Exercises You Can’t Do Without

Exercises You Can’t Do Without

Seventeen-thousand ACE-certified Fitness Professionals were asked to name the one exercise they couldn’t do without. The overwhelming winner was the multi-purpose squat, which strengthens all of the major muscles of the lower body. These include the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps and calves.

Weight Lifter Doing Exercises

The Top Seven Choices

Following are the rest of the top choices, which can be used together to create a challenging and effective fitness program.

  1. Jump Squat
  2. Running
  3. Abdominal exercises
  4. Lunges
  5. Walking
  6. Push-ups
  7. Yoga

Stepping Up to Good Cholesterol Levels

Woman doing step aerobicsNot to be forgotten, stepping may be in the top  ten exercise choices. You may have known that step aerobics can burn calories and is a good exercise for the heart, but did you know that research specifically has found step aerobics can step up your good cholesterol levels?

A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found step aerobic exercise significantly raised the HDL- cholesterol levels of the study participants. This small, eight-week study followed 45 sedentary college students. Fifteen participated in step aerobic exercise and another 15 did traditional aerobic dance. Each 45-minute session was done for three days a week. The remaining 15  in the study continued to be sedentary.

At the study’s conclusion, the investigators from Baskent University in Ankara found that both groups that were active showed a significant reduction in their overall cholesterol levels compared to the sedentary group. However, only those participating in step aerobics showed a substantial increase in their HDL cholesterol levels.

Although researchers concluded that step aerobics is effective in modifying cholesterol, they did not speculate on reasons why that was the case.

Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

What Are Some Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol?

There are many tips, health helpers, supplements and other smart strategies for lowering cholesterol. Following are a couple that are less conventional, but quite effective!

Heart Smart Exercise Strategies for Lowering CholesterolSmart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol for a Healthy Life

If you are trying to keep your cholesterol under control, exercising for long periods of time may be more beneficial than shorter high-intensity workouts.

Here is why: Saturated fats are broken down into acetone units, which the liver uses to make cholesterol. When you burn calories through exercise, acetone units are used for energy rather than cholesterol production.

Lengthy exercise sessions allow you to burn more calories than intense exercise, since the latter causes muscle soreness and limits your ability to exercise on subsequent days.

Cinnamon Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

A dash of cinnamon could significantly lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. And cinnamon – well it goes with so many things! Sprinkle on apple slices. Toss one-half teaspoon or so into your next batch of muffins. Add a dash or two to your coffee ground prior to brewing. Sprinkle on lightly buttered toast. Those are just a few ideas – you can surely come up with many more.cinnamon-sugar

When 30 women and men with type 2 diabetes added a sprinkle to their meals, blood sugar and heart-damaging blood fats (total cholesterol and triglycerides) fell 12 to 30 percent in just 40 days, say researchers at the USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland.

Cinnamon makes muscle and liver cells more sensitive to signals from insulin, an important blood-sugar-controlling hormone.

Have a little (about 1/6 teaspoon) at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a daily total of about 1/2 teaspoon, he recommends. Since cinnamon may reduce your need for diabetes or cholesterol medication, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your dose.

Go Beyond Cholesterol

Half of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol levels. Researchers suspect that inflammation inside arteries may be another heart threat. If you have a family history of heart disease, discuss these two extra tests with your doctor: Homocysteine and C-reactive protein.

Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Are You Reducing Fat and Cholesterol in Your Recipes?

Reducing Fat and Cholesterol
Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Tips for reducing fat and cholesterol in your favorite recipes.

  • Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol foods completely. These include animal based foods such as red meat, eggs, whole milk, butter or whole milk cheese. Drink skim milk or skim milk products. Use tub margarine with liquid olive or peanut oil as the primary ingredient in place of butter or sour cream.
  • Stock your refrigerator with foods that are naturally low in fat and cholesterol-free such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • When you cook poultry, remove the skin. To retain moistness, you can cook it with the skin on, but do not eat the skin. Remove it before eating the chicken.
  • Bake, boil, broil, roast or steam foods rather than frying. Avoid fried foods and aim to eliminate them from your diet entirely. This is a great habit for reducing fat and cholesterol.
  • Use nonstick cooking sprays which are low in calories. You could also use a small dab of butter in a pan if necessary but avoid lard, bacon fat and shortening.
  • When preparing recipes, experiment by cutting the fat by one-fourth or one-third. For example, if a muffin recipe calls for 1-cup of oil, try 3/4-cup. If that works try using 2/3-cup next time and so on.
  • When a recipe calls for milk, use skim milk or 1-percent milk. If the result is too thin, try evaporated skim milk, which also can be used effectively in cream soups. It can be whipped when partially frozen.
  • Remove the fat from gravy and soup using a fat separator (a small pitcher with a specially designed spout). Or refrigerate the food overnight and skim off the fat when hardened.
  • In recipes, substitute low-fat or non fat plain yogurt for sour cream. To help separation in cooked foods, bland a small amount of flour or cornstarch (1-tablespoon) into the yogurt.
  • For half or all of the ground beef required in a recipe, substitute ground white turkey or ground white chicken meat. In addition, in many recipes you can usually cut the amount of meat in half. This works best with recipes calling for ground meat to further reduce fat and cholesterol.
  • Eat no more than two to four eggs per week. Each large egg has about 213 milligrams of cholesterol. In recipes, use an egg white for one whole egg, or use egg substitutes.

Fat Substitutes for Reducing Fat and Cholesterol

Another way to reduce fat is to use products that contain fat substitutes or fat replacers. Most fat replacers are made of all-natural, food-based substances.

They fall into three categories.

  1. Carbohydrate-based. An excellent thickener and stabilizer. Used in many formulated foods, such as margarine, mayonnaise and baked desserts.
  2. Protein based. Good for frozen and refrigerated products such as dairy products, cream-type products and prepared entrees such as pizza.
  3. Fat based. After being chemically altered, have fewer calories than fat or no calories at all. These are very stable when heated making them good for cooking.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Cholesterol is not fat, but does act in connection with fats in the body. Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that gets into your bloodstream in several ways. The liver and the intestines can manufacture it. Or, it can enter the body through the foods you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as fatty red meats, egg yolks and whole dairy products.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol and Triglycerides

When the body contains too much cholesterol, the cholesterol deposits itself on the walls of your arteries, which causes them to close down or clog completely.

The amount of cholesterol consumed in a day should not exceed 300 milligrams according to Canada and most of Europe.

The U.S. and some other countries believe it should be 200 or lower.

US and other countries

  • Below 200 mg/dL – Desirable.
  • 200-239 mg/dL – Borderline high.
  • 240 mg/dL and above – High.

Canada and most of Europe

  • Below 5.2 mmol/L – Desirable.
  • 5.2-6.2 mmol/L – Borderline high.
  • Above 6.2 mmol/L – High.

Stat source: Mayo Clinic

The body makes two types of cholesterol:

  1. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) the good.
  2. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) the bad.

HDL is good because it sweeps cholesterol from the arteries and carries it back to the liver, where it is reprocessed or eliminated. LDL is bad because it is deposited into the arteries. In addition, saturated fat is bad because it raises the level of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. This makes you more susceptible to clogged arteries. By contrast, unsaturated fat is thought to help prevent heart and vessel disease.

Researchers and experts believe unsaturated fats work to lower the amount of bad cholesterol. They may even help raise the level of good (HDL) cholesterol. But this is not a free ride to go nuts on fat. What this information tells you is why unsaturated fats are recommended over saturated fats.

For Diabetics

Because you or someone you love has diabetes, your doctor will recommend certain tests. S/he will want to check your HDLs and LDLs. HDLs should be over 35mg/dl and LDLs under 130mg/dl.

Triglycerides, a type of storage fat in your body, needs to be checked as well. High blood sugar can raise the amount of triglycerides in your body. To reduce triglycerides one needs to lower their intake of carbohydrates, shed any extra pounds, avoid alcohol and exercise regularly.

Diabetics are more likely to have problems with HDL and LDL levels, as well as triglycerides, which increases the threat of heart and artery disease. This is why it is important you understand their role in your dietary needs.