Do You Floss Daily?

It’s that time of the year again! Undoubtedly, you are starting to think about your New Year’s resolutions! Every year, losing weight and staying fit are among the top resolutions. According to Time magazine, both resolutions are among the top 10 most commonly broken ones. Are you ready to make 2017 the year you stuck to your fitness goals? Here are some ideas to help you along.

Fit matters! The common recommendation is to find something you enjoy to do. Great idea but not always practical. I enjoy swimming but I always find an excuse not to do it – too cold for wet hair; no time to pack a bag; not enough time. Enjoyment is not enough to get you into a habit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really enjoy flossing. Yet it’s part of my dailimg_0008y routine because it contributes to my health. I have found a way to do it on a daily basis at a time that works best for me. The same strategy applies to fitness: choose something that you can easily integrate into your daily routines.

Chunk it! With affordable gym membership options, myriads of apps and of course, YouTube, cost is no longer an issue. However, time seems to be an overarching obstacle. Time is only a factor when you believe that you have to set aside a whole hour every day for your fitness routine. Did you ever think that your workout doesn’t have to be all at once? Take 10 minutes and think about all the times during the day that you can squeeze in a 7-10 minute workout. Voila! You may have discovered more than 30 minutes a day that you can take care of your body! Don’t limit yourself to what you can do at the gym. You can easily turn your sturdy office chair into a gym!

Find your key. Accountability and motivation are still key. Recently when I was away, I encouraged my clients to work out on their own. I wan’t surprised to hear that most of them had barely set foot in the gym.Yet, they always show up for their sessions with me, barring scheduling conflicts. Finding a trainer or a workout buddy is often instrumental in habit forming. You may find a particular class more appealing as the group’s energy motivates you. If you decide signing up for a race will motivate you to exercise, remember that once the race is over, you can still find another one to train for!

Don’t ignore the check engine light! Understand why physical activity is important. In a previous blog, I have listed some reasons for physical activity. Weight loss is only a byproduct of fitness! Our bodies are living machines that need maintenance. If we fail to maintain them, they fail us in undertaking daily activities. Just like daily flossing, daily fitness routines help you stay healthy. Keep that in mind every time you decide to skip your workout.

Do me a favor and don’t make fitness a resolution this year! Just make it part of your daily life.

Follow me on my social media channels for tips on leading an active life– @fitpathsllc; facebook.com/fitPaths/.

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It Does Your Body (and Mind) Good!

Health BenefitsIn the last two weeks, several older women have approached me to share changes to their health since they started regular exercise. One told me that her bone density and blood pressure test results have improved since she started strength training. Another one claimed improvements to her vision, eliminating the need for surgery. A woman in her mid 40’s described the ease of performing her daily activities – from emptying the dish washer to carrying groceries. In my own clients, I have noticed significant improvements to their movements and posture.

There is a long list of the tremendous health benefits of exercise that far outweigh its role in helping us lose a few pounds. Cardiovascular and strength training in both sexes have shown great mental and physical improvements – increased energy, stress reduction, memory and mood improvements,better skin, improved immune and cardiovascular systems,pain reduction in people with musculoskeletal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Studies also show its effects on Parkinson’s, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. According to a new study by the National Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and several other institutions around the world, exercise is associated with reducing the risk of various types of cancer (breast, colon, esophageal adenocarcinoma, liver, lung, kidney, gastric cardiac, endometrial, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, head and neck , rectal, and bladder). A recent study even pointed to exercise’s ability to protect the liver from damaging effects of alcohol. Another one linked it to sleep apnea prevention. No wonder the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges calls exercise a “miracle cure!”

And if physical and mental well-being are not enough for you, how about your material gains? The July 2016 issue of Money magazine lists how you can bolster your wallet by getting more fit.

Don’t know where to start? Just grab your calendar and block some time off for a daily dose of physical activity.

For tips on leading an active life, follow me on my social media channels – @fitpathsllc; facebook.com/fitPaths/.

What is Tabata?!?!?

You are signing up for what? What in the world is a Tabata Bootcamp™?

The Tabata method is based on the findings of Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. In 1996, the team was charged with improving the performance of a group of Olympic speed skaters. Their discovery has transformed the way we look at exercise. Only 4 minutes of intensive work – short bursts of intensive activity followed by an even shorter rest period – can give you more than one hour of steady cycling or as much calorie burn of an hour of jogging. The formula, perhaps the earliest form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), is 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for six rounds (only four minutes).

More recently, in 2013, researchers from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, looked at Tabata training to determine its effectiveness. Their results, based on a small group, showed that participants burned 13.5 calories per minute. In addition, at the 30-minute mark, each individual’s metabolic rate was double what it had been before the workout.

Unlike steady state training, when you for example jog at a steady rate for an extended period of time, Tabata puts your body in a state for recovery and repair after you have completed your workout. Your body’s metabolism remains elevated for hours, using more oxygen and calories. Yes, that’s right! You are burning calories even when you are not exercising.

Tabata Benefits in Summary
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT training, like Tabata, can improve:
• aerobic and anaerobic fitness
• blood pressure
• cardiovascular health
• insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
• cholesterol profiles
• abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.

What Are the Risks?
If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle or have been physically inactive for some time, you should consult your physician. In addition, you should establish a foundational level of fitness before starting this kind of training. To get ready, start a consistent aerobic training 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes.

The key to any exercise regiment is modification. Engage in an intensity that is challenging but safe for you. You are the best predictor of the outcome!

What Is the Recommended Frequency of Tabata/HIIT Workout?
As the name says, this is high intensity! You need a longer period of recovery than a steady state workout. Experts recommend that you alternate with lower intensity activities on days following your HIIT training.

Portions of this blog are reprinted with permission of the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright © 2014.