5 Useful Health & Fitness Products Now and After the Pandemic

Hard to imagine but we’ll soon be ending a year of dealing with this tragic pandemic. One of the by-product of this is we’re more motivated to work at staying healthy and strong for 2021. The following list of health & fitness products will shed some light on a few additional ways to stay fit this year.

One of the more important areas where many need help is with nutrition. Healthy eating during stressful times has a tendency to go out the window. When the body gets stressed, a hormone known as cortisol is released. “Cortisol shunts sugar and fats into our bloodstream” and as a result, makes us crave sugar and fat-rich foods. Now you understand why you get cravings for sweets or junk food. Cortisol is important because it’s needed to regulate metabolism while helping the body to also manage stress.

This hormone, known as the stress hormone, “directs us to store visceral fat rather than subcutaneous fat” according to Professor Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University and author of the new book, “Exercised”. A little cortisol in the body is normal. Chronic low levels of it, however, “are damaging because they promote obesity and chronic inflammation”.

Give More Attention to Nutrition

Over the past year, eating poorly, less exercise, minimal sleep, and feeling stressed-out, have become the new norm. After almost a year of dealing with with the pandemic, and everything that comes with it, we are starting to witness changes in our body. Both physical and mental changes that are just a few of the many by-products via the pandemic.

One of the best ways to help yourself with all of this is to get your diet under control. You can do this by starting to record what you eat. Do this for 5-7 days and include a weekend. Be honest with your food tracking. Use one of the many nutrition apps on the market to help analyze your macronutrient intake. You may be surprised at what you’re actually eating. This can act as a first step to begin to get things under control. Make sure you take a look at your daily added sugar intake while you’re at it. Here are some suggestions to help get you started: Myfitnesspal, LoseIt, Lifesum, MyPlate and Fooducate. These are five of the better health & fitness products when it comes to nutrition apps.

In addition, think about moving to a plant-based diet or a better way of eating, like following a Mediterranean diet, can end up being good for overall health. They each come with a ton of research showing this type of eating can, among other things, bolster your immune system. Lastly, work on adding more fruit & vegetables to your diet, in case you’re not interested in the diets mentioned above. It is a great, inexpensive way, to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Specifically, more Vitamin A, B12, B9, Vitamin C, D, and zinc. A pill or a handful of vitamins will not have the same effect.

Some of the Best Health & Fitness Products – Meditation Apps

Find time to engage in this because it will undoubtedly help to manage your stress. Honestly, it’s one of the best health & fitness items on our list. Finding even a few minutes a day to shut things down to “reboot” and “reset” via meditation will do wonders for your overall health. There are many meditation apps you can download to your phone, two of the best ones are Headspace and Calm. They are both great as an introduction into the therapeutic world of meditation.

Another side avenue to explore is listening to a good podcast during your walk or run outside. Millions of people already know that a good podcast is a great way to create “headspace” not to mention, it keeps the listener informed on topics of interest. For me, listening to “The Daily” published by the New York Times, fits the bill.

Add Bouts of Weekly Recovery

Restoration or “recovery” is needed just as much as a vigorous workout, especially if you’re training hard or a bit older. Recovery can mean different things to different people, but basically the goal is to commit time each day to work on restoring your body. It may come in the form of foam rolling pre/post workout, a therapeutic massage, cryotherapy, or maybe a myofascial release session from a qualified physical therapist. Maybe it’s as simple as having a good old fashion foot soak with epsom salt for 30-minutes one evening to treat your neglected feet. When is the last time you did that? The body also benefits from a good stretch or mobility session. Try an online yoga class or something totally out of your realm to help restore your body. You get the idea. Now is the best time to work on self-betterment.

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Exercise Outside: Solvitur Ambulando

We are probably all sitting a little too much these past few months. Make time to get out and exercise. “The total time Americans spend sitting has increased 43 percent between 1965 and 2009”. One of my favorite and most used apps on my phone is called All Trails. It shows the best spots to hike, bike or run – no matter where you’re located or traveling in the U. S. – check it out and find a great course or trail that you never tried in your area. It is also perfect to use when you’re not really familiar with the area while on vacation or away on a business trip. Remember, solvitur ambulando, meaning, it is cured with walking.

Use Jefit App to Track & Assess Your Workouts and More

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts to shake things up a bit. Stay strong with Jefit.

We hope by incorporating some of these options into your lifestyle, they in turn, end up helping you on multiple levels (i.e. improving mind/body/spirit). For the most part our list of health & fitness products are inexpensive ways to improve the way you look and feel.

Reference

Lieberman, D., Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Pantheon Books: New York, 2020.

All You Need To Know For Effective Fat Loss

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If you want to lose body fat, you’re not alone. However, effective fat loss can seem impossible at times, especially if you try to overcomplicate things. Many magazines, articles, Instagram “experts” and YouTubers like to share their opinions on the matter, and this can make it seem even more complicated. Below, you’ll find four simple things that you need to remember for effective fat loss. Stick to them, and it’ll work for you too.

Find a Type Of Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is important but not the most important aspect of fat loss, believe it or not. However, it can help, and a ton of additional benefits come with it, too. Finding a type of exercise you enjoy will make it so much easier. Switch it up and just have fun. 

Get Your NEAT Up 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is the energy your body uses for movement other than exercise. Len Kravitz, PhD, defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and talking – all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life.” It is basically the “micro” exercise you do each day while going about your daily activities. By walking more and aiming to be more active day to day, it will, collectively, make a big difference.

In one research study it was determined that lean subjects (higher NEAT level) expend approximately 350 more calories a day (i.e. walking and standing) when compared to obese subjects (lower NEAT level). That amount of calories over the course of one year (with all other factors being equal) would equate to a weight-loss of 36.5 pounds!

Control Sleep and Stress 

Sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours a night, and keep your stress levels under control. Look after yourself and get into a routine with it. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep.

Eat a Balanced Diet 

The most important aspect of fat loss is how you eat. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. Fad diets should be avoided, and instead, a balanced, healthy eating approach should be taken.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

Causes of Back Pain as Explained by Orthopedic Surgeon

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Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. Back pain is the sixth most costly condition in the United States. While many of us think of slipped and herniated discs as the many causes of back pain, there are other lesser known causes of back pain. Dr. Gbolahan Okubadejo is an NYC area spinal and orthopedic surgeon who explains how less obvious culprits can affect the back. He is the head of The Institute for Comprehensive Spine Care and is Board-certified and fellowship-trained. Dr. Okubadejo specializes in the treatment of degenerative spinal disease, spinal deformity, and cervical, lumbar, and thoracic conditions. Here are eight causes of back pain that are not as well known according to Dr. Gbolahan, who is also the developer of 360CoreBoard.

Causes of Back Pain: Kidney Stones

Kidney conditions may cause back pain because the kidneys are located toward the back of your body at the level of your mid-back. Kidney stones are small pieces of calcium that form in the kidney. Many people have kidney stones and are never aware of them, as they are small enough to be passed with urination. However, larger kidney stones that grow in size over time can cause excruciating pain as the body tries to work the stone out of the narrow ureter
Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as “brittle bone disease,” in that increased bone weakness over time leaves bones more susceptible to breaking. You may think of osteoporosis as something that happens to older women. It is true that osteoporosis is most common in older women, but men may have osteoporosis as well. As the bones lose density, or mass, they become weak and more likely to break. The bones of your lower back might break even without any obvious injury, causing lower back pain.
Stress
When you’re stressed, your breathing patterns change and cause strain and tension in the mid-back. Your shoulders hunch up and cause pain throughout the upper and middle back. Low-back pain includes the tailbone and lower half of the back muscles. These muscles affect flexibility and posture.
Sedentary Lifestyles
Many of us spend a lot of our waking hours on our behinds thanks to jobs that have us in front of computers all day. But unfortunately, such a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of chronic low back pain. The answer is to stretch and get moving!

Additional Causes of Back Pain: Poor Posture

Poor posture can either cause lower back pain or make it worse. This doesn’t only mean slouching or slumping at your desk; poor posture could also include leaning on one leg while you stand, or walking with your bottom so far out you have an arch in your lower back. While these postures aren’t inherently “poor” for a moment in time, maintaining these positions for prolonged periods can increase the strain on the muscles and ligaments around the lumbar spine.
Excess Body Weight
Every extra pound adds strain to back muscles and ligaments. Over time, the spine can become tilted and develop an unnatural curvature. Research has shown that obesity poses more than a mechanical stressor on joints: excess body fat also produces chemicals that contribute to joint damage.
Lesser Known Causes of Back Pain: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome is that dull, persistent, crampy, achy pain in, under, and around your sacrum (the area of your back between your hips). PMS-related back pain is a visceral pain — one that comes from a body organ (your uterus) instead of from one of the structures of the back. As your uterus cramps, the pain is referred to your back, and you can have back cramps.
Pregnancy
Lower back pain is one of the many common discomforts of pregnancy. As the weight and size of your baby (and your belly) increase, there is a tendency to tilt the pelvis forward, exaggerating the curve of the lumbar spine. This posture, called lordosis, puts strain on the lower back muscles and may even cause impingement of the sciatic nerve (sciatica). Pregnancy-related back pain can be relieved by strengthening core muscles, maintaining proper posture, and wearing an abdominal support garment meant for use in pregnancy.

Back pain can show up in many different areas of the body. Hopefully these eight lesser known causes can lend a better understanding to those who are dealing with acute or chronic back pain. Stay strong with Jefit!

Amazing Health Benefits of Exercise During This Unprecedented Time

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What can you do to keep you and your family safe during this extremely stressful time? We now know wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing improves our chances of staying healthy. The health benefits of exercise coupled with the above advice may be just the answer. We have been looking to put a dent in this pandemic as a CV-19 resurgence is brewing. This might be just the one two punch needed to knock this pandemic out for good.

The following is a look at just a few of the many health benefits of exercise. Many of us are sadly experiencing more stress since March 11, 2020. The cumulative effect of all this stress is obviously not healthy for the body. A recent study showed younger people are not exercising at a rate as pre-pandemic. One group, however, that is not part of this inactive group, are individuals sixty-five and older. They are finding time to exercise in record number. How about the rest of us?

Take Advantage of the Many Health Benefits of Exercise

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Exercise Improves Mood and Mental Health

During each exercise session, the body releases chemicals like endorphins and dopamine that improve our mood and make us feel more relaxed. Another chemical you may not have heard much about is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts not only as a growth factor, it also promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells. As a result, regular exercise helps you manage stress better and reduce your risk of depression.

“People suffering from depression are 2.5 times more likely to have experienced stressful life events. Exercise appears to help buffer these negative life events,” according to the authors of the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

Regular Exercise Will Improve Sleep

As I’m sure any physician or exercise expert will tell you, sleep is a critical component for mind and body restoration. With an inadequate amount of sleep, the body will eventually have issues with the recovery and building processes from that days workout. It has a lot to do with your central nervous system (CNS). When the body goes away from getting optimal amount of sleep – no matter what the reasons – the CNS does not get time to fully “recharge” or recover. Why is this even important? Because your CNS is responsible for reaction time and initiating muscle contractions and much more. As a result, the body becomes slower and will feel weaker in workouts.

Health Benefits of Exercise: Studies Demonstrate if You “Do It” You Live Longer

Author Dan Beuttner of the Blue Zones has spent most of his career studying populations that live longer. The different “blue zones” that he studies are areas from around the world where people were 3 times more likely to reach 100 years old who followed a series of strategies. Two of the more important were the types of food someone ate on a regular basis and daily activity.

Walking more is associated with longer life. Adults who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared to those who walked 4,000 steps a day as reported by researchers in a JAMA study. Not into walking but you like to run? A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported any amount of running, even once a week, was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Regular Strength Training Keeps You Healthy

One of the first things you think of when strength training comes to mind is muscle. When done correctly, strength training builds additional muscle mass. This in turn keeps someone healthier and more functional, especially as they age. The health benefits of exercise – especially strength training – include increased bone strength as well. Remember, that tendons connect muscle to bone. As we lift weights, the resistance creates a “pulling” effect on the tendon that consequently pulls on the bones making them stronger over time.

Data from a 2017 study looking at more than 28,000 women from the Women’s Health Study showed “a moderate amount (≈1–145 minutes/week) of strength training was associated with lower risk of all‐cause mortality compared with 0 minutes/week, independent of aerobic activity.” In a second systematic review study of 1430 studies, showed resistance training was associated with a 21 percent lower all-cause mortality and that number more than doubles when aerobic exercise is added. According to the authors, “resistance training is associated with lower mortality and appears to have an additive effect when combined with aerobic exercise.”

There probably has not been a more important time to either start or maintain your exercise routine. The benefit of reducing stress alone should be enough to make you exercise most days of the week. Try using the Jefit app to help make your life a bit easier as well. The award-winning app will help you plan, record and track your strength training sessions. Stay strong especially during these stressful times!

7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises to Calm Your Mind

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One of the best benefits of exercise is that it reduces stress. Whether you are smashing out a boxing class or going for a run, your body releases endorphins that can take away stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling calmer and happier. Especially in this busy, on-the-go lifestyle that so many of us lead, it is so important to give yourself that mental break and get active. So, here are the best stress-relieving exercises to leave you stress-free.

The 7 Best Stress-Relieving Exercises

1. Yoga

When you think about reducing stress through exercise, most people tend to steer towards the intense, fast-paced activities. While there is definitely room for that (and we will get to them later), there is also a place for yoga. Yoga is the opposite, and it is this reason why it is a great stress-reliever. It calms your mind by helping you focus on your breathing and helps you find your serenity.

It is a mind-body practice that can really help your sense of wellbeing, along with all the other physical benefits as well such as improved flexibility, posture, and strength.

2. Boxing

If you’re stressed, why not box it away? Often, we can hold in our anger and anxieties, which is very unhealthy to do. Boxing gives us a safe place to reduce our stress while letting us get in our exercise. Plus, it teaches us new skills as well.

Punching that punching bag as hard as you can stimulate the production of endorphins, helping you feel better instantly. Many people like to picture the source of their stress as the punching bag, which amps up the intensity, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises!

3. HIIT

HIIT has so many great mental health benefits, as well as physical ones. It consists of alternating between vigorous exercises with rest periods in between. Because it is shorter than the average workout class, it is very high in intensity. And once you get into your HIIT class, you’ll be too busy focusing on your exercises to even worry about whatever is stressing you out. And once the class is over, your endorphins will be running high and you will feel much better than when you started.

4. Group Training

Whatever group training exercise you enjoy, whether it is HIIT, aerobics, Zumba, it is one of the best stress-relieving exercises. This is because you will be surrounded by your friends who are also looking to get fit and healthy too. Being in a social environment and with people, you enjoy being with can really lift your mood and make you feel much better.

5. Desk Stretches

Sometimes, you’ll be really stressed out at work and you can’t leave. When this happens, try some of the best stress-relieving exercises at your desk:

Seated twist – You don’t even have to get up from your chair to do this one. Remain seated with your feet planted on the ground. Then twist the top half of your body to the left. Hold for 5 seconds, breathing in and out deeply before switching to the other side. This helps to relax the back muscles and elongates your spine, really helpful to clear your stress and reset your body after being seated all day.

Touch your toes – Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stretch both hands all the way up to the ceiling, really feeling the stretch in your back. Then fall forward to touch your toes (or however far you can reach) in a forward fold. Then inhale and stand back up, swinging your arms above you again and repeat. This will help to calm your mind and relieve your stress.

Pec stretch – You can remain seated or standing for this one. Bring your hands behind your head and clasp your fingers. Bring your elbows back as far as you can and squeeze. Hold it for a few breaths before releasing the tension and repeat. This is an easy one to do throughout the day, that loosens your pectoral muscles.

6. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is very gentle and meditative in practice, making it one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do. It is based on the concept of qi (your energy flow) and works to balance both your physical and mental forces. Not only can it help tone your body and promote better balance but it reduces your stress and anxiety so you will be left with a calm and peaceful mind.

7. Running

There is a reason why people tend to put on their running shoes and go for a run when they are feeling restless or anxious. There is something therapeutic about running, getting into the rhythm with your steps and breathing. Whether you do it outdoors or on the treadmill, running is one of the best stress-relieving exercises you can do.

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that comes with a customizable workout planner and scheduler. It helps you keep track of your progress so that you know you are heading in the right direction towards your fitness goals. It also comes with an extensive exercise library so you can choose what exercises suit you. Join our members-only Facebook page as well, so you can stay connected to your fellow Jefit members!