Archive for Fitness/Exercise

NO TIME FOR EXERCISE? NO NEED TO PANIC!

A good friend of mine, Lydia, is in graduate program that is wreaking havoc on her regular routine. Because of her new internship hours, she can no longer exercise in the morning. She is in full-time position with two young kids at home, and when her day finally ends, she is beat. I knew that this was making her feel anxious when I received an SOS text message from her asking, “WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND??? WHAT CAN I DO?”

There are so many body weight exercises that you can do ranging from lunges to IMG_1397.jpegpush ups. Lydia would love to have a routine of body weight exercises, but there is place to do them. No need to panic–there is good news! Studies show that breaking up exercise into smaller pieces can be just as effective as one longer session. In Lydia’s case, she has several breaks throughout the day.

Before I continue, I have to pause to remind you that “exercise” simply means moving your body so that your heart rate goes up. As I mentioned in previous blogs, dancing around your house like a maniac IS exercise. (Think Zumba!) Lydia has access to several flights of stairs so as long as she climbs them and gets her heart rate up, she will be exercising!

More good news: Lydia can progress her stair climbing. She can walk faster up and down; she can do more stair climbing throughout the day; she can run up the stairs; she can take two steps at a time. She also has a lunch break where she can go for brisk walks.  The other day I received a text from her telling me that she did a 15-minute UPHILL walk during lunch. Between these walks and the stair climbing, Lydia IS exercising.

Even if you have time to do “traditional” exercise, incorporating more activity during the day is important for good health.  It’s moving away from being sedentary (the new smoking) to living a more active life!

 

 

 

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DON’T MESS WITH WILLIE

A client of mine recently shared an INCREDIBLE story with me that I must share with you! I promise you that this story, about an 82-year old woman, named Willie, will not only make you laugh but will truly inspire you.

Click on this YouTube link.  Seth Myers takes you through the story about fierce Willie Murphy, who proves to be one serious badass.  Take a close look at Willie’s body—at 82, she has a lot of muscle! It is never too late to start weight training, to build muscle, or to get stronger!

 

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THE SNOWBALL EFFECT

Isn’t it crazy how bad habits, even when kept at bay for a long time, come back? I imagine a knock at the door, opening it and saying “Hello bad habit, welcome back!” Often times one bad habit leads to another. I see this all the time with exercise and clean eating. I’m not sure which one comes first but either a lack of exercise causes a decrease in motivation to eat well, or not eating healthily leads to inactivity. This becomes a snowball effect which is “a situation in which something increases in size or download.jpgimportance at a faster and faster rate” (Cambridge Dictionary). The good news is, the snowball effect can work for you.

A year ago, a new client, “Margot”, came to see me. Margot was in her mid-sixties and not in the best shape. In fact, she wanted me to train her in order to build up her leg muscles so that she could eventually have her knee(s) replaced. Margot was unconditioned. I wasn’t sure how we would get through the first session but we did. Slowly but surely, Margot started making some progress. As she got stronger, she started to do more activities on her own. Her walks around the block with her dog grew longer; her short stints of swimming at her local pool increased. The more she did on her own, the stronger she became, and the more she was able to do with me. All of this exercise and movement motivated Margot to eat healthier. She started paying more attention to her diet and began cooking. She lost weight, felt more energetic and this allowed her to become even more active. A year later, we are both stunned at what she can do. There is no talk of a knee replacement. While I understand physiologically what is happening to her body, I still find her transformation to be nothing short of miraculous. Often times, in our sessions, we  giggle when she is able to do yet another more challenging exercise.

In Margot’s case, the snowball effect is at work in the most positive way. I can visualize the snowball traveling down a hill, getting bigger and gaining momentum. It’s all so glorious when it’s working for you.

If you’re stuck in a rut, have no fear. Focus on one small change and stick to it. That small change can lead to another, and then another and before you know it, you, too,  might find yourself in a wondrous snowball effect!

 

 

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I’ve fallen but CAN get up!

On August 18th, I had my first serious bike accident. I was going down a hill at 30 mph and must have hit some loose gravel and a fell off of my bike onto my right side. I came down hard on my right thigh, banged my head, and cracked my 10802-Sad-And-Stunned-Male-Biker-Clutching-The-Handles-To-His-Damaged-Mountain-Bike-Clipart-Illustrationhelmet. I don’t remember much about the fall but my husband, who was with me, told me that I screamed, fell, paused for a moment,  and then stood up. I was walking around in such a way that he thought I could get back on the bike. I couldn’t. I was very banged up, confused (had a mild concussion) and had 2 broken ribs on my right side.  Once he fully understood my state, he called an ambulance.

Given how fast I was going, it is miraculous that I walked away with these mild injuries. I was VERY lucky and feel extremely fortunate.

The one glaring lesson that I’ve learned, is this: STRONG LEGS ARE ESSENTIAL. It’s great to be able to do push-ups, but strong legs are imperative to being healthy—especially as you get older. Many older people can’t stand up from sitting in a chair, simply because it’s too difficult. This becomes a domino effect: Not being able to get up leads to inactivity. Inactivity leads to a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle leads to an increase risk of developing hypertension, coronary heart disease, anxiety and depression, and certain cancers. Reduced activity increases the risk for falling, which can lead to hip fractures. Hip fractures are a very serious health issue for people over 65. It could lead to crippling disability and even death.

Bottom line: Keep moving. Work your leg muscles! Work those muscles until you feel them fatigue or burn! Walk, jog, weight train, bike, squat, lunge, jump, hike, skip, play tennis! If you are a beginner, sit in your kitchen chair with your legs at 90 degrees and stand up and sit down. Keep this up so that you can stay active and healthy. This means when you fall you CAN  get up!

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EXERCISE: A CELEBRATION ONLY

A client of mine sent me this photo and I just LOVE it.

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Exercise is the most glorious thing you can do for your body. Putting aside the long list of health benefits, moving your body simply puts you in a great mood. It is a natural antidepressant. So if you want more energy and to feel happier then move your body! Never use exercise as a punishment for food ESPECIALLY since……

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DIET AND EXERCISE: UNLINK THEM!

In the New York Times today there is a whole section devoted to diet and exercise with the title “FITNESS FOR EVERYONE”. Inside, there are pages and pages of diet and exercise tips including how to become more flexible , how to make an exercise plan, diets that are trending, the best food-tracking apps and even a beautiful illustration of the gluteal muscles.

Diet and exercise are always linked together because they do make up a good portion of download.jpg lifestyle choices. As a trainer, I went back to school to study nutrition so I could counsel my clients in the most comprehensive way. Having said this, I do think sometimes we need to NOT link them together. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I see the pattern of people cleaning up their eating and once they do, they start exercising.  However, when the diet slips, the exercise vanishes, too.  I say, UNLINK THEM! Exercise needs to be the constant. It needs to happen in good eating phases and in bad. In times of ease and in times of stress.  When the weather is good and when the weather is bad. When you’re in the mood for it, or when you’re not.

Moving is fundamental. It’s what makes us alive and keeps us happy. It keeps our bodies limber and our minds sharp. But forget all of that. Moving your body simply puts you in a good mood.

So, don’t make your body suffer MORE when you’re eating is off. Keep moving. Walk, jog, hike, ride a bike, stretch, do some yoga, walk the dog, dance in your underwear, do an exercise video on you tube, try cross fit, jump rope, play in the garden, sweep, vacuum, park your car far away from a store, take the stairs, walk around the block……it doesn’t matter. Just move as much as you can and as consistently as you can. And the best part is that your body will thank you by putting you in a good mood!

 

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FEEL GOOD!

As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of the winter. Ok, I hate it. I hate the way the cold makes my body feel and I can’t stand the darkness. In the past, I started feeling utterly miserable a week before we changed the clocks in the Fall. I would complain, to anyone who would listen, about how I couldn’t stand the darkness, how I felt doomed and depressed that winter was coming, and blah, blah, blah, complain, complain, complain. This past Fall, I was in my normal a-week-before-we change-the-clocks-complaining-mode, when my good friend called me out. After our talk I realized that winter was coming whether I liked it or not and that I had a choice to continue with this atrocious attitude or put an end to it. I chose the latter. And I have to proudly brag that I have sailed through this winter feeling MUCH better. (Even with March kicking our butts!)

I know it sounds cliché but attitude makes all the difference in the world.

I now want to talk about how your attitude can change the way you view exercise. Here’s weerhandig-happy_walker-e1451928576689.jpgwhat happens when you exercise: you feel better. You have more energy, your mood is improved, your body feels less stiff, you are less stressed, you sleep better and you feel alive! Many people actually start eating a lot cleaner once they start moving.  Even though we know exercise makes us feel wonderful, many people struggle with being consistent. It’s almost as if the chalk board, full of positive exercise attributes, gets erased and amnesia sets in immediately.  The result is having only episodes of regular exercise—as soon as life gets in the way, it falls off.  And for many, when exercise stops, that cleaner, healthier eating also ceases.

Here’s my suggestion. Change your attitude. Think of exercise as a non-negotiable part of your life just like brushing your teeth is. When you’re eating clean and lean, you are an exerciser. Likewise, when you’re not eating as well, you’re still moving your body. What will happen, over time, is that you will constantly reap the benefits of exercise—and I’m not even focusing on things like heart health, bone density, or blood sugar control. I’m just talking about feeling good.

The bottom line is that we make time for things that are important to us. Feeling good has to be one of them!

 

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