Tag Archives: exercise

Quick Fix for Life’s Embarrassing Health Conditions

Itchy Man Cartoon_AdobeStock_85546839If you’ve ever had an annoying bout of athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, or a vaginal yeast infection, blame it on fungus. Fungus, you say? Wait a minute… you had mushrooms on your salad last night. Aren’t they a form of fungus? Yep. A fungus is actually a primitive vegetable, just like mushrooms.

Fungi (pronounced fuhn-jahy), the plural for fungus, live and reproduce in the air, in soil and water, on plants… and on YOU. Those embarrassing health conditions mentioned above are caused by an excessive amount of fungus growing on the surface of your skin. Think of that fuzzy green mold that grows on decaying old fruit hiding in the back of your frig or the mildew that grows on shower walls. Same idea.

Please Don’t Pass the Fungi

Fungi reproduce through tiny spores in the air. That means, you can inhale the spores or they can land on you! As a result, fungal infections often begin in your lungs or on your skin. That means they’re easy to get and PASS AROUND.

Only half of them are harmful, but they can be annoying, itchy and difficult to kill. If you have a circulation problem, weakened immune system, diabetes, or take antibiotics, you may be more likely to get a fungal infection. (Antibiotics may disrupt the balance of natural microflora in your system which causes fungi to overpopulate.) It’s important to get treatment at the first sign of a problem.

Where They Thrive

Fungi will grow on anything and can multiple in enormous mass. They grow best in areas that are warm, dark and damp, such as:

  • Locker rooms
  • Exercise machines that haven’t been disinfected after use
  • Boxing gloves
  • Shared towels, clothing or footwear (e.g., rental bowling shoes, ski boots, ice skates, or roller skates)
  • Tanning beds
  • Skin folds
  • Toenails and fingernails
  • Plastic gloves

Treatment

In healthy people, fungi don’t spread beyond the skin’s surface, so they’re easy to treat with a topical ointment. But for a serious and more persistent infection, you may have to take an oral antifungal medication.

Get Out of Gross Gear

Since I’m always encouraging you to exercise which involves some degree of sweat, be aware that fungi grow in sweaty gear. Here are a few antifungal fitness tips:    Continue reading

How “Old” Do You Sound?

Woman talking with alphabet letters coming out of her mouthSigns of aging include more than receding hairlines and gums, wrinkles, painful joints, and clogged arteries. As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their “voice muscles” like they do their biceps. Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. With that said, how old do YOU sound?

Why Your Voice Makes You Sound Old

Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following 12 reasons may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak and thus, sound old:

  1. Your vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
  2. Your vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
  3. Thickened mucous increases the amount of mass that needs to vibrate and results in a lower pitched voice. This increase is thought to be due to a decrease in hormones that affect the mucous membranes of your vocal cords.
  4. Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
  5. Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
  6. Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.Dr and Pt_Dollarphotoclub_59591195
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.
  8. Messages from your brain to the voice box become inefficient and nerve endings die.
  9. Decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands which cause the vocal cords to dry out.
  10. Change in your tongue, lips and teeth making it more difficult to form words. As a result, your voice becomes thinner and wavers.
  11. Parkinson’s disease
  12. Diabetes

How to Keep Your Voice Younger Longer   

Here are some quick fixes to slow and minimize the aging of your voice.    Continue reading

Fit Minute | The New Definition of Being Fit

Group running on treadmills

Being “fit” is no longer about how much time you spend working out, but how much time you spend sitting as well. A study by the American Cancer Society compared people who sat less than three hours per day with those that sat more than six hours per day. The results were quite dramatic.

If you’re physically active and sit more than 6 hours per day, you are:

  • 18% more likely to die if you’re a man.
  • 37% more likely to die if you’re a woman.

If you’re NOT physically active and sit more than 6 hours per day, you are:

  • 48% more likely to die if you’re a man.
  • 94% more likely to die if you’re a woman.

Over 123,000 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) were studied and none had a history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or emphysema or other lung disease at the start of the study.  Here are the results after 14 years:    Continue reading

How’s Your New Year’s Resolution Working for You?

exercise new year_600x600_dollarphotoclub_73123624If you made a promise to exercise more starting on the first of the year, three months have now passed. If you enthusiastically invested in the latest and greatest home fitness equipment or a membership at the nearest gym, how many hours have you logged in so far?

If you’ve had trouble sticking with your exercise regimen because it’s become too hard, too boring or just too _____ (you fill in the blank), here’s a New Year’s Resolution ‘addendum’ that may help.    Continue reading

Motivation… What Makes You Move?

balance strong man
If you have trouble sticking to your exercise program, and it’s not due to a lack of desire to get fit, then it could be because the exercise doesn’t fit your personality. Everyone has their own exercise goals and needs, that is, everyone has their own ‘fitness personality’.

Here are five distinct fitness personality types:

  1. Predictable
  2. Methodical
  3. Competitive
  4. Social
  5. Dynamic

#1 – Predictable

  • Thrives on routine
  • Is a reliable, independent and stable exerciser
  • Goes to the gym and develops rigid schedules and regimes

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: Due to the lack of variation in your exercise program, you may hit a plateau by doing the same routine and become frustrated. By incorporating resistance, circuit or high intensity interval training and/or adding new activities each week, the positive physical changes may help reboot your enthusiasm.    Continue reading

Healthy Veins for a Healthy Heart

Nearly sixty percent of men suffer from varicose veins, so it’s not just a problem for women. These ballooned veins develop a gnarled bluish/brown appearance, but they’re not just a cosmetic concern.

Varicose veins afflict young men as well as grandmas

Varicose veins afflict young men as well as grandmas

These weak bulging vessels can rupture and bleed as well as cause swelling and throbbing which can cut into your daily activities.

To avoid varicose veins, exercise. It’ll keep your vessels strong which will promote healthy venous return and cardiac output. Poor cardiac output results in an inadequate delivery of oxygen to your muscles and vital organs.

Be sure your exercise routine involves working out the often neglected, but very important, calf muscles. Gravity causes blood to pool in your legs which expands the vein walls. Sitting or standing for long periods exaggerates this problem and over time, the veins don’t return to their taut condition.

When your calf muscles contract, they actually act as a ‘pump’ and are essential for maintaining blood flow from your legs back up to your heart. Keep the blood vessels in your lower extremities in optimal condition with the following six exercises:   Continue reading

Fit TV | Health and Nutrition Videos

Here’s a sampling of some of Karen’s ‘quick health bites’ on nutrition, health and exercise. Click here to check out the current videos from The Health Reporter Minute and The Men’s Health Minute library of topics. More coming soon!

Fitting in Fitness

Stick to workout scheduleYou get busy and somehow exercise gets pushed down your ladder of priorities, or more often than not, it’s completely skipped over despite being scheduled on your calendar. Here’s how to stop the I’m-too-busy-to-exercise excuses and make working out a regular part of your daily routine.

Visualize

Visualize yourself exercising and how you want to look. In order to create a change, you have to see it. If you don’t see what you desire, you can’t get it. Create a video screen in your mind and keep “turning it on”.

Be Responsible

Victims give up all the benefits of being responsible. Realize that you are responsible for the choices you make. In this case, you either choose to exercise or not. By operating from this state of mind, you are accountable and take ownership of your actions. The benefits? Greater self-respect, time, and control of your life.

Put Exercise into Practice

Practice repetition and responsibility. Choose to exercise and establish a routine. Your brain has the ability to create new neural pathways. Therefore, you have the ability to do something different.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Don’t use the words “I need to” or “I should” exercise. Using these words means something is broken. Also, don’t tell yourself “I will try” to exercise. You either do or do not. There is no “try”. Tell yourself “I want to” or “I choose to” exercise.

Keep Your Word

“Something has come up” or “I’m too busy” are excuses for not following through on your commitment. Statements like “I have important things that need to get done” are justifications for not keeping your word. Give your word to your dreams and goals, then watch the effect.

The S.M.A.R.T.E.R. Way to Lose Weight

BathScaleIf your New Year resolution this year was to lose weight, how are you doing so far? How many times have you resolved to lose weight at the start of each new year and the result just didn’t turn out like you had hoped? The key to making this year’s fitness resolution a successful one is to establish objectives that are  S.M.A.R.T.E.R. than before. In other words, your goal is…

Specific and Sets a Simple Health Habit: Oftentimes, goals are too vague and/or too complicated a process. “I will lose weight” does not focus on precise details. And when the process to lose weight becomes too complex, such as “drinking a freshly made veggie protein shake three times a day” when you’re out in the field all day, then the likelihood that you’ll stick with your goal is pretty slim.

Measuring Belly FatMeasurable and Meaningful: First, losing weight should be YOUR desire and not that of someone else and your goal should have measurable objectives. Be sure you have concrete criteria for measuring your progress. Aim for quantifiable results. It’s easier to assess whether your objective has been met if you commit to a specific number.   Continue reading

Healthy Cardiovascular Training with ‘Diabesity’ – Part 1 (Type 2 Diabetes)

Due to an increasing prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has become an epidemic. This common form of diabetes parallels with obesity and has increased significantly over the past 30 years. The United States accounted for $198 billion spent on diabetes in 2010 which is 53% of total diabetes spending worldwide.

Exercising with Diabetes

Exercise has an acute and chronic effect on type 2 diabetes. Studies show that exercise is an effective prescription for managing this disease, whereas your risk of diabetes increases with sedentary behaviors (e.g., prolonged TV watching, sitting at work and other sitting like reading and eating meals).

Diabetes requires close monitoring of your glucose, insulin and diet. It’s necessary to be particularly diligent when you plan to exercise or engage in any physical activity. When you have diabetes, you’re unable to metabolize glucose normally. Glucose (blood sugar) comes from the foods you eat and is your body’s most important source of energy and nutrients — especially during exercise. It’s needed by all your cells and organs, such as your brain and muscles.   Continue reading