Use It or Lose It: An Active Mind is a Healthy Mind

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Couple playing chess in living room smiling

When we think about our health and fitness, we usually think about our muscles and bones and our heart, and everything we need to do to keep them working in top form. But did you know that your brain is a muscle too?

Often, the memory loss and loss of mental acuity associated with aging is not a natural part of aging at all. It’s simply a result of not staying mentally active. The old saying is true: use it or lose it!

To keep your mind active and healthy, here are some ways you can challenge it.

It is easy to keep your mind busy and to come up with activities to keep it functioning at a high level. When you do a physical activity and exercise, you’re not only challenging your muscles, you’re challenging your mind too. Playing mind games that encourage you to think is another technique. Even learning a new skill can challenge your mind. This could be the perfect time to sign up for that class you always wanted to take but couldn’t justify spending the time. Here are some more ideas.

1) Start scrapbooking. Not only does scrapbooking challenge your mind to think creatively, it reinforces those memory skills. It will also keep your interest and train your brain to focus on an activity for a length of time.

2) Play games. Crosswords puzzles, Sudoku, checkers or chess can challenge your mind too. These mind games force you to look at things from different perspectives, which is a brain-building activity.

3) Exercise. We’ve mentioned that exercise is a good way to challenge your brain. Activities like Pilates and Yoga are gentle on the body but they also require a great degree of mental focus. Exercise your brain while you move your body. Going for a walk or taking a low-impact aerobics class is also a great brain workout.

4) Get together with your friends. Socializing is not only enjoyable, it’s a mental activity. As we get older, we sometimes lose connections with family and friends. Now you have one more reason to meet with them – to keep your mind active. If they aren’t able to meet with you, look for a group or club you can join for some social interaction. Experts recommend engaging in social activities at least once a week, possibly more.

5) Find a hobby. Engaging in a hobby you enjoy can also keep the mind sharp. It might be gardening, woodworking, or even writing your memoirs. The important thing is that you do it. You will have fun and also keep your mind healthy.

Looking after your mind is an important part of your overall health and fitness. By challenging your brain with some of the above ideas, you will keep your mind active. An active mind is a healthy mind.

The Best Ways To Burn Fat

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Training with barbells

The best ways to burn fat will be different for each unique individual, as we all have different metabolisms, and different physical characteristics. Nevertheless, there are some common principles which can be applied to anyone, and it these that we shall concentrate on here. The methods given here are tested over time, and among the best ways to burn fat.

Method 1
The most obvious form of exercise you can perform is still one of the best ways to burn fat, and that is simple running. This running can be done indoors on a treadmill, but you will probably burn more calories by getting outside. If you do your running in the countryside, across country and often on hilly terrain, you will be working your body hard, and in a healthy environment.

Method 2
There is no doubt that skipping is one of the best ways to burn fat, if not the best. Successive generations of boxers have incorporated skipping into their daily schedule, and these are people who can afford to be at anything below peak fitness. If you practice skipping for twenty minutes, you will probably find it the hardest 20 minutes of your training career!

Method 3
One of the best ways to burn fat is to know what you are setting out to do All physical exercise takes effort and determination, and you are far more likely to succeed if you can know what you have to do to reach your target. On average you need to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat. There is also a formula which says if you multiply your weight in pounds by 13, you will find out the number of calories it will take for you to stay at your current weight. If you play around with the numbers a little, you can get an idea of how many calories you need to be taking in each day to lose the fat you want to lose. From these formulae, you can work out a reasonable plan for burning fat and losing weight.

Method 4
The best ways to burn fat will always be ways you are likely to stick with, so if you are keen on intense sport, take advantage of this. Even if you only perform the activity in short bursts, you will still be burning calories. There is a lot of running and exertion involved in virtually any sport, and most have practice drills which you can perform alone. Doing something which gives you a challenge, and which you find satisfying, will give you the drive to push through the bad times and carry on.

These four methods are the best ways to burn fat.

Seven Ways To Maximize Your Fat Burning In The Gym

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Woman and man working out at gym

Hey, we all want to shed some pounds and get back to the body that we had when we were younger and didn’t appreciate it but it takes discipline, planning, and dedication to make that happen. All too often people shed 10 or 15 pounds and then seem to stop losing weight. There is definitely a reason this happens and it should not be seen as failure or an excuse to give up on your weight loss goals. Here are 7 absolutely killer ways to maximize your fat burning routine and help ensure success with your weight loss goals.

1. Anaerobic Exercise

If you think you can just run laps or pedal that fat away, think again. Muscle tissue is what burns the most calories in our bodies and you need to life weights in order to create bigger muscles that will burn more calories. Now although aerobic exercises such as cycling or swimming are also necessary, the fact remains that building bigger muscles is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. This is because you are creating a more efficient calorie burning machine by lifting weights which will ensure you success with your weight loss goals.

2. Warm-up and Cool Down

Warming up before exercising and taking the time to cool down afterwards with some light exercises are not generally seen as essential to a fat burning program. However, the reason why a lot of people tend to give up on their weight loss goals is because they failed to see the progress they hoped for when they began. An injury, even one that only lasts for a few days, can set your weight loss goals back by weeks and lead to a loss of stimulation. You need to plan an extra twenty minutes into your weight lifting routine for these two essential activities or you risk injury and derailing your weight loss plan.

3. Diet, Diet, Diet

This should not be a killer way to maximize your weight loss goals but it is. The reason for this is because people tend to think of losing weight in two ways: diet, or exercise. Hey, these two go hand in hand and you are never going to maximize your fat burning routine in the gym unless you take care of your body outside of the gym. Stop thinking of meals in terms of three: instead, think 5 meals with smaller portions. The FDA recently developed a new food pyramid with this very idea in mind and you should check it out before starting your fat burning program because it can save you a lot of time and energy if you get the diet part figured out before even stepping into the gym.

4. Plan Workouts

The body is the most complex machine on the planet and you can’t just hope to step into a gym and jump on a machine or some weights and think that you are going to see the results you want without knowing how they affect your body. The ideal exercise routine is done only 3 or 4 times per week and only for 30-45 minutes at a time. You cannot work your body more than this because it will actually cause your muscles to break down which means you will be burning fewer calories, and therefore, not maximizing your fat burning routine in the gym. If you have any doubts about what kind of routine is ideal for your goals, don’t be afraid to consult an physical trainer to help you set up a program that is best suited for you.

5. Nutritional Supplements

If you really want to maximize your fat burning routine in the gym, then you need to consider using nutritional supplements. Now I am not talking about those crazy supplements that promise to burn fat for you while you sit and watch tv! I am talking about essential fatty acids, amino acids, whey protein….things that will truly maximize your workouts that you can’t always expect to get in the foods you eat every day. Again, consult a physical trainer if you want to know which supplements are best for your weight loss goals.

6. Set Weekly Goals

I know that this just seems terribly obvious but the truth is that most people are not thrilled with the idea of working out so it is easy for them to skip a session or indulge in some pizza and think that they will make up for it next time. Listen, next time never comes and when you stop seeing the scales go down, the motivation just seems to stop. By setting weekly goals, you can track your progress and make it that much more likely that you will adhere to the goals when you see things are not going as expected.

7. No More Late Night Snacks

This one may not seem to make sense, but I assure you that it will help maximize your fat burning exercises. The reason is your metabolism. When you eat right before you go to bed, it throws your body off and you probably notice that you awaken and don’t feel hungry. Then, you skip breakfast entirely or only snack on a bagel or something on you way into work.

The result: the body goes into conservation mode. This means that it slows down your metabolism and that means you are burning less calories throughout the day. Plus, it increases the likelihood of snacking and basically just sets the scene for a bad cycle. Eating five smaller portioned meals per day also has to do with your metabolism as it has been found that metabolism remains highest when there is a consistent supply of food in the body. You might not believe that late night snacking affects the way your body burns fat when working out, but it does.

Now some of the things listed above are obvious while some just seem silly. And yet, taken together and consistently adhered to, these 7 little ideas will maximize your fat burning in the gym and get you to that body you can see in your mind but not the mirror far quicker than if you just go about things in a disorganized and inconsistent manner.