The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, and the idea of schedules freeing up is around the corner. This is the time of year when we venture out of the gym after months of staring at the same treadmills and elliptical trainers. There are tons of fun and exciting activities to take part in as the weather changes that burn calories and tone your muscles. Swimming, cycling, hiking, running, tennis, golf, basketball, softball, volleyball, canoeing, kayaking … the list is endless. The key is to find activities you enjoy so that you will keep moving!
The most overlooked and arguably the most important word in health is “balance.” Why? Because this one word says it all! We spend our entire lives trying to keep things in balance, whether it’s our checkbook, our diet or our time management. Then as we age, we need to literally improve our physical balance to keep on doing the things we like to do.
We have our first outdoor baseball park in Minneapolis this year (Go Twins!) so the city is abuzz about this year’s season. This year’s weeks of spring training was the highlight of most our newscasts. All the buzz got me thinking that baseball players aren’t the only ones who could use a little “spring training.” The winter season causes many of us to fall into a rut with our fitness routines. Now that the weather is clearing up around the country, people are getting outside more. And as you shed your winter wardrobe of bulky clothes, you may be in need of shedding some of those bulky pounds.
Shin splints. Just hearing those words hurts.
For those of you who have experienced them, you understand how this little bit of nagging pain in your shins can sideline you for days or weeks on end. I hear a lot of complaints from clients and friends at this time of the year when people are starting up new spring walking/running routines. Everyone is excited to become more active in the warmer weather, but some become derailed by shin splints.
I love “the hills,” and I don’t mean that really annoying reality TV show. I’m referring to the incline setting on my treadmill. I get bored running on the treadmill when it’s cold outside and I’m stuck inside, so during the winter I always look for ways to mix up my indoor workout. One way I do this is by hitting the hills once a week on the treadmill. By adjusting the treadmill’s incline to 7 or 8 percent, I simulate climbing up a hill, all in the comfort of my climate controlled gym.
It’s January and the gyms are packed.
I have written many times over the years about correcting poor form or bad habits at the gym. It’s not a new subject, but I have been “moved” to write about it one more time after last Saturday morning when I was at the gym and was compelled to offer some free advice to the woman next to me. Here was the scenario: I like to exercise on the Stairmaster Stepmill…you know the machine with the revolving stack of stairs. I usually mind my own business, but last Saturday the woman next to me was so slumped I couldn’t keep my blinders on.
The new year is just around the corner! January evokes resolutions. Many folks will commit to things like weight loss, more exercise or fiscal responsibility. Yet sadly, only a small percentage will follow through. I’m not saying that resolutions aren’t worth it. I love any opportunity to commit to a healthier and more thoughtful lifestyle. But how about this year, creating a New Year’s mission statement for yourself or a themed phrase or “mantra” to use all year long.
The holidays make you think about minutes in a whole different way. It’s a time when you eat more, drink more, spend more money and sleep less. You feel time-crunched. You do your last-minute shopping. And as fast as you create the holidays, they disappear.
So how can reducing stress help you lose weight?
It starts with the hormone cortisol, which has become synonymous with stress. You may have heard or seen an advertisement for yet another magic weight loss pill or potion that reduces cortisol in your body to help lose weight. But how does cortisol really affect our body’s ability to store fat? And how can we reduce the amount of cortisol in our bodies without resorting to weight loss pills?
The most common reason people give for not getting enough exercise is: “I’m too busy.”
But remember that just because you are BUSY doesn’t mean you are ACTIVE! Being busy and being active are not synonymous. You can be busy all day long sitting at a desk or driving in a car without being active.