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May 2011

Handstands - A Personal Challenge Week 7



Welcome to the latest installment of my weekly handstands personal challenge.  This series is my personal account of my journey to improve upon my ability to execute and maintain handstands.  Every Tuesday I summarize the successes and failures of this physical challenge and layout my plan for the upcoming week. In addition to handstands I post about other aspects of my strength training routine. I hope this series entertains and teaches you not only about handstands, but also the importance of maintaining personal goals.

 Handstands - Wednesday 25 May 2011

You'll remember that I had challenged myself to do a ten second free handstand during the week May 23 - 27. Due to scheduling conflicts this was the first day of the week that I was able to train at the gym. So as to not waste time I set aside the first ten minutes to work on my handstands. The practice did not go well, my friends. I began with elevated handstands. I kicked off well enough, but I could not keep my balance. I teetered to the left several times and wound up falling to the mat. After that I moved the steps aside and performed handstands from the mat. They weren't much better. For all of my "efforts" I only averaged three seconds, not good enough for a free handstand. 

After a two minute break I started a mini circuit which consisted of power rack lockouts (14 total reps at 365 pounds which is 130 % of my bench press one rep max), running in place (4 short bursts of 30 seconds, with a final run lasting 3 minutes), and seated calf leg raise (45 pounds). The power rack lockouts and seated calf raise were for use on Great Chest and Whole Body Workouts, but they worked just as well as part of my workout for the day. Even though my handstands weren't much to write about, all in all I had a decent workout.

Handstands - Friday 27 May 2011   

Things were not much better than they were on Wednesday. I'm finding that I prefer elevated handstands to the regular mat, so that's what I set out to do. After placing the step atop six risers, I started practice. The first few attempts were okay, I balanced for three seconds. But then it went downhill from there. I started to overshoot, throwing myself completely off balance. Although I didn't tighten my abs as much as I should have, the real problem was focus: I was so intent on not falling that I actually created situations were that was repeated over and over again. After fifteen minutes of that I knew that I wasn't doing myself any good. I decided to get in my Friday circuit training exercise (which is a story in itself).

I spent the remainder of my time doing a circuit which consisted of floor wipes (six sets of 30 reps using the Olympic bar and two 45 pound plates), pull ups/chin up variations (five completed sets of wide grip, shoulder width, neutral and close grip exercises performing 14 reps per set), triceps/chest dips (five completed sets performing 14 reps per set), five sets of basic push ups (14 reps per set), exploding lunges (12 lunges forward, followed by 12 lunges in the opposite direction) and dumbbell snatches (14 reps right hand, then immediately 14 reps left hand while using a 30 pound dumbbell). I paced myself to the music on the radio, the station played a continuous stream of music and I tried to complete as may sets as possible while a song was playing (they paused for a couple of sixty second commercial breaks, which I treated as part of the music program), giving myself eight seconds rest between exercises. So the circuit looked like this:

30 floor wipes [8s rest] 14 pull ups/chin ups [8s rest] 14 triceps/chest dips [8s rest] 14 push ups [8s rest] 24 total explosive lunges [8s rest] 28 total dumbbell snatches [8s rest] REPEAT  

I was making progress, working hard and dropping buckets of sweat. I was doing so good that I didn't want to interrupt my routine for a drink of water, making it my reward following the workout. And I paid for that arrogance.

By the time I started started my sixth set of pull ups, I felt some cramping in left foot. It was bothersome enough that I had to stop for a moment. After the discomfort subsided I decided to try again but the cramping resumed. I waited paused for 45 seconds then started my sixth set of dips. When the discomfort kicked in after my fifth rep, I knew that it was time to call it a day. My mistake was that I had been sweating so much that my electrolytes were becoming depleted. I had begun to feel thirsty. I needed a drink of water for my health but I ignored the feeling because I wanted to finish the workout without stopping. I knew better than that, but I did it anyway. It just shows that there's a fine line between focus and common sense. And I did feel better after I took the time to drink some water.

Handstands - 28 Saturday 2011      

I went in for a weekend practice session. I fell down many times before completing a three second free handstand. The week was a wash, I hadn't kept my balance at all. While I was practicing I kept thinking about falling down. My focus was gone. I then realized that I wasn't having any fun doing handstands, I had made the practice into a chore. I wasn't going to get anywhere with that mindset. 

I finished up my workout with light exercises: lateral pull downs (six sets at 190 pounds), hanging obliques (two sets), and dumbbell side bends (four sets while holding a 40 pound dumbbell in each hand). I was grateful for the workout, but I hadn't accomplished what I had set out to do.

Lessons Learned and the Personal Challenge for this Week

The previous week taught me a valuable lesson: I need to regain my focus. I kept falling because the handstands practice was no longer fun. It devolved to nothing more than an assignment. Without keeping the focus on what really matters, I'm not going to move forward. So the challenge for this week is to make handstands fun again. Yeah, it's as simple as that. Just have fun doin' them. 

Next week I'll tell you how it turns out.

"Handstands - A Personal Challenge Week 7" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.


Develop Your Torso With the “Seated Torso Twist”

Develop Your Torso With the “Seated Torso Twist”
By Guy Long

Resistance training makes a special type of training that helps
increase the size and strength of your skeletal muscles. When it
is used in conjunction with a balanced dietary plan and regular
cardio exercises such as walking, brisk walking, jogging,
running and swimming, one can shed unwanted pounds from his or
her body within weeks. Resistance training exercises make a
wonderful gift for elderly people as they help protect against
the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis. Another benefit of
performing resistance training workouts is that they help
maintain the health of your cardiovascular system.

Resistance training makes use of free weights such as barbells,
dumbbells or med balls, exercise machines, elastic bands or even
your own body weight to work your muscles against some force of
resistance. When executed with a right technique and perfect
angle, resistance training exercises can help you achieve your
desired weight and physique. 

If your aim is to develop and strengthen your torso, then there
are numerous resistance training exercises that target multiple
muscle groups of your upper body simultaneously. Seated Torso
Twist is a magnificent exercise that targets abs, lower back and
trapezius muscles at the same time. 

In order to perform this exercise, you should sit cross-legged
with a medicine ball right in front of you. Next step is to
rotate at your torso and place the med ball behind you. Now,
rotate to the opposite side to grab the med ball and place it
back in front of you. This would complete one rep. You should
perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps each.

When performing this exercise, make sure that you keep your
back straight and don’t arch through the back. It is also
important to keep your abs engaged while rotating your torso to
effectively target the abdominal muscles. 

Resistance training exercises yield maximum results when you
incorporate protein-rich diets into your daily dietary routine.
Protein contains amino acids that help stimulate muscle protein
anabolism. They maximize muscle growth after strenuous
resistance training exercises by enhancing lean tissue mass and
muscle building. Moreover, protein helps improve post workout
recovery and increases muscle performance. Diets that make rich
sources of protein include lean meats particularly chicken and
fish, egg, low-fat dairy products, whey protein, nuts, cereals,
pulses, fruits, and fortified foods. You can also use a dietary
supplement that contains whey protein in its formulation. 

If you are a novice exerciser and are not sure about how to
perform seated torso twist or other resistance training
exercises, then make sure that you look for the services of a
professional gym trainer in your vicinity. There are many
benefits of hiring a fitness trainer. First of all, he or she
will suggest you a right combination of compound exercises
keeping in view your physique and weight. Second of all, he will
guide you on how to perform different resistance training
exercises safely. Moreover, he will also design you a healthy
dietary plan with an appropriate ratio of protein,
carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals.

About the Author: “The author is a personal trainer in St.Kilda
and you can check out his site here:


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Get a Brilliant Smile With Cosmetic Teeth Whitening

Get a Brilliant Smile With Cosmetic Teeth Whitening
By Adriana J. Noton

There are many new and exciting ways to brighten your smile
with cosmetic teeth whitening, with some options that you can do
at home, or procedures that a dentist would have to perform in
their office.

The easiest of the whitening options are the over the counter
store bought kits that include a bleaching gel with a
concentration lower than that of the professionally dispensed
take-home whiteners. The gel is applied to the teeth by way of
one-size-fits-all plastic trays, strips or paint-on applicators.
Read all of the directions completely before using for the best
results possible.

Depending on the kit you choose, it may enable the whitening of
only the front teeth, or might contain entire trays that are
molded to help whiten all the way around. Sometimes one use will
not be enough to get the desired results and depending on the
type used, a second application at a later date after initial
treatment may be needed.

Another option is to utilize the type of trays that the dentist
office provides. These trays are usually custom fitted to your
mouth and contain a more concentrated bleaching agent that the
dentist can determine what is appropriate for your situation.
The results of using these types of trays may last longer than
store bought varieties.

A popular option for lightening and brightening your smile is
to visit a dental professional who specializes in such services.
There are many benefits to opting for going to the dentist as
opposed to doing it at home, one being that there is a dentist
there to help with any issues that may come up. This could
include gum sensitivity to the bleaching material or to ensure
complete tooth area coverage.

Laser whitening is a newer, combined version using the
bleaching gel and then applying a laser light in sequences to
brighten the teeth. This is a good option for someone who has
sensitive teeth and gums, as it is not as abrasive as some of
the other bleaches can be. It is also very quick process and can
be done in one visit to the dentist in about an hour.

Another increasingly popular option is to cover the stained
teeth up completely with porcelain veneers. These are very thin,
hard shells that are bonded directly to the surface of the
tooth, allowing the user to essentially have the appearance of a
new smile without the hassle and pain of dentures. Many people
find these to be a very workable solution to a busy lifestyle,
as the veneer surfaces can last several years with proper care.
This particular process is especially appealing to people who
are in the public eye or in a job where their appearance is

There are also many different toothpastes, mouthwashes and even
dental floss on the market that can help in the daily regimen of
smile maintenance. Whatever your choice of cosmetic teeth
whitening, read all of the pros and cons to make the best
decision, then enjoy the self esteem that a great smile can

About the Author: Local dentist Thornhill offering you
comprehensive dental care and perfecting your smile in a
convenient and clean Thornhill dental care clinic.


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Keep Hypertension at Bay With Exercise

Keep Hypertension at Bay With Exercise
By Kya Grace

Hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure, poses
quite a threat to your heart. This is because if left
uncontrolled, it leads to heart attacks and strokes. Your blood
pressure can rise due to many factors. Consuming fatty foods or
foods high in salt or sodium increases the chance of
hypertension occurrence. Sodium rich foods cause water to flow
into your blood stream, as a result of which the heart begins to
function faster. This increases the blood pressure. Fatty foods
will block your veins and make it difficult for the blood to
pass through which in turn increases the pressure. 

Although you may improve your blood pressure by consuming food
rich in fibers, magnesium and potassium, exercising proves to be
an excellent solution to keep your hypertension at bay. Your
blood pressure is affected to a great extent by stress. A burst
of adrenaline occurs when you undergo stress. This results in
increased heart rate and clogging of the blood vessels.
Eventually, you end up with a high blood pressure. Smoking also
weakens your heart since it contains nicotine, which causes harm
to your blood vessels. It aggravates clotting of the blood and
restricts passage of oxygen to the heart resulting in increased
heart rates. 

A strong heart will help maintain the flow of blood in your
body and will also help keep your blood pressure at a normal
rate. Exercises that concentrate on providing strength to the
heart are considered to be best. You may do some cardio
exercises that involves brisk walking, jogging and running. 

Use a treadmill to exercise indoors; workout outdoors by
including some aerobic exercises, which will help improve the
way your cardiovascular system uses oxygen. Exercising at a
moderate level will help lower your blood pressure. Moderate
exercising refers to working out for about half an hour a day
and four times in a week. It is not necessary to workout for 30
minutes on a continuous basis. Break it up into three 10 minute
workout sessions or two 15 minutes sessions depending on what
fits into your schedule. 

You will notice significant changes in your blood pressure
within three to four weeks after you have initiated the exercise
regime. But mostly, it is important to continue the workout on a
regular basis in order to maintain its positive effects. In
order to acquire the best results from a cardio exercise regime,
it is necessary to make some modifications in your lifestyle. 

You must ensure to reduce weight if, in case, you happen to be
overweight. Bring down your amount of alcohol consumption.
Reduce it by an ounce of ethanol consumed per day. Alleviate
consumption of sodium and do not consume more than 2.3 grams per
day. Include potassium, magnesium and calcium rich foods in your
diet. Bring down your intake of cholesterol, dietary fat and
saturated fats. Cut down on smoking habits. 

Most importantly, tailor the exercise regime per your schedule,
test it and consult with your physician before you begin the
cardio workout program.

About the Author: If you would like to hire Personal Trainers
Bondi or to register for a free Bootcamp session, visit Boot Camps Sydney.


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Obese Patients are at Increased Risk of Infection after Colorectal Surgery



Obesity increases postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) in patients undergoing surgery to remove the colon, according to recent findings published online in the 16 May 2011 issue of the Archives of Surgery.

Lead researcher Dr. Elizabeth Wick and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 7020 patients who underwent total or partial colorectal surgery for colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or diverticulitus between 2002 and 2008. The research team was investigating obesity's effect on postoperative surgical site infection and its associated cost on colorectal surgery patients. They chose this surgical procedure because there is a greater risk of infection following colectomy than other procedures.

Of the original 7020 patients selected for the study, 1243 were obese at the time they underwent colorectal surgery. Even though the overall rate of infection was 10.3%, the percentage shot up to 60% among obese patients thus demonstrating that this population was at significantly greater risk than nonobese patients.

Wick and her team found that higher costs were associated with obese patients who developed infection after colorectal surgery, in large part because those patients had to be re-admitted to hospitals to treat infection which increased health care cost. According to an insurance claims database, researchers estimated that treatment of surgical site infection cost $17,000 more than patients who did not develop infections following colorectal surgery.

The study authors express concern that providers may withhold payment to hospitals and surgeons who treat the obese because of the greater cost involved with SSI, which would "unfairly penalize health care providers who disproportionately care for obese and other high-risk patients." 

Wick and her team suggest that pay per performance policies allow for increased risk and treatment for patients who develop SSI. They warn that "failure to consider these differences could lead to perverse incentives" that penalize surgeons and possibly "affect obese patients' access to colorectal surgery."

Article Source

Wick, E.C. et al. Surgical Site Infections and Cost in Obese Patients Undergoing Colorectal Surgery. Archives of Surgery. Published online May 16, 2011.


"Obese Patients Are At Increased Risk of Infection After Colorectal Surgery" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.

Colorectal Cancer Patients With Defective DNA Repair Systems Have Better Survival Rates



According to a study published online in the May 19th issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, cancer researchers have discovered that colorectal patients with defective DNA mismatch repair systems have lower cancer recurrence rates and better survival than patients who have the normal repair system.

Dr. Frank A. Sinicrope of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota led a research team which analyzed data from more than 2,000 clinical trials involving stage II and stage III colorectal cancer patients who had been treated for the disease with surgery and chemotherapy which involved the use of a standard colorectal cancer drug known as 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU.

The scientists were looking at how defects in the body's ability to repair damaged DNA affected colorectal cancer recurrence rates including time-to-recurrence and site of recurrence. They also sought to learn how such defects would influence patients' response to chemotherapy.

The data analysis showed that colorectal cancer patients with mismatched DNA repair systems had improved overall survival and disease-free survival. The mismatched DNA repair system also provided patients with additional advantanges including:

  • lower rates of tumor recurrence
  • longer remission
  • fewer cancer metasteses
  • better survival rates than patients who did not have the defects

The cancer research team also analyzed differences between 5-FU based chemotherapy in patients who inherited mismatched DNA repair systems and those with sporadic defects.

They surmised that 5-fluorouracil only afforded lower recurrence rate advantage to patients who had inherited DNA mismatch repair defects.

Scientists have already known that a certain percentage of mismatched repair defects leading to colorectal cancer are the result of inherited genetic mutations, while others are sporadic. (It would be interesting to know why patients who inherited defects responded better to 5-FU treatment than those where it happened by chance.)

Sinicrope and his team concluded that their data "demonstrate that patients with defective mismatch repair colon cancer have a statistically significant reduction in their rates of tumor recurrence, a delayed time of recurrence and better survival rates". 

This study is very exciting because of ironies in the way that the body works. Namely that defects in the cell's ability to repair damaged DNA actually improves cancer survival rates.

Cancer is runaway mitosis, mechanisms that normally instruct cells to stop dividing somehow become fouled up. In normal mitosis, cells reproduce through cell division; DNA is copied and passed on to daughter cells. Each cell is supposed to be identical to the cell from which it was produced (that's why all of the cells of a given type should be genetically and functionally alike).

But each time a cell divides there's a very very slim chance that it will make a mistake, something is misread or miscopied causing a mutation which then gets passed onto the daughter cell. Now the daughter is slightly different than its parent.

Given enough time more mutations can occur in later generations of cell progeny, if enough accumulate the mutated cell may refuse to die (ignoring apoptosis), make endless copies of itself, ignore growth suppressor commands, etc. and become cancerous.

That inherited or sporadic defects in mismatched DNA repair systems can actually lead to better survival is very amazing.

To me, it's further evidence of evolution at work.

Hopefully Sinicrope's research can be applied to better therapies and improved rates of survival for cancer patients.


11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD-- he is their help and shield. Psalm 115:11

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Article Source

DNA Repair System Affects Colon Cancer Recurrence and Survival Rates. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Published online May 19, 2011.


"Colorectal Cancer Patients With Defective DNA Repair Systems Have Better Survival Rates" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.

Handstands - A Personal Challenge Week 6



Hello everyone! I welcome you to the latest installment of my weekly personal handstands challenge. For those of you who are just joining us, in April of this year I wrote about the strength training benefits of practicing handstands. I became so fascinated with them that I challenged myself to hold my balance for fifteen seconds. The first challenge was so much fun that I decided to make it a regular series here at Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). At the start of every week I set a new goal for myself and report on my progress and things learned during the previous week.

This series is designed to entertain and educate, I invite you to follow along and learn from my successes and mistakes. I encourage you to set personal goals as part of your fitness program, too. And now it's time to report about what happened last week.


Handstands - Monday 16 May 2011

Long time followers of the series will remember that last week I accomplished a sixty second handstand. I'm becoming much more efficient at this exercise, easily meeting and surpassing previous goals that I had set for myself. It's now getting to the point where I need to do something more to prevent myself from plateauing in this area of my training. So at the close of last week, I challenged myself to do five consecutive handstand push ups for the week May 16 - May 20, 2011. Well, I'll just cut right to the point: I set the bar way too low.

Handstands was the only workout I did that day. As soon as I arrived at the gym I went to work on my challenge. I immediately performed four handstand push ups then stopped. Right away I knew that this wasn't going to be a challenge at all. The second time I got into position, I performed seven handstand push ups, then five, then six and finally seven more. I had beaten the "challenge" on the first day of the new week. I needed to do something else.

I got an aerobic step and six risers (three for each end of the platform). Now I could do elevated handstands. I balanced myself for twenty-six seconds on my first practice. I did it twice more, my average balance time was twenty-seven seconds. 

Handstands - Wednesday 18 May 2011

I practiced elevated handstands during the first ten minutes of my workout. They're very easy, the platform supports my weight perfectly. I did many of them, my average balance time was twenty-seven seconds. 

After finishing up the handstands, I did two sets of knuckle push ups (30 reps at body weight, then 20 reps at body weight) and one set of finger tip push ups. From there I went on to free weight training. I did one set of dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts (using 40 lb dumbbells) and then dumbbell shrugs (two sets of ten using 75 pound dumbbells). After completing those exercises I did fifteen barbell Romanian deadlifts and called it a day.

Handstands - Friday 20 May 2011

I had only thirty minutes to exercise so practiced elevated handstands during the first ten minutes of my workout. My wrists were a little stiff so I had to loosen them up a bit. My shoulders, forearms and upper back were somewhat sore from Wednesday's workout, but my balance average was very good, increasing by two seconds. I was pleased with what I had accomplished.

The remaining eighteen minutes were spent doing a circuit of floor wipes (six sets of 24 reps using the Olympic bar and two 45 pound plates), pull up/chin ups (six sets of twelve reps at body weight using wide, neutral, shoulder width and close grip), tricep and chest dips (six sets of twelve reps at body weight), basic push ups (six sets of twelve reps at body weight) and explosive lunges (twelve lunges forward then twelve in the opposite direction). I followed a circuit training design similar to the one I used the previous Friday. I had a lot of fun, these will be part of my routine for the foreseeable future.

Lessons Learned and the Personal Challenge for this Week

Handstand push ups were fun, but not much of a challenge. I'm fortunate to have good upper body strength, but I must continue to work on my balance. During my first week of practicing handstands I noticed a tendency to overshoot when pushing my feet off the mat. I eventually maintained a five second handstand without using the wall for support. It's time for me to improve on this.

This week my challenge is to complete a ten second free handstand i.e. I won't balance myself against the wall now. Balance is the key - I've got to focus my mind as well as my body, elsewise I'll crash to the mat.

I'll give you all a progress report next week.


God is almighty, omnipotent and has always been and always shall be. Bless the name of the Lord!

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"Handstands - A Personal Challenge Week 6" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved. 


Many Visually Impaired Americans Do Not Seek Eye Care Treatment



A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that a large number of visually impaired Americans do not seek eye care. According to the findings of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys of 21 states conducted between 2006 - 2009, and reported in the May 20, 2011 issue of the agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), a significant number of moderate to severe visually impaired Americans aged 40 and older did not seek treatment for eye problems.

Health officials conducted a random telephone survey of 11,500 moderate to severe visually impaired residing in 21 states. They analyzed the data from the BRFSS Vision Impaired and Access to Eye Care Module which provided interesting information about the thousands of older Americans who suffer from eye problems. What they found may shock you.


Lack of Insurance or Cost of Care Affects People's Decision to Get Eye Care Treatment

Although regular check ups are important for maintaining good eye health, it turns out that many people aged 40 and over don't seek help for moderate to severe eye problems because they don't have the money to pay for treatment. This could have serious implications on a national level considering an aging population and rising health care costs. People are putting their vision at risk if they don't get their eyes checked, eye disease can worsen without treatment.


Many People Don't Feel Any Need To Seek Eye Care Treatment

Many visually impaired people over age 65 (43.8% of respondents) simply don't feel that they need to get their eyes checked. CDC officials speculate that people of that age group believe that it is normal to develop eye problems with age. This response is troubling to health experts because there are more cases of visual problems in the elderly than other populations. They also noted that men were more likely than women to believe that there wasn't any need to get treatment for eye problems.


What This Means To You 

May is Healthy Vision Month. Millions of Americans across all racial and ethnic groups suffer from eye disease. As a matter of fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that the number of people who suffer from nearsightedness has grown substantially over the past thirty years. In light of the fact that nearsightedness is often a correctible problem that often affects children and teens, more severe problems such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy (diabetes-related vision loss) and cataracts - all of which are associated with older persons- will become a serious national health crisis as our nation continues to age.

Your eyesight is nothing to play around with. It's important to get regular check ups because only an eye care professional can diagnose any changes in the condition of your eyes.

In an imperfect world people are often faced with very tough decisions, weighing the importance of one thing over another. But blindness is no laughing matter. Medical check ups often make the difference between sight and blindess.

If you hesitate to visit an eye care professional because you lack funds or erroneously believe that nothing is wrong with your eyes it could be too late. Your eyesight might be gone forever. Is that a risk that you are willing to take?


The Word humbled Himself and became a human being who is named Jesus Christ. Jesus who is the Son of God died for our sins and on the third day was resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Believe in Jesus and have eternal life.


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Article Sources

Reasons for Not Seeking Eye Care Among Adults Aged ≥40 Years with Moderate-to-Severe Visual Impairment --- 21 States, 2006--2009. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NIH News

Dirani, M. et al. Adult-Onset Myopia: The Genes in Myopia (GEM) Twin Study. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. August 2008. vol 49, no. 8. 3324-3327.


"Many Visually Impaired Americans Do Not Seek Eye Care Treatment" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Top 5 Causes of High Cholesterol

Top 5 Causes of High Cholesterol
By Kya Grace

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance, circulating in your
bloodstream. Cholesterol is needed by the body for building
healthy cell membranes, producing Vitamin D and aiding in the
production of the sex hormones, Testosterone and Estrogen.
However, it is only when the Cholesterol level is high in your
blood that it is potentially harmful.

Cholesterol can be categorized into two types – LDL
(Low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (High-density lipoprotein)
cholesterol. LDL is commonly known as the ‘bad cholesterol’,
which should be kept low. Otherwise, it tends to build up as
‘plaque’ on the inner walls of your arteries, eventually
blocking them. This condition is known as ‘Atherosclerosis’ and
causes hearts attacks or strokes. HDL, on the other hand, is the
‘good cholesterol’ that helps keep your arteries clear of the
LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. Good HDL levels save you from the risk
of a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, ‘High Cholesterol’
refers to high LDL levels and low HDL levels in your

There are various factors behind High Cholesterol in your
blood. Listed below are the top five causes.

1. Weight- increase: Studies have shown that increase in a
person’s weight as little as 20 percent raises the level of LDL
and lowers that of HDL Cholesterol. Overweight or obese persons
are often at high risk of heart attacks or heart-related

2. Improper Diet: Diets with excessive saturated fat or
trans-fat, which are commonly found in processed meat, poultry
food, sweets, high fat dairy products and fast food or ‘junk’
food contribute most to high LDL Cholesterol. Saturated fat can
be singled out as the most harmful among the 5 causes. While the
body needs saturated fat for growth, hormone production and
other processes, too much of it causes an increase in LDL. Trans
fat causes the same effect.

3. Alcohol: Alcohol does increase the HDL but does nothing to
decrease the LDL Cholesterol. Drinking too much alcohol also
damages the liver and heart muscles. This leads to high blood
pressure and increases the level of triglycerides (another type
of fat found in your blood.) Therefore, in the long run, it does
more harm than good.

4. Smoking: Smoking severely reduces your HDL or ‘good’
cholesterol, apart from causing various other health damages.
Therefore, it plays an equally harmful role in contributing to
heart diseases.

5. Physical inactivity: Lack of adequate physical activity,
including regular exercise, leads to a sedentary lifestyle. This
goes on to increase the LDL and decrease the HDL Cholesterol in
your body. Alternatively, simple sports or a basic regular
exercise such as walking can enhance your level of good
cholesterol and cut down your bad cholesterol. Not only can it
drastically reduce the risk of heart disease, but also
contribute to your overall health improvement.

While the 5 above reasons are the most known causes of high
cholesterol, there are natural causes such as age, race and
gender, which cannot be controlled. However, it is possible to
control the causes related to your lifestyle. Eating a healthy
diet, cutting down alcohol and smoking, maintaining your body
weight and regular exercising not only keeps your cholesterol
normal, but also goes a long way in keeping you healthy in other

About the Author: Kya Grace is a Sydney personal trainer. If
you would like to sign up for a free session with expert
personal trainers or to go to a boot camp trial, visit Boot Camp Sydney.


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Eliminate The Belly Fat

Eliminate The Belly Fat
By Steve Stark

Getting rid of that stubborn fat around the midsection is a
challenge most of us struggle to overcome. How did we get the
term love handles anyway? Certainly no one loves them! If those
love handles make you cringe every time you look in the mirror
then start changing your lifestyle to get that troublesome
midsection under control.

Belly fat isn't just unsightly, it can also be hazardous to
your health. Carrying extra weight around your midsection
increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high
blood pressure and a host of other chronic illnesses. The reason
belly fat is dangerous is because this is the area where we
collect the largest amount of visceral fat. Visceral fat,
sometimes called "hidden fat", is the fat that surrounds the
internal organs as opposed to subcutaneous fat which lies under
the skin. The good news is that, according to Penny
Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D. and researcher at Penn State,
visceral fat is more metabolically active and easier to lose
than subcutaneous fat.

So how do you eliminate that spare tire? To rid yourself of
unwanted inches around your waist, you need a plan. That plan
must include two vital components: Diet and Exercise. One
without the other will keep you from finding a better body. Many
people make the mistake of working only their trouble areas.
Doing 100 sit-ups a day won't, by itself, eliminate belly fat.
Now, I'm not saying that abdominal exercises are not worth
while. They are a great way to tone and build your abdominal
muscles. The problem however isn't just having tone muscles,
it's eliminating the belly fat that's covering them up.

Our bodies do not have the capability of eliminating fat from
just one area at a time. Spot training the midsection won't
banish the belly fat. A balance of full body resistance
exercises and cardiovascular training is the best way to battle
the overgrown belly. A 30 minute total body circuit three times
a week will get your body burning calories for up to 120 hours
during that week. Add a couple of 30-45 minute cardio sessions
and you're on your way to eliminating the love handles.

Now, exercise is only going to get you so far. A balanced,
nutritious diet is essential for taking off the inches. Get your
fat consumption under control, reduce your intake of refined
foods such as white bread, and start eating more whole grains,
vegetables and protein. Start your day by eating more protein
and you'll be less hungry throughout your day. Whole grains can
have the same effect by increasing your fiber consumption and
keeping hunger at bay.

You don't have to fast to lose weight. In fact, eating too
little can actually increase your body fat. If your body is
deprived of the nutrition it needs, it begins to cannibalize
muscle tissue and keeps the fat stored in your body as a defense
mechanism. Fasting also decreases your chance of maintaining a
healthy lifestyle. You are far more likely to revert back to
poor eating habits if you're starving yourself than if you are
getting your fill of nutritious foods. Eating more often can
actually help you lose weight as long as you are eating the
right foods.

Belly fat can be managed and eliminated with the proper plan in
place. Don't waste another day staring at the mirror and not
liking what you see hanging around your waistline. Make a
lifestyle change that will knock that belly fat off and keep it
off for good.

References: WebMD - The Truth About Belly Fat by Kathleen M.

About the Author: Steve Stark is a NFPT Certified Personal
Trainer with over 15 years of experience training athletes as
well as private clients. For more expert fitness advice,
instructional exercise videos, printable workout routines, and 4
to 8 week workout programs visit


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