Health News of Saturday, 29 December 2012

Source: Dr Essel

My Exercise Tips For 2013 & The Abdominal Fat Fight

There is something magical about the night of 31st December; no matter how tiring the year has been, no matter your emotional struggles and even if you did not achieve a single health goal or resolution, by 12noon of the 1st of January, you will feel totally refreshed and energized. You are ready to take on the New Year and turn it into your best ever. If you have been too busy to ever notice this phenomenon, this is your chance to cease this once a year opportunity.
This crusade about adopting a healthy lifestyle does not mean one is immune to diseases, NO! but your quality of life is much better than it would have been if you did nothing. Inspite of my background as a medical doctor and being certified as a specialist in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition, I have health challenges but I am much better off adopting a healthy lifestyle and I pray you do the same even if you are struggling with your health.
The more active you are the more likely you are to live longer, have a more youthful brain, enjoy better mental health, have a reduced risk for diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, a better recovery from heart failure and stroke and you perform better academically, socially and professionally – and that is only the tip of the iceberg!
I have heard people do hundreds of abdominal crunches daily and this is for one reason – to tame that bulge around the midsection. There is no shortcut to permanent fat loss! You can’t isolate fat loss to one part of the body so get ready for a total body overhaul. Many people do strength and toning exercises in an effort to trim fat from areas such as the arms, thighs, hips or “stomach” but that is as far from the truth as the Earth is from Pluto. These exercises including abdominal crunches can help firm muscles. If the targeted area still carries an extra layer of fat, it won’t look much different. We all craze for a six-pack abdomen but are we prepared to pay the price? For the majority of us, a firmer “one-pack” still calls for celebration.
The winning formula is simple but not easy. Watch what you eat and drink, indulge in cardiovascular exercises and strength or weight training. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking and jogging will burn calories and resistance training is a must if you want to burn fat. Our ladies should not avoid this. The marginal increase in muscle mass that comes with resistance training increases your metabolism and the great news is that you burn calories ALL the time even when you are relaxing at home.
I am not certain how many of us want to live to be a hundred years old but it appears you could improve your chances if you get some additional sleep, improve your diet and social connections, exercise and increase spiritual activity. In 2013, do not just exercise but do it RIGHT!

1. Wrong Posture
a. The right posture is life-saving and will reduce your hospital visits. Ensure the right posture when you sit, lift and even walk. Keep your body straight as you walk, fight the urge to bend. I often see people crouch over a treadmill – you are harming your back.
2. Wrong Shoes
a. If you have to go walking or jogging even on a treadmill, wearing the right shoes is very important. The wrong shoes could lead to severe pounding of your joints and many people have ended up with osteoarthritis the “wear and tear disease”, inflammed tendons and inflammation of the soles of the feet (plantar fasciitis); I believe you have experienced that agonizing pain when you get out of bed after a long rest.
3. Using Weight Belts
a. Some of us are obsessed with using weight belts and this may not be the best for our core muscles. If you have a back problem or are carrying very heavy weights then it will be necessary to fall on the belt for support but reaching out for the belt when lifting a feather in the gym may be an over kill.
Remember to always work large muscle groups first. Do not abuse your muscles, there is no point exercising the same muscle groups everyday. Your muscles need rest periods for repair and growth.
1. Squats
a. Squats and lunges are both great. They all work large groups of muscles and are very effective but I will stick my neck out for Squats because they are slightly easier to perform. Squats target the thigh muscles and buttocks.
b. Keep your feet shoulder width apart and back straight (standing posture), bend knees and lower rear till thighs are horizontal then return to the standing position. Repeat. If you have difficulty start with a chair behind you and with your back straight try to sit on it but do not let your buttocks touch the seat.
2. Push-Ups
a. This is great for the chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. It is probably the most popular strength training exercise of all time. You may vary it by putting your toes on an incline etc.
3. Bent-Over Row
a. A recent addition to my favourites. It works muscles of the upper back as well as biceps. Your feet should be shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Flex forwards at the hip. Hold the weights beneath the shoulders, then flex elbows and lift both hands towards the sides of the body. Now slowly lower hands to starting position.
4. Abdominal Crunches
a. To avoid injuring your neck make sure you keep it in-line with your spine. To make life easier you could keep looking at the ceiling while you crunch. If at any point the ceiling (or sky) is out of view then your technique is wrong.


Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.

Thought for the week –“Did you know that diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease? – Take Control”
3. The Truth Will Set Your Abdominal Fat Free – Dr Kojo Cobba Essel
4. Not All Exercises Are “Equal” – Dr Kojo Cobba Essel
5. Diabetes – Your Take Control Guide. American Diabetes Association.