Resolutions for the New Year

Welcome 2016! What have you resolved to do this year to be healthier and more fit? Many times we choose resolutions that are large and lofty and designed to fail. Have you been setting the same goals year after year only to become frustrated when you don't achieve them? We often set a goal that isn't doable because it involves such wide sweeping change that is overwhelming. A better solution is to start small, achieve success and then set an additional goal after you achieve the first. You can start with something doable such as walking twice a week. Achieve it and then add a third day. Then add a yoga or spinning class or short run to the goal and continue on from there. Another example would be to set a goal to eat 2 servings of vegetables a day. Achieve it and then up it to three, then four... Another doable goal would be to shut your phone, computer and all technology off for 20 minutes a day to mentally decompress.

Yoga is Healthy Mental Medicine!

In choosing our workouts, we often are pressed for time and choose the hardcore run, weight lifting, spinning, or some other heart pumping, muscle exerting activity that is good for our bodies. Sometimes, however, we need to choose something that is good for our bodies but also healthy for our mind. It is a myth that yoga is just ''breathing and stretching''. There are hundreds of forms of yoga, some more strenous, some more relaxing. Some are a more ''yang'' workout- challenging our muscles, breathing, stamina and flexibility, and some are more ''yin''- allowing our bodies to relax and stretch without pushing them, and allowing our minds to mentally relax.
 

Outdoor Exercise- Welcome Spring!

Now that Spring is finally here, time to shed those winter clothes and get outside and get moving! Remember, it is a myth that you can't get a good workout without going to the gym. Head out to your local park for walking/running trails, bike trails, or family recreation, such as a game of tag, basketball, softball, kickball- be creative! If you're looking for something hard core, try mixing in plyometrics (jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers on the curb) in your run or walk at regular intervals, such as every 15 minutes, every mile, or some visual cue, such as at every corner, every left turn... You can also add in walking lunges, side squats, push ups, dips on the curb or planks. Your body weight will provide all the resistance you need! So grab your sneakers and just walk out the door. You'll feel energized and invigorated by some much needed sunshine and a connection with nature.

Is it More Expensive to Eat Healthy?

Recent research has been released in the news stating that it costs an average of $1.50 more per person per day to eat healthy. This is attributed to the fact that unhealthy food is mostly processed, mass produced, and made convenient and less expensive. It is no surprise that the study has found this conclusion. Those of us in the wellness arena have always believed that fresh produce, lean cuts of meat, poultry, healthy fish, and whole grains and fiber (thus the perimeter of the grocery store) is often the most expensive area of the grocery store. There are a number of factors that drive this cost up, such as the quality, the perishability of the food, the potential for crop damage and waste, and the service and manpower attached, among others.  

Using Body Weight as Resistance

As fitness professionals, we often hear that peoople have trouble fitting exercise into their busy schedules. It is a common notion that a gym membership is necessary for one to get in shape or stay in shape. While a gym membership can be helpful and fun, achieving a healthy fitness level and maintaining it can be done without one. Some of the most challenging exercises to perform are those that involve using the body weight as resistance. A simple circuit can be developed of timed intervals, such as 30 seconds in which an individual performs push ups, crunches, squats, lunges, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, planks, dips on a chair or stair, or many other exercises that challenge you to use your own body weight. These can all be done in your home or hotel room and require minimal space. On a nice day, you can also go outside to your yard or a park and add some intervals of light jogs, sprints, side shuffles, hops or skips, or power walks.

Why Some Workplace Wellness Programs Work and Others Don't

A recent article in the American Journal of Health Promotion (September/October 2013, Vol. 28, No.1) discusses why many health promotion programs have been unsuccessful.
A quote by Editor in Chief, Michael P. O'Donnell, states: "We used to think that all we had to do was tell people about the risks of smoking, excess alcohol, and obesity, and the benefits of exercise, a nutritious diet, and stress management, run them through a health screening or health risk assessment (HRA) to help them learn about their personal situation, and they would use their intelligence and rational mind to turn their lives around. Programs based on these assumptions have failed for decades."
 

Rev Up Your Cardio with Pyramids!

Getting bored on the treadmill, bike or elliptical? Do some pyramids to make the time pass quicker and also to challenge your cardio fitness.
If you are on a piece of cardio equipment, try this challenge:
 
15 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
30 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
45 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
60 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
45 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
30 seconds race/fast pace
15 seconds slower pace
 
Then finish out your workout the way you normally would. The next time, do two rounds of pyramids, then three... See how many you can do and watch your fitness level soar!

Shorter Intense Workouts: More Effective or Just a Time Saver?

We increasingly hear more about the benefits of shorter, more intense workouts and less frequent exercise versus longer, more frequent workouts. Traditional exercise guidelines have suggested for many years a recommendation of 3-5 times per week of exercise for a minimum or 30 minutes per session, and preferably 60-90 minutes total per day.
More recently the research has suggested that high intensity intervals can be more effective than longer duration, lower intense workouts. In the past few months, however, articles have touted the benefit of minimalist workouts, such as 16-30 minutes total per week dispersed into quick intervals, such as 5-6 minutes per session of all out work to rest ratio of 30 second intervals, such as 30 second sprints repeated five or six times with brief rest intervals in between.

Functional Fitness in Corporate Settings

With the surge in functional fitness training over the past 5-8 years, many corporations are finding it more financially feasible to be able to offer fitness to it's employees through the use of fitness equipment that is more functional versus the standard one piece of equipment per body part. There are a number of options available, including the use of bands, bosu's, resistance balls, body bars, dumbbells, kettle bells, medicine balls, TRX straps, battling ropes, boxing bags, and the larger multi-station functional equipment pieces. Many of these pieces of equipment can save space as well as dollars in planning an on-site corporate fitness center. When coupled with the right staff, such as LSE Health and Wellness fitness trainers, who all have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a health and fitness related field and certifications from nationally recognized organizations, the options are limitless.

Health Care Dollars at Corporate Levels Continue to Rise Due to Lifestyle Behaviors- Corporations Need Corporate Wellness

 
A recent article was published last week in several newspapers across the country discussing the need for more corporate wellness programs. It's estimated that 50-75% of all dollars spent on health plan costs are due to lifestyle or behaviorally driven conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, stress and smoking. The ROI on wellness programs administered by experts in the field, such as LSE, is now estimated at $5.81 for every dollar spent.