Wellness Wednesday: Fall Fitness Tips

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Seriously, what’s not to love about fall? Pumpkin lattes are back, you can dig out your favorite sweaters, and sweet potatoes are finally in season. Best of all, the crisp temps make fall the perfect time to exercise outdoors: “The cool weather allows you to enjoy yourself without having to worry about being overheated or too cold,” says Terri Walsh, celebrity trainer and creator of the Active Resistance Training Method (A.R.T.). And that means you’re more likely to feel awesome during your workout, and maybe even log an extra mile or climb another trail.

But before you lace up and head outside, prepare for your outdoor adventure with Walsh’s fall weather workout tips:

Wear Layers
It may feel slightly nippy at first, but the weather has a rep for changing on a moment’s notice. Dress in layers that you can easily remove if your body starts to heat up—or put back on if you get cold, says Walsh.

Stay Hydrated
Many people forget to drink enough fluids during fall workouts because it’s not super hot, says Walsh. Not good. Keep drinking as normal to avoid dehydration. While it’s good to carry water, you can add some flavor with a bit of fruit juice to get even more nutrients.

Pack Snacks
Don’t disrupt your outing for a food pit stop. If you’ll be out most of the day hiking or biking, Walsh recommends bringing a small backpack with nuts or fruit stashed inside. No matter where you are, at least you have a constant source of fuel.

And if you think running is the only outdoor exercise to try, it’s time to get creative! If you’re near some branches and a log, you’ll definitely want to try this off-the-beaten-trail circuit workout. But if a park is your only outdoor fitness center, find a jungle gym and do these fun exercises on the playground. The kids in line for the monkey bars can wait their turn.



Fitness Friday

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Fitness Friday

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Five Fun Tips for Fall Fitness 

(ARA) – With their kids in school, many parents pledge to take advantage of their family’s new fall schedule by adding a daily workout to their routine. Here are five tips for making fall the most fit season of all:

1. Seize the moment: Time, or the lack of it, is often cited as the biggest challenge to sustaining an exercise regimen. When the kids return to school, what better way to use some of that precious time than getting in shape? 

Your workout doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Even a half hour walking your neighborhood pays off in increased energy and stamina. Most health-club aerobics classes are just an hour long, yet offer big fitness dividends. Taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your family.  

2. Enjoy the year’s most beautiful season: In many parts of the United States, autumn is a near-sacred season, with its warm, sunny days, cool evenings and postcard perfect colors. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. 

Explore parks in your area; find a new bike path through the woods, take a walk around a lake. The time spent out in nature will do as much good for your mind as for your body. 

3. Return to your club or gym: It takes 30 days to make fitness a habit, and supplementing outdoor exercise with increasingly frequent visits to your health club will help diversify your exercise regimen and set the stage for regular workouts once autumn’s leaves have fallen. 

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A well-rounded fitness regimen is important. While aerobic activity such as running or bicycling is good for your heart, resistance training is also a critical component of a balanced program, so be sure to take advantage of your club’s weight lifting equipment. 

4. An apple a day: In many parts of the country, autumn is synonymous with the apple harvest. Rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, both of which reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, inhibiting the growth of dangerous plaques along blood vessel walls, and dietary fiber, apples are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed any time of day. 

Remember that each of us should be getting at least four to five servings of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. However, nine out of 10 Americans do not meet these recommendations. As a result, many people should consider some form of supplementation, according to Jeff Zwiefel, president of Life Time Fitness’ Health Enhancement Division. 

“While the goal for everyone should be four to five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables per day, many people simply do not have the time or opportunity to get there,” said Zwiefel. “That’s why Life Time Fitness has introduced a full line of supplements that have been specially designed to meet the unique needs and requirements of both men and women.” 

5. Make it social: One of the great things about exercise is that it doesn’t need to be done alone. Find a friend with a similar fitness level and goals; having a partner helps you both stay motivated. You can use your exercise time to catch up on each other’s lives. 

Boredom is the number one killer of good health and fitness regimens. Exercising with a friend puts the fun back into your workout. 

The Author:
For more information about Life Time Fitness, visit www.lifetimefitness.com, or call (800) 430-5433.

Fitness Friday

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I don’t know about y’all, but my midsection is my ‘trouble” area. No matter what I do I have an unsightly belly bulge that seems to double in size during the Fall and Winter. Well this year I have come up with a plan…I like to call it my version of ” Battle of the Bulge”. I am going to start working my midsection out like there is no tomorrow! I am going to get it as toned as possible before Thanksgiving, Christmas and cold. That way when the inevitable bathing suit season rolls around my bulge will just be the size that it normally is, and not double. I think this is a pretty genius plan.

 Here are a few great ab exercises that I found on the interweb for those of you that want to jump on to my ” Battle of the Bulge” plan. These exercises were brought to you by: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1366183/four_great_exercises_to_tone_your_midsection_pg2.html?cat=50

1. Lower Leg Raises with two variations:

Lay flat on your back with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Place your arms with your palms face-down. Keeping your back pressed flat into the floor, lift both of your legs about six inches off of the ground. For beginners, simply do two sets of twenty leg raises. If you feel you are a bit more advanced, when you raise your legs, spread them about two feet apart then bring them back together before setting them back on the floor and do two sets of twenty of these. These exercise target the lower abdominal and also, as the advanced variations increase in difficulty, your middle abdominal area.

2. Yoga Frog Lifts

This one is my personal favorite. Lay on the floor on your back with your hands behind your head. Now, spread your legs slightly and press the bottoms of your feet together; it should look as if you are doing a

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 plié while lying down, yet your feet are together “frog style.” Then carefully lift both your upper body and lower body about 6 inches off the floor using your abdominal muscles to support you, hold for two seconds and then lower your upper and lower body back to the floor. This will be a bit uncomfortable at first, but start off with three sets of fifteen of these. It may sound like an awkward number, but this is a great exercise and starting off at fifteen yields the most results and is much easier to handle than it appears. This exercise targets the middle and lower abdominals, and, if you feel you can advance, target your upper abdominals by alternating lifting your lower body, then your upper body, lifting each a bit higher than you would have when lifting both simultaneously; make sure you lift each part in two sets of fifteen.

3. Side Lifts

I love this exercise because of what an easy exercise it is. Stand upright with your feet separated about should-width apart. Hold a 10 pound weight in your left hand letting it rest at your side and place your right hand on your right hip; this helps stabilize your position, making your stance sturdier. Very slowly, still holding the weight in your left hand, bend to your left side (without bending your knees). Hold this position for 3-5 seconds and then, using your abdominal muscles by tightening them, pull your body upright again. Repeat this between ten and fifteen times for beginners; for more advanced exercises, fifteen and twenty times. Switch the weight to your right hand, put your left hand on your left hip and repeat on your right side. This targets your oblique muscles.

4. Criss-Cross

This is a fairly well-known exercise that targets your upper and mid abdominals as well as your obliques. Lay flat on the floor with your legs bent very slightly at the knee and your hands resting behind your head as if you were doing sit ups. Now, lift and twist your upper body, bringing your left elbow forward as if you were doing a sideways sit-up. At the same time, draw your right knee up and in towards your chest until it meets your left elbow and extend your left leg out, hovering between 6 inches and 2 feet off the ground (depending upon your advancement level and flexibility). Switch sides and repeat in a fluid motion between twenty and thirty times. If you can, do two sets of these per exercise session. Spreading them out is fine, and it occasionally helps if you place a pillow beneath your lower back.

Fitness Friday

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Are you stressed and looking for a way to relax?  Here is a great article about exercise and stress brought to you by www.mayoclinic.com

Exercise and stress: Get moving to combat stress

One way to take control of the stress in your life is through physical activity. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.

By Mayo Clinic staff

You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine. Hold on a second — there’s good news when it comes to exercise and stress.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to weightlifting, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re downright out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of your stress management plan.

Exercise and stress relief

Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything that you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Put exercise and stress relief to work for you

A successful exercise program begins with a few simple steps.

  • Consult with your doctor. Begin any new fitness program by consulting with your health care professional, especially if you have any medical conditions or are obese.
  • Walk before you run. Build up your fitness level gradually. Excitement about a new program can lead to overdoing it and possibly even injury. Plus, if you begin your program slowly, chances are better you’ll stick with it. If you’re new to exercise, aim for about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise three to four days a week and increase gradually. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking or swimming) or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week. It also recommends strength training exercises at least twice a week.
  • Do what you love, and love what you do. Don’t train for a marathon if you dislike running. Virtually any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming.
  • Pencil it in. Although your schedule may necessitate a morning workout one day and an evening activity the next, carving out some time to move every day helps you make your exercise program an ongoing priority.

Sticking with it

Starting an exercise program is just the first step. Here are some tips for sticking with a new routine or reinvigorating a tired workout:

  • Set some goals. It’s always a good idea to begin or modify a workout program with a goal in mind. If your primary goal is to reduce stress in your life and recharge your batteries, your specific goals might include committing to walking during your lunch hour three times a week or, if needed, finding a baby sitter to watch your children so that you can slip away to attend a cycling class.
  • Find a friend. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to show up at the gym or the park can be a powerful incentive. Working out with a friend, co-worker or family member often brings a new level of motivation and commitment to your workouts.
  • Change up your routine. If you’ve always been a competitive runner, take a look at other less competitive options that may help with stress reduction, such as Pilates or yoga classes. As an added bonus, these kinder, gentler workouts may enhance your running while also decreasing your stress.

Whatever you do, don’t think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy — whether it’s an active tennis match or a meditative meander down to a local park and back — and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress.

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To get me to work out is like getting a two-year old to sit through an entire movie, nearly impossible. I like the idea of working out, I just can not find the motivation. Well friends, good news, the work out bug has bitten me. I do not know if  it’s because I want to impress my wonderful boyfriend, or because I want to live a healthier lifestyle; either way I am motivated so I am not going to press the issue. Now that I am currently in my work out frenzy ( I start today), I have come to the realization that my iPod is not suitable for an intense workout. My iPod is chalk full of goodies, but none of them really get me pumped up to work out. I have been scouring the internet for the perfect playlist and have finally found one on fitnessmagazine.com. I am ecstatic, and quite frankly want to leave work to jam out and pump some iron. I have decided to share my new-found treasure with you all…..I hope y’all get as much use out of it as I hope too!

Workout Jams for Summer 2010

Keep your workouts fresh with the songs we’ll be listening to all summer long, including tracks from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, and more. Just add sunshine!

By Kristen Diederich

“Break Your Heart” – Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris
We think it’s best for: Any cardio
Taio Cruz - Break Your Heart (feat. Ludacris) - Single - Break Your Heart (feat. Ludacris)

“Carry Out” – Timbaland feat. Justin Timberlake
We think it’s best for: Strength training
Timbaland - Shock Value II - Carry Out (feat. Justin Timberlake)

“California Gurls” – Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
We think it’s best for: Elliptical
Katy Perry - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) - Single - California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg)

“Better Than Her” – Matisse
We think it’s best for: Spinning
Matisse - Better Than Her - Single - Better Than Her

“Rude Boy” – Rihanna
We think it’s best for: Strength training
Rihanna - Rated R - Rude Boy

“Nothin’ on You” – B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
We think it’s best for: Walking
B.o.B - Nothin' On You (feat. Bruno Mars) - Single - Nothin' On You (feat. Bruno Mars)

“Summerboy” – Lady Gaga
We think it’s best for: Walking
Lady GaGa - The Fame - Summerboy

“Rockin’ That Thang” – The-Dream
We think it’s best for: Strength training
The-Dream - Love vs. Money - Rockin' That Thang

“Imma Be” – Black Eyed Peas
We think it’s best for: Strength training
Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies) - Imma Be

“Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
We think it’s best for: Walking
Lady Antebellum - Need You Now - Need You Now

What will you be rocking out to this summer? Tell us in the comments!

Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, May 2010

It’s Fitness Friday, Folks!!

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Fun Fitness: Exercises That Don’t Feel Like Work

Who says fitness has to be deadly dull? There are many activities that will make you break a sweat without longing for the finish line.

Many people believe there’s no such thing as fun fitness. In their minds, a good workout means trudging on a treadmill or lugging weights around a joyless gym, and that there’s no gain without the pain.

Exercises That Don't Feel Like Work

“They think of it as more of a chore, something they have to do because they’ve been told to do it by their doctor or physical therapist,” says Julie Ann McCarthy, a physical therapist in San Francisco and a spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association.

This, of course, is nonsense. There are many ways to combine fun and fitness.

Fun Fitness: Let’s Count the Ways

// Activities that fall under the fun fitness umbrella include:

  • Competitive sports. “A lot of guys come in and say, ‘I don’t like exercising, but I like playing basketball,'” McCarthy says. “The camaraderie and the group setting help you have fun and forget you’re working your heart and lungs.” Soccer, tennis, and racquetball are other competitive sports that can help improve your fitness. Some gyms are even offering competitive dodge ball as a fun game to get your heart pumping.
  • Outdoor activities. Walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming can get you out in fresh air and sunshine, making your fitness workout feel less like work and more like play. “I usually tell people to start with a run-walk program with a friend,” McCarthy says. “You can slowly build yourself up so you’re running more and walking less.” Other options include kayaking, hiking, inline skating, and skateboarding.
  • Martial arts. Classes that teach karate, jujitsu, judo, tae kwon do, or kickboxing provide a workout aimed at improving your fitness, coordination, and mental discipline.
  • Dance classes. Energetic ballroom dancing is considered a vigorous workout by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine. Dance styles like the salsa, meringue, and mambo can keep you whirling and twirling so much you forget you’re actually getting into shape.
  • Acrobatics. Activities like tumbling, headstands, and somersaults can condition your body and help you feel like a kid again. You can use a balance beam, rings, or just a padded floor. Bouncing on a trampoline is another type of acrobatic fitness fun. Just be careful — these activities can lead to injury if your form is off or you lose your balance.
  • Kid stuff. Don’t discount the fitness to be had in kids’ activities like jumping rope or riding a pogo stick. For example, jumping rope improves your balance, stamina, and coordination, while working muscle groups in your arms, legs, chest, back, shoulders, and abdomen.
  • Nintendo Wii. The venerable video game maker upped the fun factor for fitness when it released its Wii Fit game. Other game makers have followed suit with more video workouts involving the Wii. “It’s a good place to start,” McCarthy says. “If it gets people up and moving, that’s great, and hopefully it will escalate into more intense exercise.”


You can make any fitness activity more fun by recruiting a workout buddy or joining a group. Nearly every town has a jogging or bicycle club in which you can take part. “People are more motivated when they’re held accountable by someone else,” McCarthy says. “It’s also more fun when you have company.”

Another way to curtail fitness boredom is to mix up your activities. “With any exercise, your body adapts,” McCarthy says. “It’s important to change your routine so you don’t plateau.”

This article is brought to you by :  http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/diet-and-fitness/exercises.aspx

Fitness Friday: Hit Every Muscle in 5 Minutes

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Beyond busy? Try this fast, total-body routine from Keli Roberts, a master trainer in Pasadena and star of the TimeSavers video workout series.

1. Clean and Press
Minute: 0:00-1:00
Targets shoulders, back, butt, legs
a. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and place a 5-pound dumbbell on the floor near each foot. Squat, bringing the dumbbells to the outside of your knees, palms down.
b. Stand, bringing the dumbbells to your hips, then raise the weights through your shoulders and overhead. Lower and repeat for 60 seconds.

2. Side Lunge and Row
Minute: 1:00-2:00
Targets back, butt, legs
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of 5-pound dumbbells at your sides. Take a big step out to the right with your right foot, bending right knee 90 degrees while keeping left leg straight. Draw your left elbow straight up, keeping arm close to side and butt tight. Return to start and repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides.

3. Pli� Squat and Biceps Curl
Minute: 2:00-3:00
Targets biceps, butt, inner thighs
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand with arms extended, palms up. Bend knees 90 degrees, squatting as you curl weights toward your shoulders. Return to start and repeat for 60 seconds.

Minute: 3:00-4:00
Targets shoulders, chest, triceps, abs, back
Begin in full push-up position, palms on floor under shoulders and legs extended. Do one push-up, then carefully lift your left hand off the floor, extending your arm out to side. Holding here, lift your right foot off the floor. Lower hand and foot to floor. Do another push-up and repeat with opposite hand and foot. Continue, alternating sides.

5. Single-Leg Deadlift with Kick-Back
Minute: 4:00-5:00
Targets triceps, back, legs
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding 5-pound dumbbells with elbows bent 90 degrees, hands close to your rib cage. Lift your left foot behind you and bend forward slowly from the hips as you straighten your arms, bringing them next to your hips. Return to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, December 2006.

Wellness Wednesday: Exercise improves cancer patients’ quality of life–study

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Exercise as a regular part of a comprehensive care plan for patients with breast and prostate cancer not only improves their emotional outlook and quality of life, but also helps combat the profound fatigue and weakness they experience during cancer treatment, finds a new study.

People undergoing cancertreatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy often complain of various negative effects such as loss of physical function, weariness, nausea, depression and anxiety.

According to experts, exercise enhances fitness and muscular strength and uplifts mood and self esteem, besides reducing the dependency on extra supplements to counter the side effects.

Lead author of the study, Eleanor M. Walker, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan stated, “Using exercise as an approach to cancer care has the potential to benefit patients both physically and psychologically, as well as mitigate treatment side effects.

“Plus, exercise is a great alternative to patients combating fatigue and nausea who are considering using supplements which may interfere with medications and chemotherapy they’re taking during cancer treatment.”

The unique program ExCITE
In order to evaluate the impact of exercise on cancer patients, the researchers developed a unique program called ExCITE (Exercise and Cancer Integrative Therapies and Education).

As a part of the program, experts worked with the patients receiving cancer treatments by designing individualized exercise ventures.

A group of about 20 prostate cancer patients and 30 breast cancer patients aged between 35 to 80 years were selected. Some of the patients opted for exercising at home, while others chose to go to Henry Ford’s fitness centers.

At the start of the study, the endurance and exercise capacity, muscle strength, bone density, metabolic and blood samples were obtained of all the participants.

The same information was once again taken at the end of the study.

The diet and physical regimes were coordinated on the basis of stamina, exercise tolerances, weight, health and type of cancer treatment.

Acupuncture was advised for patients who experienced hot flashes, pain, nausea/vomiting, insomnia and neuropathy due to the cancer treatment.

The study tracked the patients’ exercise routine during treatment and for 1-year following completion of cancer treatment.

Observations by the researchers
The investigators noted that weariness, memory loss and nausea the common side effects linked to cancer treatments decreased significantly by regular exercises, while some reported experiencing no adverse effects.

Cheryl Fallen of Gross Pointe Park, Michigan, who took part in the ExCITE program stated, “Overall, the program makes you feel better about yourself. It’s a positive support for cancer patients, and I really think it’s allowed me to be more productive during my treatment.”

The design and intervention methods of the study will be presented on June 7 at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

Provided by: http://www.themedguru.com

Fitness Friday: Take-It-Off Tricks: Burn More Calories at Every Workout

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Skipped a few workouts? You may need to boost the calorie burn on your next workout. FITNESS’s advisory board has tips and tricks to help you burn more calories the next time you lace up your sneakers.
By the editors of FITNESS magazine

Your Workout: Power Walking
If you normally power walk: 3.5 mph pace = 243 calories/hour
Then add… A Weighted Vest
Carrying the extra load requires more calories per step but won’t alter your form, like carrying dumbbells can, trainer Jari Love says.
Bonus Burn: 45 more calories/hour

Your Workout: Running on the Treadmill
If you normally run on the treadmill: 6 mph pace = 640 calories/hour
Then add… An Incline
Alternate 5 minutes running flat and 10 minutes running on a 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent incline, maintaining the same speed throughout, trainer Keli Roberts says.
Bonus Burn: 74 more calories/hour

Your Workout: Weight-Training
If you normally weight-train: 384 calories/hour
Then add… Plyometrics (jumping exercises)
Make your second set of each move supercharged: After a set of squats, do squat jumps; after lunges, do jumping lunges, trainer Annette Lang says.
Bonus Burn: 128 more calories/hour