Guest Post: Top Health & Wellness apps for 2012


Six smart phone apps to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle


I officially entered middle age this year and so did my husband! I was never one to be concerned about my weight or to feel guilty about having an extra piece of birthday cake. However, I noticed as I’ve aged, I’ve become more conscious of my health—including how much I exercise and how many calories I consume. This year, my hubby and I made the choice to start living healthier lifestyles. However, we were unsure exactly what we should be doing to achieve healthier body and mind.


Luckily, our smart phones were the key to keeping our personal health and wellness on track. So now when we need to track our exercise regimes, count calories, relax, or find healthy food options on the go, my husband and I consult one of the following six apps on our cell phones:


1. RunKeeper (Free – for iPhone)
If you are a regular runner like I am, or even a newbie runner like my hubby, the RunKeeper app is a great way to get your motivation back in check. This app tracks all of your running progress—including the duration of your runs, your pace, your speed, your calories burned, and the route traveled on a digital map. It’s a great way to stay motivated as you track your runs and see how far you’ve come over a few weeks, months, and years.


2. Yoga Pro ($0.99 – for iPhone)
We all lead busy lives and we’re all tired. However, sometimes when you’re tired for too long, you run the risk of complete burnout, which is dangerous to your health and wellness. Yoga is a great exercise to restore your energy in mind and body. The Yoga Pro app guides users through a series of safe and gentle yoga. Plus, because it’s mobile, you can take your yoga practice with you anywhere, and do it anytime you need to Zen out.


3. Fooducate – Eat Healthy Diet (Free – for Android)
The Fooducate app offers a basic camera scanning app so you can use it to scan UPC barcodes on foods you want to buy at the grocery store. One scan and the app will display the product’s calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber values. I use it before purchasing any new product at the grocery store to ensure proper nutritious value for my family.


4. EatRight – Daily Food Log Diet Checklist ($1.99 – for iPhone)
You really are what you eat—the adage holds true for those of us who are healthy and fit or unhealthy and unfit. The EatRight app is for those who are ready to trade the fatty, sugar-laden, convenience foods for a healthier diet and lifestyle. This app tracks you food habits and daily nutrition intake—alerting you if you’ve had too much or not enough of one of the 5 major food groups. The EatRight app also works as a daily food diary so you can track water intake, caloric intake, protein intake, and even fat intake.


5. Weightbot – Track your Weight in Style ($1.99 – for iPhone)
Regardless of if you’re trying to bulk up your lean muscle mass or to lose a few inches of fatty tissue so you can fit into your skinny jeans, the Weightbot app will keep your weight goals on track. Simply use the app to set preferences for your weight goal—pin in your age, weight, activity level, etc.—and the app will tell you how many calories and how much exercise you should be getting every day to achieve those goals.


6. GoodFoodNearYou (Free – for Android)
The GoodFoodNearYou app will help you find healthy food options in a pinch—say if you’re stuck at the office and need to order in or if you’re travelling in an unknown city and need to nosh. Simply enter your location and this app will instantly serve up a list of healthy food options based on your current geographic location using GPS, including links to restaurant menus and full nutrition information for popular chain restaurants, mom and pop shops, fast food chains, grocery stores, and convenience stores in your vicinity.


About The Author

Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews on used cell phones and popular phone plans.

Guest Post: Hormones That Hide Your Abs?

Leptin and Other Hormones That Could Be Keeping You From the Abs You Crave!


Trying to get good abs? You're actually not alone here.

A lot of people want to have a nice set of rock hard abs, and we don't blame them at all. This is one of the top ways that we judge health and vitality without knowing anything about a person's health. If you're at a beach and you see men and women with solid abs, you’re going to realize that they’ve got to be pretty healthy, right?

Well, yes, but there are a few things that go beyond just a set of ripped abs. In fact, if you want to focus on having a great looking body as well as a great functional body that's healthy, you're going to need to get into the science of fitness and health a bit more deeply.

We're talking about hormones again, but there's a lot more hormones in play than just insulin, the one that everyone focuses on. We’ll cover the top hormones that are directly related to not just health, but getting the abs that you're looking for in the first place!

Leptin

Leptin is something that's just now getting talked about in general fitness circles, but leptin is actually pretty important. It's often labeled as the "hunger hormone" for good reason. Leptin's job is to control hunger, food intake, and energy expenditure. If you're hungry and tired at the same time all of the time, then you probably have low leptin levels. This also means that your metabolism is slowing down. Guess what that also means? No fat loss. No abs. No getting jacked. So we need to address leptin before we address just about anything else.

One of the top causes of low leptin are those reduced calorie diets everyone's so crazy about. Yes, you need a calorie deficit but you also need to make sure that you change things up once in a while. Calorie and carb cycling can help you finally get the fat loss you need and the abs you crave by giving your body no way to really get used to any one eating style.

To raise leptin levels, you will need to refeed selectively. Yes, the classic "cheat day" is freeing because you know that you can eat just about anything. However, you want to focus specifically on sources of carbs that turn into glucose directly, rather than sucrose or fructose. Aim for eating about 50% more calories than you normally would during these leptin reset days -- you'll feel better and you will also get other hormones where they need to be.


The Other Hormones That Team Up With Leptin For Better Abs

Your hormonal profile is more than just leptin or even leptin and insulin. There are a lot of hormones running the body, and nature designed it that way for our survival. But that doesn't mean that you can't use this information to your advantage! Increasing leptin means that you’re also going to be increasing liver glycogen -- the energy that you need for lifting as well as other day to day tasks. It gets even better that this: once you raise liver glycogen, you will actually raise testosterone, growth hormone, and T3 and reduce cortisol.

Cortisol eats muscle, and not in a good way.


More Nutrients with More Food

Remember that when it comes to building the best body possible, food is fuel. Nothing more and nothing less than that. You have to divorce your emotions from food. If you have to eat a certain way to get your abs to show, that's exactly what you need to do. It would be better to make sure that you can handle just about anything that comes your way rather than to assume that you're going to have to give up your dreams before you've even had the chance to unveil a better physique. If you get stuck, think about things from the right perspective.

You’re not the first person that’s ever wanted abs, and you’re not going to be the last person to want abs. So if you get stuck and you need help, why not make sure that you seek out a community of like minded people.

Guest Post: Fitness Can Help You Live Longer After Cancer

While it has been widely proclaimed by experts for years that exercise can help you lower your risk of getting certain cancers, the latest research shows that physical activity can actually help with recovery for cancer patients. It also shows that exercise can keep the cancer in remission for a longer period of time.

In the past, doctors would tell cancer patients to spend as much time in bed as possible, but more and more doctors are recommending exercise instead of rest after being diagnosed with cancer. In what seems like it should be common sense, doctors have figured out that exercise for cancer patients makes them more fit and thinner, just like it does for people who don't have cancer. It can greatly improve your quality of life, and not just physically. Good fitness can also improve your mood, get rid of chronic fatigue, and give you a self-confidence boost. The National Cancer Institute says that their research indicates that moderate exercise, which amounts to 3 to 5 hours of walking a week, improved survival rates among breast cancer survivors. Whether you have survived prostate or mesothelioma cancer, it turns out exercise is great for you.

The problem is that after being diagnosed with cancer, people have a tendency to get depressed. If they are already starting to show symptoms, they might feel sick and fatigued, which can also make them less likely to want to exercise. This can also be true after treatment; chemo and radiation therapy can take all of your energy and make you very sick.

The key if you have been diagnosed with cancer, for example mesothelioma, or if you have been through treatment, is to force yourself to exercise, at least moderately. It's a good idea to start with exercises that are relatively easy, such as stretching or light aerobics. Walking is by far the easiest aerobic exercise, and it is also one of the best. Even if you feel like you can't make yourself do these things, try to do simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking to the post office or convenience store if they are close enough.

If you are worried about exercise being risky as a cancer patient, then there is good news. Experts say the risks are the same as they are for people without cancer. Even though everything is harder when you have had or still have cancer, the rewards you get from exercising regularly will make up for the hardship in the long run. Plus, you will most likely be around a lot longer to enjoy life if you get out and get active.
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