Tag: exercise

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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Is Prep Time Cutting Into Your Exercise Time?

by in Healthy Tips, June 19, 2013

cutting vegetables
Having hectic work schedules, family life, and a social life leaves us pressed for time when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Although folks are starting to cook more at home, new data shows that it may be cutting into our exercise time. Are we stuck in a new catch-22 or can we find time to do it all?

The Study
Data from the U.S. Census from over 112,000 U.S. adults found that when folks take an additional 10-minutes to prepare meals, they are more likely to exercise for 10 fewer minutes. This was found in both men and women, single and married people and those with and without kids. On average, participants spent an average of less than an hour on both exercise and meal prep on the same day. The big takeaway from this study is that one healthy behavior can take time away from another. It also highlights the importance of planning out your meals and exercise time.

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Exercise 101: Running

by in Fitness, May 4, 2013

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

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

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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How to Deal with Post-Workout Hunger

by in Fitness, August 12, 2012

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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Burning Off High-Calorie Foods: Fair Foods

by in Dining Out, Fitness, July 20, 2012

fair food
Is your family hitting the local fair circuit this summer? Carnival concessions are famously fattening. We’re not saying to boycott fair foods all together but since these treats don’t come with a food label, we’ll fill you in on just how many calories you’re gobbling down, and what it would take to burn them off. As always, moderation is key!

Crunching the Numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

1 Corn Dog  = 375 calories = 1 hour, 30 minutes walking the boardwalk

Funnel Cake = 760 calories = 1 hour, 20 minutes of singles tennis

Fried Twinkie = 420 calories = 1 hour water skiing

Cotton Candy =175 calories = 30 minutes whitewater kayaking

Candy Apple = 375 calories = 40 minutes running (8 mph)

Chili Fries = 700 calories = 3.5 hours playing frisbee

Nachos With Cheese Sauce = 850 calories = 1 hour, 15 minutes of vigorous swimming

Turkey leg = 1140 calories = 1 hour of beach volleyball

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Burning Off High Calorie Foods: Summer Picnics

by in Fitness, May 26, 2012
strawberry shortcake
Before you reach for a second helping of strawberry shortcake, consider that you'd have to play tennis for 45 minutes to work it off.

Gearing up for grilling season? Don’t let too many high-cal favorites keep you from staying trim this summer. Here’s what you should keep in mind at your next picnic.

Crunching the numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

1 foot long hot dog = 500 calories = 1 hour of swimming freestyle
1 cheeseburger = 400 calories = 75 minutes of kayaking
5-ounces BBQ ribs = 465 calories = 2 hours 15 minutes of body surfing

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Heart-Rate Monitors 101

by in Fitness, May 15, 2012
heart rate monitors
Do you use a heart-rate monitor?

Looking for a way to make the most of your workouts? Try a heart-rate monitor on for size.

What is a Heart-Rate Monitor?
As advertised, these gadgets measure your heart rate (a.k.a take your pulse) by sensing and displaying how many times your heart beats each minute. While heart rates will vary from person to person, a healthy adult typically averages anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute while at rest. As physical activity increases, so will the beats.

While there are some decent mobile apps out there for pedometers, it’s a very different scene for heart-rate monitors – apps just won’t cut it (at least not yet).

The most common heart-rate monitor styles are worn on the wrist, but some come with chest straps for continuous monitoring of heart activity. Chest strap models are slightly more cumbersome but are also more accurate (and more expensive).  For the wrist-only models, you usually have to stop activity to get an accurate reading. There’s also a huge variety of options – units range in price from $30.00 to more than $500.00! I’m a big fan of anything made by Timex and Polar has a nice variety of budget-friendly models.

Extra features you may find include timers, GPS devices, footware accessories that measure distance traveled and the ability to store data and download it to your computer to track progress.

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Pedometers 101

by in Fitness, April 21, 2012

Counting individual steps may seem like a silly way to get some exercise but every little bit helps. Using a pedometer can be a fabulous motivational tool to get you to move more; use our tips and get stepping!

What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a pocket-sized device that senses movement and registers each step you take. Some units require a belt loop attachment while others can be carried in your pocket or worn around your neck. Some models may also have settings to estimate calories burned while walking, but these are often inaccurate unless there is an option to adjust for additional details like weight, age and gender.

Pedometers range in price from $6.00 to more than $30.00 – the higher pricing is typically associated with extra features like distance tracking and calorie counting.  Smartphone lovers will be pleased to know that there are quite a few pedometer apps – many of which are free or less than $3.00. Using the GPS already loaded in a Smartphone, many offer accurate distance tracking for less than a hand-held pedometer. Arawella Pedometer and Pedometer Pro GPS as well as Palm Shadow Footsteps Pedometer all carry high ratings.

Many fitness-centric wrist watches also come with built-in pedometers and heart rate monitors (more about heart rate monitors in an upcoming post).

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