Wednesday, 15 January 2014 01:07

February is American Heart Month

Tip of the Week

February: National Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month. While heart problems have always been associated with men’s health, cardiovascular disease is actually the number #1 killer of women age 18 and above. Women have a responsibility to take care of their heart health and make lifestyle decisions that can help them reduce their risk for heart disease. Many initiatives have blossomed throughout the month of February to raise awareness and provide information to improve women’s heart health. To learn more about such initiatives just visit:  HeartTruth.gov

Fitness funIf you are not already physically active starting a new exercise program can be intimidating. In truth you don’t have to become an ironman competitor or an ultra-runner to keep your ticker in shape.  Walking your 10,000 steps daily can help you save your life. Choose what you love to do, challenge yourself gradually and try one new exercise, class or fitness DVD once a month. Mix it up and have fun with it.

Fitness fun  2With a busy work schedule, family obligations, and intense weekend activities, it can be challenging to get the recommended amount of physical activity. Every woman should reach the daily goal of 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, combining both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. With a renewed sense of commitment, a few adjustments to your schedule and a little bit of creativity, let’s see how it can be possible to reach such healthy goals:

Do not try to do it all at once: short bouts work just as well. Scientific research shows that moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day in 10-minute intervals, and it can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes uninterrupted. 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and ten minutes in the evening will get the job done. You can also increase the segments to 15-20 minutes, whenever your busy schedule will allow it, and reach a new goal. Small exercise segments are ALWAYS better than no exercise at all!

Be creative! Alternate moderate- and high-intensity physical activity to meet your daily fitness goals. For instance, you can speed-walk for 30 minutes twice per week and jog or run at a faster pace on two other days, one day you can bike, one day you can jump-rope, and one day you can enjoy a relaxing swim. You can also have a mixed session of 5 minutes walk, 5 minutes jog, and a 100 yard sprint at a higher intensity, add 10 push-ups and 20 sit-ups, then repeat each segment again 3 times. Time will go by faster, it will feel like you are playing a game, and it will do wonders to your body!

Daily fitness-time. Set aside specific days and times for exercise, and just make it as much a regular part of your daily schedule as everything else you do. Whether it is easier for you to work-out early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, or right after the kids go to bed, or during your lunch break, just carve out your own special time to take care of your heart: think of it as of the most important thing you do for yourself during the day!

Fitness fun  3You do not need a gym membership! In order to get your daily dose of side-effect-free, mood-enhancing, overall-just-good-for-you physical activity you do not need to join an expensive gym, wear sophisticated sport attire, or waste time and gas commuting to an indoor facility. A pair of athletic shoes, comfortable clothes, a little motivation, a park, a quiet road, a set of stairs, or your living room is all you need to be more active. Keep it simple!   Check out our articles on great routines you can do at home or at the park.

The power of walkingGood for the heartThe family that works out together... Recruit friends, family, and children in your mission to health. Think of it as showing them how much you love them by motivating them to be active and healthy. It will be a great group activity and a lot of fun too!!! Volleyball games, backyard baseball, tackle football, strolling down the beach, family tug-of-war, bike rides, hopscotch tournament…your imagination is the limit. Recruit, recruit, recruit!  It is a great way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a healthy lifestyle.

Remember also to cultivate healthy, loving, genuine, supportive and inspiring human relationships…they are so good for your heart!

Published in Tip of the Week
Tuesday, 11 January 2011 00:13

The Power of Walking

The Power of WalkingTip of the Week

For many people, a new year means new health and fitness goals.

While our fitness goals often start strong, many people find that keeping up with an exercise routine becomes a challenge. It gets harder and harder to get to the gym on time for our favorite fitness class, we begin to make up excuses and we begin feeling guilty…and finally we give up!

Suddenly, we begin believing in all of those myths about fitness and exercising, such as: If you are not going to work out hard and regularly, then exercise is a waste of your time…home-workouts are all right, but going to a gym is the best way to get and stay fit…and…overweight people are unlikely to benefit from exercise… This kind of thinking keeps a lot of people from maintaining or even starting an exercise program.

The Power of WalkingIn truth, plenty of scientific research actually shows that, any kind, and any amount of exercise is better than none at all. Also, overweight individuals who engage in consistent, even low-impact, fitness activities have a lower risk of all-cause mortality than sedentary individuals, regardless of their body weight.  Finally, according to research, in spite of all the hype on trendy exercise programs, celebrity endorsements, and upscale facilities with all sorts of bells and whistles, for many individuals it is easier to stick to a home-based fitness program.

Even better, regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, while it has also shown to be a powerful tool in both weight reduction and weight management. We are not just talking about power-walking in the park with weights in your hands, track shoes and a slick outfit…we are simply talking about making a conscious effort to use your legs and feet to move around all day long while you go about your activities of daily living.

Counting StepsAccording to an article published on ScienceDaily, a joint study based on findings from the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, and Sweden has outlined useful preliminary guidelines for how many steps per day women should accumulate for both weight control and overall improved health.

The table below shows the steps-per-day recommendations for health benefits and weight control for women ages 18-60+ based on such findings:

  • Age: 18-40    12 000 steps per day
  • Age: 40-50    11 000 steps per day
  • Age: 50-60    10 000 steps per day
  • Age: 60 +         8 000 steps per day

While a sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day, there are many ways to increase your daily steps to reach the number-of-steps goal for each day.  To simplify, it takes just a little over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles.

A reasonable goal for many is to increase the average daily steps, for each week, by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. At that point, you can set new goals for further increasing the number of your daily steps. For example, if you currently average 3000 steps each day, your goal for week one is 3500 each day. Your week 2 goal is 4000 each day. Continue to increase each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.

Here, we are providing you with a list of ideas, but you should use your imagination and come up with your own personal list:

  • Take a walk with your spouse, child, or friend
  • Walk the dog
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park farther from the store
  • Better yet, walk to the store
  • Get up to change the channel
  • Window shop
  • Plan a walking meeting
  • Create a walking club with your friends and neighbors
  • Walk for a cause
  • Walk over to visit a neighbor
  • Get outside to walk around the garden or do a little weeding

PedometersAn easy way to track your steps each day is to wear a pedometer.

PedometersStart by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bedtime. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised by how many (or how few) steps you get in each day.

Continue to track your daily steps and mileage, keep notes on how you feel, how your body is improving, or other changes you are making to improve your health…and be proud of your accomplishments, one step at a time.

Published in Tip of the Week
Saturday, 11 December 2010 02:17

The Holiday Races

The Holiday RacesTip of the Week

The Holiday season – oh the turkey, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the ham, the cookies, and the apple pie.

Maybe the tamales, pozole y pan dulce too!   Along with all the delicious treats come a lot of local communities’ Holiday races: 1K, 5K or 10K…everyone can become the town’s favorite athlete.

Usually, such races are a lot of fun, and they are a great opportunity to promote healthy choices and overall wellness to all the members of the community. These events are rarely intimidating and you can often spot Grandmas and grandkids, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, moms and dads pushing a stroller, and even the usually moody family teenagers all striving to cross the finish line…yes, the family that runs together stays together.

Holiday RacesHowever, in order to get the full benefit from such friendly competitions, a little bit of preparation is necessary. Do not attempt to run a distance that you are not familiar with, “cold turkey.”  We have put together an easy to follow running training plan to help you compete in your first 5K. Compare notes with your training regimen so far, adjust your last week of workouts, and keep it in mind for your next race.

5k Training Schedule

Week 1

Day 1 — Begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 5 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 5 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 5 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 6 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 30 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 30 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 20 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 rest

Day 7 45 minute walk

Week 2

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of  5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 8 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 30 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 30 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 7 intervals of 5 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 3

Day 1 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 9 intervals of  4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 10 intervals of 4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk 

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 11 intervals of 4 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 40 alternating lunges and 3 sets of 30 squats

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 11 intervals of 3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 4

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 12 intervals of  3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 13 intervals of 3 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk 

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 14 intervals of 2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 40 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 40 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 15 intervals of 2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 5

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 16 intervals of  2 minutes run alternating with 1 minute walk  , followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 2 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 18 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 3 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 20 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 4 — 45 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5 — begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 20 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 6 — Rest

Day 7 — 45 minute walk

Week 6

Day 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 22 intervals of  1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk  , followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 2 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 23 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 10 minutes run-only

Day 3 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 24 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 12 minutes run-only

Day 445 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up continue into 25 intervals of 1 minute run alternating with 1 minute walk, followed by a 5 minutes run-only

Day 6 Rest

Day 7 45 minute walk

Week 7

Day 1warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 26 minutes

Day 2warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 28 minutes

Day 3warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 30 minutes

Day 445 minutes of biking, swimming, fast walking, followed by 3 sets of 50 alternating lunges, 3 sets of 50 squats, and 20 push-ups

Day 5warm-up for 10 minutes lightly jogging then run for 30 minutes

Day 6 — Rest

Day 745 minute walk

Week 8

Since your first 5K is going to be this week your training will be a slightly lighter not to over-fatigue your body. It is important that you eat a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, drink plenty of water, get 7/8 hrs of sleep per night and get to your race well rested and properly nourished.

The Holiday RacesDay 1 begin by warming up, lightly jogging for 10 minutes at an easy pace. After warm-up run-only for 25 minutes

Day 2 40 minutes of biking, swimming, or fast walking

Day 3begin by warming up, lightly jogging for about 10 minutes, then continue running for 30 minutes

Day 4 — day before the race… Rest

Day 5 — Race Day…compete and Have Fun!

Published in Tip of the Week