By The FIRM Master Instructor Mindy Fenske
A while back, I took a teaching sabbatical and worked out of my house for a few months. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved having the flexibility of working from home, but I had a small problem.
I would be working diligently at my computer, tap-tap-tapping the keyboard, when, all of a sudden, my fingers would stop. Then my legs would stand me up and walk me into the kitchen and, before I even realized what was happening, my hand would be force-feeding chips into my open mouth. It was as if my body was possessed by aliens!
I love walking — outside, on a treadmill, whatever — but I have a little problem commonly known as lack of motivation. On days when it’s cold outside, or drizzly, or appears to be either of the above, I am easily dissuaded from working out … and easily persuaded to sleep the extra half hour instead. But I hate the “no cookie for you today” feeling of regret that not working out brings.
Lucky for me (and you!), GaiamTV.com has a ton of great walking workout videos. They’re perfect for working out at home — no weather restrictions, no too-loud-for-the-downstairs-neighbors cardio; just fun routines for burning calories.
My favorites combine upper-body strengthening with the lower-body workout. If they have gorgeous scenery, so much the better! These videos eliminate my excuses and, in time, my jeans size. Here are my top five favorites from Gaiam TV. I’m confident you’ll find at least one in here that will tempt you to pick up the pace.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Are you confused by all of the information out there about cardio fitness and how to do it so that you get the best results?
“Eat before your workout — No, don’t eat before your workout!”
“Running burns the most calories but walking burns more fat!”
“Work out for 30 minutes a day or don’t bother working out at all!”
It’s enough to put any girl off her workout routing. That’s why we’re getting to the truth behind some popular “cardio myths” — to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelly Branning
I am a Libra. Although I don’t read my horoscope, I do identify with those scales that represent my sign. Balance, balance and more balance. It is a daily challenge to keep those scales from tipping over. One side seems overloaded with the things we do for others and the outside world, like family, career, social life and housework. The other side of the scale, including exercise and nutrition, usually threatens to let go at any time.
I think the absolute foundation of a balanced life is good self-care, coupled with good self-awareness. That said … how are you doing? How is your eating? Do you get everything you need from the foods you eat? Hopefully you are eating healthy, life-affirming foods every 3-4 hours. How about exercise? Are you finding a little time to work out and get stronger? If you don’t know how you are doing, let’s take some time to figure it out.
It usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.
That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.
I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.
I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.
Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.
So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.
Okay, so Emily Welsh, a Master Instructor for The FIRM, was actually far from “healthless” in her 20s. But one look at her answers to health and fitness questions will tell you Emily — now in her 30s — is now in an even healthier, happier place.
Last week I wrote about keeping your gym membership and focusing on the gym amenities you really use. But if getting to the gym isn’t working for you, I suggest stocking your home with a few well-chosen pieces of exercise gear to help you start or maintain a consistent fitness regimen. Having your own gear handy puts you in control. It saves you time, since you never have to drive to and from the health club. It gives you a weatherproof alternative to outdoor activities like walking or biking. And it lets you squeeze in exercise in the morning before the kids wake up or in the evening while you’re watching your favorite TV show.
Maybe it’s cabin fever, or perhaps it’s just all those Girl Scout cookies, but I’m ready for something new in my fitness routine. Aren’t you?
Like many people, I made a resolution to lose weight, and I’ve been keeping up my end of the bargain I made with myself to work out for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Now I’m ready for something new: a new challenge, a different routine, a never-tried-that-before workout.
by Kurt Johnsen
You’ve seen them. You may even be one of them — I know I have been. I’m talking about those folks hunkered over their food, shoveling it down as if someone were trying to take it away. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also unhealthy.
Our digestive system starts in our mouths, not in our stomachs as you may think. Special enzymes in our mouths begin to break down our food and prepare it for digestion from the moment we take a bite. But often, in our fast-paced, fast-food world, many of us — including myself — wolf down our meals and snacks like a greedy seagull, cocking our heads back and gulping down whatever is in front of us. We barely take the time to chew — much less enjoy — our food.
Want a healthy snack that will fill you up without filling you out? Try plain, non-fat (or low-fat) Greek yogurt! It’s super-packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures and it’s low in calories, making it a smart snack choice.