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August 2013 Archives

The bone-building benefits of exercise…coming to a skeleton near you!

When you think of the benefits of exercise, you probably think first of weight loss or heart health.

But exercise is good for alleviating any number of health conditions you may be facing, including back pain, anxiety, low libido, and insomnia, to name a few. Before you head to the doctor for medicine, try adding exercise to your daily routine and see if you notice any improvements. You may be surprised.

Learn how exercise can help treat your condition as well as what type of exercise is most effective.

Medicate Pain

Your body has natural painkillers called endorphins. Exercise causes your body to increase the production of endorphins, which raises your pain threshold. Not only will exercise help you cope with pain, but also it will lessen pain by improving your joint, nerve, and muscle function.

Many people suffer with an aching back from sitting hunched over at a desk or standing on their feet all day. Perhaps your back hurts when you perform certain movements or maybe there’s a dull pain at all times. As you age, the muscles in your back that support your spine weaken and this contributes to an aching back. Back pain can wear you down, but is rest really what you need?

Try strength training to strengthen your lower back, oblique, and abdominal muscles. Strong core muscles go a long way in taking pressure off your spine and improving your range of motion.

Medicate Anxiety

Stressed out? Anxious thoughts keeping you from falling asleep? Relieve stress naturally with cardio exercise. When your heart rate increases, your body produces more mood-enhancing brain chemicals such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and GABA to help you relax for hours to come. Have a stressful day ahead? Start your day with exercise.

Medicate Hormonal Imbalance

Suffering from hot flashes, low libido, PMS, or polycystic ovary syndrome? Rather than drugs, exercise may be your answer. Getting 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio exercise will help balance your hormones, increase your stamina, improve circulation, and release the endorphins that fight fatigue, pain, and stress.

As an added perk, overweight women have a higher rate of severe symptoms related to their hormones. As exercise is an effective tool for weight loss, it’s certainly worth a try.

Medicate Sleep Disorders

Can’t fall asleep at night? Wake up and can’t go back to sleep? There’s little in life more frustrating than insomnia. What you need may be regular moderate cardio exercise early in the day. Vigorous strength training or high intensity cardio exercise may have a negative effect on sleep—especially when done right before bedtime.

Following exercise, your body temperature drops, promoting sleep. Exercise also relaxes you and lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression, which often keep people awake at night. In addition, exercise helps regulate your body’s natural circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).

Maybe you sleep fine at night, but feel sleepy during the day. Rather than relying on caffeine, try getting off the couch and taking a walk. People who exercise report less daytime sleepiness and more daytime energy.
Overall, exercise will help you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer, and feel energized during the day.

Medicate Sickness and Disease

Who doesn’t want to live a long, healthy life? Exercise can help you toward that end. Regular exercise not only helps you manage health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, but it also helps prevent them. Reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by 33 percent, colon cancer by 60 percent, heart disease by 40 percent, and diabetes by 50 percent. All with a little bit of exercise.

Mandatory Medication

Exercise shouldn’t be an option. Your body was made to move and functions best when it gets regular movement. Take advantage of the enormous benefits of exercise by moving your body!

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What happens when normal anxiety turns into a mental illness?

Are you a human being? Then you have experienced some degree of anxiety in your life. After all, it’s a normal emotion in response to fear or stress.

Whether you’re starting a new job, having marital trouble, or preparing for a test, nervousness, apprehension, and stress are completely normal. In fact, they can actually be beneficial for you to perform your best.

But what if these feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety seem to run your life?

What if you can’t seem to escape or control the constant, overwhelming sense of dread you suffer, and any hope of leading a normal life is gone. If this describes your situation for six months or longer, you may have an anxiety disorder.
A recognized mental illness, anxiety disorders come in all shapes and sizes. Learn about the many different faces of anxiety disorders and know you’re not alone if one of them describes you. There’s help and hope available to overcome anxiety.

What’s Your Type?

Anxiety disorders come in a variety of forms. The recognized types of this mental illness include panic disorder (panic attacks that strike suddenly), obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD (fears that lead to compulsive, unusual behaviors), post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD (recurrent frightening thoughts following a traumatic event), phobias (intense fear of a situation or object), social phobias (overwhelming fear of judgment by others or humiliation in front of others), and generalized anxiety disorder (constant, unrealistic fear and worry).

Is This You?

Each of the six disorders listed above has different symptoms, but all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: extreme, unwarranted fear and worry.

Other common symptoms include feelings of panic, obsessive thoughts, nightmares, ritualistic behaviors, recurrent flashbacks of trauma, insomnia, heart palpitations, clammy feet or hands, restlessness, shortness of breath, dry mouth, nausea, tension, nausea, or dizziness.

Symptoms may begin as early as age 6, but most often present themselves in early adulthood. And anxiety disorders are much more common in women than men.

What Brings It On?

If you live with an anxiety disorder, you probably long to know what is at its root. However, scientists are still trying to determine the cause of anxiety disorders. If you’re one of the millions of individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder, don’t blame yourself or your past.

Most likely, the cause of your and any anxiety disorder is a combination of changes in brain structure, chemical imbalances, genetics, environmental factors, diet, and long-lasting stress. As research continues on how the brain creates and reacts to anxiety and fear, new medications and treatments will become available.

How Is It Managed?

If the symptoms listed above describe you, seek treatment. Your doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist, healthcare professionals with the expertise to diagnose and treat mental disorders.

Your treatment will depend on what type of anxiety disorder you have, but will likely include one or more of the following: medication, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, self-help support group, or relaxation techniques.

Medications include anxiety-reducing drugs, beta-blockers, and anti-depressants. They will not cure an anxiety disorder, but will help keep it under control while the sufferer receives therapy.

Psychotherapy is counseling that is performed by a mental health professional, who can help talk through the origins of anxiety and implement effective strategies for dealing with the specific disorder.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also led by a professional who seeks to help sufferers recognize their disorder for what it is and then change the thoughts and behaviors that lead to their anxious feelings.
Additionally, symptoms of anxiety disorders can be lessened with

lifestyle modifications. Good first steps include regular exercise and avoiding caffeine, certain herbal remedies, certain cold medications, and illicit drugs.

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This dish is slightly spicy. It has a unique and awesome taste!

  • 1 (16 ounce) package whole wheat dry penne pasta
  • 3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  3. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Saute chicken until firm and lightly browned; remove from pan.
  6. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
  7. Cook and stir garlic, asparagus, and red pepper flakes in oil until asparagus is tender.
  8. Stir in chicken, and cook for 2 minutes to blend the flavors.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Toss pasta with chicken and asparagus mixture.
  11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Servings: 8, Calories: 318, Fat: 7.3g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 151mg, Carbohydrate: 43.3g, Protein: 21g

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