Fitness

Beauty & Health, Fitness

Start Early and Walk Away Winter Weight

By Nicole Flanagan Every January hundreds of people head out to join a gym or activity group to make a New Year’s resolution. One of the top resolutions on just about everyone’s list is some type of fitness goal, losing weight, training to run a 5k or starting a weight training program to tone up. Make this upcoming new year more successful by starting your fitness program BEFORE the new year gets here. Experts say it takes 30 days to create a habit. If you start your workout plan in December, by the time the new year rolls around you will be ahead of everyone else! One of the simplest forms of exercise that just about everyone can participate in is walking. There is no equipment needed except for a good pair of walking sneakers. With the weather that we have been having here there is no reason not to grab a buddy and get outside for a walk. If going outside is not an option then a walking workout on a treadmill is great as well. Here are a few ways to boost your walking routine into a fat burning session. Walk at a Steady Pace: Aim for a speed at which you’re hustling but still able to carry on a conversation. Your rate of perceived exertion, or RPE should be about a 6. RPE is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being sitting still and 10 being an all out sprint. If you are on a treadmill this speed will be between a 13 and 17 minute mile. The goal is to maintain this speed for 45minutes. Calories burned at this pace can be between 150 and 300, depending on your pace and fitness level. Walking Hills: walking up hills or climbing stairs will burn…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Fall and Fitness

By Nicole Flanagan With fall comes brisk mornings, followed by cooler days, and not to mention the beautiful foliage and delicious fall foods. Now is the time to get that workout into your schedule so that it becomes part of your routine before things get hectic for the holidays. Here are just a few reasons why you should use this fall to make fitness part of your life. Enjoy the year’s most beautiful season. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. Explore parks in your area; find a new bike path through the woods, take a walk around a lake. The time spent out in nature will do as much good for your mind as for your body. Get back to the club. As I have said before, it takes 30 days to make a habit, and supplementing your outdoor activities with a regular gym workout will help keep you on track. While cardio exercise is good for your heart, it is important to add some resistance training to your program as well. If you are looking for something new, sign up with a personal trainer for a few sessions and have them come up with a new program for you. This is especially a good idea if you are looking for a program specifically suited to help you improve your running or hiking. Take advantage of what fall has to offer. Fall makes me think of apple picking. Turns out that this awesome fruit has incredible health benefits. Apples contain pectin, which has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and can help with managing diabetes. The antioxidants found in apples have been found to lower the risk for asthma and lung cancer. In addition to that, apples also provide us…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

The Benefits of Hiring a Personal Trainer

By Nicole Flanagan Many people today are making the decision to include exercise as part of their healthy lifestyle. After all, it has been recognized that a balanced exercise program of cardio, strength and flexibility can help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, manage weight, strengthen bones, improve sleep and make you look and feel great.  Beginning an exercise program should be fun and motivating. In order to keep up the good work a person should be seeing results and feeling great, right? For those who are new to exercise, starting a program can be a bit overwhelming.  If the last time you stepped foot in a gym was is PE class in high school it may be a good idea to hire a trainer just to get you started. Personal Training today is much more available and much more affordable than it’s ever been. Many sports clubs even offer a free introductory lesson as part of a membership. Know that this is not always an actual personal training session, but more of an introduction to the facility and the equipment. For some, this may be all you want or need. At Old Town Sport and Health Club each new member receives a complimentary Smart Start with a certified Personal Trainer. During this one-hour session a personal trainer will conduct a full baseline assessment that includes a health questionnaire, body composition, movement analysis, health and lifestyle analysis and a discussion of long and short range fitness goals. The trainer will also talk a little bit about the importance of nutrition and show the new member how to use the equipment. This is a great way to get back to the gym and learn about new equipment and how to use it safely. One of the great benefits of having a…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Fall Back Into Exercise

By Nicole Flanagan For some of us the fall brings a feeling of renewal. The changing of seasons can bring a change in your daily routine. With the kids heading back to school and the holidays just around the corner it may be impossible to find time to exercise. But what better time of the year is there to enjoy the fresh air without the heat and humidity. September is a great time to get back in gear and change up that workout you have been doing all summer. There are twelve weeks from the beginning of September until Thanksgiving.  That is a great time frame to get in the habit of a new workout that you will be able to stick with through the winter months. There are so many ways to make exercising more fun in the fall. Trying out a new routine or simply bringing a running workout from the treadmill to the tree-lined streets is a great way to change your routine and get your mind set on some new workout goals. This holiday season let’s focus on staying in that workout mode. For the next twelve weeks stay on track by adding new things to your workout. Fall is a great time for running, cycling, hiking, and walking.  Walking is the easiest form of exercise. The key to making walking enjoyable is to make it a part of your daily routine. Start walking in the morning before work or school. By getting started early you jump start your body, mind, and metabolism so you have more energy throughout the day. If you need something a little more fast-paced, running is a great way to stay in shape especially in the fall. It’s not too hot, not too cold and the crisp morning air will be…

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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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