Monday, October 2, 2023

Do You Really Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?

 I am sorry I didn't get anything done this past weekend.  I'd been sick for a full week and I spent time this weekend getting caught up on the work that I don't have time to finish during the week.  When I wasn't at wok, I was sleeping. I hope to be back to normal soon.  In the mean time, I wondered if one really needs to exercise to lose weight or are there reasons to exercise.  Today, we'll explore those reasons.

In order to lose one pound, one needs to work off 3,500 calories which can take several days of exercise.   When combined with cutting calories, one can lose weight faster. Unfortunately, one cannot compare dieting with exercising to determine which is the best method because each plays a different role in the overall topic.  So lets look into it in more detail.

First, one of the fastest ways to lose weight is to cut back on calories because this is effective about 70 percent of the time. When you consume fewer, you are more likely to lose weight but you see people recommending one should both cut calories, and exercise.  Exercise does play a part in helping to increase the number of calories your body will burn.  Furthermore, the little bit of extra weight that is lost is composed of fat rather than muscle.

One reason exercise is not considered as effective for losing weight is that it is possible to eat more calories than you work off during a session. In addition, it is harder to burn the number of calories strictly through exercise.  For instance, if you want to burn off 500 calories, you'd have to walk a couple hours every day at a speed of about 3.5 miles per hour.

In addition, exercising will help strengthen bones and muscles so you stay fitter, maintain balance, and improve your ability to do day to day activities.  Furthermore, exercising helps your body burn fat by turning into fuel so you lose fat.  As a person becomes fitter, their body burns fat more efficiently and are able to use it as a fuel source.  

So it is possible to lose weight by only cutting calories.  However, it is better to combine it with exercise so your body stays in better physical shape, increases bone density, builds muscles, and gets rid of fat.  We have our answer, not you really don't need exercise to lose weight but if you want your body to stay in better shape, then combine dieting with exercise.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Warm Healthy Drinks For Fall


Fall is coming and it is starting to get cooler.  I love having something hot to drink that is a bit different and does not involve alcohol.  I prefer non-alcoholic drinks because they rely the flavors of the ingredients to provide the enjoyment.

If you are a tea drinker, you might want to try a Matcha Latte. Matcha is that green Japanese a,  that is really good for you.  It requires 1.5 teaspoon  of green matcha powder. 1 tablespoon hot water, no more than 2 teaspoons of honey to sweeten, and 3/4 cup hot milk.  To get the best results use a milk frother than can be found on Amazon for not too much.  The way to make this is to sift the matcha powder into a cup. Add the hot water and whisk the mixture until there are no longer any lumps. Stir in the honey, then add in the milk and either whisk till frothy or use a milk frother.

You could step your hot chocolate up a bit to make it awesome.  First make a whipped cream by taking either 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, or 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed coconut cream.  Add in one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 tsp of vanilla, and 2/3rds cup of chilled heavy cream.  Beat in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until reaches the soft peak stage or about one minute.  

Next make the hot chocolate by mixing a 13.5 can of coconut milk (that has been shaken or stirred) with 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, and  1/4 teaspoon salt. Place in a pan on medium heat and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and taste.  Adjust the flavors by adding a bit of powder, adding water, or sugar.  Let cool for three minutes before adding the vanilla.  Then pour into four cups and place 1/4th of the whipped chocolate cream on top 

Pumpkin spice latte is another great treat.  Take 1 cup almond milk but if you want to cut the calories on it, then use unsweetened almond milk.  Add in 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey.  Add in 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/2 a cup of strongly brewed coffee. Mix it all together in a blender till done, pour into a medium sized pan and heat until simmering.  Top with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

What about some classic eggnog.  This recipe is without alcohol but you could add just a bit if you want.  You need one egg yolk, two whole eggs separated, two oranges zested, 1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 tespoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla.  

Whisk all the egg yolks together in one bowl until they become a lighter yellow.  In a separate bowl, which the egg whites, until they form stiff peaks. In a small pan over low heat, whisk together the milk, orange zest, sweetner, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.  Slowly pour the egg yolks into the steaming milk, while whisking continuously for three to four minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and just a bit of rum, if you want it.  Fold in egg whites, pour into cups, and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon or nutmeg.

I'll return to this topic in the future and I'll take time to talk about fall based drinks that are not super cold but hit the spot.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Boosting Your Immune System.

Sorry about Monday.  I spent the weekend with chills that hit about every 6 hours.  I had a very unsettled weekend.  Even now, I'm over most of the symptoms but I still have a nasty fever by the end of work and I go home and sleep.  This illness, lead to the idea of boosting your immune system since a healthy immune system.  

The first thing to know is that the immune system is a system that works together to fight against disease and illness.  It is important to keep the whole system balanced and in harmony with itself.  This can make it difficult to boost your system.

There are things you can do to help strengthen your immune system. One of the best things you can do is to choose a healthy lifestyle.  Don't smoke, eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly while maintaining a healthy weight. If you drink, only drink a little. Make sure you get enough sleep and wash your hands a lot as a way of avoiding becoming infected.  

Unfortunately, there is an idea that you can buy a product which will help increase the number of cells that deal with keeping you healthy.  This just won't work.  The athletes who dope their blood to increase the number of blood cells run the risk of experiencing a stroke.  As far as the immune system, there are so many different types of cells involved that increasing the number of cells cannot be done. 

In addition, as we age, our body's response to infection becomes reduced.  This means older people are more likely to become sick and die from them.  One theory is that people lose T-cells as they age and it is the T-cells that are designed to fight off infections.  This is supported by the fact that people who are over 65 when they  receive a vaccination, do not produce immunity at the same rate as other ages.

Another issue is when people are under stress.  Stress tends to inhibit the immune systems ability to protect itself.  So as you can see, the best way to boost your immune system is to stay healthy, eat well, sleep well, exercise, and get rid of as much stress as possible.

Monday, September 25, 2023

Friday, September 22, 2023

What Exercise To Do When It Is Too Cold To Walk Outside.

 It is winter and it is cold outside.  It is too cold to do much outside or it is snowing so hard, you have a blizzard.  You want to work out but can't do it outside so what can you do to get that regularly scheduled exercise in. There are some alternatives that cost money and others that are totally free. Some require you drive a bit while others allow you to do something where you are.  

One of my favorite alternatives is to head to the mall early in the morning, before all the stores open.  I love walking around and around.  It's almost like doing speed walking window shopping. Many malls allow walkers in so they can get their exercise before the stores open.  

Another possibility is to use the building you work in or your multistory house.  Think about walking up and down the stairs several times for a great workout. Research shows that climbing helps strengthen and tone your legs so you become stronger and your legs look better.  Although you could do stair lunges, or stair crawls, just walking up and down the stairs is enough to get a good cardio workout.

Get up and walk around the house or building.  When I worked in an office in my 20's, I often walked to the bathroom across the building or on another floor so I could get a bit more exercise. At home, I'd take the stairs up to the second floor bathroom if I was downstairs, or go downstairs if I was upstairs.  I'd try to find the longest route I could.  I was even known for delivering work by taking the longest way around or even do a couple of laps before stopping at the office.  

Movement is important.  If you don't have time to walk, think about pacing across the room if you are in a conference, rather than sitting through them.  When you move around, you are doing so much good for your health and for the health of your brain.  Another thing is to look at doing a bit of yoga to help stretch muscles.  For instance, circle your head so you are giving your neck a great stretch, or roll your shoulders forward or backwards so the muscles don't cramp. You could also bend to the left with your right hand over your head and then reverse it.  When you spend all your time sitting, your muscles can get tired and need stretching.

You might consider getting a membership to a gym that is near work, near your house, or is on the routing home.  You also need to make sure the gym offers activities you want, at the level you want.  On Monday, I'll do into more details about what to look for in a gym.  For me, I have a university that is closer and they do allow towns people to buy memberships so you can pop in and swim or take classes, workout, or use their equipment.  There are also park and rec departments that offer so really nice activities for much less than a gym.  

If the weather gets too cold, know that there are alternatives available so you don't have to walk out in the super cold air.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Walking During The Winter

 It is mid September, heading into October.  For many of us, that signals that it is heading into fall and winter isn't too far behind.  Up here in Alaska, the temperatures start dropping the middle of August in many parts, and the snow isn't far behind.  I've seen multiple feet of snow fall by this time of the year.  Today, I'm looking at walking outside during the winter and on Friday, I'll address the issue of walking in areas where it is too cold to walk outside. We'll look at your alternatives.

So if the temperature isn't too bad, then you might want to continue walking outside because there are some benefits to exercising outside. Even though the temperature is a bit colder, you are still enjoying fresh air and sunshine when you are outside.  This can really help your mood and you are less likely to suffer from the winter blues.

In addition, when you are out in the sunlight you are getting Vitamin D.  Research indicates that when you spend 5 to 30 minutes outside each week, you will get all the Vitamin D your body needs. This is important because it is difficult to absorb Vitamin D from the sunlight that comes in through a window.

When you walk outside, your body is more effectively burning calories because your body is trying to stay warm so it uses more energy. Thus if you take a nice walk at a great pace, you use calories and you can end up losing weight more quickly.  Furthermore, there are studies that indicate you are activating your immune system when you walk outside in the winter.  Just think, a short 30 minute walk outside, can help you keep from getting winter colds. 

A nice winter walk can also give you a boost of energy without needing to take any caffeine.  In fact, research suggests that the energy boost you get will keep you going for three to four hours after the walk. There is also research to indicate that walking outside, can change the fat from white to a lovely brown.  A brown colored fat is said to be better for our metabolism and the white fat is not good for us.

In addition, when you are outside in the cold and snow, the scenery is so different from what you normally see the rest of the year.  You will see things, you've never noticed before and there is nothing prettier than fresh snow sparkling around you as you walk.  Furthermore, the air is much cleaner in the winter so everything smells so much fresher.  Also in winter, there are fewer allergy causing items in the air so you are less likely to have issues.

Finally, all the fresh air combined with the extra demand on calories can help us sleep so much better at night.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. On Friday, keep an eye open for ideas of how to walk when the temperature outside is too cold for you.  Have a great day. 

Monday, September 18, 2023

Exercises You Can Do In The Office


Some days, we barely have enough time to exercise while other times you just want to get some exercise done because you need it. If you work in an office, you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk in a cubbyhole or in a small office.  Often times, you are expected to work without taking much of a break but there are things you can do to fit in a bit of exercise here and there, even in an office.

Many of these exercises can be done with little to no equipment.  The first few exercises require the use of a chair, one without wheels.  First is one for the triceps.  Sit with  a chair behind you, Put your palms on the chair, with fingers facing away from you, with your feet on the ground in front of you. Raise yourself up so your arms are straight up with your bottom is off the ground.  Then lower yourself till you are almost parallel to the ground before returning to the starting position.  Repeat this 10 times.

Next try a desk pushup.  You want to stand so your hands are on the front edge of the desk with your feet two to three feet away.  Your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulders with your arms straight. Lower yourself slowly till your chest is almost to the desk, then return to the starting position.  Repeat 10 times.

Then try some calf raises.  Stand by the desk or your chair, resting your hands on either the top of the chair or the desk.  Rise onto your toes, hold at the top of the rise for a couple of seconds, and then return to having flat feet.  Repeat 10 times.  

A nice exercise for your lower legs is to perform a squat.  Stand so your chair is right behind your feet.  Slowly sit down till you are almost in the chair before standing up. Repeat at least 10 times.  Follow this with a plank where you lean on either the chair or the desk so your feet are straight out behind you.  Your forearms are on the chair or desk with the fingers clasped together.  Hold this position for 10 seconds.  Then shift slightly to do a side plank by having only one forearm on the chair or desk and have your body straight.  Raise the other hand towards the ceiling and hold for 10 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

These few exercises can be done during a short break so they won't take time out of your daily schedule and they will leave your feeling so much better.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.