A key to living a healthy life is making sure to keep your body active.  300 million years ago, we were just one-celled organisms floating in water.  Today, we are complex beings with multiple systems (e.g., skeletal, muscular, circulatory, etc.).  Our bodies need to be challenged in order to remain strong.  That's why we here at Healthy Being want to share our tips with you.  The tips here are theories that the Healthy Being team has tested and found successful.  Do your body a favor - treat it well!  :)

Keeping Active

2-3,000 years ago, Romans used to go for walks because they knew the benefits of physical activity.  Today, physical activity is still important.  Though some things change over time and certain things go the way of the dinosaur, like the dinosaurs, the human need for physical activity remains.  

We at Healthy Being know that many people have busy schedules and that it's hard to fit something like physical activity in.  We do not have a solution for that.

We do, however, have five core beliefs which we call the Five Pillars Of Exercise, which is a pun on - or reference to - the five pillars of Islam.

The Five Pillars Of Exercise
  1. Work Up A Sweat - Sweat is the body's way of saying, "I am working out!"  Many people speculate that sweat is the body's natural way of cooling down, but we at Healthy Being say just be yourself!
  2. Listen To Your Body - This is a difficult "pillar" to describe.
  3. Running Is Good - People sometimes ask us, "Is it OK to run?  Will I hurt my knees?"  The answers are yes and maybe, respectively.  We think running is OK, but we also think that it could hurt your knees if done too much or without the proper running equipment, which leads us to the next pillar...
  4. Invest In Good Athletic Apparel - Shoes are worn so that the human feet do not get hurt.  And since feet are the foundation of the body, don't you want to protect them?  New Balance, Nike, Adidas, and even Asics manufacture quality running shoes.  It's also good to have good shorts, shirts ,and even a headband if you tend to sweat from your head more than another person.
  5. Rest - Sound counterintuitive?  We figured you'd think that.  But your body needs to rest.  Don't believe us?  Here's a trivia for you - what do you do for 1/3 of your day?  Give up?  Sleep!  Your body needs it.  So, just like Pillar 2, listen to your body.  Get some rest!  But don't sleep too much because that could indicate depression, CFS, or some other physical or psychological disorder and it could also interfere with your professional or social life.  

Say What?

Did you know that working out too much can actually be bad for your body?  For example, let's say you're very tired, you have a sore ankle, and are feeling under the weather.  If you go work out, chances are all of the previously mentioned conditions will worsen.  Our recommendation?  Sleep, ice your ankle, and drink lots of fluids to help with the sickness - it might be a 24-hour virus.

Exercise Tip: The Mariner's Lunge

Sally Hayes, demonstrating the lunge
Looking for a great way to strengthen your upper legs and your core?  Healthy Being Team Member Sally Hayes and grandmother of four submitted this exercise tip to us.  Her husband of 3 years, a lifelong fisherman, developed it.  It's called the Mariner's Lunge.  Here's how you do it:

Stand with your feet firmly planted in the ground.  Step forward with one leg as if reaching out to grab a crate of crabs.  As you "grab the crab", lower your back knee to the ground.  Then, once you've grabbed the crab, bring your front leg back and alternate the motion with the other leg.  

Recommended post-workout snack: two grilled fishsticks with a small amount of flaxseed oil and a yogurt.  The protein and carbohydrates should help with the refueling process, while the small amount of fat shouldn't slow it down too much.  

Study: Caffeine May Boost Metabolism

According to many scientific studies over the past 20 or so years, the drug "caffeine" may boost a human's metabolism.  The implications of this study are as follows:  if you find yourself unable to regularly attend a gym or unable to work out on a consistent basis, try to make up for it by consuming more caffeine.  This can come in the way of coffee, green tea (echinacea!), chocolate (limit this, however), or even 5-Hour Energy Drink where you don't feel the crash later.  By increasing your caffeine intake, you will boost your metabolism and thus make up for the time you are not spending at the gym.  

Exercise Tip: Make Your Office A Gym

The 'Business Woman' Dip
Sitting in an office is not like going to the gym. 

Or is it?

Here are some tips from Jane Alcove (L.) for how to turn your workplace into your workout-place!  

  1. Ditch the desk - Leave your desk at regular intervals in order to increase the amount of area you cover in a day.
  2. Do push-ups - Get down on your office floor in the plank position and do push-ups to strengthen your pecs - or breasts, if you are a woman.
  3. Run in place - Take off your heels or shiny business shoes and run in place until you work up a little bit of a sweat.  
  4. Do dips on a chair - See the picture here.
  5. Bring weights to your office - Bring weights to your office and do some curls, shoulder lifts, and tricep extensions at work.
  6. See if a Bowflex fits in your office - Measure your office with an accurate measuring device and then see how big a Bowflex machine is.  If it can fit reasonably in your office, ask your boss or co-workers if they would be okay with you bringing it in.  If they want to use it, charge them a small amount so that over time you earn a decent sum of money to either cut your debt or add to your savings.

These are six cheap and easy ways to work out while working!

Op-Ed: Gardening And Lifting by Mark Senter

Mark Senter in his SC garden
If you're like me, you know the difficulties of balancing a workout schedule with a gardening schedule.  Hi, I'm Mark Senter.  I'm 76 years old and I live in South Carolina with my lovely wife of 27 years Sarah and our black lab Paulie (it's a "she").  I love living in SC because the weather is pretty nice all year round - I don't miss shoveling snow one bit!  Now, my outdoor work consists of maintaining our home's modest garden on Mulberry Lane.  So far, my wife and I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and sometimes flowers like perennials.  During my first year of gardening, my crops did not turn out the way I'd planned.  The tomatoes were often soggy and the cucumbers tasted like wet poop.  But over the years, I've really improved on my techniques and we have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers every harvest (not to mention flowers!).  

I also like to work out.  Nothing beats going to the gym and working up a sweat.  For me, my workout consists of lifting [weights].  I try to model my workouts after those of Jack LaLanne.  He was a revolutionary fitness guy and he even invented a great juicer.  My wife and I have tried multiple times to order one of LaLanne's juicers over the telephone but we keep having trouble completing the order because we can't hear the operator because our reception on Mulberry Lane isn't too great but we've talked to our electric company about it and they keep saying we'll fix it but so far it's been about 4 years of bad reception and Sarah and I are beginning to get even more angry.

I used to think my gardening and working out had to be mutually exclusive, until I realized that they don't have to be!  For example, I usually get up around 6am because I'm old and then around 9am I go out to do some gardening when the dew is almost evaporated.  Then I can go to our community workout facility around 2pm after I have a light lunch and some saltines.  I'm usually home by dinnertime, 5:15pm, and my wife and I have plenty of time to sit in chairs in the living room and talk or read quietly for 3 to 4 hours before bed.  Once we went out to see a movie with the Parkers but that was out of the ordinary.

In short, it's possible to life weights and also garden.  I try to tell my sons Jeremy and John that but I don't always get a chance to talk to them because of the previously mentioned bad reception.  Plus they always seem too busy to talk.  Sarah and I keep telling them to come visit but either they can't or they don't get back to us.  Jeremy has a lovely wife, Claire, but we don't see her much either.  Our lab Paulie turns 12 years old tomorrow...

Exercise Tip: Pickup Basketball

Men, having fun
Pickup basketball is a great way to get your heart rate up while having fun with friends.  When the weather's nice and it's not too windy, it's great to play a good pickup basketball game outside.  If the weather is less permitting, pickup basketball is also great to play indoors.  Pickup basketball not only provides an an opportunity to workout, it also provides groups of [usually] men to establish some sort of social pecking order.  For example, during pickup games there usually emerge - among others - foul callers, scorers, passers, and complainers.  It's a great way to nourish both your body and your soul by simultaneously getting your heart rate up and interacting with friends.

The Healthy Being team boasts three pickup basketball players: Michael Durbin, Paul O'Keefe, and Sam Nguyen.  Michael Durbin turns 53 this year and currently leads his rec center basketball league in minutes played.

Stretching: Good Or Bad?

Mike Martz, bottom right
Over the years, few things have been more controversial then the idea of stretching before working out.  For years, people swore that it was mandatory.  Then, people said it had little effect at all on one's performance.  So what is the answer?  

In short, we're not sure.  But we at the Healthy Being team have a guess - or hypothesis.  Since none of us is a trained medical doctor or scientist, we must call our ideas guesses instead of hypotheses.  And our hypothesis is this: stretching is not mandatory.  Rather, it's best to just do some moderate exercises or cardio to warm up the muscles before participating in more strenuous exercises.  These warm-ups can include jumping in place, running in place, jumping rope, or swinging your limbs so as to warm them up and loosen up your joints.  

One of the best examples of the questionable benefits of stretching involves a member of our unpaid staff, Mike Martz (not the football coach).  Mike was getting ready to play in his family's annual Thanksgiving Day football game and was stretching.  He was 42 years old, the father of two, and was going to play steady quarterback in the touch-football game.  After he finished stretching the the teams were picked, they began to play.  On the first snap while dropping back, Mike stepped awkwardly on his left foot and blew out his knee.  Fortunately he had health insurance which covered most of the costs of the operating procedures and rehabilitation process, but it did sideline him from work for at least two weeks.  He is now 45 and has to wear a knee brace whenever he participates in any form of exercise.  His stretching did not prevent the injury.

The Scoop On Interval Training

Sometimes people think, "The only way that I can lose weight and burn fat is to run 10 miles a day."  This, however, is not true!  It is possible to both lose weight and burn fat by running less than 10 miles a day.  How?  It is called Interval Training.  Sounds sort of confusing, but let's take a look at how it works.

In order to help you understand it better, we'd like to use an analogy.  Let's say there is a mouse and it is on an oval path, sort of like a running track.  Now let's say the mouse were to jog slowly around the oval path 20 times.  That might take a while.  Now what if instead the mouse circled the track 10 times, running its fastest for five laps and jogging for five laps.  What if we told you that these two workouts were equal?  What would you say?  We do not know what you would say, because we are not you.  And we at Healthy Being to not like to speak for others because we believe that person's only have one soul and one voice and that speaking for another individual is, in a sense, snuffing his or her soul.  We like to let everyone shine his or her soul's light equally.

If you were to think that we are making the mouse analogy up, we are not!  It is true!  Interval training is a great way to workout.  Wondering what you can do?  Here are a few ideas.  If you like swimming, find a local swimming hole and alternate between doing fast freestyle and slow breaststroke.  If you feel like your strength is waning or that you are light headed in the water, get out so that you can avoid injury or death.  Don't like swimming?  That is okay.  Not everyone likes swimming.  You need to let your individual soul shine.  Perhaps you like running.  In this case, run very fast for a period of time and then recover by running slower for a period of time.  If neither running nor swimming is your thing, there are a few other options including jump rope but mainly stick to running and/or swimming if you'd like to try interval training.

Exercise Tip: Shoulder Extension

Patrick Nenka
The following was submitted by Patrick Nenka:

"Shoulder.  They are a great part of the body.  In order to carry the big load, you have to have strong shoulders.  This is why I work my shoulders out, every day.  It is important, almost as important as eating right and getting enough rest.  Here is my favorite shoulder exercise:

The shoulder extension . I take my favorite bar bell, usually 25 lbs. in one hand and I stand straight up making sure that I am straight.  Then I lift one arm out front and bring it back and then I do the same with the other arm.  I do this until I feel the burn in my shoulder.  When I feel the burn, I know it is working.  No pain no gain.

Finally, after about 20 reps with both shoulders, I return to my office where I have already prepared a protein shake . That is why this exercise is good, you can do it on the go.  I finish up my work day and am refreshed for having exercise.  Before I leave the office I try to do 20 push-ups to wake me up before I go home.  To my wife.  This is the shoulder extension."

Caffeine And Your Workout

Energy drink and coffee
There have been many studies that study the correlation between caffeine consumption and working out.  Many of these studies conclude that caffeine can in fact help fuel one's workout.  For example, there was an article in the NY Times in the last year and a half that interviewed a runner who consumed caffeine before running.  The runner claimed that it helped his stamina and endurance.  

What do we at Healthy Being suggest?  Well, for starters, we do not want to completely advocate something like caffeine because we like to consider it a drug.  We certainly will not encourage the consumption of energy drinks because you will either consume too much sugar or else consume artificial sweetener in the sugar-free varieties.  We at Healthy Being consider artificial sweeteners to be potential carcinogens.  

One of the only sources of caffeine that we can advocate is Green Tea, mainly because this is very popular in the health world.  Green Tea has been shown to increase the body's metabolism, it is a source of antioxidants (which are great!), and it has something called echinacea which might have herbal medicinal powers.

So what is our final healthy word?  We say that if you are going to work out, consume a cup of organic green tea 1-2 hours before your workout for best results!  But don't drink caffeine in the late afternoon/evening because it can stay in your bloodstream for up to 8 hours (at least) and you might have trouble sleeping and feel tired the next day.

My Newfound Joy by Burt Curdburger

Mr. Curdburger
Hi.  I'm Burt Curdburger and I joined Healthy Being seven years ago.  

I have a bunion on my right foot and can't run or jog on a regular basis, so I have had to adjust my workout routines to suit my deformed foot condition.  Instead of running, I like to go swimming at my local YMCA during the day because then most of the children are at school.

Swimming is good for me because I don't have to run on my right foot that has a bunion on it.  Instead I can swim freestyle slowly and swim laps.  Sometimes I share the lane with others which is good because it creates an exercise community.  

The only downside to swimming at the YMCA is that they make you rinse off before going into the pool and sometimes the rinse showers have chilly water.  But I try to look at the positives of that and say, "Burt, at least now you won't be shocked by the temperature of the pool water when you slowly lower yourself in."

I have not always been a swimmer.  Growing up I spent most of my time going to my local school and then working as my father's assistant in his wood shop in Lancaster, PA.  Now I am 56 yeard old, 6'1'', and 247 lbs. and feeling as healthy as ever.  I cannot get the bunion removed from my right foot because I've dealt with it this long there would be no point in getting rid of it now.

Running And Your Knees

Sam Whetter in the Tacoma Marathon
In recent years, many people have compared the possible health benefits of running with the possible negative effects running has on one's knees.  Though studies are inconclusive, we at Healthy Being say run if your knees do not hurt and discontinue running if your knees start to hurt.

Too many of these said studies are performed by lab scientists and people with M.D.'s or PhD's.  These are simply degrees that serve as false podiums which people use to promote the government's propaganda like the Food Pyramid.  We at HB listen to our resident health experts who have spent many years training with tribes of people in South America.  They tell us that running is one of the most natural forms of exercise for the human body and that if your knees start to hurt, you could run through the pain like our ancestors did if they were in a battle.  Or you could rest your knees, but that is typical of modern man - to avoid pain and to give up, to rest and to submit one's mind and body to technology and lethargy. 

Either way, studies by modern doctors are inconclusive but our HB resident health experts say to run and if you feel pain in your knees, run through it.  This is your body for this lifetime, who knows what your body in the next lifetime will be.

Keep Your Body Guessing

Exercise: it is a great thing, but only if done right.  

Your body is a smart thing.  When you get sick, it heals itself.  When you eat too much flaxseed, you feel it in your stomach and bowels.  And when you exercise, your body tries to adjust to your workout.  Your body adapts to your workout so much so that eventually your workout will not yield any changes to your muscle growth, fat loss, or endurance.  Thus, you need to keep your body guessing, which is the title of this piece.

How can you do that?  The best way, according to acupuncturist Xi Wang, is to do a different workout every day.  So if you run one day, do not run the next day.  Try something like swimming.  Then the next day, play a game of pickup basketball since you swam the day before.  And then since you've done mostly cardio, do a day of weight training.  Then since you've done running, swimming, basketball, and weights, try something like pilates the next day to strengthen your core.  At this point you might be ready to go running again or go swimming, but do not.  Your body knows that you will, so you have to keep it guessing.  So after pilates you should jump rope in intervals until your heart rate reaches peak levels.  After you've done pilates and jump rope, do not return to running, swimming, basketball, or weights just yet.  Your body knows that you will.  So now you have to try something different like yoga, which can actually be a good workout.  Once you've done yoga, it is time to move on to keep your body guessing.  If you are in a colder location, skiing can be a good workout and also a fun excursion with friends and/or family.  If you live in a warmer location, try surfboarding.  Whatever the case, do not return to any of the previously mentioned activities until you have performed at least a full-month's-worth (i.e., 28-31 days) of different exercise activities.

This is how you can live the healthiest life.

Simple Strength: Push-ups

Jeremy Cremmick demonstrates the proper push-up form
Hi, I am Jeremy Cremmick.  I am a part of Healthy Being and am working on becoming a Healthy Being leader someday.  I want to talk about strength and your body.  You don't need expensive gym memberships or weights to achieve total strength success.  There is one exercise that is time-tested since the Sumerians and the Etruscans and the Romans and Greeks.  What is it?  It is the push-up.  A simple exercise that has so many benefits.  The best thing about the push-up is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, and by yourself.  You do not need someone around to assist you with weights.  I like to do push-ups around my one-story house throughout the day when I am not making phone calls while working remotely for my telemarketing company.  I sometimes do sets of 20 on the kitchen floor or in my living room.  I know it is good when I am sweating in my collared, button-up shirt.  Push-ups are great for you chest, core, and triceps.  When I flex my arms in the mirror when I am in the bathroom, I can see the crisp, cut lines of definition that are the results of my 500 push-ups a day.  Sometimes I will even do push-ups late at night so that the food I've eaten before bed doesn't turn into total gross fat and make me fat.  Fat is not good.  I have gone to sleep with a light sweat many nights.  This is why the push-up is the natural human way to gain strength.

Everyday Exercise

  • Go for a jog
  • Do push-ups in your spare time
  • Use the stairs (no elevators, no escalators, and no golf carts)

Fuel Up On Slushies?

A new report from the New York Times says that having a slushy before working out on a hot day can help your endurance.  (See the article here)  What is the HB take on that?  We say, "[Organic] Bologna!"  Why would anyone want to consume corn syrup, let alone high fructose corn syrup, ever?  On the Nutrition page, we discuss the evil corn regime in America.  But evilness aside, corn syrup is simply horrible for your body.  You should never eat it.  You should never eat anything with corn syrup, even if it is a cake that a co-worker or family member or friend has bought/made for your birthday.  Just politely decline and thank them for their kind thoughts.  Tell them that you are above corn syrup, and that you respect your body so much that you won't "indulge" in a little cake to celebrate your birthday.

In conclusion, having a slushy before working out is probably the worst idea we here at HB have ever heard.  We generally respect the NY Times, especially if it's an article about eating/buying organic or locally.  However, it just goes to show that big corporations - no matter how good they seem - have some corruption.  

Our suggestion?  Eat some carrots or freeze-dried lentils before a workout.  

Exercising On The Go

See life anew
Most of us spend our days wandering around, going from task to task, errand to errand.  We go to work, we go to lunch (and eat bad food, probably), we go to the store (and support corporate giants), we pick up our kids (who were delivered with the help of a midwife), etc.  Sure, we do a lot - but we neglect programmed exercise.  (And we wonder why America is so fat and unhealthy and sinful)

Here we'd like to share a few tips on how to incorporate "natural" exercise into your daily routines.  

First, in the morning when you walk down the stairs, pause on each individual step and do a squat lunge.  This will help wake your leg muscles up as well as strengthen both your quads and hamstrings.

Second, as you wait for you organic coffee to brew, plant your feet firmly into the floor (shoulder length apart), and twist your torso.  This wakes up your obliques and gets the blood flowing.

Thirdly, when you get in/out of your car, do 10 jumping jacks.  This is a cardiovascular super-activity.

Fourthly, while driving, squeeze your abdominals constantly (as if you are trying to make excrement).  This is a simple and natural way to get the flat stomach that you've always wanted.

Fifth, wherever you walk, walk quicker.  Your goal should be to work up a small sweat and some minor panting.

Sixth, after dinner, go for a 3 mile run to burn off the excessive calories you've just consumed.

Seventh, after your run, take a shower.

Eighth, time to exercise your mind: lay on the ground and meditate for 45 minutes.

Ninth, tuck your kids into bed, all while doing the abdominal contractions that we talked about earlier.

Tenth, do some light stretching with your spouse.

See?  It's really quite simple to get a great, natural workout without completely adjusting your daily routines.  If you do this 7 days a week, you will notice the beautiful changes immediately and will begin to see life anew.