Fitness for Father’s Day

The author and her dad

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads.  Being a Dad is an awesome and sometimes frightening responsibility.  You have younger human beings counting on you for food, shelter, love, support and guidance.  Being your best as a dad requires a certain level of fitness. Make a committment today to be fit and healthy for your family.

My dad was a smoker who quit after my sister cut up his cigarettes one night while she cried, “I don’t want you to die daddy, I don’t want you to die!” That was his moment to commit to a healthier lifesyle.  He’s 79 now.  He has survived open heart surgery and colon cancer.  He still goes hunting every Fall and Spring and hikes up and down the mountains of Central PA.  I have no doubt that he would have died long ago, had he not made that commitment that night with my sister crying hysterically at the kitchen table .

So dads, do whatever it takes and give yourself the gift of fitness.  Start today and keep with it daily.  Quit smoking, start walking, join a gym or get a good at-home fitness program.  Be a good role model in this age of obesity and stick around for lots of good times with the family you love!

Do You Know Your Nutritional Stats?

It’s a sad fact that only 9 percent of Americans know the number of calories and what nutrients they are supposed to eat in a day.  Most of us can’t even take an educated guess!  If we don’t know how many calories we need to eat in a day, we’re not even close to knowing what nutrients we need.  Your body is your vehicle and your food is your fuel.  If you put sugar water in your car’s gas tank what happens?  It won’t run.  If you put the wrong types of foods into your body what happens?  Your body can’t run efficiently. If you put too much fuel in your body, it can’t store it efficiently and you gain weight.

It’s time to educate yourself!  Here’s some sites to check out.  mypyramid.gov can help you figure it out.  Enter your height, weight, and activity level and this site will tell you how many calories you should be eating.  It will also give you a breakdown of what food groups your calories should be coming from.  I find this site overestimates the amount of calories I need. I’m pretty sure that if I ate the 2200 calories that My Pyramid says I should, I would gain weight.  I do better at about 1700 calories a day, but you have to remember, that the site does an estimate of average calories.

Another site I like to use is dailyburn.com. Daily Burn will calculate how many calories you should have similar to My Pyramid.  It goes a step further by asking you how much weight you want to lose (or gain depending upon your stats), and adjusts your daily calories accordingly.  Daily burn will also keep a running daily total of your calories and certain nutrients as you enter the foods you have eaten.

Both of these sites are FREE so now you have no excuses!  Figure out you nutritional stats.

Components of Fitness: Flexibility

Have you ever seen that gym rat who is so muscular, but can’t get anywhere near touching his toes?  Have you ever seen the runner who can do 10 miles with ease, but has an upper body that is nothing but skin and bones? In order to be truly physically fit, you have to be fit in all five components of fitness.  In this post, we’ll concentrate on flexibility.  Flexibility is the ability to move a body part through a full range of motion.  If you can do this, you are less likely to get injured.  As you age, flexibility becomes even more important.  It prevents lower back pain and can also prevent or relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

My very first job was the Program Director of a YMCA. At one point, I taught a class called, “The Y’s Way to a Healthy Back”  People were sent to this class by their doctors as a last resort before back surgery. Students were tested for hamstring flexibility with a toe touch and for abdominal strength with a modified curl up (easier than a  regular one).  No one could come anywhere close to touching their toes on the flexibility test and most could not even do one curl-up.  The class consisted of a progressive set of stretching exercises and abdominal strengthening moves.  It lasted for six weeks.  At the end of those six weeks, not one of those students needed to go through with back surgery.

Sometimes people avoid flexibility training because it doesn’t seem like “real” exercise. If they are pressed for time, the flexibility training is what they skip.  My hubby is one of those people who is guilty of this and it drives me crazy.  Tomorrow he is going to see his doctor for yet another shoulder injury. (pulling my hair out)

Do yourself a favor and concentrate on flexibility at least once a week during your workouts.  Also make sure you are stretching after each workout during the week. Tomorrow you’ll get a rundown of some of my favorite flexibility exercises.  What are your favorites?