Tag Archives: exercise

Be Your Best Athletic Self!

In our country’s constant weight loss craze, it is easy to forget that there is more to exercise than the number shown on the bathroom scale. Being FIT is a goal everyone can aspire to, and here are some focus points to help you get there: FIT = Function, Intensity, Time!

Function: As spring begins to bloom, think about your favorite activities! Are you a hiker? A runner? A rock climber? Are you seeking more energy to accomplish your household tasks? Well then, being functional is important. In other words, prepare your body for the motion your activity requires. As a fitness professional, one thing that drives me nuts is watching people weight-train in a stationary position. Life doesn’t happen in one spot! Vary it up! Stagger the stance of your feet while doing arm and shoulder exercises. Try your squat exercises on one leg. Alternate your arms while doing rows; alternate your feet while doing push-ups! Remember: walking, running, and climbing usually happen one leg or one arm at a time. It is beneficial to, at times, train in the same manner. Keep this in mind while doing simple household tasks, such as bending down to pick up the laundry! You can equate this same action to doing sumo-squats or lunge-reaches in the gym. The majority of your activities aren’t done in a “stand-still” position. So, neither should your training.

Intensity: The intensity is the level of demand an activity places on your body. But don’t think of it too seriously! There are several ways to achieve this in your training. Try switching up the tempo! Monitor the speed at which you normally exercise: Is it quite monotone? Or, are you hopping around like a rabbit? Before you increase the overall time you spend exercising, change the tempo! Try a slower pace with isometric holds at the end of your movement.  For example: hold a push-up at the bottom to check your posture tightness. Then, try a more dynamic and explosive pace. Steadily increase the velocity of your jump-squat to increase your heart rate. Vary your tempo and intensity; keep your body guessing and wanting more!

Time: Remember ‘once upon a time’ when you were (if not still) single? You know how people said that you would find “the one” when you stopped looking? How annoying those people were (and right!). Well, my goal right now is to be equally as annoying and right! What if you begin to look at your fitness that way, and quit obsessing over the results? Give yourself the time you need to be your best FIT self. This means consistency along with patience. Stay in the moment! Enjoy your exercise and aim to be better at it each day. Don’t compare your performance or your body to others. Yes, we should all gain inspiration, but without comparison. This will make the improvement process that much more rewarding! You are a beautiful design. Know that whatever your body-type is, you can be heart-healthy, train athletically, and look fabulous! Give yourself the time to improve each day, and love yourself in the process.

Written by Bryan Christon

Playful Fitness

Don’t just exercise.  PLAY!!!

So, whatever happened to recess? Is it really true that adults can’t enjoy fitness as much as kids do?  Not at all! Here are some suggestions to inspire you to think more like an open-minded child whose only job is to play:

  1. Imagination
    Be imaginative. Yes–exercise should be a routine, but not a bore. Create/design your own routine which centers around your own interests, passions, and childhood pastimes. Throw on your favorite YouTube videos and follow along with the choreography. Or, make it a family project! Involve your kids and do games and fitness competitions around the house. For example, “Monkey in the Middle” is a ball game which improves cardio and coordination, and you only need three people to play! Take ownership of your fitness routine by creating it yourself (instead of just copying what others do). You are bound to take more pride in your daily workouts, all while being more accountable to yourself.

 

  1. Interval

As a dancer, I can’t just dance at the studio. I have to do it whenever I feel like it! This might mean sliding around the kitchen floor in-between washing and drying the dishes, or busting out a set of pliés and push-ups on the living room carpet, instead of sitting watching television on the couch. Much like eating five to six small meals a day instead of two or three, it can be equally effective to exercise in short spurts. Everyone’s metabolism is different. Everyone’s motivation is different. Do not compare yourself to your co-worker or the person doing leg press next to you at the gym. Find what works best for you and go for it!  The worst thing that can happen (and the best thing that can happen) is that you will have a good time!  Play with intervals! Over time, your energy and resourcefulness will improve.

 

  1. Intentionality

First things first…OPEN your eyes UP to PLAY! Remember that movie Hitch with Will Smith? Will Smith’s character, Alex Hitchens, has a great line, “Begin each day, as if it were on purpose.” Practice this month waking up and immediately doing something off-the-wall FUN! Practice cartwheels on the front lawn or try belly-dancing in the bathroom mirror.  In my apartment building, there are a set of stairs leading to the basement garage. Early in the mornings, my neighbors often catch glimpses of me climbing the stairs and jumping rope, as if I am training for the Rocky films. The best part is watching the surprised looks on their faces. Be intentional! Even if you look silly doing it.

 

Last, but not least, when you exercise and play, do it in familiar spaces and places. Look for areas that are filled with acceptance, love, encouragement, and accountability. (Hint: that place is not always at your house or at the local gym). Put some nostalgia in your program! Imagine your own schoolyard recess field.
If you don’t find it immediately, keep looking!  You will find it. You are the most motivated in familiar places where you garner the most support. No matter where that spot is, remember to PLAY. Being a child is at the core of who we all are anyway.

 

Written by Bryan Christon

“Perfection”

What is perfection? According to Dictionary.com, perfect is defined as “conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type.” However, when it comes to wellness, I am not certain there is an exact definition of an ideal type. What makes one individual healthy and happy may not necessarily work for someone else. Even the guidelines set out by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) regarding nutritional intake and the exercise standards promoted by the ACSM (American Academy of Sports Medicine) are just that: guidelines. Both organizations take large volumes of data from hundreds of thousands of people and create standards that fit the majority of the US population regarding what might constitute optimal health. These standards can’t possibly consider each individual’s unique genetic makeup and personal preferences for a fulfilling life.

So why do we strive for perfection when perfection is at best a guess of what might work for some people? Why do we pressure ourselves into comparing what we feel others are doing that seems to be superior, and quite obviously in our minds, the best way to pursue optimal health? Earth Girl recommends we reframe our thinking when we consider our daily habits and how they impact our wellness.

Instead of berating ourselves because we had a piece of cake at a friend’s birthday party and subsequently deciding we have no self control so we might as well give up on living a healthy lifestyle (because in a perfect world we wouldn’t eat any cake), let’s refocus. Birthday parties are fun and a small celebratory piece of delicious chocolate cake might be what we seek as perfection that day. We celebrated, we ate cake, we enjoyed and then we moved on to a healthy option for dinner later that night.

Instead of relinquishing a regular exercise routine because we missed one run to enjoy an evening out with our family (and in a perfect world we would not skip a run), let’s refocus. Time spent with family can also be active and, certainly, quality time with loved ones has amazing health benefits. Enjoy the spontaneity of the situation and clock your three miles the next day.

We often think that unless we pursue everything to its “perfect” ending, we might as well not pursue it at all. Such a sad way to live the adventure called life! Let’s strive to be perfectly imperfect. Or perhaps, imperfectly perfect. Decide what is best for the situation and use the opportunity to grow and enjoy life!

Earth Girl thinks perfection is what we make it. It looks different for everyone so stay on the adventure that makes you perfectly you!

 

Written by Tina Hatcher of Earth Girl Wellness

The 10,000 Steps Goal

Fitness trackers abound these days along with pages of advice encouraging us to walk 10,000 steps. We faithfully don our wristbands and watches hoping to achieve the magical distance of five miles per day. But have you ever stopped to think about why we need those steps? Are 10,000 steps necessary or is it an arbitrary number conjured up to make us obsessive compulsive about walking the last 103 steps needed to reach 10,000 before getting into bed?

Let’s go back a few decades, to say, the 1970’s. If you were alive (and if you weren’t, use your imagination), think of all the things you did throughout the day that involved taking steps. To open the garage door, you had to get out of your car, walk to the garage door, open it, walk back to your car, pull in, then walk back and close the garage door before entering your house. Hmm…maybe 50 steps involved? In order to change the channel on the television (which only had 4 channels to begin with), you had to walk to the TV, change the channel, then walk back to the couch. Another 20 steps. To fill a prescription, you had to get out of your car, walk into the pharmacy, wait for the prescription to be filled (during which time you probably walked around the store because they didn’t have convenient chairs to sit in while you waited), get your prescription, and walk back to your car. Log another 150 steps, at least. We were naturally walking roughly five miles just to accomplish the tasks needed for daily living.

Now, welcome to the 21st century. We use the drive thru at coffee shops for our daily cup of joe. We use riding lawn mowers to cut our grass. We use an elevator to take us up two flights of stairs! These “activities” require no steps. We simply do not have to walk like we used to. We have to schedule time and add “taking steps” to our daily agenda.

Five miles, or 10,000 steps, is a sweet spot for health. When comparing the population at large, individuals that average 10,000 steps per day tend to be healthier than individuals that walk less. You can, however, stop short of berating yourself if you are a few steps shy of your daily goal. Some days your sneakers will pound the pavement with more than 10,000 steps. Some days your shoes will have a little less wear. Look at the bigger picture and see how your steps average out for a week. Remember, life does allow a day or two of leisure on occasion.

Earth Girl’s recommendation is to keep your fitness trackers on, your shoes tied, and your ambition ready to tackle every step of your day!

 

Written by Tina Hatcher

Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals!

Whether or not you’ve gone through countless resolutions since the year began, every day is a new chance to change yourself for the better. Here’s a list of apps that can easily keep you on track for the rest of year:

For staying organized:
Try Cozi Family Organizer (IOS):
Keep the whole family on track with family calendars, shopping lists, to-dos, and journals! Anyone with an IOS device can sign into the joint account through their individual emails and send or receive notifications.

For working on getting or perfecting a job:
Try LinkedIn:
If you don’t have this one yet, what are you waiting for? LinkedIn is a portable resume that’s perfect for when you’re looking for a job, networking, or want advice in your field. You can receive notifications anywhere, that are purely career related.

To stop smoking or limit junk foods:
Try Quitter:
This app really helps to keep you motivated once you quit a habit. Whether that’s smoking or limiting eating out, you can see how long you’ve been without the habit, and just how much money you’ve saved thus far. What could be better than a healthier lifestyle and a fatter wallet?

To organize your finances:
Try mint.com Personal Finance:
With the convenience of a website and an app, you can access this one from everywhere! Once you link your account–and you can link multiple–you can manage everything from small bills to loans, credit, and retirement.

To get (and stay in!) shape:
Try Sworkit- Circuit Training Workouts:
This easily personalized app can generate home or gym workouts which can include strength training or yoga. You can set the duration of your workout and be stress free!

To eat healthier:
Try MyFitnessPal:
This app uses a fitness tracker and calorie counter to help you to lose weight. With a database of over 5 million foods, it will help you to keep a calorie in- calorie out balance. Although, this one is geared more towards the food aspect of health versus an advanced fitness tracker.

To learn a new language:
Try Duolingo:
Using short bursts of lessons throughout your use of the app, this app uses its small periods of time with memory skills to help you to develop knowledge of a new language.

To be more informed:
Try TEDTALKS:
If you want to be more educated on anything from history to politics, TedTalks are led by experts in the field who discuss their experiences, and shower their wisdom through interactive lectures. The best part is that you get to pick what you want to learn when you want to learn!

To manage stress or anxiety:
Try Pacifica:
When given attention, this app tracks and analyzes your everyday moods to help you manage stress and anxiety. It can even connect you to other applications that help you to sleep or connect with a therapist.

To do more charity/ volunteer work:
Try Volunteer Finder (IOS) / Volunteer Near You (Android):
If you’re feeling like getting involved in the community, this app helps to locate volunteer opportunities around your area and connect you to them.

So go out and make it a better year AND a better you!

 

Written by Zoë Pierson

The MELT Method

Exercise is an important daily component to life. It increases energy levels, while still providing many positive health benefits. However, working out doesn’t have to be all about running, burpees, or weights. Exercise is meant to be peace for the body and should require little to no pain.  The MELT Method combines pain-free healing for the body that most fitness plans can’t offer.

Sue Hitzmann, MS, CST, NMT, is the creator of the MELT Method. Her main goal for the treatment technique was to stop and prevent chronic pain in aging, active bodies. Hitzmann’s yoga based method has proven to improve bodies with her MELT Method 3-disc DVD set. The DVD is the companion to the New York Times’ bestselling book, The MELT Method. With Hitzmann’s techniques, a soft body roller, and four different compression balls, MELT can help restore your body to its natural health.

Roller bentIn the instructional DVD’s, Hitzmann outlines the method to her breakthrough self-treatment. It’s important to have a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue to live without chronic pain.  She outlines the 4 R’s of MELTing– reconnect, rebalance, rehydrate, release. These components help reach the goal of a balanced nervous system and healthy connective tissue.

It’s time to try a different exercise routine to something more calming for the body than the usual elliptical! Regular exercise is essential, but it’s also essential to enjoy what you’re doing to keep in good health. This technique can be a great element for mind, body, and soul. In order to relieve stress in your life, you have to find things that put you at ease and not just temporary fixes.

Want to try out the MELT Method? You can pick up your kit to get started here.

Written by Stacy Shrader

Bella Loves: Gym Essentials

Getting up at 5 a.m. to hit the gym is… well, interesting. Especially if you aren’t used to it.
Even if you get up and manage to make it out of your door within 30 minutes, it’s very easy to forget important things–like headphones, a headband, and even shower gear!
If you read our monthly minimalism column, you’ll know that we like to simplify things to avoid this kind of mishap. That’s why we have compiled a small list of our morning essentials to get you to the gym and keep you healthy and happy throughout the day.

12750313_477394149138002_2099817502_nViolet Love Headbands
We LOVE these beautiful headbands and their “No Headache–No Slip” guarantee. Choose between two styles–sportswear and premier performance wear. The sportswear collection takes a more tailored, upscale, and specialty design approach to casual wear while keeping the laidback, bohemian vibe. The performance collection brings a spiced up take on core fitness wear in luxurious and durable fabrics offered in unique specialty prints and bright colors. Check them out at www.violetloveheadbands.com.

Wraps Headphones
lookbooknaturalWraps wristband headphones make it easy to transport your headphones without worrying about the tangled mess they often become in the bottom of your purse or gym bag. Some even come with microphones, making it easy and convenient to answer the phone while you are working. When they aren’t in use, simply wrap the headphones around your wrist and attach them until you need them again. They ship from Europe, but they are definitely worth it! Go to www.mywraps.com for more information.

packtowl_personal_m_indigoPacktowls
As featured in our March issue, Packtowls are perfect for when you want to maximize space in your bathroom. They also work really well for the days that you shower at the gym. Packtowls are designed to dry quickly. Once they are dry, you can roll them up and store them in their own bag. Purchase yours at Walkabout Outfitter in downtown Roanoke or on Amazon.

 

What are some of your go-to products for making life more simple in the morning? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

 

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Enter to Win a Copy of The New Health Rules!

You’ve made the commitment to get healthier, but you have no idea where to begin. That’s where The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness by Dr. Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro can help.
51ZrNqYwnQL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This illustrated guide to improving every aspect of your mind, body, and soul is meant to help map healthy habits you want to integrate deeply and forever.
It offers guidance on a variety of topics including diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes that can positively impact your life. This includes advice on what you should buy every week, simple secrets to a good night’s sleep and boosting your energy, and the products that you should avoid.
Order yours today and get started on the journey to a healthy, more fulfilled routine. You can also enter to win a copy on our Facebook page!