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Index= 55 Title=The Best Ab Exercise Equipment The Best Ab Exercise Equipment Don't spend your money on ab machines until you read this entire page. Surprised ya, huh? You may have expected to see a listing of various ab exercise equipment from the Belly Burner 100 to the Gut Buster 5000. There's a reason I didn't list many of those -- and that is mainly because most people don't realize that the key to flattening your stomach and toning your abs is getting rid of the overall body fat first. Don't get me wrong, you can still purchase some ab machines, just understand that cardiovascular exercises are just as important as doing abdominal-related exercises. Your ab muscles won't show until you get your body fat down to around 10%. So the best way to accomplish this is a good cardio workout accompanied by a healthy diet. For tips on healthy eating see the following pages: Healthy Eating Habits Fat Burning Foods DIET - A Bad 4-Letter Word Now that you understand a bit about eating healthy it's time to start incorporating a good cardio workout into your lifestyle. NOTE: Before you begin working out on any machine or exercise program, it's recommended that you consult your physician - especially if you have a health problem. Treadmills If you read "The Best Stomach Exercise" page you already know that the ideal exercise for toning your stomach and abs is walking/jogging because it helps elevate your metabolism to burn fat all over. This is especially true for those of you who have not gotten your body fat down yet. Remember, you can't flatten your stomach without losing weight everywhere else. The good news is walking doesn't just help you lose weight, but it also assists in fighting diseases. Studies have already proven that people who walk regularly have fewer cases of cancer, strokes, and heart disease. They live longer and receive mental health benefits. Walking and jogging, like any cardio exercises, elevate your heart rate and give your metabolism a boost in order to burn calories more effeciently and faster. So if you can't make it to the gym or live in a place that is not conducive to walking outdoors, then a treadmill is the ideal exercise equipment. I would recommend you purchase a treadmill from a fitness store instead of a department store. Mainly because fitness store clerks are usually more knowledgeable about the various products and will probably be more helpful if you have questions. Treadmills come in so many different styles and varieties that the selection process may be a bit tedious. That's another good reason to purchase from a store with knowledgeable salespeople. You also may be tempted to go with the cheapest one they have out there. That is not always the best choice either. Cheaper ones may have belts that aren't quite as durable and the treadmill may not last as long. I would recommend going with one that has a mid-range price. Then to save a little money, go to a fitness store and find one you like, jot down the brand, model and the features you want. Next go to an online store like Amazon.com and see if you can get that same kind for a cheaper price. Elliptical Machines These machines are awesome. I don't think people realize the benefits of them. First of all elliptical machines work many, many muscle groups. Also, because your feet never leave the pedals, the stress on the joints is minimal and there is little risk of overusing a certain muscle group. Elliptical machines allow you to burn a similar number of calories as jogging, but without the risk of injury to the knees and ankles. When using these machines, the heart rate is elevated a lot quicker than on other apparatuses - allowing for an effective cardiovascular workout. Of course this helps reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke and other diseases that stem from a weak heart. Another plus is that since it works so many different muscle groups, you can receive a thorough workout in as little as 20 minutes. So if you are one that is always complaining about not enough time to exercise, surely you can squeeze in 20 minutes to workout on the elliptical machine, right? :) Just like the treadmill, I would recommend consulting a fitness professional to help you decide which machine is best for you. I would also go mid-range on the price when it comes to buying these as well -- for the same reasons mentioned previously. Ab Machines I saved this section for last because I wanted you to really understand how important it is to get your heart pumping and your metabolism moving before you start seeing a flatter stomach. If you are overweight and trying to tone your abs by using some ab machine without changing your diet and performing cardio exercises, you are going about it the wrong way. In fact, you may even notice your stomach increasing in size because you're building muscle on top of your existing fat. I am not against ab machines, I think they can be very beneficial if used with a complete workout and a healthy diet. I personally do not use any of them so I can't speak of my personal experiences. I do Pilates, ab exercise DVD's and the treadmill. However, there are some great sites out there with information on how to choose the best ab equipment for your needs. A Great Exercise Machine Resource... If you need help with deciding on what kind of ab exercise equipment is best for you, Quality-Exercise-Equipment.com offers superb guidance. It was developed by someone who personally understands the trials and tribulations of choosing the proper exercise equipment, and I think you'll find it very useful. Crunch and Slanted Sit-Up Benches Benches for performing crunches and sit-ups on are certainly among the best ab workout equipment. Because of this, crunch and slanted sit-up boards are among the best ab exercise equipment. If you have one of these benches, you can do crunches and sit-ups without having to lie on the floor. A flat bench is great for doing crunches on. If you have a padded bench, you won't have to do crunch on a hard floor any longer. You can also lie on the bench and do leg raises. Another thing you can do is to sit at the edge of the bench and work your lower abs by lifting your knees towards your chest. If you want to do sit-ups, it's best to do them with your body declined on a bench. This makes an adjustable slanted bench the best ab exercise equipment for performing sit-ups on. Depending on your level of abdominal strength you can adjust how much to decline your slanted bench. Wjem you perform sit-ups on a decline bench, you can add a twist to each side on alternating reps to work your midsection more. An ab crunch bench is one of the most popular fitness choices for in-home exercise, as this seemingly simple piece of equipment allows for seriously targeted ab workouts. Just a few minutes a day on a Pure Fitness Ab Crunch & Sit-Up Bench can give you a stronger core, flatter stomach, slimmer waistline and six-pack abs much faster than almost any other exercise routine. The sleek design of our bench is not only space efficient, but built on a sturdy 50mm square and tubular steel frame that can handle your most vigorous workouts without slipping or shifting. Well-padded knee and ankle rollers allow you to comfortably lock in your legs for a true isolated ab crunch workout. The ankle roller adjust to four positions, ranging from 10” to 16“ apart for the proper fit to accommodate a range of heights. The soft, 2” high-density foam pad upholstered with heavy duty water-resistant vinyl makes even extended exercise more comfortable, and it wipes down easily. When you’re finished, the bench folds down for easy st orage. Multitask to a Bangin' Body In an ideal world, we'd all have the time (and discipline) to stick to a well-rounded weekly workout routine that not only includes strength, cardio, and flexibility training but also offers enough variety to keep our muscles guessing—the key to avoid a plateau. In reality, sometimes life gets in the way of even the most dedicated exerciser's schedule. That's why we asked Miami-based fitness expert Jessica Smith, star of the Cross Training for Fitness DVD, to design this one-hit-wonder routine! It blends principles of Pilates, kickboxing, strength training, yoga, and even some Qi Gong moves to provide you with an intense but balanced cross-training session. Ready to take multitasking to a whole new level? Do this routine today to blast fat, build strength, and focus your mind in one fell swoop! Workout Details: Do 1 set of the recommended number of reps for each exercise, moving from one move to the next with little or no rest in between. Complete 3 sets total. For best results, do this routine three to four days a week, alternating it with 30-45 minutes of your favorite cardio activity. You'll need: A set of light dumbbells (3-8 lbs, depending on your level) Set yourself free to be happy As I can personally attest, when you feel forgiveness in your heart, it's easier to be happy, productive, accomplish your goals and be at peace with yourself. You see, forgiving another is really less about other people and more about being true, kind and respectful to ourselves. Likewise, humbly atoning for our transgressions against others is a way to give ourselves the esteem and value we deserve. Not forgiving someone else and not repenting for wrongs you've committed can: •Rob you of your power and strip you of your dignity. •Keep you trapped in anger, indignation and resentment. •Make you feel helpless, stuck and frustrated. •Harm you physically or emotionally. •Stop you from enjoying relationships or enjoying your accomplishments. On the other hand, forgiving others or asking for forgiveness can: •Free, heal, nurture and release you. •Fill you with lightness, compassion and good will. •Ennoble, empower and enliven you. •Bring you closer to God or goodness. •Refresh, reward and renew you.Index= 55 Title=Go Solar [] SolarCity will install a solar system on your home for free. You simply pay for your clean solar power by the month – just like your utility bill – only lower. So you save money month after month for years to come. ow Solar Power Works Diagram on How Does Solar Power Work Solar Panels Solar panels, or solar modules as they are sometimes called, are typically installed on the roof. These solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power. Inverter The DC power from the solar panels is sent to an inverter, where it is converted into alternating current (AC) power, or standard electrical current used your home. Video on How Solar Works Electrical Panel AC power travels from the inverter to the electrical panel, often called a breaker box. This power is now ready to use in your home. Utility Meter The utility meter continually measures your electrical supply; when your solar power system produces more power than you need, the meter literally spins backward, accumulating credits with the utility company that will offset your next bill. Utility Grid Your home remains connected to the utility grid to supply you with electricity when you need more power than your solar power system has produced, such as at night. SolarGuard® Solar Production Monitoring SolarGuardallows you and SolarCity to continuously monitor energy production and make sure your system is running smoothly. If production levels drop below normal, SolarCity will alert you and help remedy the situation. PowerGuide™ Energy Consumption Monitoring PowerGuidecontinually monitors your home's electricity usage. With a clear picture of your electricity patterns you can better manage your energy consumption and save money. The aisles of a typical Walgreens drugstore are stacked with products promoting their green attributes, whether they are towels made from recycled paper or makeup brushes made from fast-growing grass. Green A blog about energy and the environment. Go to Blog » Enlarge This Image Alan Rider for The New York Times Walmart’s turbine is to provide 10 to 15 percent of the electricity at this Red Bluff, Calif., distribution center. But increasingly, on the roof, a less visible green endeavor is under way, in the form of solar panels feeding power to the store. Walgreens, which has installed 134 solar systems across the country and has plans for many more, says its solar program stems from the brand’s connection to healthful living and a bottom-line desire to stabilize energy costs. But it has plenty of company from other big-box retailers. Large chain stores, more than any other type of business, rely on rooftop solar power to help meet their energy needs, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group. “Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the association, a trade group. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.” Led by the likes of Walmart, Costco and Kohl’s, commercial installations of solar power have increased sharply in recent months. More than 3,600 nonresidential systems were activated in the first half of 2012, bringing the number of individual solar electric systems to 24,000, the report said. Whether driven by brand identity or cost concerns, almost half of the top 20 commercial solar customers are major retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Staples. Ikea, one of the chains in the top 20, plans to have solar arrays on almost all of its furniture stores and distribution centers by the end of the year, Joseph Roth, a spokesman, said. Some retailers, including Walmart and Kohl’s, now routinely evaluate the solar potential of older and new buildings. At Walgreens, solar power is becoming so common that the chain changed its standard design template to more easily accommodate the equipment. “We literally will invest in solar in any state” if it makes sense economically, said Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability for the drugstore chain. Retailers are pursuing other forms of renewable energy as well. Kohl’s, a department store chain, will have 150 solar locations by the end of this year, the company said. But it is also testing wind energy and plans to expand the number of electric vehicle charging stations at its stores. Ikea has included a geothermal power system at a new store in Centennial, Colo. Walmart, which has 150 solar installations and plans to have 1,000 by 2020, is also experimenting with wind. It has put small wind turbines atop the lamp posts in some of its store parking lots, and it has installed a giant one-megawatt wind turbine at a distribution center in Red Bluff, Calif. The chain, which has an aggressive goal of eventually deriving all of its energy from renewable sources, is also drawing power from fuel cells in some locations, said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy for the company. Executives say part of the appeal of the solar systems is that big-box stores are exactly that: big boxes with plenty of roof space to put up their arrays to help cover heavy electrical needs for lighting, heating and cooling and, in some cases, refrigeration. Many of the chains began with a few installations about five years ago but have picked up the pace in recent years as the price of equipment has plummeted. The average price of a finished commercial photovoltaic system, for example, dropped by almost 14 percent between the second quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, the report said. In addition, new financing approaches — in which third-party companies offer to install systems for little or no money upfront and instead take fixed payments for the electricity generated over a long-term agreement — has made solar even more attractive. Although the cost savings from these arrangements are not as great as for residential customers, the agreements insulate the companies against fluctuations in electricity costs, said Lyndon Rive, the chief executive of SolarCity, which provides solar products and services, and counts Walmart among its commercial customers, “When you look at renewables, there’s not a spiking of the fuel cost,” Mr. Rive said. “You’re locking your rates, which is a great hedge for a big percentage of your energy needs.” Ultimately, Mr. Resch said, the growth of solar at retail chains reflects a shift in mind-set. “For most of these companies, the roof is a liability and is something they need to sink money into repairing every 10 or 15 years,” he said. “These companies are actually turning the roof into an asset. It’s a completely different way of thinking about their facilities.” This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Correction: September 13, 2012 A picture caption on Wednesday with an article about big-box retailers’ use of renewable energy misidentified the location of a Walmart distribution center that will be partly powered by a wind turbine. It is in Red Bluff, Calif. — not in Pittsburgh. he aisles of a typical Walgreens drugstore are stacked with products promoting their green attributes, whether they are towels made from recycled paper or makeup brushes made from fast-growing grass. Green A blog about energy and the environment. Go to Blog » Enlarge This Image Alan Rider for The New York Times Walmart’s turbine is to provide 10 to 15 percent of the electricity at this Red Bluff, Calif., distribution center. But increasingly, on the roof, a less visible green endeavor is under way, in the form of solar panels feeding power to the store. Walgreens, which has installed 134 solar systems across the country and has plans for many more, says its solar program stems from the brand’s connection to healthful living and a bottom-line desire to stabilize energy costs. But it has plenty of company from other big-box retailers. Large chain stores, more than any other type of business, rely on rooftop solar power to help meet their energy needs, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group. “Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the association, a trade group. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.” Led by the likes of Walmart, Costco and Kohl’s, commercial insWhether driven by brand identity or cost concerns, almost half of the top 20 commercial solar customers are major retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Staples. Ikea, one of the chains in the top 20, plans to have solar arrays on almost all of its furniture stores and distribution centers by the end of the year, Joseph Roth, a spokesman, said. Some retailers, including Walmart and Kohl’s, now routinely evaluate the solar potential of older and new buildings. At Walgreens, solar power is becoming so common that the chain changed its standard design template to more easily accommodate the equipment. “We literally will invest in solar in any state” if it makes sense economically, said Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability for the drugstore chain. Retailers are pursuing other forms of rIndex= 55 Title=Largest health insurer to keep key parts of law regardless of court ruling [] The nation’s largest health insurer will keep in place several key consumer provisions mandated by the 2010 health-care law regardless of whether the statute survives Supreme Court review. Officials at UnitedHealthcare will announce Monday that whatever the outcome of the court decision — expected this month — the company will continue to provide customers preventive health-care services without co-payments or other out-of-pocket charges, allow parents to keep adult children up to age 26 on their plans, and maintain the more streamlined appeals process required by the law. UnitedHealthcare would also continue to observe the law’s prohibitions on putting lifetime limits on insurance payouts and rescinding coverage after a member becomes ill, except in cases where a member intentionally lied on an insurance application. The provisions are part of a larger package in the law often referred to by supporters as “the Patients Bill of Rights” that took effect as plans renewed after Sept. 23, 2010. They are popular with consumers and relatively uncontroversial among insurers. And there had already been signals from industry insiders that some insurers were likely to leave them in place. UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, is the first to publicly commit to the idea. “The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people’s health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs,” Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement. “These provisions are compatible with our mission and continue our operating practices.” The court’s options include upholding the law, overturning part or all of it, and delaying action until after the law takes full effect. A spokesman at UnitedHealthcare said officials chose to announce their intentions now because “people in this uncertain time are worried about what might happen to their coverage and we think the time is right to let people know that these provisions will continue and they can count on us.” The announcement applies to the roughly 9 million consumers in plans that they or their employer have purchased from UnitedHealthcare. An additional 27 million people are covered by plans that are administered by UnitedHealthcare but for which their employer has assumed the financial risk, meaning that in effect their employer is their insurer. In these cases it would be up to the employer to decide which provisions to continue offering voluntarily. While UnitedHealthcare would include birth control and sterilization among the preventive services it would continue to offer without co-payments, officials said they would honor requests from employers or individual customers wishing to remove such services from the list because of religious or other objections. By contrast, in implementing the health-care law’s preventive-services requirements, the Obama administration has issued controversial restrictions on the types of employers that can refuse to offer birth control coverage on conscience grounds. Officials at UnitedHealthcare said they did not have statistics on what, if any, impact the decision could have on premiums. The Obama administration has estimated that on average the law’s early consumer mandates would increase premiums by less than 2 percent. However, that figure has probably varied depending on whether a particular plan already included the new requirements — often the case with plans bought by large employers — or whether insurers had to incorporate the new rules — often the case with plans sold to individuals and small businesses. Further complicating the picture, other forces, such as a drop in use of health care, have exerted a countervailing downward pressure on premiums in recent years. The “Patients Bill of Rights” also includes several mandates that UnitedHealthcare did not pledge to continue complying with in the event the Supreme Court invalidates the law. These include the elimination of annual limits on insurance payouts, which are being phased out under the law, and that statute’s ban on denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. The latter would be impossible to do unilaterally, said UnitedHealthcare officials, because the company’s risk pool could be quickly skewed toward sick children. But in a statement they said the company is “committed to working with all other participants in the health care system to sustain that coverage.” Ronald Pollack, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Families USA and a supporter of the law, welcomed UnitedHealthcare’s announcement. “It would make a huge difference for a great number of people who would otherwise be left out in the cold in terms of getting coverage,” he said. “And hopefully, given UnitedHealthcare’s market share, this would have tremendous influence on other companies.” But even if the entire insurance industry followed suit, Pollack said, it would hardly make up for the loss of other provisions in the law that are set to take effect in 2014 — including the extension of Medicaid to cover a larger share of the poor, subsidies to help low-income Americans buy insurance and bans against insurers discriminating against adults with preexisting conditions. This would be a “one-third of a loaf” substitute, Pollack said. “A very good step, but in no way altering the necessity of implementing the much larger protections included in the new law.” UnitedHealthcare — one of the nation’s largest health insurers — has announced that it will preserve a provision of the health care law that allows young adults to stay on their family health care plans up to age 26, even if the high court rules the law unconstitutional later this month. The measure is one of several so-called “Patients’ Bill of Rights” included in the law that UnitedHealthcare will keep in place. The company will also continue offering preventive health care services without out-of-pocket costs and end lifetime limits on insurance payouts: “The protections we are voluntarily extending are good for people’s health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs,” Stephen J. Hemsley, president and chief executive of UnitedHealth Group, said in a statement. “These provisions are compatible with our mission and continue our operating practices.” [...] A spokesman at UnitedHealthcare said officials chose to announce their intentions now because “people in this uncertain time are worried about what might happen to their coverage and we think the time is right to let people know that these provisions will continue and they can count on us.” The announcement applies to the roughly 9 million consumers in plans that they or their employer have purchased from UnitedHealthcare. So far, 6.6 million young adults between 19 and 25 years old have signed up for insurance coverage through their parents’ policies. It’s a popular provision that even Republicans, such as Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West (FL), support. During an appearance on Fox News Monday morning, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) — one of the staunchest opponents of the law — also defended the insurer’s decision, noting, “to allow them to stay on that family plan, just helps the family until that person goes to school [and is] established in life.” The growing bipartisan support for some provisions of the law will complicate the GOP’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, particularly as Americans start to benefit from it. The measure expands access to health insurance for millions of Americans, and UnitedHealthcare’s decision to continue at least some of its provisions means that Obamacare has already changed the health care system — no matter what the Supreme Court decides. The one thing that I can see "positive" out of it besides the OP (insurance companies deciding to keep the provisions anyways), is all those people who will suddenly lose coverage and the benefits they have already started enjoying thanks to the reform....many of whom are conservatives. They are not going to be happy and the blame will lie solely on the GOP for challenging it and worse, not having a back up plan to replace it or fix it. I dont want to see anyone lose their coverage... but a small part of me admits I will get some satisfaction out of the pissing off conservatives and watching them turn on the GOP. (The democrats better be ready to lay the blame loudly, and frequently where it should lie...hopefully they are ready to do so just in case). With the presidential election coming up and the debates, hopefully Obama will make sure that message gets out loud and clear. Granted the vast majority of conservative are too brainwashed or willfully ignorant to understand those facts and will deny it... but there are plenty of moderate ones who have already started grumbling about the direction their party has been going.. that might be the final push they need. Two More Health Insurers Pledge To Preserve Parts Of Obamacare | Aetna and Humana have joined UnitedHealthcare in promising to preserve several popular provisions of Obamacare, even if the high court rules the law unconstitutional later this month. Bloomberg reporter Alex Wayne tweets: Alex Wayne@aawayne Humana too. MT @aawayne Aetna to match UnitedHealth, cover preventive services, young adults as dependents if SCOTUS knocks down #hcr. $HUM