Archive for June, 2010

Tis the season when everyone wants their skin to turn to a bronze color that makes them look like a real beach baby! While a tan is not the healthiest thing for your skin, if you are someone who is addicted to tanning then to play it as safe as possible and to ensure a longer lasting tan you need to stock your bathroom shelf with  a plentiful supply of aloe vera.

Look for a commercial brand that contains authentic ingredients and not a lot of fillers.

If you use aloe vera during the tanning process and/or if you use it to condition and replenish moisture in your skin afterward, your tan will last longer than ever before. You will be surprised and pleased at the results you end up with!

Many people are unaware of what a tan really is and why it occurs. A tan is the result of the production of melanin in the skin. It is the body’s way of protecting itself from developing a sunburn and subsequent skin damage. A sunburn occurs when the skin has been excessively exposed to the sun and has not been protected by a sunblock with a high enough SPF (sun protection factor).

Look for a wide spectrum sunblock that protects you from both the UVA rays as well as the UVB rays. A SPF of 30 or higher is a wiser choice. A sunburn destroys cells in the outer layer of the skin and over time this can lead to permanent cell damage and the potential for skin cancer.

It is a common misconception that sun tans will only occur after the skin has been burned. This is not correct and it can be a harmful assumption to make for your health. Many individuals also incorrectly assume that if they wear sunscreen they will not tan. If you wear the right type of sunscreen you can still get a nice golden look to your skin minus the pain and discomfort of sunburn.

The Soothing and Replenishing Side of Aloe Vera:

It is always a good practice to apply a special after sun lotion to your skin following sun exposure. The most important ingredient that the after sun lotion or moisturizer needs to have in it is aloe vera. There are many on the market. If you apply it after you come in from the sun you will be replenishing the vitamins and minerals that your skin needs and this in turn helps you to retain the golden brown look you are aiming for.

Aloe Vera encourages the skin to heal and it provides the after sun care that helps your skin to look and feel its best. Aloe Vera calms and heals skin and it goes to work fast to make sure that your skin has not been damaged by the sun’s rays.

Even if your skin turns a slightly darker shade of pink from being out in the sun but is not burnt, aloe vera gel can be of assistance as it is very cooling and soothing to sun sensitive skin. Some people, and in particular those who are blonde and blue eyed, burn very easily and therefore need sunblock the most. They also need to use aloe vera when they tan on a regular basis.

Bear in mind that aloe vera is a healing agent for the skin and can help a tan last as long as possible. Apply aloe vera gel or lotion to your tan every day for optimum effects. This paves the road to a healthy tan.


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Glucosamine is a fancy sounding word for a compound that resides in healthy cartilage in the human body. Let us take the time to learn more about this naturally occurring substance and what it can help.

What Glucosamine is:

Glucosamine is also sometimes called glucosamine sulphate. It is created from glucose and an amino acid known as glutamine. Glucosamine is an essential element of the body because it makes a molecule that is required for many vital functions. This molecule is responsible for general growth and development. It also plays an integral role in mending tissue and cartilage when damage or trauma has occurred.

It is believed that the level of glucosamine in a person’s body begins to decline as they age. In particular decreased levels have been noted in individuals over the age of 50 years and beyond.

Glucosamine as a Supplement:

For those who are lacking in adequate supplies of glucosamine they can buy it as a supplement found in most supermarkets, pharmacies and natural health food stores. The glucosamine that is found in vitamin/mineral supplements is chemically produced in a lab and comes from a substance you may have never heard of before. The substance is known as chitin. Chitin is taken from the shells of crab, shrimp and lobster.

Sometimes glucosamine cannot be found as a supplement on its own but instead is combined with other strange sounding substances such as chondroitin sulphate or methylsulfonymethane (MSM). The purpose for the combining of these supplements into one is because both MSM and chondroitin sulphate make for more flexible cartilage and can work to prevent cartilage from being destroyed or damaged by harmful enzymes.

Please note that you do not have to obtain a prescription from your doctor to purchase glucosamine. This is the case for most nutritional supplements sold on the market today.

Glucosamine and Osteoarthritis:

Glucosamine and the other substances mentioned here have been shown through research studies to help with the soreness, swelling and pain that accompany osteoarthritis. In particular those who suffer knee arthritis show improvement when they take supplements. A glucosamine supplement can lessen the uncomfortable symptoms of osteoarthritis because it helps to reduce the stiffness in the joints.

Some studies even suggest that glucosamine plays a role in slowing down the speed at which the disease progresses.

In case you are not well acquainted with what cartilage does for the body, here is a quick explanation for you. Cartilage is an elastic substance that works to cushion the joints. It is comparable to rubber. When a person suffers from osteoarthritis, the cartilage is no longer elastic and instead becomes stiff and brittle, leading to often overwhelming tenderness and discomfort.

This has a detrimental effect on the joints that it is supposed to be protecting. The joints become more vulnerable as a result of this, as well as more prone to injury. This can lead to trauma, loss of movement, and terrible pain. It can also lead to further deterioration of the cartilage.

Due to the fact that glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body that manufactures and repairs the cartilage around the joints, taking it as a supplement on a steady basis can aid the body in healing itself. The supplement works with the natural glucosamine to give the body what it requires.

As far as vitamin supplementation is concerned, glucosamine receives top marks for performance. Other health conditions that it has been shown to help include rheumatoid arthritis, chronic venous insufficiency, inflammatory bowel disease (including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and a variety of skin conditions.

You can find general tips and suggestions about vitamin myths and truths here.

Ask your doctor for more information and remember that you need to be aware of drug interactions if you are currently taking any type of medication (prescription or over-the-counter).


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Aging does not have to just be about getting older. It can also be about becoming more aware of what it takes to be healthier. Good health leads to a slower aging process and that means less of the problems that defined the aging population in past generations.

There are certain things that can age you that you may not realize are as bad as they are. Smoking is one of the worst culprits for aging the body inside and out. The second is the sun and the effects of overexposure to it. Many of the wrinkles and lines that people notice on their faces, necks and chests are not normal signs of aging but signs of damage from the sun’s powerful rays.

You can nip these problems in the bud by giving up the smoking habit and wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 when you go out in the sun, as well as wearing sunglasses, a hat and long sleeves as well as long pants.

Something else you can do to keep your skin as young and supple as possible is to keep it well hydrated. That includes the skin on your face and all over your body. Well moisturized skin is well nourished and will not age nearly as quickly as dehydrated deprived skin will. This means drinking lots of water to help from the inside out and using moisturizer and body lotion to help from the outside in.

What else do you need to know to age as healthy as possible?

The ingredients in your food are vital elements of being healthy. There is a substance called fluorine that is essential for the body to remain healthy as it provides resistant to many foreign substances that can make you ill. If you do not consume enough fluorine on a regular basis this can lead to disorders of your spleen and problems with your blood. It can also cause dry and scaly skin.

Fluorine is found in many different types of vegetables and fruits, however cooking often diminishes the beneficial effects of fluorine. What this means for you is that the more raw vegetables and fruits you eat the healthier you will be. Other foods and beverages that are high in fluorine include cabbage, cottage cheese, goat milk and avocados.

Your oral health has an impact on your overall health. As well your teeth can give away your age immediately if you do not take the best of care of them. As an individual gets older cavities become less of a problem but gum disease (known medically as periodontal disease) becomes a greater worry. Gum disease is the main cause of tooth loss in those over the age of 45.

Gum disease is caused by the same thing that causes cavities – plaque build up. Plaque is composed of bacteria, saliva and food debris. It is a sticky substance that clings to the teeth and can make them look less white and can also cause pockets of infection to develop at the gum line which will likely cause some soreness, puffiness and discomfort. If it goes undetected and untreated then the bones that keep the teeth in place will weaken and a form of tooth erosion will begin that in its most serious stage will cause teeth to fall out.

To prevent a tooth nightmare from taking your teeth away from you, practice excellent dental care. Brush your teeth after every meal (and every snack if you can) and floss before you go to bed at night. See your dentist regularly (at least every six months) for an examination and a professional cleaning. Take care of you and you will age in a healthy manner!


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Here’s a wild theory being touted by Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, and repeated by Christopher McDougall in his national best seller “Born to Run” – the modern day running shoe is killing us! Yes, literally.

Man’s evolution has required we hunt and avoid being hunted. For thousands of years we rose to the top of the species because of our ability to run distances. For most of those thousands of years we ran barefoot but then progressed to covering our feet with rudimentary soles of different materials.

Even prior to 1970’s athletes set world records and achieved Olympic gold on nothing more than thin-soled gym shoes. Then in 1971 Nike invented the modern running shoe and our days of strong feet and low incidence of knee injuries became a thing of the past.

Today you can’t talk to a runner or jogger without hearing stories of injuries and pain. It’s almost as if they expect it as part of running. It’s as if we’ve all been brainwashed into believing these super-cushioned pronation-controlling $200 running shoes are needed if you want to exercise with your feet!

But the truth seems to be the reverse. Studies in Australia at University of Newcastle conclude the modern day running shoe offers no more protection at getting fewer injuries than the old pre-1970’s vintage shoes. Others go further and believe the modern running shoe has contributed to more injuries.

Dr. Lieberman believes if modern day running shoes never existed more people would be running, and if more people ran, fewer would be dying of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and many other western ailments.

Even world renowned track coaches noted a difference in athletes running faster with fewer injuries going barefoot.

So where does all this lead?

Well, as you know I’m a great proponent of exercise for weight loss, and continue to utilize the PACE Exercise Program to help with achieving weight loss on just 20-minutes a day. The PACE Exercise for Weight Loss program is ideal for going barefoot when running and walking your intervals. Of course you need to do this inside the track on the grass or on your own treadmill.

But before you go barefoot let me offer to be the Guinea Pig. I’ll be doing this over the remainder of this summer, and I’ll check in with you in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going for me.

So don’t throw your running shoes away yet, but consider buying the cheapest pair of running shoes you can – the less support the better! And start using them on your own exercise program. See how it goes and give it time to toughen up your feet.

Don’t be reckless, and if you struggle to adjust to your new “El Cheapo” shoes then revert to your original expensive models.

It may take a little time and feel strange for awhile, but try it and let me know how it’s going for you by leaving a comment below.

Watch this space for further updates on my progress.


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Riding a bike can be an enjoyable and beneficial way to lose weight. Many men prefer it to running as it’s easier on the knees and causes fewer injuries.

Cycling is excellent for the health of your heart and can provide a way to get around your neighborhood that’s cheaper than taking your car everywhere you need to go! Cycling can be fun too. If you can find a form of physical activity that provides a pleasurable form of recreation then staying motivated is much easier to accomplish.

Start your cycling routine with some simple breathing exercises that will prepare your lungs for the workout to come. Then cycle for an average of 20 minutes at a time and intersperse the time with interval training on the bike. This steps things up a notch and challenges your body to work harder to burn calories, and avoids the trap of trying to burn fat during your exercise.

Causes of Weight Gain:

Weight gain can be blamed on three factors. The first cause or factor is a reduced level of energy that comes about due to decreased activity. The second cause is when a lack of physical activity is coupled with not changing the amount of food you eat on a daily basis. The third cause is simply eating the wrong foods on a consistent basis.  Do you see yourself in any of these causes?

In order to lose weight a man must expend approximately 3293 calories week (which is equal to an estimated one hour of moderate exercise daily) while taking in no more than 1500 calories per day. By adding cycling into your daily routine you can lose the weight you want to.

Physical activity when combined with a healthy diet can work wonders for your weight. Making cycling a part of your life can increase both the calories you expend as well as your energy input. It can also suppress your appetite and help to maintain lean body mass. The fat you have can turn to muscle and it may not take very long at all if you are a dedicated and consistent cyclist! Physical activity can also increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE).

Cycle at a Moderate Rate:

The key is to cycle at a moderate speed, as previously mentioned. Your current body weight and the intensity of the riding that you do will determine how many calories you lose. In general a 30-minute bike ride will have you burning anywhere from 200 to 250 calories at a time. While it may not sound like a huge amount at a time consistency is key for exercise.

If you’ve been sedentary for some time now then don’t get too enthusiastic and run out and buy a bicycle today and start riding it like crazy. For the sake of your health schedule a physical and tell your doctor of your intended plans to lose weight by cycling. Once you are given the okay to do so then you can proceed with your cycling plans but take it slow. Here is where the word moderation comes into play once again.

You cannot make up for months (or years!) of being a couch potato in a matter of days or weeks by biking to get yourself back into shape. The body needs time to become use to the changes you are imposing upon it.

Take your time. Start out with a five minute bike ride around your neighborhood and then work up to 10 minutes. Give yourself as much time as you need to do this. You are not in a race by any means. But don’t pound out mile after mile for more than 30 minutes if losing weight is your goal.

Adapt the PACE exercise program for weight loss program for cycling by biking for two minutes relaxed and then speed up for a minute and then slacken off for another two minutes before increasing speed for another minute. Continue to do this for 30 minutes and at the end you should be tired and know you’ve exercised.

Cycling is a wonderful activity and if you can get a few male buddies hooked on it then it can be a great way to spend time with friends, and interval training adds a little competitive edge to it for us guys. Some of my buddies are runners and if cycling isn’t your sport then here’s information about Running and Weight Loss for Men.

Jed Richards

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