Fitness & Wellness

The Importance Of Strength Training

The Importance Of Strength Training

Running is a great exercise, but if that’s all you’re doing, it’s not enough. You need four types of training to be fit. You need cardio, flexibility, balance, and strength training. All of them play a vital role in your health. People often overlook strength training because they think it causes big bulging muscles. The fact is you have to train specifically to do that. It’s hard for men to do and almost impossible for women. It offers many benefits to people of all ages, including seniors.

Obesity is a killer, and strength training can fight it.

Many people think of cardio as a calorie torcher, and they’d be right. However, the calories it burns come from both muscle and fat tissue. Burning muscle tissue can be counterproductive. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain, so the more you have, the more calories you burn 24/7. Strength-building also burns a lot of calories, but it builds muscle tissue at the same time, boosting your efforts to shed extra pounds.

Strength training can prevent osteoporosis and build bone density.

After the mid-30s, people start losing muscle mass. Sarcopenia is naturally occurring unless you do something to prevent it. That something is strength training. Why would you try to prevent it? The more muscle mass you lose, the more potential you have for bone loss. When the muscles tug on the bones, the body sends calcium to the bones to strengthen them. If that tugging doesn’t occur, the bones lose calcium. Maintaining muscle mass as you age can keep you independent longer and help prevent injuries from falling.

Get rid of belly fat when you do strength training.

Belly fat—visceral fat—is the most dangerous type of fat. Unlike subcutaneous fat that’s just below the top layer of skin, visceral fat is deep inside and it crowds the organs. It can cause inflammation, breathing, cause insulin resistance, and generally affect overall health. It’s also the hardest type of fat to lose. Strength training can help eliminate visceral fat, which makes you healthier and improves your overall appearance.

  • Whether you’re premenopausal, menopausal, or postmenopausal, hormonal imbalances can affect your health and weight. Strength-building exercises can help realign your hormones.
  • If back pain plagues you, start doing strength training. As you build your core muscles and get stronger, it relieves back pain. It strengthens the core muscles and improves overall posture.
  • Strength training builds muscles and tendons that can ease joint pain. It helps lubricate the joints by increasing synovial fluid. The synovial fluid cushions the joints, lubricates, and brings nutrients to the joints.
  • Strength training improves heart health, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reduces blood sugar levels. It improves mental health. Therapists use it as an adjunct therapy for depression and anxiety.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Get Pain Relief From Arthritis Naturally

Get Pain Relief From Arthritis Naturally

People in Winter Haven, FL, often look for natural alternatives to harsh medications for arthritic pain relief. It’s not that they don’t believe in modern science, it’s that they follow the less is more approach to pain relief for arthritis. If you can find a healthy alternative that reduces or eliminates the need for prescription or OTC drugs, why not use it? There are convincing studies that show diet and exercise can help and provide other benefits for the body.

Reducing arthritis pain might be as simple as a guided exercise program.

When your joints hurt, nothing about exercising is appealing, but it’s one thing most healthcare professionals feel will help. Exercise triggers the body’s natural painkiller and stimulates circulation. It strengthens muscles and ligaments to help relieve pressure on the joints and improves bone strength and balance. It improves flexibility and reduces stiffness. Exercise improves the movement of the synovial fluid in the joints which provides nutrients and cushioning of the joints. A personal trainer can create a low-impact exercise program that can help reduce or eliminate the pain.

What you eat can make a difference.

Cruciferous vegetables should be part of everyone’s diet, but especially those with arthritis. These vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. The sulforaphane in crucifers can slow cartilage damage. Include food with omega-3 fatty acids, too. These include flaxseed, salmon, walnuts, and tuna. Increasing omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation. Other foods providing joint pain relief are tart cherry juice and blueberries. Both are high in anthocyanin which is also anti-inflammatory.

Adding spices to your cooking can bring relief.

Sprinkle turmeric on your food to get the benefits of this anti-inflammatory herb. It has a mild taste that you’ll barely notice but can help relieve your pain. It’s the curcumin in the turmeric that brings the benefits. In India, it’s been used for centuries to help treat arthritic pain. Adding garlic to food also helps with many ailments, including inflammation. The diallyl disulfide in the garlic even shows promise to rebuild cartilage. Food high in vitamin C can also reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.

  • When you exercise to help reduce arthritic pain, it also helps you remain more flexible, builds your endurance, and improves your sleep at night. Lack of sleep can make arthritic pain feel even worse.
  • If you’re overweight, losing weight can help bring arthritic relief, especially in the knees and hips. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help with that.
  • Getting out in the sun to boost your vitamin D also provides a big benefit. Take off your shoes and walk on the grass barefoot. It’s a technique known as grounding that can soothe pain and help you relax.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional before changing your diet or starting an exercise program. Never stop medication before you discuss it with your healthcare.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Make This Your Healthiest Year Yet!

Make This Your Healthiest Year Yet!

There’s no better time to start a goal than the first of the year. It’s a chance to renew and dedicate yourself to your goals and dreams. For some people, it’s a financial goal and for others, it’s to make it the healthiest year ever. How do you achieve any goal? First, you have to write it down in terms that are concise, measurable, and realistic. Having a timeline can prevent procrastination. Start by ensuring your goal is realistic.

How are you going to make this the healthiest year ever?

With a few exceptions, everyone has something they can do to live a healthier lifestyle. What is your biggest health nemesis? Is it excess weight? Smoking? Lack of exercise? Whatever it is, precisely identifying your biggest problem will give you a starting point. It helps provide direction. If you’re overweight, how many pounds do you need to lose? If you need to get more exercise, how much is more?

How are you going to achieve it?

Achieving any goal is all about being consistent. If you want to be healthy, you can’t eat broccoli at one meal and think you’ve accomplished your goal. Focus on how you’ll incorporate your goal consistently into your lifestyle. Is getting fit your goal? Put regular exercise into your schedule as you would with any important appointment. If eating healthier is your goal, start meal planning or take a smaller step like eliminating food with added sugar might be your answer. Is weight loss a goal? How much are you going to lose?

Break down big goals into smaller ones.

Weight loss is probably the most popular goal. A realistic goal is to lose one to two pounds a week. Just divide the number of pounds by two for two pounds a week and you’ll find how many weeks it will take. If it’s 30 pounds, at two pounds a week it will take 15 weeks. That gives you a roadmap on how to reach your ultimate goal. You’ll also have to create a plan of action on how to achieve that goal. Are you going to focus on healthy eating? Is exercising the route you’ll take? If you want to get the best results, do both. Don’t forget to include a method of tracking your success.

  • Decide how you’ll measure your success and how you’ll know you reached your goal. You can measure your endurance by climbing stairsteps or using a health marker, like lower blood pressure.
  • Every journey starts by taking the first step. Don’t procrastinate. Take action. If you want to be fit, move more. You can start today by walking regularly as you create your written goals.
  • While you can reach a weight loss goal by eating healthier, adding exercise makes it even easier. You build muscle tissue and melt fat tissue when you workout regularly. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn 24/7.
  • We can help you define your goals and create a realistic plan of action that will help you reach them. We help you track your success and hold you accountable for sticking with your goals.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Most Effective Ab Workouts For A Strong Core

Most Effective Ab Workouts For A Strong Core

We focus on building strong core muscles at Habitat Health and Fitness in Lakeland, FL. We use ab workouts as one way of doing it. What are your core muscles and why are they important? They affect the health and fitness of your entire body. You maintain your balance by using your core muscles. Strong core muscles can also prevent back pain and improve posture. Improved posture leads to better digestion, fewer headaches, and the reduction of many other health issues. Core muscles include the pelvis, hips, lower back, and abs.

You can use equipment, like stability balls, or do bodyweight exercises.

The simplest way to do ab exercises is using bodyweight workouts. One toning and tightening exercise for the abs is the plank. Start by laying face down on a mat with your elbows bent and directly under your shoulders and your forearms pm the floor. Push your body up until your weight is on your forearms and toes. Your body should form a straight line. Hold that position as long as you can.

This core workout builds your core and eases back pain.

The bridge works your core muscles and your glutes. Do this core exercise if you want a flat belly and tight bottom. Lay on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Raise your hips off the floor until your body is in a straight line, angling down from your knees to your head. Slowly lower your body back down.

A hollow body hold can tone your entire core and build strong abs.

Lay on the floor with your legs extended and arms at your sides. Push your lower back into the floor as you squeeze your inner thighs to raise your legs two inches above the floor. Raise your head off the floor an inch or two as you extend your hands above and behind it. Hold both your hands and feet in the air for as long as possible. Start with a goal of 30 seconds and add to it. Lower your legs and shoulders back down into the starting position. You can modify this exercise by changing your arm position, bending your knees, or adding weight.

  • Ride a bicycle or do bicycles. Riding a bike requires using muscles for balance. The pumping motion works the core muscles. You can also do the bicycle callisthenic which provides similar benefits.
  • Burpees combine several moves that can work your abs and provide an aerobic workout. In a standing position, bend at the waist and knees to put your hands on the ground. Jump your feet backward to a plank. Then jump forward and straight up back to the starting position.
  • Do walking lunges with a modification. Raise your hands above your head to add difficulty and alter your balance. Trying to keep the body balanced works the core muscles. You can also twist your upper body as you walk to make it even harder.
  • Our semi-private training provides a program that provides the exercise you need to keep your body fit, including effective ab workouts.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


Easy Meals You Can Eat Any Time Of Day

Easy Meals You Can Eat Any Time Of Day

At Habitat Health and Fitness in Lakeland, FL, we focus on a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet. People often complain they don’t have the time to make healthy meals. Here are some easy meals you can eat at any time. They only take minutes to make but can fill you up, are nutritious, and are beneficial for weight loss.

Eggs are good any time of the day.

There are so many ways to make eggs besides sunnyside-up or over-easy. A favorite of mine is an egg casserole. It does take 35 minutes in the oven, but you can make it the night before and reheat individual servings in the microwave. Mix 12 eggs with a cup of milk, add 2 cups of chopped broccoli florets, a diced onion, a cup and a half of your cheese of choice, and ¼ tsp of both salt and pepper. Pour it into a greased 9X13 baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. There’s enough for 12 servings with 128 calories per serving.

Make a naan or other flatbread pizza.

Use a whole wheat flatbread to make this delicious and quick pizza you can eat any time. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking dish large enough to hold the naan with cooking spray. Mix 2 T of ricotta cheese, a tablespoon of pesto or marinara sauce, and a pinch of lemon zest. Spread it evenly on the naan, leaving a well in the center. Crack a large egg in the well and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Bake until the egg white sets and the cheese melts, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Make a roll-up or healthy toast for a quick meal.

You can make pinwheels or a roll-up for a quick meal. Heat a soft tortilla until it’s warm and spread it with nut butter. Put a whole banana near the bottom and roll it up. You can slice it in pinwheels or eat it whole. Avocado toast also takes minutes. Mash an avocado with lemon or lime juice until creamy. Spread it on toast and top with baby greens. Serve it with an egg and a side of fruit.

  • Try a spinach, feta, scrambled egg, and sundried tomato pesto pita pocket. Use frozen drained or fresh baby spinach. Cook until it’s hot. Scramble in the eggs. Mix in feta. Spread pesto inside of the pita and spoon in the mixture.
  • Don’t let leftover meat and veggies go to waste. Heat them in a skillet. Put a burrito shell in another skillet and top with the leftovers and some cheese. Roll-up burrito style.
  • A smoothie is quick if all the veggies and fruit are ready in the refrigerator. Just toss them in the blender and add some protein powder for a filling meal.
  • A salad roll-up can taste delicious. Load the salad with onions, red peppers, greens and veggies. Spread a tortilla with hummus and top it with the salad. Roll it up and slice it in rounds with dressing on the side for dipping.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


The Best Exercises For Already Athletic Men

The Best Exercises For Already Athletic Men

Athletic men and women often look for more challenging exercises so they can be their fittest and perform their best. These exercises are often variations of the ones in most workouts. If you are tired of trying to max out the number of push-ups you can do and want to make push-ups harder. The journey toward the perfect Aztec push-ups will meet your needs.

You need to learn several types of push-ups before you attempt the

To prepare for the Aztec push-up, learning a progression of push-up variations is a must. Start with the clapping push-up where you push up, lift your hands to clap, and land your palms on the ground to lower your body. Once you master that, move to the next level, a full-body explosive push-up where you push up with your hands and feet. There are several more challenging push-ups before you get to the Aztec variation. The X-push-up or shoulder tap, the explosive mountain pose, and the knee tap push-up are a few. Each one is demanding, so the process of doing the Aztec push-up will keep you challenged throughout.

If you feel like burpees are becoming easy, try a burpee box jump.

Choose a knee-high step or table that’s very strong. Start the burpee box jump traditionally, down to a squat, then into a high plank position. Lower your body by bending your elbow, then push your body back up and hop your legs underneath you to a standing position. Jump on the box, move to a squat position, then step off the box, and repeat from the start.

A one-arm ab roller can challenge your strength and balance.

To do the one-arm ab roller start with a dumbbell that rolls or an ab roller that lets you hold it in the center with weight on each side. Bend at the waist, keeping your feet together with the ab roller on the floor. Slowly slide the roller forward, keeping your other arm across your chest. Extend your body fully, barely touching your arm on the floor, then pull the roller toward your feet and move back to the starting position.

  • A Russian step-up looks simple but is extremely difficult. Start with a step that will bring your thigh up slightly lower than your hip. Step up with one foot and bring the other leg up with the thigh parallel to the ground.
  • If the burpee box jump isn’t tough enough for you, consider doing a one-legged burpee or a weighted burpee. You’ll hold a dumbbell in each hand when you do the weighted burpee.
  • If you’ve mastered the front lever hold, have good pulling strength, and can do weighted pull-ups, consider trying the front lever pull-up. It’s challenging, which is what many athletic people want.
  • At Habitat Health and Fitness, our personal trainers can prepare you for your sport or create a workout that will challenge your ability. The trainer will include the steps necessary to build the ultimate workout.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


How Exercise Can Help You Live Longer

How Exercise Can Help You Live Longer

Beautiful fit senior couple in gym working out, doing push ups.

Most people want to live longer, but they also include the qualifier,” and remain active and independent.” Quality of life is the key. When you exercise regularly, it increases both longevity and the quality of those added years. The old saying, “Exercise adds years to your life, and life to those years,” is true. How does exercise help? It reduces the risk of several life-threatening illnesses, including the number one cause of preventable deaths, obesity.

Exercise helps build new cells and protects the chromosomes.

Stem cell research has opened new medical doors. Most people think of fetal cells when they hear stem cells, but your body continues to create them, no matter how old you are. The key is to remain active. The more active you are, the more stem cells you create. Stem cells are cells used to replace dying and damaged cells. Before knee replacement or other orthopedic surgery, many surgeons suggest increased activity to boost stem cell production. Exercise also helps protect older cells and extends their life by protecting the chromosomes. Each cell has a telomere that prevents the chromosomes from unraveling. It acts similar to aglets on the end of shoelaces. Exercise extends the telomeres to add longer protection.

When you exercise, you increase circulation.

Increased circulation provides more nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It improves respiratory efficiency and strengthens the heart. Like any muscle, the heart gets stronger the more you exercise it. Exercise also keeps the joints lubricated and muscles flexible. It affects your digestive process in several ways. Movement improves the passage of food through your digestive tract. Exercise also improves the balance of microbes in the microbiome. Exercise can help control obesity, which increases the risk of many life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure.

Exercising regularly keeps you younger and less prone to injury.

Whether it’s strength-building, flexibility, balance, or endurance, all types of exercise make you less prone to injury. It can help prevent muscle pulls and sprains and reduce falls. Weight-bearing exercise can strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis. Exercise also reduces stress, which adds to aging. It boosts circulation to improve your skin and keep it looking younger. It puts pep in your step, so you’ll look and feel younger, too.

  • You can increase your activity level by taking walks or getting guidance in a group, semi-private, or private sessions with a personal trainer. Trainers design programs that meet your needs.
  • No matter what your physical shape, exercise is beneficial for almost all people of all ages. Always check with your healthcare professional first before starting an exercise program.
  • Increasing your steps to 10,000 a day can reduce mortality risk by 40%. Even if you only increase them as little as 3,000 extra steps a day, it can reduce mortality significantly.
  • Exercise brings relief to people with arthritis pain and other joint pain. It can help reduce back pain and prevent it. It lowers blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol levels.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness


How To Tell If I'm Dehydrated

How To Tell If I’m Dehydrated

Knowing the signs of dehydration is vital in Lakeland, FL, in all seasons, especially during the cooler months when you’re less likely to think you can get dehydrated. You might carry water everywhere, but if you’re not sipping on it frequently, it does your body no good. Each person’s symptoms will vary. Knowing all the symptoms helps you identify the problem and take action before it develops into a life-threatening issue.

If you feel exhausted, before getting coffee, drink some water.

Dehydration can leave you wiped out and ready to lay down. A cup of coffee can help because it provides the liquid your body needs. A bottle or glass of water is better. It contains no caffeine to make you jittery and doesn’t act as a diuretic, leading to future dehydration. When you drink water, if dehydration is the problem, you’ll feel a lift almost immediately. Dehydration can cause a headache, too. The brain has a high percentage of fluid. Fluid protects both the brain and central nervous system. Take a glass of water first and see if that helps before taking a pain reliever.

One simple test is the color of your urine.

The color of urine should be a light straw yellow. If it’s dark yellow to brown, it’s a sign you’re dehydrated. Clear urine is a sign you’ve overhydrated. No matter how simple the test is, you may not have enough urine to check if you’re dehydrated. It is one sign in babies and toddlers that mothers can identify easily. If there’s little moisture on the diaper and fewer changes, dehydration may be a problem.

Dehydration affects your blood pressure.

When you’re dehydrated, your blood pressure can increase or drop. The change in blood pressure is the indicator. Some people experience a sudden drop in blood pressure due to low blood volume. Others show an increase in blood pressure. That occurs because the body produces more vasopressin. Vasopressin constricts blood vessels to ensure an adequate flow. The thicker blood due to lack of fluid and constricted vessels causes a rise in blood pressure. It’s a rebound reaction to help prevent fainting. Look for signs of abnormally low or abnormally high blood pressure.

  • Dry cracked or chapped lips can indicate dehydration. The skin turgor test is another simple way to check. Take a pinch of skin on the forearm or abdomen and release it. If it takes a while to return to normal, it’s dehydration.
  • Your sleep-wake cycle may be affected by dehydration. It can shorten the cycle or cause you to awaken mid-cycle with a feeling of doom. If you wake up tired, drink more water earlier in the evening.
  • If your joints ache, they may be telling you to drink something. The fluid in the joints protects them and prevents bones from rubbing together, which causes joints to ache. It can lead to future damage.
  • If you suddenly lash out or feel defeated, it could be dehydration. Dehydration affects your thinking in many ways. It causes focus, concentration, and diminished memory. Stay alert by sipping on water throughout the day.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness



Why You Shouldn't Eat After 8 PM

Why You Shouldn’t Eat After 8 PM

Most people have heard the saying that you shouldn’t eat after 8 p.m. Few know the reason behind that. It has little to do with the actual time of day or the average person’s bedtime. If you don’t get off work until 10 p.m. or go to bed early, eating after eight becomes your mealtime. If you eat three meals a day before 8 p.m., any food after that is snacking that adds extra calories.

A calorie is just a calorie no matter when you eat it.

If you only ate one 1,000-calorie meal a day and it was at 8:01 p.m., you’d probably lose weight if you had an average activity level throughout the day or into the evening. To gain a pound, you have to eat 3500 calories more than you burn. Most people require more than 1,000 calories a day to maintain their weight. The problem is that the more time you have to eat, the more likely you are to eat more. Studies show that eating your final meal after 8 didn’t cause weight gain, but eating after that final meal did. Most adults who eat late have eaten three meals already and their late-night consumption is snacking. It adds extra calories to their diet.

Late night snacking can interfere with the body’s sleep/wake cycle.

The cycle is called the circadian rhythm. It regulates the body and makes it more active during the day. That higher activity requires more energy, so insulin sensitivity is higher in the daytime. What is insulin sensitivity? Insulin is a messenger that tells the cells to open and uptake the blood glucose for energy. Eating late at night can interfere with that process since the body isn’t active enough to use the energy. It can cause insulin sensitivity that ultimately may lead to diabetes.

Eating close to bedtime may cause health issues.

Besides weight gain from overeating, it can lead to acid reflux and digestive issues. Sitting up after you eat and walking around helps digestion. It increases blood flow to the digestive system. Laying down slows the blood flow and doesn’t allow gravity to help. The acid and the food tend to come back in the esophagus. It can cause heartburn, threaten dental health, and even cause sinusitis, a hoarse voice, and a sore throat.

  • Late at night, you tend to eat “easy” foods to prepare. Most of these require opening a box or sack and snacking. These are high in calories and lower in nutrition. It’s all about what you eat, not when you eat.
  • One study showed that people who ate late at night between eleven p.m. to five a.m. Often consumed 500 calories more than those who only ate during the day. That causes weight gain.
  • Some people who eat at night eat more for emotional reasons than hunger. It may be boredom, sadness, or anxiety. People who eat for emotional reasons tend to make poorer food choices.
  • When you sleep, your stomach function slows. It’s busy repairing and regrowing tissues. That slow function doesn’t allow for proper digestion. It can cause nausea or an upset stomach in the morning.

For more information, contact us today at Habitat Health & Fitness