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  1. Consumers are faced with so many options that the task of choosing a pair of athletic shoes has become increasingly complicated and confusing, not to mention expensive. If you've tried to buy a pair of athletic shoes recently, you probably realize that the canvas sneakers of the past have been replaced by high-tech, state-of-the-art athletic gear of the present and future. By attaining a good working knowledge of athletic footwear, you will be less likely to fall for the latest gimmick or be coerced into spending above your budget. Know What You Need When shopping for athletic shoes, the most important step is deciding what sport you will be using them for. Most sporting goods stores carry a variety of shoes for activities such as running, walking, tennis, basketball and aerobics. Multi-purpose shoes such as cross trainers may be a good alternative for those who want to combine several sports or activities, such as bicycling or other exercise equipment, and weight training, in a single workout. Once you have decided on the particular type of shoe you need, it is important to know how to get a good fit. Remember, no matter how popular a shoe is or how good it may look, it won't do you any good if you have blisters after the first week of wearing it. Guidelines For Buying Shoes When purchasing shoes for a specific sport or fitness activity, you must consider your foot type. People with high-arched feet tend to require greater shock absorption than those with average feet. High-arched (cavus) feet also suffer from lateral instability and are more prone to ankle sprains. Conversely, people with low-arched ("flat") feet require shoes with less cushioning but greater support and heel control. After considering the type of shoe needed for a particular activity and evaluating your needs based on your foot type, use the following information to ensure you get the best fit: Choose an athletic-shoe store or specialty store with a large inventory. They will have a variety of sizes available. Try to get fitted for footwear at the end of the day, when foot size is at its maximum. It is not unusual for an individual's foot to increase one-half a shoe size during the course of a single day. Allow 1/2 inch, or the width of your index finger, between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. If one foot is larger than the other, buy the larger size. The shoe should be as wide as possible across the forefoot without allowing slippage in the heel. If the shoe has variable-width lacing, experiment with the narrow and wide eyelets to achieve a custom fit. Some Final Considerations Athletic shoes no longer require a breaking-in period. However, they will lose their cushioning after three to six months of regular use. It is important to be aware of when your shoes need to be replaced because, if they are no longer absorbing the pounding and jarring action of the sport, you are more likely to sustain knee and ankle injuries. A final consideration when buying athletic shoes is price. It is possible to spend anywhere from $19.99 for no-name brands to more than $170 for Reebok's or Nike's latest technological wonder. Be sure to consider both your budget and your fitness needs before spending a small fortune on shoes. Finally, though purchasing may be a big investment, it is not a long-term one. If you spend a fortune on the latest style today, a new style will probably replace it tomorrow. It would be more practical, unless you are at a competitive level, to spend a reasonable amount and get the most for your money. Article prescribed by: The American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.
  2. If you’ve decided to join the ranks of treadmill owners, there are a number of factors to consider to ensure that you purchase a machine that meets your needs. There are a multitude of treadmills on the market with prices ranging from $299 to $4,000. You are likely to find that a treadmill’s cost directly reflects its quality. Before you leave your home, measure the space in which you’d like to keep the treadmill. While the average treadmill measures 64 inches long and 28 inches wide, there are machines that fold up to be stored under a bed or in a closet. Drive to the nearest fitness-equipment speciality store where the staff will be knowledgeable and you can choose from a wide variety of machines. Wear a comfortable pair of athletic shoes — the same pair you’ll wear as you exercise on the machine at home. Consider three key elements as you shop: Construction First, look at the treadmill’s motor size (measured in horsepower) to determine the machine’s longevity. Some manufacturers measure horsepower at continuous duty (the motor’s ability to function under a load for an extended period of time), others at peak duty. Look for a motor with a minimum 2.0 continuous-duty horsepower, which will accommodate users who weigh more than 180 pounds. Next, examine the treadmill’s belt and deck. The belt should be at least two-ply, 17 inches wide and 49 inches long. The board thickness should measure at least an inch. The deck acts as a cushion for the joints, legs, back and feet. The most sought-after treadmills feature low-impact decks that flex under the user’s foot plant to absorb the shock without rebounding to cause additional jarring. This feature is essential for individuals with shin splints and foot and back problems. A sturdy frame supports the belt and deck system. Treadmills that cost between $399 and $1900 usually have a steel frame; treadmills with a price of $1900 or higher often are constructed with aircraft aluminum frames that offer additional flexibility for impact absorption. Aluminum frames don’t rust or corrode and are lighter and easier to move. Programming Features Lower-priced treadmills offer basic programming for variable speed, time, distance and calories. However, they seldom utilize user information, and the calorie counters aren’t very accurate. The price rises when you add quality programming features, such as preset programs that automatically vary the workout intensity by raising or lowering elevation and increasing or decreasing speed. Heart-rate control programs are convenient features that consider the user’s age and weight and keep the exerciser at an intensity sufficient to achieve maximum fat-burning or cardiovascular benefits. Other programming options include incline/grade settings. A maximum grade of 10 percent may challenge beginning exercisers, while experienced exercisers may need a treadmill that reaches a 15-percent grade. Warranty Most manufacturers warranty against manufacturing defects only, not normal wear and tear, and if a user weighs more than the machine’s specifications, a warranty may be voided. Many machines come with a lifetime warranty on the frame, while warranties on features and components usually range from 90 days to three years, depending on the machine’s quality. Higher-end machines often come with a one-year in-home labor contract. You can purchase renewable extended warranties that cover everything from parts to labor. Don’t Give the Man Your Money Yet Is the machine loud? Do you like how it looks? Does it offer a smooth ride? Is it easy to operate? Remember, this product will be around for a long, healthy time, so determine what you want and need from it before you begin shopping to prevent a regretful purchase. Why Treadmills Are Ranked #1 The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that, based on a study from the Medical College of Wisconsin and Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee, Treadmills provide the most efficient way to burn calories when compared to other popular exercise machines. Researchers asked eight male and five female young adults to exercise on six different types of indoor exercise machines, including a cross-country skiing simulator, cycle ergometer, rowing ergometer and stair stepper. They compared energy expenditure at ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) levels of 11 (fairly light), 13 (somewhat hard) and 15 (hard), and found that subjects who exercised at an RPE of 13 burned approximately 40 percent more calories per hour on the treadmill as compared to the cycle ergometer, which produced the lowest energy expenditure. Article prescribed by: The American Council on Exercise The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the largest nonprofit fitness certification, education and training organization in the world.
  3. Instead of another tie for your dad or music CD for your sister, why don’t you give them a truly unique and invaluable gift? I’m talking about the gift of fitness. The gift of fitness is something that you can give to just about everybody on your shopping list, from your parents, to your spouse, a friend, your siblings, an employee or co-worker, even your children. And it’s a gift that is invaluable to everyone. After all who doesn’t want to look better, feel better, and be healthier? And, it’s a gift that you can truly feel proud to give. When you give someone the gift of fitness, you are helping him open a door to better health (both physically and mentally). I can’t think of a more thoughtful gift that shows the recipient how much you care about their well-being. By giving the gift of fitness you are providing them with unlimited health benefits. Of course, we all know that exercise can help people stay slim and fit. But, do you also know about all the other great benefits of exercising? Daily physical activity reduces stress and can help you sleep better. Fitness has been linked to reducing the risk of some diseases and to warding off depression. Researchers also believe that strength training can help prevent osteoporosis. Not to mention that exercise also improves self-esteem, increases stamina and ultimately helps you be able to do continuous work for longer. I bet a lot of people on your shopping list would find these fitness benefits incredibly invaluable. If the people on your list are like most of us, they’ve probably even mentioned how they want to drop a few pounds of just get in better shape. In fact, experts say that about 62% of Americans are currently on a diet. By giving the gift of fitness you are helping provide them with motivation (which is one of the biggest obstacles in getting fit). They may feel more motivated to actually get fit because they don’t want to feel guilty for ignoring such a thoughtful gift (this is especially true when you give an online personal training gift certificate, which is a great motivator). While fitness gifts are incredibly valuable, they don’t have to be expensive. Gifts can cost as little as $5 or range into the $100s of dollars. Here are a few suggestions in the various price ranges: Under $15: Resistance Band (also makes a great stocking stuffer) Dumbbells Jump Rope (also makes a great stocking stuffer) Exercise Mat $15 - $35 Fitness Ball Online Personal Training Program (custom designed for the gift recipient) Home Exercise Video (also makes a great stocking stuffer) Heart Rate Monitor Over $35 Full dumbbell set Treadmill Bicycle Yoga Kit Giving something that supports health and wellness will be appreciated for years to come and may even turn someone's life around. The gift of fitness will make the recipient feel special – they’ll know that someone cared enough to give them the opportunity to improve their health. And, giving a gift that will help someone lead a healthier life is also one of the most rewarding gifts you can give. So why spend another holiday season searching for the perfect gift only to end up with the same old things like gift certificates or socks or books? Surprise everyone this year and give the gift that comes from the heart and truly keeps on giving throughout the New Year and beyond. And don’t forget yourself – you deserve the gift of fitness too! Article prescribed by: Lynn Bode
  4. For many people, holidays and family get-togethers are a time for celebration. These celebrations often involve foods that are high in fat, sugar and calories - and short on nutrition. With a few minor changes however, special occasion foods can be both delicious and nutritious. Eat, Drink, and be Healthy! Dairy Products Many holiday foods include dairy products. Enjoy these foods during your celebrations, but use skimmed milk and other 'low' or 'no' fat dairy products in your recipes whenever possible. Look for the growing assortment of low fat cheeses, cheese slices and cheese spreads that are now available in your grocery store. For example, use light or ultra-light cream cheese or cheddar cheese with only 7% fat. If you use spreads or other products that are high in fat, such as butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, spread them very thinly or use only a small amount. Meat Dishes Choose leaner cuts of meat for your holiday gatherings whenever possible. As a general rule, white meat is leaner than dark meat - so choose the breast meat of a chicken or turkey rather than the drumstick. Ways to lean out your meat choices: trim the visible fat off of meats. remove skin from poultry. choose fish more often. Cold water fatty fish such as tuna and salmon have 'heart healthy' types of fat in them. prepare meats in ways that reduce the fat content, like broiling, stewing, or baking. drain the excess fat off of meats after cooking. cook meats on a rack so fat can drip away. cool soups, gravies, stews, etc. before serving and then remove the hardened fat that has collected at the top. use vegetable cooking sprays to prevent foods from sticking. when preparing a roast, baste with low fat broth instead of the drippings from the pan. Turkey breast is one of the leanest types of meat. Vegetables Fortunately, most vegetables contain little or no fat. It is what we add to the vegetables that increase their fat content. Avoid smothering your vegetables with thick creamy sauces or butter. Potatoes, for example, contain no fat. They also contain very little salt and are good sources of Vitamins B and C and potassium. Potato skins are a good source of fibre (fibre may help lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of colon cancer). Try leaving the skins on the potatoes when you mash them. When mashing potatoes, rather than adding butter or sour cream, try whipping the potatoes with skim or 1% milk or low / no fat sour cream or yogurt. Feel free to include two or three vegetables with your meal as long as they have been prepared with little or no fat. This can often be done by steaming, baking or cooking them in the microwave. Flavor can be added by using seasonings such as spices and herbs. When choosing vegetables, pick the ones that are the darkest in color to ensure maximum nutrition. Dark green vegetables (such as broccoli) and bright orange vegetables (such as carrots and sweet potatoes) are high in the antioxidant vitamins, folic acid and fibre. Antioxidants (as Vitamins A, C, and E) can be protective agents against heart disease and cancer. Folic acid may play a role in helping to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Salads are a great addition to any holiday meal. Be sure to choose a low fat dressing or ask your host to let you add your own so that you can control the amount. To prevent loss of flavor and vitamins when cooking vegetables, try steaming vegetables in less water or using a steaming rack. If you do boil vegetables in water, save the water to make gravy. Stuffing If you have stuffing with your meat dish and the recipe calls for meat or giblets, replace half of the meat with dried fruits such as cranberries, raisins or apricots. This turns an everyday recipe into a colorful and seasonal dish. Rather than cooking stuffing inside of poultry or a roast, cook the stuffing in a casserole dish or aluminum foil in the oven. This will reduce the amount of fat in the stuffing considerably. Gravy Making gravy from a low fat broth rather than the drippings from poultry or a roast is a good way to reduce fat. If your gravy recipe calls for milk, make sure to use skim milk. If you choose to use drippings for your gravy, pour or skim the fat off the top of the drippings before using. This can be done easily by letting the drippings get cold and, when the fat has become hard, take it off with a spoon. Or, when the drippings are cool, you can also add ice cubes, to which the fat will stick. Remove the ice cubes before making the gravy. Cranberry Sauce Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Unfortunately much of the Vitamin C content is lost in the canning process. Luckily homemade cranberry sauce is easy to prepare and the nutrients are retained. Try using cranberry sauce on your turkey instead of gravy. When making cranberry sauce, add sugar after cooking the cranberries to maintain the tenderness of the skin. You may also want to substitute some artificial sweetener for some of the sugar in your cranberry sauce recipe. Dessert Dinner may be very filling, but what is a holiday feast without eating dessert? Try to make 'wise' dessert choices rather than deny yourself, have a smaller portion and savor every mouthful. Here are some healthy suggestions: Angel food cake contains little or no fat and can make a great dessert when served with fruits such as strawberries, raspberries or a fresh fruit salad. When making pumpkin pie – use evaporated skim milk and top with low fat or fat free ice cream or frozen yogurt. Also try our "crust-less pumpkin pie" Mix applesauce with mincemeat to reduce the amount of fat and serve with frozen low fat or fat free yogurt. When you have choices, opt for desserts that are lower in fat and sugar. For example, if faced with a plate of cookies, you may decide to choose the sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies over shortbread cookies as they tend to be lower in fat. Beverages Mulled cider or our low-fat eggnog are a good alternative to high fat eggnog. If you choose to have egg nog, have a smaller amount and dilute it with skim milk or use low fat or fat free eggnog. Diet carbonated sodas can make a very festive drink when added to your favorite fruit juice -- try cranberry or grape juice with soda. Nonalcoholic or de-alcoholized wines are improving all the time and make a great alternative for the holidays. By following these eating tips during the holidays, you are sure to avoid gaining 'too much' weight due to unhealthy food choices. Remember to enjoy yourself, and family. You can always sweat a couple pounds After the Holidays.
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