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How to slow down the affects of aging

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Mar 30, 2023 10:44:49 AM


Getting older. It’s a common topic and something many people are fighting against. As soon as someone starts to experience aches and pains, they may accept it and write it off as “getting old”. Many expect move more slowly, have more pain and to have physical limitations as they age and think there is nothing to be done to help or slow down this inevitable fate.


It is true there are some things we can’t control in the aging process. Our bodies will change. While we can’t stop ourselves from aging completely, there are some things we can do to slow down the effects of aging and to minimize or even reverse some of the slow down and ailments that might occur as we grow older. These controllable factors include your daily habits and lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.


What are some of the naturally occurring effects of aging?


  1. Aerobic Endurance Slows

Our V02 max naturally decreases as we age and if we are not performing cardiovascular exercise. This is the body’s ability to use oxygen. When your V02 max decreases, your body cannot use as much of the oxygen that is breathed in, which limits muscle output and cardiovascular function. That means you will get breathless quickly and tire faster.


  1. Max Heart Rate Declines

As we get older, our maximum (max) heart rate lowers. A max heart rate is the upper limit of heart beats per minute that your body can safely sustain. You can calculate a rough estimate of your max heart rate with this formula from the American Heart Association: 220 - [your age] = estimated max heart rate. This can decrease how intensely you are able to exercise.


Also, with time your heart beats at a lower rate per minute. When your heart beats, it pumps a specific volume of oxygenated blood away from your heart to be used by your body – including your muscles. With fewer beats per minute, it means there is less oxygenated blood in your muscles which means they fatigue faster and more easily.


  1. Hormones Change

Hormones play a role for both men and women in the changes that occur as we grow older.   Just one of these changes is that testosterone and estrogen levels naturally decrease starting in our 30’s and can reduce lean muscle mass. Less muscle mass affects our ability to move and complete daily tasks and changes our body composition. Less muscle also affects our balance – read more about that and other aspects of age-related physical changes in my last post all about balance.


The good news is there are things we can do to limit the effects of aging on our daily lives and that is through our lifestyle. Research has shown that we can affect the length of our telomeres (the protein structures that are found at the ends of chromosomes that cap and protect our genes) through healthier lifestyle choices. A direct relationship has been shown between telomere length and life expectancy, DNA damage and age-related diseases. Dysfunctional telomeres are risk factors for adverse health conditions and may accelerate the progression of age-related disorders. The longer our telomeres, the risk is reduced for the development of cancer, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and premature aging.


So how do we lengthen and protect our telomeres, thus slowing down the age related physical slow down?  


  1. Sleep

Sleep has been shown to be important for our health at every age. Experts recommend 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Studies also show it affects the length of our telomeres. One example is a study where researchers found that men with shorter sleep duration had shorter telomeres.


Some ways to improve your sleep would be to go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning – even the weekends. Shutting down devices at least an hour before bed, having the bedroom temperature at 65 degrees, and having less caffeine (especially later in the day) could also help.


  1. A Healthy Diet

The Mediterranean way of eating has been repeatedly shown to be the “best diet” for health and longevity. It focuses on eating real, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, olive oil, herbs, and spices. Fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are also included in moderation. The fish and seafood provide omega-3 fats which are especially important in reducing inflammation and improving insulin resistance.


A healthy diet limits sugary and highly processed foods. One study found an association between sugar-sweetened soda consumption and shorter telomeres. Just another reason to avoid drinking soda!


A study in the Archives of Medical Science showed a positive association of vitamin D in the length of telomeres. Vitamin D is an important nutrient that many don’t get enough of. It’s a good idea to have your health care provider check to see if you are deficient as it can affect many aspects of your health.   Some foods contain vitamin D, like some types of salmon, mushrooms, sardines, and eggs but it can be difficult to get all the vitamin D that you need from food. Moderate sunlight exposure can also up your vitamin D intake. In general, 15 minutes of unprotected (no sunscreen) time in the sun can give you all the vitamin D you may need. (Don’t forget to put on sunscreen after that if you will be out in the sun longer!)


  1. Exercise

Both aerobic exercise and strength training are important to stay healthy at any age but also to combat signs of aging. Strength training will help to minimize or reverse the natural loss of bone density and muscle as we age. Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise keeps our V02 Max higher which means we won’t tire as easily on a walk or while playing with grandkids for example. It also can increase or maintain the length of our telomers. A study done in the UK showed that as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking a day was associated with longer telomeres and reduced signs of aging.


  1. Stress Reduction

Several studies have linked chronic stress to shorter telomeres. One such study compared healthy women who were mothers of healthy children (the control moms) and those who cared for chronically ill children (caregiving mothers). On average, the caregiving mothers had telomeres that were 10 years shorter than the control moms. That is, their cells behaved as if one decade older.


Stress is part of everyday life but typically the response to the stress from our Central Nervous System (CNS) will dissipate about 90 minutes after the stressful event. Chronic stress is when our bodies stay in that “flight or fight” response from the CNS. That means we have heightened levels of stress hormones in our bodies which have numerous negative effects on our health, among them contributing to the shortening of our telomeres and aging.


Experiment with things that will help reduce your stress. Take the time to do what makes you feel better and bring you joy. Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation have all proven to reduce stress. Taking time to enjoy a hobby, getting regular exercise, connecting with friends, and listening to music are all examples of things that could help lessen your stress response.  


Your habits and lifestyle can make a difference in how your body ages. Slowing down aging isn’t about rejecting the idea of getting older, it’s about improving the quality of your life for the rest of your years. Not necessarily about adding years to your life but adding life to your years.


"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be." Robert Browning (1812-1889)

Topics: LivRite News

5 Fitness Myths – Common Misconceptions and The Truth

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Mar 14, 2023 3:39:35 PM

5 Fitness Myths – Common Misconceptions and The Truth


Health, fitness, and wellness are popular topics. That is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately, it leads to an overwhelming amount of information available online, on tv, in magazines and especially social media. With so much stuff out there, it is sometimes difficult to tell what is true and what isn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve written about some of the common misconceptions when it comes to health and fitness. If you want to check out my last post about fitness myths, you can find it here.


MYTH #1: You should exercise every day.


This is a tricky one! You shouldn’t exercise intensely every day (and you don’t need to in order to see benefits). Current guidelines say, “To attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.”


How many days a week you work out depends on what kind of exercise you are doing. For strength training, muscle groups need a day to recover in between sessions. If you want to strength train every day, or on consecutive days, then it is best to break down your weight workouts into splits. This means you will use weights to work one part of your body one day and then work different muscles the next. For example, work your legs on Monday and then upper body on Tuesday. Or push muscles on one day then pull muscles on the next. For our muscles to get stronger, they need time (48 hours) after being worked to repair and heal. That rest time is what makes them stronger and helps to prevent injuries. Most studies show that working each muscle group 2-3 times a week is sufficient. If your workout is a less intense exercise like walking, it is safe to do every day.


For some, keeping a habit like exercise is easier if it is done every day. Then there is no question if you are going to do it today or tomorrow, you have time carved out for a workout each day. In this case it is important you plan your workouts so that each day isn’t an intense HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session or working the same muscle groups with resistance. Overtraining is a real possibility if you overdo it. Excess fatigue and unusual muscle aches and pains are two possible signs of overtraining and that you need a break. Daily workouts should vary in intensity and type to help prevent overtraining and burnout. I like to alternate between cardio and strength days for my workouts. I also recommend one day a week of either complete rest, an easy yoga or stretch session or a low intensity walk.


MYTH #2: You can choose where on your body that you want to lose fat.


As a trainer, many of the people I work with want to do extra exercises for their abdominal muscles because they want to reduce the size of their waist or stomach. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Abdominal exercises, like crunches and sit ups, target the abdominal muscles, not any fat that may be near them. The body loses fat from where it wants to lose fat first based on your genetics and other health factors (i.e., hormones). You can’t control where the fat loss happens and doesn’t happen. However, you can work to lose body fat overall by consuming fewer calories than you are burning. Strength training also helps because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn even at rest.


Please note: This does not mean you shouldn’t do ab exercises! A strong core is important for many reasons including reduced lower back pain, improved posture, injury prevention.


MYTH #3: In order to lose weight, you must cut out all carbs.


Aren’t you glad this is a myth? You can eat carbohydrates (carbs) and lose weight. The key to weight loss is consuming fewer calories than you burn. It is beneficial to consume healthy foods that will keep you satisfied and fuller longer for your overall health and to help maintain a healthy weight. But many studies show that for weight loss, the type of diet (i.e. high protein vs. low-carb vs. low-fat) doesn’t really matter, it is the number of calories consumed. Some carbs should be eaten less and in moderation since they provide little nutritional value and cause your blood sugar to spike and then quickly crash causing you to become hungry again quickly and most likely to eat more. (Think white bread, pasta, or baked goods) Other carbs, sometimes called complex carbs, should be a bigger part of our diet because they are very nutritious and full of fiber that will keep us fuller longer and not cause a quick rise in blood sugar. (Like whole grains and vegetables) We need a mix of all three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) to have a healthy diet.


This review found that there is no one size fits all weight loss program that works for everyone. Many of the diet plans out there will work if you stick with them. The key is finding the right one that you can live with. The bottom line, if people eat a diet composed mostly of healthy foods within their allotted calories, the ratio of carbohydrates, protein and fats may not matter as much as we’re led to believe.


MYTH #4: Squats are bad for your knees.


A basic squat is a great exercise that works several major muscle groups in the lower body including the glutes, hamstrings (back of the legs), and quads (front of the legs). It’s a functional movement which not only helps with strength we need for everyday activities, but it also improves mobility and stability. A squat done with proper form will strengthen your knees in that it will strengthen the muscles that support the knees thus reducing potential knee injury and pain.


If you already have a knee injury or pain from something like arthritis in your knee, it is best to talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine that involves squats. Since performing a squat involves sinking down into the knees, it may be painful for some people with existing issues in this area. Working with a personal trainer can be helpful in this situation because they can give you tips on form and modifications to reduce any pain.


MYTH #5: Machines are better than free weights. Or vice versa – Free weights are better than machines.


This is another tricky one! In fact I wrote an entire post about this subject. This is a myth – there is not one that is better than the other and both are good. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of weight training. It boils down to your fitness level, your fitness goals and what you have available.


The biggest factor to increase your strength is to progressively increase the amount of weight resistance applied to your muscles, no matter the equipment that is being used. Some great workout routines will utilize both free weights and weight machines. Whichever method you will do regularly and works with your current fitness level is the best for you.


Don’t believe everything you read or see on social media. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do your research and check the credentials of the person or organization where the information is coming from. Try not to let the overwhelming amount of information about health and fitness keep you from starting or keeping an exercise routine. Stick to the basics and ask for help from a trained professional if you need it!




Topics: LivRite News

Better Balance: The Importance of Maintaining and Improving Balance

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Jan 20, 2023 1:52:21 PM

 Merriam-Webster has quite a few definitions of the word balance.  But the first one, and the one we will be using in this post, is this: 


: physical equilibrium 

trouble keeping your balance on a sailboat 

lost his balance and fell 

a boxer kept off balance for a whole round 


: the ability to retain one's balance 

Gymnasts must have a good sense of balance. 


Basically, balance is when your weight is evenly distributed in a way where you can stand or move and not fall or catch yourself if you trip so that you do not fall.  There are many components to good balance.   The central nervous system, inner ear, eyes, muscles, bones, and joints all play a part in our balance.   


Having good balance is important for everyone as falls can cause serious injuries at any age.  However, many factors make balance more difficult for older adults and any subsequent falls more serious.  The CDC reports that one in four of those 65 and older fall each year and one out of every five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.  Working to maintain our ability to balance as we age is extremely important for our safety and if we don’t keep working on it, we will lose that ability.   


You can test your balance.  Try standing on one leg and time yourself.  (Be sure to have something stable nearby in case you need it to steady yourself).  Can you hold that one legged position for at least 10 seconds?   A study that was released in 2021 in the BMJ, showed that being able to balance on one leg for 10-seconds can predict a longer life.   Out of the 1,700 older adults in the study, 20% of them could not balance on one leg for 10-seconds or more.  They found that not being able to balance for at least 10-seconds was associated with a twofold risk of death from any cause within 10 years.  This is just an association, not a causation, but still data suggesting how important balance is for our health.   


What Impacts Our Balance? 


Because there are many factors at work to provide our body with balance, there are quite a few things that can cause unbalance.   


Some medical conditions can affect a person’s balance.  Disorders that affect the central nervous system like stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can impact one’s ability to balance.   


Anything that impacts the inner ear’s vestibular system also affects balance.  Vertigo might be the most often heard of problem in the inner ear.  Even a cold can cause temporary disruption of your inner ear balance.  Also, the nerve cells that make up our vestibular system decrease with age which is one of the reasons older adults struggle more with balance issues.  When the tiny structures in this system are damaged in any way, dizziness is likely along with feelings of being unsteady.  Age related changes to the inner ear structures is a common cause of balance issues in seniors.   


Vision is another important part of our ability to balance.  Being able to see what is around helps to stay steady and on our feet.  Eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration can all affect one’s physical stability.  This is an easy thing to confirm, try standing on one foot with your eyes closed versus with your eyes open.  Big difference!   


Certain medications and alcohol can also impact our balance. 


Any limitations to range of motion will potentially cause asymmetrical movements and in turn potential balance problems.   


Nerves called proprioceptors tell the brain about changes in conditions that call for bodily adjustments.  If our muscles and tendons are weak, stiff, or slow, we won’t be able to react as fast as needed, or at all to avoid a fall.  Our muscle tone starts to diminish as early as our mid-thirties, so it is important to do strength training exercises to preserve (and/or gain) muscle.   


How to Improve Balance 


Despite it being normal for balance to diminish with age, there are things to do to improve or maintain it.  A study published in BMJ revealed that balance training for older adults reduced the risk of injurious falls by 43 percent and the risk of falls resulting in fractures by 61 percent. 


Balance training consists of strengthening the muscles of the core, increasing (or maintaining) flexibility, having good posture, and boosting endurance.  Things that should be part of everyone’s wellness routine!  There are many ways to perform balance training.  Tai Chi and Yoga are popular ways to improve flexibility and balance.  Many exercises using only bodyweight (no equipment) can help balance and resistance training can improve balance by strengthening core muscles.  The stronger the muscles in your legs, glutes, feet and abdominals, the better your balance.   


Having better posture keeps our center of gravity over our feet, not pitching forward, which helps to keep us from falling.  Throughout the day think of sitting or standing tall, lifting your chest, and rolling your shoulders up then back and down.  


Exercises to Help Improve Balance 


Many balance exercises do not require any equipment.  All the moves below can be done at the gym or at home.  Try these exercises 2 – 3 times a week.   Gradually increase the duration of the exercises as you get stronger.  As with any new workout program, check with your doctor first before starting new activity.   


Balance Exercises for Those with Unsteady Balance: 


1. Sit to Stand – Sit in a firm chair then stand, then carefully sit back down.  Cross your arms at your chest or hold them straight out in front of you throughout the exercise.  Repeat 10 times.   

2. Calf Raises – Stand behind your chair, holding on to the back of the chair, and lift your heels raising up onto your toes, then lower your heels back to the floor. Repeat 10 times. 

3. Side Leg Lifts – Stand behind your chair, holding on to the back of the chair, and lift one leg out to the side then bring your leg back in.  Perform 10 repetitions per side. 



Balance Exercises for Those with Better Balance: 


1. Heel to Toe– Focus on a spot ahead of you.  Stand with your feet heel to toe and hold the position from five to 30 seconds.  Switch feet and repeat.  Repeat up to 5 times.  As this gets easier, add a walk.  Start with your feet heel to toe then bring your back foot in front of the other and so on walking forward and then back at a slow and controlled pace. 

2. One Leg Stand – Practice standing with only one foot on the floor, holding the opposite foot up and hold for five to 30 seconds.  Switch feet and repeat.  Repeat up to 5 times. 

3. Braiding – Stand up straight with your feet together.  Cross your left foot in front of your right foot then step out with your right foot and cross behind with your left foot.  Continue this for 10 steps to the right, then bring your feet together and then do 10 steps to the other side crossing your right foot in front of your left.   


Having the ability to balance is an important part of our health and wellness.  The good news is that it is never too late to work on and improve our balance.  There are things we can do to keep our balance or get it back!  If you aren’t sure what to do or want some help, ask a LivRite trainer today!   


Watch for videos for these balance training exercises on our Instagram page @livriteindy – Follow us there!   

Topics: LivRite News

5 Tips for a Healthier New Year

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Dec 26, 2022 2:44:51 PM


 The start of a New Year usually brings about ideas of change, personal improvement, and new habits.  One of the most common things that people want to change or improve is their health.  Here are five tips to think about when planning healthier changes to make this year. 


1. Start with The Basics 


Before you start any elaborate plan to improve your health, go back to the basics.  Without having the basics down, it will be tough to see much improvement in your overall health.  Sleep and hydration are the top two basics to me.  They really affect your health overall in many ways.   


Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  Numerous studies show how necessary adequate sleep is for our health.  The Harvard School of Medicine summarizes some of this research and concludes, “sleep experts say there is ample evidence that shows that when people get the sleep they need, they will not only feel better, but will also increase their odds of living healthier, more productive lives.”  One of the many things sleep does is helping your recovery from your workouts.  Without enough quality sleep, you may not see all the results from your hard work.   


Drink enough water.  Water is essential to keep your body functioning properly and feeling healthy.  Water makes up about 60% of our body weight and water works in many ways in our bodies.  Here are just a few examples (courtesy of The Mayo Clinic): 


  • Carries nutrients & oxygen to cells 
  • Lubricates joints 
  • Flushes out waste products 
  • Dissolves minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body 
  • Protects body organs and tissues 


Oftentimes you may feel hungry, but you are really dehydrated.  Drink a glass of water when you wake up and before every meal.  In general, men need at least 12 cups of fluid daily, while women may need a minimum of nine cups.  Some of that may come from food.  That is hard to track though, so a good rule of thumb is to drink at least 8 cups of actual water.  (If you don’t like it, add fruit!)  


2. Create Healthier Habits 


Why a habit?  Habits free us from decision making and from relying on self-control.  According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.  Once something is a habit, it becomes almost automatic, and you do it without thinking.  A habit is formed through a habit loop consisting of a cue, an activity, and a reward.  Something cues you to complete a certain activity like a location or time of day.  When that activity is complete your brain releases chemicals (like dopamine) that signal pleasure.  Because of the reward, your habit loop is reinforced.  This reward can feel like stress relief or happiness or another benefit that feels good to you at that moment.  Your brain will want to complete that activity again next time it is cued so you will receive the reward.  This works for all habits, healthy ones and bad.  For example, say whenever you get ready for bed (cue), you brush your teeth (activity), which results in clean feeling teeth that makes you feel good (reward).  Or a bad habit, whenever you drive to work (cue) you stop by Starbucks and get a Venti Mocha Frappuccino (activity) on your way in and you are rewarded by that rush of sugar (reward).   


Do you have some unhealthy habits you want to break?  Think of the habit loop.  A habit starts with a cue.  Because bad habits serve you in some way, it’s very difficult to simply eliminate them.  Instead, the activity you would like to stop needs to be replaced by a new habit that provides a similar benefit or reward.  Let’s say you want to quit smoking.  What cues you to smoke?  Identify your triggers and replace the bad habit with a healthier one whenever that cue comes up that will elicit a reward/similar benefit.  If you normally go outside on your work breaks (cue) for a cigarette, ask a coworker to go for a walk with you instead.  Or, if possible, remove those cues that make you want to smoke.  Another example, if you would like to stop snacking in the evening after dinner, think of what cues signal you to do so.  If it is sitting and watching tv, switch the mindless munching to knitting or doodling.  Or remove the cue of watching tv and meet up with a friend instead or talk on the phone.  Cut out as many cues as possible.  If you can’t remove the trigger (cue), replace the unwanted activity with a healthier option. 


James Clear said, “When you learn to transform your habits, you can transform your life.” 


3. Set Small Goals 


Think about the things you'd like to achieve this year. Be realistic.  If you think of a large goal, like running a marathon or losing 100 pounds, think of the milestones along the way.  If you are not currently running regularly, a marathon is a huge task to undertake.  A first goal could be to train for a 5k, the next step would be a 10k and then a few more steps until a marathon.  Breaking down a large goal this way not only better prepares you, it gives you wins along the journey that should be celebrated and will keep you motivated.   


If you have weight you’d like to lose, break it down into manageable goals and keep them realistic.  Everyone is different, but in general, a good rule of thumb is to lose one pound a week.  Don’t set yourself up for failure with an unrealistic goal.  For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds in a month, you may not achieve that goal and then will be frustrated and may not continue with your weight loss journey.  That’s a lofty target. Start with a goal of losing five pounds a month and be proud each time you reach that monthly objective.  Before you know it, 20 pounds will be lost.   


4. Make good choices for YOU!  

The reason why you are making any change should be because YOU want the result.  Making changes to our nutrition and exercising more (or at all) takes a lot of self-discipline and without your own intrinsic desire to eat more vegetables and take that group exercise class, you will probably go back to what you were doing last year as soon as a stressful situation hits.  If you are trying to lose weight or get healthier because your doctor or spouse or someone else told you that you should, you most likely won’t keep up your new healthier habits.   


Really think about why you want to make this change.  Do you want to stop taking medication for high blood pressure?  Do you want to have more energy to be able to play with your kids or grandkids?  Make sure it is something meaningful to you.  Whatever the reason, post it everywhere.  Write it down.  Remember it when your motivation lags.  Because you will not always be motivated!  Especially when everyone stops talking about resolutions in February and March and it is cold and dreary outside, you will probably have less motivation.  This is when the people who made resolutions fail.  But not you!  You are making new habits and you know why.  You must have the discipline to keep up with your healthier habits.  The good news about self-discipline is that it can be made stronger like a muscle.  The more things you achieve using your own willpower, the more self-discipline you will have in the future.  It is easier to be disciplined when you know WHY you are making these new habits and are passionate about that reason.   


5.  Throw Out the All or Nothing Mentality 


Something is better than nothing.   This applies to healthier eating habits as well as exercising.  Even if you have found the workout you usually do enjoy, there are still going to be days when you just don’t feel like doing it.  Expect those days and be ready for them.  You may have originally planned for a thirty-minute run but it turns into a ten minute walk instead.  Or you planned to go to a workout class, but your work schedule changes and you’ll miss the class.  Go for a walk instead or hit the elliptical.  That is ok.  You got movement in, and you will be ready to go for your next workout.  Sometimes when you aren’t feeling it, you just do it anyway and know in the end you will be glad you did.  There will also be days when life gets in the way and a workout just doesn’t happen.  No matter how many workouts you missed, all is not lost, get right back to it the next day.   (Of course, there should be rest days, or less active days, built in any workout plan too!).    


I hope these tips help you with any of the areas you might be looking at to improve upon this year.  If you are unsure where to start, schedule a complementary fitness assessment with a personal trainer at LivRite today!   


Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.  

– 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 


Topics: LivRite News

Five Tips to Stay Strong & Healthy Through the Holidays

Posted by Jill Derryberry on Nov 18, 2022 11:00:00 AM

Five Tips to Stay Strong & Healthy Through the Holidays – Quick Workout Included! 


The holiday season is upon us!  For the rest of the year, we will be busy with shopping, parties, family gatherings, and food.  Exercise is usually the first thing to get cut when things get hectic, but this is the time when it is especially important to keep fitness in your schedule.  Workouts will help you cope with the stress and excess food that comes with the season.  Plus, it will help keep your immune system strong.  Who wants to be sick during the Holidays?  No excuses to skip a workout when you need it now more than any other time of year!  Here are five tips to keep moving this Holiday Season. 
       1.  Make it a priority.  Instead of canceling your normal workout class after work to do some holiday prep, what else can you reduce so you can keep that workout in the schedule?  Maybe cut back an hour of a Netflix binge or scrolling through social media time to go pick up some gifts instead of skipping that group exercise class or other workout.   


During the holiday season there may be more events happening that change your usual schedule.  Be flexible and look at your calendar each week to plan your workouts.  They may not be when you usually workout, but there probably is another time you can get some exercise in.  Once you decide on when your workout will be that week, try not to change the plan.  However, it might be a good idea to have a Plan A and a Plan B.  For example, your book club has a holiday party on a night you typically go to the gym.  Since this is a one-time, special occasion, you’d like to attend so you plan (A) to go to the gym that morning before work.  But then you wake up that morning and your child is sick.  Not to worry, your plan B is to do an exercise video at home if you can’t make it to the gym.   

  1. Add a walk after your meal.  Walking after you eat aids in digestion and helps reduce any potential bloating.  Plus, walking after a meal can help manage and prevent diabetes or heart disease by keeping blood sugars from spiking.  Research has found that even just a 2–5-minute walk can keep your blood sugar levels more even than if you sit or stand after eating.  Large spikes and subsequent big drops of blood sugar can raise the risk for diabetes and heart disease.  Also, you feel hungry again as soon as the levels plunge after a big spike so may end up eating more than you need.  Make it a family event and bring everyone out to walk or do something active after dinner. 
    ​3.  Sign up for a race.  There are so many fun Holiday themed races.  Plan and train to run or walk a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving or another Holiday race.  It will be a fun atmosphere and sometimes raises money for a great cause.  They even have races that play Christmas carols while you run and some where you can wear Santa Hats!  


  1. Traveling?  No excuse! Traveling is the perfect time to check out new workouts and fitness centers!  I love checking out the fitness centers in hotels.  I want to get every penny's worth from a hotel stay and love to take advantage of everything they offer.  

    If you are staying with family or friends, see if they have somewhere they currently workout and if they would take you.  Many gyms and studios let members bring a guest for free or a nominal cost.  This is a great opportunity to try a new workout you might not have at home or just haven't done before. Or if you have family visiting from out of town, bring them to your gym with you as your guest!   
    Another way to exercise while traveling is to walk or run in the area.  It's a great way to see somewhere you aren't as familiar with or to revisit old haunts.   I love running in new or different places (especially when a beach is involved).  It makes your workout more interesting and fun plus you get to see sights you might have otherwise missed. 
    5.  Embrace short workouts.  If you truly feel you don't have time to get in a workout class, online video, DVD or a trip to the gym, don't forget that any movement adds up.  Find a short circuit workout to do at home.  Many don't require any equipment.   Make sure you are getting plenty of movement in each day.  Walk farther away from the store.  Do squats and jumping jacks while you prepare dinner or watch tv, you get the idea, just get moving whenever you can! 


The 10 Minute Workout 


Here's a quick no equipment workout for you to do anywhere.  It’s an AMRAP, which stands for As Many Rounds as Possible.  This AMRAP has three exercises which you will do 10 repetitions (reps) of the exercise before moving on to the next, do 10 reps of that exercise and then after 10 reps of the third exercise take a quick break (if you need to) then start with the first exercise again and continue going through the circuit of three exercises, 10 reps each, until your 10 minutes is complete.  Don’t have 10 minutes?  Do it for any length of time you have available, it all counts! 


Warm up with 30 seconds of Jumping Jacks or Marching in Place with High Knees then a 30 second Plank then repeat each one more time 


For the remainder of your 10 minutes, complete 10 reps of each of: 

       1. Squats 

Step 1:  Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes facing in front of you.   

Step 2:  Keeping your back flat, slowly lower your body, bending at the knees and the hips. Stop when your legs form a 90-degree angle. Do not let your knees go much past your toes.  

Step 3:  Slowly push through your heels to return to the starting position, contracting the thigh and glute muscles. 

        2. Push Ups

Step 1: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag. 

Step 2: slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor 

Step 3: Press upwards back to plank position. You can start on your knees or try it against a wall or bench to modify this exercise. 

        3. Mountain Climbers


 Step 1: Start in a plank position with arms and legs long. Beginning in a solid plank is the key to proper form and good results in the Mountain Climber. At its heart, the Mountain Climber is a form of plank. Keep your abs pulled in and your body straight. Squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders away from your ears 

Step 2: Pull your right knee into your chest.  As the knee draws to the chest, pull your abs in even tighter to be sure your body doesn’t sag or come out of its plank position. 

Step 3: Quickly switch and pull the left knee in. At the same time you push your right leg back, pull your left knee in to the chest using the same form. 

Step 4: Continue to switch knees. Pull the knees in right, left, right, left—always switching simultaneously so that you are using a “running” motion. As you begin to move more quickly be in constant awareness of your body position and be sure to keep a straight line in your spine and don’t let your head droop. Core body stability is crucial. 

Each time you pull in your right and left knee is one rep. 

Rest for a minute then repeat until your 10 minutes is up!   

Bottom line, enjoy the holiday season and keep your fitness habit.  It’s okay if it may look a little different for a month or two, just don’t cut it out completely.  Take care of your mental and physical health.  It’s the best gift you can give yourself and everyone you love! 


Topics: LivRite News