Category Archives: Fitness

Use Caution When Active in High Heat Weather

While it might seem like common sense that hot weather stresses our bodies, even more if there is high humidity. If we don’t take precautions it can be dangerous and even lethal to over work our bodies in the heat.

Despite this feeling like common sense the number of deaths related to participating in sports during high heat has doubled in the US since 1975 (National Institutes of Health). The US CDC reported that about 650 people die from extreme heat every year.

If you are planning on any kind of outside activity in extreme heat keep the following in mind.

Consider the time of day. Generally speaking, between 10am-3pm is going to be the hottest part of the day and intense activity should be avoided during this time.

Knowing your risk level is important as well, things like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or medication restrictions may make one at higher risk for heat related injury or death.

Your body may need to get used to the heat, so if transitioning to working out in the heat you may want to make your workouts less intense and shorter and build back up to your normal.

Keep hydrated! This doesn’t mean just drinking water but also consuming high water content foods before or after your workout.

Know the symptoms of heat distress like nausea, vomiting, cramps, weakness, or fatigue. Use the body system, have an activity partner and watch out of each other.

Jumping Rope: Not Just For Kids

If you are looking for the next trendy but true activity to add to your exercise routine look no further than jumping rope.

According to some experts jumping rope is a great exercise routine. It is said it is one of the most efficient activities one can do as a workout.

Jump roping burns calories, is vigorous and works out the entire body at once. It has been incorporated as part of high-intensity interval training and warm-ups for many sports teams.

A mere 10 minutes of jumping rope is the cardio equivalent of 30 minutes of running according to a 2013 study from Arizona State Univ. It can also help increase bone density according to a study in the Journal of Applied physiology from 2005.

Besides being one of the most intense cardio workouts one can do, there is also a mental health benefit in that jumping rope is an exciting and satisfying way to escape the stress and worry of everyday life.

 

Workout Progress Indicators Besides Weight Loss

What do we do when we are feeling pretty good, happy with the progress we make working out and eating well, but don’t see any results in loss of pounds?

When establishing a new routine its good to remember that its common to look at a scale and not see much progress. However, there are other ways to know our efforts are having an impact.

First even if it isn’t detected on the scale, check to see if your pants fit a little less tight. Depending on your workout routine it is common for pants to fit looser when losing weight but gaining muscle. Both cardio and core exercises are recommended. Remember that gaining muscle and loosing fat doesn’t always equal shedding pounds.

You may also feel increased energy levels. Some research suggests aerobic type exercise can relieve some symptoms of depression. This comes from the endorphins released while working out.

You may also noticed increased endurance. Over time you may find it easier and quicker to get through your usual exercise routine.

Lastly, after working out you may crave sugary foods as much. Exercise releases serotonin from the brain. We may view sugary foods as a reward. But because serotonin is a mood-enhancer you may no longer crave the sugar after getting the reward of serotonin from exercising.

 

10,000 Steps a Day: Myth or Reality?

The 10,000 step a day target that is often touted can seem impossible to achieve, but where did it actually come from and how accurate is it? If we look all the way back to 1965 in Japan we may find one possible answer.

A pedometer made by Yamasa Clock was named “Manpo-kei” which translates to “10, 000 steps meter.” This was simply a marketing tool, however it seems to have stuck across the world as daily goal for walking. It even appears in modern devices such as smartwatches.

Research has shown that the 10k step target does have benefits for lowering diabetes risk, mental health and heart health other research shows why we might have stuck with this arbitrary number.

In ancient Rome distances were measured by counting steps. The word mile comes from the Latin phrase “mila passum” or 1,000 paces (or 2,000 steps). It is said people walk about 100 steps a minute or one mile in about 30 minutes for the average person. So this person would need to walk 4-5 miles (two hours of activity) to reach 10,000 stpes.

Recent research has shown significant benefits to walking less than 10,000 steps. One study from Harvard Medical that about 4,400 steps a day is enough to lower the risk of death in women (when compare to only 2,700 steps a day). The more people walked, the lower the risk of dying. But this benefit leveled off at about 7,500 steps a day. No additional benefits were seen with more steps.

The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) per week for adults. Research also shows even low intensity exercise improves health so your steps per day can contribute to that 150 recommended minutes.

Research also shows that people who sit all day for their job had a 59% increased risk of death compared to those sitting less than four hours a day. But the study also found 60-75 minutes per day of moderately intense activity eliminated the increased risk of sitting. So even some brisk walking can help.

So if you aren’t quite hitting that 10k step target, don’t get down on yourself, just keep walking!

Exercises to Relieve Office Aches Part 2

Too much time at the computer can cause different kinds aches and pains —this is especially true for those of us that work 9-5 (or longer) all on the computer. While this kind of work is not physically demanding stiffness, lack of blood flow and misuse and disuse can cause just as many problems as lifting 100lb package wrong in a warehouse.

This set of stretching exercises will focus on the rest of the body, your core, legs and ankles.

Start slow and loosen up. Remember, pain is bad! The goal is to loosen up, not hurt yourself.

Hip Circles

Hip circles help your core but also stretch you back and hips. This can help with full body stiffness. Begin by standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Hands on your hips. Rotate your hips. Begin with small circles. As you gain momentum make, fuller, larger circles with your hips. You should feel your back and hips start to ease up. Do 10 hip circles in each direction.

Ankle Circles

Ankle circles can help increase circulation after sitting all day, which can also help reduce swelling in the ankle. Additionally, they will maintain your range of motion. You can remain seated for this exercise. Bend one of your knees and cross it over you other leg so the foot on top is close to your body. Rotate that ankle in one direction, the switch to the other direction. Then switch to the other ankle. Many find it is good to work one ankle in one direction for a number of rotations then the other. Make sure the first ankle feels loose before moving on. About 10 rotations per ankle, per direction as a start.

Leg Circles

Your ideal sitting position is with knees bent in front of you with feet on the ground. This will help increase blood flow and reduce cramping. However, we all have our own bad sitting habits. Leg circles will help reduce poor blood flow and stiffness from wonky sitting positions. Leg circles can be down standing or sitting, which ever makes you more comfortable. If you want to stand begin with feet shoulder-width part, hands on hips. Pick a leg to start with. Lift it off the ground and begin to make circles. Move from smaller to bigger circles with your leg. Lift your leg higher as the circles get bigger. Do 10 rotations one direction, then the other direction. Next work on the other leg.