Monthly Archives: April 2014

Strengthen your Brain to Improve your Health

By | Exercise, Nutrition | No Comments

Brain ImageBrain health is an often overlooked aspect of fitness but has a major impact on the overall well-being of the body. Many times brain health is only addressed once there are known issues. Fortunately, many of the healthy steps we recommend for the well-being of the body will also support healthy brain function.

The following tips will support brain health while improving overall wellness.

Never stop learning. Keep your brain sharp by challenging it on a daily basis. Simple things like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, or trying a new activity that makes you think on your feet like a dance class, or simply reading a book on an unfamiliar topic are all great for keeping the brain active. These types of activities should make you think, learn, and use the brain while embracing the new challenges.

Exercise. We all know that consistent exercise is recommended to keep your body going strong, but these benefits will support brain health as well. High-intensity cardio and strength training will help produce a beneficial form of nitric oxide that promotes brain function and vascular health while reducing inflammation. Short bouts of extra high-intensity exercise have the greatest impact on these nitric oxide levels, so think interval style training rather than steady state.

Improve your sleep quality. Of course we’d all like to get more sleep, but if you haven’t been getting seven to eight hours a night, start focusing on the quality of your sleep. Maintaining a consistent blood sugar throughout the night will help you sleep straight through or for longer periods before waking unintentionally. You can help maintain nightly blood sugar levels by avoiding high carbohydrate foods later in the day or before bedtime. Consuming fibrous carbs instead and getting a quality fat and protein source will help keep levels steadier throughout the night.

Eat clean and nourish. Systemic inflammation from poor dietary choices and food intolerances can deplete brain health as well. The brain communicates directly with the digestive system through the vagus nerve. Poor brain function can impair this communication and lead to digestive issues which will in turn lead to continued brain impairment from lack of nutrient absorption. By limiting sugary foods and controlling insulin levels, you are improving your brain’s communication with the rest of the body.

Support brain oxygenation. If the brain is not getting an ample supply of oxygen, it may be struggling and performing poorly. Stress can cause shallow breathing and overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system and suppress the parasympathetic nervous system. This means that the “fight or flight” response is turned up and the “rest and digest” response is turned down. Learning how to calm the body with stress reduction and breathing techniques can go a long way in resetting this balance.

These are just a handful of simple things you can do to help improve the health of one of the most complex organs in the body.

Making Your Healthy Lifestyle Personal

By | Exercise | No Comments

Trainers CasualCongratulations! You’ve finally joined the gym! You’re handed a list of classes with odd names, take one look at the complicated equipment and the hard bodies walking by and wonder why you’ve invested a nice chunk of change in something so intimidating.

It’s not you. It’s the facility. Which is why Push Fitness is worth a long, lean look.

Push Fitness is a private personal training studio that focuses on getting results for clients no matter what shape they’re in. Specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutritional counseling, Push’s programs are customized to fit your specific needs and goals. “Push has always been about keeping personal training “personal” and working with clients on an individual basis to ensure that lifestyle choices are continually improving and goals are being met,” explained Joshua Steckler, President and owner of Push Fitness.

Established in 2008, Push works with and for everyone from first-time exercisers to performance athletes and the many in between. And success is really what sets the Schaumburg business apart from other fitness facilities. “Our programs are based on the specific results the client is looking to achieve and are broken down into three, six and nine months at either two or three times per week,” Steckler said. “Our job is to educate, motivate, and hold them accountable with the exercise we prescribe as well as the nutritional program they are set up on.” The nutrition program, “Push Start your Metabolism,” can even encompass trips to the grocery store, special recipes and nutritional seminars led by local professionals.

Think you can down a bag of Doritos and do a couple more minutes on the elliptical to even it all out? That would be a negative according to the fitness expert. “Our nutrition program is based on eating real foods but customized to the individual based on their metabolic needs. Without a nutritional overhaul, many of our clients would be spinning their wheels in the gym only to end up doing more harm than good to their bodies.”

The seed of the Daily Herald’s Fittest Loser Challenge was actually planted by Steckler and his team. “Our vision was to showcase the extraordinary results we were getting with our clients in a way that could bring awareness to the community,” he said. “It has grown into an incredible program that really shows what can be done when someone is surrounded by the right people.” Steckler says his trainers are the best in the biz: well-educated, experienced, energetic and with tons of passion for helping people lead healthier lifestyles. The fitness business reaches out to the community with health-centered events such as a 5K in the fall to raise awareness about childhood obesity.

“We are all very excited to be a part of this program that allows readers to experience the drastic changes that someone can go through if they are willing to put in the time,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling to be doing what you love while helping people improve their quality of life.”


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