Stay Fit on Vacation-Fit Star Workout

The fun continues as we start our second week at South Bethany Beach Delaware. Today hubby Bob and I started our day with a Fit Star workout. If you haven’t heard of Fit Star it is a Fitness app you can use on your phone, iPad, computer or other devices. It gives you access to so many workouts. It is hosted by former NFL player Tony Gonzalez. We did a 20 minute body weight workout. I had never done it before and I really liked it.

We hung out and waited for our daughter Marla and her fiance Tony to arrive. After we got them settled in, we headed for the beach. Now we have a house full of younger generation and they are not all into working out in the traditional sense, but they do like to be active on the beach.

Today it was paddle ball…


…and for some reason Dan and Nate like to dig big holes in the sand!

Here’s the video..

Stay tuned for more adventures, brought to you by #TravelFit2014

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

How to Stay Fit on Vacation

Recently I was invited by Jennifer Whitehair (she promotes vacationing in Las Vegas and it sounds like there is tons to do there besides gambling and going to see shows on the strip) to blog about staying fit on vacation. It’s a part of #TravelFit2014. She contacted me right before I was headed to South Bethany Beach Delaware.

We have been going to Sunset Beach, NC (and loved it) for years. This year all of our young adult kids have jobs that don’t mesh too well with traveling 12 hours away so we decided to bring the party North.

This is a perfect time for me to explore what kinds of fun things I can do to stay in shape while I enjoy the shores of South Bethany for two weeks.

June 15 was our first full day here. I decided to try some Yoga on the beach. I have my P90X Yoga X pretty well memorized so I just walked down the beach access and gave it a shot. It was great gazing at the ocean while doing my sun salutations. I felt very relaxed after about an hour doing Yoga in the wind and salt air. Sure beats my basement home gym!


Today my sister and I took a two mile bike ride up highway 1 to Bethany Beach. There is a bike path that runs parallel to the road. We were able to park the bikes and walk around, check out the shops and restaurants, and walk the boardwalk a bit. It was a beautiful day for it! On the way back DelDot had a bike safety station and installed free lights on our bikes. Thanks 🙂

When we got back to the beach house, I decided to use my 12 Minute Athlete app on my smartphone to get some resistance exercise. This app is great for traveling and it only costs about a dollar so the price is right. You just put in how long you want to work out (12 or 16 minutes) and what equipment you have and it creates a workout for you. If you don’t like it, you just shake it and it creates another one. Since it didn’t have resistance bands as an option for equipment, I had it create a bodyweight workout and substituted 2 band exercises for two bodyweight exercises. I just went under the beach house in the shade. Who needs to spend extra money to go to the gym?

Take a Hike in Central PA

It’s finally summer after a brutal winter.  Everyone is ready to get outside.  If you have been treading on the treadmill or hiking up the stair climber all winter, you may be ready to get outside and put those muscles to use on a hike in the great Central PA outdoors.

Memorial Day weekend my friend Steph and her hubby took a hike in Ricketts Glen State Park. It was a beautiful weekend and she got some great pictures she shared with me.

Steph and hubby in Rickett's Glen
Steph and hubby in Rickett’s Glen

If you’re not sure where to hike or how to get started, check out PA Hikes. It has information on 28 different hiking trails, and a link to hiking clubs, maps books and trail guides.  The trails are divided out into backpacking trails and day hike trails.  Each trail has a narrative written by a hiker who has completed the trail.

If you decide to do more than a day hike, you will probably want to get in hiking shape. Here’s a four week workout plan to get ready to do a backpacking trip. You could even turn your pre-hike workout into a fitness challenge!  Click here to get point tracking sheets and directions to get started.

 

A Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Hubby and I recently went on a trip to Key West (ahhh!) It was the middle of January. The winter where we live was HARSH this year.  We didn’t want to spend any time inside if we could help it.  I designed this workout to do outside in the courtyard of our hotel.  It overlooked the ocean (again ahh!). This one required no equipment and you can literally do it anywhere.  Take it with you on your next vacation, or just to your backyard. Comment below and let me know where you did the anywhere workout!

If you like this workout you might also like the “Get Consistent Challenge”.  Click here to get everything you need to run your own challenge with your friends.

PS:  This is my very first try at making an infographic and my link doesn’t work.  Here’s the video link if you need it.

anywhereworkoutinfogr



You Have Options If You Suffer Chronic Pain

The FDA recently announced that it will approve a new painkiller that is 10 times more potent than Oxycontin.  Really?  Is that what we need FDA? In a country where deaths from prescription pain killers rose from 4,000 in 1999 to 15,000 in 2008? Should we really drugsusamake it even easier for people suffering from chronic pain to add a debilitating addiction to their list of problems?

If you suffer from chronic pain, you need to know that you have several alternate options to manage pain that don’t involve addictive drugs.  Keep in mind, there is a time and place for strong drugs to manage pain, but pain is a symptom of a bigger problem. Painkillers simply mask the symptoms.  This is far from a comprehensive list, but if you haven’t tried some of these alternative methods of pain management do some research. Try one in place of, or in conjunction with a more traditional treatment plan.

  • Yoga has been shown to be effective in treating low back pain. Yoga can strengthen weak muscles, increase flexibility and increase oxygenation to body tissues.
  • Meditation helps patients face the pain and then release it.  Meditation can then help the patient take the focus off the pain and shift focus to something more pleasant.
  • Accupuncture is somewhat of a mystery to Western medicine.  It works for dental pain after surgery, menstrual cramps and pain caused by fibromyalgia.
  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) can train your brain to think differently about chronic pain. Negative thoughts about pain can cause stress and anxiety which actually increases the pain. CBT helps to decrease it.

Click here for more resources on alternative treatments for pain.

How do you deal with pain when you experience it?  Do you have any tips to share? Comment below!

Unusual Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

If your are someone who needs to keep your blood pressure in check, here are two unusual ways to help lower your numbers.

1.  Volunteer! You can decrease your risk of hypertension by up to 40% by volunteering for a cause about which you feel strongly. Studies showed that older adults who volunteered in ANY type of activity for at least 200 hours per year decreased the risk of hypertension.

Why? Older adults have fewer chances for social interaction because of their life circumstances. Volunteering within the community provides them with social connections they may not otherwise have.  The more connected we are to each other the healthier we stay.  Who would have thought that doing good for others would be so good for your health?

2. Practice Yoga  Studies showed that practicing yoga at least three times per week lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of three points.

Why? No specifics were given in the study, but breath work and a focusing of the mind were some possible reasons why yoga affected blood pressure in this way.

 

Pinterest No Equipment At Home Workouts

Here’s my daughter’s first in a weekly series of blog posts.  Enjoy!

Marla’s Fitness Corner – Week of June 17

Last week Sue (my Mom!) posted that I would be writing a weekly blog about doing a Couch to 5k Program. It’s true that I found a free Couch to 5k Trainer app in the Apple app store. I did the first few days of the program and really enjoyed it, but I’ve realized I’m not going to be able to run seriously until I get a pair of good running sneakers (very important everyone! Don’t run in a bad pair of sneakers. It’s a good way to hurt yourself). I’m planning on going to True Runner, a store specifically for runners, to get fitted for the right pair of sneakers in the next week or two, and then I will begin blogging about the awesome Couch to 5k program.

In the meantime though, I thought I’d blog about another great way I like to keep fit – Pinterest Workouts! If you’ve never been on Pinterest, you’re missing out. It’s a social media site based around “pinning” photos that link back to all kinds of cool websites. You can pin recipes, outfits you like, house decorating ideas, pretty much anything you can think of! My favorite thing to pin though is different workouts that you can do at home with minimal equipment or no workout equipment at all. You can find workouts to work your whole body or to focus on a specific problem area.

Let me give you an example. Lately I’ve been feeling a little flabby in the love handle region. So I found a workout on Pinterest with exercises that focus on burning away your love handles.  Here is the workout:

It may not look like a lot, but I was sweating bullets! I chose to repeat the workout twice, but you can choose to do a Pinterest workout however many times you want. Another thing I like to do is find two short workouts for the day and do them together. Tonight I did the ‘Lose Your Love Handles Workout’ as well as this, a workout called “I love My Arms”:

The only equipment that you need for this workout is some sort of weight for the bicep curls, but if you can’t find one, you can just skip that step! That’s what I love about Pinterest workouts, you can take parts of different workouts and customize them to fit what you want to do for yourself.

You can see all of my workouts pinned to my Fitness board on Pinterest here: http://pinterest.com/marlak91/fitness-and-motivation/

Use these workouts to start your Pinterest workout regimen, or else create your own Fitness board on Pinterest!

Working out is great, but you have to eat smart too.  You can get 7 quick, healthy, kitchen tested recipes here.

 

Fitness for Health-Conscious Travelers

Welcome Mike Manning, guest poster!  Mike has written some great tips for those of us who are travelling and don’t want to throw our exercise routine out the (airplane) window. Lame joke, I know. He recommends doing some research to plan ahead for your workouts. The internet can make it easy and fun to plan your next trip with fitness in mind.

 

Fitness for Health-Conscious Travelers

People travel for many different reasons and in several different ways. Whether your travels are for business or pleasure, you may find that the stress of changing schedules and unfamiliar surroundings make getting enough exercise difficult. Even if you exercise regularly at home, staying fit during your travels requires a little planning and awareness.

Learn about your destination before you leave. You might be able to select your own accommodations, and if so, you can book at a hotel that provides fitness amenities that suit your lifestyle. On my most recent trip to California, I researched my hotel beforehand. I found a list of the top San Francisco hotels on a travel review site. I was able to choose a hotel based on amenities. I chose a hotel that had a 24-hour fitness facility so that I could get a workout in at any time of day.

In other circumstances, you might be required to stay at facilities reserved by your company or another party. Either way, learning about the area will help. If you belong to a fitness organization, find out if a nearby gym is available for you to use during your stay. If you enjoy running or walking, learn about local trails or tracks that you might be able to use. Some hotels actually have such amenities on their property for the use of guests.

During your flight or drive to your destination, be sure to stretch and do a few simple exercises in you chair. This will help eliminate stiffness; pain and swelling that can be associated with sitting in a cramped space for extended periods of time.

During layovers or breaks, take time to walk around. Some airports now provide Zen rooms or walking paths for travelers to use.

At your hotel, locate the fitness facilities and learn about amenities such as in-room yoga or aerobic videos that you can use. Before engaging in any activities, take the time to go to your room and stretch or move through a few basic yoga poses to become centered in your new surroundings.

Throughout your stay, be realistic about your fitness goals. You probably won’t be able to keep up the exercise regime that you do at home, but you will be able to spend some time exercising each day. If possible, get up a little early to spend time running, doing yoga or participating in a fitness class at the hotel’s fitness center. If you have a demanding schedule, take advantage of breaks to get your blood flowing. Even five minutes is long enough to stretch and do a few crunches, pushups or leg lifts in a restroom or other secluded area.

 

 

Fitness Challenge Idea: Inspired by the Surgeon General

 

 

 

 

 

My facebook fitness group is gearing up for summer with a challenge inspired by the Surgeon General.  The SG’s recommendations for adult exercise calls for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week OR 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week OR a combination of the two. Included in this time should be at least 3 cardio , at least two resistance and at least 1 flexibility workout each week.

We are keeping track of our workouts and posting them to our facebook group wall. I am keeping a running total of the minutes per week and the type of workouts per week.  If a group member meets the Surgeon General’s recommendation for the week, they win a badge.  I post the badge on the wall and list all the group names who won for the week. Our  first badge was the “Love Your Heart” badge.

Next I choose a winner’s name at random and they get to give us all a little mini challenge for the next week. It can be anything as long as it’s healthy!  This week’s mini challenge is to wear sunscreen when we are outside.  It’s a good one for me since I have been taking my PE classes outside.

My group also requested some help with what to do for flexibility.  I made them a 20 minute video of my favorite stretches and posted it to our wall.  Here it is so you can use it  if you like.

 

So far the group as a whole has been doing well.  Ten out of 16 members earned the first week’s badge, 14 out of 16 exercised 150 minutes or more, 15 out of 16 exercised 75 minutes or more.  Week one netted 57 cardio workouts, 34 resistance workouts and 20 flexibility workouts.

Would YOU like to try a fitness challenge with your group? Click here to get point tracking sheets and directions for the “Get Consistent Challenge”.

9 Weight Loss Tips for Regular Folks

 

 

 

 

Are you like Jared?  Did you go on an all Subway diet and lose a ton of weight?  Are you like the biggest loser contestants who spend weeks at “the ranch” with nasty personal trainers, medical supervision and all day exercise?  Maybe you have special food delivered to your door every day that is perfectly balanced in calories for scientific weight loss.  No?  Didn’t think so..  not me either.

I’m not even like the Beachbody success stories who pick a workout program and 90 days later have gone from fat and flabby to ripped.  Throughout my adult life, I have been about the same size  (give or take 10 to 15 pounds).  At certain times in my life, I find myself needing to lose a few pounds. I’m guessing maybe there are more people like me out there. I am never going to win one of those contests or be on TV because I have always tried to eat healthy, exercise and live a balanced life.

Before 2003

If you are one of those people (or would like to be one), I’ll share what I do to maintain my weight and lose it when I need to.  My rule of thumb is “take care of little problems before they become big problems.”

1.  Weigh yourself frequently.  You don’t have to be obsessive about it.  Pick one day each week and weigh yourself.  Have a ten pound window, five pounds below and five pounds above your ideal weight.  If your weight is outside the window on              either end, it’s time for you to get to work..

2.  I use Lose It to keep track of calories and exercise.  I try to keep calories in and calories out balanced.  It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

3.  I eat three meals a day and two or three snacks a day.  I eat very little bread, pasta, or wheat based foods.  I mainly eat lean meats along with fresh or frozen fruits and veggies.  I’m not a fanatic about “no wheat” or “no grain” in my diet, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

4.  You will hardly ever find me in McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Burger King or Starbucks.  You will seldom find me in the middle isles of the grocery store. Processed foods are not really foods to me.  They are full of all the things you should avoid.  You won’t find me buying lunch in the cafeteria of the school where I teach, but that’s another story…

5.  I almost always drink water.  I have a water bottle with me at work each day and I carry one to my workouts.  I will drink ice tea or hot tea. I can’t remember the last time I had a soda. If I want one (or a piece of cake, or a cookie etc., etc.) I will have it, but it’s a treat, not an everyday habit.

6.  I work out at least six days a week.  Two or three days of weight training and two or three days of cardio. On these days, I get my heart rate up and work up a good sweat. The other days are lighter workouts or “recreational” workouts.  These are things like yoga or stretching, a walk or a hike in the woods, a bike ride or ballroom dancing.  This is a habit and a regular part of every day.  If I am not feeling well, injured, or I am too busy to work out, I skip it, but it’s not ever an excuse to quit.  I just pick it up where I left off the next day.

7. I try to get a good night’s sleep every night.  I don’t always get the seven hours my body needs per night, but I try.  On weeknights I head to bed a 10:30 p.m. On the weekends I try to be there by 11:30 p.m.

After 2012

8.  I try to meditate at least once a week, read books of a religious or spiritual nature and try to stay centered mentally and spiritually.  I also try to balance work, workouts and fun time with family and friends. If one area gets out of  balance, it can throw the other areas out of balance as well.

9.  I am lucky that I don’t have to take any kinds of medications.  Because of this, I focus my energies on preventative medicine.  I eat good, nutritious food, I exercise regularly, I stay strong mentally, spiritually and socially, I see my chiropractor every four weeks and I get bloodwork, mammograms, colonoscopies and other preventative screenings.  Hopefully, I won’t have to start any long term medicines anytime soon!

There is no magic pill, there is no perfect diet or workout that brings you instant weight loss or instant health.  It’s small lifestyle changes added together and continued over time that will bring fitness that will last a lifetime.

Want to get started? Try at least one of the nine steps above, just one, over at least a four week period and see what happens.  Reply here and let me know how it goes!