Know the Health Benefits from Regular Strength Training

Currently, more than 83 percent of people living in Colorado exercise on a regular basis. There are a few other states that also top that 80 percent mark, like Hawaii, Utah and Vermont. With that, many states are still not even close to that percentage. Understanding the many benefits of strength training could hopefully get more people to jump on the band wagon.

On average, we spend just two hours per week being physically active. This according to researchers at Penn State and the University of Maryland, who analyzed data from the US Census Bureau. According to the latest CDC data, only about 23 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended amount of exercise each week (150-minutes a week). Here are just a few of the many health benefits you’ll receive from strength training on a regular basis.

Benefits of Strength Training

Duke University scientists discovered that 1,100 calories expended through weekly exercise can help prevent the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue. This type of tissue is dangerous because belly fat causes arterial inflammation and hypertension. Need a push? A British Medical Journal study reported people who exercised in groups boosted their average calorie burn by 500 calories a week.

University of Michigan scientists found men who completed three total-body strength workouts each week experienced significant health changes. The study lasted 2 months and subjects lowered their diastolic blood pressure by 8 points. That is enough to reduce your risk of stroke by 40 percent and heart attack by 15 percent.

Individuals who exercise, at any intensity level, for 2 hours a week see positive changes in mental health. That is an average of only 17 minutes a day. This group was 61 percent less likely to feel highly stressed than their sedentary counterparts, according to researchers from Denmark.

People who regularly participate in strength training are about 20 to 30 percent less likely to become obese. Individuals who performed 1–2 hours a week or at least 2 days a week of resistance exercise, had a 20–30 percent reduced risk of obesity, even after adjusting for aerobic exercise. Researchers at Iowa State University, and other institutions, decided to look at the relationship, if any, between weights and waistlines. They observed tens of thousands of patients who visited the Cooper Clinic in Dallas between 1987 and 2005. Subjects who worked out aerobically and lifted weights were much less likely to become obese. But so were those who lifted almost exclusively and reported little, if any, aerobic exercise.

Additional Health Benefits

A new study out of the University of South Wales, looked at the strength of younger adults (18-50). The data suggests that men and women can achieve similar relative muscle size gains. In this meta analysis (30 studies), females actually gained more relative lower-body strength than males. Males gained more absolute upper-body strength, absolute lower-body strength, and absolute muscle size.

In a 2014 study published in the journal Obesity, Harvard researchers followed 10,500 men over the course of 12-years and found that strength training was more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise.

A 2013 research in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated young men who did strength training hd a better-functioning HDL, or good cholesterol, compared with those who never lifted weights.

Finally, probably the most important benefit of strength training is a longer life span. A 2015 study in The Lancet showed that grip strength accurately predicted death from any cause. A 2017 report in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care suggests that muscle strength and lean muscle mass both serve as better measures of someones overall health than body mass index or BMI. Time to rethink BMI.

Use the Award-Winning Jefit App

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts. It also helps gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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3 Reasons Better Sleep Can Improve Your Fitness

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Working to achieve peak fitness is an effort that never ends. As soon as you reach your goals, there is always going to be the question of either maintaining them, or setting new ones to hit. In among all of that, there are the marginal improvements you can make when it comes to getting the most out of your potential. For example: while we all know about the importance of diet and exercise when it comes to reaching your peak, how much attention do you pay to the – arguably equally important – issue of sleep?

Sleep isn’t just a way to recuperate energy at the end of a long day; the quality and the quantity of rest you get at this crucial time has major implications for your health, both physically and mentally. Also, when it comes to your improvements in the gym, you’d be surprised just how influential a decent night’s sleep can be in the mix.

If You’re Not Sleeping, You’re Not Gaining Muscle

The physical process of building muscle is, in its simplest form, actually kind of brutal. To achieve this goal, you are literally breaking down the muscle (micro tears), then letting it heal, forming stronger fibrous bonds. This healing does not happen immediately, but actually takes place overnight, particularly while you are sleeping. In other words, if you’re not sleeping, you won’t get the most of your muscle building workout. You’ll also find that the next time you hit the gym, you won’t be able to do quite as much as before.

Sleep and exercise exist in a tandem, in which each benefits the other and gives the best results for both. Not only that, when you get a good night’s sleep, your body will produce the optimum amount of growth hormone, which is essential in delivering the benefits you want.

Quality of Sleep Matters as Much as Quantity

You’ll surely know how it feels to wake up in the morning, having bedded down at a perfectly reasonable hour but then been assaulted by insomnia, snatching an hour of sleep here and a few minutes there in between tossing and turning and occasionally looking helplessly at the ceiling. Nothing feels quite right in the light of day after a night like that – you’ll be grouchy, your energy won’t be there, and even a gym session will not shake that weird feeling.

There are no sure-fire cures for insomnia, but there are a few things you can do to make it less likely. Leave your phone alone for at least an hour before bed; for that matter eliminate all TV and other screen time. In addition, meditation, has been shown to have a positive affect on insomnia. There are other things that you can do as well, but those are a few highly beneficial ones.

Exercise Can Help You Sleep: So That’s Good

While a good night’s sleep is beneficial for getting the most from your workout, there is a bit of good news to be had here. The reverse is also true – if you have a regular exercise routine, it should benefit the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting. As long as your diet regime is well-judged (so lots of clean proteins and as little caffeine as possible), your workout should burn plenty of excess energy, leaving you feeling pleasantly spent at the end of a day and ready for a night of uninterrupted sleep.

It’s great if your workout makes you feel pumped and full of fire, but that hyped-up feeling should be left in the gym. If you’re still experiencing the side effects of adrenaline while you’re getting ready to hit the hay, then there is a problem. A regime of light stretches at the end of every routine should allow you to get some equilibrium before you get in the shower.

Sleep is of vital importance to any fitness regime, and to all aspects of your physical and mental health. If you find that you are struggling for that essential restful sleep when you go to bed at night, then take every effort to find a way of improving things; including speaking to a doctor if it becomes chronic. Sleeping well is a foundational building block to everything else in life, and is the most important thing in any wellness routine. By following the above advice and working as hard as you can to establish that routine, you’ll see the best results both in the gym and beyond.

Use the Jefit App to Track Your Workouts

Try Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. In addition, the app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Seven Benefits of Waking Up Early Based on Science

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You often hear that athletes are made in the weight room. You could take that a step further saying they’re made in the kitchen. The first two items though work better when you add sleep to the equation. There are also many health benefits to waking up early to start your day.

Some of us are early birds, and some of us are night owls. We should just live and let live, right? While that is true there are so many proven benefits of waking up early. We should all take them into account if we want to stay healthy and full of energy. This particularly goes for fitness buffs who need to maintain a certain tempo and strength level to finish their routine. Getting up early correlates with many other health benefits, including dietary choices, mental health, sleep quality, and more.

If you are still not feeling convinced, let’s take a look at what science has to say about the issue, and who knows maybe you’ll transform into an early bird by choice by the end of this article.

Benefits of Waking Up Early: You Make Healthier Food Choices

I completely understand the appeal of pressing the snooze button dozens of times to squeeze in some extra sleep, but before you know it, that can take away hours from your morning. This means you will probably skip breakfast and have brunch or lunch instead. However, your body needs to be given a chance to absorb as many healthy nutrients as it can first thing in the morning. In fact, several studies have proven that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories throughout the day.

You Improve Your Mental Health

Talking about health only in terms of physical shape is a huge misconception that needs to change. Being mentally and emotionally stable is the prerequisite for having good overall health. Well, waking up early can help you with that. A study conducted in a London found that morning people are healthier and happier.

Another study suggested that getting up early improves your problem-solving skills and helps you deal with negative thoughts better. All of this leads to less stress, and therefore, minimizes the chances of developing some of the stress-related health problems.

Mornings Are Perfect Time To Exercise

All of us have our own preferred time to get our daily dose of workout, but what if I told you that you will get the most perks out of morning training session? For a start, exercising in the morning lowers the risk of low blood sugar, when compared to afternoon workout.

It also boosts your strength and performance for the rest of your day. Other things that might attract you to break some sweat early one are enhancing your metabolism, helping the cultivating consistency of your workout, improving your physical and mental strength, and provides you with better sleep quality.

Health Benefits Of Waking Up Early: People Who Rise Early Sleep Better

Night owls usually finish their day by binge-watching Netflix, worrying or doing some activity that makes their falling asleep more difficult and their sleep patterns interrupted. Unlike them, most early risers stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

The good news is that you can train your brain to become an early bird. First, you can try to establish a consistent sleeping routine, which will include relaxing pre-bed activities, like taking a warm bath or reading a book. Another useful thing to have is a sleep mask. The evidence we have so far supports the thesis that wearing sleep mask increases the length of the REM cycle and prevents disruption in sleep patterns.

You’ll Be More Likely To Develop Good Habits

A team of researchers observed the link between the time of waking up and substance use. It turned out that early risers are less prone to use drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. While the research was done on adolescent girls, it is relevant for everyone, because one good habit encourages another one – think of it as a line of dominos where one is leaning onto another. The absence of substance abuse will naturally affect your health in a good way.

You’re More Motivated

Motivation is vital for everything you do, ranging from exercising to your career. An experiment conducted at Harvard University showed that early risers are more proactive than late risers. This affects your success at everything you do, creates positive thinking patterns, and helps you be more confident. Consequently, getting up at the similar time early every morning minimizes stress and negative thoughts which can be harmful to your health.

It Gives You Time To Actually Wake Up

Do you ever get the feeling that you are still sleeping when you arrive at your office? You need hours to be really prepared to do the work you are paid to do and to even talk with your coworkers. This is sleep inertia – a period between sleep and full wakefulness. According to research, it can last up to four hours. During this time many cognitive tasks, such as memory, reaction speed, attention, and alertness, are impaired. So, when you get up earlier, you have enough time to overcome the sleep inertia, and to be at your best when it is needed. Personally, I think this is one of the best health benefits of waking up early.

These are just a few of the health benefits of being an early bird, and I have not even scratched the surface of the other perks which impact your overall life quality, such as having more time, enjoying the first sip of coffee, avoiding heavy commuting on your way to work, and much more. Now you see that it’s worth it to at least try to change your sleeping habits, and enjoy a healthy and happy life to the fullest.

Workout With Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

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Taking Care Of Your Body Greatly Affects Your Mind

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What part of your body weighing about 3-pounds has more than 86 billion nerve cells? That’s right, the brain! One part of your brain, the cerebrum, makes up about 85 percent of those 3-pounds. We have a good idea why it’s so important to take care of the one body and mind that we are given. In respect to our mind, what are we doing to take care of that?

Let’s take a look at why taking care of your body and mind are so important especially in respect to the mind-body connection.

While there are so many amazing reasons to look after your body, the most prominent one is due to the effect it has on the mind. The human brain is an incredibly complicated tool, and looking after it is no easy task. Let’s look at a few fun, interesting facts about what we have upstairs.

Incredible Facts About the Body and Mind

The most advanced computer on earth is still nowhere near as remarkable as the human brain, here are a few fun facts that will help you see just how incredible it really is:

  • The human brain will triple its size in the first year of life.
  • Hard to believe but information in the brain travels at a speed of 268 mph (between neurons).
  • Your brain’s storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited
  • Research suggests the human brain consists of about 86 billion neurons. Each neuron forms connections to other neurons, which could add up to 1 quadrillion (1,000 trillion) connections. Over time, these neurons can combine, increasing storage capacity.
  • A small piece of brain tissue, the size of a grain of sand, contains 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.
  • Research has shown the human brain can generate about 23 watts of power (enough to power a lightbulb).
  • Finally, it’s a myth that we only use 10 percent of our brain. You actually use all of it (source: Northwestern Medicine).

And that is only a few facts about the brain. From these seven facts, though you can probably see how important the body and mind connection really is.

How Exercise Helps the Brain

When we exercise, the benefits to the brain are incredible, and the long term effects are just as positive. The science behind your body and mind connection is quite fascinating. When we perform aerobic exercise or any exercise that has cardiovascular benefits, the brain will always benefit. Aerobic exercise increases your respiration and heart rate therefore the flow of blood to the brain increases. At the time your heart rate increases further, this is generally accompanied by heavy breathing. The increase in breathing will then lead to the pumping of more oxygen to the brain, and this will lead to something called neurogenesis. Neurogenesis is simply the production of neurons in certain cognitive regions of the brain. Neurogenesis has also been shown to increase brain volume, and it’s widely believed that this can be highly beneficial against early signs of Alzheimer’s.

What’s the Best Exercise to Improve Both Your Body and Mind?

Well, if you are trying to take care of your body and mind, you should be aiming for a well-rounded and complete exercise program. The routine should include more than just strength training; adding in aerobic exercise, mobility, flexibility and balance. Another huge factor when it comes to brain health is to be mindful of your diet. Eating processed food and junk food has been shown to have detrimental effects on both physical and mental health. By using a combination of both healthy food and a good, sustainable exercise program, you’ll be on your way to a healthier body and mind in no time at all.

Workout with Jefit

Looking to get back to the gym after taking a long break? Want to connect with like-minded people to keep you motivated? Download the Jefit app to track your workouts and join our members-only Facebook group. You can record your training, set a schedule, and talk to fellow Jefit members. Stay strong for a health body and mind.

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Amazing Health Benefits of Exercise During This Unprecedented Time

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What can you do to keep you and your family safe during this extremely stressful time? We now know wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing improves our chances of staying healthy. The health benefits of exercise coupled with the above advice may be just the answer. We have been looking to put a dent in this pandemic as a CV-19 resurgence is brewing. This might be just the one two punch needed to knock this pandemic out for good.

The following is a look at just a few of the many health benefits of exercise. Many of us are sadly experiencing more stress since March 11, 2020. The cumulative effect of all this stress is obviously not healthy for the body. A recent study showed younger people are not exercising at a rate as pre-pandemic. One group, however, that is not part of this inactive group, are individuals sixty-five and older. They are finding time to exercise in record number. How about the rest of us?

Take Advantage of the Many Health Benefits of Exercise

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Exercise Improves Mood and Mental Health

During each exercise session, the body releases chemicals like endorphins and dopamine that improve our mood and make us feel more relaxed. Another chemical you may not have heard much about is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It may be the most important chemical released during exercise since it fosters long-term brain health. BDNF acts not only as a growth factor, it also promotes the formation of new connections between nerve cells. As a result, regular exercise helps you manage stress better and reduce your risk of depression.

“People suffering from depression are 2.5 times more likely to have experienced stressful life events. Exercise appears to help buffer these negative life events,” according to the authors of the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

Regular Exercise Will Improve Sleep

As I’m sure any physician or exercise expert will tell you, sleep is a critical component for mind and body restoration. With an inadequate amount of sleep, the body will eventually have issues with the recovery and building processes from that days workout. It has a lot to do with your central nervous system (CNS). When the body goes away from getting optimal amount of sleep – no matter what the reasons – the CNS does not get time to fully “recharge” or recover. Why is this even important? Because your CNS is responsible for reaction time and initiating muscle contractions and much more. As a result, the body becomes slower and will feel weaker in workouts.

Health Benefits of Exercise: Studies Demonstrate if You “Do It” You Live Longer

Author Dan Beuttner of the Blue Zones has spent most of his career studying populations that live longer. The different “blue zones” that he studies are areas from around the world where people were 3 times more likely to reach 100 years old who followed a series of strategies. Two of the more important were the types of food someone ate on a regular basis and daily activity.

Walking more is associated with longer life. Adults who walked 8,000 steps per day had a 51 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality, compared to those who walked 4,000 steps a day as reported by researchers in a JAMA study. Not into walking but you like to run? A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported any amount of running, even once a week, was associated with a 27 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Regular Strength Training Keeps You Healthy

One of the first things you think of when strength training comes to mind is muscle. When done correctly, strength training builds additional muscle mass. This in turn keeps someone healthier and more functional, especially as they age. The health benefits of exercise – especially strength training – include increased bone strength as well. Remember, that tendons connect muscle to bone. As we lift weights, the resistance creates a “pulling” effect on the tendon that consequently pulls on the bones making them stronger over time.

Data from a 2017 study looking at more than 28,000 women from the Women’s Health Study showed “a moderate amount (≈1–145 minutes/week) of strength training was associated with lower risk of all‐cause mortality compared with 0 minutes/week, independent of aerobic activity.” In a second systematic review study of 1430 studies, showed resistance training was associated with a 21 percent lower all-cause mortality and that number more than doubles when aerobic exercise is added. According to the authors, “resistance training is associated with lower mortality and appears to have an additive effect when combined with aerobic exercise.”

There probably has not been a more important time to either start or maintain your exercise routine. The benefit of reducing stress alone should be enough to make you exercise most days of the week. Try using the Jefit app to help make your life a bit easier as well. The award-winning app will help you plan, record and track your strength training sessions. Stay strong especially during these stressful times!

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4 Podcasts & Books for Better Mental and Physical Health

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What was the first podcast you ever listened to? Now think about your mental and physical health over the past few months. We undoubtedly could all benefit from a little motivational boost as we near the end of this long, arduous year? Give yourself a wonderful present before the Holiday season arrives. Download these uplifting podcasts and audiobooks. Listen to them as you exercise. If you’re someone who likes to listen to music when you exercise – like me – then try plugging into a podcast or audiobook during the first half of your walk or run. Use the second half of the workout to listen to music, when you may need it to get through it.

Get Motivated Through Audio Episodes

We know that taking care of our body pays back strong dividends. Taking care of ourselves physically ends up improving our mental health as well. Listening to a good, informative podcast or audio book will do wonders for clearing your head from of the stress of the day. The following audio sessions will do that and more.

10% Happier Podcast

This is a wonderful podcast with great content that will elevate mood and mental health as you listen. I have recommended it to many family and friends. We have talked about this particular podcast previously, found here. An informative podcast from former ABC News Anchor Dan Harris. After leaving his news job he started the Boston-based company 10% Happier. I read his meditation book (that was also great) and you’ll end up loving his podcast too. This is one podcast that will help set your mind right, improving your mental and physical health along the way. Podcast #286 in particular, with Dr. Mark Hyman titled “Feeding the Mind” was a great episode that I really enjoyed and you probably will too.

All in the Mind

This podcast explores the limits of the human mind. We have so much untapped potential upstairs in our brains where it has been said we utilize only 10 percent of our brain capacity. That is a myth by the way. One study reported 65 percent of Americans believe it’s true though. Activities like meditation and exercise will help in this area, no matter what the real number is. Here is a testimonial from a listener “Love this podcast. This podcast is the best thing I have ever listened to.” This recent episode explores how to Stay Mentally Healthy.

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Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

This audiobook explores the mental and physical health connection. It’s a groundbreaking and fascinating look at the life changing effects that exercise has on the brain. From the bestselling author and psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD. Spark is one of the first books to explore the deep connection between exercise and the brain. “It will change forever the way you think about your morning run – or, for that matter, simply the way you think.”

Peak Performance

The first audiobook of its kind. “Peak Performance combines inspiring stories of top performers across a range of capabilities – from athletic, to intellectual, to artistic – with the latest scientific insights into the cognitive and neurochemical factors that drive performance in all domains.” I read the book but wished I got the audio book. Very insightful, and highly researched information on how to get more out of your performance on all fronts. Brad Stulberg, is a former consultant for McKinsey and Company and a journalist who covers health and human performance. Steve Magness, is a performance scientist and has coached many Olympic athletes. This won a 2018 Audie Award for Best Business & Personal Development Audiobook.

These four audio options, via two podcasts and two audiobooks, will change the way you think about how the brain & body interact. You’ll find out the true benefits of mental and physical health and why they are so important. If you’re looking to take your knowledge and training to the next level, these podcasts and audio books will equip you with the right tools to do that. Stay Strong with Jefit.

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