April 29, 2011
Nicole Dorsey Straff
When you exercise, your brain releases a slew of feel-good chemicals that help you feel motivated, calm and inspired for life. So if you’re feeling stressed, tired or pissed off try our expert fitness moves that can put a smile back on your face. Pronto.Try these specific activities the next time you feel anxious or down-in-the-dumps!
MOOD: Stressed out or anxious
High-energy exercise, such as boxing and martial arts, provide an effective release of negative emotions. “To keep stress hormone levels under control, any exercise that’s aerobic, upbeat that stimulates circulation is excellent,” says Stephanie Vitorino, Group Fitness Manager for Equinox Fitness in Woodland Hills, CA. Studies show effective ways to reduce the stress hormone “cortisol” includes deep-breathing techniques, meditation and 30 minutes of any enjoyable and non-competitive aerobic activity, including kickboxing and indoor cycling.
What also helps:Try 30 to 60 minutes of mood-enhancing yoga or circuit training with weights that helps relax your body and mellow your mood.
MOOD: Fatigued or lethargic
A review of 12 studies on the connection between exercise and fatigue measured the amount of physical activity that participants were doing and how much fatigue the participants experienced. All studies found a direct link between reduced fatigue and more active exercise! You don’t need to run a marathon to pump up your stamina, says Vitorino. “Just 20 minutes of power walking, vigorous bike riding or dynamic rounds of yoga Sun Salutations can do wonders.” “Music wakes you up too, so create a go-to playlist of songs that propel you to exercise,” Vitorino says.
What also helps:The trick is to simply start exercising when you feel slow or sluggish. In extreme cases, start with moves where you can actually lie down, such as mat Pilates or sports stretching. Soon, you’ll progress to more intense activities.
MOOD: Unfocused or ill-at-ease
A bounty of evidence supports the claim that exercise improves your ability to think more clearly. Last year, Dr. Phillip Tomporowski, an exercise scientist at the University of Georgia, reviewed dozes of scientific papers that compared how a bout of exercise affects cognitive performance on various mental tasks and concentration. Dr. Tomporowski, and avid triathlete, narrowed down the optimal prescription to 20 to 30 minutes of aerobics such as power walking, running, and swimming. “A short bout of cardio is enough to unlock a mental block,” says Dr. Tomporowski. A lunchtime walk around the ‘hood, a kickboxing class or a game of tennis is beneficial.
What also helps: “Do something that actually focuses you to a particular task at hand, such as balance training with a BOSU or racquet sports for hand-eye coordination,” says Vitorino, the creator of the best-selling “Body Target 60″ DVD(amazon.com).
MOOD: Sad or melancholy
Treating the blues is as easy as lacing up your sneakers for a run or a walk around the track, say our experts. “Working out with an empathetic buddy or heading outside for a sunny sail or bike ride can battle a slump,” says Vitorino. Just 30 to 45 minutes of steady exercise–from elliptical training and stair climbing to karate and cross-country skiing–keeps the stress off your joints, and burns mega-calories. “When I’m too sad to exercise solo, I call a friend and go for a hike-connecting with nature is a great way to feel less miserable!” says Vitorino.
What also helps:Dance DVDs or a yoga class can also boost the blues. Vitorino says, “Tap into exercise variety and try something new, which will shake up your workouts and your body!”
MOOD: Unmotivated or sleepy
Researchers at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center studied the beneficial effects of moderate-intensity activity on sleep quality, and found that the amount of exercise (more is better) and the time of day you exercise (earlier is better) are more important than the type of exercise. Head researcher Dr. Anne McTiernan, found that women who walked or biked at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes every morning (seven days per week) were less sleepy than those who exercised less. Conversely, women who performed evening exercises experienced no improvement in sleep onset or quality. So, do 30 minutes of moderate activity (where you’re breathing hard but not overdoing it) before noonevery day to fight ennui.
What also helps: “Moderate weight lifting also increases metabolism and boosts your mood,” Vitorino says. Exercise early and do something everyday to get happy, balanced and motivated for life!
November 22nd, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
The social networking site Facebook is causing a new wave of physical and mental health problems, say researchers from Italy. According to their analysis, scientists say that Facebook has become “a new source of psychological stress” that is capable of inducing asthma attacks, particularly in those with preexisting asthmatic conditions.
Published in the British medical journal Lancet, the study cites the case of an 18-year-old man who experienced severe asthmatic symptoms due to using Facebook. After discovering that his ex-girlfriend had removed him from her “friends” list and moved on from the relationship, the man began having breathing problems, followed by an asthma attack. And every time he logged on and tried to pry his way back into her life, the symptoms returned.
“The [experience] seemed to induce dyspnea, which happened repeatedly on the patient accessing [his ex-girlfriend's] profile,” said doctors about the experience. Dyspnea, a condition in which a person experiences difficulty in breathing, can be aggravated by various life occurrences. But in the man from the study, his “peak expiratory flow” of air dropped by as much as 20 percent after using Facebook, which suggests that using the site can be hazardous to health.
Doctors say the best way to avoid Facebook-induced asthma attacks is to simply stop using the site. In fact, with the help of his psychologist, the man in the study was able to successfully stop logging in — and his asthma attacks then stopped as well.
The nature of Facebook encourages users to essentially broadcast every detail of their entire lives to their friends, family members, coworkers, neighbors, and even complete strangers. But the widespread negative effects of this massive new social experiment are only just beginning to be realized.
August 2nd, 2010
By: Hugh Collins
Striving for the perfect body may have cost one woman in California her life. Mayra Lissette Contreras, 22, died after receiving injections of silicone to the buttocks, CBS reports. Autopsy results are still pending, but she is thought to have died from respiratory problems after the operation.
“Stories like this are all too common,” cosmetic surgeon Michael Kane told CBS. “I don’t know any licensed professional who would inject large amounts of silicone into the body.”
When silicone is used for breast implants, it is medical-grade and placed in the body in a capsule.
Underground cosmetic surgeons are not always so careful, using industrial silicone and injecting large quantities of the substance, rather than implanting it.
Silicone injected into the body can have serious medical consequences. These range from heavy scarring to death from breathing problems – as appears to be what happened in Contreras’s case.
“It’s easy for an injector to hit a vein, the silicon hits the bloodstream and goes to the lungs,” Colin Stewart, a columnist for The Orange County Register, told CNN.
Police are now hunting for the two sisters, Alejandra Viveros and Guadalupe Viveros, who are believed to have performed the operation.
The two women were taken into custody on June 21 for practicing medicine without a license, according to The Los Angeles Times. Authorities held the sisters on bail of $20,000, then released them.
The women have gone on the run and may have fled to Mexico.
June 8, 2010
By Kate Devlin
Studies suggest that some products can exacerbate existing conditions and even trigger breathing problems in people who have never previously suffered from the illness.
If proven, the link could make some cases of the disease preventable, according to Dr Jan-Paul Zock, an expert in occupational asthma. Around five million people in Britain suffer from asthma.
Rates of the condition are thought to have doubled in the two decades to the mid 1990s, but plateaued since then.
A range of studies have shown a link between asthma and exposure to some cleaning products, Dr Zock, from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, said.
June 22, 2009
Rousing operatic music, like Puccini’s Nessun Dorma, full of crescendos and diminuendos is best and could help stroke rehabilitation, say the authors.
Music is already used holistically at the bedside in many hospitals.
Not only is it cheap and easy to administer, music has discernible physical effects on the body as well as mood, Circulation journal reports.
Music with a faster tempo increases breathing, heart rate and blood pressure, while slower-pace music does the reverse.
Dr Luciano Bernardi and colleagues, from Italy’s Pavia University, asked 24 healthy volunteers to listen to five random tracks of classical music and monitored how their bodies responded.
They included selections from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, an aria from Puccini’s Turandot, Bach’s cantata No 169, Va Pensiero from Nabucco and Libiam Nei Lieti Calici from La Traviata.
Every musical crescendo – a gradual volume increase – “aroused” the body and led to narrowing of blood vessels under the skin, increased blood pressure and heart rate and increased respiratory rates.
Conversely, the diminuendos – gradual volume decreases – caused relaxation, which slowed heart rate and lowered blood pressure.