Written on December 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm , by Colleen Travers
Put your laundry list of resolutions away and just have one goal this year, to be healthy. Easy enough, right? Don’t worry—there’s an app for that now. The Macaw Health and Fitness App will help keep you on track by transforming your smartphone into your own personal health hub in 2012.
Macaw takes all your separately downloaded health and fitness apps—everything from pedometers to glucose monitors and sleep logs— and keeps them in one place for easy tracking and viewing. With a quick seven question health assessment Macaw will also set up a personalized goal plan for you while sending automated preventative screening reminders based on your gender and age. Need some more incentive? Try the weekly fitness challenges the app provides to unlock some freebies. Goodies for getting fit? We like!
The Macaw app is free to download and is available at the iPhone App Store or Android Market.
Now tell us: What fitness and health apps are your favorite?
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Written on December 2, 2011 at 11:28 am , by SparkPeople
By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach, SparkPeople.com
Lori, a client of mine, recently called me angry, upset and discouraged. She had just returned from her yearly physical, which she had been eagerly anticipating. Even though she hadn’t reached her weight-loss goal, Lori had made many lifestyle changes to promote good health: She had begun exercising on a regular basis, made some subtle shifts in her dietary habits that made her feel better, and had even begun a weekly yoga/meditation class to manage stress.
The results of the physical demonstrated her efforts had been paying off. Her blood pressure was in the normal level for the first time in years, her blood sugars had dropped, and her cholesterol profile had greatly improved. However, once the exam was complete and she was sitting with her physician in his office, rather than commenting on the improvements, he stated, “Lori, I was really hoping you would have dropped a lot more weight since our last visit. If you don’t get serious about taking off the extra pounds, your risk of early disease will continue. Have you tried dieting?”
There is a presumption that if an individual is overweight they are also unhealthy. Research clearly supports that being overweight is a major health risk factor, contributing to an increase in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and many types of cancer. So can we assume that if you are hauling around extra pounds that classify you as overweight, it will destine you to a future filled with illness and disease?
Not necessarily. An intense debate has emerged in the last few years amongst obesity researchers, asking the question, “Can people be overweight but still be healthy?” Is the number on the scale the only thing that counts, or should we take other factors into consideration? Scientists are now dueling over the relative importance of “fatness vs. fitness” when it comes to determining the health of an overweight individual.
A small but vocal group of researchers have been…
And then tell us below: Are you or do you know someone who is overweight but in better health than a skinny person? What are your opinions on if an overweight person can be healthy?
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Written on November 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Don’t love your love handles? Here are four steps to follow to blast belly fat. — Fit Sugar
- Order up! Finally, a food truck that caters to the health-minded masses. — Diets in Review
- Get some fitspiration from this trailblazing female athlete. — FitBottomed Girls
- Your mix-and-match meal plan to plot a trimmer Thanksgiving dinner. — University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Have fun in the kitchen this weekend with this healthy soft pretzel recipe! — Daily Spark
- Does your pre-teen have high cholesterol? Docs might start screening soon. — HealthDay
Written on November 2, 2011 at 9:06 am , by Colleen Travers
Feel like you just can’t be stopped lately? Whether it’s your after-work softball league, long training runs, or just nailing your everyday workout, you’re not imagining it. The online journal PLoS ONE recently released a study that analyzed five years of NBA free throws to conclude that a hot streak of positive outcomes is likely to continue on an upward trend.
Scientists who visited cases like this in the past came to the conclusion that winning streaks were caused purely by chance, while die-hard sports fans believed the opposite. Evidence from the new study supports the fan’s point of view, making the hot streak phenomenon more psychological than originally predicted. So keep up the good work, you’re on fire!
Now tell us: Have you ever experienced a workout hot streak? How long has it lasted?
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Written on October 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm , by Karla Walsh
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Tyra Banks opens up about the negative effect her stressful lifestyle has had on her looks. — BodyOdd
- Is it too late to change our flight? Why booking a red-eye may defeat the purpose of your vacation. — Q by Equinox
- Good thing all those squats have helped us master the over-the-toilet-seat hover! — Vitals
- Eat up! These three seasonal foods pack a feast of nutrients your skin will love. — Ladies’ Lounge
- Some schools are finding unique ways to infuse activity back into their students’ days. — The New York Times
- Where you live might just have a huge impact on how you live and how healthy you are! — TIME Healthland
Written on October 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm , by Colleen Travers
Hollywood got quite the shock this week when E! News host Giuliana Rancic announced that she was in the early stages of battling breast cancer, stressing the importance of early detection and BCA month that much more.
To help with the cause, Nestlé Pure Life bottled water is partnering with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation for the second year to help fund researchers who are trying to identify a drug that will prevent the development of cancer in those with the mutations in the BRCA gene (the breast cancer susceptibility gene) before it occurs as a detectable lump. This drug would have the potential to save women from having to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, the only other known preventative step for those with the inherited genetic mutation.
To support the cause, ten cents from every package of Nestlé Pure Life containing the special “Pink Pack” packaging will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Nestlé Pure Life was able to donate $500,000 last year through the campaign’s efforts and is hoping to increase funds this year. So before you stock up on bottled water this weekend, check the label to make sure you’re helping out where you can!
For more information, visit nestle-purelife.us.
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Written on October 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern
All month long, we’ve been highlighting ways to help support breast cancer awareness. And when we saw Giuliana Rancic, young and vibrant, announce this morning on The Today Show that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, it was a striking reminder that there’s still a lot of work to do to prevent the disease from affecting more women.
The apparel company 15Love has teamed up with Equinox fitness clubs nationwide and Pure Yoga studios of New York City to offer special pink sports bras during October. Ten percent of sales of 15Love’s special line of sports bras, seen at left, will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
Since the founding of BCRF in 1992, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has grown tremendously. Thanks to the support of fundraisers like 15Love, the foundation has been able to increase its annual funding by more than 200 times over and is currently financing 186 scientists in 12 countries worldwide! Scientists funded by BCRF have led the way in discovering more about genetic links to breast cancer, preventative measures and treatments for breast cancer.
These sports bras are a fitting way to donate to BCRF because they may give you that extra push you need to hit the gym (cute new gym wear always makes us want to get out and show it off!). And according to recent studies, just four hours of physical activity each week can help boost your body’s immune system while lowering estrogen levels and your risk of developing breast cancer.
You can get your 15Love bra, available in pink with interchangeable striped or cheetah print straps, for $53 at any Equinox location or a Pure Yoga Studio in New York City.
More from FITNESS: Know what’s normal (and what’s not) with our guide to healthy breasts.
Written on October 17, 2011 at 9:10 am , by Colleen Travers
It’s not even November yet and we’ve already had the first round of sniffles, coughs, and colds here at the FITNESS offices. Chances are, if you haven’t had any cold or flu symptoms yet, you know someone who has, making you that much more vulnerable to getting sick.
We chatted with Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian in Florida for some ways to guard yourself against a cold this season. Below, her healthy eating tips for keeping your immune system in tact:
- Consume at least five servings of fruits and veggies a day to get enough vitamins and antioxidants to keep you from catching a cold.
- Lean meats, such as skinless chicken or beef contain iron and zinc, two minerals that will boost your immune system all winter long.
- Drink up! One 8 oz. glass of 100 percent orange juice provides at least 100 percent of the daily value for vitamin C.
Rampersaud also shared this recipe for spiced orange green tea, so you can arm yourself with the proper nutrients before cold season officially starts.
Spiced Orange Green Tea
- 4 oz. Florida Orange Juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 oz. green tea
Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat until heavily steaming. Strain and serve hot.
Now tell us: How do you prep for cold season?
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Written on October 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm , by FITNESS Intern
Written by Alyssa Belanger, editorial intern
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Staying healthy and strong may not be quite that simple, but dietary supplement specialist Lori Bestervelt of NSF International has some simple tips for staying on top your fitness game as marathon season approaches and the weather gets colder.
1. Stay consistent. If you’re planning on starting a new supplement, switching up your diet or even trying a new sports drink, be sure that you give your body time to adjust. “Trying something new on race day can literally be the kiss of death,” according to Bestervelt. It’s important to incorporate anything that you plan to do on race day into your regular training schedule well in advance that you won’t be surprised by the way your body reacts to these changes.
2. Start popping a pill. Whether you’re training for the next big race or frequenting the gym for a spinning class, you need your vitamins! Bestervelt recommends getting a good daily multivitamin to maintain good health. Check your multi’s label at fda.gov to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
3. Rise and shine, rain or shine. “Practice for every kind of weather, because you have no idea what you’re going to get on race day,” says Bestervelt. It may be hard to get out of bed on a rainy day when you’ve been spoiled by summer’s sunshine, but training for different weather conditions will ensure that your body is ready for whatever comes your way on race day. Be sure to stock up on waterproof gear to keep you warm and dry, too!
Bonus Tip: Studies have shown that people with low levels of vitamin D have increased respiratory infections. If you are training in rainy or cooler conditions, be sure to stock up on vitamin D, which helps strengthen your body’s immune function. Bestervelt suggests taking 2000-5000 IUs (international units) for those who exercise heavily.
Tell us: What do you do to prep your body and mind before a big race?
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Written on October 12, 2011 at 9:32 am , by Karla Walsh
A few sobering facts: About 24 million Americans may have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and half of them don’t know it. It’s the fourth leading cause of death, and the only leading cause of death that’s actually getting more common. How common, you ask? COPD is responsible for more deaths each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined.
But despite all this startling information, we don’t hear much about the lung disease that hampers one’s ability to breathe. (The ribbon for this cause is gold, if you were curious!) That’s why artist and sculptor Michael Kalish created the 24M: The DRIVE4COPD Monument that will be on tour around the country this year. It’s an art display created to inspire people to take notice of this important health issue and take control of their health.
The monument involves 24 pinwheels—in honor of the 24 million Americans who may have COPD—placed on a state-shaped base to form a map. Kalish used license plates (his artwork’s signature building block) to form the pinwheels, and the number of plates used from a particular state reflects the percentage of the state’s population struggling with COPD. The pinwheels symbolize a healthy ability to breathe—you can’t make a pinwheel spin if you can’t take a deep breath!
Some news you can use about COPD, how it impacts you and how you can take action:
- There are two types of COPD: Chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness and wheezing. Those who suffer may feel like they’re breathing through a thin straw.
- The causes include smoking (those who do so are 10 times more likely to die of COPD than those who abstain!), genetics and air pollution.
- Many don’t catch their COPD until they’ve lost half of their lung function or require emergency care. Symptoms are manageable with a doctor’s guidance, and the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis for the patient.
- You can take a five questions quiz to learn if you are at risk for COPD at DRIVE4COPD.com, and discuss the results with your doctor at your next exam if you rank high on the risk scale. Score yourself today or join others by participating in the “Great American Screen Off” on November 4.