All Posts In Fitness

Exercise Trends Worth Trying

by in Fitness, July 21, 2013

sneakers
Looking for a new way to work out? At the recent National Athletic Trainer’s Association annual meeting, I was able to check out what’s trending with exercise experts. Here’s the lowdown on the latest gear–and what’s worth the investment.

Suspension Training
Specialized straps connected to a door or ceiling allow you to use your own body weight as resistance. You can’t even imagine how many different muscle groups can get a workout using these simple bands. TRX is one of the most popular U.S. brands, 4DPro is an up-and-comer. TRX cord sets retail for anywhere from $150 to $250 (in my opinion, they are well worth the investment). They are often used in rehab settings by athletic trainers and physical therapists but they also make a fun and non-cumbersome addition to a home gym. You can find instructional videos to help plan workout routines online.

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Ways To Move Without Spending Money

by in Fitness, June 21, 2013

sack races
The benefits of exercise are numerous for the mind, body and spirit. One of the biggest barriers to getting more physical activity is figuring out what to do. Expensive gym memberships or pricey fitness classes are big turnoffs for some folks but the truth is, they aren’t necessary. There are plenty of ways to get moving that won’t cost you a cent, just ask the First Lady. In a recent interview, Mrs. Obama revealed one of the ways she encourages kids — her own and those she meets — to move.

Mrs. Obama: We talk about fun. I mean, something as simple as turning on the radio and dancing with your kids to Beyonce. Kids are watching these videos — let me tell you, if you make it a task in your household to learn the Single Ladies dance with Beyonce — they’re trying to do that anyway. They want to learn every move.

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Feeding Kids: Sports and Activities

by in Fitness, Kid-Friendly, June 14, 2013

kids sports team
Stumped on what to make for the team dinner or confused about the best snacks to bring after the game? Here are tips on the best way to fuel (and refuel) your active little ones.

Team Dinners
Team gatherings are a great way to build team morale and make sure everyone gets a good meal the night before a competition. There’s no need for parents to over-think the menu. Provide plenty of fluids (water, 100% fruit juice and milk), some fresh veggies and pasta.

Some parents feel the need to shy away from carbs but this is exactly what athletes need prior to exercise. Pasta dinners are also easy and cost-effective. Add some protein from meatballs, turkey meatballs, chicken breast or chicken sausage, plus a big salad with vinaigrette dressing and voila — all your nutritional bases are covered.

When the weather permits, cook up a team barbecue complete with turkey burgers, veggie burgers, plus pasta and potato salads. Remember to make accommodations for anyone on the team who’s vegetarian or has food allergies.

Don’t forget dessert! A large fruit salad or watermelon wedges and some small baked treats will please the whole crowd. Cookies, brownies or cupcakes decked out with team colors are always popular.

A team brunch might also be a good idea before the team hits the road for a trip. In this case opt for bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter, smoothies, yogurt, fresh fruit, frozen waffles and scrambled egg wraps. All will provide healthy fuel that is easy to grab and go. Don’t forget the fluid here either. Water, 100% fruit juice and if it’s a hot day, sports drinks to take on the bus ride.

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Exercise 101: Running

by in Fitness, May 4, 2013

running
It might not be the newest exercise phenomenon, but this no-frills type of workout will certainly pay off if you’re willing to work at it. Here are tips to help you along.

Defining Running
The concept is pretty simple: one foot in front of the other. For the best workout, take the time to plan out the “how” and the “where.”

Running at a moderate pace will burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 calories per hour. Incorporating hills and intervals (short periods of increased speed) will also help maximize the muscles groups you engage and the amount of calories burned during each session.

When running, be mindful of your form and posture. Keep eyes focused out in front of you, not straight down at your feet. Keep your arms slightly bent and hands relaxed to allow for optimal blood flow. Most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!

Map out a route in your neighborhood, hit up a local track or running trail, or hop on the nearest treadmill. Be certain about where you’re going so you don’t have to deal with the unexpected (getting lost doesn’t make for a good workout).

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How Long Should Your Workouts Be?

by in Fitness, February 27, 2013

exercise
Finding the time to work out can be beyond challenging. Once you do carve out time to hit the gym (or other workout location of choice) – how much time should you spend sweating it out?

How Much?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, folks should be getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, including both cardio and strength-training sessions. Cardiovascular exercise should be at a moderate intensity (no lollygagging), something like brisk walking or easy biking counts. If you really ramp up the intensity, the 150-minute recommendation shrinks to 75 minutes but you’d better be working it (examples include running, swimming laps or playing basketball). Two weekly sessions of resistance training (such as lifting weights or yoga) should work all major muscle groups.

Don’t have a large chunk of time to spare everyday? No need to throw in the towel – you can break it up into smaller increments. Even as little as 10 minutes at a time counts.

It really all comes down to intensity. If you’re a runner, hitting the pavement for 75 minutes a week comes out to 15 minutes per day, over 5 days. Walking 25 minutes each day for 6 days a week will also meet the requirements. As you continue to exercise, you’ll gain strength and endurance – making it easier to work harder. Visit the CDC Website for specific guidelines on increased activity.

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CrossFit 101

by in Fitness, February 19, 2013

crossfit
There hasn’t been a fitness craze this widespread in decades! Are intense competition-driven workouts what you need to get motivated to exercise? Here’s what you should to know about CrossFit.

Defining CrossFit
The CrossFit brand was established a little more than 10 years ago but has really gained momentum and nationwide popularity over the past few years. While most CrossFit gyms are independently owned and operated, the type of exercise and overall environment is consistent across locations. CrossFit workouts typically include some combination of strength and endurance training, along with plyometrics, power-lifting and even gymnastics (the creator is a former gymnast).

Some locations may specialize in the specific needs of a local group of fitness buffs like boxing or rowing for example. CrossFit branches often follow a Workout of the Day, or WOD that is followed by all members.

Workouts are intense and beginners should be cautioned to take things slow to prevent injury.

CrossFit has stirred up some controversy in recent years. Rumors have swirled of violent trainers pressuring participants to compete against others or exercise beyond their capabilities. Some orthopedic experts and physical therapists complain that the intense nature of the training can subject members to some pretty serious injuries, especially if they have preexisting orthopedic issues.

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Bootcamp 101

by in Fitness, January 6, 2013

bootcamp workout
Looking for new form of exercise? Maybe you’re already a fan of this intense workout regimen. Learn more about this exhilarating fitness craze.

Defining Bootcamp
Inspired by military training, bootcamp workouts combine cardio and weight training. Classes may include the use of free weights, bands, balls and plyometric-type exercises – all designed to build lean muscle. Sessions also include lots of interval training where intensity is ramped up for short bursts to maximize calorie burn.

Class attendees will often find themselves switching between running, doing pull-ups, playing tug of war and jumping through a course of oversized tires all in one session. Bootcamp workouts are designed to push participants to work together in groups, while weaving some healthy competition in to the mix. If you’re a competitive person or former athlete, bootcamp is for you. Some programs are designed to be a little less intense and can be offered for specific groups like women only – there’s lots of variety so find the best fit for you.

Classes are typically an hour in length. Some gyms and fitness outlets offer outdoor sessions at local parks. Many also offer package deals where participants can sign up for a month of hour-long sessions that take place 5 days a week.

Like any exercise regimen, check with your doctor before getting started. Those with existing orthopedic issues may need to modify their activity for some of the more high-impact activities.

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Yoga 101

by in Fitness, November 24, 2012

yoga
Diet and exercise go hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle. If getting bendy in yoga poses is your workout of choice, we’ve got tips on the best way to fuel and hydrate.

Defining Yoga
Nowadays, the ancient art of yoga takes many forms. The very foundation of this craft involves joining mind and body to achieve emotional and physical gratification. When done properly, yoga can help benefit joint and muscle health as well as the neurological and cardiovascular systems.

Some of the most popular types of yoga include Hatha, Vinyasa and Bikram. Hatha is a more basic and simple style while Vinyasa is typically more aggressive and athletic. Bikram classes are conducted in a hot and humid environment – resulting in some super-sweaty participants! There also various types of yoga for pregnant women and moms and babies but be sure to check with your doctor before you start something like this.

For a list of more yoga styles, visit the Lululemon website.

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Sports Nutrition Tips for the School-Aged Athlete

by in Back to School, Fitness, September 13, 2012

kids sports
Back to school also means back to sports. From elementary age to college-bound, these tips will help any athlete P.E.R.F.O.R.M their best.

  • Pick nutrient dense foods

Athletes need vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep those muscles pumping. Calcium, iron, Vitamins C and D, and B-vitamins can be found in dairy, fruits, veggies, breads and cereals.

  • Eat throughout the day

Nothing stalls metabolism like an empty tank. Eating every three to four hours is a must for peak performance in the classroom and on the field.

How to Deal with Post-Workout Hunger

by in Fitness, August 12, 2012

exercise
Does an exercise session leave you famished or does the thought of food post workout make you ill? There’s a right and wrong way to eat after exercise; find out the balance to get the most out of your fitness routine.

Feel the Burn
Some people question whether or not it’s worth it to exercise since burning lots of calories can make you hungrier. It IS worth it and there are tricks you can adopt to beat this vicious cycle. Choosing the right foods after a workout can make a huge difference.

Research says hunger pangs may hit women harder than men; hormones are to thank for that. For this reason gals need to pay extra attention to how they eat before and after exercise.

On the flip side, other studies have found that exercise lowers levels of a hunger-spiking hormone called ghrelin. The only caveat here is that the exercise needs to be intense, not a leisurely a stroll on the treadmill.

Frequency of exercise also plays an important role. Hitting the gym (or however you like to sweat) regularly trains your body to burn calories more efficiently and of course lowers your risk of an onslaught of ailments including diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line is exercise: is good; here’s how to fuel it properly.

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