Why Do People Get Stretch Marks?

Why Do People Get Stretch Marks?

What is a stretch mark?

For those unaware, stretch marks are long, narrow stripes on the body, normally occurring as a result of overstretched skin. They are typically a lighter shade than your skin color and are extremely common – but for many, they are still extremely unpleasant.

While stretch marks don’t themselves pose a health risk, they can act as a source of cosmetic frustration for men and women alike.

Let’s discuss what causes these pesky little lines.

The Causes

Stretch marks are “more likely to develop and become more severe where there are high levels of circulating cortisone, or when cortisone is applied to the skin. Cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is converted into cortisone. This weakens elastic fibers in the skin.”1

  • Rapid Weight Gain or Weight Loss
    • When the body gains a lot of weight, or loses it over a short amount of time, it can cause stretch marks due to the fluctuation of body mass.
  • Puberty
    • As if there wasn’t enough going on with the body during this time, teens may also get stretch marks from a rapid growth spurt.
  • Pregnancy
    • The amount of women who report getting stretch marks throughout the pregnancy process, or after birth, is astonishingly high – at least 50% of pregnant women get stretch marks.2
  • Medical Conditions
    • Certain medical conditions can lead to a decrease in the skin’s elasticity, while others can produce too much of certain hormones that contribute to rapid weight gain.3
  • Corticosteroids
    • Corticosteroid lotions and creams may decrease levels of collagen in the skin.4 This can cause a “weakening” of the skin, which may increase the risk of stretch marks.

The Solution

There have been some investigations into the benefits of certain creams, oils, and topical solutions. However, there is no high-quality5 evidence that they do much to treat or prevent stretch marks. There are a few natural things you could do that may help prevent the marks from occurring, but they are not guaranteed.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. This decreases your chance at rapid stretching of the skin, which may help prevent the marks from suddenly sneaking up on you.

According to Medical News Today, eating a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals can help support the skin.6 Especially important are vitamins A and C, along with zinc and silicon minerals.

During pregnancy, aim for a slow and gradual weight gain over the 9-month period to avoid rapid stretching of the skin.

Try drinking six to eight glasses of water a day7 to keep the body well-hydrated.

!! FYI – Exercise and Stretch Marks

If you’re looking to bulk up, be careful not to do it too quickly. Try using lighter weights and higher reps to gradually build muscle without putting your skin at risk.8

What’s Really Important

Stretch marks are natural, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of them. If they are bothersome, talk to your doctor and ask what he/she suggests.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


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What Causes Low Iron Levels?

What Causes Low Iron Levels?

Iron’s Role in the Body

The main function of iron is to carry oxygen in the blood to every cell in the body.

Common Symptoms of Iron Deficiency1

  1. Pale skin
  2. Extreme exhaustion
  3. Hair loss
  4. RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome)
  5. Swollen tongue
  6. Pica – Developing a craving for “non-food substances, such as clay, dirt, or chalk.”2
  7. Frequent infections

What causes Iron Deficiency?

When your body lacks iron, it cannot produce enough of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells needed to maintain a healthy body. When the body lacks the proper amount of these cells, it can result in anemia, which can cause the body to feel tired and weary.

Iron-Rich Foods

Some iron-rich foods include, but are not limited to3:

  • Eggs, specifically egg yolks
  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Chickpeas
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Spinach
  • Sesame seeds

The Two Types of Iron

Heme Iron – This type of iron is derived from animal sources, whereas

Non-heme Iron – Is derived from plant sources.

Proper Iron Levels

The normal hemoglobin range is generally defined as 13.5 to 17.5 grams (g) of hemoglobin per deciliter (dL) of blood for men and 12.0 to 15.5 g/dL for women. The normal ranges for children vary depending on the child’s age and gender.4

Exercise & Anemia

While some men and women who exercise at a vigorous level may be more prone to developing anemia (due to level of fitness and intensity), exercise can generally IMPROVE the distribution of red blood cells in the body and help fight off the symptoms of anemia.

Stay healthy at LA Fitness, find a club near you by clicking here.

This article is not meant to be construed as medical device. Consult with your doctor before engaging in a new fitness or nutritional regime. If you suspect you or a loved one is iron deficient, consult with your physician to discuss proper care and treatment.

Sources:

  1. Welch, Ashley. “7 Unusual Signs of Iron Deficiency.” EverydayHealth.com, Everyday Health, 25 Oct. 2017, everydayhealth.com/news/unusual-signs-iron-deficiency/.
  2. Ibid
  3. Images, Getty, et al. “10 Healthy Foods That Are Great Sources of Iron.” EverydayHealth.com, 11 Sept. 2017, everydayhealth.com/pictures/foods-high-in-iron/.
  4. “Iron Deficiency Anemia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Nov. 2016, mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355040.

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AAT – Ep. 13: Strength Training or Cardio First?

AAT – Ep. 13: Strength Training or Cardio First?

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

New to the gym or just unsure where to begin? We speak with Pro Results® trainer Kayla V. who helps answer the age old question – does strength training or cardio come first?

Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

14 + 6 =

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


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Proper Water Temperatures for 13 Everyday Tasks

Proper Water Temperatures for 13 Everyday Tasks

Much like Goldilocks trying to find the perfect temperature of porridge, many of us struggle with finding just the right temperature of water to use. Those temperatures often vary from activity to activity. While some people enjoy hot showers, others prefer cold ones. Some wash their fruits and veggies in lukewarm water, while others use cold water. It bids the question – are there certain water temperatures we should be using for certain tasks? We did the research.

Never second-guess water temperatures again. Check out the following activities and corresponding recommended water temperatures.

Showering + Washing Your Hair

Who doesn’t love a nice hot shower, with the steamy warmth of water cascading over you and warming you up from head-to-toe? The trouble is that hot showers (anything above 99 degrees1) can dry out your skin and leave your hair feeling brittle! The hot water can also strip your skin of natural oils and may trigger inflammation2. The solution to this isn’t necessarily to opt for a cold shower either. In fact, anything below the average temperature of 96 degrees can harness negative effects of its own. This means that you’re left with a healthy, happy, medium – warm, with a cold rinse at the end of your shower3, which is what you should aim for.

Drinking Water

Over the years, there has been quite a debate over whether it’s best to drink room temperature water or cold water. Well, the fact of the matter is, each side has its benefits. Here’s why:

Benefits of Drinking Warm Water

  • Our core body temperature typically sits at 98 degrees. When we feel hot after working out or being in hot temperatures, our body craves cold water. However, drinking cold water to cool off may actually have the opposite effect, causing our body to work harder to “normalize” the temperature of the water, resulting in raising our body temperature.4 In this situation, drinking room temperature water may be best.
  • Having some tummy trouble? Warm water has been found to help aid in digestion by flushing fats out and promoting healthy bowel movements,5 unlike its cold water counterpart which can harden fats consumed around the inner wall of our intestines and may cause constipation.6
  • Warm water has also been known to help ease cramping and indigestion symptoms.7
  • Looking to detox? Drinking hot water may help.8 Hot water can help cause the body to sweat which helps flush out toxins and aids in the detox process.

Benefits of Drinking Cold Water

  • Before you completely discount drinking cold water, it does have its benefits. For example, when the body is working hard trying to warm up after cold water is consumed, this causes he body to burn more calories9, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • Quite simply: many people agree that cold water tastes better. It’s crisp, refreshing and thirst-quenching. If you find yourself struggling to drink the recommended 8 cups a day10 you may want to try giving cold water a shot.

Washing the Dishes

The hotter, the better! The water temperature should be uncomfortable for bare hands (invest in some rubber gloves to protect your hands when washing). Ideally, the water temperature should be at 110 degrees Fahrenheit11 to help kill bacteria and assist in cutting through tough built up grease.

Dishwasher Temperature

According to GE Appliances, “Water entering the dishwasher must be at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit and not more than 150 degrees Fahrenheit for the best cleaning and to prevent damage to the dishes.”12

Bathing Your Baby + Washing Your Dog

When you have something as precious as a newborn baby, you want to do everything in your power to take care of it. So, when it comes to bath time, what temperature is just right? According to an article put out by the Mayo Clinic, they suggest aiming for bath water around 100 F (38 C) and ensuring the room is comfortably warm too.13

Does this mean man’s best friend should be bathed in the same temperature water too? Pets are sensitive to hot and cold water, so to avoid the shock value, keep the water temperature at a lukewarm level.14 This will help ensure a comfortable experience for them and may even increase the effectiveness of the shampoo.15

Brushing Your Teeth

Cold water seems like the preferred way to go, but if you have sensitive teeth, lukewarm water may help with that. This one is really up to personal preference, so go for what feels most comfortable to you! However, Richard H. Price, a spokesman for the American Dental Association, did warn about water being too warm, potentially softening toothbrush bristles.16

Watering Plants

Have you ever thought the reason your outdoor and indoor houseplants kept dying was simply that you were born without a green thumb? Think again. Premature plant death is often caused by over-watering, but when you do need to water your plants, what temperature should the water be? Try allowing the water to reach room temperature before watering your greens.17

!! TIP: “Allowing tap water to warm up to room temperature also allows water additives to evaporate or settle out in the water. These additives can cause the browning of plant leaf tips. The prolonged use of water from a softener usually results in poor plant growth.”18

Washing Your Hands

Administration guidelines for food and restaurant establishments recommend that plumbing systems should deliver water at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. However, in a recent article published in Time Magazine, researchers at Rutgers University “found no significant difference in cleaning power between water that was 60, 79 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”19 The real takeaway here is to make sure to always wash your hands!

Washing Clothes

Hot water is best left for whites and heavily dirtied clothes, but a word for the wise: hot water may shrink, fade and even damage some fabrics.20 Make sure that you’re reading fabric labels to ensure you won’t be ruining the clothing.

Warm water is best when washing knits, jeans, and other man-made fibers.21 Most clothes can be washed in warm water (roughly 90 degrees Fahrenheit) without significant shrinking or fading occurring.

As for cold water washing, leave that for dark, bright colors, and delicates.22 However, when washing with cold water you may need to pre-treat or pre-soak clothes if they are heavily soiled.

Brewing Teas

White Tea

White tea should be brewed at a low temperature, so as not to burn the tea leaves. A helpful tip would be to use water once tiny bubbles have formed on the bottom of the pan.23

Green Teas

Much like white tea, it’s best to brew green teas at a lower temperature as well. This can help prevent a bitter or grassy flavor from overpowering your tea.24 A tip offered by The Spruce online suggests waiting until tiny bubbles have formed on the bottom of the pot and begin rising to the surface of the pot.

Oolong Tea

Time to turn up the heat. For oolong tea, a higher temperature will not damage the tea. It’s suggested that brewing between 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot.25 Bubbles should be slightly larger in size as opposed to brewing white or green tea, with a good amount of steam escaping the pot.

Black Tea

Depending on the type of black tea you are drinking, either moderate and high temperate water may be used. For more delicate black teas, brew as you would an oolong. For heavier black teas, it is fine to bring the temperature up to just under a boil.26 You will notice large bubbles and plenty of steam.

Pu-erh Tea

Boil, baby, boil! It’s suggested that pu-erh tea should be brewed with fully boiling water.

Herbal

Depending on the plants being used, the water temperature for brewing herbal tea varies widely.27 Check what’s best for your specific herbal tea in order to yield best results.

Brewing Coffee + Espresso

Straight from the National Coffee Association themselves, your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction.” Cold water can result in under-extracted coffee, which may cause the coffee to taste flat. On the other hand, brewing too hot can impact the quality taste of the coffee.28

As for brewing that special shot of espresso, there are multiple claims that various temperatures are “best” for securing that perfect espresso shot. There doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to prove one temperature outshines another, so go rogue, espresso lovers of the world.

Cooking

Baking Bread

Time to bake the bread before you start breaking it. When activating the yeast for the bread, make sure that it is done so in 120 to 130 degree Fahrenheit water. Anything over 130 degrees can kill the yeast, and anything lower than 120 degrees can make the dough hard to work with.28

Thawing Meats

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, cold water thawing is a completely acceptable way to thaw meat as long as you follow a few safety guidelines. Completely submerge the bag of meat in cold tap water, changing out the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold and allowing the meat to continually thaw.29

Mopping Floors

Cold water is said to work best for mopping floors, because cold water dries slower and evenly on the floor’s surface, which may help prevent smears and streaks from forming.30

Washing Produce

When washing fruits and veggies, the water should be no more than 10 degrees colder than the produce.31 As long as you make sure you’re scrubbing and sufficiently cleaning the produce in hand, tap water should be an efficient way to get produce clean and ready to prep/consume.

Sources:

  1. Almanza, Aubrey. “The Healthiest Temperature for Your Shower.” Reader’s Digest, 21 Nov. 2016, rd.com/health/wellness/healthiest-temperature-shower/.
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. “Are You Drinking Water at the Right Temperature?” Guided Mind, www.guidedmind.com/blog/are-you-drinking-water-at-the-right-temperature.
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10. Gunnars, Kris. “How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Aug. 2016, www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day.
  11. “Kitchen Sanitation: Dishwashing Best Practices.” com, www.universalclass.com/articles/business/kitchen-sanitation-dishwashing.htm.
  12. Dishwasher Correct Water Temperature, products.geappliances.com/appliance/gea-support-search-content?contentId=18924.
  13. “A Parent’s Guide to Newborn Baths.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Oct. 2016, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/healthy-baby/art-20044438?pg=2.
  14. “PetMD, LLC.” PetMD, www.petmd.com/dog/grooming/evr_multi_bath_time_fun.
  15. “20% OFF Drs. Foster and Smith Brand Products   Shop Now ›.” Doctors Foster and Smith, drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=735.
  16. Ray, C. Claiborne. “The Truth About Brushing.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Apr. 2013, nytimes.com/2013/04/30/science/should-we-use-hot-water-to-brush-our-teeth.html.
  17. Watering Houseplants, ag.ndsu.edu/hort/info/inform/indoor/water.htm.
  18. Ibid
  19. “Why You Should Wash Your Hands in Cold Water.” Time, Time, time.com/4800412/wash-hands-cold-water/.
  20. “Washer Water Temperature Guide.” WASH Laundry, 17 July 2014, washlaundry.com/residents/laundry-tips/temperature/.
  21. Ibid
  22. Ibid
  23. “Find the Right Water Temperature for Brewing Any Type of Tea.” The Spruce, www.thespruce.com/how-to-brew-tea-water-temperatures-766316.
  24. Ibid
  25. Ibid
  26. Ibid
  27. Ibid
  28. “The Perfect Water Temp For…Everything!” Prevention, 11 Feb. 2016, prevention.com/health/healthy-living/the-best-water-temperature-for-everything/slide/9.
  29. “FSIS.” The Big Thaw, www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/CT_Index.
  30. HARO Quality flooring – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG., Rosenheim, Germany. All rights reserved. “HARO – FAQ – Find out How to Mop Your Floor without Streaks and Smears by Using Clean & Green – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG.” HARO Quality Flooring – Hamberger Flooring GmbH & Co. KG., Rosenheim, Germany. All Rights Reserved., www.haro.com/gb/accessories/care_accessories/faq.php.
  31. https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/09380.pdf

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Commit to Fit Featured Member Goals

Commit to Fit Featured Member Goals

Commit to Fit

Do you have a fitness goal? Let us know here! To learn more about Commit to fit, click here.

Goals, Commitments, Community

Commit to Fit is a program designed to help members stick to their fitness goals. In fact, studies show, those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not write their goals.* Share yours with us today in the Commit to Fit form below!** You may even be featured in a future Commit to Fit post. Shown below, are some of our most recent members who have committed to their fitness goals.

Derek W. (trainee) and Pro Results® trainer Mehdi E.

Paul W.

Derek is W. is committed to being healthy and fit. He is currently working out with Pro Results® personal trainer Mehdi E., who wants to help each of his clients reach the best shape of their lives. Keep it up guys!

Paul W. is working towards getting stronger and eventually completing a marathon! Keep your goals in mind to help you progress!

Tyler E.

Tyler E. is working towards gaining muscle, keeping lean and getting cut! We believe in you Tyler, keep going!

Q. N.

Sometimes a goal can be as simple as staying fit, and that’s exactly what keeps Q coming back to the gym!

commit to fit logo, LA Fitness, member fitness goals

7 + 6 =

*Goals Research Summary conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California, statistics retrieved, September 9, 2016.

**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights   

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