Fitness Apps Keep You on Track

Here’s some apps from Huffington Post to help you track and stay motivated. I just heard a radio spot talking about the success rates of using apps to reach fitness goals. The odds are increased and success rates climb when people are using something to track- apps add another element to tracking – they are in real time, showing calorie breakdowns, exercise benefits, and lots of color to keep your eyeballs happy. Plus many of us keep a phone with us most of the time so our tracking tool is at our fingertips no matter where we are.

One I love that’s not on the list is livestrong.com‘s daily plate. Here’s the list from Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/slideshow/2365811/271246/?icid=hp_healthy-living_gallery

Is your 2014 health goal outside the fitness realm? Adding exercise into your daily routine, increases energy, helps you sleep better, and often leads to more healthy eating. I just read a research article that discussed how exercise cuts cravings for alcohol and makes quitting smoking easier.

 

Planning for Fitness Success

This week’s idea for healthy living = PLANNING

It’s Fall, back to school, and illness season. So planning will be key. If you haven’t paid things forward it will matter that you determine your strategy to get through the season and how to maintain workouts if you get ill. How will you adjust your schedule for busy days or days/weeks you feel like crap. Falling completely off the wagon doesn’t seem to be the best option because most have trouble getting back on – Damn horse ran fast after I fell off – SO … here are some tips for planning balance in your life.

1)      Determine what you can do – maybe you usually workout an hour but the first week of school or during a big project it might be 30min a day or 2 15min segments. Maybe find activities that you can include for calorie burn like parking and walking or picking events with friends that include activities to participate in.

2)      Pay attention to food – if you aren’t working out as much or hard you may need to cut back on calories – often easier when sick than during a busy time. So just notice and maybe choose the salad and lean chicken, smaller portions, or eating less snacks throughout the day – don’t go too long between meals or you’ll tank your blood surgar.

3)      Know this is how healthy living works – life happens, we get sick, go on vacation, have a whole town party for a week where we dress up. Give yourself a break and keep postive. This is the stuff that makes life worth living and if you can strike the balance between healthy eating, working-out, and living you are doing it. Your horse won’t take off with your wagon – you’ll have no trouble living the fitness lifesytle if you have put some effort into planning for life.

It’s Park & Walk Season

So,  I was noticing on my way out to the car mid morning …  that is smells different outside. Tis the season of …

Parking and Walking!!! Yeah. Yeah. Yeah!!!!  The ice is gone and may not return in full force (to cover our parking lots) till the leaves fall again.

I’m sure that’s not the seasonal name you were thinking I was going to say. So now that I’ve got your attention and before you list all the reasons you can’t walk more hear me out.

In order to lead a more healthy lifestyle you must add physical activity (PA) into your day. PA is about doing more throughout your day that gets your body moving  AND the small things add up. Below is a chart from the 2008 physical activity guidelines http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter1.aspx

You can see adding as little as 150 min / week of medium level of activity brings some to substantial health benefits.

Below the table are definitions of intensity levels. If you are wondering about intensity levels;  how to figure out your ideal low, moderate, high ranges l can help you do that. Otherwise go with the concept that low you can hold a conversation about the flowers, medium you can say a sentence about them, probably sweating and your breathing is getting heavier, and high you are speedy, their colors are blending together, you aren’t commenting much on them one way or the other but you are sweating and breathing hard.

AND before you say I don’t have 150min to give up each week, I’m already too busy. Here’s some ways:

PARK AND WALK. I don’t park by the bus stop because I love the asphalt. I do it because I can. I can pay it forward. I know someday I’ll have to park closer. It allows me to fit more activity into my busy days and the view is nice walking into our Bodo building.

Get up every 90 min and walk around your worksite – outside or in doesn’t matter just move.

Do desk yoga – It helps with repetive movements, getting us grounded for our next clt, and stress levels

Strength Train – YES, I said you can strength train during your day. I have a program so that you can hit all the major muscle groups, move once an hour, and NOT sweat too much, at least not enough that you have to change your clothes.

Take the stairs whenever you can. – Stair climibing is a great way to get a cardio burst in throughout your day. Challenge yourself to run up, or take two at a time, or go up and down for a full 10min.

Check out the MET chart below. METs are a way we calculate energy expenditure. If you’d like to know your range I can figure it out for you, it’s based on weight and uses a an value of 1 for resting. As the METs get higher the harder the PA you are performing. As you can see from the chart there are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily work and life activites. You JUST might be doing more than you think you are already! There’s also a great chart at the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/physical/pdf/PA_Intensity_table_2_1.pdf

Rember to meet the guidelines you can break up the time – 3 /10min sessions still equals 30min in your daily activity counts.

And before you let the words “I can’t do those things because of my knee, my back, my hip, my kids, my ______ (or whatever)” STOP. Fine, don’t park by the bus stop. Park the next spot up from your normal spot and walk 10 steps more not 20. Don’t take the stairs if you feel more pain – pick something else to do. Focus on what you CAN do not what you can’t.

You never know, you just might find that by going slowly it doesn’t take long to do that thing you felt you’d never do. Step by Step – literally

Enjoy your parking and walking (aka spring) season!

 

Classification of Total Weekly Amounts of Aerobic Physical Activity Into Four Categories

Levels of Physical Activity Range of Moderate-Intensity Minutes a Week Summary of Overall Health Benefits Comment
Inactive No activity beyond baseline None Being inactive is unhealthy.
Low Activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes a week Some Low levels of activity are clearly preferable to an inactive lifestyle.
Medium 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week Substantial Activity at the high end of this range has additional and more extensive health benefits than activity at the low end.
High More than 300 minutes a week Additional Current science does not allow researchers to identify an upper limit of activity above which there are no additional health benefits.

 

Action is needed at the individual, community, and societal levels to help Americans become physically active.

  • Inactive is no activity beyond baseline activities of daily living.
  • Low activity is activity beyond baseline but fewer than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity physical activity a week or the equivalent amount (75 minutes, or 1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity activity.
  • Medium activity is 150 minutes to 300 (5 hours) minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week). In scientific terms, this range is approximately equivalent to 500 to 1,000 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes a week.
  • High activityis more than the equivalent of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.

MET chart:

Iowa CHAMPs Cardiac Rehabilitation Guide: Exercise: http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/medicaldepartments/internalmedicine/champs/metchart.html

.

METs Exercise Recreational Occupational Activities of DL
1.5-2.0 METs Strolling 1-1.5 mph 1 miles in 40-60min Knitting; Playing cards; Sewing; Watching TV Desk work; Driving auto/truck; Sitting doing light assembly; Typing; Using hand tools; writing Brushing hair/teeth, Light housework, Making bed; Partial bath; Polishing furniture; Washing clothes
2.0-3.0 METs Walking, level 2.0-2.5 mph, 1 mile in 24-30min Cycling, level outdoors-5mph Horseback riding (walk); Light golf (power cart); Playing musical instrument; Shuffleboard; Woodworking Bartending; Crane operation; Standing doing light or medium assembly; TV/auto/car repair; Working heavy lever Cooking; Driving car; Ironing; riding lawn mower; Scrubbing floor; walls, cars, windows; Showering; Sweeping; Tub bath
3.0-4.0 METs Walking 3.0-4.0 mph, 1 mile in 15-20min Cycling, outdoors

5.5 mph

Billiards; Bowling; Canoeing; Croquet; Fly fishing; Golf (pulling cart); Shopping; Volleyball (non-competitive) Baling hay; Driving heavy truck; heavy machine assembly; Janitorial work; Light welding; Operating large levers; Plastering; Plumbing; Stocking shelves Cleaning windows; Climbing stairs (slowly); General House work; Kneeling; Light work; Packing/unpacking; Power lawn mowing (light); Sexual intercourse; Stocking shelves; Vacuuming
4.0-5.0 METs Walking 3.5-4.0 mph 1 mile in 15-17 min Cycling, 8 mph Calesthenics Swimming (20 yd/min) Ballet; Dancing; Gardening (how, weeding, digging), Golf (carrying clubs); Table tennis; Tennis (doubles); Volleyball Building interior of house; Carrying trays/dishes; Farm work (sporadic); House painting, Lifting, carrying objects(20-40 lb); Light carpentry; Mechanic work Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
5.0-6.0 METs Walking 4.0-4.5 mph 1 mile in 13-15 min Biking, 10 mph Canoeing (4m/hr); Gardening (digging); Skating (ice/roller); Social/square dancing; Softball/baseball (non-game); Stream fishing Handyman work (moving, shoveling); Heavy Carpentry; Putting in sidewalk Raking leaves, shoveling light loads
6.0-7.0 METs Walking/jogging, 4.0-5.0 mph 1 mile in 12-13 min Biking, 11 mph Swimming (breaststroke) Backpacking (light); Badminton; Hiking; Hunting; Horseback riding (trot), Skiing (cross country 2.5 mph); Skiing (light downhill); quare dancing; Tennis (singles) Exterior home building; Lifting, carrying objects (45-64 lb); Shoveling (10/min, 9 lb); Splitting wood Lawn mowing (push mower); Snow shoveling (light snow)
7.0-8.0 METs Walking, 5 mph 1 mile in 12 min Biking (outdoors) 12 mph Swimming (backstroke), 40 yd/min Badminton (competitive); Basketball (non-game); Canoeing (5 mph); golf (carrying bag); Horseback (gallop); Skiing (downhill, vigorous) Ascending stairs with 17 lb load; Lifting, carrying (65-84 lb); Moving heavy furniture; Sawing
8.0-9.0 METs Jog/run 5.5 mph Biking (outdoors) 13 mph Swimming (breaststroke) 40 yd/min Rowing machine; Rope jumping (60-80 skips/min) Basketball (non-game); Handball/squash/racquetball; Mountain climbing; Soccer (non-team); Touch football; Tour skiing Lifting, carrying (85-100 lb); Moving heavy furniture (moving van work); Shoveling (14 lb scoops, 10 scoops/min); Using heavy tools
9.0-10.0 METs Jog/run, 6 mph 1 mile in 10 min Football (competitive); sledding/tobogganing Heavy labor; Lumberjack; Shoveling (16 lb scoops) Ascending stairs carrying 54 lb
11.0+ METs Run 7 mph (11.5 METs) 8 mph (13.5 METs) Competitive sports: Basketball, Handball, Racquet, Rowing

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A Healthier You in 2013

It is important to set a realistic goal. On average fitness resolutioners hit it hard in January and burn out by Valentine’s Day. Here’s 5 questions to ask yourself and help make sure you’ve got the stamina to make it to at least Spring Break and beyond!

    1) What is your big goal? (Be specific – I want to smoke/drink/watch TV less, I want to eat more healthy or to lose weight are too generic – What do those really mean? Break them down to specific ideas. I want to eat at least 3 balanced meals per day, smoke X amount/day, watch X hours of TV, exercise X times/week, etc)

 

  •       (Healthy weight loss is approx 1-2lbs/week. If you’ve got 50lbs to lose that’s a minimum of 25weeks – you didn’t put that weight on overnight and you won’t take it off that quickly either. Your body is smart and will do it’s best to maintain a sense of safety. Lose too fast and research shows it usually comes back on with vengeance)

 

2) What is one small step you can start doing this week to reach it? (To gain or lose we need to manipulate the caloric intake/output – this fits well within a weekly tracking goal)

 

 

 

3) Break it even smaller – what’s one step for today, tomorrow, the next to reach your weekly goal?

 

 

 

4) How many obstacles will get in your way? How will you overcome them? (Thinking through this helps you create a plan. You won’t figure them all out but you will be better able to handle them if you have given some thought to what will keep you from your goals.)

 

 

 

5) Why do you want this goal at this time? (This is your driving fuel. Important to spend some time figuring out your why – if it’s not your goal it’ll be much harder to maintain.)

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

As we move closer to the official date of summer I thought it would be good to discuss gardens. Not the gardens in our yards, on our balconies, and growing in pots, but the garden that is your body.  Just like planting a garden good health takes tending. We have to work to get it to elicit the juicy fruit of health. Here are a few ways to make sure you have planted the right seeds in your fitness-garden. What fertilizer did you give it? Quality fuel goes a long way. It is important to choose clean, whole foods – things as close to their original composition as possible. This doesn’t have to be burdensome. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and look for items with the least amount of ingredients.

I have been learning about how our nutrition impacts our physical and mental health. One tip to eating more healthy and emotional health is cutting out added sugar. According the Wall Street Journal “Most women should limit sugar intake to 100 calories or six teaspoons, a day. Men should limit their consumption to 150 calories. … A 12-ounce can of cola has 130 calories or eight teaspoons” These recommendations come from the American Heart Association. This recommendation is about the extra sugar added to our foods, like added sugar in dried cranberries (and other fruits), juices, crackers, chips, and cereals. Naturally occurring sugars aren’t on our list however it can be tough to pick them apart from added sugar. The best way to help figure it out is look on the label. Any food with added sugar comes out of your cart.

Then there is fat. There is research to support that our bodies need fat. It is known that many processes and vitamin absorption requires fat, however it can be confusing to determine what fat is a “good fat”. Typically, we want the fat in our diets to come from polyunsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) and only about 10% of our daily intake to come from saturated fat (animal products). The omegas – 3, 6, & 9s – are also important to healthy function in our bodies. Things like wild salmon and nuts provide some of these luscious fats. So pay attention to the type of fat you are consuming, it’s a big part of good health and helps you feel more satisfied after a meal.

Food is an important component to good health – in fact without a good diet great exercise won’t take you far. You need good nutrition to get the great exercise. However exercise is the other half of the equation. So now that you have considered your food intake and have “planted seeds” of good nutrition it is time for adding exercise in.

Exercise allows our body to move through joint range of motion, build strength, bone density, and heart health. It helps our metabolism stay elevated and helps us create efficient metabolic pathways through our energy systems. All of this translates into feeling better while we do fun things in our lives. Some of us enjoy hiking, shopping, biking, kayaking, playing with the kids or grandkids or neighborhood kids, gardening, walking our dog, chasing our cats, exercise is the piece that makes all of these activities more enjoyable. You can begin by walking daily, adding in strength 2-3 times a week, increasing your current intensities or speed. The key is you just need to start. I have some links below to help you customize your needs.

See some of my older posts to get started on a new workout (here’s a quick search I did). I have some specific workouts up as well. Just search www.superiorworkout.com to find them in old blog posts. I also have a number of exercises with safety tips and equipment buying tips available on my video blog. If you have a specific question about a workout, let me know and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

So as we come upon summer solstice how have you planted your garden of health? Are you feeding yourself well? Are you exercising hard enough, often enough, enjoyably? Now is the time to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to be … you’ll be amazed at the harvest you’ll reap with a little planning.

We’ll check on your garden in August (8wks) and see if it needs some weeding and then in September (13wks from now) to see what kind of harvest you’ve pulled in over the long days of summer sunshine.

Live the Life You Love

How much do you love what you are doing? With your life? With your partner? With yourself? Are you able to look around your life and feel like YES! this is what I want to be doing? If not then it’s time for you to reevaluate your life and how you life it.  Read on to change your life.

First, take stock of what you are doing and why. What drives your daily routine? Is it material items you don’t care about? Is it work that you feel betters the world around you? Is it what you want to do or what someone else wants you to do?

Now I don’t ask these questions with the expectation that you will drop everything to do a 180 in your life today, however you can start small.

The next thing you need to do is figure out what you want to do. Write a mission statement. Begin by writing down one statement that encompasses what you want your life to stand for. Sometimes it can be helpful to start this process with a paragraph about you someone might read at your death. What would you like them to say about you? What is the impact on others and the world you have left behind? Once you have an idea around what you would like your life to stand for write down the why behind your passion. What is the driver of this desire?

Then write down one thing you can do each day to move closer to this living this life. Now start doing that thing every day. My experience has been as I begin with one thing it snowballs and soon I am doing a number of things that support the life I want to live and I am no longer living a life that drains my energy, steals my excitement, and leaves me feeling life – less. Instead I feel life – full.

Healthy Finances

Your financial health has a big impact on your physical and emotional health. Finances have been in the news a lot to say the least. Where do you stand with yours? Are you financially healthy?  Could you be more comfortable dealing with money? Does it bring up ideas of love, shame, guilt? What does it represent and mean in your life?Last night I went to an author’s discussion at a local bookstore on the book Emotional Currency by Dr. Kate Levinson. I have been reading and working through this book over the last month. Her basic idea is that money is not just a rational logical tool we use objectively. She states money has so many different meanings and we must understand our emotional ties to money before we’ll be able to logically and rationally deal with it.

For me working through the book took my associations with money from ick, greedy, ugly, and a variety of other negative words to much more positive and open words. This change surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to find the peace I did with money in just a month. I am curious to see how this work continues to play out in my life. Although, the sub title of this book is A woman’s guide to building a healthy relationship with money, men at the lecture said it was helpful for them, as well, and I can see why.

Another important point Dr. Levinson makes is that we need to have healthy dialog about money. Many of us, especially women, have been disenfranchised from the discussion and management of money. She says this is a huge part of our discomfort in dealing with it. For many money is, and I don’t know anyone for whom it isn’t in my personal life, a loaded word.

Whether you pick up this book (and I get no kickbacks from this posting/book) or another – pick up something and start looking closely at your emotional ties to money. How does it control, direct, consume, allow, help, hurt your life? What keeps you from using money wisely? What does money represent to you? Who did you learn your money behaviors from? These are some of the questions and paths you’ll explore as you work through Emotional Currency.

As we learn more about the interconnections of the brain, body, and behaviors it makes sense (no pun intended) that we ought to cultivate a healthy relationship to money. Begin your positive money path today.

Exercise Doesn’t Have To Be So Serious

Many of us work the grind. Over and over we do what we are “supposed to” only to feel a little bored and uninspired in our workouts. Kinda reminds me of the old Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. What if you exercise was more like play? Here’s how big kids (aka adults) can play!First, find activities that you like to do. Usually, these are challenging, stimulating on multiple levels, have a sense of focus and one pointedness. They allow us to do nothing but focus on the task at hand.

Second, don’t worry about numbers and goals, and “have tos”. I was watching my children play the other day and they have no sense of how much they are learning as they play – only that they are having fun. Try to create this element in your own play. Of course you are doing great things for your body and it feels like activity, maybe even like exercise, but you want to create a sense of fun, excitement, and frivolousness. Adding in goals, heart-rate numbers, sets, reps, time lines, and body weight can dampen spirits and drudgery creeps in. You are no longer doing the activity just because you enjoy it. You are no longer being mindful in the moment focusing on the activity at hand, instead your mind has gone off to charts and graphs of future goals.

Third, try something new, take your game to the next level, introduce a new skill, or attempt to focus on one element of your activity. For example: downhill skiing – when I attempt to focus only on my breathing the rest of my body follows and I become much more mindful of my body in space. This allows me to focus on one element of the technique with a sense of wonder and curiosity rather than goals and future benefits.

Finally, the sense of wonder and joy are key to keeping playfulness alive. If you have forgotten how to do this spend some time watching children play. They bring a sense of curiosity and wonder to their games. Some questions to ask might be:

What if we try it this way next time?

I wonder if I can make this jump again?

What if I move my foot that way?

What happens when I run this fast or in zig zags or stop and start?

How is it different when ________?

Playing is just as important for adults as it is for kids. So get your game on and take yourself to the park. Get moving, stop worrying, and reap the benefits of activity and mindfulness all in one fun, exciting, and inspiring movement session.

Getting Started on Your Exercise Goals

I was talking with some friends the other day and one of them stated she “really wants to get started” on her exercise goals but she just didn’t feel ready. We talked about what being ready might look like for her. We all come to beginning a lifestyle change at different points in our lives. It can be helpful to think about a few things before you get started. 

1) What are your goals? Are they realistic? Do you need help deciding if they are realistic? Why do you want to reach these goals?

Many people begin attempting their fitness goals by throwing darts at an old board (and missing the target). They think about a weight, strength, or speed they had in the past and decide that is a good goal. It might be and it might not be. Much has changed since then (work, family, age). Wouldn’t be wise to consider what and how your life has changed before you try to change it back? It might be a goal worth going for with a few tweaks to support your new lifestyle.

2) What don’t you want? What do you not want to do to achieve this goal? What do you want to do to achieve it? What do you want to be different?

There are so many options there is no need to do something you don’t like – say those push ups you had to do in the military or high school gym class as punishment. Many of us have things we consider fun and exciting. Why not add those into your routine so it becomes playful and something you look forward to. If you don’t want a diet choice (say vegetables) you are an adult, you can choose, and you can find ways to get the health support you need and not eat what you don’t like. You also have choices about what you want to stay the same and what you want to be different about your life. It’s all about choices and tradeoffs.

3) What are your life obligations? Where are you going to find the time? What do you have to work around? Do you need to cycle your workouts to make sure you fit them in?

It is important to consider your life. Although, life doesn’t need to keep you from accomplishing your fitness goal it is easier to work with it rather than against it. So use it. If you have children or pets include them. Add activity into your day by parking further and walking more, taking the stairs, and planning active lunches or meetings when possible (walking around the block counts). Look at your schedule and slowly make realistic changes.

Bottom-line is we are all ready at different times and often our sense of what we are currently doing and the thought of trying to fit something else in is overwhelming. It is important to take a close look at what we are currently doing, what we want to do different, and start slowly.

You are a work in progress and just the fact that you are thinking about making a change is a step in the right direction. Keep it up!

10 Ways to Move Your Body Today

I know I haven’t written in a while. I’ve started a PhD program and it’s kept me writing and reading a ton. I have been learning about the bodies need to express itself with movement as its communication route. Here are 10 ways to let your body talk. Some people like using music others don’t.

First get quiet and draw your attention to your body. Where does your attention want to go, where do you avoid? Notice if anything needs more attention. Then allow your body to begin to move. Here are some ideas.

1) Jump
2) Move your arms like they are under water
3) Take big steps
4) Twist (be careful to honor your body’s level of fitness for this movement)
5) Bounce
6) Crawl
7) Balance – see how many different ways you can come up with ways to balance your body, arms, legs, torso
8) Walk on your tiptoes or heels
9) Open and close your fists (or your toes)
10) Move however your body wants – tighten, release, fast, slow, rhythmically, asymmetrical, just MOVE!!!!

Don’t worry about being silly or looking dumb. It isn’t about how you look to others but about how you feel when you allow your body to say what it wants. Start in privacy if you are self-conscious and just notice how listening to your body and then answering it’s call with movement feels.

I found myself beginning as an assignment and then I noticed I would do small movements at work or in the car as a way to continue to allow myself to express needed thoughts and emotions through my actions. Pretty powerful stuff! Enjoy.

*As always if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed emotionally it may be time to seek out a professional near your home.