Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

It’s the Spring Cleaning Workout!

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man who says that they actually enjoy the thoughts of spring cleaning…

But, if you just take into consideration how many calories are burned while you are doing your spring cleaning, then you may be a little more excited when spring rolls around this year.

The actual amount of calories burned will depend on your weight, gender and age, but there calculators that you can find online (FitDay or NutriStrategy) that will help you to calculate your actual calories burned.

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So dust off your mops, break out the cleaner and begin to sweat off the weight!

Gardening: 226 calories

Window washing: 226 calories

Scrubbing floors (on hands and knees): 291 calories

Laundry, ironing: 84 calories

Sewing repairs: 36 calories

Dusting: 97 calories

Scrubbing toilets, tub: 246 calories

Vacuuming: 317 calories

Cleaning gutters: 258 calories

Moving furniture, household items: 387 calories

Painting, papering, plastering: 317 calories

Sweeping: 194 calories

Mopping: 153 calories

Mowing the lawn: 148 calories

Washing dishes: 77 calories

Getting More Out of Your Elliptical Workout

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

Its winter and more and more people are choosing to move their workout to the gym.  If the one machine that is your go-to machine when you are at your public or home gym is the elliptical, then you need to make sure that you are getting the most out of your workout at all times.

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While the elliptical is a great cardio machine, if you keep your routine at a slow, steady pace every single time, then you are not getting the most effective workout that you can.

One of the major things that you can do is practice interval training on the elliptical.  Interval training focuses on constantly changing the speed and intensity of the exercise.

Most experts suggest coming up with an exercise plan before you start on the elliptical.  For example, you can start out by going at your normal, slow and steady pace for a solid minute.

Then switch it up and go at a faster, more intense pace for 30 seconds.  You can continue switching between your slow and steady pace and your faster pace for the entire length of your workout.

Some other suggestions to get the most out of your elliptical routine include:

  • Choose an adequate resistance.  Instead of allowing momentum to do all of the work for you, change the resistance to a higher number and make sure that you are actually using your legs to propel the blades.
  • Lean back on your heels.  Make sure that you aren’t putting all of your weight on your toes while you are on the elliptical.  By being up on your toes, your legs will go numb and will shorten your workout prematurely.

Burning Calories in the Snow

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Let’s face it.  Most of us don’t have the luxury of living in a climate where it is warm and sunny 12 months out of the year.  Instead we must learn to deal with all four seasons …including the dreaded winter.

But, thinking positively, there are plenty of things to do outdoors in the winter where you can burn calories – lots of them!  So, try one of these high-intensity, fun winter activities today:

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  • Cross country skiing
  • Downhill skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Hiking
  • Dog-sledding
  • Zip lining
  • Sled riding – especially if you find a really steep hill!
  • Snow tubing

 

It’s important to keep in mind that whatever winter outdoor activity you decide to take part in, it’s necessary to dress in layers, remain hydrated and watch for signs of hypothermia.

Remember to warm up first.  Just like you were working out indoors, warming up first before you get started working out outdoors is definitely important.  Colder temperatures can cause your muscles to tighten up, so a proper warm up session will help prevent injury.

When you come in from out of the cold, it’s also important to NOT strip down and remove all of your layers.  Give your body time to adjust from your outdoor workout.  Post-exercise hypothermia is possible, so be sure to let your body adjust before taking off all of those layers.

Staying hydrated is also a big one, so be sure to have plenty of water on hand for whatever outdoor activity you choose.

Fitness for All: New Year! New Workout!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Try these quick and easy ways to jump start your new workout regimen in 2017!

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  • Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day. Shoot for 10,000 steps per day.  If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density. Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.
  • Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc. Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.
  • Don’t spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.
  • Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.
  • Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise. Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.
  • Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.
  • Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind. Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.
  • Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member. This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

How Fit Are You?

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Take this Quiz and Find out!

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2017, take these three self tests to find out how fit you are first!

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  • How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the amount of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.
  • How is your flexibility? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.  Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.

Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles. 

  • What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Winter Motivation Tips

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s easy to get lazy and to lack the motivation to even get out of bed some days.  So how do you stay motivated when everything is keeping you down?   Try some of these tips:

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  • Set goals and document them. By keeping a list you will see this daily and you will feel more inclined to want to check things off this list.
  • Set clear dates of when you need to complete things by, whether they are long term or short term goals. By giving yourself a deadline, you will work harder to keep them.
  • Reward yourself for meeting your deadlines and reaching your goals.  Whether you allow yourself to buy something nice or a day of pampering at the spa, you will work harder to do things when you know there is a reward at the end.
  • Listen to motivational tapes and/or read motivational books to help gain some inspiration to keep going.
  • Learn to breathe correctly.  You will feel more relaxed and when you are more relaxed you will also be more apt to stay motivated than when you are stressed.
  • Keep a positive attitude.  Even though it is easy to be depressed when the long, cold winter months drag on, try to remain positive and you will notice that motivation comes along with being happy.
  • Remind yourself that progress is what is important and not perfection.  This is especially important when you are looking at your long-term goals, as they may seem like the most unreachable.  Remember all of the short-term goals that you have met and you will be more successful.
  • Build a support system of friends and family members that are typically motivated.  By keeping like-minded people close to you, you will become motivated by just being in their presence.

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Health experts are constantly conducting research and learning more and more about the benefits of exercise for the elderly.  Sedentary adults are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers, and joint and muscle disorders.

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To help ward off these conditions and to deal with the everyday wear and tear that aging has on our bodies, experts suggest that individuals over the age of 50 should consult their physician and a personal trainer to come up with a fitness plan that works for them.

Another condition that exercise for the elderly has proven to help is the arthritis-striken.

The appropriate exercises can reduce inflammation and relieve stiffness in those particular joints.  It also increases flexibility, muscle strength, power and stamina.

Elderly adults who exercise also gains the benefits that their younger counterparts also gain including: weight control, the ability to manage daily stress and improved self-confidence.

Experts have also found that exercising as you age can also reduce the risk of premature death, can curb depression and minimizes the development of brittle bones.

Burn some fat with these great workouts!

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

Even though sweater and parka weather is upon us, ‘tis the season to sculpt away that unwanted fat… because let’s be honest any season is the perfect time to sculpt away that unwanted fat, right?

In order to fight fat and sculpt, you need to target your biggest problem areas – like your glutes, thighs, and love handles. Follow these fat-busting moves to get in the best shape this season (or any season!)

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Problem – Under arm jiggle

Solution – Tricep dips

Sit on the floor or a bench with knees bent at 90 degrees and palms facing out, behind you. Raise your body up and down, dipping your rear until it hovers just above the ground. Keep your elbows pointed straight behind you, and you should feel it in your triceps. Do for 60 seconds, and repeat three times.

 

Problem – Inner thigh jiggle

Solution – Sumo squat

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes pointed out. Keeping a tall spine, stand up straight, bringing your right foot to meet your left. Then, return to low squat position. Repeat for 20 to 25 reps; do 3 or 4 sets.

 

Problem – Love handles

Solution – Side forearm plank

Start with a traditional forearm plank, elbows under shoulders and forearms parallel, abdominals engaged. Slide your palms toward your centerline so your thumb and forefingers connect. Then stack your left hip on your right, placing your left palm on your left hip. Use your abs and pull your navel to your spine as you press your shins and thighs together. Reach your left (or top) arm up to the sky to open your chest while you press your hip up. Press up 10 times. Repeat on right side.

Workouts that May Do More Harm than Good!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Fitness for All

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Despite what many people believe, not all workouts are actually effective and conducive to losing weight and toning up.  There are a number of workouts that you will see people doing at your gym any given day of the week that are actually ineffective.

Unless you have the best form and are using some of these machines like textbook, then you actually may be doing more harm than good to your body.

Here are some examples of ineffective workouts:

Behind the Head Lat Pull Downs: Unfortunately only those with very mobile shoulder joints can keep their spine straight enough to get a good workout from the behind the back lat pull down bar.  The move done wrong can actually tear the rotator cuff.

  • Lying Leg Press (with knees bent too deeply):  This exercise is typically done to work your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes and is done on a machine where you use your feet to push a weighted plate up and down.  Unfortunately if you bend your knees too far, then you can seriously injure your back and/or knees.
  • Squats on a Smith Machine:  While the Smith Machine is generally an effective machine, the bar on the machine doesn’t give, which can force the body into risky positions, including placing their feet too far in front of them while doing their squats.
  • Using Bad Form on Cardio Machines:  While using bad form is not good on any machine, using bad form on cardio equipment is a big no-no. Hunching over can throw off your alignment, jarring your spine, shoulders and elbows.
  • Upright Row: This exercise done by pulling weights or a barbell underneath your chin can compress the nerves in your shoulder, actually impinging the shoulder.

 

10-second Health Tips

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Healthy Living

In the fast paced world that we live in, many people do not take the time out of their day that they should to properly take care of themselves.

But many health issues can be addressed in just 10 seconds.  Check out some of these tips!

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Put your contacts in after you shower

Getting a shower while wearing your contacts can expose your eyes to infection-causing waterborne microbes.  It’s best to wait until after you shower to put them in.

Check your thyroid.

Even a mildly overactive thyroid can increase your heart disease risk by 65 percent.  A quick blood test can check your level of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone.

Drink hot tea in the morning.

According to the International Journal of Cancer, drinking hot tea in the morning can slash your risk of kidney cancer by 15 percent.  They also suggest trying pu-erh tea instead of green or black tea, because it is better at preventing DNA damage

Recline a little.

Canadian researchers have found that keeping your body at a 90-degree angle puts a lot of strain on your spine.  Give your back a break and recline a little – the ideal angle is 45 degrees off vertical.

Get enough sleep.

British studies show that getting more than 9 hours a sleep a night or getting less than 6 hours a sleep a night, doubles your risk of an early death from any cause.  Experts always suggest that you should aim for 7 or 8 hours a night.

Eat steamed broccoli, not boiled.

By simply modifying the way that you cook your broccoli can increase the concentration of glucosinolates – compounds found to fight cancer – by 30 percent. Always steam your broccoli; boiling actually lowers the level of the compound.

Drink some wine. (Yes, we are serious!)

A recent Israeli study shows that polyphenols, the compounds found in red wine, help block fat absorption… so drink an extra glass of red wine. (or two!)