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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

Get Moving at Work

September 17th, 2014

man as desk exercise ballMost Iowans (about 82%) are not meeting the recommended levels of physical activity of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity weekly. You do not have to attend an exercise class to get your physical activity. Physical activity is the movement of the body that uses energy and may include activities you perform every day like climbing stairs, walking to and from your car, walking the dog, etc.

“Desk jobs” may be contributing to our low levels of physical activity. Making small changes to incorporate physical activity into your workday could add up and help you reach the recommended daily physical activity goal. Try incorporating these physical activity-boosting strategies into your workday.

• Walk to work if possible or park away from the main entrance or use an entrance that is further away from your office. By doing so, you’ll be able to get more steps in daily, helping you reach the recommended 10,000 steps daily, which is about five miles.

• Plan short fitness breaks (3–5 minutes) every hour. This will give you 24–40 minutes of physical activity by the end of your workday. Try these short fitness break ideas:

o Walk up and down the stairs or hallway.
o Take a short walk on your lunch break.
o Do some chair squats, jumping jacks or jog-in-place in your office.
o See if your employer offers a worksite wellness program.

 

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Cool Off While Working Out!

July 23rd, 2014

fitness active pool water workoutStay cool in the summer, yet still break a sweat! There’s more to do in a pool than swim laps. You burn as many calories walking or jogging in the water as you do on land if you move your arms and legs at the same pace. You also can burn calories in shoulder deep water while using a kickboard or while performing push/pull movements with a pool noodle. The water resistance exercises your muscles but reduces stress on your joints.

Find more exercises you can perform in the water. Watch this video for other pool workout ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBy0xZPoWzM.

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Iowa Games – A great way to get moving this summer

June 25th, 2014

gold silver bronze medalWhat are the Iowa Games? The Iowa Games offer statewide competition in some 50 sports. The Iowa Games provide Iowans with recreational opportunities through Olympic-style events.

Who can compete? All Iowans! There are events for athletes of all ages and abilities! Athletes in all competitive events vie for Iowa Games gold, silver, and bronze medals with neck ribbons.

When and where are the Games? The Summer Games are scheduled the last three weekends in July. Events take place in central Iowa with most events in Ames.

How do I register? Go to: www.iowagames.org/Register.aspx

Which sports are included? Whether you compete in golf, handball, fishing, Zumba, or any of the more than 50 events, you’ll find them described at: www.iowagames.org/Sports/SummerGames.aspx

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Be Active, No Matter Your Age!

May 28th, 2014

diverser mature group fitness activeExercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. Go4Life was designed to help adults 50 and older incorporate more exercise and physical activity into their daily lives. Learn about this exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging by visiting their Go4Life® website at: http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/

You can order a free video/DVD (Go4Life Everyday Exercises from the National Institute on Aging) from: https://order.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/order/MS033

Designed for older adults, the DVD features strength, balance, and flexibility exercises that can be done at home, at work, at the gym—almost anywhere. The video is a companion to the popular exercise book, Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging, available in English and Spanish. This 120-page book can be ordered free by going to: https://order.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/order/BK004

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Get Motivated to Move

April 23rd, 2014

letsmoveGetting bored with your workout? Want new ideas on how to get active? Check out Let’s Move! at http://www.letsmove.gov/.

February 2014 marked the fourth anniversary of Let’s Move!, an initiative to inspire families and communities to help children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the anniversary by encouraging people of all ages to show her how they move (through an everyday fitness routine, by making better food choices, or by moving their community toward a new norm) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc., using #LetsMove.

Be inspired to take your own physical activity up a notch by following Let’s Move! on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/letsmove and follow the Let’s Move! blog at http://www.letsmove.gov/blog

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The Kitchen Workout

March 26th, 2014

woman in kitchenAre you having a difficult time getting 30 minutes of physical activity in during the day? Did you know that your kitchen could be a great place for you to get some physical activity while your meal is cooking?
Warm Up: March in place or walk briskly for one minute while breathing deeply (IN through the nose and OUT through the mouth).
Side Arm Raises: Hold cans of fruit or vegetables at your sides with palms facing inward. Slowly breathe out as you raise both arms to the side, shoulder height. Hold the position for 1 second. Breathe in as you slowly lower arms to the sides. Build up until you can repeat 10 to 15 times. Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.
Toe Stands: Stand at your kitchen counter, feet shoulder-width apart, holding on to the counter for balance. Breathe in slowly. Breathe out and slowly stand on tiptoes, as high as possible. Hold position for 1 second. Breathe in as you slowly lower heels to the floor. Build up until you can repeat 10 to 15 times. Rest; then repeat 10 to 15 more times.

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MARCH into Spring

March 5th, 2014

family eatingMARCH into spring armed with habits that help you become your healthiest self. Consider these tips:

Move every day – Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily for better blood pressure, stress reduction, and weight control. This can include three 10-minute bouts of physical activity throughout the day. Choose activities you enjoy, raise your heart rate, build strength, and increase flexibility. An activity buddy can help you stay faithful to your plan.

Avoid Skipping Meals – When making a shopping list and planning meals, consider MyPlate (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/). Include healthy snacks (e.g., low fat yogurt, vegetables with low fat dip, whole grain bread with peanut butter) to meet your family’s nutritional needs. Healthy snacks sustain energy levels between meals and help you stay on track with your health goals.

Read food labels – Aim high (20% or more) for vitamins, minerals and fiber. Aim low (5% or less) for total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. For more information on how to read a food label, watch the “Label Reading for Health” video at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/page/online-lessons.

Choose foods carefully – Become a smart shopper by reducing the amount of convenience foods eaten, choosing fruit canned in juice, and buying no salt added canned vegetables. When you are choosing foods, make half your plate fruits and vegetables and watch portion sizes.

Have family meals – Make family meal time a priority. Research shows family meals promote healthier eating. Eat as a family a few times each week. Set a regular mealtime and turn off the TV, computers, and phones. Have all family members help in meal planning and cooking.

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HIIT Is a HIT!

February 26th, 2014

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has listed High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as its top fitness trend for 2014. HIIT involves short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes. Research suggests HIIT can boost metabolism and accelerate weight loss.

Although many people can safely participate in HIIT, it is not for everyone. This type of training does come with increased risk of injury and may not be safe for some. Michael Bracko, Fellow of the ACSM, recommends always warming up for five to ten minutes before starting intervals. If an individual has an injury or has not been cleared for exercise, he advises that those issues be resolved before beginning HIIT.

Once you have consulted with a physician and been given the green light to try HIIT, you might want to try it at home. Bracko does sprint intervals with his dog. “I throw a stuffed duck, she chases it, and I chase her. It’s a blast!”

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Beat the Winter Blues

January 29th, 2014

As the short days and long nights of winter roll into February, we begin to feel like we are stuck in a rut. A little sunshine and fresh air bowlingwould do us good, but the frigid weather may seem like a good excuse to avoid workouts or outdoor play. Evidence shows that people are less physically active during winter months and tend to eat more “comfort” foods, increasing their potential to gain weight.

Being active can help with more than just weight control. Those who can maintain or increase their level of physical activity may feel happier and more energetic as well as feel better about themselves physically, and be better able to control their weight. Beat the blues by planning an activity for family or friends. Here are a few examples:

  • Bundle up children for cold weather and let them play outside for short periods of time. Sledding or making snow angels, snowmen, or snow forts are great activities to enjoy.
  • Allow children to play actively indoors if the weather is bitterly cold. Parents and children can dance or practice aerobics together. Parents may designate a space in the house where it is fine to wrestle and roughhouse.
  • Share a competitive round with exergames on the Wii or Kinect as a family or set up a family “Olympics” with a variety of sports activities.
  • Provide lots of challenge and vigorous exercise through ice skating. Many ice rinks are open to the public.
  • Go bowling. It offers friendly, fun-filled competition.

A little imagination and a lot of flexibility are all that’s needed to pass the time until spring.

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Enjoy the Fall Colors in Iowa’s State Parks

October 22nd, 2013

October is a glorious month of the year to enjoy outdoor activities in Iowa. The cool, crisp air is ideal for invigorating hikes or bike rides. The trees Fall walkare ablaze with orange, red, and yellow leaves. You can spot hawks gathering in the sky for migration. And there are no mosquitos!

Adults should have 30 minutes of moderate activity five days weekly and youth should have 60 minutes daily. When was the last time you visited your local state park?

Most Iowa state parks offer miles of scenic trails for hiking, birding, and mountain biking through woodlands and prairies or along river bluffs.

Visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources State Parks site to plan your next fall outing. Here you can download trail maps and read about the scenic delights and wildlife each park has to offer.

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