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Tag Archives: cardio

What Could Be Sweeter Than A Healthy Heart?

Posted on February 16, 2015 by

dishonestThe heart is the crucial organ that supplies blood and oxygen to all parts of the body.  It’s about the size of a clenched fist and is shaped like a cone.  Symbolically, the heart is the center of emotion, including affection and love.  Last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, maybe a sentimental card, some chocolate, and EXERCISE!?  Actually, we don’t normally think of exercising with our sweetie as an expression of our love.   I’m going to explain why it’s not only a great thing to do for yourself, but also together with your partner!

Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate.  It uses large muscle movement over a sustained period of time to keep your heart rate at over 50% of its maximum level.  There are numerous benefits of cardiovascular exercise.  Most people understand that cardio decreases body weight, decreases blood pressure, decreases LDL (bad cholesterol), increases HDL (good cholesterol), strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases metabolism.

In addition, cardio workouts flood the brain with chemicals that enhance memory, problem solving, and decision making.  So, you’re working out your brain at the same time as your heart!  Also, cardio boosts productivity, revs up your energy, and improves your mood.  The overall effect is greater self-confidence.

To reap these amazing benefits of cardio exercise, what formula do you need to follow? (FITT)

FREQUENCY:  3-5X a week depending on your goals.

INTENSITY:  Moderate pace, out of your comfort zone (uncomfortable), about a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10.

TIME:  At least 20 minutes, (beginners will do less), and can be split up into two, 10-minute workouts.

TYPE:  An activity that uses large muscle groups and one you will enjoy doing for an extended period of time.

Examples of fun exercises you can do with your spouse or partner are:  swimming, dancing, walking/jogging, or a group exercise class such as Zumba, kickboxing, or spinning.

Loving yourself means taking care of you.   Make time for cardio exercise and you’ll soon see how it transforms you on the outside and the inside.  It’s a fun and healthy way to spend some quality time with a loved one.

 

Don’t Just Sit There!

Posted on October 13, 2014 by

act nowIt takes a little (okay, sometimes more than a little) effort to get up off of the couch or pull yourself away from the computer long enough to find your tennis shoes and head out for a walk.  So, what’s the worst that can happen if you don’t get in regular exercise?

Physical inactivity may be a deadly as smoking! A study at Harvard University estimates that as many as 5.3 million deaths around the world in a single year could be directly attributed to lack of physical activity.  The World Health Organization has ranked inactivity as the 4th major risk   factor in personal health.  It falls right behind high blood pressure, tobacco use and high cholesterol.  Approximately 41% of Americans do not get enough exercise! Are you one of them?

James Levine, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic supports what Dr. Clark has told you. “We know that as soon as somebody gets out of their chair, their blood sugar improves, their blood cholesterol and triglycerides improve, and that’s very consistent. Every time you get up it gets better. Every time you sit down it gets worse.”

One way to keep track of your activity is to wear your pedometer.  Your goal of 10,000 steps a day will keep you moving.  Challenge yourself by increasing the pace as well.  See if you can get 3,000 steps in a 30 minute walk.

Think of inactivity as an infectious disease—what can you do to prevent it? Your muscles and cardiovascular system need to be used to remain effective.  30 minutes a day with a minimum of 150 minutes of activity a week is suggested. 30 minutes a day seems like a great investment in your long term health. So get up & get moving!

 

Fitness Notes~

As the amount of daylight hours gets shorter, the type of activity you choose may change.  Change can be good!  We offer a great variety of exercise classes that are part of any WMU™ program and optional fitness center memberships are only $29 a month.

 

 

Doc Weight Loss – Are There Any Benefits to Sports Drinks?

Posted on September 17, 2014 by

The Race Experience

Posted on July 17, 2014 by

A few weeks ago I ran The Chick-fil-a 10K race in Newport News at The Mariner’s Museum.  Every year I come up with the usual excuses not to run it:  too expensive, too busy, not prepared….yet every year I show up and have a great time.  (By the way, I finished 2nd overall female!).  Twenty-eight years ago I decided I wanted to be a runner.  However, sharp pains in my sides and the boredom factor made me realize running was NOT for me.  A year later the stress of college finals became so overwhelming that I re-visited running.  I discovered it was a great stress reliever!  After a few months I was running 2 miles.  I started running local 5K, 10K, and ½ marathon races and frequently won my age group.  Running races became my passion, and I traveled all over the Southeast competing in different races.  In 1991 I qualified for and ran the Boston Marathon.  Since 1990 I’ve shared my enthusiasm for running with anyone who will listen.  Even if you’re a self-proclaimed “couch potato” and aren’t fond of exercise, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and experience a race.  If you’re joints are bad, try walking.  It’s not just about the physical benefits.  The mental and emotional benefits are equally rewarding.

I’m an extremely competitive person by nature.  And, honestly, receiving awards is always an honor.  But what I love most about running is that it’s not a team sport.  I set personal goals for each race and strive to meet them.  One of our clients, Frankie Cupp, recently started running races.  She said, “In running my first 10K it was never about how well I would place. It was about the confidence I felt that I was actually doing something that even 6 months ago I would never think I’d be doing.  I found an inner strength in me that drives me to do better.”  In addition to strengthening your heart and lungs, competitive running is definitely a confidence builder.

The Specificity of Training Principal says that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect.  Therefore, if you want to compete in a 5K race, you must get out and run or walk!  Start training gradually and progress to 3 miles a few weeks prior to the race.  Every Sunday I run 8-10 miles.  Meeting my personal goals in the next race motivates me to get out of bed. In addition to training for the next race, it’s my quiet time away from the kids and my time to “commune” with nature and focus on my body.  Scott Haley is a Weight Management University client who is training for a ½ marathon. He said, “It’s a method to set a goal and train to that goal.  I started with 5K’s.  The fear of failure is a great motivator.  You’re not losing because you’re not competing against another person.  You’re competing against yourself.”

Race day is very exciting; adrenalin pumping, nervous energy, watching people of all shapes and sizes preparing for the big event. Some are athletes striving to set state records, some are the “race junkies” that show up for every race event, and some are “newbie’s” just excited by the whole race experience.   Thirty minutes before the start everyone is mulling around, using the port-o-potties, stretching and warming up.  Ten minutes before race time and the announcer tells runners to head for the start line.  The faster runners head to the front of the line.   A special guest sings The National Anthem.  I have my shaky hand on my pounding heart, tears in my eyes, and feel proud to be an American.  Next, the wheelchair racers go and I wonder how many of them were wounded in the Middle East.  The countdown is 1 minute and I’m getting myself mentally prepared. I tell myself, “Don’t fear losing.  Fear quitting.”  3-2-1 and the gun shot goes off.  Spectators are cheering everyone on, music is booming in the distance, and everyone has the same goal:  the finish line. They’re all here for different reasons.  Maybe it’s to win a prize, get points for their running group, raise money for a charity, to set a fitness goal, or to lose weight.  We’re all in this together now.  Along the way, volunteers are handing out water and shouting out motivational words.

Our enthusiastic employee, Tina, is a runner, and perfectly summed up racing. “It’s an experience.  It’s more of a mental thing; mind over matter.  When you don’t believe you can do something and you achieve it.  It’s an amazing feeling.  I love the endorphins! Everyone at the race is happy.  It’s one big joyous, healthy occasion from the camaraderie to the cheering supporters”

The cheering spectators help tremendously with motivation to keep going. The FINISH line appears in the distance and it’s like a “Chariots of Fire” moment.  You can do it!  You can see it! You cross the finish line and feel invincible! Race volunteers hand you water, bananas, and a protein bar. Most importantly, you win a shiny medal to wear proudly around your neck. (I keep all my certificates, medals, plaques, and trophies on my special “running bookcase.”).  Every race is a different and unique experience.  Sometimes they serve pizza, beer (!), offer free massages, give away raffle prizes, or have concerts.

At the awards ceremony, trophies or plaques are handed out to overall and age group winners. Overall winners often get additional gifts such as gift certificates or money.  The truth is everyone who showed up and participated is a winner!  Each person got a medal, race t-shirt (part of the sign up cost), and a bib number.  I write down my times on my bib numbers and keep them for my running scrapbook. Brenda Nickel is a former client at CFWLS who participates in triathlons.  She recounted to me, “Races are a great way to remind me how far I have come and how much further I can go.  They are also a great way to keep me in my pants!”

CFWLS at Color Me Rad 2013

CFWLS at Color Me Rad 2013

To find a local race either visit a running store or just Google races in your area.  There are so many to choose from.  The most fun I’ve ever had in a race was the Color Me Rad 5K.  These “brighten your spirits” races are held throughout the country at various locations.  The staff at  CFWLS has participated for the past two years.  You start the race with a white t-shirt and finish looking like a tie-dyed hippy.  During the event, overly-zealous volunteers pelt you with color bombs of blue, green, pink ,purple, and yellow.  It’s an action-packed, amusing time for the whole family.  It was Cat Keller’s first race.  She said, “I walked the 5K.  I’m not a runner.  I’d rather do hot yoga or lift weights. However, I would do another race.  I felt so good after the race I could have done a 10K.  It’s better to have a friend with you because you’re exercising but you don’t even know it.”

I challenge you to find a race and start training. It doesn’t’ matter what your fitness level is. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”It could become your passion.  If you want more information on how to train for a race, please contact Jim Bradley or Arlyne Spalla Benson at The Center for Weight Loss Success.

Why Should I Add Cardio to My Fitness Routine?

Posted on June 23, 2014 by

dishonestIt’s called by different names but whether you say cardio or aerobic fitness, this form of exercise utilizes oxygen for energy production for long periods making your heart and lungs work at a higher level, promoting stronger cardio-vascular fitness.  Just to recap those benefits, they are:

  • Decreases body fat
  • Increases sensitivity to insulin
  • Decreases blood sugar levels
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves reflexes
  • Decreases age related memory loss
  • Improves balance
  • Helps contribute to muscular endurance and flexibility
  • Improves mood

I would like to explore the last bullet line a little further.

When we improve the heart’s ability to pump blood though out the body, the blood flow to the brain also increases.  More oxygen and nutrients to this organ will enhance its overall function.  Here are a few ways this type of exercise may help:

1.  The growth of new brain cells.  Studies (in rats) have shown that aerobic activity generated new brain cells in the area known for memory, planning and judgment.  Maybe a trip to the gym   before you start on a demanding project for work will help.

2.   Improves your mood.  An increased heart rate allows more of the amino acid L-tryptophan to enter the brain.  L-tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin, which is a mood enhancer. Feeling low?  Try a 30 minute workout.

3.  Can act as an antidepressant.  Studies have shown that aerobic activity can be as effective as antidepressants for those with mild to moderate depression.  Exercise also helps in boosting      self-esteem by improving one’s fitness, weight loss and improving one’s health.  Discuss with your doctor if exercise maybe an alternative to starting antidepressants.  Do not stop taking any        medication without discussing with your doctor.

4.  May calm anxiety and decrease worries.  Exercise can be used as a distraction when you become overwhelmed with negative thoughts and worries.  A quick 20 minute brisk walk before an important job interview may be just what you need.

5.  Helps reduce hormonal related symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome,        peri-menopause, and menopause.  Wouldn’t you rather be flushed and hot from a good workout?

Adding Cardio-respiratory activity can help your body, your health and your mind.

Have you downloaded the June Fitness Challenge yet?  It’s never too late!  June Fitness Challenge

 

Exercise – The Best Anti-Aging Medicine

Posted on June 18, 2014 by

Working Out at Home (and having fun!)

Posted on March 24, 2014 by

Everyone understands how great exercise is for you.  Sometimes it’s just the issue of finding the time and/or the motivation.  Or, it could be the matter of finances.  Taking fitness classes at the gym can be very motivating, especially when a loud and inspiring Aerobics Instructor is commanding you to push “out of your comfort zone.”  However, the gym scene is not for everyone.  Some people find it an intimidating environment.  So, how are you going to get your workout in?….. At home!!!

For most people, saying “I don’t have time to exercise” is obviously an excuse because it’s truly about FINDING the time.  If you aren’t able to hit the gym, or are unable to free up time during your lunch hour, the final option is working out at home- more convenient and just as fun.  It takes motivation to either get up earlier in the morning, or commit to exercising when you get home.  That means putting everything aside:  dirty dishes, folding laundry, doing the bills, etc…  There will always be distractions.

A 30-minute home circuit workout can be done three times a week and will provide you with cardio and resistance.  Circuit classes are fun and the time goes by quickly.  This workout can be done without having to purchase any equipment! AND, you can watch your favorite TV program at the same time!

First, warm up for 5 minutes.  Example:  walking quickly in place or briskly around the house.  Or, stand in place and do knee lifts and ham curls.  Shoulder rolls, back rolls, and step touches.  Stations are 45 seconds and should be performed three times. Catch your breath between stations as needed.

Station 1:  PUSH-UPS (hands on the wall, a table, or a couch for modification)

Station 2:  STAIRS (step up and down or run up and down)

Station 3:  TRICEP DIPS (sitting on a couch)

Station 4MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS (hands on a table or couch for modification)

Station 5SQUATS (either against the wall or in front of a chair or couch)

Station 6PLANK HOLDS (hands on a table or couch for a modification)

Station 7:  JUMPING JACKS (step out one leg at a time for a modification)

Station 8:  RUN IN PLACE/HIGH KNEES

No workout should feel easy.  Results come by pushing past your comfort zone and challenging yourself. The last 5 minutes is for cool down.  Stretch all major muscle groups for 20-30 seconds.  Stations should  be switched out every few months to avoid exercise plateaus.

Finally, I would suggest purchasing a punching bag (the kind that sits on the floor).  It adds fun and challenge to your circuit.  Punching bags are great for your arms, legs, and core.

Exercise Intensity for Weight Loss

Posted on February 28, 2014 by

3 Exercise Mistakes Women Make

Posted on February 28, 2014 by

How Mindbody Exercise Benefits Weight Loss

Posted on January 29, 2014 by