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



Fitness Friday

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Top Five Benefits Of Stretching

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Stretching should be a part of your fitness routine. It is, indeed, a form of exercise. Stretching involves elongating a specific muscle or muscle group to its fullest length.

 

Here are the top five benefits of adding stretching to your everyday life:

1.     Stretching Increases Flexibility

Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. Lack of flexibility causes your movement to become slower and less fluid and makes you more susceptible to muscle strains, ligament sprains and other soft tissue injuries. The most effective way to increase your flexibility is by stretching.

 

2.     Stretching Improves Circulation

Stretching increases blood flow to the muscles. This increased blood flow brings more nourishment to the muscles and removes more waste byproducts from the muscles. Increased blood flow can also help speed up recovery from muscle and joint injuries.

 

3.     Stretching Improves Balance and Coordination

The increased flexibility that comes from stretching improves balance and coordination. Improved balance and coordination lowers your risk for falls.

 

4. Stretching Helps Alleviate Lower Back Pain

Stiff and tight muscles in the lower back, hamstrings, buttocks and hips is one of the more common causes of lower back pain. Stretching these muscles will alleviate the pain.

 

5.     Stretching Helps Improve Cardiovascular Health

Recent studies have found that stretching can improve artery function and lower blood pressure.

In conclusion, don’t overlook the benefits of stretching. Make sure that stretching is a regular part of your fitness program.

 



Importance of Sleep

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According to The Harvard Women’s Health Watch, there are six main reasons why you should focus on getting a good night’s sleep.

  1. Immune System: If you are deprived of sleep your immune function is altered.  This may be why they say that keeping up with sleep helps to fight cancer.
  2. Cardiovascular Health:  Sleep disorders like insomnia have been linked to conditions like hypertension, irregular heartbeat, and an increase in stress hormone levels. Stress also leads to other health problems.
  3. Learning and Memory: The brain needs sleep for memory consolidation. This process helps the brain to commit to new information and memory. Studies suggest that people who had a good night’s sleep after learning something new did better on later testing on that task.
  4. Safety: If a person is sleep deprived they can actually fall asleep during the daytime.  This can cause falls and mistakes like air traffic mishaps, road accidents, medical errors, and the list can go on. You need sleep to perform in the daytime.
  5. Metabolism and Weight: All women listen closely when they hear this reason why sleep is important. Sleep deprivation can cause weight gain by affecting the body’s process to store carbohydrates and even alters levels of hormones that affect appetite.
  6. Last But Not Least, Mood: Without a good night’s sleep, you will result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness.  Also, if a person is too tired they cannot do the things they like to do. Sleep deprivation interferes with quality of life.

Do deep breaths, mediate, turn off stimulation like TV and cell phones and get the good night’s rest you deserve.



10 Reasons Women Should Do Resistance Training

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Women seem to have a misconception about adding weights to their exercise routine. Resistance training can be greatly beneficial. There are even greater benefits for women over forty. What are those benefits?
You Will Lose Body Fat.
You Will Gain Strength Without The Bulk.
Your Athletic Performance Will Improve.
You Will Be Physically Stronger.
Your Risk Of Arthritis and Back Aches Will Be Significantly Reduced.
Your Risk Of Heart Disease Will Decrease.
Your Risk Of Diabetes Will Be Reduced.
You Can Start At Any Age! It Is Never Too Late To Start.
Your Attitude Will Improve. (Exercise Fights Depression)
Resistance training can even be enjoyed with the man in your life.

Exercise along with a healthy diet contributes to overall better health and aides in cancer prevention and recovery. Start today!



Deep Breathing

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Deep breathing is a truly essential exercise that benefits overall health. Deep breathing is known to take away our stress and help us to relax. Deep breathing is also a natural painkiller. When you practice deep breathing your body releases endorphins throughout. If you take a few moments each day to try deep breathing exercises, your body will benefit greatly. When practicing upward and downward movements during your deep breathing, your diaphragm performs helping to remove toxins from your organs and promote a better blood flow. This results in an increasing energy level.

When preparing to practice deep breathing, find a quiet and comfortable spot. Keep your eyes open throughout the entire breathing time. You must focus your attention on your breathing and thoughts of being well. Breathe slowly at about six repetitions per minute. Each complete breath should last around ten seconds. It is important to breathe in through your nose for four seconds. Then breathe out through your mouth for six seconds.


This goes hand-in-hand with our last Wellness Wednesday post about yoga boosting recovery for cancer patients.



The Vitamin D Promise

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One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The single most common diagnosis among woman is breast cancer. There is some great news! You can prevent almost 80 percent of all breast cancers! Prevention is key. Vitamin D is the promise!
Vitamin D is something that we all need but, nearly all lack adequate amounts of it. Science shows that Vitamin D hinders inappropriate cell division and metastasis, decreases blood vessel formation around tumors, and regulates proteins that influence tumor growth. And, BONUS, Vitamin D enhances our immune system’s ability to fight cancer!
How about treating cancer? It has been documented that Vitamin D has great cancer fighting potential. Along with all of these benefits, evidence shows that a higher intake of Vitamin D may be helpful in prevention and treatment of high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases.
“Vitamin D Delivers.”



Yoga Boosting Recovery for Breast Cancer Patients

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Mind and Body Balance goes hand-in-hand for breast cancer patients. The MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas found that women who used mediation and practiced yoga had a better attitude and lower stress, therefore, leading to overall better health! The study continues to show that yoga and meditation can be a key element in patient recovery.  http://www.earthtimes.org

Healing Meditation tips:

 

  • Find a place where you will not be disturbed.  Create a sacred space, filled with positive energy.  You may place candles around the room and light some incense.  Also, place some crystals around the room which bring healing energy and positive vibes.  Meditating outdoors is great too!
  • You can meditate with or without music.  If you choose to play music, make sure it is soothing and calming and not distracting to you.
  • Find a comfortable position, either on a chair or on the floor.  Just be sure that you will not become uncomfortable, which can be very distracting.  Keep your spine straight, as energy flows from the base of your spine up to the top of your head.
  • Breathe deeply through your nose and hold the breath for as long as you can, comfortably.  Then slowly release the breath.  Breathing centers you and connects you to the present moment.  Even sitting and breathing, mindfully, for just a few moments is beneficial.
  • Visualize yourself surrounded by warm, healing white light.  Imagine the white light flooding your entire body and rejuvenating your cells.  Incorporate this into your breathing by imagining you are breathing in this healing light and it is illuminating every cell of your being.
  • You may chant a mantra or choose a word or a phrase to repeat in your mind.  Reciting a mantra helps tame the wandering mind.  For example, you may repeat the word “Faith” or “Hope” on every breath.  You may also choose to repeat a phrase like, “I am healthy” or “I am strong”.        Words, whether said out loud or in your head, have a big impact on the world we experience and using the phrase “I am” is very powerful as it calls upon the creative powers of the Universe.
  • Visualize tumors shrinking.  Visualize yourself happy, healthy, vibrant and laughing.  Visualize a positive check up at the doctor.  See yourself saying, “I’m cancer-free!”   If you can visualize it, then you can bring it into existence.
  • Always give thanks to the Universe at the end of your meditation.  Even though cancer doesn’t seem like something to be thankful for, it can behold treasures for your soul.  You can gain immense strength and courage from this experience, which is worthy of gratitude.  You could gain a whole new perspective on your life that you wouldn’t have had before cancer.  You may be grateful for your caregiver or your amazing doctor.  There is always something to smile about

In the turmoil of cancer, it can be difficult to quiet the mind. The mind is very powerful.  It has the capability of creating or destroying.  Even just a few minutes a day in silence and relaxation can have a profound impact on the body.  Meditation can help reduce the pain, stress, anxiety, and fear, associated with cancer.  Meditation can play an important role in your healing plan and improve your quality of life.

Article By: Jessica Taylor