Tag Archives: exercise

Exercise is Good Medicine

1 Sep

Want to improve your overall health and wellness?  Workout every day.

Research shows that exercise can rehabilitate existing problems, and help prevent new ones.  If you want to feel better, have more energy, and perhaps even live longer, you need look no further than exercise.  The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are indisputable.  And you can realize the benefits of exercise regardless of your age, gender, or physical ability.  Here are some ways exercise can improve your life:

  • Weight Management: Regular exercise helps to accelerate metabolism, burn calories, and maintain an ideal weight.
  • Health and Wellness: Regular exercise can help prevent heart diseasehigh blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including strokemetabolic syndrometype 2 diabetesdepressioncertain types of cancerarthritis, and falls, according to experts from the Mayo Clinic.
  • Improve Mood: Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.  You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost confidence and improve self-esteem.
  • More Energy: Regular exercise can improve muscle strength, boost endurance, and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.
  • Better Sleep: Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.
  • Ease of Movement: Weight-bearing exercise strengthens muscles and joints, improves range-of-motion, and improves the efficiency with which you move.

Don’t worry about how much you lift or how strong you are, just find activities you enjoy and keep moving.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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What’s Your Workout Motivation?

1 May

Why do you workout?  (and, conversely, why don’t you workout?)

Are you working toward a goal or do you just enjoy the process?

Is it for health and wellness?  Do you want to improve your quality (and quantity) of life?

Do you want to look better, perhaps get more lean and muscular?  (I saw a quote, recently, that said, “Diet if you want to look better in clothes; workout if you want to look better naked.”)

Do you want to feel better?  Are you working out to improve your energy level or functional movement?

Are you trying to lose a few pounds and, perhaps, get closer to your ideal body weight and reduce stress on your joints?

Do you work out with a friend or group of friends and enjoy the social interaction?

Do you want to get stronger, faster, and more athletic?  Is one of your goals to improve your performance?

Are you doing it for you, or for someone else?

The bottom line is, there is no wrong reason — and no one right reason — for working out (they’re all right).  As that shoe company says, “just do it.”

Please tag me back with a comment and share your motivation for working out (or your reason for not working out).  I will compile a list and share the best responses in a future blog post.  Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train, Don’t Exercise

23 Jan

Exercise and training are different concepts.

Maybe it’s semantics, but when I think of exercise, I think of a static, random activity.

Exercise is a generic activity of varying frequency.  Most people who go to the gym are exercisers (and, although exercise is less of a planned process, it’s undeniably better than nothing at all).

When I think of training, I think of a dynamic, planned, goal-oriented process with a desired result sometime in the future.  Each workout is part of the process, and should bring you one step closer toward your goal or desired result.

Training involves a consistently performed program, designed to improve function and performance at a specific activity.  And, in order to improve performance you need an appropriately-designed program, aligned with your goal(s).

Exercise is often done in response to “need.”  Training is motivated by “want.”

Short- and long-term goal setting is also an integral part of the training process.

Short-term goals provide “checks and balances” to ensure that the process is helping you progress toward your goal, and keep you on track.

Long-term goals provide focus and help keep you engaged.  They are the destination on your training “road map,” and represent accomplishment/achievement.

 Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Keep it Simple

11 Jan

adult%20fitness14cropped1Here’s a simple fitness rule: DO SOMETHING EVERY DAY.

And, although it sounds easy enough, it’s also easy to get off track.

Two important considerations for an effective fitness regimen are proximity and simplicity (research shows that compliance is less likely if your workout is far away and/or complicated).

Rediscover your love of fitness.  The health and wellness benefits of exercise are well documented, and it’s a great stress reliever.

Just do something active for 30 to 45 minutes a day and your health will benefit.  This strategy is also likely to improve your quality of life and longevity.

And you can modify the intensity of your activity to accommodate your fitness level and desired results.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Do Anything But Nothing

8 Jan

cancer-exercise-011When it comes to fitness, it’s not necessarily about what you do; it’s about doing something.

Science suggests that you can get healthier, stronger, and fitter by following any plan regularly.

According to Men’s Health, the CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, along with twice-weekly muscle strengthening sessions (not an unrealistic goal, but the CDC reports that 3/4 of men don’t reach it).

Best of all, your choice of activities is virtually limitless.  Weightlifting, basketball, softball, jogging, yoga, hiking, and biking are just a few of the broad array of activities from which you can choose.

Obviously, the key is to have an action plan, and your plan should be aligned with your goals (which should be consistent with your body’s needs).

And, of course, the best exercise is the exercise you actually do.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

23 Nov

dinner[1]Well, it’s that time of year… the holiday “weight gain” season.  And, although there is anecdotal speculation — via media reports, surveys, etc. — that the average American gains 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just a pound or two.  But here’s the real problem: Most people don’t ever lose the pound(s) of weight they put on during the holidays, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.

Here are some healthy eating tips to help you stay on track and get through the holidays:

  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stay committed to your exercise/training program. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories.
  • Be realistic. Perhaps the holiday season is not the best time to try to lose weight. Aim to maintain your current weight instead.
  • Portion control. Keep your portion sizes small. Eat small portions of a variety of foods rather than a large portion of one food.
  • Eat breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and helps to stave off hunger and cravings.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alternate cocktails with unsweetened iced tea or seltzer to reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed. Choose wine, light beer or spirits mixed with no calorie beverages.
  • Drink lots of water. Drinking water can decrease the chance of overeating by temporarily filling your stomach. Also, caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration which increases your need for water.
  • Snack sensibly. Choose fruits and vegetables and dip with veggies instead of chips. Limit fried foods, high-fat sauces and gravies, and cheese cubes.
  • Eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied (not stuffed). Listen to your stomach! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you’ve had enough. Pay attention to what it feels like to be satisfied and not full.
  • Prepare for temptation. Never go to a party or event hungry. Prepare yourself for distractions by eating before you go. Have a small meal or a snack which contains a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and a little healthy fat to fend off hunger, such as natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread or low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit.
  • Visualize success. Make an action plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with and what foods will be available. It’s much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned for it. Parties are a time to mingle with friends and loved ones. Focus on interaction instead of on the food and drinks. Food very often is center stage of any party but you can guarantee success by visualizing the enjoyment of the company and not just the food and drink.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t spend all your time obsessing over the not-so-healthy delicacy that you’re really craving. Instead, allow a small portion and savor every mouth-watering bite so that you do not feel deprived.

Eating a bit too much one day is not the end of the world! It takes consecutive days of unhealthy eating to gain weight. If you slip up, put it behind you and return to your healthy eating plan, just don’t allow it to become a habit. You are in control of your lifestyle choices so choose wisely. It’s all about lifestyle changes, not diets.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

I’ll Just Go to the Gym Tomorrow…

5 Aug

Stop-300x200[1]Does this sound familiar?  Perhaps something you, yourself, have thought or said?

Don’t let a busy schedule derail your exercise or weight-loss goals.  Exercise isn’t about having time, it’s about making time.  If it’s important, you’ll make time (and it is important).

So how do you solve the time problem? Maybe you need to convince yourself that  lack of time isn’t actually the problem. It’s you. Instead of coming up with  creative ways to talk yourself out of your workout, spend some brain power on  talking yourself into working out.

Stop wasting time on unnecessary activities.  Many of us spend far too much of our precious time lounging on the sofa watching mindless television programs, or sitting in front of a computer.

Get up earlier in the morning or go to bed later at night.  You really only need 30 minutes of daily exercise to help with weight loss and maintain good health and fitness.

Fit in exercise sessions during downtime.  Whenever you have as little as 10 minutes to spare you can perform a few exercises.  And if you can manage to do 10 minutes three times each day, you have done your 30 minutes of daily exercise.

The hardest part is getting started and making it a routine. After it’s a habit it’s a cake walk.

Pack your gym bag the night before, so it’s there as a reminder of what you need to do the next day.

Keep a notebook and plan your workout schedule for the week in advance each week so you have an idea of what you’re going to be doing.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Strategies for Dealing with Stress

9 May

How-to-Manage-Your-Stress[1]Life’s daily anxieties cause stress.  And though experts say that some stress is good for you — it can sharpen your senses and your mind — too much stress is bad for your mental and physical health.  Ultimately, you can’t control everything that happens, but you can choose how you react to and deal with it.  Here are some strategies for dealing with anxiety and stress:

  • Accept that some things are out of your control.  Focus on impacting and influencing those things over which you have control.
  • Be positive.  Avoid thinking and expecting the worst.  Adopt a “can do” attitude and don’t hesitate to ask for help if and when you need it.  Believe in you.
  • Be efficient.  Manage your time wisely and prioritize.  Commit to a reasonable, daily “to do” list, in writing.  Give yourself time to get things done, and allow adequate time to prepare for an event.
  • Have a hobby.  Do things that are enjoyable and provide you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  • Don’t always depend on others to provide your happiness.
  • Allow yourself some quiet time.  Take 15-20 minutes every day to sit quietly and reflect.  Learn and practice relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing.  Meditation and prayer can help you process things.
  • Exercise regularly.  Hit the gym; ride a bike; go for a walk or jog; go hiking — stay active!  Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals, and stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Get enough sleep.  Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.  Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night.
  • Seek social support.  Family and close friends (along with clubs, organizations, and support groups) can provide perspective and help you stay balanced.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve the Quality and Quantity of Your Sleep to Feel and Perform Better

11 Mar

child-sleeping-with-stuffed-animal[1]At Athletic Performance Training Center, we believe there are 3 foundational “pillars” that support sports performance:

  • Sport-specific skill development
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Nutrition

And, since a well-rested athlete will generally outperform one who is not, you can add sleep to the list, as well.

Sleep is a vital component of good physical and mental health.  Research shows that 7-8 hours of quality sleep, per night, improves cognitive function and physical performance.  Fortunately, most of us have the ability to improve the quality of our sleep by making a few modifications to our diet and activity level.  Here are some tips:

Exercise

Daytime exercise can help you sleep more deeply and restfully at night. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that getting regular physical activity can actually help you fall asleep more quickly and improve the quality of your sleep. If possible, exercise in the morning or during the day, since exercising at night can increase your energy levels and alertness, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

Adhere to a Sleep Schedule

Consistency is the key.  According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who get up in the morning and go to bed at night around the same time every day find it easier to fall asleep at night.  Try to stick to a regular sleeping schedule as much as possible, even on the weekends.  When your sleep schedule changes, you throw off your body’s internal clock, making it harder to fall asleep at night, and/or harder to stay awake during the day.  Consider an alarm that reminds you to go to bed at night, just like an alarm to wake you in the morning.

Avoid Caffeine

Stimulants, such as drinks that contain caffeine — coffee, tea, and sodas — can keep you up at night.  Some experts believe you should not drink any beverage containing caffeine after noon.  Nicotine and alcohol should also be avoided when it gets closer to bedtime.  Avoiding stimulants, especially later in the day, will help you stay asleep longer without waking up at night so that you have a better quality of sleep.

Set Up Your Bedroom

You want your bedroom to be as relaxing as possible so that it’s easy for you to fall asleep without any distractions.  The bedroom should generally be cool, quiet, and dark.  Eye pillows, extra blankets, and ear plugs may help you sleep more deeply.  Although reading and watching television in bed are distracting for some people, The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke actually recommends reading a book or watching the television in bed if your mind is racing when trying to fall asleep. Different things work for different people so it’s a good idea to try a little of everything to see what works best for you.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season

9 Dec

dinner[1]Well, it’s that time of year… the holiday “weight gain” season.  And, although there is anecdotal speculation — via media reports, surveys, etc. — that the average American gains 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just a pound or two.  But here’s the real problem: Most people don’t ever lose the pound(s) of weight they put on during the holidays, according to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine.  Since the average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, that means much of midlife weight gain can be explained by holiday eating.

Here are some healthy eating tips to help you stay on track and get through the holidays:

  • Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Stay committed to your exercise/training program. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories.
  • Be realistic. Perhaps the holiday season is not the best time to try to lose weight. Aim to maintain your current weight instead.
  • Portion control. Keep your portion sizes small. Eat small portions of a variety of foods rather than a large portion of one food.
  • Eat breakfast. Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. It jump starts your metabolism and helps to stave off hunger and cravings.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Alternate cocktails with unsweetened iced tea or seltzer to reduce the quantity of alcohol consumed. Choose wine, light beer or spirits mixed with no calorie beverages.
  • Drink lots of water. Drinking water can decrease the chance of overeating by temporarily filling your stomach. Also, caffeine and alcohol can lead to dehydration which increases your need for water.
  • Snack sensibly. Choose fruits and vegetables and dip with veggies instead of chips. Limit fried foods, high-fat sauces and gravies, and cheese cubes.
  • Eat slowly and stop when you feel satisfied (not stuffed). Listen to your stomach! It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you’ve had enough. Pay attention to what it feels like to be satisfied and not full.
  • Prepare for temptation. Never go to a party or event hungry. Prepare yourself for distractions by eating before you go. Have a small meal or a snack which contains a combination of carbohydrate, protein, and a little healthy fat to fend off hunger, such as natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread or low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit.
  • Visualize success. Make an action plan. Think about where you will be, who you will be with and what foods will be available. It’s much easier to deal with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned for it. Parties are a time to mingle with friends and loved ones. Focus on interaction instead of on the food and drinks. Food very often is center stage of any party but you can guarantee success by visualizing the enjoyment of the company and not just the food and drink.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t spend all your time obsessing over the not-so-healthy delicacy that you’re really craving. Instead, allow a small portion and savor every mouth-watering bite so that you do not feel deprived.

Eating a bit too much one day is not the end of the world! It takes consecutive days of unhealthy eating to gain weight. If you slip up, put it behind you and return to your healthy eating plan, just don’t allow it to become a habit. You are in control of your lifestyle choices so choose wisely. It’s all about lifestyle changes, not diets.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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