Health is a big word that encompasses many meanings for us. Who doesn’t want good health? So what’s the definition of health? My definition of health and the one I’m referring to when I use the term “health” is good health, a natural state of the body that is in harmony and balance with its internal and external environment.The “Modern” WorldToday, it’s only considered the right thing to do to push, push, push yourself, all the time and in all that you do. Our role models seem to be that of people multi-tasking and wearing many hats. We admire those who get up super early, never stop to eat and don’t go to sleep until late because they are so busy reading and learning and studying the most current events.Why is it that in this “modern” society, we no longer know what rest looks like, we no longer know what balance looks like? Technology is a wonderful thing. It changes our lives daily. But instead of making our lives better, is it making our lives more unhealthy?Health and BalanceHealth is about balance, about finding times that feel good to exercise, to rest and to eat. Health is our overall result of that balance. Our bodies are strong and can resist so much. We can put so much pressure on them until they begin to crack. But we have to take the time to listen to them when they are telling us something is off.That means, take a break, rest, get recharged. Lighten your food intake and let the body realign with health. How many people do this at the first signs of pain, fatigue or irritation? Do you?

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Slow it DownTake the time to slow down. That might mean just resting. It might mean having a family meal without the TV on and discussing fun topics with all the family members. It might mean a long, quiet walk in the forest or on the beach. It might mean deep breathing for 10 minutes everyday at lunchtime in a quiet and peaceful setting. It might also mean taking one or two items off your to-do list and foregoing the less-than-essential item.Time is what heals all things: broken bones, wounds, hearts. It’s what heals the body and the mind. Take some more of it to heal your own self. That is when health will equal balance.

Get Inspired With These 3 Motivational Fitness Films

Motivational films are powerful things. They can completely change your mood or your outlook, get you pumped and make you ready to face the day. In this article I take a deeper look at motivational films and share with you 3 of my top motivational fitness films.1) PREFONTAINE:Prefontaine is a biopic of the American long distance runner Steve Prefontaine who had his life tragically cut short by a car accident when he was just 24 years old. Despite the sad ending to the film, Prefontaine is still very inspirational. This is a guy who loved to run and lived to win. Even though he only lived to 24 years old, Steve Prefontaine managed to achieve great things and at 1 point was the holder of the American record for 7 different distance track events ranging from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters. This fitness film leaves you inspired and thinking that if Steve Prefontaine managed to achieve so much in his short life, just how much can you achieve in your own life?

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2) ROCKY:Rocky is 1 of the most popular fitness films ever released and there are plenty of reasons why. This is the film that turned Sylvester Stallone into a star. The story follows the struggling boxer and debt collector Rocky Balboa as he gets the ultimate opportunity – an exhibition bout with Apollo Creed – the current boxing world heavyweight champion. There are many inspirational moments in Rocky and when the final fight rolls around you find yourself literally cheering Rocky along.3) THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS:Although The Pursuit Of Happyness is not really a fitness film, it does focus on increasing your mental fitness. Whilst Prefontaine and Rocky are good films for getting you pumped, this film is 1 to watch if you are feeling a little down on yourself. It’s a true story about Chris Gardner – a guy who makes a bad financial decision which ultimately leads to him losing his wife and his home. However, through sheer mental strength and determination he gets through it and becomes very successful. If you are having a bad day or even a bad week, you will feel a lot better after watching this film. It makes you think that there are many people out there in much worse situations than you and also demonstrates the value of making the best out of a bad situation.

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SUMMARY:Whether you need cheering up after a bad week or you simply want to motivate yourself for the gym, these 3 inspirational fitness films can help. So sit down, relax and prepare to get motivated.

Exercise, Health and Fitness – The Battle Against A Sedentary Lifestyle

We all know that cigarettes are bad for us. But did you know that there’s evidence showing that a sedentary lifestyle can be just as detrimental to our health as smoking? Several other studies also found that prolonged sitting increases the risk of heart disease – America’s leading killer – as well as cancer, obesity, diabetes, and even premature death. We’ve always known that sitting for long periods of time can make us more vulnerable to serious diseases. These findings are all the more alarming because they come on the heels of other recently released studies indicating that long periods of time spent sitting in our cars and offices are significant contributing factors in the obesity epidemic sweeping the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, and a third of the population is considered obese.

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It’s all an unfortunate chain of events: sedentary lifestyle leads to obesity, which, in turn, is a well-known factor in heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer, which render us even more inactive. Statistics show that 40 to 50 million Americans have sedentary jobs, which don’t allow them to get the recommended amount of at least 30 minutes of moderately intensive physical activity five days a week. Add this to research indicating that 60 percent of Americans don’t exercise enough and over 25 percent are not active at all, and what you get is a recipe for disaster.Since it is not always possible to avoid situations where prolonged sitting is necessary – for example, in a workplace, try to sneak some exercises in to offset inactivity.Finding time to exercise, be it in the morning, evening or at lunchtime, can literally be a real lifesaver. Here are some examples of mini workouts that can help you battle a sedentary lifestyle:Stairs – Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Better yet, run up and down. If you do it several times a day, every day, it adds up. In fact, take 2 breaks a day for 5-10 minutes where all you do is walk the stairs.Avoid your car – Especially for short distances, resist the urge to take your car. Walk to your destination and back quickly enough to get your heart rate up.

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The “Idiot Box” – So you’re finally home from a long day at work, sitting in from the computer? Don’t go “relax” in front of TV for another 3 hours. If you finally have a bit of free time, use it for some form of physical activity, not to sit around some more. I currently live in South Carolina and a study done not too long ago said that SC is the #1 state for hours of TV watched. Guess I have my work cut out for me.OK. I know I was the bearer of bad news here, but the good news is that there are easy fixes. Just make up your mind to help yourself and keep moving!

Health and Fitness Experts: What Makes Me So Hungry?

You may not be a person that goes out and indulges in a big chocolaty brownie, because you know that you will want to eat the entire batch. In fact, you may be the healthiest, most disciplined person you know when it comes to nutrition.You may think that the sole reason you have not been able to drop those pounds is due to overindulging and not pushing hard enough in the gym. Well, this is partly true, but there is a whole other element that you may be missing.The root of the problem stems from your body not producing enough grhelin, the chemical hormone in the brain that signals hunger, and a lack of leptin, the hormone that tells us we are full.Think of your body as a chemistry lab. If you’re T4, one of the three thyroid hormones, is too low, it is as a chain reaction for all other chemical hormones. Simply put, when one hormone is off, the entire endocrine system is off.

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So what do you do about it?Solutions:
Keep a daily journal or recorded diary to become consciously aware of your thoughts and emotions, and what drives them. Evaluate if you are simply attempting to solve the current circumstance or if you are being triggered, by a past event, to react accordingly.
Understand the power of “The mind-body connection.” This task is so powerful that we literally cannot function properly without each being in harmony. There is direct cause and effect signal between the hormones and the body that directly correlates with our thoughts, emotions, energy-levels, fat storage and stress levels.
Speaking of stress, the way in which we physically handle stress is a huge factor to why you may be carrying extra belly fat. When we become stressed the brain signals the chemical hormone, cortisol to the abdomen in order to protect itself from famine. The more stressed we feel the more cortisol is sent. This ongoing behavior also known as the, fight-or-flight mode, can eventually burn out your adrenal glands which can cause extreme fatigue, hormonal imbalances and in turn weight gain.
It is vital that you go get a full hormonal blood panel from your current physician or an endocrinologist. How do you know what to fix if you don’t know what’s off? The doctor may suggest a hormone replacement like, Synthroid, Armour thyroid, a bio-identical hormone, (still an ongoing research), for women in pre-menopause, or even a natural supplement to help support the brains signals.

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Whatever the case, this is no overnight process so remain persistent and diligent in your doctor’s prescription and know that this is key to feeling internally energized, motivated and satisfied with your weight.

Tips for Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

Before beginning any fitness goal setting program, you need to decide what you want out of it. It is also very important to get your doctors’ approval before beginning an exercise program.Decide what your goal is:
to lose weight
to improve your appearance
gain muscle
build endurance, flexibility or strength
get healthyMake sure the activities/exercises you pick specifically meet the fitness goal results you want. Enthusiasm wanes if goals are not realistic. It is important not to self-sabotage yourself with goals that are too long-term or impossible to meet. Repeatedly failing to stick to your goals means that either the goal is too out of reach or you haven’t figured how exactly what you need to do to reach them.

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Make a written record of your goal so that you have something to mark your progress, it helps you look forward as well as back. Make your first goal one that you can meet within about eight weeks.Write your goals down so you have something to look forward to as well as to look back on. To begin, map out no more than eight weeks worth of activities towards your first fitness goal. Devise a regular program that will work within you lifestyle. It is best not to plan to work out every day of the week. Working out every other day is a realistic and safe goal. Record how long you want to work out, and also record how long you actually work.Not everyone has fitness and weight loss as their goal. Some people have improving their health as their primary goal. Unfortunately, we often tend to focus most on our health when we have already experienced an illness, a life threatening event or going through physical rehabilitation.We also need to follow through on sound health practices:
Adequate sleep
Healthy diet
Stress controlQuestions to ask you before setting your fitness goals:
What do I want to do with this exercise program?
Are my goals realistic?
What blocks me when starting and continuing a health maintenance program?
What is my target weight; more important is what is the weight loss or gain you want to accomplish in the next two weeks, month, two months and six months?
What do I want to do to improve my appearance, what steps do I need to take other than changing my weight?
How can I improve my diet, and how can I change what I order in a restaurant to help me meet my goals?
Do I need to read up on fitness, nutrition, healthy lifestyles or take a class to help me make my goals?
Do I need to have a complete physical? When was my last one?
Do I know what I need to do to improve my current blood pressure, cholesterol, or heart rate?
Do I need to cut or end chemical dependencies such as smoking or alcohol?

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Be honest with yourself as you answer these questions. You will only be fooling yourself if you fudge on the answers. Consult with your family physician before making any big changes in your daily lifestyle.

How Will My Health Insurance Choice Hit My Bottom Line?

Most people decide on a health insurance plan by comparing the costs of mainstream or offered plans with similar value. For many Americans, whose insurance is partially subsidized by an employer, they are relegated to choosing a plan from a narrow list of choices.As our health care system evolves to fit the changing needs of our demographic-one with an increasing number of citizens who demand alternatives-it is important for other Americans to know that they can break out of the traditional mold, and begin exercising the option to making a health insurance choice that truly fits their lifestyle.

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The most important step to making a better health insurance choice is to conduct a thorough self-evaluation. Many Americans have little concrete idea of their current expenditures. Barring the seriously ill, who may calculate high expenditures at tax time in order to maximize deductions, few others take the time to analyze how much they pay on an annual basis in one category vs. another.For example, if you have a large, healthy family that is proactive about maintaining its health (e.g. staying current with physicals, seeking medical care in the event of mild illness, taking preventative measures), you are better off choosing a plan that gives you a break on doctor visit co-pays. Similarly, if you avoid going to the doctor and only seek medical care in extreme circumstances, you are better off making a health insurance choice that gives good emergency and acute care coverage.

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The key is in understanding how much you currently pay out of pocket. Choose a plan that gives you the best value once you add up the total cost of monthly premiums and out of pocket expenses. Only when you optimize your entire picture will you get the best value for your money.

Leg Fitness Equipment: What Is the Most Effective?

Leg workouts are focused on muscle areas inside the leg region to boost and develop leg muscular areas so you’re able to undertake more strenuous exercise programs, like running on a treadmill, going swimming, and other fun-based activities made a great deal simpler and easier. These exercise routines could quickly be accomplished while using the appropriate leg exercise equipment. You can find a few major forms of leg fitness equipment, 1 designed for muscle mass, and the other one to further improve cardiovascular conditioning. Down below, you’ll find widely used leg fitness equipment grouped as per their purpose.Leg Extension EquipmentThis excellent product is designed to build up the quads and hamstrings. Building up the muscles in this area can be achieved by making use of weight loads to create a level of resistance. Numerous machines can be used for leg curls, which are fantastic for building up hamstrings. This is accomplished by utilizing weight on the heels and curling the legs in the direction of your backside whilst laying on your abdomen.

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The Leg Press MachinesThis particular machine comes in straight or seating varieties. It’s perfect for working out the lower back, quads and gluteus maximus, that’s important for thigh, lower-back and total leg function.Leg Raise EquipmentThis kind of piece of equipment is made to be able to focus on the calf muscular area in the rear of the lower leg. The particular exercise involves raising the weights bar by constantly pushing from the rear of the heels.In the event that muscle mass and strength are not your goal, then you’re almost certainly more interested in firming the hip and legs along with boosting your current cardio health. If that’s so, have a look at these well-known products.Stepper EquipmentThese kinds of machines are usually popular with regard to their caloric burning ability. They emulate ascending stairs, therefore is an exceptional cardiovascular routine.A Stationary BikeThis valuable leg exercise equipment can be a superb cardiovascular training session while getting the added advantage of toning your thighs and legs and glutes, yet has got the additional benefit that one could use this sort of cycle in any kind of weather condition.

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Cross Trainers EquipmentThis device is alike to x-country skiing, it is a really popular ultimate energy workout. These are impressive if you wish to use up excess calories fast and are good for cardio workouts and lower leg workouts.Running MachineSuccessful as the top leg and cardiovascular workout. Be aware that one problem with a lot of lower priced fitness treadmills, however, would be the tendency to be strenuous upon the knees, which means search for one that’s designed with impact shock-absorbers to lessen this affect.

Walking to Get Fit and Stay in Shape

Walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get fit and stay fit. You just need good walking shoes and time. If you’re trying to stay in shape, target 6000 steps a day and to lose weight you need to take 10,000 steps a day. This sounds like a lot, but when you add up the walking you during the normal course of the day and add a walk at the start or end of the day, you’ll find the steps add up really fast.If you’re just starting a walking routine, start slow with just 10-15 minutes and back. If that is easy, then start increasing the time by 5 minutes each time you go out for a walk. Eventually you want to walk 5 days a week at a pace that reaches your target heart rate. For general fitness, you need to walk 20-30 minutes. Increase that to 45-60 minutes a day to lose weight. Also make sure you stretch and start at a slow pace to warm up. End your walk with a slow pace and more stretching.

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Believe it or not, there are actually many groups and walking clubs. Do a search online to see if there’s one in your area. This is a great way to stay motivated and meet new people at the same time. You may eventually find you want to participate in walking marathons, race walking or other events. There are many charities that put on fund raising walks that are a great way to support a favorite cause as well as get out for some exercise and a good walk.You should also consider adding some other activities to your fitness routine in addition to walking. This will help improve your fitness level as well as use different muscle groups. This can result in even better walking workouts. You can supplement walking with cycling, yoga, Pilates and other activities. If you walk outside most of the time and the weather is bad, you’ll have other indoor activities that you can turn to and not miss a workout. Another benefit to adding additional exercise programs is that you won’t get bored with walking alone.

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Before you start any workout program, talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or you’re concerned about your current health. Once you have clearance from him or her, start with slow, short sessions and build up from there.

Ways to Measure Your Degree of Fitness

In the event that physical activity has not been part of your daily routine, it is a good idea to assess your present degree of fitness and vitality prior to beginning an exercise regimen involving running or even walking. Those younger than 35 and who suffer from no known health issues that could be aggravated by exertion are able to immediately undertake physical exertion. But, those older than 35, those with health issues, or those who have long avoided exercise of any type should seek the advice of a doctor prior to embarking on a regimen of physical exertion. Once physician approval has been received, a few self-assessments will help determine the appropriate types of activities to undertake.

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Are your lungs and heart efficient in terms of circulation and oxygenation, and are you possessed of sufficient endurance to participate in your favorite pastimes?What is your level of muscle strength, and are they able to offer sufficient protection for bones and joints for routine tasks as you get older?What is your level of flexibility? As the human body gets older or gets less exercise, the joints’ ability to move fully tends to lessen, thereby reducing the ease with which daily activities such as crouching and stretching can be accomplished. A routine series of stretches is a great way to loosen muscles and retain joint flexibility.How much of your body mass is comprised of fat, and is it at a level that is disproportionately high in relation to the level of lean tissue present? Is the fat portion of your body mass such that it impedes daily activity, lifestyle or overall well-being?Health assessments are helpful at the commencement of any physical exertion regimen, and also serve as inspiration and progress measurement along the way as the program becomes entrenched. Running through the health assessments every few months helps measure increases in personal fitness and also serves to inspire ongoing commitment to the program.

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Some assessments are able to be performed at home in order to measure four facets of physical fitness, but it is important to note that they are likely to reveal only broad insights into current health status. It is possible that the assessment has not been performed correctly, or tabulation of test results may be faulty. Additionally, web-based assessments may fail to include extraneous factors such as existing health issues such as asthma, lingering back strain, or the regularity with which the subject engages in other exertion. Therefore, the assessments should be utilized, but their results should not be assumed to be ironclad.

Fitness Party – A Fun and Healthy Trend

Birthdays, holidays, Thursdays… pretty much any excuse for a party is a good one. The latest trend is a healthy trend. In home parties (fitness parties) are not only good fun, but also a healthy as well. With several style options available, a certified fitness professional can come and provide health information, a workout, or other exercise related techniques at your next social event.It is very natural for each of us as humans to feel the need to socialize with others. The 2008 Gallup-Healthways Happiness-Stress Index poll showed, “The days of the year when the majority of American’s experience enjoyment/happiness also tend to be days that they report spending more time with friends and family.” The sad fact is that the vast majority of these social events are a distant cry from being considered a fitness party or even remotely healthful.

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With 85% of the US population having no ties to a fitness club of any kind, the quantity and more importantly quality of healthful information to the majority is often poor. The healthy trend of fitness parties may make a large impact in providing needed health, fitness, and wellness information and do so by taking advantage of the human need and enjoyment from socializing with friends.Benefits to the Fitness Party
As mentioned above, human enjoyment and happiness is affected positively through socializing with family and friends.
A fun social atmosphere encourages participation and opportunity to receive current, accurate, and relevant healthy information.
The economics of hiring a fitness professional for fitness party is an advantage for all. Many see the benefit in sharing the expense amongst a group while receiving similar information and direction when alone.
You control the scheduling and location of your home fitness party.
They provide excellent variety to your normal social events.
An automatic support group is created of your participating friends. Long term fitness habits are more likely to hold when supported by a group.

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Many home party options exist for you to socialize with your friends. All have their varied benefits. If you are busy with work, family, and life in general; have not seen your girlfriends in quite some time; need to get a bit of a social life; and want something new the fitness party program may be ideal for you.Your feelings of happiness and joy will increase by being with friends and you will have a party that will not only be hard to forget, but one that you will want to remember and run again. Consider joining this healthy trend and rather than hosting a gathering that is centered around a particular product, food, or alcohol make it a healthy gathering.