How to Stick to an Exercise

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Once your initial enthusiasm wears off, you might find it hard to stick with your exercise routine. Here are some tips to keep you motivated:

  • Make it fun. If you like to be around people, take an aerobics class or sign up for a local soccer or walking club. If you’re happier in solitude, trying walking or hiking in a park or location with a nice view.
  • Switch up what you do so you don’t get bored. Walk one day and lift light weights the next. Ride a bike, dance, take a yoga class — doing anything is better than doing nothing.
  • Make exercise social. If you make a commitment to exercise with someone else, you’re more likely to stick to it than if you’re just working out alone. Plus, you get to catch up with your friend and cheer on each other’s accomplishments.
  • Make exercise a priority. Think of exercising as a necessary part of life, like breathing, sleeping, and eating. It’s what you do to be as healthy as you can be. Schedule exercise like you do any other important activity. Put it in your daily planner!
  • Exercise first thing in the morning. If you exercise in the morning, you’re more likely to stick to your routine, according to some studies. As the day goes on, you’re more likely to come up with excuses or have delays in your schedule that can make it hard to exercise. Another bonus of morning exercise: you’re energized for the day ahead.
  • Exercise on your way home from work. If you can’t exercise first thing in the morning, working out on your way home from work is the next best thing. Make sure you don’t go home first. Once you change and sit down, it’s unlikely you’ll be motivated enough to go back out again. A bonus of after-work exercise: you melt away the day’s stress and irritations.
  • Exercise even when you think you’re too tired. You’ll probably feel better and more energized afterward. Exercise makes your brain release endorphins, which elevate your mood and make your whole body feel better. You also breathe deeply, which can make you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Keep an exercise journal. Write down the exercise statistics that are important to you: how long you exercised, how far you walked (or ran or biked), how much weight you lifted, how many reps you did, etc. Seeing your progress can help keep you motivated to achieve more.
  • Reward yourself. Set some goals and as you achieve them, reward yourself. When you’re able to walk for 30 minutes without stopping, you might buy yourself a new pair of walking shoes or a warm-up jacket. When you can put your body in Eagle Pose in yoga, your reward might be a new pair of yoga pants or a new top. Do whatever works for you!
  • Be flexible. If you’re truly too busy or feel run down, take a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.

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Read the original article here.



How to Adapt to the Heat for Summer Runs

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The Pink 5k is only a few days away! Because the race is in Texas we want to make sure you are prepared for the heat on Saturday! We found this great article on How to Adapt to the Heat for Summer Runs from Active.com! Enjoy! (For more information on The Pink 5k, visit ThePink5k.com)

 

While the old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” makes sense in theory, it isn’t very practical for runners trying to maintain physical fitness or achieve race goals during intense summer heat. “Warm-weather running impacts all runners,” says Marlene Atwood of Women’s 101 Fitness in Alpharetta, Georgia. “Not only do we lose precious body fluids through perspiration, but heat makes us feel like we’re working harder than we really are.” Striding it out on a treadmill in an air-conditioned gym and running late at night are both options. But if you don’t want to relegate yourself to a summer of gym drudgery or little sleep you’re going to have to deal with the heat.

Drink to Your Health

“It’s imperative to be hydrated when you begin an exercise session,” says Jim Rutberg, pro coach at Carmichael Training Systems. “Hydration must occur on an ongoing basis, not just when you exercise.” According to Rutberg, most people are somewhat dehydrated at all times; we simply don’t drink enough fluids. To improve, Rutberg suggests scheduling water consumption just as you schedule workouts. “Don’t water load, but be conscious of consuming enough fluids throughout the day to optimize your hydration level,” he says. “Your body will be better able to handle the heat and stress, resulting in a more effective workout.”

“Proper hydration should be a lifestyle,” says Jen Burn, a cross-country team alumna at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. “If I wake up thirsty that is a sure sign I’m not properly hydrated.” Considering the fact that water makes up approximately 60 percent of our body weight, hydrating with cool fluids is a must. When exercising in the heat, aim for 16 to 28 ounces of fluid intake per hour.

It is crucial to stick with your hydration plan once you are exercising. “By the time you feel thirsty, you could have a two percent body-weight water loss, already putting you into the impairment zone,” says Steve Born, fueling expert for Hammer Nutrition. While you can sweat up to 3 liters an hour in extreme conditions, the most water your body can take back in the same time period is 1 liter. This means you’ll finish extended workouts at a hydration deficit, according to Born, so be prepared to hydrate as part of your recovery.

“When it’s hot, you need to salt up,” Atwood says. She recommends incorporating an electrolyte-balanced sports drink into your hydration plan. Experiment with different products to find the one that works best for you.

Adapting to the Heat

If you run every day at the same time, no matter the weather, your body is already naturally adjusting to seasonal temperature changes. But for runners beginning a new workout program, increasing mileage or preparing for a hot weather race, they will need to consciously adapt to the heat.

“A huge part of being fit is being heat tolerant,” says Chris Kostman, chief adventure officer of AdventureCORPS and race director for the Badwater Ultramarathon, a 135-mile, nonstop running race across Death Valley in the stiffing July heat. Many races in hot weather locales are held in cooler seasons, such as the ING Miami Marathon in January, to reduce the heat risks to athletes. But Kostman holds his race in the hottest place and season on purpose. “If you are holding what is considered one of the world’s toughest foot races, you can’t tiptoe around Mother Nature,” he says. In preparation for scorching sun and temperatures reaching up to 130 degrees, Badwater athletes follow a four-week sauna regimen (available at badwater.com), which allows their bodies to process heat, fluids and sweat more efficiently.

“However, you always have to be cautious in the heat and pay attention to your body, no matter how acclimated you think you are,” says Andrew Middleton, assistant coach with McMillan Running. According to Middleton, proper training and knowing your body’s abilities and signals are key.

Precautions to Keep You on Pace

If the heat really isn’t your thing, run in the morning (usually just before sunrise) for the coolest temperatures of the day. When possible, you can also seek out shady routes for relief from incessant sun. Dress in light-colored, synthetic clothing (to reflect the sun’s rays, wick and dry quickly), that fits loose enough to promote airflow. Moving air helps to evaporate sweat and thus maintain body temperature.

“Although counter intuitive, it’s important to cover up,” Kostman says. Skin is your body’s largest organ. Keep it covered to prevent excess absorption of the sun’s heat and to prevent sunburns. Not only is sunburn uncomfortable, it inhibits your body’s ability to properly sweat and cool. A runner with a loose-fitting shirt is best prepared for the heat. Sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses allow you to make your own shade and provide protection. Plus, constant squinting in the bright sun can give you a headache. And when it’s just too hot to function, Burn’s go-to workout is running in the pool. “It’s a great way to sneak in some extra mileage and switch up your routine without overheating.”

Even with proper training and gear, the most important skill is listening to your body and knowing the danger signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat cramps and hyponatremia. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, are disoriented, have stopped sweating when you know you should be, have goose bumps in hot weather or your skin feels clammy, stop exercising, get out of the sun and seek medical attention.

Despite the challenges, running in hot weather is an important skill to hone. With an ever-ready water bottle, a few weeks to adjust, good common sense and general precautions, you can successfully continue with your fall marathon training program through the dog days of summer.


See the original article here by Allison Pattillo with Active.com



4 Tips to Prep for The Pink 5k

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With The Pink 5k being only 10 days away, (Saturday, June 21 at Creekside Park) we thought we’d share with you some last minute prep information we found:

Exercise

If you signed up for a 5K a few months ago and you’ve now realized it’s just a couple of weeks ago, you may be worried that you won’t be ready to go the distance.

Although two weeks is not a lot of time to prepare for a 5K, it’s possible to still get yourself more mentally and physically ready for the race. If you’ve been exercising a few times a week, take a look at the last two weeks of this 5K Beginner 4-Week Schedule and see if it looks doable to you.

And here are some general tips to follow in the next two weeks:

Try a run/walk approach. Many runners are surprised that their pace is actually faster when they take a 30 second walking break every mile, rather than trying to run all the way through.  A short walk gives your running muscles a break and can provide a huge mental boost. Try it out in training, and then use the strategy on race day by walking for 30 seconds when you hit a mile marker.

Run on the course. If you’re doing a local race, get out there and run parts of the course. You’ll feel a lot more mentally prepared knowing what to expect. If there’s a big hill on the course, several repeats (at least a week before) as a strengthening and confidence-boosting workout.

Don’t cram. Don’t try to make up for lost training time by running hard or long every day. You still have time for a couple of long or hard workouts before the race, but make sure they’re followed by a rest or easy day so your body has time to recover.

Rest the day before. No amount of running you do the day before the race will improve your performance. And if you do too much, you’ll pay for it on race day. So just take it easy so your legs are rested and fresh for the race.

 

Remember The Pink 5k is a family-friendly, fun race! Be looking out for more tips to come!

 

Source: About.com



Summer Pool Snacks: 11 Healthy Choices

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Summer is here! With summer comes the pool fun (an opportunity for some vitamin D) and it’s important to be prepared with healthy summer pool snacks so you don’t find yourself running though a drive-thru. We found this great blog post from Natalie with SuperHealthyKids.com and thought we’d share! It’s great not only for kids, but adults too!

“Swimming (and any water activity for that matter) always makes my kids super hungry.  Without fail, they swim for a while, and then come running asking for snacks.  Bringing pre-packaged snacks is easy, but with a little bit of planning, you can bring healthy filling snacks to the pool for your kidlets.  Our snack ideas are not only healthy, but filling enough to give your kids the energy they need to swim, run and play on a summer day!

 Banana Boats 

Cut a banana in half lengthwise and spread with peanut butter.  Then sandwich back together for less of a mess!

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Boiled Eggs and Veggie Sticks

Packed full of protein, boiled eggs are easy to transport and filling.  Veggie sticks are a given – by themselves, or great dipped in hummus for a little extra oomph!

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Frozen Grapes

Sweet, refreshing, and delicious! Never frozen grapes before?  It is so easy.

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Muffins

Who says muffins are just for breakfast?  Packed full of healthy carbohydrates, they are the perfect pool snack to give your kids lots of energy.  Make them ahead, freeze them and then pull a few out for your next trip to the pool.  Your kids will go bananas over our Banana Bread Muffin.

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Laughing cow cheese is one of our favorite snacks.  It is great to bring to the pool – fast and convenient.  It is delicious spread on veggie sticks, apples, pears, and crackers.

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Homemade Crackers

When you make your own, you know exactly what is in them.  Plus you can make lots of varieties!  Here are a couple of our recipes.

Cheese Crackers

Corn Chips

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Homemade Fruit Leather

Kids love fruit snacks – but they are packed full of sugar.  Our homemade fruit leather is all-natural, no-added sugar, and so fast to whip up a batch!

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Homemade Lunchable

Cheese, turkey, whole-grain crackers and your favorite fruit.  Great for a pool-side snack or lunch!

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Quick Bread

The great thing about quick bread is that you can make it ahead and freeze it.  Then on your next pool trip, bring it with you and let it thaw.  It will be moist and delicious by the time you are ready to eat it! This Peach Crisp Bread is one of our favorites.

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Trail Mix

Here are some of our favorite mixes.

Sweet Snack Mix

Trail Mix Ideas

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Edamame

This simple and quick snack is packed full of protein and fiber.

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