Dr Akilah – Celestial Healing Wellness Center

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Get stronger, leaner and healthier with strength training

by Mehsel Hartwell

You know exercise is good for you. Ideally, you’re looking for ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. If your aerobic workouts aren’t balanced by a proper dose of strength training, though, you’re missing out on a key component of overall health and fitness. Despite its reputation as a “guy” or “jock” thing, strength training is important for everyone. With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.

Use it or lose it

Muscle mass naturally diminishes with age. “If you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose, you’ll increase the percentage of fat in your body,” says Edward Laskowski, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., and co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center. “But strength training can help you preserve and enhance your muscle mass — at any age.”

Strength training also helps you:

  • Develop strong bones. By stressing your bones, strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Control your weight. As you gain muscle, your body gains a bigger “engine” to burn calories more efficiently — which can result in weight loss. The more toned your muscles, the easier it is to control your weight.
  • Reduce your risk of injury. Building muscle helps protect your joints from injury. It also contributes to better balance, which can help you maintain independence as you age.
  • Boost your stamina. As you get stronger, you won’t fatigue as easily.
  • Manage chronic conditions. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
  • Sharpen your focus. Some research suggests that regular strength training helps improve attention for older adults.

Consider the options

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Consider the options:

  • Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
  • Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. You can choose from many types of resistance tubes in nearly any sporting goods store.
  • Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
  • Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.

Getting started

When you have your doctor’s OK to begin a strength training program, start slowly. Warm up with five to 10 minutes of stretching or gentle aerobic activity, such as brisk walking. Then choose a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 repetitions.

“On the 12th repetition, you should be just barely able to finish the motion,” Dr. Laskowski says. “When you’re using the proper weight or amount of resistance, you can build and tone muscle just as efficiently with a single set of 12 repetitions as you can with more sets of the same exercise.”

To give your muscles time to recover, rest one full day between exercising each specific muscle group. When you can easily do more than 15 repetitions of a certain exercise, gradually increase the weight or resistance. Remember to stop if you feel pain. Although mild muscle soreness is normal, sharp pain and sore or swollen joints are signs that you’ve overdone it.

When to expect results

You don’t need to spend hours a day lifting weights to benefit from strength training. Two to three strength training sessions a week lasting just 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient for most people. You may enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina in just a few weeks. With regular strength training, you’ll continue to increase your strength — even if you’re not in shape when you begin.

Strength training can do wonders for your physical and emotional well-being. Make it part of your quest for better health.



Health Tip of The Week

Natural Health Tips to Reduce Pain from Inflammation

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing process, even though sometimes it may be painful. Consider this: When you cut yourself, the area around the cut gets red, warm, and swollen. This is your body’s natural response, enabling immune cells and other blood cells to travel to the area and repair the damage.

Inflammation can either be internal or external

Inflammation happens externally as the result of an injury, and it also happens internally as the result of disease. When the body tries to heal itself, it increases enzyme action as well as swelling in the injured area so that cells can travel there more efficiently. This response makes the area warm. It can also be painful-swelling causes the tissues to stretch, while the immune response releases chemicals that attract and stimulate the blood’s white cells to fight infection. Sometimes this response is all that is needed and the body heals. However, occasionally the inflammatory response causes more pain and damage than the original injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and avoid further damage after an acute injury.

Internal inflammation is difficult to recognize

How can you tell if there is internal inflammation? Pain is a good sign that inflammation is present. Especially in chronic diseases, the body is attempting to repair itself. Sometimes it succeeds and the tissues heal. Other times the inflammation process becomes chronic as with arthritis, asthma, heart disease, ulcerative colitis, allergies, and many other chronic conditions.

Tips to reduce internal inflammation

Reducing internal inflammation can be as easy as removing the irritants. It is almost like removing a splinter from the skin. While the splinter is there, the body will create more and more inflammation until the splinter is pushed out. As soon as the splinter is gone, the healing process can begin. Toxins and waste products are irritating to the body. Decreasing the toxins brought into the body and assisting the body in eliminating waste products can lead to a reduction in pain and inflammation. Here are some dietary tips to reduce internal inflammation:

1.  Drink water to carry away waste products

The body needs water to carry away waste products. Clean water instead of coffee or soda gives the body clean water in the bucket to do its cleaning with. Drink plenty of water everyday.

2.   Avoid foods that cause allergies or sensitivities that cause inflammation

These foods, which vary person to person, cause inflammation in the intestinal tract by stimulating the immune system. By eliminating the foods the body has made antibodies to, the inflammatory chemicals decrease and there are fewer toxins in the body.

3.   Regulate the immune system with acidophilus and calm down inflammation

Sixty percent of our immune system is based in our intestines. By tonifying the immune system in the intestines, inflammation calms down.

4.   Increase your intake of essential fatty acids (omega 3 oils)

Deep water fish (or wild fish) are a great source of essential fatty acids.

5.   Eat hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, poultry and fish to avoid toxins

Meats that are raised with hormones and antibiotics retain these chemicals even when cooked. The body then needs to process and eliminate them while digesting the food. By avoiding these toxins, you lessen the burden on your body.

6.   Eat a whole foods diet high in vegetables, fish and whole grains to detox and heal

Vegetables contain natural antioxidants and minerals that are necessary to decrease inflammation. Brightly colored vegetables are very high in vitamins and minerals that the body can use to detoxify and heal.

7.   Avoid inflammatory foods

These foods include coffee, chocolate, dairy, sugar, potatoes, corn, peanuts, and wheat. All these foods are difficult for the body to digest and create inflammation.

See what happens. With less inflammation, your pain will decrease and your body will heal more effectively. And you will experience numerous additional benefits from these simple dietary changes.