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Try Workouts from Around the World with These International Fitness Trends

Here in the States, we not only like to keep up with the Joneses, but also the Juans in Mexico, the Martins in France, and the Satous in Japan. In other words, we don’t like to be left out or behind even on a global scale.

This is the case with food – whose is better? – and fashion – who looks the best? But it’s also the case with fitness. Just as every other aspect of our lives differs culturally, you can believe that’s the case when it comes to working out, too. Grab your gym-going passport and take a look at what’s popular beyond our borders. You may be inspired to try something new!

walking in spain
SPAIN

The carefree lifestyle of the Spanish seems to translate to their approach to fitness, too. As a whole, they don’t seem to worry themselves too much with getting in to the gym. Their inherent lifestyle does a body good! “The majority of them eat a healthy enough diet (Mediterranean diet at its finest) and walk almost everywhere (if they live in a big city), so obesity isn’t that big of a concern,” said Kelsey Murray, an American teacher who travels to Seville to teach English. They certainly don’t give exercise the chore status that Americans do, as it’s naturally just a part of their lives.

cycling in france
FRANCE

These Euros are also not sweating out their evenings in the gym, rather they prefer to get out en plein air. Translation: They enjoy the outdoors. And why wouldn’t they? Beautiful scenery from nature and architecture provide an inspired background to walk, run, cycle, or even row. Because they are “discreet but effective,” Mireille Guiliano, author of the French Women Don’t Get Fat series of books, told Yahoo! that isometric exercises are very French. With a straight back, contract your abs for 12 seconds, hold, release, and repeat. You can do this on the subway, in your desk chair, in your office, or even at a fancy dinner date.
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Reports of Agent Orange Being Used in Brazil May Be Exaggerated

Last week, Treehugger posted an article suggesting that ranchers in Brazil were covertly using Agent Orange to illegally clear patches of the rainforest. The article received several comments  on most sites where it was syndicated, mostly outraged that this could be occurring; however, there were some that were skeptical.

Agent Orange is a combination of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D; however, the 2,4,5-T was found to be contaminated with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin, also known as TCDD, which is a very toxic dioxin compound. Today, 2,4,5-T is banned in many areas of the world due to the toxicity dangers. It isn’t just Agent Orange that is banned, but one of its principle ingredients. Translations via Google of the sites cited by Treehugger never actually claimed that Agent Orange was used or that the entire “Agent Orange” compound was used.


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Overweight, Divorced Women Welcome in Mauritania

Oprah sang during her show yesterday “There is a place for us…,” as she learned that Mauritania, a west African nation, classifies beauty as being overweight. Her Nov. 20 episode featured a look around the world at how different countries define beauty in women. In Japan it was having flawless, porcelain skin; in Iran it was having a petite nose (the nose job capital of the world); in New Zealand, the women tattoo their chins and have their lips tattooed blue.

Mauritanian men and women define beauty as being “plump,” said Houda, a native of the country. From a young age, girls are force-fed couscous and camel’s milk, which is high in fat, all in an effort to make the girls gain weight so that they can find a husband. Often times, the girls are stuffed so full that they get sick, but given little recovery time before the feeding begins again. It seems the fatter the better in this culture.
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Acai is Brazil’s Super Food

As our lives grow increasingly busy and the stress and pressures from our jobs continues to build, our health typically takes the brunt of the blow. We’re sleeping less and spending more time in stressful circumstances. This invariably leads to poor dietary habits which deprives our bodies of nutrients and ultimately intensifies the health impacts we suffer. These dynamics are the primary reason for the popularity of acai, a berry that has been called a “super food.”

acaiThose who have used acai claim that it helps to alleviate many common ailments that have stymied doctors and other medical experts for years. But, what is acai? Where does it come from and what are its inherent benefits? Below, we’ll discuss the origins of this “super food,” the benefits of eating it and whether choosing it is the right dietary choice for you.

Where Does Acai Come From?
The acai berry comes from trees that are native to the rain forests of Brazil. Rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, the berry has been consumed by the tribes and communities within the rain forests for years. Today, the pulp is extracted from the acai berry and used as a staple in these communities for a variety of dishes. Having been discovered by explorers years ago, the acai berry is harvested and exported to countries around the world. Companies that wish to leverage acai’s growing popularity in developed nations produce smoothies, juices and sorbets using acai.

Benefits Of Using Acai
There’s a long list of benefits that proponents (and marketers) of acai claim is inherent in the berry. Many of these benefits are likely due to the high level of antioxidants (specifically, anthocyanins) found within. These anthocyanins help prevent heart disease. In fact, it’s estimated that the acai berry has several times the level of anthocyanins as red wine (also known to help prevent heart disease).

The acai berry is also thought to contain a high level of important vitamins and Phytosterols. Vitamins A, B1, B2, C and E are found in great supply in the berry which helps your immune system battle illnesses and injuries. The Phytosterols in acai are believed to help your cardiovascular system function effectively. In addition, acai contains an assortment of fatty and amino acids that help your muscles regenerate while providing a significant boost of endurance and stamina.

There have even been links between acai and insomnia. Many people who use acai claim that the nutrients and antioxidants within the berry help to regulate the hormones and chemicals within the brain that cause sleeping disorders. Though much is unknown about acai, many nutritionists suggest that people begin taking it to help resolve many illnesses that conventional medicine seems unable to remedy.

Is Acai Right For You?
Researchers continue to test the potency of acai. But, despite how much still remains unknown about the fruit, many people have claimed that their problems with insomnia, weight loss and lack of stamina have largely been remedied by consuming acai on a daily basis. If you have been battling any of the symptoms or conditions mentioned above, consider adding acai to your daily diet.

Article by Damon Zahariades