Why Is It So Hard to Exercise?

 

Anyone can have a difficult time making exercise part of their routine. Often it comes down to motivation! Try these tricks to reach your fitness goals:

  • Become an early bird. Many individuals get in their workouts in the morning, when willpower is at a maximum level and before it dwindles throughout the day.Alarm clock
  • Get other people involved. Think of kid- friendly activities that your children will enjoy with you or find a friend who likes the same things you do, like running or spinning.
  • Set smaller goals. It is much easier to fit ten minutes of movement into your day every few hours than to find a larger chunk of time in your schedule. Take one bag of groceries in at a time from the car, do sets of 10 squats or push-ups in between loads of laundry, or take stairs two at a time to get your heart rate up.
  • Keep equipment front and center. Sometimes a simple thing, like putting your workout gear in your living room, can be key to feeling more motivated.

Source: webmd

 

Fall into Physical Activity

Fall is upon us. Out with the humid scorchers and in with the crisp fall air. Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the weather with some fun seasonal Walking in leavesactivities. Being active increases your ability to prevent simple infections, just in time for cold and flu season! As you enjoy fall and prepare for winter, give these seasonal fitness activities a try.

• Plan a backyard holiday football game.
• Sign up for a 5k walk or run.
• Grab a friend or family member and go for a brisk walk.

Don’t like the cold? Explore some inside activity options like a spin (cycling) class or a new aerobics class at your local fitness center.

For more information, visit Healthy for Good.

Swimming

Swimming is the fourth most popular sports activity in the United States and a good way to get regular aerobic physical activity. Just two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical activity, such as swimming, can decrease the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. For people with arthritis, swimming and other water-based exercises can improve the use of affected joints and decrease pain from osteoarthritis.

Source: www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/health_benefits_water_exercise.html

Wearable Technology Tops 2017 Fitness Trends

Wearable technology tops the list of fitness trends for 2017 according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). Wearable technology includes activity trackers, smart watches, heart-rate monitors, and GPS tracking devices. Lead author of the study, Walter R. Thompson, PhD, ACSM, stated, “The health data collected by wearable technology can be used to inform the user about their current fitness level and help them make healthier lifestyle choices.”

Studies done by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Iowa State University have examined the accuracy of activity trackers. In the ACE study, the Jawbone UP was the top performer, whereas the BodyMedia Core came out first in the Iowa State study. Researchers in both studies say that even more important than accuracy is the fact that people get up and actually move. They encourage consumers to do whatever it takes to be active—activity tracker included or not.

Sources: www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2016/10/26/top-fitness-trend-for-2017-is-wearable-technology
http://www.acefitness.org/certifiednews/images/article/pdfs/ACE_ActivityTrkr_Study.pdf
http://www.hs.iastate.edu/news/2015/08/19/activity-trackers/

Snowshoeing! An Easy Way to Enjoy Winter’s Beauty

Couple crouching in the snow wearing snowshoesMany people who enjoy a walk in the woods stay away from parks and nature preserves after a heavy snow. If you don’t know how to cross-country ski, it may seem that the trails are impassable.

Unlike skiing, however, snowshoeing is a way of getting around in the snow that nearly anybody can do almost anywhere. Snowshoeing allows you to enjoy the crisp, cold air and the sparkling beauty of a new-fallen snow while burning more than 400 calories an hour!

Snowshoes can cost from $50 to $300. If you want to try them out, you can rent them for as little as $10 a day from some county conservation offices, and also, for a little more, from bike, ski, and sport shops.

To learn more, visit www.polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/things-to-do/snowshoeing/ or read how a woman discovered the joys of snowshoeing with dogs at extension.unh.edu/articles/Snowshoeing-Dogs

Snowshoeing! An Easy Way to Enjoy Winter’s Beauty

Couple crouching in the snow wearing snowshoesMany people who enjoy a walk in the woods stay away from parks and nature preserves after a heavy snow. If you don’t know how to cross-country ski, it may seem that the trails are impassable.

Unlike skiing, however, snowshoeing is a way of getting around in the snow that nearly anybody can do almost anywhere. Snowshoeing allows you to enjoy the crisp, cold air and the sparkling beauty of a new-fallen snow while burning more than 400 calories an hour!

Snowshoes can cost from $50 to $300. If you want to try them out, you can rent them for as little as $10 a day from some county conservation offices, and also, for a little more, from bike, ski, and sport shops.

To learn more, visit www.polkcountyiowa.gov/conservation/things-to-do/snowshoeing/ or read how a woman discovered the joys of snowshoeing with dogs at extension.unh.edu/articles/Snowshoeing-Dogs

Planks for a Strong Core

Fitness training athletic sporty man doing plank exercise in gymNeed a way to strengthen your core muscles? Try planks. They hit all major abdominal muscles while also working the muscles of your back, chest, shoulders, glutes, and quads. Planks help to improve posture, increase flexibility, and improve balance. They can be easily modified based on your fitness level and abilities.

Traditional plank:

  1. Lay stomach-down on the ground and press your chest up until your shoulders are directly over your elbows.
  2. Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels.
  3. Engage your core muscles to maintain this position.

Plank for beginners:
If you are new to exercise, try these modifications that will allow you to build up to achieving the traditional plank. Rather than placing your hands on the floor, you can hold on to a variety of objects, such as a bench or a platform. The further away your upper body is from the ground, the easier the exercise. Your elbows and shoulders should be in a line with each other. Make sure you engage your core to keep your hips and shoulders from dipping.

Plank for people who use a wheelchair:
Transfer onto a low bench, table, or platform. Your toes, knees, or hips can be supported by the bench depending on your level of function. This is called the pivot point. Your body should form a straight line from your head to the pivot point. Your shoulders should be directly over your elbows.

Source: Planks 101, National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, http://www.nchpad.org/1391/6235/Planks~101

DESKerWhat?

occupational disease prevention - exercise in officeSitting is the new smoking. Long periods of sitting, even if you get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity in during the day, can be harmful to your health. If you have a sedentary desk job, you may find it difficult to move throughout the work day.

Try to “deskercise,” which refers to exercise that can be done during the workday right at your desk. The National Center for Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) has a deskercise poster you can download at no cost. Choose two exercises on the poster and do them twice a day. The exercises include cardio, strength, and flexibility. Challenge your coworkers as well to get active at their desks. Here is the link to download the poster: www.nchpad.org/fppics/deskercise%20poster_updated.pdf.

Your Brain on Exercise?

ThinkstockPhotos-122413055Exercise can boost brain health! A recent study by researchers at UC Davis Health System shows people who exercise have better mental fitness. Vigorous exercise increases the level of two brain chemicals: glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid, known as GABA. These chemicals help defend against depression.

Richard Maddox, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, states, “Major depressive disorder is often characterized by depleted glutamate and GABA, which return to normal when mental health is restored. Our study shows that exercise activates the metabolic pathway that replenishes these neurotransmitters.”

Although results are preliminary, rigorous exercise may now become an important part of treating major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses because it naturally increases the level of these two chemicals. Maddox, the study’s lead author, calls the findings “very encouraging.”

Source: www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/10798

What’s Keeping Americans from Moving More?

ThinkstockPhotos-87633673The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) promotes eating smart, moving more, and being at a healthy weight as the three top ways to reduce cancer risk. Cancer prevention research says that you should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day and avoid sedentary habits like too much sitting, TV watching, or screen time.

Survey respondents said the biggest barrier toward meeting this recommendation is TIME! A key strategy to overcome this barrier is to start adding it in your schedule in small increments and slowly build up to 30 minutes daily.

  • Take a 5-minute walking break: After every hour of sitting, get up and walk around. Walk down the street, down the hall, up and down the stairs; just move for 3 – 5 minutes, building up to 10 minutes for every 60 minutes of sitting.
  • Make it a family affair: Create family activity challenges. Craziest dance moves, most jumping jacks in a minute, fastest running in place—whatever your family would find fun. Let the kids take turns leading an exercise break.
  • Try a new activity or get back to that thing you used to do: Maybe you used to bike, hike, or play tennis. Find a like-minded friend(s), join a class, and make it a social occasion.

Source: AICR’s eNews, February 4, 2016.

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