Tag: Health

Fitness Myths to Know and Avoid

It is no secret that the health and fitness world comes with its fair share of myths and old wives’ tales — from those concerning one’s dietary habits to how hard one must work to lose weight. However, it is important to remember that a majority of these health myths are precisely that, meaning they should be taken with a grain of salt.

To ensure your fitness journey is not thrown off by a friend or co-worker’s seemingly harmless “advice,” here is a list of fitness myths you should know and avoid at all costs:

Using machines prevents you from making mistakes

While machines may be effective, they are certainly not the best or most foolproof method of exercising. In fact, the only way one can be entirely sure that they are performing exercises correctly is by working on machines that were made to fit their specific height and weight — something that is not commonplace in your average gym.

No pain, no gain?

While this phrase is uttered in gyms and on courts and fields  every single day, that does not necessarily mean it is correct. In fact, if something genuinely hurts while you are working out, experts recommend that you stop what you are doing immediately to find out if the pain eases up. If it does — meaning you only feel pain while you are working out — then you ought to see your doctor as soon as possible.

Stretching helps your body recover

Although stretching is an excellent way to increase joint flexibility, it has not actually been found to shorten one’s recovery time after a workout. However, limbering up still has its benefits, such as decreased risk of pulling or tearing a muscle during exercise. Therefore, it is still highly recommended that you stretch before and after your next workout.

Swimming is the best exercise for weight loss

Granted, swimming is an excellent means of getting a full-body workout without putting too much stress on your joints and limbs. But, unless you spend hours upon hours doing laps in the pool every day, you will not see stunning results. That is because of two distinct factors:

Firstly, there is the buoyancy effect. Since your body is submerged in the water, you have a reduced need to work in order to stay afloat — especially if you have a higher level of body fat. Secondly, exercises that occur in cold water induce a spike in appetite, unlike exercises conducted on land, which are known to suppress one’s appetite.

How to Break Bad Health Habits

Consuming junk food, smoking cigarettes, drinking excessively, and watching too much television can all be categorized as habits damaging to one’s health. It’s very easy to develop routines in your life that lead to continued indulging in these habits, and breaking them is much easier said than done. However, there are strategies you can implement to overcome these mental vices.

First, recognize that you take part in an unhealthy habit, whatever that may be. There’s a good chance your habit follows a specific pattern. Figure out what may trigger this habit. If you struggle with eating unhealthy foods, simply feeling hungry may immediately make you think of the most delicious yet caloric meal you can find. Train yourself to think differently upon feeling hunger. You may want to form a new trigger to change your thought process.

If you smoke cigarettes when you drink for example, avoid going to the bar or consuming alcohol entirely. If you regularly stop at a fast food restaurant on your commute home, take a different route. Avoiding these bad habit triggers is a blunt, yet reasonably effective strategy to try and break them.

Once you are taking part in the bad habit, you’ll often feel a sense of reward during. This makes it all the more difficult to break. Rather than trying to rid of the habit entirely, seek to replace it. A common example of this is when you feel the need to smoke a cigarette, chew a piece of gum instead. Obviously, nicotine addiction is much more serious than biting your nails, but the idea is to train your mind to crave other, healthier options.

You don’t have to go on this journey alone. If a friend or loved one takes part in a similar bad habit, work together toward the both of you breaking it. Having someone other than yourself to regulate your behavior can be extremely helpful, and you can reciprocate. It provides an additional source of motivation for both parties. With that said, avoid toxic relationships, as they can dramatically worsen, and even create new unhealthy habits.

Don’t punish yourself if you cave and indulge in the bad habit after successfully avoiding it. It happens to all of us. Relapsing occurs frequently in one way or another, and it is in no way an indication of failure. To help, plan for you to slip up every now and then. This can help you get back on track quickly, and return to a healthier life without that habit consuming it.

Watching Your Weight After 40

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body is no easy task at any age. It takes time, effort, and dedication to truly reap the benefits of exercise, and doing so becomes more and more important with time. As we age, our bodies begin to wear with time, leading to more diseases and physical difficulties, and one of the most common side effects is weight gain. In order to maintain a healthy weight and prevent gaining any more pounds in your 40’s, there are several strategies you can implement. Below are just a few that you can add to your daily routine.

Exercise Smart

Obviously, exercise is vital to one’s health. However, older individuals may see their age as an excuse to take it easy in the gym, or not go at all. Unless you are recovering from a previous injury or complication, there should be no reason why you don’t take part in a variety of workouts focusing on different parts of your body.

For your own safety, work closely with a personal trainer to develop a workout routine suited to your physical capabilities. They will explain that just because you are no longer in your physical prime does not mean that you cannot still take part in grueling workouts. Don’t let any inabilities of yours deter you from trying your hardest. A beneficial workout is one in which you break a sweat, no matter what area of the body you are focusing on.

On the contrary, choosing exercises that are easy on the joints are great for those over the age of 40. Look into water aerobics for an extremely beneficial workout routine that puts very little stress on your joints. Additionally, exercising underwater can actually promote a higher calorie output, helping you lose even more weight than traditional methods.

Test Hormone Levels

The older we get, the less hormones our bodies produce. Whether it is testosterone, estrogen, oxytocin, or cortisol, the fewer hormones the body releases, the more fat it stores rather than burns. With that said, you should regularly have your hormone levels checked by your doctor, and develop a regimen accordingly in an attempt to regulate and maintain sufficient levels. This can go surprisingly far in losing weight as a middle-aged individual. Normal levels of testosterone in men and estrogen in women can promote weight loss.

Watch Your Diet

As difficult as it can be, everyone understands the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. The effects of a poor diet can be even more exaggerated on those past the age of 40 as well. We are given the luxury of being able to splurge from time to time in our 20’s, but doing so as frequently as we did back then can result in accelerated weight gain without exercising to balance it out. Substitute junk foods with fruits and vegetables as much as you can. Though this is much easier said than done, it can make an enormous difference for those trying to cut calories and see a physical difference.

Balance Your Work and Personal Life

There is no mental detriment as harmful to one’s health quite like stress. It can be extremely difficult managing your stress levels depending on the demands of your career, and the older you are, the more likely you are to have more workplace responsibilities.

It’s hard to avoid, but learning how to manage this can do wonders for your health seeing as stress can affect your metabolism, leading to weight gain. One way to combat this is to consider your daily exercise as an important part of your routine; just as important as your three meals a day. Try to never skip exercise, and unless the circumstances are dire, keep your career responsibilities out of your home. A happy personal life can translate to a happy work life, effectively reducing stress.

How Meditation Can Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans today, and can lead to further mental health complications if left untreated for long periods of time. Anyone that suffers from some form of anxiety understands that it can be a truly debilitating disorder, affecting your daily life in several ways. Though there are many forms of effective treatment out there, few individuals suffering from anxiety ever seek said treatment. If you struggle with the mental vices of anxiety and are not one keen on medication for this disorder, meditation can be just as beneficial without the cost.

Stress and anxiety-inducing situations are hard to avoid, especially for those in the working world, no matter what field. Whether you’re worrying about money, family, your career, or personal issues, negative thoughts can creep into your mind at any time, and can make any situation stressful. Meditation can effectively silence these thoughts, and, in time, train you to suppress them when appropriate. The goal is to detach yourself from any negative emotions you may be experiencing, living within the space that exists between your conscious decision making.

Meditation has been linked to improved levels of anxiety, stress, and lower levels of general negativity. Mental activity has its physical manifestations in the brain which allows professionals to effectively study anxiety and how it affects one’s thoughts and habits. Those suffering from anxiety have displayed higher levels of fear, and studies have shown that consistent meditation is able to reduce those levels of fear and reactiveness in that area of the brain.

The practice of meditation can be oddly intimidating to those who have not tried it before. Sitting still and focusing on your breathing, letting your thoughts drift away can feel awkward for beginners. This is simply a common phase that many must get past in order to truly feel the effects of deep meditation. There are countless resources online for those that may need a guide during their first few attempts, and shorter meditative sessions are nothing to be ashamed of. Like all things, practice makes perfect. It is completely normal for your first few meditative sessions to be clouded with thoughts and distractions. With help and practice, these can be overcome.

It is important to keep in mind that with mental health disorders, physical damage can be done to the body as well. Higher levels of anxiety can cause irritability, which directly affects your sleep schedule. It can also lead to headaches, digestive problems, tightening of muscles, and much more. Meditation allows you to enter a calm, collective state that can both relax your mind and body.

As mentioned before, those suffering from anxiety should seek treatment from a medical professional as soon as possible. Medication exists that can help greatly, but for those who prefer alternative medicine, meditation is the next best thing. For more extreme cases, professional help is highly recommended. Regardless, meditating regularly can help everyone lower their levels of stress, anxiety, and general negativity. Consider this practice if you are struggling with the grasp of anxiety, as it just might be the key to controlling it.

George Zedan healthy eating

How to Eat Healthy on a Budget

Dieting can be a difficult task regardless of the average income of one’s household. Maintaining a busy life with work, family, and personal time is oftentimes overwhelming, and finding the time and financial means necessary to consistently eat healthy is typically seen as an added difficulty. However, there are ways you can purchase fresh, healthy foods without breaking the bank.

Buy locally

Supporting local farmers can not only boost your community’s economy, but buying in-season foods this way allows for fresher, more nutrient-heavy products. Additionally, prices tend to be on the lower side at local farmers markets, providing you with more foods for less cost. Pay attention to which foods flourish during certain seasons though. For example, asparagus tends to peak in the spring, and strawberries are ripest throughout the summer.

Don’t skip breakfast

Though this may seem like another reason to buy more food, skipping the first meal of the day leads to stronger feelings of hunger, and an increased chance of buying unhealthier foods to fill the void. Simply buying farm fresh eggs can offer you a healthy meal in the morning without having to spend a lot before lunch. Another great substitute is protein shakes. Both healthy and filling, meal replacement shakes can contribute to weight loss overtime, and even reduce one’s risk of weight-related health conditions.

Buy frozen foods

If shelf life is an important factor when grocery shopping, buying frozen foods can provide you with months’ worth of meat, vegetables, fruit, and more. Purchasing fresh produce, while healthy, forces you to use the products quickly before their expiration dates. Stocking up on frozen foods can save money overtime, as well as give you large amounts of items that last much longer.

Plan ahead

Whether you’re trying to decide what to have for lunch, what to make for dinner, or what to have the next day, planning ahead saves you time and stress. Meal prepping is a great way to have a week’s worth of food prepared beforehand, which also gives you option to prepare healthier servings. If you’re expecting a late night at work, having the ingredients for dinner that night already prepared is strongly suggested. Many people are tempted to order take-out after a late night, but sticking to your routine can save you money, and calories.

Eat more fiber

Fiber is not only filling, but it balances blood sugar, and delays gastric emptying which curbs your appetite and helps you feel fuller longer. Most high-fiber foods are relatively inexpensive. For optimal health, aim for two to three of these per meal. These can be anything from avocados and leafy greens, to nuts, legumes, or seeds. Salads with added vegetables and nuts are great for this course of action.

Pay attention to prices

Though this may seem obvious, many grocery stores take advantage of the convenience of certain items. That is, pre-cut vegetables and frozen dinners tend to be much more expensive than simply buying fresh produce or ingredients. While some may see this as more time consuming, making your own meals from scratch can save you money, as well as offer a fairly therapeutic tool.

George Zedan at-home workouts

The Best At-Home Workouts For Beginners

If getting to the gym on a regular basis is something that’s difficult to accomplish given your current lifestyle, squeezing in a few exercises in your own home is something that should be highly considered. For those that do not have a lot of experience with working out in the first place, the following exercises are just for you. No matter your level of training, these can be done by just about anyone.


One of the most basic workouts known by everyone in the fitness world. Pushups require very little space in your home, and can be done just about anywhere. This workout utilizes multiple muscle groups throughout your body, as well as strengthening your shoulder joints. With this added strength, you’ll better prepare yourself for more advanced workouts once you have time to hit the gym.


Yet another exercise you can perform right in front of your television. For the best results, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and while maintaining a straight back and your head up, sit back into this position. Be sure to focus on your knees bending over your toes with your chest out, and do not bend your back. Squats are great for improving overall strength, but your thighs and glutes are the primary beneficiaries.

Calf Raises

For the other portion of your legs that squats don’t focus on, these are great for strengthening both your calves and shins. A proper form involves standing straight and bringing your heels up slowly off the floor, holding your position at its peak. Then, slowly return to the starting position. Beginners in exercising tend to skip this workout, as they feel their calves are the least important muscles. However, strong calves improve your balance, prevent your feet from rolling, and calm the effects of shin splints.


Begin in a pushup position, but support your body with your forearms instead of your hands. Keep your back straight and focus on tensing your abs and glutes, holding for as long as you can. This is great for building core strength. Continuously performing crunches can have a negative effect on your spine if done incorrectly, whereas planks allow you the same workout without the risk of injury.

Side planks are a variation that target smaller muscles in your lower back, and can even improve back pain; something beginner’s might be all too familiar with. For this exercise, simply lie on either your left or right side and support your weight on your elbow, lifting your hips off the ground to form a straight line.

Bicep Curls

Assuming you have weights of some sort, bicep curls can be done anywhere in the house. If you don’t have weights however, feel free to improvise. Full jugs of milk make for great replacements. When performing this exercise, focus on keeping your elbows stationary. When your arms are bent at the top of the move, squeeze your biceps and slowly lower the weights back to your starting position. Strengthening your biceps can provide you with everyday benefits that you may not have considered otherwise, like stronger stabilization when lifting or carrying objects.

George Zedan stress

The Importance of Managing Stress

With the countless responsibilities and demands in one’s life, it’s no wonder that 77% of the United States population experiences physical symptoms caused by stress on a regular basis. The effects of stress can harm both your physical and mental health, and should be controlled in order to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

Chronic stress can lead to very dangerous risks including high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, stroke, obesity, and depression. The causes of this harmful mentality can range from a variety of sources. Things like changing jobs, moving, or losing a loved one can all negatively affect your mental health, leading to daily stress that you may not even realize you are experiencing.

Identify the Source

Pinpointing the source of everyday stress rather than that which you experience from a life changing event can be much more difficult. Pay attention to your habits and daily routine when focusing on potential causes. While it may be easy to simply say your stress is due to work, look for more specific reasons. Are you constantly excusing any negative feelings as just causes from a large workload? Or, have you not stopped to take a break in a long period time? Accept the responsibility of your daily activities and the possibility that they are what’s causing you stress. Until you do so, controlling your stress will be extremely difficult.

Avoid Negative Coping Strategies

Many people who suffer from stress end up worsening their symptoms through ineffective ways of coping. Things like smoking cigarettes, excessive sleeping, drinking alcohol, or withdrawing yourself from friends and family can have adverse effects in trying to improve your stress. Implementing strategies that do not contribute to your great emotional or physical health will only harm you, and should be replaced. No one method works for everybody, so experiment with tasks that calm you and help you better feel in control of your environment.


One of the easiest ways you can manage, and even reduce your stress is physical activity. That is not to say that spending hours in the gym is a requirement, though that can certainly help. Simply taking a walk, going for a light jog, or playing a sport can decrease levels of anger and tension. However, in order to feel the maximum benefits of exercise, at least 30 minutes of physical activity should be your goal.

Not only can this combat levels of stress, but exercising on a regular basis will become a part of your daily routine, subsequently keeping you occupied mentally, as well as physically. Choose an activity you enjoy to avoid thinking of why you’re doing it. Rather, focus on the actions you are performing, and have fun; the goal being to ease your mind.

Be Social

Those with chronic stress may feel like interacting with others is the last thing they want to do, when in reality, social engagement is a great way to occupy your mind and avoid over thinking. Don’t be afraid to tell others what you’re going through. If you’re with friends or family, they will more than likely be supportive. Communication is vital in creating a sense of safety among others. Your nervous system is able to perceive nonverbal cues from hearing, sight, and physical sensation, allowing you to become much more calm.

Dealing with stress is no easy task. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms and are unsure as to how to treat this, consider the strategies mentioned above. As previously mentioned, the success of these tips varies from person to person, so experiment with what makes you feel better. It is crucial to be able to manage your stress in order to avoid succumbing to harmful symptoms, and continue to live a healthy, happy lifestyle.

George Zedan

Dealing with a Torn ACL

A common and debilitating injury among athletes in all sports is an anterior cruciate ligament injury, often referred to as a torn ACL. This typically occurs when the knee is hyperextended and the ligament exceeds its biomechanical limits. Varying in severity, an ACL tear can contribute to trouble walking and swelling of the knee, and usually requires surgery for proper repair. Rehabilitation can take anywhere from six to nine months, and can be a difficult road to recovery.

It is important to understand the anatomy of the knee in order to properly diagnose and treat a torn ACL. The quadricep muscles on the front of the thigh and the hamstrings on the back aid in the stabilization of the knee, which is primarily controlled by four ligaments. These include the medial and lateral collateral ligaments, which prevent the knee from shifting side to side, and the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, which keep the knee from sliding forward and backward.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured muscle in the knee. The austerity of which can differ. Sprains of these ligaments can be classified as grade 1, 2, or 3. Grade 1 sprains occur when a ligament’s fibers are overstretched. A grade 2 sprain involves some torn fibers, but remains functional. Grade 3 sprains are complete tears of the ligament entirely, and are frequent among athletes.

Both contact and non-contact sports can contribute to these injuries. If an athlete changes direction quickly, planting his or her foot flat on the ground, the knee hyperextends, stressing the ACL. A blow to the knee in contact sports while the foot is planted can also cause hyperextension. They are more common in women due to a difference in anatomy and muscle mass as well.

If you have experienced a torn ACL, the surgery required can be grueling, much like the recovery process. Find a doctor that specializes in such cases for the best possible outcome. Taking up to 6 months or more, recovering from this surgery is no easy task. Following a rehabilitation process is absolutely vital in order for the ligament to heal properly, as this strengthens the muscle around the knee and regains range of motion.

Within the first weeks, be sure to rest your leg up on a couch or pillow four to six times a day. This can reduce swelling in the knee. However, you should maintain a small amount of physical activity. Moving the knee post-surgery, though painful, keeps the blood flowing, and redevelops the torn muscle. After a month or so, you should be given a knee brace and advised to move more frequently than before. Patients usually begin physical therapy at this time. Depending on the injury, your doctor should provide you with a program suitable for your personal rehabilitation process.

Avoiding ligament damage in sports like football, soccer, basketball, and skiing is difficult, but simple strategies like wearing proper cleats, stretching, and effectively bending the knee upon landing can prevent this. For those who’ve suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, work with your doctor on a daily basis to ensure you are maintaining a healthy recovery process. Though it takes time, coming back from such an injury is not impossible.

George Zedan

5 Ways to Stay Healthy in the Locker Room

Schools, gyms, and sports venues can all house breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses, and fungus in their locker rooms. With groups of people all using a single area to change or bathe, it’s no wonder why this can be a fairly unhygienic environment. Below are just a few guidelines to follow that could aid in staying healthy, and avoiding potential illness within all forms of locker rooms.

  1. Wash clothes at least twice a week

Even if you feel as though you barely broke a sweat, letting post-workout clothes sit without washing them invites bacteria from odors to fester within the fabric. Be sure to take these clothes home and wash them at least two times per week to avoid repercussions like skin rashes, fungal infections, or dermatitis.

  1. Refrain from sharing products

If your routine following exercise consists of more than simply changing clothes, like showering or shaving, avoid sharing the products you use for these activities. Towels have a nasty tendency to harbor staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph; a bacteria that mostly causes skin infections. Symptoms can range from rashes, pimples, or boils, all the way to MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in extreme cases, though it is rare.

Sharing razors can be particularly hazardous, as this runs the risk of transmitting bloodborne illnesses like HIV and hepatitis. Because they can also preserve bacteria from the skin, razors should be cleaned daily as well. This coincides with the practice of not sharing soap or deodorant, as germs and bacteria can also call these products home.

  1. Always shower following physical activity

After strenuous exercise, it is important to shower, not just for the sake of no longer reeking of body odor, but to also avoid developing rashes caused by perspiration left on the skin, which produces bacteria and fungus. If any injuries were suffered during your workout or sporting event like cuts or scrapes, bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream through these wounds, also leading to possible infection. Showering is vital in order to prevent these post-workout germs from becoming anything more than just that.

  1. Cover your feet

It should go without saying that locker room floors are very dirty. They are notorious for housing bacteria that can cause fungal infections like athlete’s foot, or warts caused by the HPV virus. Protecting your feet in these environments is extremely important, especially in shower stalls. Investing in a pair of shower shoes would be wise, as germs around drains and floor tiles tend to linger.

  1. Wash your hands

This is a no-brainer. Public locker rooms, as stated before, are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria, and the use of your hands is unavoidable. After all is said and done, make sure you wash your hands before exiting even if you’ve already showered, as these microscopic monstrosities can be airborne.

Whether you’re a professional athlete or a member of a local gym, the level of hygiene that you practice within a locker room should not differ. For your own sake, and for the sake of those around you, be cautious in this open environment, and follow the guidelines listed above in order to maintain your physical health.

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