Category Archives: Exercise

Benefits of a Multidimentional Exercise Program: Did you get the PRISE?

Love when I find research that supports what I have been saying all along to maintain and achieve optimal health for adventurous living.  Cross-training!!  According to a current paper in the Journal of Applied Physiology, quality of your exercise and diet program is better then the quantity.  So what does that mean?  Doing just one thing such as say just jogging or just weights is not going to achieve a healthy and happy body.  A multidimensional exercise routine with moderate amounts of protein will lead to “decreasing total and abdominal fat, increasing lean body mass, and achieving optimal levels for blood pressure, blood glucose, and insulin.”  Simply put is to remember the acronym PRISE:

  • P = Protein
  • R = Resistance
  • I = Interval
  • S = Stretching
  • E = Endurance

The outcome of going for the PRISE1 is that you have a healthy fully functional body for all your fun outdoor activities.

Like I said above, “LOVE this!”

1.  Rethinking of current assumptions about exercise. Stone Hearth News. May 13, 2014.

Trunk and Core Exercises to Prevent Low Back Pain

Because so many adults suffer from lower back pain, core exercise training is a must to include in an exercise routine which could then alleviate or lower back pain occurrences.  I believe it should be done after childbirth as well (however never do any abdominal or core work without knowing what your transverse abs are and how to hold them in!!)

“Since risk factors of LBP (Low Back Pain) are thought to commence during childhood, results of this study suggest that it may be desirable for children and adolescents to perform moderate-to-high intensity dynamic core exercises during physical education warm-up to improve trunk and core muscular endurance.” read more here

Here is some tools to get you started to help your kids improve their core strength:

Fun Core Exercises For Kids!
Core Strength Activities for Preschoolers and Beginners
Core strength and postural control needed for fine motor skills in children
Kid Ab Workout (video)
Winning Core Body Exercises for Kids (video)

Minimalist Running Shoes: What you should know…

A good reminder to those with minimalist running shoes.  Kinda the same reminder you should use with anything involved with exercise.  Here is a excerpt from the article:

‘”This study supports what I and others have been arguing for years,” Daniel Lieberman, author of widely cited studies comparing barefoot running to running with shoes, told Reuters Health in an email.

“If you switch to minimal shoes or go barefoot you need to (a) do so gradually so your body can adapt, and (b) you need to learn proper running form,” said Lieberman, who is chair of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and not involved in the new study.

But, Lieberman told Reuters Health, he would not go as far as calling minimalist shoes “worse” than conventional shoes, at least not based on this study.

The runners did not transition gradually, the study did not examine their running form, and it only included the initial transition period to the new shoes, which many runners would adapt to over time, he said.

“What matters most for injury is how you run, not what is on your feet, and this study only looked at the latter,” Lieberman said.’ read full article here

Home Gym: Simple Key Essentials

I thought this looked interesting because it didn’t take up much space.  Kinda cool.  Read about Your Ultimate Winter Home Gym where you only need 7 small items.

Digging Deeper: Mechanics behind the benefits of exercise to health and longevity

Exercise Protects You: Just a good reminder to keep exercising

Researchers found a molecule!  Sounds boring right?  Well when you put exercise and molecule together of course it made me curious.  So this is the title that caught my attention:  The molecule behind the benefits of exercise has been found.

So how does this molecule work (its name is β-aminoisobutyric acid (BAIBA)?  You exercise, your muscle cells send out a signal to your fat cells.  Then sparks fly and things start to happen. The signal is BAIBA-the molecule they found.  Why are sparks flying?  Your fat cells now have the permission to turn on its own genes that burn calories.  What are the things that start to happen? Things start to drop like your fasting blood sugar levels, insulin, total cholesterol*, and triglycerides and a trend toward lowered BMI (body weight compared to your height).  These things are summed up as some of the metabolic risk factors which contribute to metabolic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

So how do we minimize these metabolic risk factors? Keep your cells (the building blocks of your body) healthy.  How?  Eat right and exercise so you can make sparks fly and other things happen.  Otherwise your cells are sending out some poorly made communication signals and your fat cells just say “Blah!”

Definition of Metabolism:  the chemical processes by which a plant or an animal uses food, water, etc., to grow and heal and to make energy (Merriam Webster Online Dictionary).  When the metabolic processes of the body are broken or impaired then the body fails to function normally and health problems occur.

*Read up on  Cholesterol to get a better picture of why it is important to your body and what levels in your blood are considered beneficial or harmful.  There is always more to the story.

Other explanations of the Metabolic Syndrome and Metabolic Health: article  article

Article Abstract Reference with Diagram: Click Here


CrossFit: Is it the best fitness routine for your body?

Well, you get to decide.  However, I found this article that brought up interesting points so I thought I would share it. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published an article examining the effects of CrossFit high intensity workouts on aerobic fitness and body composition.  Results showed an improved VO2 max and decreased body fat percentage in both men and women.  Obviously, these are excellent results!!  Within the article you find that 16% of the 54 participants quit the program due to overuse or injury and that is where the concern is based from.  Can CrossFit actually be detrimental to your musculoskeletal system causing injuries?

An article from Outside Magazine shares their thoughts on CrossFit and injury to participants and the thoughts behind it. Outside Magazine also has another rebuttal article here.

In 2011 the military with the American College of Sports Medicine did a review on Extreme Conditioning Programs (EFC’s) which for example include CrossFit and Insanity.  They found “That is an apparent disproportionate musculoskeletal injury risk from these demanding programs, particularly for novice participants, resulting in lost duty time, medical treatment, and extensive rehabilitation…..Moreover, certain distinctive characteristics of ECPs appear to violate recognized accepted standards for safely and appropriately developing muscular fitness and are not uniformly aligned with established and accepted training doctrine”

While I think those who excel in CrossFit are amazing, and as you know, I am all about people being fit and involved in a workout routine, I always had a hesitancy about certain aspects of CrossFit and such like it.  Is my hesitancy founded on any particular research–no absolutely not.   I am concerned about the weights and toll on the body and competitiveness that could push a person to injury even if you build up to it. The intensity and weights seem unnatural to me and that will always give me a hesitancy.  Anyways, I want my hesitancy to be proved wrong because I am excited about CrossFit, and how it helps people get into fitness routine.  Maybe these articles are good because it makes people take a pause and evaluate the independently run CrossFit Box’s staff expertise in proper exercise training.

Throughout history, people lifted “weights” based on tools needed for survival and the type of job they did.  They ate off the land with the hidden arts of traditional cooking.  And men and women were strong and powerful with body’s made for endurance.  Lean muscles.  Lots of reps with “lean” weights makes more sense to me.  And as with any sport you do, crossTRAINING should be a requirement.

Maria Kang: “What’s your excuse?”

Controversial Picture: Fit Mother

Are you kidding me?!!!!  The “kidding me” was about the uproar. That’s what I said after I read (from a variety of news website) about the uproar this picture caused.  This is a fabulous picture of a mother that worked hard to get her amazing body (here is a write up with the picture from ABC News).  Like always, I go to the source to get the real scoop, and I liked what I read.

I don’t understand why people get all worked up about it, and why the picture would make anyone feel bad.  Then I thought about it….when someone speaks the TRUTH (hence the “what’s your excuse”), this entitled feeling society all likes to pass blame and judgement on someone else. If a person can’t get something fast, let’s blame someone else or trash them so we feel better about ourselves.  It’s pathetic!   We all spend money and time on our body, hair, and clothes (and not to mention countless brain cells thinking about ourselves) and then when a picture is posted of a mom of three kids who looks great, people get all offended that she is exploiting her body and kids and how dare she even have a photographer take a picture of her reality.  Good grief!!  Every women spends time on herself….she just made wise choices in the use of her time and money!!  And do you know how proud those sons will be of their mom when they are older!  Let’s get past what she looks like (as I don’t think any woman out there will be her twin) and focus on her message–wanting to empower people to do all they can to be healthy and strong and then you have no excuses.

Don’t be jealous, get fit!  Don’t be jealous, get motivated!  Jealousy is “soooo highschool” and its so obvious to others (yes, can you tell I have experienced jealousy of sorts—-I just don’t let you know I am on to you–LOL). Disclaimer: I am a bit biased, I am all for mothers staying fit.

Cold and flu season coming up ~ what do I do?

Here Comes the Fall and Winter

Embrace the crispy cool air and fun winter clothes and changing of the season, but let’s keep our bodies healthy for those outdoor adventures!!


What can I do to keep up my immune system during the cold and flu season? And how do I relieve cold symptoms naturally?


  • Chicken soup ~ Homemade of course!!  It helps relieve congestion by thinning mucus and acts as an anti-inflamatory.1,2  Recipe Card. Click here for some interesting soup traditions: Israel, Ancient Rome, and Greece
  • Water ~ Keeping hydrated is a must.  During the colder seasons the heater is run which can increase water loss from your body.  Water helps flush out the toxins and impurities in your system, and its important to stay hydrated if you have a fever.
  • Salt Water ~ 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt water in 1 cup (8 ounces) of water can help relive a sore or irritated throat.
  • Vitamin C ~ Based on a recent Crochrane review, because Vitamin C has a consistent effect on the duration and severity of the common cold with regular supplementation, it may be beneficial for the individual to test whether therapeutic Vitamin C is beneficial to them. (Therapeutic supplementation mean taking is after the cold has started.)  Also, 5 studies showed that regular supplementation in  marathon runners, skiers and soldiers on subarctic exercises reduced the incidence of the common cold. Those participating in extreme physical exercises causing stress to the body may benefit by taking Vitamin C.3
  • Zinc ~  A review done shows that taking zinc orally may shorten the duration of the common cold, however, adverse affects were common.The FDA warns against taking intranasal zinc.  Getting adequate dietary zinc is a safe route without the side effects and can help build up your immune system to protect against the common cold. Zinc is found in a variety of foods including: liver, meats, fish, oats, seeds, shrimp, maple syrup, green peas, milk and yogurt, almonds, cheese, and beans.5 
  • Probiotics ~ Full of good bacteria, sources containing live cultures help keep your gut healthy which is one of the first lines of defense against bacteria and viruses invading your body.  Foods containing live cultures include: yogurt, keifer, and fermented foods.
  • Honey ~ Soothes the sore throat and helps alleviate coughing.  Honey can be mixed with fresh squeezed lemon juice and warm water.
  • Garlic ~ Based on a Cochrane review the verdict is still out on whether is helps prevent or treat the common cold.6 However, it has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal properties and has been used medicinally for generations and generations.7 We seem to eventually prove the ancient wisdom true so adding garlic to your dishes is probably a good idea.
  • Vitamin D ~ A good source of Vitamin D during the shorter days is cod liver oil.  Make sure the source is pure.


1. Rennard, et al. Chicken Soup Inhibits Neutrophil Chemotaxis In Vitro. CHEST 2000; 118:1150 –1157.

2.  Babizhayev MA, Deyev AI. Management of the virulent influenza virus infection by oral formulation of nonhydrolized carnosine and isopeptide of carnosine attenuating proinflammatory cytokine-induced nitric oxide production. Am J Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):e25-47.

3.  Harri Hemilä and Elizabeth Chalker, Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group. Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Review, 2013, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD000980

4. Sience, et al. Zinc for the treatment of the common cold: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. CMAJ July 10, 2012, vol 184 no. 10.

5.  Office of Dietary Supplements, NIH.

6.  Lissiman E, Bhasale AL, Cohen M. Garlic for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Mar 14;3.

7. Harris JC, Cottrell SL, Plummer S, Lloyd D. Antimicrobial properties of Allium sativum (garlic). Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 Oct;57(3):282-6.

Can eating 5 meals a day reduce your child’s risk for obesity?

The answer is “Yes!” based on a 2013 Northern Finland Birth Cohort study of adolescents aged 16 years.  The data collection on the population began prenatally up until the age of 16 years.

Previously, the results of a study on the same Finnish population showed that environmental factors such as physical activity could modify the effect of common obesity-susceptibility gene variants.  This means that those children who carried the genes associated with the risk for obesity could stop their predisposition to obesity by modifying their lifestyle behaviors. The researchers also showed in a previous study that eating 5 meals a day reduced abdominal obesity in children.

Specifically, for this current study,  two meal patterns where looked at:  those that ate 5 meals per day and those that ate 4 meals or less per day on the relation between obesity-related genotypes and body mass index (BMI) among the 16 year olds.   A genetic risk score (a multiple-locus indicator based on eight obesity-susceptibility loci) and a separate analysis of the effects of two well-established obesity loci, FTO and MC4R, on BMI were analyzed.

Results showed:

  1. A 5 meal a day pattern (including breakfast) decreased the predisposition to increasing BMI
  2. Those that skipped breakfast had a greater increase in BMI

I loved reading up on this study because it shows that even though you may be born with a set of genetic predispositions to obesity you still have the power to be at a healthy weight.  And it starts in childhood.  What power parents have to influence their kids and impact their health!!  Interested in the effect of maternal weigth gain and obesity risk? Click here

Source: PLOS One, September 2013 | Volume 8 | Issue 9 | e73802: Jaaskelainen A, Schwab U, Kolehmainen M, Kaakinen M, Savolainen MJ, et al. (2013) Meal Frequencies Modify the Effect of Common Genetic Variants on Body Mass Index in Adolescents of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986. PLoS ONE 8(9): e73802. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073802


Why Exercise Outside?

There is an improvement in mental and physical well-being after exercising in a natural environment compared with exercising indoors, based on the systematic review in Environmental Science and Technology (2011): Science Daily (2011, Feb).