10-Minute Workout at Home: Quick, Effective, and No Equipment Needed!

Portrait of a confident asian fitness woman doing squats

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for a full-blown gym session can be challenging. But what if we told you that you could get a solid workout in just 10 minutes, right in the comfort of your home? Yes, it’s possible! Here’s a listicle of a 10-minute workout that requires no equipment. Plus, we’ve added tips on how to make each move harder for those who want an extra challenge.

  1. Jumping Jacks
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 30 seconds
    • How to Make it Harder: Increase speed or wear ankle weights.
    • Instructions: Stand with feet together and hands at your sides. Jump while spreading your legs and raising your arms overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat.
  2. Push-Ups
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 15
    • How to Make it Harder: Elevate your feet or try one-handed push-ups.
    • Instructions: Start in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position.
  3. High Knees
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 30 seconds
    • How to Make it Harder: Increase speed or hold a light dumbbell in each hand.
    • Instructions: Stand tall and run in place, bringing your knees up as high as possible.
  4. Plank
    • Sets: 1
    • Duration: 30 seconds
    • How to Make it Harder: Try a side plank or lift one leg off the ground.
    • Instructions: Begin in a push-up position but with your weight on your forearms instead of your hands. Keep your body straight and hold.
  5. Squats
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 15
    • How to Make it Harder: Jump at the top of each squat or hold a heavy object in front of you.
    • Instructions: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as if sitting in a chair. Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
  6. Mountain Climbers
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 30 seconds
    • How to Make it Harder: Increase speed or cross your knees to the opposite elbow.
    • Instructions: Start in a plank position. Bring one knee towards your chest and then quickly switch to the other knee.
  7. Tricep Dips
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 15
    • How to Make it Harder: Elevate your feet or place a weight on your lap.
    • Instructions: Sit on the edge of a chair or couch. Place your hands next to your hips and move your body forward. Lower yourself by bending your elbows and then push back up.
  8. Lunges
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 15 per leg
    • How to Make it Harder: Jump to switch legs or hold weights in each hand.
    • Instructions: Stand tall. Step forward with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back to the starting position and switch legs.
  9. Bicycle Crunches
    • Sets: 1
    • Reps: 30 seconds
    • How to Make it Harder: Slow down the motion or extend your legs fully.
    • Instructions: Lie on your back with hands behind your head. Bring one knee towards your chest while twisting your upper body to meet the knee with the opposite elbow.
  10. Burpees
  • Sets: 1
  • Reps: 10
  • How to Make it Harder: Add a push-up or a tuck jump at the end.
  • Instructions: Start standing. Drop into a squat position, place your hands on the ground, kick your feet back into a plank. Jump your feet back towards your hands and explode up into a jump.

Remember, consistency is key! Even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, regular exercise can make a significant difference in your health and fitness levels. Always consult with a fitness professional or physician before starting any new exercise regimen. Happy sweating!

Why Is It Hard To Lose Weight ? 5 Medical Conditions That Make It Harder to Lose Weight

Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that it’s not easy.  You have tried everything but nothing seems to work. Of you must wonder why is it hard to lose weight? It’s easy to blame it on overeating and under-exercising but did you know if you have certain medical conditions, you may have an even tougher time than the average person? Weight loss may be a struggle for you if you have these conditions. Here are five health issues that make it harder to lose weight. If you have any of them, you’ll want to work closely with your doctor to stay healthy and achieve a healthy body weight.


Hypothyroidism is another name for an underactive thyroid gland. Since your thyroid gland sets your resting metabolic rate, how fast you burn energy at rest, it’s not surprising that an underactive thyroid makes it harder to lose weight. The thyroid, a small gland at the front of the neck, produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolic rate.

When the thyroid is underactive, it makes less thyroid hormone, which slows down your metabolic rate. Your body burns calories at a slower rate, so you gain weight more easily. Doctors treat hypothyroidism with supplemental thyroid hormone. Talk to your physician. They may be able to adjust your thyroid replacement to help you better control your weight.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes makes your body less sensitive to insulin. In response, your pancreas sends more insulin into your bloodstream. Since insulin makes it easier for your body to store fat, it facilitates weight when you have a higher insulin level. Plus, your body stores more fat in places like your abdominal cavity and liver. This type of visceral fat increases inflammation, making it even harder to lose weight. To break the cycle, eliminate sugar and ultra-processed foods and exercise, preferably vigorously, at least 30 minutes daily. Try to move more throughout the day. How is your sleep? Make sure you’re sleeping soundly at night, sleeping enough, and managing stress. Doing these things will improve insulin sensitivity and make it easier to shed those extra pounds.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common health condition that affects women of childbearing age. Women with this disorder that causes cysts to form on the ovaries often have hair growth in places where it normally wouldn’t, like the face, chest, back, and stomach. Plus, PCOS often leads to weight gain and a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar. PCOS also makes it harder to lose weight because it’s linked with insulin resistance. When you’re insulin resistant, your body can’t use insulin properly, so your blood sugar levels stay higher than normal, and as a result, you have more difficulty losing weight.


Eating less and exercising more are good places to start if you’re trying to slim down. But if you have PCOS, you have to address other factors like insulin resistance. Over time, insulin resistance leads to an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. To lose weight, you need to reduce the degree of insulin resistance you have. One way to do that is through exercise, although doctors sometimes also prescribe medications that help improve insulin sensitivity, like metformin to help with weight control.


Almost one in five people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives and the incidence increases with age. Major depressive disorder is not something that can be easily overcome, and the effects of depression can be devastating and life-altering. In addition to the emotional pain, people who suffer from depression often experience a loss of energy and lack interest in normal daily activities. These symptoms can make it difficult to lose weight and to get the motivation to exercise, making it easy to pack on the pounds. Improving sadness and depression helps with weight loss, however, doctors also use anti-depressants and some anti-depressants make it harder to lose weight.


Having trouble losing weight? You might be surprised to learn that some medications prescribed for other health conditions can actually have the opposite effect: they can make it harder to lose weight or even cause weight gain. That’s because some medicines can have an effect on our metabolism–the process by which our body converts food into energy. Other medications increase appetite.

If you’re concerned about how your medications might be impacting your weight, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help you find a different medication or adjust your dosage to prevent this side effect. A number of medications used to treat health conditions cause weight gain. The list of medications that contribute to weight gain is long. It includes medications used to treat seizures, mental health conditions, corticosteroids, and some diabetic medications. If you’re taking medications, talk to your physician about whether they could make it harder to lose weight.

The Bottom Line

These are the most common medical conditions that make it harder to lose weight. If you have any of these health problems, talk to your doctor about your treatments. They may be able to make adjustments to your medications that will help you shed those extra pounds.


“Medical Causes of Obesity – WebMD.” .webmd.com/diet/obesity/medical-reasons-obesity.

“Depression, Anxiety Linked to Weight Gain.” 06 Oct. 2009, .webmd.com/depression/news/20091006/depression_anxiety_linked_weight_gain.

“Can Prescription Drugs Cause Weight Gain? – Drugs.com.” 08 Feb. 2020, .drugs.com/article/weight-gain.html.

“PCOS And Weight Gain: Understand The Connection.” 07 Sept. 2017, .sepalika.com/pcos/pcos-and-weight-gain-connection/.

“Polycystic ovary syndrome and weight management.” pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20187731/.


5 No-Jump Cardio Workouts You Can Do at Home

Cardio is a popular form of exercise and for good reason. It’s one of the best ways to get in shape, burn stubborn fat, and improve cardiovascular health. However, jumping around like a rabbit isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. Plus, if you have health issues, like arthritis or osteoporosis, you might be looking for alternatives for boosting your heart rate without stressing your bones and joints. Jumping is only one way of getting your heart rate up and your legs pumping. Here are five ways to get a cardio workout without jumping and without impact on your joints.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a term for exercises performed back-to-back with no rest periods. It’s a conditioning workout because it boost your heart rate and forces your heart and lungs to work harder and can build strength and muscle endurance at the same time. Plus, you can vary the exercises you do for greater variety.

Circuit-style training is a great way to get an intense workout in a short amount of time. To get cardiovascular benefits, the key is to not rest between exercises to keep your heart rate up. You can do circuit training with free weights, resistance bands, bodyweight exercises or any combination of these.

Here’s how it works: For each exercise, perform a specific number of repetitions. Focus on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups to raise your heart rate more. Examples are deadlifts, squats, lunges, bench press, push-ups, pull-ups, and bent-over rows.

The beauty of this approach is you can build strength while you boost your heart rate enough to get a cardiovascular workout while doing a variety of exercises and movements that don’t require jumping.

Walking and Hiking

Walking is another type of workout where one foot is on the ground at all times, and you don’t have to jump. Depending on your pace and the terrain you walk on, you can get an effective cardiovascular workout through walking alone. You can either increase the pace to raise your heart rate into the aerobic training zone or do interval walking where you walk at a moderate pace for 30 seconds and then walk as briskly as possible for 30 seconds and alternate back and forth.

Adding an incline will greatly improve the cardiovascular benefits you get. You can do this by tackling hills during your walks or take a hike instead. With hiking the terrain is always changing and that forces your cardiovascular system to work harder. Plus, hiking is a good workout for improving balance.

Walking has other perks too that extend beyond cardiovascular fitness. For example, it’s a good way to reduce stress and improve focus. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, walking may help to lift your mood.

Kettlebell Swings

What are kettlebells and why would you swing one? Kettlebells are weights that are shaped a bit like a cannonball with a handle. The handle makes it easy to grip and do various exercises that build strength and increase the heart rate. Kettlebells are often used to gain strength, lose fat, and build power in the upper and lower body.

You can do a variety of exercises using a kettlebell, but the kettlebell swing is the most effective for improving cardiovascular fitness without jumping. Swinging a kettlebell is a ballistic exercise that trains the muscles in the legs, hips, and back to produce power more explosively. It also improves hip mobility, which makes it easier to do other strength-training exercises, like squats.

When you do the exercise correctly, swings will strengthen your core, hip flexors, glutes, and posterior chain without placing impact on your joints. Along with boosting your heart rate for cardiovascular benefits, kettlebell swings are an effective fat-burning exercise since the dynamic nature of a swing burns calories.

Step Workouts

Step workouts are still one of the best ways to boost your heart rate without jumping. All you need is a platform to step on and off of. Along with boosting your heart rate, a step workout will target your glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and core. And the best part is that you can do step workouts at home without a gym.

There are a variety of movements you can do using a step or platform and some online videos offer choregraphed routines you can do at home using a step platform. If you have little space or equipment, a step workout could be the solution you’re looking for to improve your cardiovascular fitness and build strength in your lower body and core.

Cardiovascular Exercise Machines

If you don’t mind investing in a piece of equipment, there are home workout machines that will help you get a low-impact cardiovascular workout. Some of the most popular are rowing machines, elliptical machines, and recumbent bike. You can also do a low-impact, jump-free workout on a treadmill by walking and increasing the challenge by changing the incline. Although you don’t need a workout machine to get a jump-free cardio workout, some people like having this additional option. If you buy used, you can get workout machines at a reasonable price, and the payoff will be better health and fitness!

The Bottom Line

As you can see, you can get an effective cardio workout that’s jump free, and you don’t need special equipment unless you decide to invest in a machine. For balanced fitness, why not alternate the type of jump-free cardio workouts you do? Do a circuit workout one day and take a brisk walk, that includes a hill, the next. With the jump-free cardio alternatives above, you can improve your cardiovascular fitness and build strength.
Beckham, S. G., & Earnest, C. P. (2000). Metabolic cost of free weight circuit weight training. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 40(2), 118-125. Retrieved 3 29, 2021, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11034431
Farrar, R. E., Mayhew, J. L., & Koch, A. J. (2010). Oxygen cost of kettlebell swings. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(4), 1034-1036. Retrieved 3 29, 2021, from https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20300022
Mitchell, J., Johnson, W., Riemann, B. L., Krajewski, K., & Coates, C. W. (2015). Biomechanical Loading of the American Kettlebell Swing. Retrieved 3 29, 2021, from https://asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/imece/proceedings/imece2015/57380/v003t03a089/264367.

What is the Healthiest Salt to Eat?

Are you confused about which salt to use when cooking and seasoning foods? There are so many options these days! At one time, table salt was the only choice you had for adding flavor and sodium to your recipes, but times have changed. Today, you can choose from an array of more exotic options, including sea salt, Himalayan salt, Celtic salt, and Kosher salt. They differ in terms of texture and flavor but what about health? If you have high blood pressure then you might want to know what is the healthiest salt to eat?

What you eat can impact your blood pressure. If you want to reduce your blood pressure, then you should monitor your food intake for its salt content. In fact, controlling your salt intake is your first line defense when trying to keep your blood pressure within normal range.

Salt is a combination of 40% Sodium and 60%Chloride (NACL).

Salt is found in most processed food especially breads, sauces, and condiments.  Check  out the ingredients and salt might be listed but only if it was added.  However, the “Nutrition Facts” on food packing will always include sodium. This is because even when there no salt is added, there can be some trace sodium that naturally occurs in the product.

Your Low Salt Diet Plan For High Blood Pressure

The Pros and Cons of Table Salt vs. Sea Salt

One reason sea salt is popular is because people believe it’s healthier than table salt. Sea salt comes from the ocean and that gives it a certain mystique. In contrast, table salt comes from underground mines and undergoes refinement. Manufacturers produce sea salt by allowing ocean water to evaporate enough to produce the characteristic crystals. So, sea salt is less processed than table salt and has a higher concentration of minerals, including zinc, potassium, and iron. However, the quantities of these minerals isn’t large and are tiny when you consider the amount you get from eating whole, nutrient-dense foods.

There is a downside to sea salt that many people aren’t aware of. Oceans where sea salt comes from are often polluted, so sea salt can pick up some pollutants from the water, including heavy metals and microplastics. Microplastics in sea salt is a growing problem, but it’s not clear how much of an effect these microscopic plastics have on health. One analysis of 39 brands of sea salt found 36 contained microplastics.

Why is sea salt so popular? Some people like the coarser texture of sea salt and you may consume less sodium when you use it since the particles are larger and you don’t need to use as much. However, sea salt isn’t necessarily better for you.

Celtic Sea Salt

Celtic salt is a type of sea salt that comes from the shoreline of Brittany. It is moister than the average sea salt and has a slightly gray color because of its mineral content. Some sources claim that Celtic sea salt lowers blood pressure but there are no studies to support this.

As with other sea salt, the quantity of minerals in Celtic salt isn’t large, and it’s unlikely that it contains enough potassium and magnesium, minerals that help with blood pressure control, to have a dramatic effect on blood pressure. However, it contains more calcium and magnesium than standard sea salt and is slightly lower in sodium than table salt.

Himalayan Salt

Himalayan salt comes from mines south of the Himalayans in Pakistan. It has a slight pink color because it contains small quantities of oxidized iron. One reason people like it is because the pink color makes some dishes look more attractive. Beyond the visual appeal, Himalayan salt contains modest quantities of other minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Like sea salt, it also is a bit lower in sodium relative to table salt, and higher in potassium, a mineral important for heart and blood vessel health. However, the best source of potassium is fruits and vegetables, not salt.

Kosher Salt

Kosher salt, like other forms of salt, contains sodium and chloride but may also contain small quantities of anti-clumping agents. One appeal is that the larger crystal size draws water from meat and the larger crystals are easier to control when seasoning foods by hand. Many people prefer the taste of Kosher salt to table salt since it lacks iodine, and iodine has a slightly bitter taste. The primary reason people choose kosher salt over other forms of salt is not for health reasons but because it’s easier to work with and has a better taste.

Table Salt Contains Iodine

One advantage of table salt over more exotic forms of salt, like sea salt, is table salt is fortified with iodine, a mineral most people don’t get enough of in their diet. Iodine is especially important for babies and children, since a lack of it can affect brain development and lead to mental retardation. In fact, the government began adding iodine to table salt to prevent this outcome. Plus, low iodine can cause an underactive thyroid in adults.

If you consume only exotic forms of salt without getting table salt, your risk of iodine deficiency is higher. Sea salt contains small quantities of iodine naturally, but not as much as table salt. Himalayans and Kosher salt contain little or no iodine. If you use these salts, consider adding other sources of iodine to your diet. Good iodine sources include fish, shellfish, seaweed, and dairy products.

You might think processed and packaged foods, being high in salt, are a good source of iodine. However, these products usually don’t contain iodized salts. So, even if you eat high-salt packaged foods, you still may fall short in iodine. If a packaged product is seasoned with iodized salt, it should say so on the label.

The Bottom Line

What’s the healthiest salt to eat? It depends on your diet as a whole. The common misperception that sea salt and other less processed salts are healthier than table salt, tempts people to pay more for more exotic options. Table salt alternatives contain slightly more minerals and slightly less sodium, but the differences are small. You’ll get much larger quantities of essential minerals by eating a nutrient-dense diet. The biggest benefit of table salt over less processed salts is the fact it contains iodine. People who don’t get iodine from iodized salt are at risk of iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction. If you choose a table salt alternative, make sure you’re getting enough iodine from other sources and still measure your intake of sodium.


• National Institutes of Health. “Iodine”
• HealthLine.com. “Types of Salt: Himalayan vs Kosher vs Regular vs Sea Salt”
• NationalGeographic.com. “Microplastics found in 90 percent of table salt”
• Clar C, Wu T, Liu G, Li P. Iodized salt for iodine deficiency disorders. A systematic review. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2002 Sep;31(3):681-98. doi: 10.1016/s0889-8529(02)00011-7. PMID: 12227127.
• Jessica Farebrother, Celeste E Naude, Liesl Nicol, Zhongna Sang, Zhenyu Yang, Pieter L Jooste, Maria Andersson, Michael B Zimmermann, Effects of Iodized Salt and Iodine Supplements on Prenatal and Postnatal Growth: A Systematic Review, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 9, Issue 3, May 2018, Pages 219-237, https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmy009.

5 Types of Low-Impact Exercise That Are Safe for Your Joints

Do you have arthritis that causes your joints to ache? If you are suffering from joint pain due to arthritis, it is still important to move your body. In fact, regular exercise helps lubricate your joints and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the joint tissue to enhance joint health.

Why is movement so important for joint health? If you don’t move your body regularly, you’ll lose muscle tissue, and your joints and muscles will stiffen up and become sorer. Over time, lack of movement can lead to diminished functionality and the ability to do the things you enjoy.

Strong muscles support your joints, so keeping the joint strong is essential for managing arthritis symptoms and improving your long-term health. Plus, staying physically active will improve other facets of your health, including cardiovascular fitness and help with weight control.

What type of exercise is best if you have achy joints? It’s safest to get the okay from your physician, who knows your medical history, before starting an exercise program, but here are five exercises that most healthcare providers agree are safe for your joints.


Walking is an exercise that’s accessible to most people, and you can do it outdoors. Studies show that exercising in nature has benefits you won’t get from exercising in a gym or other indoor environment. For example, nature has a calming effect on the nervous system. Unlike running, where both feet leave the ground at the same time, walking is a low-impact exercise and the motion of swinging your legs increases joint lubrication and reduces stiffness.

If you have achy joints, use pain as your guide and don’t walk at a pace that’s uncomfortable for you. It’s safest to walk on level ground and avoid hills if you have arthritis. Make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. Invest in a pair of exercise shoes made for walking that have good support and enough padding to reduce impact on your feet and legs when your feet strike the ground. Start slowly with a 10-minute walk and gradually build up time or distance. If your joints hurt, cut back on the distance and give yourself more recovery time between walks.

Water Exercise

The Arthritis Foundation recommends water aerobics for arthritis sufferers and those with arthritis. Why? The buoyancy of the water takes the stress off your joints and makes it possible to get an effective workout safely. If you prefer, swimming laps is another way to get a safe workout for your joints. If you do it without stopping, you’ll also get cardiovascular benefits. So if you have access to a heated, indoor pool, take advantage of it. The warmer water is soothing to the joints.

Stretching Exercises

Arthritic joints benefit from gentle stretching to lengthen the muscles and reduce stiffness. With a regular stretching program, you’ll gain greater joint flexibility. That matters! When you’re more flexible, you’re better able to carry out your daily activities. Therefore, flexibility increases functionality and mobility. Another option is to join in a yoga class. According to the Arthritis Foundation, regular yoga practice can improve joint flexibility, functionality, and reduce joint pain and stiffness.

Strength Training

Everyone, including people with arthritis, needs strength training to reduce age-related muscle loss. But strength training has special benefits for those with arthritis. Strong muscles provide more support for the joint and better absorb shock. Studies show that strong quadriceps, the muscles in the front of the thigh, can improve the symptoms of knee arthritis and even slow loss of cartilage. Strong quadriceps also help stabilize the knee joint.

When training with weights, use lighter weights and higher repetitions since they’re safer for arthritic joint. To get benefits, make sure you’re fatiguing the muscles you’re working.

Aerobics Machine

Even if you can’t do high-impact exercise, there are still low-impact ways to get a cardio workout. A stationary or recumbent bike is an effective way to get a cardiovascular workout without impacting on your joints. Increase the challenge by doing interval cycling workouts. Cycle at a leisurely rate for 30 seconds and then go all out for 30 seconds. Keep alternating back and forth. An elliptical machine is another alternative that’s easy on the joints. If you keep the platform level without adding an incline, walking on a treadmill is a safe way to boost your heart rate for cardiovascular benefits.

Bottom Line

Before starting an exercise program with arthritis, check with your physician first, but here are the best options if you have arthritis. Prior to doing any form of exercise, do a 10-minute dynamic warm-up to increase your core body temperature and ensure that your muscles are ready to work. Do a slow cooldown at the end and gentle stretching.

Arthritis Foundation. “Yoga Benefits for Arthritis”

MedPageToday.com. “Stronger Quads May Benefit Arthritic Knees”

Amin S, et al “Quadriceps strength and the risk of cartilage loss and symptom progression in knee osteoarthritis” Arthritis & Rheum 2009; 60(1): 189-198.


Why Exercise Doesn’t Always Lead to Weight Loss and Why Nutrition Matters More

You may have heard that exercise alone will help you slim down and will give you a leg up on reaching your ideal body weight. Yet this is only a half-truth perpetuated by people who want to sell you an exercise program or gym membership. Never underestimate the phenomenal health benefits of exercise, but don’t count on it alone to get you to your goal weight. Still, you need exercise for health reasons – to enhance cardiovascular health and to build muscle strength and preserve muscle mass as you age and for weight loss maintenance once you lose the weight.

Plus, research shows staying physically active lowers the risk of a number of health problems that shorten lifespan, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer and that’s something to celebrate. In fact, some experts believe exercise is the best medicine that pharmaceutical companies can’t patent.  So don’t trade in your exercise shoes.

Despite the incredible health benefits of exercise, focusing on your what you eat is the best bet for fat loss. The best approach is not dieting, a bad word and bad concept, but upgrading the quality of what you eat and eating more mindfully. Diets are about deprivation and abstaining from the foods you enjoy, and that’s not sustainable, even if you’re trying to slim down. Diets don’t work for long-term weight control, and they only bring on frustration and enhance cravings.

Forget the entire concept of dieting and concentrate on upgrade the quality of what you eat. Remove ultra-processed fare from your fridge and cabinets and taper back the among of sugar in your diet. Sugar is empty calories with no nutrition, and it has a negative effect on your metabolic health. What you eat should make you feel healthy, vital, and energetic, not frustrated and deprived.

You Still Need Exercise Though

Why does exercise alone not lead to significant weight loss for most people? Research shows people compensate for the calories they burn through exercise by eating more. They’re guilty of overestimating how many calories they burn during an exercise session and eat based on these misconceptions. You might think you can justify eating something rich and sweet because you sweated so much, but the calorie burn was less than you thought. In fact, studies show people overestimate the calorie they burned during a workout by around 30%. A 45 minutes sweat session isn’t enough to justify that rich dessert!

If you try to overexercise to lose weight, your body may respond by scaling back your resting metabolic rate. It does this because it senses you’re burning so much energy that it needs to conserve what you have, especially if you restrict calories too.  When you expend too much energy, your body also has subtle ways of slowing you down. You might unconsciously move less without being aware of it. To make matters worse, you might get an appetite boost because your body senses low fuel stores and wants you to eat. Of course, this happens at a level beyond your conscious awareness.

The Bottom Line

Keep exercising! Your body needs it but be mindful of what you’re eating. It matters the most for weight control. It’s not just calories either. The composition of what you eat affects hormones like insulin that affect how much fat you store and where. For example, a high insulin level increases fat storage around the waistline and abdomen. When you eat ultra-processed carbohydrates and sugar, that raises insulin, and you end up with fat around the midline. When choosing what to eat, remember that a brownie affects your insulin level differently than a plate of greens, even if they’re equal in calories.

But there’s more good news about exercise. Not only does working out improve cardiovascular health and build muscle strength, it’s the best lifestyle factor for maintaining the weight you lose. Studies of people who lose at least 10% of their body weight show that exercise is the most important factor for maintaining the weight loss. That matters since 80% of people who lose significant weight gain it all back and sometimes more. So, nutrition reigns supreme for weight control, but you still need exercise.


Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Jan-Feb; 56(4): 441-447.Published online 2013 Oct 11. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2013.09.012.

Villareal DT, Chode S, Parimi N et al. Weight loss, exercise, or both and physical function in obese older adults. N Engl J Med. 2011;364(13):1218-1229. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1008234.

WebMD.com. “Diet vs. Exercise: The Truth About Weight Loss”

What Does It Mean if Your Heart Rate Stays High after a Workout?

When you exercise, your body pumps more oxygen to your muscles. To accomplish this, your heart rate must increase the resistance to blood flow in your vessels must drop. A normal heartbeat at rest is between 60 and 100 times per minute; however, during an intense workout, the rate can more than double.

After completing working out, your heart rate gradually drops. This is because your heart and muscles no longer need to work as hard as oxygen demands slowly drop. What you might not realize is a heart rate that slows faster after a workout may be a measurable marker of heart health.

What if Your Heart Rate Recovery is Slow?

Now that you know why your heart speeds up, how does it do so? It gets help from key hormones, particularly two called epinephrine or norepinephrine, the so-called “fight or flight” hormones. When levels of these key hormones rise, your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, and blood flow to your muscles surge.

How quickly your heart muscle recovers to a more “relaxed” state after a workout is a marker of cardiovascular health. If you have good cardiovascular fitness, your heart rate will drop faster once your workout ends than someone with poor cardiovascular fitness or an unhealthy heart.

If your heart recovers slowly after a workout, you have a slow recovery heart rate. Why does this matter? Studies show a slow recovery heart rate is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular death and a higher risk of other health problems, including metabolic syndrome, a precursor to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, your heart rate should drop at least 12 beats within the first minute after exercise. If it falls more slowly and the drop is less than 12 beats after resting for one minute, heart rate recovery is slow, and studies link a slow recovery heart rate with a higher risk of death.

How to Measure Heart Rate Recovery

There’s a simple way to measure your heart rate recovery at home and some fitness centers use this technique All you’ll need is a step or platform about 12 inches high to step on to. Here’s how to measure your recovery heart rate:

  • Step up and down off the box or platform for 3 minutes. Keep the pace brisk.
  • At the end of 3 minutes, count your pulse rate at your neck for 15 seconds and multiply the value by 4 to get your heart rate per minute.
  • Stop exercising and stand still for 1 minute. Then recheck your pulse rate again in the same manner.
  • Subtract the two values to get your heart rate recovery.

Is less than 12, it’s a warning that you may be at greater risk for cardiovascular mortality. If your heart rate recovery is slow, let your doctor know, but you can improve your heart rate recovery over time through cardiovascular exercise.

Some factors can give you a falsely low reading. One example is not sleeping well the night before. Also, having a fever, drinking alcohol, smoking, or being dehydrated can cause a falsely slow recovery heart rate. Certain medications and health problems, such as an overactive thyroid can also affect recovery heart rate.

If your heart rate drops 20 beats or more after one minute, you have a fast heart rate recovery and a low risk of cardiovascular death. That’s good news! Most people fall in the mid-range, around 15 to 17. If you have a slow heart rate recovery, mention it to your doctor and then work on improving the health of your heart. Recheck it again 3 to 6 months after the first one to see whether it’s improved. As you get more physically fit, your heart rate recovery should improve, and your heart rate will drop faster after a workout.

The Bottom Line

Heart rate recovery is a simple test you can do at home that provides information about how heart health and physical fitness. It doesn’t replace the need to see your doctor regularly and monitor other markers of heart health such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and lipids. Keep doing those things too!


Merck Manual. 18th edition.

N Engl J Med 1999; 341:1351-1357, DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199910283411804.

VeryWellFit.com. “How to Use Recovery Heart Rate for Fitness and Health”

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Exp Physiol. 2010; 95:431-440.

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6 Cheap (or Free) Items You Can Use to Get an Effective Workout

Don’t have the money to join a gym or buy expensive exercise equipment? You’re in luck. There are cheap and even free ways to get an effective workout, and most of these you can do at home. The health benefits of exercise are too important to miss out on. So, the next time you think working out has to be expensive, here are five items you can use to get a cheap but effective workout.

1 Empty Gallon or Laundry

If you want to add weight training to your workout routine you can easily do this by adding water or sand to you empty gallon or laundry detergent bottle. Since most of us use laundry detergent, this by far is the cheapest way to add weights to your routine. 1 gallon of water weighs approximately 8 pounds. Therefore, don’t throw out your gallon bottle, save it and add water to it .

You can add sand or rocks to make it even heavier.

2. A Jump Rope

Jumping rope is one of the best total body workouts you can do with a single piece of equipment. Jumping rope quickly elevates your heart rate enough to get cardiovascular benefits, and you’ll build up greater stamina and endurance. Plus, a person of average weight burns around 10 calories per minute jumping rope at a moderate rate.

You can make a jump rope workout as easy or intense as you like based on how fast you jump. Start by jumping only 10 seconds and keep increasing the time until you can jump for a full minute. Then work on increasing the speed of your jumps for greater intensity. Jumping rope improves agility and coordination while you’re getting fitter and leaner.

3. Your Own Bodyweight

How about an equipment-free workout? You won’t have to spend a penny if you use your own body weight as resistance. Some of the best bodyweight exercises you can do almost anywhere are push-ups, bodyweight squats, wall squats, planks, abdominal crunches, and triceps dips. With these options, it’s possible to get a whole-body workout without leaving home. You can make the exercises harder by increasing the number of repetitions or holding planks or wall squats longer. For bodyweight push-ups, placing your hands closer together increases the intensity and also works your triceps harder.

4. A Stability Ball

A stability ball is an inflatable ball that hits about knee height for most people. You can use this super-sized ball to do a variety of exercises, including those that work your core. The most common way people use it is to do abdominal crunches with their back on the ball. The instability of the ball forces your entire core to work harder. You can also place your feet and lower legs face down on the ball and your hands on the floor and do push-ups. The unstable surface of the ball works your core harder than a standard push-up.

Another popular exercise with a stability ball is the stability ball raise. For this exercise, place the ball between your calves and raise your legs off the floor until they’re perpendicular to the ceiling. You’ll quickly feel the tension in your lower abs and will be one step closer to building ab strength and definition.

There are other exercises you can do with a stability ball and you’ll find descriptions of many more online. You can even use one as a seat when you work. Replacing your chair with a stability ball will engage your core more. Best of all, they’re not expensive.

5. A Park Bench

Surprisingly, you can get a decent workout at a park that has a bench. To get your heart rate up, jog or walk briskly around the park. Then stop at a park bench and pause long enough to do a few exercises, starting with the good, old push-up. Place both hands on the seat of the bench and stretch your legs behind you. Push your chest and upper body away from the bench and then back down. Feel the burn in your chest and arms.

Now jog around the park again, come back to the bench, and place your palms on the bench with your fingers facing toward you. Then use the bench to do a set of triceps dips. Both push-ups and triceps dips are effective upper body exercises that require no equipment.

6. Resistance Bands

A set of resistance bands offers a wealth of possibilities for working your entire body. You can do most of the exercises you do with dumbbells, a barbell, or kettlebells, and many more. Some resistance bands have special attachments you can hook to a door or handles you can grip on to for various exercises.

Resistance bands have some advantages over dumbbells and barbells since you can work your muscles in multiple planes of motion. When you use weights, you have to work in the direction of gravity, but resistance bands rely on the tension created by the bands rather than gravity. Plus, the tension remains high throughout the movement. In contrast, the tension drops off at the top of a movement when you use weights. So, you can get a superior workout with resistance bands at a low cost. Plus, you can take them with you if you travel.

The Bottom Line

Lack of money or a gym membership isn’t an excuse not to work out. These exercise props are affordable and effective. Now, it’s up to you to put them to use!



  • J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jan 28;33(1):129-137. doi: 10.1515/jpem-2019-0327.
  • MayoClinic.org. “Is body-weight training effective as a strength training exercise?”
  • SAGE Open Med. 2019; 7: 2050312119831116.Published online 2019 Feb 19. doi: 10.1177/2050312119831116.

Are Resistance Bands as Good As Free Weights?

5 Advantages Resistance Bands Have Over Dumbbells and Barbells

If you work out at home, you may not have room for clunky sets of dumbbells or barbells. They take up room, they’re heavy, and they cost money. And what happens when you go on vacation? You can’t haul those heavy weights around with you. Yet you still need strength training to build strength and preserve muscle mass.

Is there a less expensive, space-saving, and still effective way to build strength? You bet there is! It might surprise you to learn that you can get an effective strength-training workout using only resistance bands. In fact, resistance bands offer some advantages over barbells and dumbbells. Let’s look at five advantages resistance bands have over dumbbells and barbells.

1.You Can Do More Exercises Using Resistance Bands

Working with resistance bands expands the number of exercises you can do to build strength. Barbells and dumbbells limit the number of exercises you can do since you have to work your muscles within a certain plane of motion. With weights, there’s a defined path you must follow, based on gravity, to get the benefits. That’s not true of resistance bands since their resistance comes from tension generated by the bands, not gravity. Therefore, you have more options when you train. Not only does this give you more flexibility but working muscles at different angles can boost muscle growth.

2. They Maintain Tension Throughout an Exercise

When you strength train with barbells and dumbbells, the tension on your muscles changes as you move through the exercise. For example, with a biceps curl, the tension drops off at the top of the movement where your hands are close to your chest. That doesn’t happen with resistance bands since tension within the band, not gravity, generates the resistance. Since the tension stays high throughout the exercise, it gives your muscles more stimulation for growth.

3. Resistance Bands Limit Momentum

When you do an exercise with a barbell or dumbbells, it’s easy to cheat. When the going gets tough, you can use momentum to “bounce” the weight up rather than force your muscles to do the work, thereby removing how much stimulation your muscle gets. That’s not true with resistance bands. To complete an exercise using bands, your muscles have to generate force throughout the full range-of-motion of the movement, so you activate more muscle fibers and, potentially, build more muscle. Working with resistance bands is natural protection against cheating.

4. They’re Excuse Proof

One problem with dumbbells and barbells is they aren’t portable. This means there’s a temptation when you travel or go on vacation not to exercise. Resistance bands are excuse proof because you can take them anywhere and use them even in a tiny hotel room. They’re light enough to drop in a travel bag and you’re ready to go! With resistance bands being so easy to work with, you’ll be more likely to work out.

5. Resistance Bands Are Easier on the Joints

Everyone should be concerned about joint health since our joints have to last a lifetime. Resistance bands are as effective, and sometimes more so for building strength than weights, but they place less stress on your joints. Therefore, resistance bands are an ideal way to build strength if you have any form of arthritis or injuries.

Despite being kinder to the joints, resistance bands can be as effective as weights for building muscle size. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research asked a group of sedentary women to work with either weights or resistance bands for 10 weeks. When they looked at muscle gains, both groups enjoyed similar improvements in muscle endurance and muscle size and improved their body composition by losing body fat. The losses were similar between the two groups of women. Other research shows working with resistance bands can increase strength as much as weights.

The Bottom Line

Enjoy the strength-training benefits that resistance bands offer. Another perk: You don’t have to worry about dropping a barbell or dumbbell on your foot. If you drop a resistance band on a foot, you won’t even feel it.



  • Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 2008 – Volume 22 – Issue 5 – pp 1441-1448.
  • J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Feb;25(2):459-63. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c1f8b6.
  • SAGE Open Med. 2019; 7: 2050312119831116.Published online 2019 Feb 19. doi: 10.1177/2050312119831116.
  • J Strength Cond Res. 2008 Sep;22(5):1441-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31817ae67a.


5 Cardio Exercises That Are Better Than Running

How To Get Your Heart Rate Up Without Running

Running boosts your heart rate and improves cardiovascular health and endurance. However, the repetitive motion of running and the impact as your feet strike the ground can lead to overuse injuries. If you like running, do it in moderation. Plus, your body likes variety. Varying the type of movements you do to boost your heart can help you get into even better shape without the repetitive impact of running on your joints.

If you’re ready to add a little variety to your workouts, here are some cardio exercises that are better than running. Why better? Most of these exercises work your upper and lower body, so you have more than one muscle group working at the same time. That increases the calorie burn and makes your workouts more efficient.


Burpees are an exercise that people love to hate, because they’re hard but effective. It only takes a few burpees to get your heart racing, and that means cardiovascular benefits. Start by doing only 5 and gradually work up to doing 10 burpees in a row.

If you need a refresher, here’s how to do a classic burpee:
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms loosely at your sides.
• Lower your buttocks toward the floor into a squat.
• Place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
• Jump your legs back behind you, while keeping them as straight as possible.
• Quickly jump your feet back to the starting position and stand back up.
• Keep repeating.

To make burpees harder, add a jump when you stand back up. The extra jump will boost your heart rate even more and increase the calorie burn.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are another heart-rate boosting exercise that increases stamina and boosts heart health. Plus, when you do mountain climbers, you work your lower body, core, and even your arms get in on the action since they support you while you do the exercise. Therefore, mountain climbers are a total body workout.

Need guidance on how to do one?
• Get into a push-up position with your hands on the floor and your legs stretched out behind you.
• Bring your right leg toward your chest and quickly return it to the starting position.
• As you bring the right leg back to the starting position, quickly bring your left leg toward your chest.
• Keep alternating bringing the leg you bring toward your chest as you switch your legs back and forth as if climbing a mountain.

Squat Jumps

The squat jump is a plyometric exercise, one that builds power and vertical jump height. It also boosts your heart rate enough to offer cardiovascular benefits.

Here’s a refresher on how to do one:
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms loosely by your sides.
• Lower your buttocks toward the floor into a squat and quickly jump into the air as you swing your arms toward the ceiling.
• Land lightly on your feet and repeat.
• Keep repeating.

Jumping Jacks

This exercise needs no introduction, since it’s an old-school exercise that gives your upper and lower body a workout. You likely already know how to do one, but you can make the movement easier or harder by slowing or speeding up the pace you do each jack.

What you might not know is jumping jacks do more than boost your heart rate. They also work the muscles in your core, the ones that help stabilize you and reduce your risk of back pain and injury. To get the most benefit from each jack, keep your body straight and don’t let your core sag. Also, don’t round your back or lock your knees when you do the exercise. Start slow and master the form before picking up the speed of your jacks.

Kick Boxing

One of the reasons people run is to improve heart health and aerobic capacity, a measure of aerobic fitness. However, research shows kickboxing does the same thing. In fact, a study found that 5 weeks of kickboxing improved aerobic capacity and aerobic power. The participants trained 3 days per week for an hour a day. Other perks include an increase in flexibility, speed, and agility. So, switch some of the time you spend running for kickboxing. It’s a workout that benefits your upper and lower body.

Build a Routine with These Exercises

How can you put these exercises to work to build cardiovascular fitness? You can either do each exercise for a certain number of seconds, for instance, 30 to 60 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and then proceed to the next, or you can do these exercises between strength-training exercises to keep your heart rate up.

The Bottom Line

Don’t get into a running rut and assume the only way you can get a cardio workout is to run. These five exercises have added benefits you won’t get from running and they work more muscle groups. So, skip the run and try these exercises instead.


Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2014 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 106-113. Published online 2014 Jul 14.
HealthLine.com. “What Are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise?”