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How to get rid of FUPA: Exercises, dietary tips, and more – Medical News Today

Posted: January 31, 2021 at 8:52 am


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FUPA is the slang term for belly fat, with the acronym standing for fat upper pubic area. Some people may find fat around the belly the most difficult type of fat to lose.

The scientific word for FUPA is panniculus, which refers to a growth of dense, fatty tissue on the lower abdomen that sometimes hangs over the pubis and genitals.

This article explains what FUPA is, what causes it, and how a person can reduce it.

It is not possible to lose weight only in one area of the body. No exercise or diet will have this effect. As a person loses weight, it will reduce fairly proportionally all over the body.

However, certain exercises and dietary changes can help a person reduce body fat.

If a person wants to reduce fat in the upper pubic area specifically, they can consider a surgical or nonsurgical procedure.

Workouts targeting the lower abdominal muscles (abs) will help work and strengthen the deeper core muscles.

Below are some exercises that focus on and strengthen the lower abs.

People may initially find this position challenging, but with practice, they can extend the length of time they hold this pose.

People new to abs exercises may wish to start by performing this move with one leg at a time.

This exercise also requires an exercise ball.

The hundred is a classic Pilates exercise.

Those who find this too challenging can try the bent-knee version instead:

A person will need an exercise ball to perform pike rollouts. These are available to use in many gyms.

Performing this exercise might be more comfortable on an exercise mat.

People can take other steps to reduce their body fat, including the FUPA.

There are many myths about cardio for fat burning.

Some people say that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the most effective approach. HIIT involves short bursts of intense cardio that a person alternates with brief periods of rest.

Others state that a moderate cardio level that someone can sustain for longer periods will keep them in the fat-burn zone.

However, most research in this area has shown that exercise type does not have a significant effect on fat loss.

In a 2017 study comparing HIIT with moderate intensity training, all of the participants lost weight, but the difference was negligible between the two exercise groups.

As there may be little difference between the fat burning capabilities of different types of exercise, a person should choose the cardio exercise that they most enjoy. Options include walking briskly, running, cycling, and joining a group exercise class, among many others.

A common saying states that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.

Losing the FUPA is the same. Even those who start working out intensely and regularly will likely also need to change their diet to see a significant difference in their belly.

If a person cuts 5001,000 calories a day from their typical diet, they may lose about 12 pounds (lb) a week. Eating healthful foods, such as nuts, lean protein, and vegetables, while avoiding sugary or processed foods will make it easier to create a calorie deficit.

The only way to remove fat from a specific area of the body is with a medical procedure. These can be surgical or noninvasive.

These medical procedures do not require any surgery, anesthesia, or recovery time.

CoolSculpting is one such option. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved this method, which uses ultracold temperatures to freeze fat cells through the skin. The freezing destroys the cells, which the body removes in the urine over the next few weeks.

CoolSculpting might be a good option for those looking to tighten and tone small pockets of fat.

Surgical procedures will produce more dramatic and rapid results in a specific area of the body.

Some surgical options to reduce the FUPA include:

Having a moderate amount of fat in the upper pubic area is normal and natural, despite what popular culture may sometimes suggest.

Fat in this area may develop during puberty as a natural part of body growth. Female bodies generally have a higher percentage of body fat than male bodies and distribute a greater proportion of it around the hip area.

Several factors can cause a FUPA to increase in size, including weight gain and body fat distribution changes.

As a person ages, it is common for the body to start holding more fat around the stomach than in other areas of the body. Certain life changes, such as menopause, are associated with weight gain and changes in body fat distribution.

Adults in the United States gain an average of 12 lb of body weight per year. This rate of weight gain may lead people to develop overweight or obesity as they age. Obesity comes with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, among other health conditions.

People can classify belly fat as either subcutaneous or visceral, depending on where the body stores it. Subcutaneous fat sits right under the skin all over the body, and a person can pinch it. Meanwhile, visceral fat is located in the abdominal cavity between the organs.

Studies have linked visceral fat to an increased risk of several diseases. This fat releases more detrimental hormones and proteins into the body than fat elsewhere. These substances can trigger low level inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease, and cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise.

In a FUPA, the fat is just under the skin, so it is subcutaneous fat rather than harmful visceral fat. However, developing a larger FUPA may indicate general weight gain, which could include visceral fat. The presence of visceral fat may also cause the lower belly area to protrude, making a FUPA appear more prominent.

It is important to accept that the body will naturally change with age. However, people should be aware of these changes and, if necessary, make adjustments to their diet and exercise to avoid the health risks associated with excess weight gain.

The FUPA is an accumulation of fat right above the pubic bone.

The best way to lose it is to focus on losing weight across the body as a whole by consuming a healthful diet and increasing cardio workouts to create an overall calorie deficit.

While it is not possible to lose weight only in a specific area, there are ways to strengthen certain parts of the body with exercise. Lower abdominal exercises will help tighten and tone the area above the pubis.

People who only want to remove fat from their lower abdomen can consider a few surgical and nonsurgical procedures.

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How to get rid of FUPA: Exercises, dietary tips, and more - Medical News Today

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January 31st, 2021 at 8:52 am

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This One Exercise Melts Fat Faster Than Any Other, Says Science – Eat This, Not That

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The workout that melts fat fastest is also one of the quickest, typically taking less than 20 minutes from start to finish. Known as high-intensity interval training or HIIT, it requires you to move fast, very fast for a very short period of time. One researcher goes as far as calling it the "one-minute workout," because one version of this training method amounts to just 60 seconds of intensely strenuous exertion, 20-second bouts broken up by periods of rest, a sequence that's repeated multiple times.

You probably recognize this exercise techniqueas it has been written about here and elsewhere many times. But have you tried it? And, if so, have you done it correctly and endured this rigorous style of exercising long enough to notice results?

HIIT works. A number of studies have shown that short, vigorous workouts improve markers of good health like aerobic fitness, lower blood pressure, and more stable blood sugar. Workouts like HIIT can also burn more calories and reduce more visceral fat than typical endurance exercises like walking, running, and cycling at a moderate pace will when done for an hour or more.

How so? The science is complicated; strenuous exercise triggers certain changes on the molecular level that result in what's known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. In other words, after exercise, you get a metabolic after-burn for about 24 hours where you burn more calories than normal.

More important than weight loss are the aerobic fitness benefits derived from quickie exercise sessions, say researchers. In a groundbreaking study from McMaster University in Canada published in PLOS One, researchers demonstrated that just one minute of intense effort in a 10-minute workout was enough to reap the rewards. In the study, 14 sedentary overweight men and women were asked to do a 10-minute workout on stationary bicycles, pedaling as hard and fast as they could for three 20-second intervals with 2-minute rest periods of slow pedaling in between. With a warmup and cool-down, the entire workout took just 10 minutes, 60 seconds of which was intense effort. After six weeks of these 10-minute workouts done three times a week, the cyclists significantly improved their aerobic capacity by 12% on average, lowered blood pressure numbers, and enhanced other markers of aerobic and muscular fitness. (Related: Simple Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy.)

That's good news for people who blow off exercising because they say they don't have time to fit it into their busy days. This study proves it takes just one minute of hard work in 10 minutes of your precious workout time.

And it doesn't have to be performed on a stationary bike. Martin Gibala, PhD, professor of kinesiology at McMaster, and one of the lead researchers of the study, says almost any type of exercise can be performed as sprint-style intervals. He wrote a book The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter detailing several ways to incorporate HIIT training into your busy life.

One caveat: Sprint intervals are super, super difficult. People who don't get results most often aren't pushing themselves hard enough, trainers say. It's physically and psychologically challenging. You have to be OK with feeling discomfort.

"I tell people to imagine a bloodthirsty Rottweiler is chasing them and trying to take a bite out of their hamstring run like your life depends on it," says Denver-based personal trainer and fitness writer Eric C. Stevens. He makes another critical point: "To stay motivated at that level of exertion choose an exercise that you love doing. For me that's boxing and martial arts because of the skill set required and the sense of community." (Related: 10 Easy Ways to Burn Fat in 30 Minutes)

But it can be any activityrowing classes, cycling, brisk walking, even resistance trainingany activity where you can push yourself to near exhaustion for short bouts.

Stevens suggests two basic types of sprint intervals to try if you want to sample this super-fast way to get fit. But first, a critical step to avoid injury: Begin each HIIT workout with a total-body dynamic warm-up for three to five minutes, he says. Do arm circles while marching in place, jumping jacks, jump rope, inchworms, anything that gets all your limbs involved and raises your heart rate.

Use a stopwatch or clock with a second hand to keep time. After your warm-up, begin running, cycling, or rowing for 30 seconds at a light intensity. Next, do 20 seconds at a high intensity where you find it difficult to talk in complete sentences. Without resting, go right into a 10-second segment of maximum "rottweiler-in-pursuit" effort. You'll know you're pushing hard enough if you're too winded to speak. Repeat the 30-20-10 sequence four more times, followed by a three-minute cooldown of walking and stretching.

Always begin with a dynamic warmup for three to five minutes. Tabata training follows a 20-10 sequence. You begin with 20-seconds of high-intensity, all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest (very slow pedaling or walking). Repeat the pattern seven more times for a total of four minutes. End with a cooldown.

"You can play with those interval times as long as you are getting the intensity," says Stevens. "Anerobic training takes a monstrous effort. It also feels terrible at times. But if you want the body of a dancer, a gymnast or sprinter, you have to train like one."

Since HIIT is so physically taxing, be sure that you are healthy enough before trying this exercise strategy. Visit your physician for a full physical exam.

Also, note that trainers like Stevens and researchers like Gibala stress that the most effective and efficient way to lose weight and maintain the weight loss is not through exercise but by reducing calories through a healthy diet. If sucking wind isn't for you, you may be interested in Lazy Ways to Lose Weight All Year Long.

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This Guy Shared the Diet and Workout That Helped Him Lose 40 Pounds and Get Ripped – menshealth.com

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In a recent video, YouTuber Stuart Carter looks back on his recent body transformation, sharing the lifestyle changes he made which have helped him burn fat, build muscle, and sustain his weight loss. His journey began in November 2019, when he weighed in at 198 pounds and struggled with self-confidence and body image issues.

"That is, by far, the heaviest I've ever weighed," he says. "I had love handles, a very flat chest, very skinny arms, no definition anywhere... I just assumed I would always be this 'skinny fat' guy."

Resolving to make a change, Stuart started with immediately overhauling his nutrition, lowering his daily calorie intake, and began an exercise regime consisting of a full-body workout three times a week and running twice a week. After six months, as his strength and endurance grew, he progressed to training every day, with a combination of traditional bodybuilding splits, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and boxing workouts.

After nine months, he weighed 158 pounds, a total loss of 40 pounds. He acknowledges that the weight loss will not have been all fat, but he is pleased with the increased visible muscle definition he has seen as a result of his training, particularly in his shoulders and abs. "It's the first time in my life I've ever been able to see my obliques and those top abs popping through," he says.

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Keen to continue building strength and muscle, Stuart is currently maintaining his weight at around 168 pounds after upping his calorie and water intake. "We've all got way too busy a life to maintain that low a level of body fat all year round," he says.

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This Guy Shared the Diet and Workout That Helped Him Lose 40 Pounds and Get Ripped - menshealth.com

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January 31st, 2021 at 8:52 am

How do binge eating and drinking impact the liver? – Medical News Today

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Written by Jocelyn Solis-Moreira on January 31, 2021 Fact checked by Harriet Pike, Ph.D.

A recent study that simulated a tailgate party found that eating foods high in carbohydrates while consuming relatively lower amounts of alcohol was associated with increased liver fat.

Tailgating refers to a social gathering where people serve and eat food from the back of a parked vehicle, often in the car park of a sports stadium.

Although this tradition has not been possible during the pandemic, some have continued the tradition virtually.

While tailgating can energize fans, it can also lead to excess eating and drinking, negatively affecting a persons health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend not drinking, or sticking to two alcoholic drinks or fewer a day for males.

To study the effects of overconsumption on the body, researchers from the University of Missouri studied bodily changes after a tailgate party. Their results appear in the journal Alcohol.

The researchers had several criteria for inclusion in the study. They focused on males aged 2152 years with a sedentary lifestyle, which involved fewer than 3 hours of aerobic exercise per week.

The participants all had overweight or obesity, with body mass indexes (BMIs) of between 25.1 and 51 kilograms per square meter, and a waist circumference of fewer than 55 inches.

Participants were nonsmokers, did not have diabetes, and had no preexisting thyroid or kidney conditions.

For safety reasons, participants needed to report greater than moderate alcohol consumption, which the study defined as consuming alcohol regularly in the past year.

However, people who drank heavily, such as more than 16 alcoholic beverages a week, were excluded from the study.

A total of 18 males completed the research study.

To prepare for the tailgate experiment, the researchers instructed the participants to swallow deuterium oxide, also known as heavy water, twice daily for 3 days before starting the study.

This allowed the scientists to assess rates of lipogenesis, the metabolic process of forming fat.

The scientists also told the participants to follow their regular diet but avoid alcohol the night before the study.

On the morning of the simulated tailgate, scientists checked each participants vital signs. They then took blood samples before providing them with a light breakfast.

The researchers also used dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry to measure body composition.

Around 11:00 a.m., researchers took another blood sample and then encouraged participants to eat and drink for the next 5 hours. The foods ranged from hamburgers to cupcakes. The team collected blood samples every hour and measured participants breath alcohol content every 30 minutes to ensure they reached the desired level of intoxication.

In addition, 14 of the 18 participants underwent magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of the liver. This allowed the researchers to glimpse the level of fat in the liver.

After the 5-hour experiment, the participants stayed overnight in the research center. The scientists took a final blood sample in the morning, and each participant was given breakfast and discharged once their breath alcohol content was zero.

Before the experiment, 8 of the 18 participants kept a food diary for 3 days, which showed an average intake of 2,748 kilocalories (kcal) each day. On game day, people ate well beyond this, consuming an average of 5,087 kcal.

When broken down into food groups, 32% of the total calories consumed came from carbohydrates, 35% from fat, 10% from protein, and 23% from alcohol.

Alcohol consumption resulted in an average breath alcohol content level of 0.08 meaning participants were legally intoxicated in the United States.

When looking at changes in the body, the group showed a higher level of plasma insulin after eating and drinking. Lipogenesis also increased, but overall, the group showed no changes to liver fat.

Interestingly, in the present group as a whole, only the amount of alcohol consumed during [the 5 hours of eating and drinking] was found to be significantly related to the increase in percent [lipogenesis], write the authors.

However, when looking at each participant who completed the MRS scan, they found different responses.

Surprisingly, we found that in overweight males, after an extended duration of eating and drinking, metabolic responses were not uniform and revealed significant individual variation in the ability to protect the liver from nutrient toxicity, the authors write.

Nine participants showed increased liver fat, five participants showed lower liver fat, and one participant experienced no changes.

The individual responses prompted the researchers to divide participants into two groups based on liver fat changes. Those with lower liver fat were less likely to have gained their calories from food and needed more alcohol to reach the specified breath alcohol range.

Lipogenesis was the only predictor of the differences in liver fat between the two groups.

A potential explanation of these findings is that high carbohydrate consumption may have a greater impact on liver fat than alcohol in some people, says corresponding author Dr. Elizabeth Parks.

Given the high prevalence of overconsumption of food and alcohol in the U.S., further studies are needed in a larger population. Our goal is to understand differences between people in how they respond to excess food and alcohol. It may be that limiting meal carbohydrates may protect the liver.

Dr. Elizabeth Parks

A major limitation of the study was that it only included males. Not including females excludes a good portion of people that go tailgating.

Including females in the data analysis may have affected the results, as alcohol is processed differently in females than males. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, females have proportionally less water in their bodies, leading to higher blood alcohol levels following drinking.

As a result, females may become more intoxicated than males who consumed the same amount of alcohol.

Also, due to safety concerns, the researchers regulated how much participants could drink during the tailgating simulation. The authors acknowledge this may not reflect drinking behavior at tailgate parties.

For instance, a survey by the American Addiction Centers found that people watching American football consumed between 6.2 and 8.4 alcoholic drinks on average, well above the level that would result in legal intoxication, with the highest number of drinks consumed in the stadium parking lot.

The researchers wanted to understand the effects of excessive food and drink consumption, using a protocol that mimicked real-life. However, there are no prior academic studies that show the average food and alcohol intake of spectators before and after sporting events.

Also, there is a possibility that the researchers interpretation of excess eating was no different from the average diet of an individual participant.

The researchers findings suggest that where participants received their calories from influenced liver fat production.

Eating many carbohydrates appeared to have a greater impact than other food groups and alcohol on increasing liver fat.

Given the high prevalence of overconsumption of food and alcohol in the U.S., further studies are warranted to understand better the interactions between personal consumption habits and individual metabolic variation in handling excess nutrients, conclude the authors.

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How do binge eating and drinking impact the liver? - Medical News Today

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January 31st, 2021 at 8:52 am

BMI calculator for men: What a healthy BMI is and how to measure it – Medical News Today

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Using a body mass index (BMI) calculator can help a person determine whether their weight is within the recommended range for their height. However, BMI calculations have several important limitations in everyone, including men.

BMI is one measure of body size. It is a calculation of a persons body mass based on their weight relative to their height.

Doctors generally consider people whose BMI is within the normal range to have a healthy BMI. Individuals below this range may have underweight, while those above this range may have overweight or obesity.

However, BMI may not be the most accurate indicator of whether a persons weight is healthful for several reasons.

This article explores what BMI is and looks at how to calculate it. It also considers the recommended BMI ranges, the potential limitations of using BMI as an indicator of health, and tips to maintain a moderate BMI.

A BMI calculator for men assesses a mans target weight range based on his height.

Doctors use the same calculator for all people over the age of 20 years. The calculation is the same regardless of age, sex, race, body composition, and other factors.

It is possible to calculate BMI by dividing a persons weight in kilograms (kg) by their height in meters squared (m2).

For example, a person who is 5 feet 6 inches (or 66 inches) tall has a metric height of 1.6764 m. If that person weighs 150 pounds, their metric weight will be 68.0389 kg. To calculate their BMI:

Many health advocates argue that BMI is not a good measure of whether a person has a moderate weight.

Some argue that even if a person has overweight or obesity, this does not necessarily reveal much about their health.

A handful of recent studies support this claim, so a person should not use BMI as the sole measure of their health.

Some shortcomings of BMI include:

The BMI ranges are as follows:

BMI does not take into account body composition, age, race, sex, athletic involvement, or other factors. It does not assess lifestyle, diet, or anything else that may help mitigate the potential health effects of having a high body weight.

A persons ideal BMI does not change with various health conditions. However, certain health issues may affect their ability to maintain a BMI within the recommended range.

For this reason, it is sometimes important to discuss weight changes, diet, and exercise with a doctor.

People should discuss their BMI with a doctor if:

Not everyone can maintain a BMI in the normal range, even with a healthful diet and plenty of exercise.

Elite athletes with high muscle mass, for example, may fall into the overweight range.

Similarly, being in the normal range does not necessarily mean that a person is healthy. People who eat unhealthful foods and never exercise may still have a moderate BMI.

For this reason, the best strategy is to focus on promoting general health.

For most people, this will make it easier to attain a BMI in the normal range. People looking to promote their health can try:

BMI is one way to assess a persons weight and predict how it might affect their health.

In the absence of other measures, however, it does not reveal much about a persons well-being.

A person who wants a better understanding of the possible effects of their weight on their overall health should discuss these concerns with a doctor or dietitian.

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These Guys Attempted to Eat and Train Like Calisthenics Athlete Chris Heria for 2 Weeks – menshealth.com

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Cam and Brandon Jones, otherwise known as YouTube's Goal Guys, aren't afraid of putting their self-professed "average" fitness to the test, taking on physical challenges that push their strength and endurance. In a recent video, they up the ante, taking on the diet plan and bodyweight workout routine of the highly shredded calisthenics athlete Chris Heria for two weeks, using information from his Heria Pro app.

They adopt a beginner level workout which includes calisthenic exercises such as the elevated pike press, wall walks, planche lean pushups, L-sit single leg raises, lateral raises, and dumbbell shoulder press. "This might just kill me," quips Cam.

A typical meal during this challenge consists of sweet potatoes, greens, and a source of protein. "Most of Chris's meals are low-carb, so I am feeling hungry constantly," says Brandon. "On the flip-side, I am loving the workouts."

In addition to following the workouts, they also start to follow Heria's morning routine, which involves starting each day with 100 pushups and 100 pullups. Brandon breaks the pushups down into four "manageable" sets of 25 reps each, and then does the pullups in 10 sets of 10.

Cam, meanwhile, is able to complete the pushups, but maxes out at 50 pullups, even when doing a band-assisted version of the exercise. "My arms feel so tired right now," he says. "My lats have never felt worse in my entire existence, so the idea of this being an activation workout... no." In fact, he is in so much pain after the first day that he only reaches 25 reps on the second day, and he sets himself the goal of being able to do 100 banded pullups by the end of the two weeks, although his back and lats continue to take a beating as the days wear on. "I am ready to be done," he says.

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"I thought this challenge was going to be tough going in, but it proved to be even harder than I expected," says Cam upon achieving his target, while Brandon states that his biggest struggle was sticking to the diet.

"Just eating well for a week isn't good enough," he says. "I need to eat those same meals the next week, and the week after, and so on."

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January 31st, 2021 at 8:52 am

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This 25-Minute Treadmill Workout Is Expert-Approved to Help You Lose Weight – POPSUGAR

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Treadmill Interval Workout For Weight Loss

Not to get super old-school on you, but we all know that fitness trends come and go. One thing that never goes out of style? Treadmill workouts. They're just too darn versatile cardio sessions that can help you work up a sweat, build endurance, and even lose weight, especially if you opt for intervals.

In fact, treadmill interval training has multiple weight loss benefits, said Heather Milton, MS, exercise physiologist supervisor at NYU Langone Health's Sports Performance Center. This style of training (also known as HIIT, or high-intensity interval training), has been scientifically proven to burn more fat than moderate-intensity, steady-state workouts, according to a 2019 review. HIIT workouts are also known for triggering something called the EPOC (excess postexercise oxygen consumption) effect, which means the workout is so intense, your body continues to burn a modest amount of calories even after it's over.

It's important to note that, while exercise like this workout is a key part of weight loss, your diet and other healthy habits are crucial too. You want to eat a balanced, nutritious diet (think: veggies, whole grains, healthy fats like avocados, and lean protein like chicken and fish) while also prioritizing sleep and staying in a modest calorie deficit. Milton also recommended balancing cardio workouts with strength training, which helps to build muscle and boost your metabolism.

Milton created this treadmill interval workout to be a "safe and effective" way to help with your weight loss goals. It's 25 minutes long and you'll be feeling every second of it, but the sweat is all worth it in the end! Hop on the treadmill, ramp up the speed, and get ready to burn some calories.

Directions: Start with a bodyweight warmup, then begin the treadmill interval workout listed below. After the workout, cool down with a full-body stretching session.

This workout is based on your rate of perceived exertion (RPE), aka how hard it feels like you're working. A zero means you're at rest, while a 10 is your greatest possible effort, going so hard you have to stop.

Love trying new workouts? Want a community to share your fitness goals with? Come join our Facebook group POPSUGAR Workout Club. There, you can find advice on making the best out of every sweat session and everything else you need to help you on your road to healthy living.

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This 25-Minute Treadmill Workout Is Expert-Approved to Help You Lose Weight - POPSUGAR

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January 31st, 2021 at 8:51 am

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The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 29 – Medical News Today

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The coronavirus pandemic dominated the headlines and our daily lives for most of the past year. Medical News Today have covered this fast-moving, complex story with live updates on the latest news, interviews with experts, and an ongoing investigation into the deep racial disparities that COVID-19 has helped unmask.

However, this hasnt stopped us from publishing hundreds of fascinating stories on a myriad of other topics.

This week saw the launch of MNTs latest evidence-backed information hub, all about womens health, and thats where we begin this edition of the Recovery Room. Its a comprehensive resource with dozens of articles covering every aspect of the topic, with fresh content added continually.

Next, a hugely popular article on exercise, which will be useful for beginners as well as people looking to take their weight loss and muscle gains to the next level. We also cover cerebral pursuits, thanks to our evidence-backed guide to exercising your brain.

Along the way, we look at research into the phenomenon of clairaudience, how to follow a nutritionally-complete vegan diet, and why frying food is particularly bad for the heart.

We also have exciting news of possible treatments for two neurodegenerative diseases that could treat millions of people. Scientists say further research and development are needed, but identifying a protein linked to Parkinsons disease looks promising.

We highlight this research below, along with other recent stories that you may have missed amid all the COVID-19 fervor.

This week saw the launch of MNTs latest collection of evidence-backed resources, this time focusing on womens health.

Youll find over 70 articles on topics as diverse as nutrition, exercise, mental health, menopause, cancer, hormones, and sexual health. They include eight features that unravel the myths and misconceptions around womens health, as well as our recommendations for products and programs.

Click below for science-backed information and advice to help you live your strongest, healthiest life.

Learn more here.

This weeks most popular new article is all about losing weight and gaining muscle through exercise. Starting with pointers on choosing a workout, we explore the evidence for how often we should work out to lose weight or gain muscle.

Personal fitness goals determine which workouts to follow, so this article includes a range of beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercises that target all the bodys major muscle groups.

This article has attracted over 137,000 sessions since Monday, making it this years most popular so far.

Learn more here.

Some people claim to hear the voices of the dead, an experience called clairaudience. This week, MNT reported new research into this type of religious and spiritual experience and how it relates to auditory hallucinations in people with mental health conditions.

The United Kingdom study involved more than 200 people with varying spiritual beliefs. The researchers asked them to complete a survey measuring how absorbed they become in music, movies, or their own thoughts, as well as questionnaires relating to hallucinations, paranormal beliefs, and identity.

What did the researchers find? And how do people who experience clairaudience differ from the general population? Click below to discover more.

Learn more here.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is known to play a vital role in learning, memory, and maintaining brain flexibility, or plasticity.

A low-level form of BDNF, called mature BDNF (mBDNF), is linked with depression, while a high level of its precursor, proBDNF, is associated with inflammation and nerve degeneration, and may even trigger depressive symptoms. Existing blood tests have been unable to differentiate levels of these two forms.

However, MNT reported this week on a new test that can distinguish between the two forms more accurately. Researchers have since found that people with depression or bipolar disorder have significantly lower levels of mBDNF in their blood than control group participants without these conditions.

Learn more here.

A recent Recovery Room featured an article on myths about vegetarian and vegan diets. This week, we followed up with advice on avoiding nutrient deficiencies that may occur when following a vegan diet.

The article looks at which nutrients and minerals, such as vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, are most likely to be lacking in these diets. It includes tips on how to boost levels of these nutrients through specific foods and supplements.

For a detailed explanation of the nutrients to target on a vegan diet, click below.

Learn more here.

Regardless of whether your diet is plant-based or includes meat and dairy, a new meta-analysis, reported in MNT this week, serves as a reminder of the danger of frying foods. Researchers analyzed 19 studies and found that people who ate the most fried foods had a 37% increased risk of heart failure.

Studies have already established correlations between consuming fried food and developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and hypertension, but this research marks the first definitive evidence of a link with heart failure.

The article also looks at why frying food is so harmful compared to other cooking methods.

Learn more here.

We could be one step closer to developing a new treatment for Parkinsons disease. Scientists have identified a protein that can slow or even halt the progression of the condition in mice.

The protein is a neurotrophic factor a type of molecule that supports the survival and development of nerve cells that may protect the dopamine-producing neurons that become damaged in Parkinsons disease. It may even restore their function.

The researchers are now seeking an industry partner to assist in the development of this discovery. They hope their findings will pave the way for new treatments for some of the estimated 1 million people in the United States with Parkinsons disease.

Learn more here.

We also reported on a discovery relating to another chronic neurological condition, multiple sclerosis (MS). Researchers have found that people with this condition have low levels of oleic acid in their fatty tissues, which may lead to autoimmune reactions and inflammation that causes damage to the central nervous system. Symptoms of MS include fatigue, vision loss, and muscle weakness.

This article explores the role of oleic acid in the behavior of regulatory T cells that may have links with the progression of MS and other autoimmune conditions. However, further research is now needed to determine whether a diet rich in oleic acid can help treat MS.

Learn more here.

According to estimates, up to 22% of people gained weight over the past year of lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19.

But how has the pandemic led to such widespread weight gain? This article looks at the possible causes, as well as recommending strategies for losing weight during lockdown. And while exercise and nutrition are important, its also a good idea to consider your mental health and well-being.

Learn more here.

This weeks Recovery Room features articles that focus on keeping the body in shape, but what about giving the brain a workout too?

Our editors have compiled a list of exercises that could boost brain function and protect against age-related deterioration. Theres a varied selection to choose from, including meditation, playing games, learning a language, dancing, and of course, sleeping.

We also delve into the evidence of each activitys benefits, with an abundance of links to related MNT articles offering more in-depth analysis. Plenty to keep your brain busy into the weekend and beyond.

Learn more here.

We hope this article offers a taste of the stories that we cover at MNT. Well be back with a new selection next week.

We publish hundreds of new stories and features every month. Here are some upcoming articles that may pique our readers interests:

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The Recovery Room: News beyond the pandemic January 29 - Medical News Today

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Brain exercises: 22 ways to improve memory, cognition, and creativity – Medical News Today

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The brain is the most complex organ of the body. It regulates multiple bodily functions, interprets incoming sensory information, and processes our emotions. It is also the seat of memory, intelligence, and creativity.

Although the brain gets plenty of exercise every day, certain activities may help boost brain function and connectivity. This in turn may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

The brain is always active, even during sleep. However, certain activities can engage the brain in new ways, potentially leading to improvements in memory, cognitive function, or creativity.

This article outlines 22 brain exercises that may help boost memory, cognition, and creativity.

Meditation generally involves focusing attention in a calm, controlled way. Meditating may have multiple benefits for both the brain and the body.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, research suggests that meditation may benefit the brain by slowing brain aging and increasing the brains ability to process information.

Visualization involves forming a mental image to represent information. The mental image may be in the form of pictures or animated scenes.

A 2018 review notes that visualization helps people organize information and make appropriate decisions.

People can practice visualization in their day-to-day lives. For example, before going shopping, people can visualize how they will get to and from the grocery store, and imagine what they will buy when they get there. The key is to imagine the scenes vividly and in as much detail as possible.

Playing card games or board games can be a fun way to socialize or pass the time. These activities may also be beneficial for the brain. A 2017 study found a link between playing games and a decreased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

Memory card games test a persons short-term memory and ability to remember patterns. They are a simple and fun way to engage the brain and activate areas related to pattern recognition and recall.

Crossword puzzles are a popular activity that may stimulate the brain. An older study from 2011 notes that crossword puzzles may delay the onset of memory decline in people with preclinical dementia.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle can be a good way to pass the time and may also benefit the brain. A 2018 study found that puzzles activate many cognitive functions, including:

The study concluded that doing jigsaw puzzles regularly and throughout life may protect against the effects of brain aging.

Number puzzles, such as sudoku, can be a fun way to challenge the brain. They may also improve cognitive function in some people.

A 2019 study of adults aged between 50 and 93 years found that those who practiced number puzzles more frequently tended to have better cognitive function.

A 2016 meta-analysis notes that chess and other cognitive leisure activities may lead to improvements in:

A 2015 study found that there is a connection between regular participation in checkers or other cognitively stimulating games and larger brain volume and improved markers of cognitive health in people at risk of Alzheimers disease.

A 2015 review notes that some types of video games such as action, puzzle, and strategy games may lead to improvements in the following:

Enjoying company of friends may be a mentally engaging leisure activity and may help preserve cognitive function. A 2019 study found that people with more frequent social contact were less likely to experience cognitive decline and dementia.

Some social activities that may help stimulate the brain include:

Learning new skills engages the brain in different ways and may help improve brain function.

A 2014 study of older adults found that learning a new and cognitively demanding skill, such as quilting or photography, enhanced memory function.

Increasing ones vocabulary range is a great way to broaden knowledge while exercising the brain.

A simple way to increase vocabulary is to read a book or watch a TV program and note down any words that are unfamiliar. A person can then use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word and think up ways to use the word in a sentence.

Bilingualism refers to the ability to speak two languages.

A 2019 review notes that bilingualism increases and strengthens connectivity between different areas of the brain. The researchers propose that this enhanced connectivity may play a role in delaying the onset of Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.

A 2018 study published in Brain Sciences found that listening to music a person enjoys engages and connects different parts of the brain.

The researchers propose that this may lead to improvements in cognitive function and overall well-being.

Learning an instrument exercises parts of the brain that are responsible for coordination.

According to a 2014 study, playing an instrument may benefit cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.

Taking up a new hobby can be mentally stimulating and exercise the brain in new ways.

Hobbies that require coordination or dexterity will activate a persons motor skills. Such hobbies may include:

Regular physical exercise is beneficial for both the brain and the body. Authors of a 2019 review note that exercise improves the following aspects of brain health:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exercise has beneficial effects on the following aspects of cognitive health:

Dance is a form of exercise that may also engage areas of the brain involved in rhythm and balance.

Certain sports are both physically and mentally demanding. Some require a range of cognitive skills, such as:

A 2019 review notes that elite athletes who participate in high demand sports tend to have improved attention and faster information processing speeds.

Tai chi is a form of physical exercise that involves gentle body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation.

A 2019 study compared brain function and connectivity among tai chi practitioners and those who did not practice it.

The researchers found that the tai chi practitioners had enhanced connectivity between different regions of their brain. They proposed that this may improve cognition and decrease the rate of memory loss.

While not necessarily an active exercise, sleep is crucial for both the brain and the body.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, although many people get less sleep than they need.

A 2015 review notes that sleep has been proven to:

As such, making sure to get enough sleep each night is an important step toward maintaining a healthy brain.

Brain exercises can be as simple as actively engaging the brain in everyday tasks. Others are targeted workouts for the brain, specifically designed to enhance memory, cognition, or creativity.

Exercising the brain may help improve brain function and boost connectivity between the different areas. This may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

People are likely to differ in terms of the brain exercises they find most enjoyable. It may be a good idea to try a range of brain-training activities at first and to stick with those that provide the most enjoyment or reward.

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Brain exercises: 22 ways to improve memory, cognition, and creativity - Medical News Today

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Then theres the fact that naturally fiber-rich foods, like whole grains, are packed with additional helpful nutrients. Most whole grains contain B vitamins and minerals such as selenium and magnesium, says Dr. Feresin, which can help your body regulate blood pressure, ward off damage to the cells, and more.

If youre looking for ways to add fiber, Dr. Feresin recommends choosing whole wheat pasta or brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta, brown rice rather than white rice, whole wheat bread instead of white bread, whole wheat cereal, and whole oats. Try the pseudo whole grains amaranth, chia seeds, and quinoa. Add quinoa to your salad or chia seeds to your yogurt or overnight oats, she recommends. High-fiber fruits and vegetables include raspberries, pears, apples (with the skin), bananas, green peas, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Sodium is an essential mineral that helps control your bodys fluid balance. It honestly helps a lot of food taste really great, too. However, most of us consistently take in more sodium than we needand its that chronic overconsumption that can become an issue for your heart. That can mean more fluid in your blood vessels, potentially leading to an increase in blood pressure that can make your heart have to work harder to pump blood throughout your body, says Dr. Feresin.

To reduce blood pressure, the AHA recommends eating no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Canned foods, preserved foods, and restaurant meals can be particularly high in sodium, Dr. Hong says. So can processed meats like hot dogs, salami, sausage, and ham. While delicious, the combo of sodium and saturated fat in these meats, especially if eaten frequently over time, makes them pretty unsavory for heart health, says Dr. Hong. In fact, the top source of sodium and saturated fat in the American diet is sandwiches. Which doesnt necessarily mean you need to swear off sandwiches foreverbut its good to know if youre specifically trying to eat in a way that supports optimum heart health.

Just as important as reducing sodium intake is upping your potassium intake, a mineral that counterbalances sodium in regulating your fluid balance, says Dr. Feresin. The average American consumes far less than the recommended amount of 4,700 mg per day.

Find potassium in apricots, prunes, oranges, squash, spinach, tomato, asparagus, beans, lentils, milk, yogurt, chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, and more, Dr. Feresin says. And to add flavor to dishes without sprinkling on extra salt, try adding seasonings, like herbs, hot spices, garlic, or saffron.

Fruits and vegetables are filled with fiber, and they are delivery vessels for lots of powerful micronutrients, including compounds called polyphenols. These bioactive compounds not only contribute to taste, color, and flavor of plant foods, but they also have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive properties, says Dr. Feresin. They help keep cholesterol from forming plaques, prevent blood cells from sticking together, improve artery dilation, decrease arterial stiffness, decrease blood pressure, and more, she says.

No one polyphenol can be considered the best, and theres no one particular piece of produce you should pick up every single day. Variety is the key.

One of the things that we believe is that those polyphenols are acting additively and synergistically, so its not just one; its actually more than one that is exerting the effect in the body, says Dr. Feresin. Thats one of the reasons why we advocate the increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, because you're not only going to be getting a single polyphenol. Youre going to be getting hundreds of polyphenols, and getting all the other nutrients as well.

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