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» Health & Fitness
26
May

The Benefits of Creating a Personal Fitness Plan

When you’re trying to get into good shape, you have tons of choices. Every day it seems there’s a new fitness program that’s being called the next best thing. Unfortunately, many of these hot new fitness trends may not be right for you or your fitness goals.

Instead of trying something and hoping for the best, why not create your own personal fitness plan. You’re a unique individual with your own skills and interests. You also have unique goals and challenges. The benefits of creating your own personal fitness plan include:

1. It’s based on your current fitness level – You know where you’re at right now and you know your limits. This is important because it gives you a realistic starting point. It gives you the room to improve and grow without having someone else’s expectations set upon you.

2. It’s focused on your goals – You want to get a beach body, great! You want to lose weight, fantastic. You want to improve your endurance and run that marathon next year, super! All of those goals are wonderful goals.

Your fitness goal, whatever it may be, is what you’ll frame your entire fitness program around. It’s what will keep you motivated and excited to exercise and succeed. That just doesn’t happen when you’re working on a goal that someone else has set for you.

3. It fits your personality – The truth is that there are different types of fitness personalities. When you identify yours, and we’ll help you with that, you’ll find that exercise is much more enjoyable. And it should be fun, right? Exercise shouldn’t be just one more chore on your schedule.

4. It supports your schedule – Speaking of schedule, when you create your own fitness plan you’re fitting it into your life, not the other way around. It becomes a realistic part of your life.

5. It caters to your motivation style – What motivates you may be different than what motivates someone else. With your personal fitness plan, you create a plan that fits your motivation style. It’s built into your plan and success is practically guaranteed.

When you follow the steps to create a fitness plan, you’re not taking the easy road. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself too hard and taking it too easy on yourself. This is why planning is important. Identify the types of activities you enjoy and what you want to get out of your fitness program – find what your fitness goals are. Then create a program that supports you to succeed.

19
May

Three Steps to Lifelong Fitness

large__4790536660manonpullbarMany people have a short-sighted approach to fitness. They look only as far as their next goal which may be to lose weight, train for an event, or get a better body for a vacation or reunion. However, fitness should be a lifelong goal. When you incorporate it into your life, you’ll live longer, be healthier and happier, and you’ll be able to age more gracefully.

What Does Lifelong Fitness Mean?

Lifelong fitness means making fitness a part of your life. It’s about creating a fitness habit that supports you to get and stay healthy. It requires a balanced approach. Train too hard and you put yourself at risk for injury. Train too little and you’re not doing enough to achieve your goals. Let’s take a look at three of the steps you can begin taking today to make fitness a part of the rest of your life.

1. Small steps – Instead of setting huge goals that may seem overwhelming or impossible, strive to set realistic goals and make lifestyle changes to support them. For example, someone who hasn’t exercised in years may feel burdened by the idea of exercising for an hour a day. That type of goal will be difficult to follow through on.

Yet, you could probably exercise for ten minutes a day. Gradually increase the time you exercise week to week from ten minutes to fifteen, to twenty, and eventually you’ll be at that hour mark. Your life will be able to slowly adapt, and your body will too.

2. Enjoyable activities – Fitness doesn’t have to mean “exercise.” Identify activities that you enjoy or are interested in. Like to dance? Take a dance class or go dancing once a week. Enjoy getting out in nature? Try hiking on the weekends. Love to play tennis? Join a recreational tennis club. Focus on moving your body and having fun. Make fitness a part of your life.

3. Build your community – One of the benefits of many fitness activities is that there are others who are doing the same activity. For example, if you enjoy running then you could join a running club. If you enjoy soccer then join a recreational team. Love to dance? Join a studio and take regular classes. Community is important to a feeling of identity and wellbeing. When your community supports fitness and good health, it’s a win-win.

You can also do little things throughout your day to increase your fitness. Become the person who parks at the back of the parking lot, takes the stairs, and walks every day to get some fresh air and sunshine. Your future self will thank you for it and you’ll reap immediate benefits too.

12
May

How to Find Balance between Strength Training and Cardio

large__479692319womansittingreachingWhen it comes to complete fitness, the ideal approach is to embrace both cardio and strength-training exercise. To burn the most calories and lose weight quickly, both need to be encompassed into your week. Additionally, both types of exercise provide significant health benefits. Ignoring one means you’re missing out. The trick then is to find a balance between the two different types of exercise and to create a personal fitness program that meets your needs and goals. Exercising to Lose Weight? The balance may be different depending on your fitness goals. For example, if you want to lose weight with exercise then you’ll want to add more strength training to your weekly workout routine. Consider focusing on strength training about three times a week. Add to that two interval training cardio sessions and one longer cardio session, and you’ll achieve the weight loss results you desire. Interval training sessions can be short, twenty minutes or so. They include short bursts of intense effort bookended by periods of moderate effort. Your longer cardio sessions should be at a moderate intensity level. Want to Get a Bikini Bod? If your goal is to sculpt and tone your muscles then the focus will be primarily on strength training. When you build muscle, you boost your metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat. However, keep in mind that you also need to eat properly to give your muscles the energy they need to repair and get stronger. You also need to make sure that you’re not eating sugar and starchy carbs which can cause inflammation and weight gain. Strength train at least four times a week and add to that two to three cardio sessions with intervals. Competition Ready Finally, if you’re training for an event like a 5k or a marathon then the primary focus of your workouts should be cardio. Strive to do cardio five times a week with two to three strength-training workouts. The strength-training focus should be bodyweight. Squats, lunges, push-ups and sit-ups are a great start. Putting It All Together You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get the results you want. Interval training sessions and strength-training sessions can be less than thirty minutes – warm up to cool down. This makes it easy to get a good balance of both types of exercise into your day and your week. Identify your goals, create a plan to achieve them and track your success.

photo credit: myyogaonline via photopin cc

5
May

Five Fitness Habits to Start Making Today

large__3533088099mandoingpushupOne of the best ways to make your fitness goals a reality is to create habits that support success. It’s important to keep in mind that habits take a few weeks to become a natural part of your life. The first two or three weeks will require dedication and patience. There may be mistakes along the way. Don’t give up, though. Fitness and lifelong health are too important. The good news is that small changes often reap big rewards. Let’s take a look at some fitness habits that you can start making today.

1. Fuel Your Body Well

The food that you eat before and after a workout, and all day long, has a direct impact on your fitness. For example, if you have a donut and juice for breakfast, you’re going to crash in the middle of your workout. It’s important to eat a diet that is rich in protein, vegetables, and some fruit and whole grains. Time your nutrition before and after your workout for the best results.

2. Sleep More

Sleep is when your body recharges. If you exercise, then sleep is even more important because your body needs a little extra time to repair. Make sleep a priority and you’ll experience better workouts and faster results.

3. Mobility Matters

Warm up your muscles before a workout. You don’t need to stretch them but you do want to get blood circulating before you start your workout. After your workout, focus on stretching and rolling the muscles you just worked. Foam rollers are an exceptional tool for massaging the muscles.

4. Track Your Efforts and Results

Start keeping a fitness journal. You can use one of the many amazing mobile apps or online services. You can also create a spreadsheet or document on your computer or just grab a composition book and a pen. Track what you did, what your goals are, and how you felt during your workout.

This information will not only help you stay motivated, it can also provide critical information when you hit snags or plateaus in your fitness. There are also wonderful fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist or clip to your body. They can tell you if you’re doing enough to meet your fitness goals.

5. Move Your Body Every Day

Find something that you enjoy that requires you to move your body every day. Go for a walk, put on some music and dance, get out a jump rope or take a yoga class. Even on days when you’re not hitting the gym or getting an official workout in, make sure that you move your body.

Start taking better care of your health and fitness. Starting today, identify one small habit that you can embrace to improve your fitness. Create a plan that supports you to succeed and follow through. Add one new fitness goal to your life each month, and by the end of the year you’ll have completely overhauled your lifestyle. And you’ll be living a healthier life.

photo credit: DVIDSHUB via photopin cc

21
Apr

Top Ten Power Packed Foods

large__415651103kiwiWhat is the secret to a long and healthy life? It is in the food that we eat. As you well know, all foods are not created equal. Choosing and eating the right foods may help increase your life expectancy as well as the quality of your life.

Here are ten of the top power packed foods designed to give you energy, vitality and all around good health!

1. Beans – If they give you gas, take precautions before you eat them. Soaking them first can help. Beans of all kinds (kidney, navy, lentils, chickpeas, Northern) are high in protein. This is plant protein so it contains very little fat, carbs and calories. If fiber is a problem in your diet, eating a healthy portion of beans each day can keep your digestive system healthy.

2. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is coming into popularity as a food that lowers blood cholesterol. You can make it yourself with rolled oats or eat the instant kind if you are in a hurry. Oatmeal is a filling grain that also provides much needed fiber to keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar constant.

3. Fruits – Fruits are filled with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and A. Antioxidants fight free radical damage in the body and reduce the risk of cancer. Berries such as blueberries and grapes have the highest amount of antioxidants. But choose an array of fruits in a wide variety of colors for maximum health. The antioxidants in fruit boost the immune system to fight the effects of aging in the body.

4. Allium foods – This class of foods includes garlic, onions, leeks and shallots. Garlic is known for lowering cholesterol. Allium vegetables healp guard the body against the risk of cancer and many other ailments. They also help lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Eating these power packed vegetables in their natural state especially garlic increases their health benefits.

5. Salmon – Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions like atherosclerosis. Wild salmon is a fatty fish but it contains good fats that has been proven to improve health in children and adults. Salmon is rich in protein which is of great use after an exercise session to build muscle tissue.

6. Flax seed – Like salmon it contains omega-3 fatty acids. These seeds also contain omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. You get a lot of power to fight high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes with this seed. Ground flax seed can be added to fruit smoothies, sprinkled in yogurt, eaten with cereal or added to pancake mix to name a few.

7. Peppers – Peppers are colorful. They contain antioxidants like beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Peppers range from mild and sweet to so hot you’ll be calling the fire department. All peppers contain a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin has the properties of an anti-inflammatory, a pain reliever, lowers cancer risk and heart disease. They are good in salads, salsa and all sorts of dishes.

8. Nuts and seeds – Nuts are high in fat but those fats are the good kind. Peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and pistachios are all providers of good fats and protein. Crush them into a fine powder and use as a coating instead of higher carb bread crumbs. Nuts help to lower cholesterol. Eat them right out of the shell with no additives.

9. Açai – This berry has been in the news lately. It is rich in antioxidants and increases energy. You can get more done and look better while doing it. You can get Acai juice and supplements in your health food store.

10. Yogurt – The fat free variety is good for you. Yogurt contains calcium, Vitamin B, and protein. If you don’t drink milk, yogurt is an alternative to get your calcium in to build strong bones and teeth. Live yogurt also contains friendly bacteria to help promote a healthy digestive system.

Building a better healthier body begins with what you eat. Try these super foods to get started on the right foot.

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

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