Benefits of Working Out with Other People

Exercise is just one building block of health—but it’s an important one. People who workout regularly burn more calories, which helps to maintain weight. They use up excess sugar, and often are able to tamp down those low-energy sugar cravings. And if you exercise, you generate endorphins, which are essential to helping you feel good about the day ahead.
But going it alone when it comes to exercise is often a difficult routine to maintain. And it’s harder to push yourself to your max, too, when you exercise alone—which means that you might not be building the strength and stamina that you could.
That’s why working out with other people, and working out in group fitness classes, can be so valuable. It can keep you on edge—the good kind—by constantly making your muscles stronger. It can keep you accountable, too, to the friends and people you meet while exercising. Why else does it matter? This graphic explains it.

 

Better with Friends: Benefits of Working Out with Other People

Healthy Changes That Last; How to Make Them

healthy changes that last 1

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to make healthy changes that last, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Many, of my clients come to me after they have tried… and failed, to eat healthy, lose weight or add exercise to their schedule. I make them an individual plan that works for them and check in with them on a schedule that holds them accountable.  Here’s some tips to help you make healthy changes that last.

Healthy changes that last need a plan

Make it specific. Make a long-term goal (eat healthier) and then get specific (reduce the starchy carbs in your meals and increase the fresh fruits and veggies).

Write it down

Healthy changes that last are ones that you write down and post where you see them every day.  Post your plan on the fridge.  You’ll see it every time you walk in the kitchen!

Start Small

Pick one healthy change you are relatively sure you will succeed at. A good example is to replace one sugary drink during your day with an 8 ounce glass of water. Sure it’s not much, but if it becomes a habit, you can soon replace another, and another until you are drinking the recommended 8, 8 ounce glasses of water and sugary drinks are a thing of the past. You’ll be surprised at how fast you won’t even crave them anymore.  If you cut them all out at once, you’ll feel deprived and have more of a chance of failing, feeling defeated and quitting altogether.

Healthy changes that last should be one at a time

When it comes to making healthy changes that last, we tend to do too much, too fast (see above). Change just one thing until it becomes second nature, then you can move onto one more thing. I’m working on an e-book that makes 10 healthy changes in 10 weeks.  Look for it here soon!

Get into a routine

Put the change you want to make on your calendar. Treat it like any other important appointment. Be there and be on time.  Soon it will be second nature.

healthy changes that last 3

Find someone to keep you accountable

This translates into a friend that can join you in whatever healthy change you are trying to make.  It’s a little harder to make excuses when someone else is waiting for you to join them.  Pick someone who will be supportive and will be fun.  Everything is easier with a buddy!

Do what works for you

I hate to run! It would be silly for me to make a fitness goal of running in a 5K and beginning a running program. I would soon quit.  But I love cycling, kettlebell workouts and dancing.  I could do any of those and still get the same amount of exercise. Running wouldn’t work for me.  Healthy changes that last have to be things that fit into your life.

healthy changes that last 2

Brainstorm ways to get around your roadblocks

One roadblock for me is coming home hungry at the end of a busy workday.  I will graze on anything I can get my hands on. That’s a big healthy eating roadblock. So I keep junk food out of my cupboards and pack a healthy snack with my lunch.  I eat it right before I head home. That can usually get me through until dinner is cooked. Think of a roadblock you might have to your goal and think ahead to be able to crush it!

Let people you love know what your are doing and ask for help when you need it

Talk to the people in your life about your goals and how you are trying to make healthy changes that last. The more people that know, the harder it will be for you to quit. Ask for help from those that support you in your efforts.  Most will be happy to lend a hand.

 

Healthy Lifestyle; Cycling in PA

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

This past weekend, hubby and I went to Pittsburgh and rode the Steel City portion of the Great Allegheny Passage with my daughter Marla and her husband Tony. If you want some exercise and fun on a weekend, Rails to Trails is a great healthy lifestyle choice.

Marla and Tony rented bikes at Waterfront Bike Rental. We brought our bikes from home and Ian at the bike rental place was kind enough to pump up our tires to the correct pressure.

 

Cycling is a healthy way to see the city
View from the GAP Steel city Rails to Trails

The Great Allegheny Passage is a healthy way to see Pittsburgh!

This part of the trail is unique in that you are riding on a wooded trail. Rabbits and squirrels are peeking out from either side of the bike lane, but if you look left, you see the city in all it’s steel glory. Railroads run along beside the trail at some points and a remaining steel mill with fire belching from a pipe is visible in the clearing. You can also spot the back of Kennywood Park at one point. It’s truly a look at Pittsburgh from a totally different perspective. Of course you can’t do anything in Pittsburgh without crossing some bridges. We rode over train yards on bridges and over the Monongahela river.

healthy living
View of the city and steel mill from the trail

We started at Waterfront and rode to McKeesport which is 8 miles away. About 6 miles in, it started to rain. This was almost an hour before the forecast predicted. Since we were going to get wet either way, we elected to continue our ride to the end and then turn around to go back.

Healthy way to cross a bridge
You can’t cycle in Pittsburgh without crossing a bridge!

We almost made it to the end of the 8 mile mark when we heard thunder in the distance. At 7 3/4 miles, we decide to head back. Even though we were pretty squishy and sandy at the end of our ride, we all had fun and we’ll definitely do it again! Marla and Tony are thinking of getting their own bikes soon. There may be a lot more Pittsburgh rides in our future. Yay!

A healthy way to watch trains
View from the train bridge

If you go…

Take your camera
Expect a few hills (made by the train bridges)
Prepare for rain (we didn’t!)

What are your favorite healthy ways to see a new place?  Leave a comment below.

 

Healthy fun day
Drowned rats, but we had fun!

Rails to Trails Ride in Poe Paddy State Park

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!


My hubby and I have been spending a lot of time riding our hybrid bikes since we purchased them for each other for Christmas. We are exploring places we’ve never even heard of before. Did you know there is a Rails to Trails in Poe Paddy State Park? This is a place where I picnicked and camped as a child. Many years ago, there was a railroad that hauled lumber out of this wooded area. A whole lumbering community of about 400 grew up around this railroad.

This is a short Rails to Trails of a little over 3 miles. It’s a little hard to find, but it’s worth the drive and the search. It’s kind of a hidden gem if you like hiking or recreational biking.

Poe Paddy is a small state park in Centre County. It’s a primitive campsite for tents and small campers. Park in the Big Poe parking lot and walk or bike up through the camping area. You’ll need to ride on the camp road for about a half a mile. You’ll then take a hard right onto the actual trail.

The trail is gravel and packed earth. It’s not as smooth as some of the larger trails we have biked on, but it’ truly a path through the Pennsylvania mountains. Pens Creek, where some of the best fly fishing in the country happens in the Spring, meanders below the trail.


A special feature on this trail is the tunnel that was blasted right through the mountain. It has had extensive work done to it. The last time my husband had seen it, it was falling down and caved in. We met a man who was camping nearby who told us the renovation was a two million dollar operation. If you ride the trail, make sure you bring some kind of flashlight. The tunnel is not lighted and even though it’s short, it gets pretty dark in there! Also make sure you talk or sing while inside it. The acoustics are great!


The trail would be just the right length for a hike. Since it was a pretty short bike ride, we explored a little bit and found another short trail where we rode until we got to a washed out bridged over Penns Creek. We also rode through the campsites to take a look around.

To round out the day, we drove the four miles to Poe Valley State Park, This is a bigger state park complete with a bathhouse, lake, picnic and camping areas as well as a concession stand. We took a short walk to the breast of the dam and had lunch at the concession stand, then headed home. It was a great day to get out into the woods, explore a new Rails to Trails (for us) and get a little fresh air and exercise.


If you go..
Take some sort of flash light
Use some bug spray
Take pictures
Talk and sing in the tunnel

Fitness Trackers: Do You Need One?

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Welcome to my guest blogger, Caroline!

Do You Really Need A Fitness Tracker?

In a world where we’re surrounded by technology, it’s easy to think updating to the most high-tech equipment will automatically make your life better. And in the world of health and fitness, it’s no different. I remember when I first saw someone jogging with their phone attached to their arm. It confused me, yet it piqued my interest.

As someone who has always enjoyed adding technology to my life, I’ve used quite a few different fitness trackers over the years. Some of you have likely seen others get results using these devices, leading you to ask if you should get one too. While everyone will have their own personal needs, these devices are, generally speaking, a worthwhile investment. Before heading out and buying one, though, here are a few things to consider:

What are your goals?

When we begin our journeys into becoming fitter, we often set ourselves goals. These can be weight goals or ability targets. No matter what they are, they give us something to aim towards. Without these ambitions, it can be difficult to summon the enthusiasm and motivation needed to workout and diet effectively.

A fitness tracker may not be necessary if you plan on fulfilling a light exercise schedule, though. For example, doing an hour of aerobics on a daily basis. However, if you’re training for an upcoming sporting event, say a marathon, the in-depth statistics you can get from a fitness tracker might be more useful to you.

Most fitness trackers are set up to track your weight, heart rate, calorie burn and various other metrics, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. For example, running apps can track how you perform on gradients, helping you learn useful information so that you can alter your activity to improve in certain areas of your training.

If you have specific goals to accomplish or if you’re interested in giving yourself an extra boost of motivation, fitness trackers are excellent solutions that will help you modify your workout to make it more effective for you.

Are they worth the money?

While fitness trackers are a lot cheaper than personal trainers, they aren’t the only way to track your progress. For example, depending on your fitness goals, you might be able to get away with using a journal. Running times or weights can be quickly jotted down, and this information will help you review your progress over time.

I suppose it comes down to personal preference, budget and your ambitions with fitness. If you’re interested in bringing your fitness routine beyond just a casual pastime but don’t feel like hiring a trainer, a fitness tracker can be a great middle ground. It gives you specific metrics to track. You can do your own research into what these mean and how to improve, turning your fitness routine into an opportunity for personal growth.

Which one is best?

There are many trackers on the market. My favorite is the popular wearable device known as the FitBit. It tracks my heart rate and calorie burn, and it also tells me when I’m in the “fat burning” zone. This data is accessible after workouts via the FitBit app—the device sends information to the app installed on your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

I prefer the interface of the app and functionality it gives, which is why the FitBit is my tracker of choice. However, there are plenty of apps you can use for all kinds of workouts without the need for a wearable device. You can simply use your smartphone and carry it with you while working out. It’s worth mentioning, though, that a lot of these apps require personal information for data tracking, so I always use a secure connection when running them since I mostly use them in public areas.

Smartphone fitness apps can track your activity in numerous ways. For example, “Argus” tracks your daily calorie intake as well as how much exercise you get throughout the day. If you enjoy jogging, “FitRadio” might be an option for you, as it plays continuous music with a steady beat that helps motivate you to continue exercising. FitRadio also tracks time and route, making it an all-in-one fitness motivator and tracker.

Fitness trackers are excellent tools to help you maximize your efforts and get more out of your workouts. For some, they can be just what’s needed to take your health and fitness to new levels. But for others, they might be excessive, as they don’t fit in with your fitness goals. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide which group you’re in, and if you decide to get one, I’m sure you’ll love it and the results it helps you achieve.

Author Bio: Caroline is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for fitness. She enjoys spreading awareness of technological solutions that can help people reach their fitness goals in an easier fashion.

How to Keep Exercising with a Foot Injury

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

 

Got a foot injury? Think you have to quit working out and sit around getting flabby? You don’t! After you check and make sure it’s okay with your doctor, here’s several steps you can try.

Cushioning! Make sure the surface you are using for your workout has some give and cushion. I bought some interlocking mats that I set up in my home gym. No working out on concrete for me. I also bought some cushiony inserts for my sneakers. I have Dr. Scholl’s inserts for plantar fasciaitis. The two together work wonders.

Any cardio you do should be low impact. That means no jumping! Modify current workouts or find special low impact cardio workouts. When I am having foot trouble, I use low impact Zumba or TurboFire. Google them!

Change your exercises to get you off your foot when you can. Change walking or running to biking or swimming. A variety of weight exercises can be done from your knees or a chair instead of your feet.

Cut out exercises that irritate your injury. My foot injury could not tolerate the stationary bike, so out it went until the injury was healed.

Incorporate more rest days into your routine until the injury heals.

Here’s a sample workout schedule I am using to rehab a bout of Plantar fasciaitis:

Monday Low impact TurboFire
Tuesday Upper body weightlifting
Wednesday PiYo Core with modifications
Thursday Upper body weightlifting
Friday Low impact TurboFire
Saturday Choice of what I can tolerate or rest day
Sunday Rest day

Hope this helps YOU if you are struggling with a foot or ankle injury.

Check out the Facebook live video for a few more details:

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Flexibility Training for a Healthy Lifestyle

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Strength training, check! Cardio? You bet! Core exercises.. okay. Flexibility training, well…. Here’s why you should make sure you add flexibility training for a healthy lifestyle.

Health benefits of flexibility

  • Prevents injury. Your joints have more range of motion if you are more flexible. If you twist your ankle or fall of the curb, being more flexible can keep you from a long recovery.
  • Experience less back and hip pain, because your glutes, hamstrings, quads and IT bands will be more pliable.
  • Your shoulders and neck won’t hurt so much because your pecs and trapezius muscles will be stretched out.
  • Experience the benefits of stress relief through the deep breathing techniques of flexibility training.
  • Have better posture because flexibility training will keep your chest and hips opened up.

So don’t ignore flexibility training. Your body will thank you!

How to include flexibility training

  • Add it as a warm-up or cool down
  • Plug it in on the weekends as a way to relax
  • Use it when you run short on time for your regular workout
  • Substitute flexibility training on days you are experiencing sore muscles or illness

Here’s some great beginner yoga videos by Brett Larkin that can get you on the right track to a more flexible you.

 

Modify Any Workout

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Do you feel like you are too old, too heavy, too out of shape too whatever to do certain workouts? It’s not true! We often realize that you can modify a weight workout by lifting lighter weights or using fitness bands. If you are doing cardio, you don’t jump around. You do low impact.

If you are doing an old school Bodyweight workout you can modify any exercise to your fitness level. How? Well I’m here (in YouTube form) to show you how!

I’ll show you five basic exercises here and how to modify them. These five are used in a ton of bodyweight exercise routines. You can modify many “extreme” workouts to your own fitness level.

1. The jumping jack. This is a staple of many workouts. Here’s how you can adapt at several different levels

2. Crunches Get your abs in shape or step at a time

3. Squats. This exercise is so good for revving your metabolism. Start at level 1 and work your way up!

4. Push ups. You may think your push up days are over but think again using these many progressions

5. Burpees A great total body exercise that can be daunting at it’s highest level for some people. Never fear! You can start with an easier version and work your way up.

Charity Miles App

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!
Are you looking for some motivation to get moving? Do you wish you had more money to donate to your favorite charity? Wish no more! Download the Charity Miles app.

I discovered this app from getting one of those articles in your Facebook timeline that the algorithm thinks you might be interested in. It was an article on different ways to get motivated to exercise. I do a lot of walking and now biking since Awesome Hubby and I got each other good bicycles for Christmas. I thought it would be a good way to give back while I stay in shape.

The good stuff: This app is free. It is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson and they donate the money. You designate the charity from a list of many and do the walking, running or biking. Each time you get moving you can pick a different charity. It’s easy to get signed up and get started. All you need to do is have your phone with you while you are working out. You and your friends can also form a group on the app and keep each other motivated.

The “eh” stuff: If you want to keep track of your miles, steps etc. for the sake of your fitness tracker, don’t use this. You’re going to need a back-up. It does not sinc with Fitbit, Apple Watch etc. I found the GPS tracker to be pretty accurate, but if you use it in pedometer mode it’s not so hot. To use the GPS it needs to be set to “always” in your phone settings. That can be a huge suck on your battery and data. I switch it to “always” only if I’m taking a bike ride or walking outdoors. I don’t use it in my everyday walking at work because I don’t want to wear or carry my phone all day long. If it would sinc with my Fitbit, I would earn my charity a lot more money. Maybe someday in the not so far off future, they will update so you can sinc with your fav fitness tracker. Hope so! It will show you how much money the your charity has made in total, but the app no longer shows how much money your personal run, walk or bike has contributed. I would be even more motivated if I could see that each time.

The bottom line is, I figure since I’m out there busting my butt anyway, someone else can benefit from my effort!

Here’s the easy steps to get started:

1. Download the app
2. Do the user name and password thing
3. Make yourself a profile


4. Pick your charity (you can pick a different on each time your work out).


5. PIck your activity


6. Enable your GPS or the pedometer (If you choose “no, not right now” you get the pedometer option.

Your all set to get started raising money for your charity!

3 Days, No Added Sugar

 

Whenever you’ve had a stretch of time where you feel “sugared out”, a great way to get back on track is to plan 3 days of no added sugar in a row. After a 3 day break from added sugar, your body will not crave it (it’s addictive, but that’s a whole other post) and it will be much easier to stay away from excess amounts of it. “What is she talking about?”, you may ask. And what is the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?

Natural sugar is the kind of sugar that occurs naturally in foods, such as the sugar in fruits and veggies or the ones in dairy products. Added sugar is processed sugar the manufacturer adds to packaged and processed foods.

The obvious added sugars are found in sugary treats like donuts, cakes and cookies. But did you know there are added sugars in almost all processed and packaged foods to up their flavor appeal? Here’s a list of foods that include added sugar that you may not be aware of:

Canned or jarred pasta sauce
Ketchup and other similar condiments
Breads (even whole wheat), rolls and other bread based products
Gluten free packaged snacks
Crackers
Canned soup
Salad dressing
Snack bars
Energy drinks (they are chock full of sugar)
Take-out food
Almost all canned food
Sweetened yogurt (this includes fruit on the bottom)
Refined (white) flour and products made with refined flour
Soda
Juice
Alcohol

(Thank you to ElizabethRider.com for this list)

So…now you know what to stay away from. What should I eat? How should I plan for the three days?

  • First, pick three days in a row where eating 0 added sugar would be the easiest. For me, this is three workdays in a row, i.e. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Weekends are out because an unexpected get-together with friends or family can quickly derail all my best laid plans. I also have much more control of what I will eat for lunch because I pack it ahead of time. Can’t eat what I didn’t bring!
  • Second, throw out or at least make it extra hard to get to any “added sugar” snacks in your home.
  • Third, get online and search for low sugar or no sugar breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. You’ll need at least three of each meal idea and nine snack ideas. If you’re a Pinterest person, make yourself a board titled “no sugar meals” and pin your favorites.
  • Fourth, make a grocery list that includes ingredients for your nine meals and nine snacks you have planned out. Also stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, raw nuts etc. in case you need a little extra something.
  • Fifth, drink plenty of water during these three days. You should have at least 64 ounces of water each day. My suggestion is to drink ONLY water. Three days is not that long to go without some other type of drink. If you have to have coffee, drink it black and no sweetener in your tea. Okay, Stevia if you have to, but nothing else!
  • Once you are done with your 3 days with no added sugar, keep track of your grams of sugar on food labels. Men should have no more than 37.5 grams and women should have no more than 25 grams daily. Will you stay under every day? Probably not, but the more days you can hit that goal, the better you will feel!

I usually do a 3 days, no added sugar challenge right after New Years Day. If you would like to join me this year go to my Facebook page, Sue Kauffman Fitness and like the page. I’ll be posting links to resources you can use and we will be supporting each other during the three days.

Want more personalized help living the healthy lifestyle? Fill out this application and I will be in touch!