Cardio Equipment

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Optimizing Your Cardio Workout, and the Benefits of Doing So:

Incorporating cardio into your workout is one of the best ways to burn calories efficiently. You can burn up to 400 calories in one 30 minute cardio session, depending on the exercise you are doing. However, cardio can be temperamental for some. People tend to become frustrated with going on the treadmill or elliptical for hours because they do not see the results they are expecting. There are a number of different ways to optimize your cardio workout with cardio equipment, and by following these simple rules, your body will reward you with the results you crave…and more!

First off, there is a simple solution for those who do not see the results they want after logging hours at the gym: mix it up! Try an elliptical trainer! Your body adjusts to certain exercises more quickly than you think. In order to gain the maximum results from your cardio workout, shock your body every time you work out. This way, your body will have to work harder to keep up with you, in turn burning more calories. Interval training is a great way to shock your body at every workout, without having to change much from what you already do. Instead of going 30 minutes straight at the same pace on the elliptical machine, by alternating between high-intensity periods and low-intensity recovery periods your body will have to work harder, and you will not only burn more calories, but you will also increase your endurance and fitness level. Incorporating short bursts of high-intensity on the elliptical machine is more effective and efficient than working out at the same pace for a longer period of time.

In today’s world, making time for the gym is becoming less of a priority for many people. If you find it hard to find time for the gym, or you are simply an avid fan of exercising after work, consider working out in the morning. Many gyms open early to accommodate for the early birds. It may be difficult to get up at the crack of dawn for exercise, but the benefits speak for themselves. By exercising in the morning, your metabolism will get an extra boost, helping you burn calories throughout the day! Not only will you physically feel great, but mentally you will feel even better. It allows you to stay focused and mentally acute throughout the day. Exercise releases endorphins in your body, and these endorphins help put you in a great mood. As dreadful as it sounds to wake up at 6am to work out when you could be sleeping, exercising in the morning will guarantee that you won’t make an excuse for working out at the end of the day, will help you boost your calorie burn, and will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day!

Most importantly, in order to optimize your cardio workouts, choose a cardio exercise that you enjoy doing! You are more likely to work out for longer if you are enjoying what you are doing. Enjoy nature? Take a hike for a few hours and burn nearly 800 calories. Enjoy swimming? Swimming uses just about every single muscle of your body, and it is a great way to beat the summer heat. Tennis, basketball and soccer are other sports and games you could play to optimize your cardio workout. I guarantee you while you are doing these things, you won’t even realize how many calories you are burning (hint: it will be a lot!). The most important thing about working out is that it does not have to be dreadful. One hour on the treadmill at the same pace is boring and ineffective, and most likely you will not be excited about doing that. Optimizing your cardio workout is not only beneficial physically, but more importantly it is also extremely beneficial mentally.

Mental Health

June 15, 2011 1 comment

I talked to my friend today, let’s call him Joe. He had just gotten back from visiting an old school chum and, as it turns out, he was somewhat upset with their rendezvous. Joe feels that he isn’t up to par with his career. I told him it doesn’t matter if you wear an Armani suit or nursing scrubs, as long as you’re happy and/or making efforts towards a happier life.

Currently, Joe is attending a med school (that’s right, he wants to be a doctor). In order to make sure he meets basic financial needs, he plays the role of waiter during the evening while he attends classes during the day. His buddy landed a pretty nice gig as an analyst within some sort of securities firm; he graduated from a graduate school for business a little over a year ago.

Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, first off, my friend feels he is stuck in a rut and isn’t going anywhere, whereas, his friend seems to have it all. Secondly, it ties in to mental health. This blog is about health all around, not just physical health, and mental health is an important aspect to an individual’s well being. One of the greatest afflictions attributed to mental health is depression.

Now, I’m not saying that my friend is suffering from clinical depression, but when he stated that he felt he was going nowhere, I did feel concerned. I felt concerned that down the road he may be one of the 19 million people who suffer from depression. The causes of depression vary, including genetics, stress, even the physical state of an individual plays an integral role. Also, many folks handle it differently: some stay quiet, others talk it out with friends and family, a few use antidepressants.

If necessary, take some sort of depression test, in order to conclude whether or not you do suffer from such a medical illness. However, if you know someone who is displaying signs of depression, listen, help in one way or another, and even educate yourself about the matter. Don’t push for depression treatment, rather, encourage it.

Well folks, depression is a very serious topic, there’s no doubt about that, and there is way more to it than what is mentioned in this blog. I really hope no one undergoes such an ordeal. However if you do find yourself in such a position, remember that help is never too far away in any direction you turn. Good luck, and take care!

Categories: Summer Fun

Clinical Skin Care

June 15, 2011 1 comment

It isn’t hard to believe that more and more people want to have beautiful, healthy skin. In order to obtain such characteristics some folks use different means ranging from various skin care products, experimenting with natural skin care, and going as far as visiting clinical skin care centers. The use of skin care products are not inherently harmful, however, you must take into consideration the effectiveness of the product. Is that skin product good for you and your skin? Are there any side effects? These are the types of questions that should be coming to mind when practicing skin care. I want to explain how you identify your skin type before buying and using any type of skin care product.

There are four skin types that I give below:

Dry Skin: If your skin has a strong tendency towards dehydration, lacks oil, and has few breakouts if any, it is considered dry.

  • Cure: Wash your face once a day with a rich, creamy cleanser and warm water. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Use toner to help with the tight, flaky feeling of dehydration. Avoid toners and makeup that contain alcohol due to the fact that alcohol-based products have a drying effect on skin.

Oily Skin: If your skin is oily, it may become shiny soon after cleansing and the pores become slightly enlarged. It is more prone to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads than other skin types and is coarser in texture.

  • Cure: Wash your face twice a day with a gentle non-foaming cleanser and warm water. Rinse with warm water. Use an alcohol-free, hydrating toner to help remove additional residue. Utilizing oil blotting sheets throughout the day can help control shine, and it takes as little as 3 minutes after lunch.

Normal Skin: If you tend to have oily skin throughout the T-zone (above your eyebrows, running down the bridge of your nose to the bottom of your chin) and dry, taut skin on the cheeks, and changes with seasons (dryer in winter, oilier in summer) it is considered normal.

  • Cure: Wash your face with cleansers that are designed for your normal skin type. Wipe an alcohol free, hydrating toner all over your face. Apply moisturizer more frequently to dry skin.

Sensitive Skin: If your skin has allergic reactions to beauty products and is usually sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold weather, it is sensitive.

  • Cure: Look for cleansers, toners, makeup, and moisturizers that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Cleanse tone and moisturize with gentle products every day. The idea for your skin is to always choose products with a soothing benefit. Some common ingredients to look for are: chamomile, azulene, bisabolol, allantoin, lavender, camphor, calamine, rosemary, thyme, aloe vera, etc.

Combination Skin: Combination skin is two extreme skin types on one face. These situations occur when there is acne and a lot of oil in one area when the rest of the skin is generally not producing oil and, as a result, is dry.

  • Cure: Be wary with the products you use for this skin type. Treat each area appropriately as described above. If the acne is severe, consult a dermatologist or esthetician. If it is dry, utilize moisturizers.

Avoid Smoking

First and foremost, smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — may contribute to wrinkles.

If you have smoking habit, the best way to protect your skin is to quit. Ask your doctor for tips or treatments to help you stop smoking.

Categories: Summer Fun

Summer Skincare

June 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Consider this week’s blog an introduction to your skin’s summer survival. I know that I’ve touched on skincare previously on my blog but due to the searing heat of the bright summer sun, I feel it’s an essential topic to touch up on. Also, I had received skin irritation from staying out in the sun too long the other day, so I thought I put in my two cents.

If left unattended, your skin can suffer from a wide range of afflictions, spanning from severe sunburn to even risk of skin cancer, of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the effects of uv rays. If you’re wondering to yourself what in the world can you do for skin protection, well there are always easy and effective ways to arm yourselves against sun damage.

For one, you should consider the level of UV protection you seek, which is dependent on your skin sensitivity. Utilizing a sunscreen that has SPF 15 or higher should protect your skin for an extended amount of time, but be sure to apply it 15 to 30 minutes before you go out. Also, note whether or not it is water resistant, so it cannot be easily removed by sweat or water (it’s summer­, you’re going to sweat).

What you wear also contributes to the well being of your skin. If you wear a baseball cap, it’s a good start for protecting yourself from the sun, however, in terms of your head, it leaves your ears exposed. Wear broad brim sun hats and you’ll find that it not only protects your scalp, but also your ears. The color of the shirt you wear also affects the lash of the sun. Darker colors tend to absorb UV light, keeping it away from your body. Also, wearing clothes with tight weaves/knits will prevent harmful rays from penetrating the fabric. Sunglasses! Sunglasses play an important role in protecting you from the sun, by decreasing the amount of UV radiation that comes into contact with that particular area, thus protecting your eyelids and other parts of the eye, all the while decreasing the likelihood of developing cataracts at a later age.

If you do find yourself already afflicted by the sun’s rays, it’s better to heed the preceding advice now more than ever. Keep in mind that there is no quick-fix for sunburn but you can ease the discomfort while your skin heals. It’s best to utilize a nutrient rich moisturizer (lotion and/or cream) as a means for sunburn treatment. However, you should never wait until you’ve gotten sunburn to practice sun protection methods! Have fun and be safe!

 

Categories: Summer Fun

Deodorants

June 8, 2011 Leave a comment

When “Deodorant” comes to mind, many folks may think of scents, foul and pleasant. However, many don’t grasp the sort of ramifications affiliated with deodorants (surely there are social consequences of deodorant and the lack thereof). There are certainly are a few and this week on Men’s Health Insight I will touch on the different types of deodorants as well as the effects of specific types

Why?

Well, why do we use deodorant? I’m pretty sure the answer is quite universal: prevent body odor. An interesting tidbit I have picked up on, as far as I can tell, it has become a cultural taboo to not use deodorant. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for deodorant, but it is something I’ve noticed. From what I can tell, the idea of deodorant has been around for centuries, and as of now, it’s unheard of to go outside without it.

However, what are body odor causes? It turns out that bacteria are the culprit. Perspiration, itself, is initially odorless. However, because bacteria tend to thrive within hot and humid areas, it’s only natural they be found under the human underarm. In order to survive, bacteria feed on sweat, hair cells, as well as dead skin. Afterwards, once they are finished feasting, they leave behind waste: this is the primary cause of body odor. There you have it folks, the nasty, but true, cause of body odors.

Types

You may think to yourself “Well, what’s the best deodorant out there?” (the idea has indeed crossed my mind). In addition, due to the overwhelming amount of deodorant brands, you may find it confusing trying to narrow down a particular one (again, I’ve been there). Well, thankfully, we’re only discussing deodorant for men, not so much brands, however, more of the characteristics of a particular type: Women are a whole other story (the bodies of men and women work on different chemical levels).

Aerosol Spray- The upside to deodorant spray is that it is a fast and easy way to block odor and you don’t feel an abundant amount of moisture once applied. The downside however is that the spray contains many chemicals, several of which can lead to irritation. Another disadvantage is that it has to be aimed properly, otherwise it may get on your clothes, mouth or eyes.

Stick- An advantage of stick deodorant than other types is that it tends to last for a longer period of time. In addition the fragrance of the material isn’t overpowering when compared to some like spray deodorant. A downside of using stick is that it tends to leave the underarm wet, adding to a sense of discomfort. In addition, it may also leave behind white residue.

Gel- One of the benefits of using a gel deodorant is that it will not leave any kind of residue. The fragrances aren’t so intens

e that it bewilders the senses. The drawback of using a gel deodorant is that it’s a gel. Although it may cover up foul odors, it tends to leave the underarm moist and wet.

Antiperspirant- With antiperspirant deodorant, you will find that it goes beyond the simple matter of blocking odor, and also allows one to prevent sweating. The idea of stopping sweat is a pleasant notion and for many of us it’s a method we long for.  However there are downsides, one of which involves pesky armpit stains. They ruin shirts and cost you money. Another negative aspect of using antiperspirant is the belief that cancer is associated with the use of such an item. Aluminum in deodorant ing

redients is said to cause the development of cancer. Don’t throw your antiperspirant out the window just yet. There is research perform by several entities refuting such claims. If those arguments don’t reassure you, you may want to consider looking into aluminum free deodorant.

Afterward

It’s understandable that as a man, you work up a sweat. The important thing is to take care of your body and respond to what your body is telling you, that is, if you start to notice a rash on the area you had applied your deodorant, you may want to halt the use of the product and tend to it. Deodorant does tend to cause dryness, so moisturizing is a must. I personally feel that i

f the outcome is caused by a source that is filled with chemicals, the solution would be to revert back to a natural principal. My recommendation would be to use a moisturizing body wash for men, reason being, it is a shower, an activity performed regularly, and is hard to forget to take one.

Well, fellas, the type of deodorant to be used should be decided on a case-by-case basis: what’s great for one guy may not be ideal for another. Preference plays a role into the decision process: would you rather stay moist, drier, have residue, stains? The only actual way to decide is to test it out (play the field, if you will). Good luck and from Men’s heath Insight, have good week!

Categories: Summer Fun

Jogging

June 1, 2011 2 comments

Goodness gracious, I love summer. No more subzero weather, dressing in layers, frostbite, and, as an added bonus, there’s a smaller chance of catching a cold. If it’s beautiful, spend the day outside. Take your kids for a stroll through the park, walk around the neighborhood, heck, even spend some time on your porch.

When it is warm, one of my favorite pastimes, as you may have guessed, is jogging. Jogging, and why not running, you may ask. Although the benefits of running may be interchangeable with the benefits of jogging, I find that those few extra seconds taking in the surroundings makes a major difference, but that’s just me: I enjoy the scenery. Also, you can always add jogging in your list of things to do in order to keep up with your summer health. Below are introductory aspects of jogging.

Preparing for a jog

First and foremost, make sure you are physically ready for a hearty jog around the neighborhood. By that, I mean, make sure you don’t engage in the activity if you have a strain or broken leg or something around those lines. You may find that shoes tend to make a difference in feel. So if you have a comfortable pair of running shoes, now is the time to use them. Make sure that you drink an adequate amount of water before you start your training session, somewhere around 8 ounces should be fine (don’t forget to bring a water bottle for hydration). Also, make sure you’re not in your street threads (jeans, collar shirt, etc) but rather wear comfortable workout clothes.

Don’t jump the gun just yet. Before commencing a jog session, start off by stretching. By taking part in stretching routines, you may find, contributes to a smoother jog. They should be static (slow and rhythmic) movements. Afterward, you may want to start by walking just as a warm up exercise. By engaging in stretches and walking regularly, you warm up your muscles and joints and make them more flexible, decreasing the risk of injury.

Joggathon

Depending on your experience level you may want to consider engaging in interval training. In essence, you alternate between jogging and walking. Overtime you may find that you allocate more time to jogging rather than walking (it strengthens your endurance). Don’t panic if you find that you get winded, it’s going to happen. With interval training you prolong the amount of time before you get winded. If you do find that it becomes harder to breathe, I would not suggest immediately stopping, rather, begin a short walking session.  Also, remember to sip from that water bottle you brought along with you on a regular basis.

Throughout your quick jog, you not only want to practice interval training but you should also get into the habit of utilizing breathing techniques throughout the duration. One effective breathing method is to breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. In time, your winded episode may subside and you’ll be able to go on jogging for even longer.

Afterward

You finished your quick jog. Now what? Stretch some more? I wouldn’t recommend it, at least for another 45 minutes. Cool down, eat, take a shower. Don’t forget to drink more water! Replace any fluids you may have lost during your jog. If you do take a shower, aim for a warm shower because it enhances the stretching experience even more. Also, if you were some sort of pants, you may find that chafing occurs due to the loose fabric rubbing against your skin. In order to avoid any sort of chafe you should consider buying a moisturizer and/or lubricant that not only helps prevent moisture loss and irritation but  also treats itchy skin. In addition, it helps to stay hydrated by drinking water regularly. Clothes! Be sure to wear clothes that provide a snug fit.

Folks, I bet if one participates in this activity regular, you’re sure to love it. Better yet, you don’t even have to do it alone. Invite a friend, jog a dog, or buy a jogging stroller and go with the young one. Make it a habit, and I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to live without.

Categories: Summer Fun

Skin Care for Men

May 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Alright fellas, let’s talk skin. You may think to yourself “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Women talk about that stuff, not us guys.” Well, that shouldn’t be the case. Skin care is essential to any and every individual despite gender. Plus, women are going to be taking a close look at your face and we don’t want to repulse them, now do we? In that sense, it not only relates to men’s health but also to men’s social well being. Well you’re in luck, because I have a few things to say about mens skin.

Skin Type

Yeah, even guys have skin types. It varies, of course, from person to person: some have oily skin while others have dry skin, and so on and so forth. If you were to manage your skin type with the wrong skin care product, what you may find is skin irritation. In essence, it’s always best to know what you’re dealing with rather than jumping the gun.

Clean you Face Daily

Although it may seem logical, you’ll be surprised how many guys neglect facial cleansing. Based upon your skin type, feel free to purchase a face wash. You can apply it twice a day or however many times it is recommended. In time, you’ll start to notice your face becoming much more healthy and vibrant.

Shave Carefully

It’s needless to say that shaving should be enacted carefully. When shaving, some discomforts such as cuts, shaving rash, and razor burns occur, but there are methods to make the process less painful. For one, razor blades. You may find yourself paying more for a good quality razor blade but if you want healthier skin, it would be worth the investment. Also, you shouldn’t use shaving foam that does not lubricate the skin. Rather, use a shaving gel or shaving cream that makes the friction between the blade and skin minimal. After every stroke you should soak your razor blade in water. Afterwards, wash your face with cold water and apply after shaving lotion in order to soothe the skin and prevent razor burns.

Moisturize

That’s right guys, even men have to moisturize. Let’s face it, between the cold and the heat, your skin can look like it’s been worn out: dry, flaky, and itchy. Naturally, you have to use a moisturizer that is right for you and in order to do that you may have to experiment until you come across the right one. Keep in mind that, in general, a good facial cream or moisturizing lotion is rich in concentration and texture. Even if you moisturize once a day, your skin will thank you. Moisturizers lock in moisture, leaving your skin soft and smooth. If applied regularly and with care, you may find that moisturizing can rejuvenate qualities to your skin and face that may have been impacted by external factors.

There you have it, things to do to in order to impress the ladies. Try it out, see how it feels, and determine whether or not it’s your cup of tea. Fare thee well!

Categories: Summer Fun
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