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How to Fit in Fitness…

By… to Your Health staff

Current exercise recommendations call for 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity, five days per week. Sound impossible? Not when you consider there are 1,440 minutes in a day. Can’t you take a mere two percent of your time and devote it to staying in shape? If you think it’s not that easy, think again.

These days, there are plenty of ways to exercise on a daily basis, no matter how busy you are. And that’s good news, because overwhelming evidence suggests consistent physical activity has a variety of health benefits, including reducing stress, improving heart health, and lowering the risk of developing diabetes, cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Here are a few simple suggestions to help overcome barriers (perceived or real) to physical activity, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov):

Timing is everything. Monitor your daily activities for one week, and then identify at least three 30-minute time slots per day that you could devote to physical activity. Then commit to filling one of those daily windows with exercise. Maintain a calendar so you don’t “forget” your daily fitness responsibility.

Support makes sense. Make sure your friends and family know you are dedicated to consistent physical activity, and ask for their support. You can recruit others to join you, too, which will make it much easier to stay focused, especially on those inevitable “down days” when you aren’t in the mood to do anything except sit on the couch.

Rest your brain (and bank account). Lack of knowledge and lack of money are two of the top reasons people give for not exercising. Don’t let either of these excuses distract you from your goal. There are plenty of activities that don’t require particular skill or cash, such as walking, cycling, jumping rope or swimming. You can even park farther from work and walk the rest of the way; you’ll save on gas and get in shape.

Don’t be afraid to multitask. No, that doesn’t mean you should try to do the bills or plan the family holiday party during your designated 30-minute exercise window. It does mean you can jump rope while watching TV, wrestle with the kids, take a family bike ride (which is good exercise for everyone), or do housework or gardening.

So, now that you know how to fit in fitness, what are you waiting for? Find the time, stay on course and enjoy a healthier, happier life. There’s no better time than now to start.💪👍🤗

5 ways to build muscle!

With all the talk these days about losing weight and burning fat, it’s easy to forget about the importance of building muscle. Whether you’re looking to maximize your metabolism or just look better in front of the mirror, you need muscle to do it.

Here are five simple strategies, whether you’re looking to stay lean while losing weight or get pumped up and gain a few pounds of muscle:

1.*** Contain the Cardio: Exercise that gets your heart pumping, particularly in the fat-burning zone, is great if you’re looking to slim down and lean out. But too much cardio can burn muscle along with the fat (the classic example is the long-distance runner; they may be lean and in great shape, but they generally can’t pack on pounds of muscle). That doesn’t mean you should ignore cardiovascular exercise, because it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Just limit it to three 30-minute sessions a week and spend the rest of your workout time doing muscle-building exercises (with free weights, balls and bands, or your own body weight).

2. ### Don’t Overdo It: The number-one mistake exercisers make, whether they’re trying to build muscle, burn fat, lose weight or do all of the above, is overtrain. You might think that more is better, but in general, it’s a recipe for disaster. One or both of two things can happen if you overtrain: you can get injured or you can get burned out. If either happens, you won’t be able to – or won’t want to – work out, and of course, if you’re not working out, it’s difficult to build muscle, particularly over time. So work out every other day for a maximum of 45 minutes, and work within the limits of your body. That means if you can only bench press 200 pounds, don’t get greedy and try for a 300-lb lift.

3. %% Mix Things Up: Life is all about mixing things up. Variety is what keeps people from getting complacent and bored. Your muscles operate under a similar principle. Once they get comfortable with how they’re being used, they stop growing. They key to continual muscle gains is to mix your workouts up every 4-6 weeks; doing so will keep your muscles engaged in fresh, new ways. Instead of sitting back and getting comfortable with the same old workouts, your muscles will jump to attention and keep working hard. The result: they’ll keep growing and you’ll keep building muscle.

4. !!! Keep Eating: In the endless pursuit of weight loss, many people incorrectly focus on calorie restriction as the way to lose weight and get lean. Not only will that not particularly work (your body actually needs more calories, especially if you’re working out; and too few will shut down your metabolism and store fat), but it also will cost you and chances at muscle growth. The reason is twofold: First, the more you eat, especially a blend of protein, complex carbohydrates and essential fats, the more your metabolism increases. The more effective your metabolism is, the more energy your body expends, even when you’re sedentary. Second, if your muscles don’t have enough food, they can’t grow, pure and simple. Starve them and they’ll wither away.

5. %%% Take a Break: Even if you’re mixing your muscle-building workouts up, you – and your body – need the occasional rest. In fact, you’ll often find that your greatest muscle gains take place when you aren’t working out. That’s because muscle growth operates on a simple principle: Exercise tears the muscle down, while rest, recovery and proper nourishment builds it back up. If you’re always working out, your muscle is always being worked – it never has time to grow. So schedule a few breaks during the year of at least a week; you’ll be amazed at the effect it has on your body – and your state of mind. You’ll be ready to get back to the gym, and your body will be ready and raring to go!

Healthy Is Happy: The Power of Exercise

 “Happiness does not come from doing easy work, but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best effort.” — Theodore Isaac Rubin, American psychologist and author

  When you’re unhappy, exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind. For many people, exercise takes a major back seat to a melancholy song or movie, a gallon of ice cream or a darkened bedroom where you can wallow in your discontent. But research suggests exercise is actually a great choice to increase your happiness … and it doesn’t even take that much to do the trick.

Working out for a mere 10 minutes a day or one day a week boosts happiness compared to not exercising, suggests a new review study in the appropriately named Journal of Happiness Studies. Exercise was strongly linked to happiness, and the connection existed regardless of age, type of exercise performed and other variables. Simply put, people who exercised reported being happier than people who didn’t.

So remember, the next time you’re down in the dumps, don’t avoid exercise; embrace it. Walk, jog, hit the gym; practice yoga … whatever makes you happy! Talk to your doctor for more information and to help outline an exercise program specific to your health needs and fitness goals.

(Especially like as of late around here where it’s raining and cloudy…ya just don’t feel like doing anything that day…Get your butt out of bed and just do some basic bodyweight exercises to get going and your mood will improve !!) –Steve💪👍💖

3 ways to build muscle !

Protein Drink - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkFUEL

Muscle is like a car: It needs fuel to function. If your muscles are running on an empty gas tank, they can’t grow, and what’s worse, they’ll actually go in reverse. Eat at least six small meals a day, getting plenty of protein and complex carbs to ensure you have the energy and capacity to build muscle.

Alarm Clock - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkFIRE

High-intensity training that focuses on engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously and always keeps your muscles wondering – that’s the key to making muscles grow. Keep your muscles firing and challenged and they’ll keep on responding; do the opposite and you’ll stop making gains.

Dumbbells - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register MarkFRESH

Muscle that doesn’t have time to recover doesn’t have time to rebuild and grow. Work out hard, but then take time to relax and refresh yourself. You’ll often find your greatest muscle gains come during time off; slave away in the gym day after day with no break, and you’ll get burned out and burned up in no time.

Treadmills be Gone !!

How to Stay Fit Outside the Gym

By Julie T. Chen, MD

For those of us who are always on the run, finding time to exercise can be a challenge. While work, school and day-to-day stresses are a part of life, it can be tough to climb out of bed early and hit the gym; or prioritize an evening yoga class after a long day.

1. Shake It Out: The next time you’re watching TV, challenge yourself to do jumping jacks during a commercial break. Mute your TV and put on your favorite music, do as many push-ups or sit-ups as you can, dance around, or even just jump in place. Worry less about doing the moves wrong and more on enjoying yourself. There is no wrong way to move!

2. Count Your Steps: Try taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator when you get the chance, especially if you’re only going up or down a few floors. If you work in a building with many floors, hop off the elevator a few floors before your own and walk the rest of the way up/down.

3. Stop and Smell the Roses: Instead of driving somewhere to grab lunch, go green and walk to a nearby café or restaurant. If you bring your lunch with you, don’t settle for sitting inside a cafeteria – briskly walk to the nearest park or green space and enjoy your lunch outdoors. Not only will you get your daily requirement of vitamin D, but you’ll also have the energy to power through the rest of your workday.

4. Change Your Pace: If you’re the type who circles around the shopping mall looking for the closest parking spot, switch up your routine and get in the habit of parking far away. Not only will you find a spot with ease, but you’ll also get a workout, particularly if you’re toting shopping bags.

5. Back to Basics: If getting to the gym is deterring you from working out, remember exercise is literally around the corner. Whether you live in the middle of the city or out in the suburbs, taking a stroll around the block only requires you to put shoes on and walk out the door. Put on your favorite playlist or podcast and set a timer if you’re short on time, and remember: You can be active anywhere as long as you prioritize it in your daily schedule.

*** Remember the Gym is Not the only place to get some exercise in…so get to it !!! ****

Exercise for Low Back Pain

Back pain might go away for a while, but you never know when it will return. Research shows that recurrence rates for low back pain soar as high as 50% in the 12 months following the initial episode.

And although patients are encouraged to return to normal activities as soon as possible, many fear that movement or activity will only make their pain worse.

In July, the British Medical Journal published a study that evaluated the effectiveness of an exercise program for dealing with back pain. One hundred and eighty-seven patients with low back pain of 1-6 months duration were divided into an exercise group or a control group. The exercise group participated in eight one-hour classes that included muscle strengthening, stretching, relaxation techniques and a brief education on back care. The control group continued under the care of their doctor.

Questionnaires completed six months and one year after the program revealed that patients in the exercise group reported less back pain and associated disability than the control group. The exercise group also took less days off work than the control group in the 12-month follow-up period (378 days by the exercise group vs. 607 days by the control group).

As these results suggest, something can be done about back pain. In fact, exercise is just one of many potential options available to back pain sufferers. A doctor of chiropractic can evaluate you and outline the most appropriate course of rehabilitation for your condition.

Reference:

Moffett JK, Torgerson D, Bell-Syer S, et al. Randomised controlled trial of exercise for low back pain: clinical outcomes, cost and preferences. British Medical Journal, July 31, 1999: Vol. 319, No. 7205, pp 279-283.