This news was posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
tagged: Uncategorized

Fitbit is a very well written piece of technology

Fitbit Blog

Fitbit is an electronic recording device you wear in a special bracelet or necklace that records your movements.  It translates your workout into steps to give you relatively accurate and relatable comparison data.  It synchs with a smart phone app where you can see your progress, record your food intake and set your goals.

You must create a login to the Fitbit web site to use the Fitbit device, set up your profile and some settings to make the device more accurate for your use.  You will receive weekly reports in your email inbox reviewing your progress and giving you positive messages of encouragement in the form of badges.

Recording your food intake on the phone app is nice because you can you can typically choose from a list which gives accurate calorie counts thus educating all of us about the reality of how many calories are in each food.

This is also handy to see how many calories we are taking in versus how many we are actually using throughout the day.  I found myself, however, looking for the smallest number of calories in the list and choosing that one.  This is still good because you can only cheat so far.  Of course, if you get tired of looking at calories, you can make the mistake of not recording your food intake at all.

When you workout you have to start and stop the exercise part of the app.  Then Fitbit will use the GPS signal to show the amount of exercise you have performed.  If you do not travel during your exercise time, Fitbit cannot record your workout and so you must hand-input treadmill activity or an aerobic class workout into the app.  Of course, it will record your steps and arm movements regardless of the workout but will not give you accurate credit for something like a Yoga or Pilates class.  The device already records steps but this gives you credit for working harder during your workout than just everyday movements.

I have several days where I did not turn on the Bluetooth setting on my phone which the app needs to sync with the wrist device.  Since Bluetooth drains the phone’s battery, and only updates when activated on the phone, I elect to turn it on only when I want to see my Fitbit progress.  Now I have several days (Jan 15th – 20th) that recorded zero steps and Fitbit is unable to catch up its record for those days.  This is easily remedied by syncing more often, but is something of which the users should be informed.Downfalls;Graphs can be found in the Profile portion of the online app when you login.

I would also like to see a heart rate monitor built in.  If worn on the wrist (not in the necklace) I can see where it could record heart rate automatically.

There is also no place to record glucose levels which would be great for Diabetics and easily added to the “self-record” portions of the app.

The sleep portion of the app is also less than ideal.  It shows colored bars which are difficult to read instead of a graph.  They should take a lesson from Sleep Cycle app which clearly shows at what time the sleeper was in deep sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and the quality of sleep they achieved.

Summary; No single application can please everyone. Fitbit is very helpful in most areas and was very well-written.  But with just a few upgrades it could be much better.

This news was posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014
tagged: Uncategorized

How exercise calms stress

According to a study performed at Princeton University in 2013, the calming effect of exercise is in the firing of the neurons within the ventral hippocampus which is known to control anxiety.  In this study done with mice, they found there are 2 types of neurons at work here along with an amino acid.  The neuron discovery starts with the firing of brand new, very excitable (meaning they fire often), baby (newly created) neurons which get stimulated at the drop of a hat . . . . any hat.  As they mature, they become less excitable.  The other neuron, in this battle of stress, is what scientists call “Inhibitor Neurons”.  When the inhibitor neurons fire they calm the effect of the new, baby neurons.  The amino acid involved in the study with these neurons is the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has a calming effect on firing neurons.  During stress, the new baby neurons are easily excited, then inhibitor neurons fire to calm the excitement of the babies and GABA is produced to further the calming process.

In the study, there were 2 groups of mice; one group was put into a brightly lit room for many hours through the day and given some open areas in which to roam, some hiding corners in which they could choose to sleep and a wheel with which they could exercise at their leisure.  The second group was given a similar set up but were kept in a dark room most of the time with no exercise wheel.  Both groups were found to have created the same number of new, baby neurons during the time of the study and have the same amount of GABA, the inhibitor neurons.

The group with no exercise soon exhibited introverted behavior, hiding in their corners much of the day. In these mice the baby neurons became very excited with stressors, the inhibitor neurons did not fire much, and the mouse produced less GABA.  And so, these baby neurons also stayed excited, keeping the mice stressed long after the stressors were removed because there was no way to calm them down.

The group with the option of exercise stayed in their open areas much of the day, indicating more confidence.  The interesting part is that when these mice were introduced to the same stressor (a bath of cold water) their baby neurons became less excited (firing less often) than the non-exercise group, their inhibitor neurons became much more excited than in the sedentary group, and the mouse produced more GABA which also kept the animal calm.  So the exercising mice were found to panic less, and they recovered from the stress much more quickly.

Then the researchers did some further testing.  Using chemical bicuculine, which is used in medical research to block GABA receptors, they were able to artificially block the effects of GABA in the active mice.  This proved that the active mice would become more agitated and the mice handled stress less well.

So the next time you are stressed at work, or fed-up at home, let everyone know you are going for a long walk.  By the time you get back you will feel much better, and may even have answer that eluded you before.

This news was posted on Saturday, January 11th, 2014
tagged: Uncategorized | tags :, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Face of Fitness must change; Into the Future

I hate it when people shine a light on what is wrong without also sharing a possible solution. My last blog mentioned the history of how we, as a society, have gotten so out of shape when fitness was just a way of life 1-2 generations ago. Now it is time to give you my ideas for a more healthful future.
We are at cross-roads in the fitness industry. We can either keep to business-as-usual which evolved from the 1950’s military model of obstacle courses and running on a track, to treadmills, Ellipticals and stationery bikes which took up much less space. They are all boring, leading the exerciser to think only of how much work he/she was doing and how much pain they’re in and only works for the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. But they are a practical and safe alternative to outdoor activities.
Enter the group classes and Wii Fit machines. Much more entertaining and interactive choices to weight and aerobic machines, and are a healthful alternative to watching TV or playing a video games, but they still do not translate to a lifestyle of fitness. Group classes tend to be the fitness choice for women and non-competitive men. The majority of the men in our society seem to need the competition and comparison to others. They need to know how they “stack up”. Therefore, we need to build in such comparisons for this group. Currently, there are very few options for adult competitions. Runners have community “fun runs” or distance competitions organized by various groups, but where are the Basketball competitions, the community swimming contests, or the indoor obstacle course contests for community and fitness members? Not everyone has a runners body and we are missing opportunities as fitness professionals.
I am blessed to live in a state of mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, coastline, and desert all within a 3 hour drive. Therefore, I do my part by organizing hikes around mountain peaks where the vitas are so beautiful that my group doesn’t know how much work they are doing to get there. We go canoing/kayaking and dock on a sandbar for lunch while watching the fish frolic nearby. I know of one trail that takes even novice hikers past 8 waterfalls on a 10 mile loop.
Perhaps you are not lucky enough to live in such an area. Perhaps your options will take more creativity and looking. But I guarantee that everyone who reads this blog will be able to find a place of activity within 50 miles of your home where you can take friends or family to get them active.
Speed walk around a zoo, organize a hike with friends and co-workers in the national park in your state, or at your local national monument site.
Most city parks have climbing walls, skateboard parks, or pools where you can organize a contest. Have participants bring white-elephant gifts (something from their house they have put away for a garage sale they can bring to give-away) as prizes. The winner of the first contest gets first choice of gifts and everyone goes home with one.
Country roads are perfect for bikers. A one-day lunch-in-a-backpacking trip is great in the late spring or early summer. Start planning now. Organize an event around the time of your birthday. That way, people more likely to show up if they believe they are doing their part to honor you. Get your friends to take turns planning their own activities so you don’t have to do all the work throughout the year.
Hosting a Superbowl party? Build in some activity for your guests. Every time-out, everyone gathers to stretch up, then touch their toes, then lunge side to side, then squat up and down from their chair (no chairs on rollers, please – think of safety first), then . . . well, you get the idea. Maybe take turns doing pushups against the wall and see who can do the most.
If you want to get active but are stuck inside for the winter months, organize an indoor game of “Twister”, or Wii Fit, or a race against the clock down a hallway picking up a ball and running back to place it in a cup several times.
Remember, if you make the activity too strenuous you may alienate some of your friends. It should be fun for everyone (or as many as possible) and incorporate one thing they enjoy doing anyway.
An older crowd might want to combine a bridge game with a reward for the winners of reaching up high (even climbing a step ladder if safe enough) to get a basket of treats and a punishment for the losers of doing 5-10 squats from his/her chair (great to build knees and hips).
Younger people might decide to watch a basketball or football game together and everyone (even the women are called out from the kitchen) performs one push-up for each point scored. A three point basketball shot = 3 pushups. A football touchdown = 7 pushups. No matter which team scores, everyone participates.
Fitness centers cannot keep to the 1950 – 1970’s model of fitness if they expect to have an impact on our society. They MUST be the front-runners of change showing people the benefits of an active lifestyle. They must organize activities and contests to show what is possible.
Individuals, too, must also do their part to change our society. If you are already organizing a party, change the focus slightly to include more action. Instead of drinking shots, do pushups. If people want to bring a desert to a potluck dinner, they must also have to organize an activity. If they bring a fruit or veggie plate instead, no activity necessary.
We cannot become a healthier nation by doing the same things we have been doing. The most meaningful gift we can give to our loved-ones is the gift of health. That means we ALL must change.

This news was posted on Saturday, November 16th, 2013
tagged: Uncategorized | tags :, , , , , , ,

The Face of Fitness must change; Then and Now.

When I was growing up, there were no “Fitness Centers”. The YMCA came the closest but was reserved for boys and men as a sort of “Good-ole Boys” club for father-son teams to get fit together before entering the armed forces. There was nothing for women or girls and there was no education about fitness; how much exercise you should get, how to ward off disease using exercise.
Then came celebrity faces on the Wheaties cereal box as if to say, “eat our cereal and you can be an athlete, too.” No mention of the grueling hours of dedicated physical work it took to accomplish the feats of being a winning athlete.
Now Fitness Centers can be found on every street corner, with a range of price points and activities. Yet, our society as a whole is more obese, and seems to have more ailments than at any time in our history. Why?
I have been in the Physical Education and Fitness industry my whole life and I have seen a trend. I don’t believe we are necessarily getting “more obese” as a nation but rather the attention is going to the obesity epidemic, as it should! Make no mistake, there is an epidemic in this country! However, when I was growing up, it was safe to send children outside to play and run off some energy. Now we choose to keep them inside for fear of predatory offenders. Before, I could look up and down the street on any given summer day and see at least 3 – 5 adults outside working in their yard, or playing with their children. Now, besides me, I only see one other person at a time in the neighborhood outside being physically active.
The flip side to this is the regular walkers, joggers and bike-riders that are prevalent now that were never seen years ago. It’s as if there has been a “great divide” in the world of activity. Just as the Middle-class is going away and is dividing itself between the wealthy and the poor, the “generally fit” are dividing themselves between the dedicated athletes and the obese.
It is as if the faces on the box of Wheaties had 2 messages from which you could choose; 1. Be a champion and you will get fame on a box of cereal, or 2. Take a shortcut by eating all the cereal you can find and that will make you a champion.
I have always advocated Moderation in daily living. As much as I applaud those everyday athletes for riding their bikes to work, walking on their lunch hours, and running when they get home, I can’t help but think that they would not have to be a slave to their workout if they just stayed active around their house, working in their yard, and rough-housing with their kids. Likewise, if the obese could gradually motivate themselves to do more and more in their daily lives (and eat whole foods instead of processed convenience food), they would become more generally fit. Gradually we can go back to being an entire society of generally healthy people instead of the extreme polar opposites we have come to be.
It takes work, I know. It’s not easy, I know, but it is possible, and WE NEED IT!

This news was posted on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
tagged: Uncategorized | tags :, , , , , , ,

Now Certified in Better Bones and Balance

For those of you who don’t know what the “Better Bones and Balance” program is, let me explain.
It all began with a study done at the Oregon State University in 2010 and was recognized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the National Osteoporosis Foundation in 2011. In the study a small group of researchers wanted to know if exercise could be use to reverse the ravages of Osteoporosis (reduction in the density of bone in the body). They found that yes, indeed, with the right exercises 3 days per week, 45 minutes per session, consistently for a period of 12 months Osteoporosis can be REVERSED!
They also found that the advantages are not just about bone density. Even strong bones can break if a person falls with enough force or at the right angle. Even weak bones can be kept from breaking if the person never falls. So by training body in methods of agility (balance, muscle strength and aerobic endurance), the subjects in the study had a much better rate of continuing to live independently and with much better quality of life than their control group counterparts (the people in the study who did not participate in any exercise through the 8 month program). Once a person falls, continuing a physical therapy and exercise program during the painful recuperation process is much less likely to happen and the patient atrophies (muscles become weaker) and never does recover. In other words, if we can keep people from falling, they have a better chance of remaining in their homes.
After the 8 month study, the exercising participants saw such benefits that they strongly urged and convinced the University to continue the program. Many of those original participants still attend the classes to this day. I had the pleasure of meeting some of them.
I am fortunate that the Oregon State University now trains and certifies people from across the country in September every year in this wonderful program! If interested in learning more, I encourage you to read about it at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/physicalactivity/bbb/ .
I am happy to be associated with and certified in the wonderful, healthful program!

This news was posted on Saturday, August 24th, 2013
tagged: Fitness, Tips, Uncategorized, Wellness | tags :, , , , ,

How to stay motivated to working out.


Recently a friend of my Father’s, a man who has been a runner and very active his whole life, told me he really missed the workout.  Since his wife became too sick with Alzheimer’s to fend for herself and he has needed to care for her, he has given up the workout.

I could sense the disappointment in his voice and didn’t want to see him loose such an important part of himself.   So I suggested the following;

  1. Put your wife in a wheelchair and instead of running, walk briskly pushing her.  The extra  weight or tension of the wheelchair will replace the vigor of the run. Your wife will be invigorated by the fresh air and you can point out all the pretty flowers and trees you see along the way.
  2. Ask friends and neighbors to go with you.  Statistics show that people are more likely to keep to their workout schedule if they have others with which to share the experience.  Going with others will be stimulating for your conversation and keep your wife connected to the outside world as well.
  3. The workout has been a part of your life long enough to become a part of who you are.  Don’t give that up! We all need to make changes over the years.  Workouts are no different.  So change it;  don’t eliminate it.

He replied back to me, “These are GREAT ideas!  Oh, this is going to be so much FUN!”

I was very happy to help.  It was my father who taught this man to run as they were High School buddies. Now that my Father has passed on, it was only fitting that I should continue the work he started.

What’s your workout challenge?

Time? – - Budget it as you would a check book that can only contain 24 dollars (like hours) at a time.  Account for the necessities first; 8 hours to sleep, 9-10 hours for working and commuting, which leaves approximately 6 hours of discretionary time.  Now account for other necessities in your lifestyle (second job, bathing the children, cooking meals) with the rest of the time in your bank decide how to spend it.  Now transfer this information to a date organizer and see where everything fits neatly together.

Interruptions?  – -  Go to a gym or away from you normal environment and turn off the cell phone for an hour.  The world won’t stop and some of those questions you would normally get asked may just work themselves out before you get back.

Don’t know what to do?  – - Ask for help from your local gym.  There are so many options here I am sure you will be able to find one that is right for you.

Workouts are boring! – - Join a class that looks interesting.  Find a Personal Trainer who thinks outside the box to help give you ideas.  Tell him/her the things you enjoy doing and ask them to design a workout that will include those movements.  Then while you are working out, just imagine you are doing the things you enjoy, rather than the boring workout.  Buy a Wii game and get some programs that interest you.  Design your own workout.  Choose something that is fun and right for you.

Fatigue? – - If your reason for not working out is that you are too tired, then you really DO NEED that workout! It will give you instant energy and vitality if done right.  Start out slowly, light stretching, balancing on one foot, and walking, for 5 – 10 minutes. Then progress to 20 or 30 minutes of a more brisk workout at a steady pace, and end with another light activity followed by stretching again. Remember that to feel better long-term, this has to be a lifestyle change from your current, sedentary, fatigue-ridden lifestyle.  The habit of PERSISTENCE is the key!

In closing I would like to remind you again that the key to continued workout is; PERSISTENCE and FUN!

Do you have your own remedies for a failed workout?  I would love to hear them.


This news was posted on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
tagged: Uncategorized | tags :, , , , , , , , , ,

Exercise is Depressions Cure

I recently read an article online at http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Exercise-Depressions-Cure/173327
Titled “Exercise Is Depressions Cure”. My first impression was, “Duh! We’ve know that for years.” But then I started thinking that that opinion might just be arrogance on my part. Perhaps others have not been around the fitness industry as long as I have or had the same experiences I have had. So, here we go again;
This is a typical scenario, although very simplified and it NEVER feels this simple, of the downward spiral of depression;
1. Life is not going as it should;
a. Career is not as it should be. The person is not happy in their work, or they have been laid-off and the bills are piling up. Or . . .
b. Finances are not as they should be. The person has been over-extended financially for quite a while now and can’t seem to see a way out. Or . . .
c. Relationships are not as they should be; Family members are not living up to expectations, loneliness and isolation are setting in, frustration is more common than it was.
2. The person no longer wishes to be engaged in his/her life due to the negative feelings it brings so they begin removing themselves from everything they once did telling themselves, “the people around me are better off without me.”
3. Problems ensue due to inaction.
4. Feelings of isolation, despair, and failure increase
5. Soon we have a situation of the proverbial snow ball rolling down hill gathering more snow and more momentum.
Now we add pharmaceuticals into the mix. Many anti-depressants don’t work at all which increase the person’s feeling of failure, others work no better than a placebo, and they ALL have horrendous side-effects. Compare that against a workout.
I know that the LAST thing you want to do when you are depressed is to get off the couch, come out of the little cave you have made for yourself and go to a gym. It’s stinky, it’s boring, and it costs more money which is already a problem! Ok, so don’t start in a gym. Just take a stroll outside. Ride a bike. Borrow a CD from the Library and match the movements as best you can at home. Why? Here’s why;
1. Exercise pumps oxygen and nutrient to the brain giving it the tools it requires to “think your way out” of the situations which negatively impact your life.
2. The time it takes to exercise allows time for creative thinking; again, allowing you to “think your way” out of your situation.
3. It brings you into contact with fresh air and other people which get your mind off your bad situation giving you a break from it.
4. Exercise pumps the “feel good” hormones like Testosterone, endorphin, and adrenaline to your brain and throughout your body allowing you to feel as though you can conquer the world, . . . or at least face it one day at a time.
Of course, I am not telling anyone to through away their medications. I am saying to add a workout into your weekly routine, and when you start feeling better (notice I said when and not if), then work with your doctor to reduce your medication slowly.
Yes, we, in the industry, have seen this positive affect for years. We didn’t need any study to prove it, but it is nice to see that western medicine has taken it seriously enough to prove it for all of us. Thanks for catching up.

This news was posted on Monday, May 13th, 2013
tagged: Uncategorized

Exercise as a treatment for chronic low back pain

The Spine Center at New England Baptist Hospital studied exercise as a prescribed treatment for chronic low back pain.  They concluded that exercise was not harmful to an already injured back, but it can, indeed reduce back pain and create a healthy back again. I found the abstract for this study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14749199

Of course, you may have already heard this message.  So why do so many people continue to suffer with it?  I believe it stems from 3 main reasons;

  1. Lack of knowledge.  What exercises should I do?
  2. Lack of motivation.  The “I am on the couch and I can’t get up” syndrome.
  3. Waiting to be pain-free.  “I’ll start exercising on a good day.”

Lack of Knowledge;

I can’t tell you how poor of an excuse this one is!  There is SO MUCH information on what types of exercises help back problems that I hesitate to review them here.  Just go to U-Tube and search for “exercises for the back” and you will find hundreds of them.  Ok, so it can be a little overwhelming, I admit. So here is a good starting place;

  •    Upper back problems are usually caused by a weakness in the muscles that surround the shoulder blades (scapula).
  •    Lower back problems are usually caused by a weakness in the lower stomach (abdominal) muscles.

For pain in the upper back caused by weak Trapezius and Rhomboid muscles just pull your shoulder blades together 5-10 times, several times per day.  Later you can graduate to pulling the shoulder blades together, then “slide” those tight shoulder blades up and down the backbone (Thoracic Vertebrae).  Remember to perform these movements WITHOUT Arching your lower back, which can simply migrate your pain from the upper back to the lower back.

For pain in the lower back cause by weak lower Abdominal muscles, the “Pelvic Tilt” is the best tool in your arsenal.  Stand as straight as you can with your feet a comfortable distance apart.  Now slowly pull the bottom of your hips (pelvis) forward by tightening your lower abdominal muscles.  Think about tucking your tailbone under your body tilting the bottom of your hip bones forward.  That will feel in your body as if you are rounding the small of your back.  This puts your lower back into a strong position and can, alone, relieve much of your pain.  Repeat this motion every time you think about your back throughout the day.  Since this motion alone will not strengthen your abdominal muscles enough to relieve your chronic pain, perform the following exercises 3-4 times throughout the week; Pick-Pocket, Hip-Up, and leg lift.

To perform the “Pick-Pocket” movement, sit on the floor with your knees tucked to your chest and your feet 1-2 inches off the floor.  Touch both hands to the side of one hip as if reaching into your pocket, then move both hands to the other hip (to the pocket on the other side).  Continue to move your hands from one pocket to the other, back and forth touching both pockets at least ten (10) times each.  Begin with quick, brisk movements until you feel the abdominal muscles getting stronger.  This will take a few weeks.  Now slow the movement to about half speed, taking twice as long to touch each pocket.  The slower you do this movement, the more work you are doing.  This one is also very easy to get kids involved.  Just set each child next to you and instead of “picking” your own pocket, “pick” theirs instead.  They will soon understand the fun in trying to tickle you and each other in those brief moments.

To perform the “Hip-Up” movement, lay on your back on the floor or other flat, stable surface with your head down on the floor (or surface) and your feet up in the air bent at the waist and straight in the knees.  Now use your abdominal muscles to raise your hips up off the floor as high as you can in an explosive movement.  Repeat this 10 times, several days a week.

To perform the “Leg Lift” movement, begin by sitting in a stable chair that has arm rests but no rollers.  Sit with approximately 3-4 inches between your back and the back rest of the chair; you will not be using the back rest.  Perform a pelvic tilt (see above).  Your upper torso should be erect with the top of the head reaching up toward the ceiling.   Then, keep one leg on the floor for stability and lift the other knee as close to your chest as your body will allow while keeping your back erect.  Repeat this movement on the first leg 10 times, then 10 times with the other leg.  After this movement becomes easy and comfortable for you to perform, then try raising both legs at one time.  At this point most people need to counter-balance the leg-raise by leaning back.  This is fine but should be kept to a minimum.  The more you lean back, the less work your abdominal muscles have to do.  This is where the arms of the chair come in handy.  Use your hands on the arm rests to stabilize yourself.  Remember, there is a BIG JUMP from lifting one leg at a time to lifting both, so don’t become discouraged.   Just keep switching off between raising one leg and raising 2 legs until 10 repetitions are complete.  Later you will find you will be able to do more 2-legged raises and fewer single-leg raises in the set of 10.  When you can perform 10, 2-legged raises in a chair with relative ease, you may graduate to the same movement while sitting on the floor with your hands also on the floor.

Lack of motivation;

Don’t kick yourself or use lack of motivation as an excuse to give up on your exercise program.  You are BETTER than that! Lack of motivation happens to even the most dedicated of us.  Instead, try these helpful tips;

  • Workout with a buddy.  Studies prove that people who work out together tend to work harder, longer, and more consistently.  No one wants to be the excuse for someone else not getting their workout so each buddy feels the responsibility to show up and not cancel unless a good reason can be provided.  Each buddy tries to “show off” or “prove themselves” to the other.  This stimulates each one to do their best every time.
  • Keep the same routine.  When you skip a workout, your body will feel the change and stimulate action to get back to the normal routine.  It is also easier to fit it into your week when others around you know the routine and expect nothing else from you during that time.
  • Do something enjoyable for the workout.  Even if you can’t play tennis yet due to your back trouble, you can make the workout fun.  Play your favorite music or even a TV show, create a contest with yourself to do more than the last time or do it with a fun flare,  wear funky clothes that make you feel energized (just. . . don’t go out in public!),  take your work out to the park where the air invigorates your senses (separate from wearing the funky clothes, like I said, don’t go out in public with them).  Do whatever you need to do to keep “exercise” from sounding like “work”.

Remember, “exercise” should never be a 4-letter word!


Waiting to be Pain-Free;

If you keep waiting to be free of your pain before starting your new exercise regimen, your muscles will continue to atrophy (reduce in size and in tone), the back pain will only get worse and you will never be free of its debilitating effects.  Instead, start at a low level today, right now! And you will see result faster than you will if you wait until a “good day” that may never come.  The longer you wait, the longer the positive results will take to be noticed.  It is best to start when you still have some muscle tone to work with. START NOW!

So, have I taken away all your excuses yet? If you can think of more excuses not to get started on your healthy road forward, please let me know the excuse you are currently using.  I would love to chop it to pieces!  Have I given you ideas to improve your torso and create a healthy back?  Please contact me if you would like more ideas.  Oh, by the way, if you have chronic back pain due to over-exertion, it might be caused by internal inflammation.  Try rubbing Calamine Lotion (yes, that old pink stuff your Grandparents used to use for bug bights) on the affected area.  It will draw the inflammation up, away from the muscles relieving some of the pressure on the bones and the nerves.

That is my last tip for this segment.  Enjoy your health!


This news was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
tagged: Uncategorized | tags :, , ,

What to do with unexpected changes in your schedule.

Life is full of change and detours. Can we stay dedicated to our health in the midst of unexpected change?
The answer is a resounding “YES!” . . . with FLEXIBILITY!
There are simple changes in schedule; children’s music lessons change to a new night, spouse decides to drop the bowling league and change to a book study group instead, there is a monthly volunteerism meeting on the same day you normally workout.
Then there are major changes or interruptions; you need to sit with a close friend in the Hospital, a family member dies leaving you executor of the Will, or you are involved in a car accident.
All these events can, and perhaps will, derail your attempts to stay healthy through proper nutrition and exercise. How can you out-wit these “hellions of health”? The answer is . . . drum roll, please! . . . . PERSISTENCE!
Yes you may slip here and there until you get back into your old routine or find a new normal, but keep your eye on the prize (better health to live a more active life) and you will return to a workout of which you can be proud. Final goals do not come to “good” people, or “bad” people, or the most “knowledgeable”, or even the most “educated”. The final goal always, ALWAYS, goes to the most persistent! Just like the Tortoise who won the race over the Hare, do not jump out of the gate at a full sprint and quickly get distracted or bored, but move slowly and steadily to your goal.
Remember, you do not have to dedicate a full hour to a really good workout if your schedule is in turmoil. Sometimes 5 pushups on a Hospital waiting room floor will have to do that day. But if you do those 5 pushups this hour, you may find that you can also do 10 sit-ups the next hour, and have an excuse to walk up 3 flights of stairs later in the day, and before you know it, you have fit in your entire workout. Slow but steady steps are all it takes.
The journey of a thousand miles is taken one step at a time.
How do you eat an elephant? . . . One bight at a time.
How do you get a workout in? . . . One Repetition at a time!
Just look for the opportunities to fit it in.

This news was posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
tagged: Uncategorized

How to get started; Which Fitness Center should I join?

When choosing a fitness center, the 2 most important things to remember are convenience and offerings.

Under the subject of convenience, tour the centers between your work and your home. If you have to drive past it every day, guilt will set in when you decide to skip your workout. Also, if you decide to work out on a Saturday, or a day you don’t have to go into work, driving part way to work will not seem like a long trip because you are accustomed to driving a much longer distance every day.

If you cannot find a center between the 2, opt for one close to one or the other. If it is convenient to a place you go to daily, you will be less likely to talk yourself out of the workout.

Under the subject of offerings, look for a fitness center that offers the equipment or classes that inspire you the most. If it looks like fun, you will be more likely to look forward to the workout than to dread it. The center doesn’t even have to have the MOST equipment, or the largest number of classes, as long as what they do have appeals to you.

Cost can be a factor as well. However, I urge you to view your fitness membership as an investment in your health rather than a depletion of your wallet. An investment is designed to cost some now, but pay more in the long-run. Unless you pay for a membership without using it, the cost is not just a black hole, but a wonderful, long-term commitment for your future. That said, there can be a wide variety of membership costs. Weigh the costs against the offerings and choose a center accordingly.

Why choose a Fitness Center at all? Why not just plan to go for long walks outside?

That is certainly an option. Healthful fitness does not have to cost an arm and a leg (pardon the pun, I just couldn’t resist!). In fact, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. However, if you tend to get bored with the same workout all the time or walking the same 3 routes, the variety of equipment and classes might be just the thing you need to keep going. In some regions/ neighborhoods, walking is prohibited by weather or safety concerns. In that respect, a locked facility where only members have a key can be more secure and keep the participants away from the elements.

So there you have my advice on fitness centers. There are as many types of centers are there are levels of income. Choose the one that makes the most sense to you, and go for it!