Fitness

Beauty & Health, Fitness

Are you Drinking Enough? Water, that is!!

By Catherine Varchever Our bodies are made up of over 70% water and it is involved in almost every aspect of keeping our body’s biological processes running efficiently. Not counting perspiration, it is estimated that as adults we lose about 4% of our total body weight per day in water losses. This means, it is important to replace not only this water, but also the water we lose when participating in activities, especially in the summertime. How do you know how much water you should drink? Experts vary in their recommendations and the exact amount depends upon your body weight, where you live, how much exercise you do per day, and the type of environment in which you are living. But as a general rule, one quick way you can estimate how much you should be drinking is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. The result is the number of ounces that you should be drinking per day in terms of your water consumption. For example, if you are a lady and weigh 125 pounds/2 = 62.5, you should be aiming for at least 62.5 ounces of water per day. Plain water is generally the best for hydration. Avoid caffeine or alcohol as these can dehydrate you further. However, if you are working out in the heat and or perspiring extensively, then it is important to replenish the electrolytes that your body loses with either an electrolyte supplement or sports drink. Hydration and Heat You need to increase the amount of fluids you drink if you are out in the heat. Plan your water intake before you start working out. Because everyone is different it is difficult to state exact fluid requirements, but as a starting point here are some general guidelines you…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Lose the Rolls

By Nicole Flanagan Obesity in America is a big problem. We as a society are getting fatter each year. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Some of the leading causes of death in this country include obesity related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. With that being said, I believe it may be time to take a closer look at how food and fitness play such an important role in the longevity and quality of this modern life. Today the term “you are what you eat” can have a very bad outlook if you consider what we are putting into our bodies. So much of what we eat is processed and manufactured to the point that when we consume this “food” our bodies don’t know what to do with it. The human body is meant to break down foods that come from natural sources such as whole grains, fresh produce, and natural sources of protein. Food should be seen as a source of energy for the body. When we eat clean natural food our bodies can use every molecule. Each molecule goes to someplace in the body where it can be used and does something positive for your health. Protein molecules go to building and repairing tissue. Healthy fats are used to lubricate cells and keep things like hair, skin and other organs healthy. Molecules from complex carbohydrates are broken down and used as energy for the body to carry out its daily processes. Fiber is used to clean out our system and water carries important nutrients where they need to go. When every little bit of food is used up there is nothing left to store as excess fat. However, when our digestive system…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Build Strength and Stability While Increasing Flexibility

By Nicole Flanagan Incorporating yoga positions into your workout can greatly improve your core strength, stability and flexibility. For those of you who have never taken a yoga class, I recommend giving it a try. A yoga class will challenge you in a way that is incomparable to a strength-training workout. Yoga increases flexibility through various positions that act on the joints. It gently stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments that we usually don’t focus on in a workout. For someone with limited flexibility, yoga will help to improve the range of motion that the joints can handle. Performing yoga moves will also increase blood circulation and help the body move vital fluids throughout.  By gently stretching muscles and joints as well as massaging the body’s organs, yoga ensures that blood is reaching all parts of your body.  This increase in circulation improves your body’s ability to flush out toxins. With so many benefits of yoga there is no reason not to give some of them a try.  Here are some moves to do on your own, or add to your existing workout that will help improve strength, stability and flexibility. Downward Dog: Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips Walk hands a few inches forward and spread fingers wide, pressing palms into mat. Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from ears. Feet should be hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold for three full breaths Make this move more challenging- once you are in the V position bring one leg straight up toward the ceiling keeping your hips level. Hold each leg for three breaths. The Crow Starting from the downward dog position walk feet forward until knees touch your…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Fit Mom

By Nicole Flannigan As a personal trainer and a mother, I can appreciate being able to have an hour to myself to get in a good workout. This event rarely happens. It seems that by the time I actually have some time to spend on myself there is still a million things to get done. Exercise is always on my list of things to do for the day and I have found that the best way to fit it in is by doing a 15-20 minute workout at least twice a day. Fitting in a workout can be easier if you make it a part of your daily routine. I know this is easier said than done, but it is possible. Make your workout fun for you and for your kids. Try doing a workout video in the living room while your kids play. If they are old enough to move around have fun with them, you get your workout in and the kids get worn out too! When babies are too young to move on their own, it’s the best time to strap them in a stroller and go for a walk. If you are a runner, I highly recommend investing in a jogging stroller – it will make exercising fun and the jogging strollers fold up so you can take them just about everywhere. Exercising increases your metabolism, increases energy and will help you sleep better (even if you are only getting a few hours at a time).  You can complete an entire strength training routine in just under 20 minutes using only your body weight.  The best part about body weight training is that you can do it anywhere! Total Body Strength Workout: Warm-up: jumping jacks, walk in place for 1 minute Squat Jump -Stand with your…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Saving Your Workout for Daylight

By Nicole Flanagan If you ever make it to the gym before the sun comes up you will notice that there are just as many, if not more, people working out at 5am as there are at 5pm. For some people, working out in the morning is like having a cup of coffee, for others the thought of getting out of bed any earlier than sun-up, well, isn’t a thought at all. For others it is simply timing and lifestyle fit that designate a workout time. I have wondered if there really is a better time to work out, as I have always thought that morning workouts were the best.  For me getting up and getting my workout done early means that I have the rest of the day and don’t have the workout hanging in the back of my mind. Not like chasing a toddler is a sedentary job but sometimes come the end of the day I am just too exhausted to go for a run. I choose to work out early in the morning because it is convenient, I have the time to myself and it gives me a little bit of peace in my mind before everyone else in my house gets up. I did a little bit of research on the best time to work out and what I found was interesting. Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University has a different opinion about when the ideal time to exercise is. She claims that the best time to work out is in the late afternoon. The reason for that is your muscle strength is at its peak. She also states that someone would be less likely to have an injury because it’s also a time when people are most awake and alert. The science behind Zee’s…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Re-do Your Routine

By Nicole Flanagan Spring is on its way. The days are getting longer and warmer and everything is waking up from winter. With springtime comes a new energy to evaluate and recommit to fitness plans. It is almost like a second shot at a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you need to set some new goals, or even start over completely. Here are a few ways to tweak your workout and keep your fitness moving in the right direction. Train Smarter. If you are looking for an all-in-one training tool, check out the TRX Suspension System. It is portable, versatile and makes the most out of a bodyweight workout. Because of the suspension, you must use your core to stabilize and therefore work more than one muscle group at a time. With the TRX system you can get a workout done in as little as twenty minutes. The TRX system is designed for all fitness levels from novice to elite. It comes with a workout guide and there are many ways to modify the exercises whether you are just starting out, or are looking to bring your workout to a new level. It really is an all-in-one workout. Staying with the idea of a portable workout, another great piece of equipment is an exercise band. They are inexpensive, compact, and you can carry them almost anywhere.  Try this; from either a seated or standing position, pull a band up around your thighs, slowly pull your legs apart at the knees. This works both inner and outer thigh muscles. Start with three sets of ten. Back up your workout. You know how to train your abs, but what many forget is how important it is to strengthen your entire back. By adding a few exercises that work to improve back strength and…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Cold Weather and Your Heart Health

By Nicole Flanagan Although winter is a beautiful time of the year, it brings low temperatures, shorter daylight hours and snow (only once every few years here). Cold weather can strain the heart, and according to research, increase the risk for a heart attack. Many people are not even aware that they are at risk until they have a heart attack, so it’s very important to know the risk factors. The risk of heart disease increases if you’re older, a smoker, overweight, have high blood pressure, don’t exercise enough or have a stress-filled life.  Heart problems can also be hereditary. If you’re at risk, you must be especially careful during the winter months. Why? Colder temperatures cause your blood vessels to get smaller, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen supply to your heart. Your blood becomes thicker when temperatures drop, and this can cause an increase in the risk of clotting. Cold weather can also lead to an increase in blood pressure, which puts more stress on your heart.  If you’re not used to exercising, your risk of a heart attack during winter weather may increase from overexertion. If you are not accustomed to exercise, shoveling snow or even walking in deep or heavy snow can trigger a heart attack.  If you don’t know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather, you could suffer from hypothermia—an abnormally low body temperature. Most deaths from this condition are caused by heart failure. It is also important to know the signs of a heart attack. If you experience any of the following signs you should call 9-1-1. -chest pain, pressure or discomfort -pain, pressure or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach -shortness of breath -cold sweat -nausea -lightheadedness Heart healthy living can be part…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

The Annual New Year Resolution Pep Talk

By Nicole Flanagan The Annual New Year Resolution Pep Talk Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Well, if you’re like most, you have at least one resolution, and, if you are like the majority of these promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and fitness. While resolutions are well-intentioned, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype surrounding these promises, it’s easy to get caught up in them without really taking them seriously. We live in a throw-away society and even our resolutions, I’m afraid, are not immune. However, especially for promises that include improving our health it’s in our best interest to not take them lightly. So, what’s the secret to successful resolutions? While you can’t wave a magic wand and make your resolution come true, there are some easy steps to take to make it easier to fulfill your promise to yourself. Choose an obtainable goal. Resolving to look like a super model is not realistic for the majority of us, but promising to include daily physical activity in our lives is very possible. Avoid choosing a resolution that you’ve been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment. If you are still tempted to make a promise that you’ve made before, then try altering it. For example, instead of stating that you are going to lose 30 pounds, try promising to eat healthier and increase your weekly exercise. Create a game plan. At the beginning of January, write a comprehensive plan. All successful businesses start with a business plan that describes their mission and specifics on how they will achieve it. Write your own personal plan and you’ll be more likely to succeed as well. Break it down and make it less intimidating….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Keeping Up Your Workout In the Winter!

By Nicole Flanagan Keeping Up Your Workout In the Winter! With the cold weather rolling in and the days getting shorter it seems like we all have less time on our hands. With an already jam-packed schedule we tend to skip out on workouts (or stop exercising entirely) and by the time we get to the New Year we all feel compelled to get back to that pre-holiday shape. This year let’s try to do things a little different. Instead of slowing down on the exercise routine and abandoning your diet completely, keep up the good work and by the time the New Year gets here you will be starting off on a positive foot.  Pay attention to what you eat at your holiday parties and keep your butt moving through the last leg of the holiday season. Here are just a few tips to keep you looking and feeling your best! Keep Moving: Without realizing it we sometimes slow down on our exercise routines. This time make a steadfast commitment to workout.  Just like you make your work schedule, take time to pencil in a workout.  If you end up missing a workout make it up as soon as possible. Remember it is easier to stick to a fitness program than it is to start one after months of inactivity. Take your workout outdoors: Most people will bring their workouts inside when the weather starts to get chilly. Instead, take advantage of what the weather has to offer.  Bundle up a bit and take a walk, you’ll have to walk a bit faster to keep yourself warm while also burning more calories. Travel Smart: Don’t abandon your workout because of traveling for work or family holiday parties. If you are on a business trip try staying at a hotel…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Staying Fit For The Start Of The Holiday Season

By Nicole Flanagan Staying Fit For The Start Of The Holiday Season Last month I said how fall is the best time to get yourself back into a fitness routine and gear up for the cooler months ahead.  Well it has been thirty days since then and hopefully everyone has been able to stick with his or her fitness routines.  In case you are starting to falter from your schedule, here are some tips to keep you motivated for the next month. I’m sure that some of you have had a little extra time to set aside for your workout now that the kids are back in school.  Just remember that dedicated workout times are great but you can get your exercise other ways as well.  You don’t necessarily have to set aside a whole hour to workout. Exercising can actually be a lot of fun.   Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Look for an activity that suits the whole family! Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts! Exercise helps us deal with stress and can increase the energy we have to deal with all of our daily activities. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.  Use regular exercise as a way to improve your own well-being and as a way…

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