Saturday, October 20, 2012

Like Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii, Can Improve Health and Fitness

The gaming industry is forever at the receiving end of wide-spread criticism from parents, teachers and critics. Most games are 'Violent' with nothing but "blood, gore and battles', it is often said. To a large extent, it's true and the gaming industry does have an Achilles heel. However, did you ever think that Health and Fitness can be improved by playing games on modern gadgets like Xbox and Nintendo Wii? Could playing games be possibly therapeutic? Some research seems to suggest so:
It reduces pain: If you are wondering how playing video games can reduce pain, according to the American Pain Society, our focus diverts away from any seemingly bothering pain points on your body and makes you to forget about pain, at least temporarily. More specifically, the study reports that patients undergoing Chemotherapy reported a great level of stress reduction and lessened fear. It is believed that the brain releases endorphins during gaming that generally makes us feel good.
Learning: While it might seem totally counter-intuitive, games play a crucial role in learning and development. According to an article on, games fall into the category of "interactive multimedia" where learning occurs through user control. For instance, a game called "Discover Babylon" enables students to scour through an ancient Mesopotamian route and time just by using basic skills like mathematics, reading and writing. In yet another game called Chemsense, students can tinker with chemical compounds and experiment virtually. Most of the other modern games on Xbox, Play station and Personal computers might be termed as 'violent' by critics, but there's a sense of spatial skills development, cognitive learning, adapting to various environments, etc.
Motivation: Games are intensely engaging and users usually experience a heightened state of excitement during play time. The scores, leader boards, team play, group wins, individual wins all provide a pumped up level of motivation for users - the very reason why games are so addictive. In fact, this addiction is a growing concern in the U.S alone with about 92%of kids under the age 18 play regularly. While the addiction part of the story is disconcerting indeed, when played in moderation games can really keep users' energy levels up, bring out a sense of "fighting to win" and invoke an increased level of action among users.
A Sharp and alert Mind: Playing video games, online games or even massive multi-player games have a direct impact on the level of alertness of your mind. CBS news mentions a report released at the University of Rochester, gamers who play games like Grand Theft Auto and Counter-strike have better visual skills, faster cognition, have quick reflexes and have a better ability to process information quickly.
When we believe that anything in excess is bad, it holds good for the time spent on video games. While there are alcoholics, smokers and gluttons there are addicted gamers too. As it stands for most things, moderate use is acceptable and even beneficial in many cases; so are games.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Three Simple C's to Ensure You Reach Your Health and Fitness Goals

Reducing body fat, increasing lean muscle mass or simply getting a bit fitter to cope with the vigor of everyday life can be a massive challenge. This challenge often becomes frustrating with results often coming very, very slowly. Losing weight, gaining muscle and trying to achieve health/fitness goals are based on a multidimensional parameter. Training type, training time, training frequency, nutrition intake, fluid intake, alcohol consumption, sleep patterns and stress can all play a huge part.
This short article isn't designed to look at the total picture and take every aspect of lifestyle management into consideration. I am simply going to look at the time spent in the gym and how following the 'Three C's' principle will make your time in the gym more efficient and more effective leaving you with more time to do the other things you enjoy in life. It will also make you look forward to your next gym visit and believe me...the RESULTS WILL COME!!!
As a Personal Trainer, I spend half my life in the gym environment and I see these three simple points carried out ineffectively by almost 80% of gym visitors. That means 80% of gym visitors are not implying simple strategies to help them achieve their goals. So what are the Three C's? The Three C's are Continuously, Consistently and Creativity. So let me explain each one individually and how if performed correctly will help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
This may sound strange but a recent survey found that 37% of gym members once they start training do not train continuously. By all means when training there are times when we obviously rest, these rest periods are incorporated into the training program. But coffee breaks, reading the news paper, constant chatting amongst gym members and a distinct lack of focus on the training session at hand is many frustrated exercises biggest downfall. So when we are in the gym lets ensure we are focused ad exercising continuously. A great point using weight loss for an example would be ensuring the heart rate remains above 60%, throughout the whole training session.
The second C is Consistency. Sure one great gym session is going to help, but that alone is not enough. To achieve our goals, for example weight loss we need to be exercising frequently (3 - 5 times per week). So Consistency in following your gym routine is crucial in order to get results.
The final C is Creativity. In order to train continuously and consistently your exercise routine needs to be creative. A creative routine will keep you both physically and mentally stimulated. Rather than using fixed machines three times a week in the same monotonous way, incorporate body weight exercises, dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls and stability balls to keep challenging your body. For more advice on these types of equipment speak to a personal trainer at your gym or health club. I'm sure they'll be happy to help!
To sum up and more importantly, ensure that you put this into action follow the three simple points. They will lead to a Fitter, Healthier and revitalized you that gets results from the gym, enjoys the gym and attends the gym regularly:
1) Make sure we train continuously for the allocated period of time in accordance with our training program.
2) Make sure we train consistently on a weekly and monthly basis ensuring each training session is implemented as successfully as possible.
3) Make your routine as creative as possible to kick boredom in to touch. This will ensure long term our exercise routine is sustainable and both physically and mentally challenging.
Healthy Thanks
Sam O'Sullivan
(South Wales, Uk based Level 3 Advanced Personal Trainer)
Sam O'Sullivan is a Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Guru based in Cardiff, South Wales, UK. He is the creator of the highly successful SOS Executive Personal Training Company and Cardiff Kettlebell Boot Camp. His knowledge, enthusiasm as a Level 3 Advanced Personal Trainer with his innovative approach to training has changed many of his clients lives.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alcohol Does Serious Damage!

Life is a precious gift and all through our growing years parents lovingly tend and nurture life, giving us strong healthy bodies that are bursting with vitality. Then we grow up and go off to do our own thing that includes being hell bent on destroying the health and fitness we enjoy. Alcohol is a killer, make no mistake about that! It is wonderful to party and get drunk and we tell ourselves that we are young and life is to be enjoyed. This article covers the repercussions of serious drinking on well being.
Medical research has indicated that a glass of wine or beer or one hard alcohol drink every day is good for the body. Who really stops with one drink? The reason being, alcohol is extremely addictive and once you get caught in its grip, getting out takes some serious effort. Society is plagued by alcoholism, even the young and the saddest part is that the numbers are on the rise, even among pre-teenagers.
You would be hard pressed to find few if any parts of the body that are not negatively affected by the effects of alcohol. Going into the details of every one of the side effects caused by alcohol on health and fitness will take forever; this article covers a few of the scarier aspects of alcoholism. There are short term effects of alcohol like ruined relationships, dysfunctional family life that involves abuse, driving impairment and negative reactions to prescribed medication. In the long term the problems that develop affect health in myriad ways by breaking down the body's defenses and organ functions leading to serious and even fatal health consequences.
The liver is one of the primary organs that is affected by alcohol very negatively. Inflammation of the liver leads to Hepatitis which includes abdominal pains, fever and jaundice. Prolonged abuse unfortunately can be fatal, the good news however, is that when you stop the effects are reversible. Cirrhosis of the liver, which is scarring of the organ is the ultimate result of the abuse and cannot be reversed and may require a liver transplant as a last resort.
The pancreas is the organ that regulates your body's blood sugar levels through the production of insulin and it also helps in digesting the food you eat. Inflammation of the pancreas through alcohol abuse leads to severe abdominal pains and weight loss that can eventually result in death.
Alcohol heightens the risk of various cancers attacking the body and the correlation between alcohol and cancer has been medically proven. Women can develop breast cancer in addition to cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, pancreas and colon.
Now that you are suitably enlightened on the dangers of alcohol abuse it is best to stay away from something that can fatally damage your health and fitness.