Thursday, August 21, 2008

Aerobics Classes Equivalent to Jogging

Aerobics classes have been very popular in America for over 30 years. Surprisingly, there have only been a few studies that have assessed the effects of these classes on fitness, caloric consumption and weight loss.

But I found a one...

Researchers compared four types of aerobics classes...body combat/tae bo, pump, step, and spinning....They compared it with jogging at two different speeds. Body combat, step aerobics, and spinning were equivalent to running a 12 minute mile. Pump aerobics burned fewer calories than jogging or other forms of aerobics, but produced more rounded physical fitness.

Aerobics classes are fun, build fitness, burn calories and increase cardiovascular capacity!

If you are interested in starting an aerobics class please contact Sarah Lowe @

Friday, August 15, 2008

Incredible Edible Chicken

Most people think the burger is America's national dish, but the rightful honor goes to chicken. We are crazy about chicken and the National Chicken Council is trying to get us to eat more of it. Chicken consumption has risen nearly 100 percent in the past 10 years. More that 20 percent of Americans eat chicken eight times every two weeks and only 8 percent eat it less than once every two weeks. Ninety percent eat chicken purchased it at restaurants, fast-food outlets or cafeterias. Fear of bird flu discouraged chicken consumption for a short time, but chicken fever is back and the popularity of the food continues!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trans Fat Makes You Fat

Fast Foods are loaded with trans-fatty acids ( trans fats), which are the worst when you are trying to control your weight. Trans-fats are polyunsaturated oils loaded with hydrogen to preserve and harden them. High intake of trans fats increase the risk of heart disease and even some cancers. Commercially baked goods (doughnuts, cookies, crackers), fast foods, stick margarine, processed foods, and fried foods have high levels of trans fats. In a six year study, researchers at the Wake Forrest University Medical Center in North Carolina found that feeding monkeys trans fat ( 8% of caloric intake) increased abdominal fat 30 percent more than animals fed the same amount of calories, but containing no trans fats. The monkeys fed the trans fats gained weight by up to 7 percent, while the others gained only 2 percent. The trans fat monkeys also had higher sugar levels, which means they were insulin resistant.

Americans eat 12-14 percent of their calories as saturated fat and 2-3 percent as trans fatty acids. Nutritionist say that the goal should be a combined max intake of 10 percent of the total calories. People who 5 grams of trans fat per day increase their risk of heart disease by 25 percent!!!

For any additional information please contact Sarah Lowe @

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Prenatal Supplements Prevent Low Birth Weight

Nearly 8 percent of children born in the United States weigh less than 5 lbs., 8 oz. Low birth weight increases the risk of mental retardation,learning disabilities, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Infant birth weight is an important measure of the mother's nutritional and health status and the future health of the baby. Researchers found that undernourished women who took prenatal vitamins were less likely to have low birth weight infants. Women in the supplements group also gained a little more than 1 lb. during pregnancy and there babies were heavier and taller than women who didn't supplement.

For more prenatal or postnatal questions or comments please email Sarah Lowe @

Friday, July 25, 2008

Eat Slowly and Enjoy your Food

Your mother always told you not to wolf down your food and enjoy every bite. Well...It turns out she was right! A University in Rhode Island study found that women who ate slowly consumed 70 fewer calories and enjoyed their meals more than those who ate fast. Researchers instructed 30 young women to eat a pasta meal as quickly as possible or slowly chew small bites of food 15 to 20 times. Fast eaters consumed 646 calories in 9 minutes!, while slow eaters took in only 579 calories in 29 minutes. Slow eaters were much more satisfied immediately after the meal and 1 hour later.

Lose weight and enjoy your food by eating a little slower!!!

For more healthy tips please contact Sarah Lowe @

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beat The Heat!

Summer is an excellent time to play in the sun, but the combination of exercise and heat can be a bit uncomfortable, and can be even deadly. Exercising in the heat correctly and safely depends on effective body temperature control and adequate muscle blood flow. The combined demands for blood by muscles for exercise and by the skin to rid the body of the heat, can impair your ability to exercise properly and make your body temperature control "out-of-whack"!

Apply the following guidelines to help you exercise safely in the sun:

  • Get in good shape- Increase your intensity and the duration of your training slowly. You'll need to let your body adapt to the heat when you begin an outdoor exercise routine. But remember: Physical Fitness is the best protection against heat illness.
  • Exercise during the cooler times of the day.
  • Plan for regular water breaks. Use a drink that is cold (45-55 0F). Keep the sugar low (less than eight grams per 100 milliliters). Look for a drink with a "small" amount of electrolytes.
  • "Drink Up" before exercise. Drink about one pint of water 30 minutes before activity.
  • Drink fluids in the early stages of exercise.
  • Don't drink too much water-Drinking too much water can cause water intoxication (hyponatremia), which can be deadly. Just let your thirst be your guide.
  • Dress lightly. Wear something that will protect against the sun but also allows sweat to evaporate. Sweat actually cools the body when it evaporates. Visit for a great selection of sweat proof clothing and gear.
  • Weigh yourself daily if you are exercising outside regularly. Drink enough water to maintain a stable weight.

For More Great Tips Please Email Sarah Lowe @

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wellness Programs at Work

Want to get in shape but don't have the time or the money to pay for a gym membership? Pass it on to your Employer.They might just like the idea!

Many employers are investing their money in Wellness programs for their employees. Most programs incorporate some type of cardiovascular exercise such as an Aerobics class, and have monthly fitness seminars.This saves the employer money because when the employees are exercising and eating healthy they have less health concerns, therefore resulting in lower insurance premiums. Many Employers don't realize these type of programs even exist. What better way to get in shape than have your boss pay you for it. Think about it!...Instead of taking a full hour lunch break, do a 30-45 minute aerobics class. You can still make time to freshen up in the bathroom before you head back to work. And if you did only a 30 minute workout, you still have time to grab a bite to eat...AND! What better time to eat than after a workout! Your metabolism is working in overtime from the exercise, therefore you'll burn more calories while at rest...while you are eating.

So...the next time you think you can't afford to workout, THINK AGAIN! You employer may just front the bill for your fitness!

Have questions about starting a wellness program for your company or group? Please email Sarah Lowe at:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Buying the Right Running Shoe

Choosing the right running shoes is one of the most important decisions you'll make as a runner, especially if you're just getting started. A little investment in time and effort for finding the best shoes will help keep you comfortable and injury-free.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: varies

Here's How:

  1. Go straight to the experts at a running specialty store. Plan on spending some time there because the salesperson should ask you lots of questions and have several options for you to try out.
  2. Make sure the salesperson looks at the shape and arch to figure out what type of foot you have. Determining your foot type is key to making sure you get the right running shoe. The salesperson should also measure your foot. Your running shoes should be 1/2 to a full size bigger than your regular shoe size because your feet will swell when you run and you need plenty of room in the toebox. If your toes are crammed in the front of the shoe, you could develop bruised or black toenails.
  3. Have the salesperson do a running analysis for you. He'll watch you run, either outside or on treadmill, and determine your running style. He'll observe whether you're overpronating (your foot rolls inward) or supinating (your foot rolls outward) when your foot strikes the ground.
  4. Give the salesperson information that will help him with his shoe recommendations. He should be asking you questions about what type of running you do, how often you run, where you typically run, and what type of surfaces you run on.
  5. Run in the shoes that the salesperson recommends for you. (Make sure you're dressed to run when you're shopping!) Simply trying on the shoes and walking a few steps inside the store is not enough. Run in each pair of shoes to test for fit, function, and comfort before making your final decision.
  6. Test your shoes by running in them for a week. If you quickly develop blisters or foot pain, they may not be the right shoes for you. Many specialty running stores have liberal exchange policies and allow you to return shoes even if you've been running in them for a week or more. Take them back and exchange them for another recommended pair.
  7. After you've found your perfect shoes, you don't have to keep going back to the specialty running shop. You'll need to replace your shoes every 300- 500miles. If you want to save some bucks, you may be able to find your shoes online for less money. Search sites such as or for your make and model. And pray that the shoe manufacturer doesn't discontinue your shoe!


  1. If you're already a runner, bring your current shoes with you to the store. The salesperson can look at the wear on the bottom of your shoes to get some more insight into your running style.
  2. Make sure the salesperson measures your foot while you're standing up.
  3. If you use orthotics or custom-fit insoles, bring them with you to try on your shoes. You need shoes that are roomy enough to accommodate your insoles.
  4. Don't pick running shoes based on the colors or style. Just because they look cute doesn't mean they'll be the best shoe for you!

For more great information please email Sarah Lowe @:

this article was quoted from

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Childhood Obesity-Save Our Children!

The percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate. On the whole, kids are spending less time exercising and more time in front of the TV, computer, or video-game console. And today's busy families have fewer free moments to prepare nutritious, home-cooked meals, day in and day out. From fast food to electronics, quick and easy seems to be the mindset of many people, young and old, in the new millennium.

Since the 1970s, the percentage of overweight kids and adolescents in the United States has more than doubled. Today, 10% of 2- to 5-year-olds and more than 15% of children between the ages of 6 and 19 are overweight. If you combine the percent of kids who are overweight with the percent of kids who are at risk of becoming overweight, about one out of three children are affected.

Preventing your children from becoming overweight means adapting the way you and your family eat and exercise and the way you spend time together. Helping your children lead healthy lifestyles begins with you, the parent, and leading by example.

Is Your Child Overweight?

A child with a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile for age and sex is considered overweight. BMI uses height and weight measurements to estimate how much body fat a person has. To calculate your child's BMI, divide his or her weight by his or her height squared, or wt/ht2. (Important: To use this formula for BMI, the child's weight and height measurements must be in kilograms and meters, respectively. If you use pounds and inches, multiply the result by the conversion factor 703.)

An easier way to get your child's BMI is to use a BMI calculator. Once you know your child's BMI, it can be plotted on a standard BMI chart. Your child will fall into one of 4 categories:

  • Underweight: BMI below the 5th percentile
  • Normal weight: BMI falls between the 5th and the 85th percentiles
  • At risk for overweight: BMI between the 85th and 95th percentiles
  • Overweight: BMI at or above 95th percentile

BMI is not a perfect measure of body fat and there are situations where BMI may be misleading. For example, a very muscular person may have a high BMI without being overweight (because extra muscle adds to a person's body weight - but not fatness). In addition, BMI may be difficult to interpret during puberty when kids are experiencing periods of rapid growth. It's important to remember that BMI is usually a good indicator - but is not a direct measurement - of body fat.

These days, you may be hearing more about BMI. Doctors are using BMI during routine check-ups and many school districts are including BMI in their annual health assessments.

If you're worried that your child or teen may be overweight, make an appointment with your child's doctor. If your child is overweight, your doctor may ask about your child's eating and activity habits and make suggestions on how to make positive changes. He or she may also decide to screen for some of the medical conditions that can be associated with obesity (see below). Depending on the child's BMI, age, and health, the doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian for additional advice. For some overweight children, your doctor may recommend a comprehensive weight management program.

The Effects of Overweight

Overweight children are at risk for serious health conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol - all once considered exclusively adult diseases. But overweight children may also be prone to low self-esteem that stems from being teased, bullied, or rejected by peers. Overweight children are often the last to be chosen as playmates, even as early as preschool. Children who are unhappy with their weight may be more likely than average-weight children to develop unhealthy dieting habits and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and they may be more prone to depression, as well as substance abuse.

Overweight children are at risk of developing medical problems that affect a child's present and future health and have direct impact on quality of life including:

  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol and abnormal blood lipid levels, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes
  • bone and joint problems
  • shortness of breath that makes exercise, sports, or any physical activity more difficult and may aggravate the symptoms or increase the chances of developing asthma
  • restless or disordered sleep patterns
  • tendency to mature earlier (overweight kids may be taller and more sexually mature than their peers, raising expectations that they should act as old as they look, not as old as they are; overweight girls may have irregular menstrual cycles and have fertility problems in adulthood)
  • liver and gall bladder disease
  • depression

Risk factors present in childhood (including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes) can lead to serious adult medical conditions like heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. Preventing or treating obesity in children may reduce the risk of developing these conditions as they get older.

What Causes Overweight?

There are a number of factors that contribute to becoming overweight, either alone or together. Genetic factors, lifestyle habits, or both may be involved. In some instances, endocrine problems, genetic syndromes, and medications can be associated with excessive weight gain.

Much of what we eat is quick and easy - from fat-laden fast food to microwave and prepackaged meals. Daily schedules are so jam-packed that there's little time to prepare healthier meals or to squeeze in some exercise. Portion sizes, in the home and out, have drastically increased.

Plus, now, more than ever, life is sedentary - children spend more time playing with electronic devices, from computers to handheld video game systems, than actively playing outside. Television is a major culprit.

Kids younger than 8 spend an average of 2.5 hours watching TV or playing video games, and kids 8 and up spend 4.5 hours plopped in front of the TV or wriggling a joystick. Kids who watch more than 4 hours a day are more likely to be overweight compared with kids who watch 2 hours or less. Not surprisingly, TV in the bedroom is also linked to increased likelihood of being overweight. In other words, once many kids get home from school, virtually all of their free time before dinner, doing homework, and getting ready for bed is spent in front of one screen or another!

And although physical education (PE) in schools can help kids get up and moving, more and more schools are cutting PE programs altogether or cutting down on the amount of time spent actually doing fitness-building physical activities. One study showed that gym classes offered third graders just 25 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

Genetics also plays a role - genes help determine your body type and how your body stores and burns fat just like they help determine other traits. Because both genes and habits can be passed down from one generation to the next, multiple members of a family may struggle with weight.

A greater reliance on "food fixes" to deal with emotions can also contribute to weight gain. Some people tend to eat more when they're feeling sad, stressed, or bored. People in the same family tend to have similar eating patterns, maintain the same levels of physical activity, and adopt the same attitudes toward being overweight. Studies have shown that a child's risk of obesity greatly increases if one or more parent is overweight or obese.

Overcoming Overweight and Obesity in Your Child

The key to keeping kids of all ages at a healthy weight is taking a whole-family approach. It's the "practice what you preach" mentality. Make eating and exercise a family affair. Get your children involved by letting them help you plan and prepare healthy meals, and take them along when you go grocery shopping, so they can learn how to make good food choices.

Avoid falling into some common food/eating behavior traps:

  • Don't reward children for good behavior or try to stop bad behavior with sweets or treats. Come up with other solutions to modify their behavior.
  • Don't maintain a clean-plate policy. Be aware of kids' hunger cues. Even babies who turn away from the bottle or breast send signals that they're full. If kids are satisfied, don't force them to continue eating. Reinforce the idea that they should only eat when they're hungry.
  • Don't talk about "bad foods" or completely eliminate all sweets and favorite snacks from overweight children's diets. Children may rebel and overeat these forbidden foods outside the home or sneak them in on their own.

Here are some additional recommendations for children of all ages:

  • Birth to age 1: In addition to it's many health benefits, breastfeeding may help prevent excessive weight gain. Though the exact mechanism is not known, breastfed babies are more able to control their own intake and follow their own internal hunger cues.
  • Ages 2 to 6: Start good habits early. Encourage kids' natural tendency to be active and offer children a variety of healthy foods. It may take 10 or more tries before a child will accept a new food, so don't give up.
  • Ages 7 to 12: Encourage children to be physically active every day, whether it's an organized sports team or a pick-up game of soccer during recess. Keep your kids active at home, too, through everyday activities like walking and playing in the yard. Let them be more involved in making good food choices.
  • Ages 13 to 17: Teens like fast-food, but try to steer them toward healthier choices like grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, and smaller sizes. Encourage them to be active everyday. If they are not into organized sports, suggest intramural programs, fitness classes such as yoga or pilates, or alternative sport like skateboarding, inline skating, or mountain biking.
  • All ages: Cut down on TV, computer, and video game time and discourage eating while watching the tube. Serve a variety of healthy foods and eat meals together as often as possible. Try to include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day in their diet, plan healthy snacks, and encourage kids to eat breakfast every day. Encourage your children to try a variety of activities. Don't force any one sport or activity - and help them find what they enjoy and then support them in their efforts.

If you, as a parent, eat well and exercise regularly and incorporate healthy habits into your family's daily life, you're modeling a healthy lifestyle for your children that could last into adulthood. Talk to your kids about the importance of eating well and being active, but make it a family affair that will become second nature for both you and your children. Most of all, let your children know you love them - no matter what their weight - and that you want to help your child be happy and healthy.

If you would like your child to participate in a healthy, fun, exercise program please contact Sarah Lowe at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is Popcorn a Healthy Snack ?

Most people know that plain popcorn, or popcorn that is seasoned with a low calories flavoring is low in calories, but many wonder if it is in fact healthy. When it comes to choosing a healthy snack, it is not only important to look for snacks that are low in calorie, but also to choose snacks that offer some nutritional value as well.

One of the best nutritional values provided by popcorn is the fact that it is high in fiber. Americans rarely get enough fiber in their daily diet, and by adding popcorn as a snack; you can help beat calories as well as increase your fiber intake. Popcorn is a whole grain food; this makes it a good choice for carbohydrates as well as fiber. In fact, since popcorn makes up one serving of the starches recommended by the American Dietetic Association, you might be amazed to discover that when it comes to serving sizes, popcorn offers the most generous amount

Three cups of popcorn is the equivalent of one slice of bread, ½ cup of cooked pasta, and one cup of cereal. Three cups is much more than the other servings and you may feel fuller after eating three cups of popcorn then you would after eating one slice of bread. This offers great benefits for those who are looking for a healthy snack that can satisfy their hunger and provide them with a feeling of being full. It is also important to choose the oil that you pop your popcorn in carefully. Canola oil is usually recommended as being the healthiest choice if you don't have an air popper which is the best.

How Many Calories in Popcorn?

If you love to eat popcorn, then you may have wondered just how many calories are in this buttered treat. You may be surprised to discover that popcorn can range in calories from a minimal 30 calories per serving to a whopping 500 calories. It all depends on the type of popcorn that you are eating.

The lowest calories per serving are found in plain homemade popcorn. One serving of plain popcorn is 30 calories; you can add additional calories for any toppings that you add. If you melt a stick of butter and add that to your popcorn, you would have to add those calories to your serving. However, if you select a butter topping or seasoning that comes in a shaker, you will find that those calories are very small, typically accounting for five additional calories.

If you look for the calorie content on a box of microwave popcorn, you may be surprised to discover that unpopped popcorn has more calories than popped. Typically, microwave popcorn will have about 35-40 calories per serving. One bag of microwave popcorn usually makes about 3 ½ servings; so one total bag of microwave popcorn would have about 140 calories. Not a bad amount of calories for those who are watching their weight.

The largest amount of calories per popcorn serving is found in movie theater popcorn. These large buckets of popcorn generally contain about 1500-1600 calories. Even broken down into serving sizes, these buckets generally yield about 500 calories per serving. If you want to save calories, you may want to stick with homemade or microwave popcorn and bypass the movie theater popcorn next time you go to the theater.

For more healthy snack ideas please contact Sarah Lowe at:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Exercise and Alzheimer's

People with Alzheimer's feel better, both physically and emotionally, when they get regular, moderate exercise.

Moderate exercise helps many people with Alzheimer's disease feel better — both physically and emotionally. As little as 20 minutes of walking three times a week can boost mood, decrease risk of falls, reduce wandering and delay nursing home placement in people with Alzheimer's.

Reducing the toll of depression

Up to 70 percent of people who have Alzheimer's disease also have symptoms of depression. They gradually lose the ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed, and may eventually withdraw from all activities.

Research shows that exercise lessens that tendency. In a sample of people with Alzheimer's, a moderate exercise program totaling at least 60 minutes a week for three months reduced rates of depression. Conversely, scores on a depression questionnaire worsened in a control group that did not exercise.

Preventing falls

People with Alzheimer's have a higher risk of falls and fractures than do people the same age without the disease. Once injured, they're also more likely to re-injure themselves. These factors are directly related to impaired mobility and loss of independence.

Moderate exercise improves strength and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls and injury.

Improving sleep

Sleep disturbances are common in people with Alzheimer's disease. Some become agitated at bedtime, wander at night or sleep fitfully. Caregivers become exhausted when they can obtain only a few hours of sleep at a time, night after night. Regular physical activity is a natural sleep-enhancer. A daily walk or exercise class can help a person with Alzheimer's sleep more soundly at night.

Cutting down on wandering

As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the tendency to wander away from home and get lost increases. Wandering and the dangers that go with it often prompt caregivers to move their loved ones into nursing homes. In many cases, people with dementia appear to wander because of boredom or loneliness.

Programs that engage individuals in meaningful activities, exercise and social interaction may reduce the frequency of wandering. Walking — the most readily available form of exercise — can be combined with a useful activity, such as:

  • Walking the dog
  • Pushing a person in a wheelchair
  • Picking up trash in the neighborhood

How to get started

Starting an exercise program is hard for everyone. Having Alzheimer's just makes it harder, because the disease makes it more difficult to learn new behaviors. As a caregiver, you may have to join in the exercise program. It may work even better if you exercise with other people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.

A thorough physical exam will reveal any health problems that may impose restrictions on an exercise program. You might ask your doctor for a "prescription" for exercise that you can show your loved one periodically, to encourage participation.

The safest physical activity for someone with Alzheimer's is walking with another person. Many malls have programs that offer a climate-controlled environment for walking. Such outings can be stimulating social interactions, as well.

Pedaling towards fitness

Some people with Alzheimer's may still enjoy biking. If balance is a problem, adult tricycles are an option.

Or you might take a person with Alzheimer's for a ride in a conveyance powered by two sets of pedals, such as the paddle boats available for rent at some lakes. Many tourist towns now have four-wheeled canopied carts — which are powered by at least two sets of pedals — so the whole family can go for a ride.

Household chores fuel self esteem

Some types of repetitive household tasks can provide exercise while allowing someone with Alzheimer's to feel like he or she is helping out. One caregiver helped her husband rake and bag the leaves from their yard. Each morning, she would open the bags and spread the leaves on the lawn, ready to be raked up again.

Sweeping, mopping, washing windows and folding laundry are all tasks that have been learned by rote. These real-life tasks may be more meaningful and satisfying than just busywork and games.

Improve quality of life

Exercise can help control many of the general health problems common in older people, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also improves flexibility, strength and mobility. When you exercise with your loved one, you both benefit.

In addition to giving you an enjoyable activity to do together, exercise can reduce some of the behaviors that make it so difficult to care for a person with Alzheimer's. This can delay placement in a nursing home and improve your loved one's quality of life.

If you or company is interested in starting an aerobics class for your assisted living or independent home please email me at:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Breathe Easier While You Run

Breathing is a very natural activity--and so is getting out of breath when you run!

Here are 7 easy techniques to help you breathe easier and improve your overall running performance during your next run.

Breathe in and out through your mouth. This may be the most effective way for most runners to take in more air as they run, as opposed to breathing through the nose. The act of breathing through your mouth will encourage your facial muscles to relax and therefore create a more relaxed composure.

Let your jaw drop open slightly so that your lips are parted, creating a "dead fish" expression.

Take short and shallow breaths. These should be comfortable and not forced. An occasional deep breath is all right, but should not be the norm for maintaining breath control during running.

Breath from your belly or diaphragm, not your chest. Try lying on your back and watching your stomach as you breath. If you are breathing correctly, it should rise and fall with each breath, while your chest remains relatively motionless. Keep this feeling with you as you run.
See the benefits of belly breathing in both your control of breath and your abdominal muscles. With conscientious belly breathing, your muscles will be performing an isometric contraction which, over time, may result in a flatter, more toned mid-section.

Check to see what your natural breathing pattern is by counting your steps as you run. Some runners may find they breathe in for two steps and out for two steps while others may take three steps before the next breath. Whatever your pattern is, keep it regular and use your steps to monitor your breathing rate.

Use your ears to control your breathing. If you can hear yourself breathing heavily while running at an easy or moderate pace, you are running too quickly for your condition. Practice slowing down your breathing while running out a slower pace before challenging yourself with faster strides.

Please email Sarah Lowe at:
for more great "fit" tips!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Battling The Bulge!

When Fat Gathers In Your Abdomen

As you age and your metabolism slows down, the amount of fat in your body slowly increases. Women experience an even greater fat percentage increase than men do. Then after menopause, your body fat distribution tends to shift — less in your arms, legs and hips, and more in your abdomen.

You may think belly fat is limited to the stuff out front that you can grab with your hand — but it's the fat you can't see that's really a cause for concern. Visceral fat lies deeper inside the abdomen, surrounding the abdominal organs. Gaining this type of fat has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems. Subcutaneous fat, located between the skin and the abdominal wall, is more visible but also less likely to be a health risk.

While a slowing metabolism and decreased physical activity contribute to overall weight gain as you age, those factors don't influence visceral fat accumulation directly. Heredity may be the culprit — you may simply have inherited a tendency to gain weight in your midsection. Hormones also play a role. Hormonal changes after menopause may change the way that your body breaks down and stores fat, leading to more fat accumulating in your belly.

Some women even experience a widening waist without gaining any weight. Although you may not be gaining extra fat, your abdominal fat is increasing as limb and hip fat decreases. Even in women of a normal weight, too much fat concentrated in the midsection is unhealthy.

Measuring Your Middle

You know you've gained some inches around your torso, but how can you know whether it's an unhealthy amount? You can calculate your body-mass index (BMI) or waist-hip ratio, but researchers have found that simply measuring your waist can tell you whether you have an unhealthy amount of belly fat. In fact, BMI may not be an accurate measure of body fat percentage or fat distribution, particularly after menopause.

To measure your waist, run a tape measure around your midsection at about the level of your navel. Breathe normally, don't hold your tummy in, and don't pull the tape so tight that it presses your skin down. In a woman of healthy weight, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy concentration of abdominal fat. Some research has shown that a measurement of 33 inches or more, no matter what your weight, increases your health risks.

Fight Back The Bulge!!!

Since visceral fat is buried deep in your abdomen, it may seem like a difficult target for spot reduction. As it turns out, visceral fat responds well to a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet. Targeted tummy exercises can help to firm the abdominal muscles and flatten the belly.

Exercise. Daily, moderate-intensity exercise is the best way to lose belly fat — when you lose weight and tone your muscles, your belly fat begins shrinking, too. In fact, you may notice that your tummy bulge is the first area to shrink when you start exercising. The amount and type of exercise you should get varies depending on your current activity level and your health goals. Talk to your doctor and Personal Trainer about the right exercise program to promote good health and specifically combat abdominal fat.

Strength training. Some research has shown that exercising with weights is effective in trimming tummy fat. Talk to your doctor about how to incorporate strength training in your exercise routine.

Healthy diet. Changing unhealthy eating habits can help fight belly fat. Read nutrition labels, and replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. Increase portions of complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, and reduce simple carbohydrates like white bread and refined pasta. If you need to lose weight, reduce your portion sizes and daily calorie intake. Check out to calculate calories for almost any food or beverage. It's a great site. I use it all the time!!! :-)

Tone your tummy. While you can't "spot-burn" belly fat, you can firm up your abdominal muscles and get a flatter belly. Traditional sit-ups aren't the most effective way to firm your tummy, however. Instead, check out these exercises from Fitness Magazine to target both deeper and lower abdominal muscles:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

No More Soda!!!

Whatever brand you drink, soda is bad news for your health. The average US citizen drinks around 18 ounces of sugary soda every day. According to a 2005 study by the US department of health soda drinks have become the biggest source of empty calories in the United States.

Some people think they are being healthy by consuming 'energy drinks' or 'sports drinks' but unless you are running a marathon these drinks will still make you fat as they have plenty of empty calories in them (even though the models selling them may be sleek and athletic)

If you drink a 12 ounce can of coke, that's roughly a cup full of simple sugar. Since processed sugars break down very quickly, your blood sugar spikes, which in turn tells your body to stop burning fat for energy. And since there's no nutrition in a can of coke, all you get are these "empty calories".

Soda Does More Than Just Make You Fat

Drinking too much soda causes:

  • Energy dips and symptoms of depression
  • Massive dehydration with all the problems that causes.
  • Addictive like binging and craving linked to the come down after having a sugar high and craving to take on more sugar again.
  • High blood pressure
  • Inability to focus and concentrate
  • Rotting of the teeth
  • Cola confuses the appetite regulating systems in the body leading to increased appetite and weight gain (above and beyond the fat encouraging sugars in the soda itself)
  • Regular soda drinking attacks the marrow in the bones making them weaker and encourages organ breakdown leading to potentially life threatening diabetes.
  • Weakening of the bones in a study of 460 high schoolers in 2000, research at the Harvard School of Public Health found that girls who drank carbonated soft drinks were three times as likely to break their arms and legs as those who consumed other drinks.
  • Rapid aging of the skin and body generally.
So drinking soda is not a good idea, whether it's Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr pepper's, 7up or one of the many so called 'sports drinks' it's bad news.

All the advertising and ritual all play their part to keep you hooked. Advertisers subtly imply that by drinking their soda you'll get a certain lifestyle. They do this by having great looking models, like Jessica Simpson, drinking their sodas. But what they don't tell you is that even celebrities experience the "negative" side effects of caffeinated drinks.

Then there is the ritual element. You get a craving you go to the fridge and you see a container with certain colors and logos on it. This becomes ritualistic and if you do anything enough times it starts to feel natural and right-even though it is anything but natural and right.

Bottom Line: Drink More Water!!!

Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can't survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.

In addition to being an important part of the fluids in your body, each cell depends on water to function normally.

Your body can help you stay properly hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system. The body can hold on to water when you don't have enough or get rid of it if you have too much. For example, if your urine has ever been very light yellow, your body might have been getting rid of excess water. On the other hand, when your urine is very dark yellow, it is holding on to water, so it's probably time to drink up!

You can help your body by drinking when you're thirsty and drinking extra water when it's warm out. Your body will be able to do all of its wonderful, "Waterful" jobs and you'll feel great!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Eating Healthy!!!

By committing to eating better, you can reduce your risk of many chronic diseases – including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers – while increasing your energy and stamina. Healthy eating can even lower “bad” LDL cholesterol as much as low-dose statin drugs!

By developing your own plan for healthy eating, you’ll be able to expand your range of healthy choices to include a variety of foods, especially delicious vegetables, grains, and fruits that you may have previously ignored. This article provides guidelines and tips for creating a healthy, satisfying diet.

Tips and advice for a healthy diet

A healthy diet helps improve your overall health and well being. A healthy diet can help you feel better, provide you with more energy, help you stay fit and active, and help you fight stress.

Healthy eating can prevent most cases of heart disease and diabetes and help ward off high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer.

Eating smart: The first step towards healthy eating

Healthy eating begins with learning how to “eat smart”. -- It's not just what you eat, but how you eat.

  • Take time to chew your food: Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing breaks the food into smaller particles and mixes the food with saliva that contains digestive enzymes. Thorough digestion is key to the absorption of nutrients and to good health! Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of what is in our mouths. Reconnect with the joy of eating.
  • Avoid stress while eating. When we are stressed, our digestion can be compromised. Avoid eating while working, driving, or watching TV (especially disturbing programs or the news). Also avoid confrontations, serious discussions or worry during meals. If you feel stressed or upset, stop eating and relax before continuing with your meal. Try taking some deep breaths prior to beginning your meal, or light candles and play soothing music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Listen to your body: Stop eating when you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eating slowly can help you get a more accurate read on this, as well. Eating just enough to satisfy your hunger will help you remain alert, relaxed and feeling your best, rather than stuffing yourself into a “food coma”!
  • Eat early, eat often: Remember this old saying: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can jump-start your metabolism, and eating the majority of your daily caloric allotment early in the day gives your body time to work those calories off. Also, eating six small, healthy meals throughout the day, rather than the standard three large meals, can help keep your metabolism going and ward off snack attacks.

Healthy Eating Tips: The Basics

You don’t need a degree in nutrition to ensure that you get a well-balanced diet that provides the daily nutrients you need – simply focus on six basic food groups:

  1. Whole Grains: Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley and millet. Avoid food with refined grains including many breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals.
  2. Vegetables: Go for the brights: the deeper the color, the greater the concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dark green and orange vegetables, from broccoli, kale and mustard greens to butternut squash and sweet potatoes, are several excellent choices.
  3. Fruits: Enjoy fruits in a number of ways: fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut-up, or pureed. Fruit juices can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup; avoid or dilute with water
  4. Milk and other dairy: Choose low-fat dairy products. It is important to choose dairy products that DO NOT contain rBST (bovine growth hormone). Organic dairy is best. If you're lactose-intolerant, choose lactose-free and lower-lactose products, such as hard cheeses and yogurt.
  5. Protein: Vary your healthy eating protein choices with a variety of fish, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Minimize red meats containing high levels of saturated fat.
  6. Oils: We’ve been taught to fear fats and oils, but fresh, high quality fats from olive oil, avocado, raw nuts & seeds, coconut and fish actually provide excellent (and necessary) sources of healthy fatty acids in your diet.

For more healthy eating tips please email me at:

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Just Show Up And Say YES!"

Sometimes getting back into a fitness routine can be VERY challenging. You'll be on the right path for about 2 weeks and then "BAM"! You suddenly start to put your priority for exercise at the bottom of the list. Before you know it a month has gone by and you've paid a full months gym membership and received nothing for it except a few extra pounds. Does this sound like you? If so, continue reading...

Maybe it's time to consider hiring a Personal Fitness Trainer. Even if it's for a few months to get you back on the right track...Sometimes a little "kick in the butt" from a professional is all you need to make exercise an essential part of your life.

You can hire a Personal Trainer for many reasons. Maybe you aren't sure how to utilize the gym equipment properly, maybe you're experiencing health-related issues, or maybe you had a baby 10 months ago and still can't get rid of that pooch! No matter what your reason, a Qualified Personal Trainer can help guide you in the right direction...and all you have to do is "Just show up and say yes".

If you want to achieve your personal fitness goal, you've got to be accountable to someone...other than yourself!

A trainer will help increase the likelihood that you will stick with your exercise program. They will make you think twice about eating the wrong things, show you proper form to ensure that you do not get injured, always be that motivation you need when you just want to give up, and much more.

So...When you feel that you are losing site of your personal fitness goals, remember that when you hire a fitness trainer all you have to to is ...


For more great tips and information please email me at:

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Busy Mom's Making Time For Fitness!

Hi Everyone!

This is my first blog and I am so excited! My famous hairstylist brother introduced me to "blogging", so be sure to check his blog out at

I wanted to first introduce myself to everyone and give you a general idea of what I do and what my personal mission is:

My name is Sarah Lowe and I live and work in the Metro Atlanta area as a Fitness Trainer.

Before becoming a Certified Fitness Trainer, I was a Professional Swimmer, winning several awards throughout Georgia. After my swimming career, I couldn’t let my love for fitness come to an end. I decided to become a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and educate others on what I am so passionate about. I specialize in Women's Fitness. I chose this area of expertise because I am a Mother and know first hand how difficult it can be to get back in shape after child birth. Endurance athletes train their bodies to go the distance. Moms are no different! We require the energy and the strength to remain strong, productive and positive throughout an active, and sometimes challenging, day. Then, we demand the vitality to wake up each day and do it all over again. It's a commitment to yourself to be at the top of your game not only for your family, but for you.

Okay...I'm not going to keep on and on about myself, but I did want to post a few ideas for mothers that are looking to get back in shape, but can't find the time or a babysitter!

As a busy mom, you're constantly pulled in a thousand directions and your to-do list is a mile long. As much as you may want to exercise, actually fitting it in may seem next to impossible. And yet, who doesn't want the undeniable benefits of fitness - more energy, better health and a slimmer waistline?! The good news is that there are things that you can do TODAY to get started on the path to fitness! The first step is getting rid of the all-or-none mindset. Starting small is a-ok. In fact, trying to fit in too much is what causes so many people to give up. A little bit now can evolve into more. Here are some practical ideas that you can consider for fitting more fitness into your life. You'll have to give some thought to what's going to be right for you. It could be a small step for now, or a bigger step. Either way, you'll be on the road to fitness!

Taking a Small Step

  • Invest in a pedometer. It's a great little gadget that will raise your awareness of how active you are throughout the day. The "goal" is supposed to be 10,000 steps a day (yes, ten thousand!). You may walk 3,000-6,000 per day without even trying to be more active. Why not try to bump it up by just 500 steps each week? You may be at 10,000 steps before you know it!
  • Make it a habit to take a lap around the block right after waving good-bye to the school bus.
  • Pick one exercise (such as abdominal crunches) and pick a time to do them consistently without even changing into exercise clothes.
  • Commit to always taking the stairs at work.
  • Train your little ones that you always go for a little stroller walk on the way to the playground. (Bring a special snack that you save just for your walks together.)

Tips for Taking a Bigger Step

  • Finally check out your local health club. Most have childcare on site and it's a great opportunity to meet lots of other moms trying to do the same thing as you are!
  • How about one of the women's express workout clubs? These no-frills environments are inexpensive and provide a quick taste of exercise for your busy schedule.
  • You can do a simple, yet complete exercise routine in the privacy and convenience of your own home with very little equipment.
  • Why not consider hiring a personal trainer for even just a few sessions to get you going?
  • Check out your local county recreation facility or community center. Many of them have homey and inexpensive fitness centers.

Don't Forget These Important Tips:

  • Support, support, support! Do it with a friend or neighbor. Have a heart-to-heart with your hubby or other support person about your needs and new commitment to finding a workable fitness solution.
  • Put your exercise sessions on the calendar or in your day planner. Treat exercise like any other appointment and don't cancel at the drop of a hat. Exercise is important, but each individual exercise session will never be urgent. Therefore, unless you protect and honor its spot on your schedule, it will never happen!
So...No more excuses Ladies!!! The time to start your fitness journey is TODAY!

If you need more fitness advise please email me at