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What is the Importance of Hydration?

The body is made up of 60% water. You lose water whenever you sweat, go to the bathroom, even when you breathe. Moreover, you lose water faster when the weather is hot, if you have a fever, or when you’re physically active. If you do not replace the water you lost, you can become dehydrated. Water is important in maintaining the normal function of organs and systems in your body, including your muscles, brain, and heart. In this article, you’ll learn more about the importance of hydration.

10 Reasons Why Hydration is Important

1. Flushes toxins

While the kidneys naturally filter wastes from the body, they need adequate water intake to function properly. When your body is dehydrated, elimination of wastes is diminished. Kidney function may be affected, causing toxins to build up in the body. The kidneys need water to filter wastes from the blood and excrete it in the urine. Keeping hydrated also helps prevent constipation, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.

2. Good for the heart

When arteries become narrowed and blocked with plaque and cholesterol, the risk of a heart attack increases. An American Journal of Epidemiology study found that drinking more water has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Conversely, dehydration lowers blood volume, making the heart work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and send oxygen to your cells. This can make activities like climbing stairs and exercise more difficult.

3. Helps maximize physical performance

Man Lifting a BarbellPhysical performance can suffer if you are not well hydrated. This is especially true during intense exercise or when the temperature in the environment is high. There’s a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. This can result in altered body temperature control, increased fatigue, and can make exercise more difficult, both physically and mentally.

Optimal hydration can prevent this from happening and can also reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high-intensity exercise. Muscle is almost 80% water. If you exercise intensely and sweat heavily, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.

4. Keeps your body cool

Another importance of hydration is keeping your body cool. The body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, leading to increased blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. This is why the face gets red during exercise. But when you are dehydrated, it takes a higher temperature to make blood vessels widen, so you stay hotter.

5. Good for muscle and joint health

Woman Performing GymnasticsWhen you are well hydrated, the water inside and outside the contracting muscle cells provides nutrients and removes wastes, so you perform better. Water also helps lubricate joints. Proper hydration helps prevent joint diseases since water promotes cartilage health and reduces inflammation.

6. Improves mood

Dehydration can cause headaches and make you irritable. Even mild dehydration has a negative effect on mood. A glass of water can help prevent headaches and promote a sense of refreshment that can naturally improve mood as well.

7. Increases energy levels

Replacing lost fluids is especially important after vigorous exercise. Studies have found that hydration before, during, and after exercise not only reduces fatigue, but also improves endurance. When you’re properly hydrated, energy levels can rise.

8. Boosts cognitive functioning

Instead of eating a sugary snack to get a mental boost, try drinking a glass of water instead. A study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that drinking water may enhance brain function. Participants who drank water performed better and faster on a series of cognitive tasks, compared to those who did not.

9. Improves skin complexion

Flawless SkinLike all cells, skin cells are made up of water. If your skin isn’t receiving adequate hydration, it will appear tight, dry, and flaky. It will be less elastic. Fine wrinkles will also be more pronounced. So drink plenty of water if you want glowing, radiant skin.

10. Promotes weight loss

Drinking lots of water may help you lose weight. This is because water can boost your metabolic rate as well as increase satiety (make you feel full). According to studies published in the journal Obesity, dieters who increased their water consumption lost more weight than those who did not. This may be because thirst is often disguised as hunger.

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Health authorities recommended drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is known as the 8×8 rule and is easy to remember. That said, different people may need different amounts of water to keep hydrated, depending on factors such as physical activity and the weather.

Most people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids on a regular basis, before they feel thirsty. If you’re concerned that your water intake is not enough, check your urine. If it is colorless or light yellow, then you are well hydrated. But if your urine is dark yellow or amber in color, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water.

Symptoms of Dehydration

• Extreme thirst
• Dry mouth
• Fatigue
• Little or no urine
• Urine is darker than usual
• Headache
• Confusion
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Sleepiness
• No tears when crying

Ways to Get Hydrated

It is best to drink water for hydration. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables. Other drinks and foods can also help you stay hydrated. The disadvantage is that some of them may add extra calories and sugar to your diet. For example, fruit juices, milk, and tea add to the amount of water you receive each day. Even caffeinated drinks (coffee or soda) can add to your daily water intake. However, caffeine may cause you to urinate more frequently and make you feel anxious or jittery.

Sports drinks are often consumed while doing high-intensity exercise. They contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that can boost energy. They may also help your body absorb water. But some sports drinks are high in calories and contain added sugar. These type of drinks may also contain high levels of sodium. Some contain caffeine, too.

Another type of drink is energy drinks. They differ from sports drinks in the sense that they contain large amounts of caffeine. Additionally, they contain ingredients that have a stimulating effect (e.g., guarana, ginseng, or taurine). Most energy drinks are high in added sugar, too.

Conclusion

Your body needs water to survive. Every cell and organ in the body needs water to work properly. The importance of hydration cannot be underestimated. The body uses water to keep the heart, brain, and muscles functioning properly. Water is also important for lubricating joints, removing waste, maintaining optimal temperature, and transporting nutrients to the cells in your body. Simply put, water is needed for overall health. To prevent dehydration, drink adequate amounts of water every day.

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Barbells vs Dumbbells – What’s the Difference?

Barbells and dumbbells are the two types of free weights. Using these doesn’t restrict motion the way a weight machine does. With free weights, your exercise movements closely resemble real life movements. Although you can do exercises with both, barbells and dumbbells each have their own pros and cons. In this article, we will be comparing barbells vs dumbbells and discuss the differences between these two types of exercise equipment.

What is a Barbell?

Man Using a BarbellA barbell is a type of exercise equipment used in weight training, weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding, consisting of a long bar with weights attached at each end. There are two types of barbells – standard and Olympic. Standard barbells are between 5 and 6 feet long, are 1 inch thick, and weigh between 15 and 30 pounds. Most standard barbells can hold weights up to 200 pounds. On the other hand, Olympic barbells are 7 feet long, more than 1 inch thick, have 2-inch rotating sleeves, and weigh 45 pounds. Olympic barbells can hold weights over 800 pounds.

What is a Dumbbell?

Man Using DumbbellsA dumbbell is a type of free weight that can be used individually or in pairs. Dumbbells are 10 to 15 inches long and are designed to be held in one hand. There are different types of dumbbells. Hex dumbbells are fixed weight dumbbells which are usually available in 5-pound increments (between 5 and 100 pounds). But some hex dumbbells are also available in 1-pound increments. Meanwhile, adjustable dumbbells are short, straight bars that have sleeves for weight plates. They’re available with either standard 1-inch, or 2-inch sleeves. The length of the weight sleeves limits how much weight you can load on the bar.

To learn more about this type of exercise equipment, read our article about dumbbells.

Barbell Advantages

Allows You to Lift More Weight

Compared to dumbbells, you can lift more weight with barbells. Most people can lift about 20% more with a barbell, compared to the combined weight of two dumbbells on the same exercise. This is because you’ll be using fewer stabilizer muscles on barbell exercises, allowing you to lift more weight.

Helps You Progress Faster

Progressive overload is an important component of getting bigger and stronger. To do this, you need to incrementally lift more and more weight. While you can do this with barbells and dumbbells, it’s usually easier to do with barbells, especially at heavier weights.

May Be Safer When Lifting Heavier Weights

When lifting heavier weights, you cannot afford to make mistakes, or you will open yourself up to injury. This means having the perfect form and lifting in a very controlled manner. With barbells, you’re better able to lock yourself into position, grounding the entire body before you begin the lift. Safety stands and racks can also be used with barbells.

Can Be More Practical for Certain Exercises

In the case of squats, you can do them using dumbbells, but there’s a limit to the amount of weight that can feasibly be used. On the other hand, barbell squats allow for a greater amount of weight to be used and therefore can be more effective at building muscle. Barbells are also better for explosive exercises such as snatches and power cleans.

Dumbbell Advantages

Make Greater Use of Stabilizer Muscles

Although you can lift more weight with barbells, they don’t use stabilizer muscles that much when compared to dumbbells. This means you may not be working your muscles as comprehensively. For many exercises (such as the bench press), it has been shown that there’s greater chest muscle activation with dumbbell presses compared to barbell presses. Having to stabilize the weight you are holding in each hand activates more muscles and improves coordination.

Can Provide a Better Range of Motion

Maintaining a full range of motion is essential when it comes to weight training. A greater range of motion works muscles more effectively. Dumbbells have the advantage in this aspect since they allow a greater range of motion for certain exercises when compared to barbells.

Can Help Even Out Strength Imbalances

Another point of comparison for barbells vs dumbbells is symmetry. In some cases, one side of the body is outpacing the other in terms of size and strength. With dumbbells, you can work on each side of your body independently. This means you can focus more on the left or right biceps for example, or whichever part needs more work.

Can Be Safer if You’re a Beginner

Dumbbells are a safer way to learn basic movements if you are new to weight training. If you cannot complete a rep, you can more easily set the weights down. You will not get pinned under them during a squat or bench press like you may with a barbell. Also, certain exercises like presses are easier to do with dumbbells if you are just starting out. Plus, you can rotate your hand position with dumbbells, which allows for a different effect on the muscles, such as when doing curls. This ability to rotate your hand position also allows for more comfort and less chance of injury when doing certain exercises like presses.

Require Less Space

Barbells are long and take up a lot of room. Plus, you typically need to rack them on benches and squat stands, which take up even more space. Dumbbells, on the other hand, take up very little room and are ideal for the home or office. They can also be stored more easily when not in use.

Conclusion

Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes have seen great results from doing workout routines using free weights. After reading this post on barbells vs dumbbells, you’re now better informed about the pros and cons of these two types of exercise equipment. Knowing when to use each one will produce the best results.

Barbells are good for building massive strength and power, but dumbbells are often the best choice for all around fitness, especially in the home. If you’re looking to buy dumbbells, click here to see some of the best options.

If you’d like to learn how to use dumbbells to best help achieve your fitness goals, FITin56 is a great home fitness program the makes extensive use of dumbbells. Try it!

8 Potential Health Benefits of Mangosteen

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical fruit with a delicate texture and slightly sweet and sour flavor. It is originally from Southeast Asia, but can also be found in different tropical regions around the world. This fruit is also known as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color of its outer skin. The inner flesh is white and juicy when ripe. It can be eaten raw or added to smoothies or fruit salads. If you’re not familiar with this fruit, read this article to learn more about the health benefits of mangosteen.

Potential Health Benefits of Mangosteen

1. Rich in Powerful Antioxidants

Mangosteen FruitOne of the mangosteen’s most significant characteristics is its unique antioxidant profile. Antioxidants are compounds that counteract the damaging effects of harmful molecules called free radicals that are linked to various chronic diseases.

Mangosteen contains nutrients with antioxidant capacity like folate and vitamin C. More importantly, it contains xanthones – a type of plant compound which has strong antioxidant properties. Several studies indicate that xanthones may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-diabetic effects. That said, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn.

2. May Help Fight Cancer

Mangosteen has been the focus of several anticancer studies. Results appear to support their reputation as cancer-fighting foods. The mangosteen fruit contains at least 20 xanthones. In particular, one xanthone called alpha-mangostin was found to have a cancer-preventive effect on animal subjects. This research was conducted by the Gifu International Institute of Biotechnology in Japan in 2008.

Also, a 2012 study showed that xanthone extracts had anti colon cancer effects. Meanwhile, a study published in the International Journal of Oncology analyzed the anticancer activity of alpha-mangostin on breast cancer cells. The research indicated that alpha-mangostin inhibited cancer cells.

The ability of xanthones to prevent and treat cancer have been demonstrated in various stages of cancer formation (initiation, promotion, and progression). Also, xanthones have shown an ability to control inflammation, cancer cell division and growth, and cancer metastasis.

3. May Boost Heart Health

Mangosteen Increased oxidative stress and a lack of antioxidants are factors that are believed to play a role in the occurrence of heart attacks. Oxidative stress happens when there are too many free radicals and the body is unable to counteract their harmful effects.

A study on animal subjects conducted by the Center for Advanced Studies in Botany (University of Madras in India) suggests that alpha-mangostin has a cardio-protective effect. The fact that mangosteen is high in xanthones may be helpful in reducing the risk of a heart attack.

4. May Combat Inflammation and Allergies

Research has shown that mangosteen extract has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties. One study reported that the extract worked better at inhibiting prostaglandin than an anti-allergy drug in Japan. The extract proved to be successful at inhibiting the release of histamine and prostaglandin that are both associated with inflammation, as well as allergies.

Additionally, research reveals that alpha-mangostin and gamma-mangostin (two bioactive substances found in the fruit) have anti-inflammatory effects. Test tube and animal studies show that xanthones may reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

5. May Lower Blood Sugar

Mangosteen May Have the Potential to Lower Blood SugarMangosteen may be helpful in preventing and managing diabetes because it helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. It acts as an alpha-amylase inhibitor, inhibiting enzymes that cause starches to be transformed into glucose.

The ability of mangosteen to lower blood sugar is said to come from its tannic acid and oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). OPCs are naturally-occurring plant metabolites that can be found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

6. May Aid Digestion

Among the primary health benefits of mangosteen is its beneficial effect on the digestive system. As a high-fiber food, this fruit is good for digestive health. Consuming fresh mangosteen can help prevent constipation. By consuming this tasty fruit, you also increase the intake of prebiotics.

7. May Help Maintain Healthy Skin

Sun exposure can cause skin damage, premature aging, and skin cancer. One study done on mice treated show that supplemental mangosteen extract has a protective effect against ultraviolet-B radiation.

Furthermore, a 3-month study conducted on humans discovered that individuals treated with 100 mg of mangosteen extract daily experienced more elasticity in their skin and less accumulation of a compound known to contribute to skin aging.

8. May Promote Weight Loss

One of the mangosteen’s claims to fame is its potential to aid weight loss. In an 8-week study, people who supplemented their diets with 3, 6 or 9 ounces of mangosteen juice twice daily tended to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than the control group.

Research on mangosteen and obesity is limited, but it is believed that the fruit’s anti-inflammatory property plays a role in preventing weight gain and promoting fat metabolism. Ultimately, more research is needed to understand how mangosteen can promote weight loss.

Interesting Facts about Mangosteen

Mangosteen production occurs primarily in Southeast Asia, mainly in Thailand. Other major Asian producers include Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Despite decades of attempts to grow mangosteen in South America, the Caribbean Islands, Florida, California, and Hawaii, no major production occurs elsewhere except in Asia.

Mangosteen trees may bear fruit in 5 to 6 years, but typically require 8 to 10 years. The yield is variable, depending on the age of the tree and climate. If a mangosteen tree is bearing for the first time, 200 to 300 fruits may be produced. When the tree reaches maturity, the average yield is 500 fruits per season. At age 30 to 45 years, a tree may produce as many as 3,000 fruits, with trees as old as 100 years still bearing fruit.

Mangosteen May Not Be Right for Everyone

Very few adverse effects have been reported from eating mangosteen in its natural form, and it is likely safe for most people. However, concentrated forms like juices, powders, or supplements are not 100% risk-free.

Some research suggests that xanthones found in supplements may slow the process of blood clotting. Avoid concentrated sources if you are taking blood-thinning medications or have a blood clotting condition.

Also, there is not enough research made to determine whether mangosteen supplements are safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women, so it’s best to avoid them during these life stages.

Conclusion

The reported health benefits of mangosteen are primarily due to its unique antioxidant content. Mangosteen may be hard to find, depending on where you live. You can try your luck at specialty Asian markets, but fresh mangosteen can be quite expensive. Canned or frozen mangosteen are cheaper and easier to find. However, canned versions usually contain added sugar. Mangosteen is also available in juice form and as a powdered supplement.

As mangosteen is grown primarily in Southeast Asia, most studies on this fruit have been done in those markets. Although most of these Asian studies show promise for the reported health benefits of mangosteen, there is not much US-based scientific information or evidence on this fruit, so keep that in mind if you decide to try mangosteen.

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FITin56® is a revolutionary fitness program that helps anyone get fit in 56 days — and stay fit! Members get online access to workout videos, exercise videos, and a nutrition plan. Lose weight, tone, or build muscle — follow the plan that best meets your goals. Get fit and healthy in only 30 minutes per day!

FITin56® is a registered trademark of CREATIVE PRODUCTS, LLC.

Founded in 1989, CREATIVE PRODUCTS was built with the vision of providing hard to find, innovative, useful, and creative products to customers worldwide. We strive to bring our customers only the best products and services available.