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SATURDAY, JANUARY 11, 2014

| A7

| LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS www.ludingtondailynews.com

Outdoor exercise still a possibility when temperatures drop When colder weather sets in, some people abandon their outdoor fitness routines for the comfort of indoor gyms and home exercise equipment. However, walking in the winter and even jogging, when practical, are not limited to the warmer months of the year. Outdoor conditions can be a bit treacherous, so safety and common sense should always prevail.

FOOTWEAR

While winter walking is a good way to warm up and get in a workout, it requires different footwear than regular walking shoes. The correct footwear will provide support, warmth and traction for traversing various conditions. Start by choosing footwear that is warm. Certain boots and booties will have a lining that improves heat retention. Wear warm socks and waterproof or waterresistant shoes. They will protect against wet, chilled feet if you come across slushy

puddles along the way. Although wet feet might be merely an inconvenience other times of the year, in very cold temperatures, a cold and wet body can be susceptible to hypothermia and even frostbite. Look for shoes that have a mid-height ankle. This height offers support and stability to the ankles when walking on uneven surfaces, such as snow-covered paths. Also, should your foot slip on slick pavement, a taller shoe will protect the ankle against sprains or fractures. Additionally, choose a shoe or boot that has a thick but not too heavy sole for better traction on icy areas.

outdoors, not toasty warm. As your body warms up with the exercise, it will reach a comfortable temperature. A windbreaker is good for blocking chilly, winter winds. Choose a jacket that will move with your body and not impede walking stride or jogging ability. Tights or yoga pants that wick moisture away will insulate your legs, and a fleece vest can help keep your body’s core warm when it is particularly cold outside. Don’t overlook gloves and a hat when walking. These items will prevent heat from escaping through your extremities.

WARDROBE

Winter conditions may lead to snowblindness or reduced visibility for drivers. If you will be walking on roads, dress for visibility. Avoid colors that will blend in with snowy surroundings and opt for bright flashes of color that make you more visible, particularly at dawn, dusk and night.

Layering is essential when exercising outdoors in cold weather. You want to ensure that you will be warm enough, but not too warm that you begin to sweat and run the risk of hypothermia later on. Dress so that you feel chilled when stepping

SAFETY

Whenever possible, do your outdoor exercising when the sun is up. You’ll benefit from the mood-boosting properties of the sun and will have added warmth and visibility. Furthermore, spending time in the outdoor sun enables your body to produce vitamin D, which helps maintain healthy bones. Spending time outdoors can stave off winter doldrums and cabin fever. Exercise with a buddy, who can help you if you slip or fall on icy surfaces. Walking or running with a partner also is a great way to remain motivated. If you feel very unstable walking on slippery roads and pathways, you may want to invest in winter cleats or crampons that can be attached to the underside of your shoes. These devices offer superior traction.

OFF-ROADING

If you want to pack in a more powerful winter workout, you can think about walk-

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ing through the snow rather than around it. According to fitness experts at Weight Watchers International, walking in packed snow increases the calories burned by 60 percent compared to walking on a paved road. Walking in soft snow triples the calories burned compared to walking at the same speed on a treadmill. In addition, the added resistance of the snow can firm and tone muscles. Purchase snow shoes or cross-country skis and poles to facilitate walking in the snow. For those who want to forego structured exercise, simply having fun in the snow, by trekking up a mountain when sledding or having a snowball fight with the kids, is a great way to exercise outdoors in the winter. There is no need to pack away exercise clothing for the winter season. With the right equipment and know-how, winter lovers can still spend adequate time outdoors once the mercury drops.

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FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2014

| A11

| LUDINGTON DAILY NEWS www.ludingtondailynews.com

Exercise benefits the brain, too Regular exercise can benefit the body in many ways, helping men and women maintain healthier weights and lower their risks for developing potentially deadly diseases. Though many people are quick to associate exercise with its physical benefits, those hours spent on the treadmill also can boost brain power. According to Dr. Barry Gordon, professor of neurology and cognitive science at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and coauthor of â&#x20AC;&#x153;Intelligent Memory: Improve the Memory That Makes You Smarter,â&#x20AC;? exercise has a direct impact on the brain. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s because exercise works directly on brain tissue, improving the connections between nerve cells, creating new synapses, growing new neurons and blood vessels, and improving cell energy efficiency. So while many people may begin an exercise regimen with a goal of trimming their waistlines or toning their bodies, they might be happy to know that those physical benefits are accompanied by several cognitive benefits as well. As the American Psychological Association acknowledges, the connection between exercise and mental health is hard to ignore, and the APA notes

that the following are just a few of the mental benefits men and women might reap from regular exercise.

IMPROVED MOOD

Many people feel great after exercising, especially if that exercise comes at the end of a particularly stressful day. However, those extra laps on the track or those hours spent on the treadmill donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just pay short-term dividends. In a controlled trial overseen by Duke University researcher and clinical psychologist James Blumenthal, sedentary adults with major depressive disorder were assigned into one of four groups: supervised exercise, home-based exercise, antidepressant therapy, or a placebo pill. Those in the exercise and antidepressant groups had higher rates of remission than those in the placebo group, and Blumenthal concluded that exercise was generally comparable to antidepressants for men and women with major depressive disorder. In addition, in following up with patients a year later, Blumenthal found that those who continued to exercise had lower depression scores than those participants who were less active.

Some researchers, Otto included, have begun to examine the effects of exercise on treating and possibly preventing anxiety. The bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nervous system responds quickly when people feel frightened or threatened, often causing the bodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heart rate to increase and sweating and dizziness to occur. Those people who are especially sensitive to anxiety respond to these feelings with fear, and that makes them more likely to develop panic disorders. But Otto and fellow researcher Jasper Smits of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University studied the effects that regular workouts might have

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â&#x20AC;˘ Walking promotes maintaining a healthy weight through physical activity. â&#x20AC;˘ Walking can prevent or make it easier to manage various health conditions that are dependent on weight and cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. â&#x20AC;˘ Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that can help strengthen bones and promote good posture. â&#x20AC;˘ Exercise, like walking, has

been known to benefit mood, specifically for those people battling depression. Although walking is simple, it is an ideal exercise for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it is affordable for anyone and can be done anywhere. What makes walking attractive to many people from a fitness standpoint is it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require learning any fancy moves, nor does one need to feel foolish when walking in public areas. People who walk for fitness have a greater chance of sticking with the activity than other exercises that may lose their appeal after a few months. What people may not realize is that walking provides many of the same benefits as jogging, only

with less impact on the joints and feet. Walking also is less taxing on the heart, particularly for people who are adopting a more active lifestyle after a period of being sedentary. According to The Walking Site, the average person can burn approximately 100 calories per mile walked. During a brisk walk, with an average pace of 4 mph, a person can burn between 149 and 220 calories during a 40-minute walk.

In order to make the most of your walk, consider the following tips.

Some easy ways to add some intensity to your walk is to increase your pace, walk uphill or bear more weight by wearing a weight vest. Incorporating more pronounced arm movements also can help a person to work even more muscles and burn more calories.

â&#x20AC;˘ Bend the elbows and swing the arms a little while walking.

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â&#x20AC;˘ Invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Exercise can be thwarted by pain in the feet. Comfortable shoes will make it easier for you to stick to your walking regimen. â&#x20AC;˘ Stand up straight and look ahead while walking. Do not stoop or look at the ground.

â&#x20AC;˘ Bring a friend along who can engage in conversation and make the time spent walking go more quickly. Otherwise walk a dog or play upbeat music that encourages you to pick up the pace.

â&#x20AC;˘ Find a convenient time to walk each day, and look for a new path each day to vary the workout. Walking in beautiful surroundings can make the walk that much more enjoyable. â&#x20AC;˘ Start out slowly and then increase the pace and the intensity as you build up more stamina. You also may want to increase the distance you walk as you gain more stamina. Walking is an exercise that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require special equipment or a fancy location. People of all ages can benefit in a variety of ways from walking. LS138388

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Walking is great exercise, and people of just about any age and fitness level can get out and walk. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned author and expert in integrative medicine, walking is such a good exercise because it makes use of all muscles, promotes coordination and balance and carries the least risk of injury for

people of any age. The Mayo Clinic concurs, noting that physical exercise does not need to be complicated and that brisk walking can help a person to live a healthier life by providing a number of benefits:

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The fitness business is a multibillion dollar industry. People invest great deals of money in an effort to stay as fit and healthy as possible. But while exercise equipment and gym memberships are worthy investment, those focused on fitness should not underestimate the value of walking as a means to burning calories and promoting overall health.

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Walking, a great way to burn calories and stay fit

on people prone to anxiety. Since exercise produces many of the same physical reactions, such as sweating and an elevated heart rate, the body produces when responding to fear or threats, Otto and Smits wanted to determine if exercise might help people prone to anxiety become less likely to panic when experiencing fear or threats. In studying 60 participants with heightened sensitivity to anxiety, Otto and Smits found that the subjects who participated in a twoweek exercise program exhibited marked improvements in anxiety sensitivity compared to those participants who did not take part in the exercise program. Otto and Smith concluded that this improvement was a result of the exercise group participants learning to associate the symptoms common to both fear and exercise, such as sweating and an elevated heart rate, with something positive (exercise) instead of something negative (anxiety). Regular exercise benefits the human body in numerous ways, not the least of which is its impact on the brain.

ANTIDOTE TO ANXIETY

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Blumenthalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study was not the only one to conclude that exercise can have a positive impact on mood. In a review of 11 studies that examined the effects of exercise on mental health, Boston University professor of psychology Michael Otto and his colleagues found that exercise could be a powerful tool when treating clinical depression, and even recommended clinicians include exercise as part of their treatment plans for depressed patients.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 25, 2014

 

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Ludington daiLy newS

| FRiday, JanuaRy 31, 2014

www.ludingtondailynews.com

The basics of boosting metabolism Men and women looking to shed a few pounds and keep those pounds off often look for ways to boost their metabolisms. Some may not know just what metabolism means, and though it is a complicated combination of processes, metabolism is perhaps best explained as the sum of those processes, each of which is instituted to convert food into energy. So it’s no surprise that so many people, especially men and women whose metabolisms have begun to slow down, want to boost their metabolism and turn that food into energy more quickly. though metabolism is a collection of complicated processes, boosting metabolism can be rather easy. the following are a handful of ways to do so, which can help

men and women reach their fitness goals. • eat the right foods and eat more often. Many adults have been turned on to the concept of grazing, an approach to diet wherein adherents eat small portions of food every two to three hours instead of the more traditional three square meals per day. But grazing is only effective when men and women eat the right foods. each small meal should still have nutritional value just as if it were a large meal. when eating smaller meals, include healthy sources of protein and fiber. Vegetables tend to be especially beneficial because they are high in fiber, a nondigestible carbohydrate that is hard for the body to break down. as the body works hard

to break down fiber, it’s burning energy and boosting its metabolism along the way. Fish is another potentially beneficial food for those looking to boost their metabolisms, as studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils increase the levels of fat-burning enzymes in the body while decreasing the body’s level of fat-storage enzymes. eating more often benefits the body because doing so stimulates metabolism, reassuring the body that food will be coming on a regular basis. when meals are skipped or there are long intervals between meals, the body reacts as if it might run out of food and begins to store fat. • add some lean muscle. Lean muscle can boost metabolism, so a

workout dominated by cardiovascular exercise won’t have as positive an impact on metabolism as one that includes a combination of weight training and aerobic exercise. when muscles are worked hard, the body needs to work hard to recover and rebuild those muscles, burning more calories and boosting metabolism as a result. • don’t believe everything you read or hear. Suggestions abound as to ways to significantly improve metabolism. unfortunately, many of these suggestions boost metabolism but not enough to help people lose weight, which is the ultimate goal of many people looking to boost their metabolisms. For example, green tea has its proponents who feel it can have a

significant impact on metabolism thanks to egCg, a compound found in the tea that has been proven to elevate metabolism. However, the impact of egCg on boosting metabolism is negligible, and therefore won’t make much of an impact on a person’s weight. the same can be said about capsaicin, an active component found in chili peppers that some feel boosts metabolism enough to promote weight loss. though capsaicin can boost metabolism slightly, studies have shown that influence is not significant enough to affect a person’s weight. • don’t get too comfortable. Modern technology may be a reason why waist sizes are getting bigger. Heating and cooling systems may be must-have items,

but when the body is too comfortable, it burns less energy to stay warm in the winter or comfortably cool in the summer. a study from the national institute of Health Clinical Center found that people who slept in a room kept at 66 F burned 7 percent more calories than those who slept in a room at 75 F. Sleeping in a cooler room may just be the easiest way for men and women to boost their metabolisms. Boosting metabolism and shedding extra pounds is a goal for many men and women. But while metabolism is a complex set of processes, the various ways to effectively boost that metabolism can be quite simple.

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