Physical Funness for the Motion Starved

Fit more fun into your fitness while exploring the outdoors.


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Bloody buzzing pests!

Mosquito!

I’m kinda over it. Normally they don’t bother me so much but this year there seem to be more mosquitoes than usual. Maybe I’m just in their hood more often these days. Either way, they bug me when I’m trying to sleep and they bug my clients when I’m leading a workout. Enough already you nasty buzzers!

Rather than sitting around itching I decided to look into mosquito matters a little. Here’s what I found beyond the usual; they carry disease, live in puddles, come out at dusk and dawn and suck your blood:

  • There are 170 species of mosquito in North America. Each is very different from the other, and not one product/remedy will work on every species. Great!
  • Mosquitoes don’t see very well, but they zoom in on you like a heat-seeking missile. Mosquitoes locate you by scent, and heat. From 100 feet away mosquitoes can smell your scent (some of them love sweat!), especially the carbon dioxide (CO2) you exhale. Interesting! Guess that’s why they find you faster when you’re working out. Ugh!
  • Females live from 3-100 days, males 10-20 and they stay within one mile of their breeding sight. Only the females bite (suck your blood). Hum…
  • Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of water. Damn!
  • Apparently our only escape from the nasty buzzers is to stay away from even a drop of water and drown ourselves in insect repellent, natural or otherwise. Please don’t use smokers or sprays as those products kill other, beneficial critters as well as pollute the environment!

Since we’re talking mosquito the responsible thing would be to mention this:

Mosquitoes and West Nile – West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and spread by migrating birds. Disease in humans is rare, but its consequences can be severe. If you develop an illness with high fever, headache, stiff neck, confusion, or muscle weakness, see your doctor immediately.

Anyway, I learned a few things in this research but mostly I feel better for having done more than just be bugged about the buzzing and biting. I’m not a fan of repellents so I’ll just have to keep my eyes open for the pests and squish ‘em when I can. If you’re interested, here’s a link to some natural repellant ideas, I’ve tried a few but so far no luck, other than my squishing method…good to know they don’t’ see well, maybe I can sneak up on ’em…


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May workout challenge

photo-15The Plank Position is no doubt one of the best Ab Exercises. Not only does it strengthen the abdominal muscles, but also works all the core muscles – the back, hips, etc.

Here’s your challenge

1st — Get into plank position and hold form for as long as you can. Place a clock so you can easily see it, as you’ll need to keep track of your time. Repeat this task 3 times and take note of your longest time.

2nd — every other day for four weeks repeat this exercise. Your goal is to stay in position longer and longer with each effort. By the end of the four weeks you should have tripled your longest time.

Plank Pose Basics — Start by lying face down on the ground or use an exercise mat. Place your hands or your elbows/forearms underneath your chest. Hands/elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Prop yourself up to form a bridge using your toes. Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground. Hold this position focusing on tightening your abs by drawing your belly button to your spine. Hold until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge.

Beware of Cheating —  Remember to not let your hips and back sag. This exercise will only be effective if you work to maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your feet. You might want to start in front of a mirror to learn the technique.

If you have any questions please ask. I look forward to hearing how you do.

Namaste…


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Almost too easy!

Magic Fruit

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I trust you’ll be getting outside and doing something exciting this weekend.

I thought I’d share a few simple weight loss tools I learned this week hoping to send you off for the weekend on the right foot.

  • Surely you remember that apples are full fiber (among other wonderful things). Due to this fact, research has shown that if you eat an apple every day before lunch, on an average you’ll eat 187 fewer calories at lunch, generating a loss of five pounds of weight per year. “Dieting” doesn’t get any easier than that!
  • Normally I don’t drink juice because it’s full of sugar, I learned (seems so obvious now) if you dilute your juice with half seltzer water to cut sugar and calories, you could lose 13 pounds in a year! Yow! You juice drinkers take heed!
  • You know you need to exercise, but did you know that if you workout just (fast walking counts) three times per week for just 30 minutes at a time you can lose 13 pounds a year. Imagine what you could do with a little more effort.

Enjoy your weekend, make it extraordinary!


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Does your core measure up? Time to test, or retest!

Flying Baby Pose

This is Lucia. Lucia’s not at the point yet where she’s worried about growing a Muffin Top, but very soon she’ll be taking her first steps and given that she’s already working on a strong core, I see great athletic promise in her future.

In case you’ve forgotten, “core strength” refers to the muscles of your abs and back and their ability to support your spine, keep your body stable and balanced. A strong core basically supports every physical movement you make. It’s the body’s center of power, the stronger you’re core, the easier your life will be. This means, riding your bike, running, picking up your kid, a watermelon, surviving that killer boot camp class or simply getting out of bed.

Wondering how your core measures up? I was, so I found a test for us to take. The senior athletics coach with the United Kingdom’s National Governing body for Track and Field developed it. It’s a good one! Give it a try it only takes 3 minutes. If you fail, there’ll be a link at the bottom of this post where you can find core strengthening exercises.

The Core Muscle Strength & Stability Test
The objective of this evaluation is to monitor the development and improvements of core strength.

To prepare for the assessment you will need:
Flat surface
Mat
Watch or clock with second counter

Conducting the Test
Position the watch or clock where you can easily see it

Start in the Plank Position (elbows on the ground)
Hold for 60 seconds

Lift your right arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your right arm to the ground and lift the left arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your left arm to the ground and lift the right leg off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return your right leg to the ground and lift the left leg off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Lift your left leg and right arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return you left leg and right arm to the ground

Lift your right leg and left arm off the ground
Hold for 15 seconds

Return to the Plank Position (elbows on the ground)
Hold this position for 30 seconds

Results
Good Core Strength – If you can complete the test fully, you have good core strength.

Poor Core Strength – If you cannot complete the test fully, your core strength needs improvement. If you are unable to complete the test practice the routine three or four times each week until you improve. By comparing your results over time, you will note improvements or declines in core strength.

I hope you’ll try the test. It certainly couldn’t hurt to know where you stand. If you want to work on your core check out this site for a really comprehensive list of core exercises you can do anywhere.

Go get ‘em…


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The Season of Eating is now in session (Navigation Tip #1)

Sweating it out

How did you folks manage over Thanksgiving? I must admit, I ate more than I should have, but I wasn’t totally out of control. I did however let my exercise regiment go to complete shit.

As I was driving home from my holiday away I spent half of the 3.5 hour drive stressing about how much of a slug I had become over the past 4 days. Then my brain kicked in and reminded me that it’s okay to slack off once in a while. Give your body and brain a break. You’ve got to think of this, “slacker time” is recovery time. Like when you train for an event. You can’t work hard or be perfect all the time. The key however is not to beat yourself up and to get back on the program post-haste. You all know that. Right?

As I drove I realized that the first thing I needed to do was to get rid of the excess water that had hitched a ride in my body from all the extra carbs I’d mowed down. Remember, carbohydrates in the body hold water. When you cut them out of your diet, your body will naturally lose water, which is why those low carb diets are so popular. On the other side of the coin, when you drastically increase your carb intake with stuffing, two kinds of taters, rolls, pie, etc, you puff up like a balloon and feel like a stiff cow. You know the feeling?

So, I’ve come up with Step One, of The Season of Eating Navagation Plan – De Puffing, aka, ridding the body of extra water and toxins brought on by a few days of cheer. (Take notes, you may need this again in a few weeks!)

  • Drink lots of water — I know it sounds wrong but water flushes the body of all the excess water and toxins. If you don’t eat a bunch more carbs, the fresh water will flush everything out.
  • Get your sweat on — This week, start ramping up your activity level. I’m not suggesting you attempt a half marathon. I am asking you to SWEAT! Do it any way you can. Taking a steam at the spa will even help. As much as I hate it, I went to a Bikram yoga class last night and I’ve committed to another 4 classes this week (Gawd, help me!) Go for a walk, but walk up hill! SWEAT your booty off (literally)!
  • Stretch — When you stretch you stretch your insides. This allows all the stuff in your intestines to get out. Think about it. All those nooks and crannies need a little help sometimes. Best thing is get yourself to a yoga class at least once a week but three times would be impressive and cleansing!
  • Clean up your diet — You know the drill. If you want to clear your system of toxins, water and nasty stuff you need to eat clean. That means lots of fresh, organic fruits, veggies and non-processed foods. Do the best you can; I know it’s hard! An easy way to eat clean is to “juice.” While I am not into juicing, it does help to clean you out and feel spry again. I’ll share some info on juicing with you Wednesday. I need to give it a try myself before I pass on. It could be crap.

There you go. An easy, effective start. Now all you have to do it is drink up and sweat it all out.

Stay tuned for a full month of tips on how to safely navigate The Season of Eating…


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Easy burning!

The cold & laughter, a good combo

Yes, apparently fidgeting can help you burn up to 350 calories a day. This, according to research done by the Mayo Clinic. Think about it, have you ever seen a fat hyper person? I can’t say that I have but maybe they exist.

Since I find fidgeting annoying I’ve found a few other ways to burn extra calories you may not have considered.

Laughing – 15 minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories. If you laugh for 15 minutes a day you could lose 4 pounds in a year. How easy is that?

Stand Up – Standing up burns 50% more calories than sitting down. So, by standing while talking on the phone, working at your computer or reading the paper, a 155-pound person can burn as many as 50 more calories per hour. Pace while you talk and you can burn another 35 to 40 calories per hour.

The cold is your friend – You burn more calories when it’s cold. Not only does your body have to work harder to warm itself, in cold weather we tend to wear heavy clothing. The more weight you carry around the harder you body has to work, hence the additional calorie expenditure. So bundle up and go for a walk, run, ride, in the cold air. Research claims you’ll burn up to 7% more calories.

So, by my calculations if I were to go for an hour walk in the cold with a funny friend I could burn an additional 173 calories. Hummmm…


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Enough already! Take care of your feet!

Why are you so mean to me?

I am completely baffled by people who don’t take care of their feet. I’m not talking about the folks who walk around with monster-long toenails or filthy-dirty feet (although that’s nasty). I’m talking about those of you who don’t take proper care of your overall foot health. You don’t wear proper athletic footwear and you let the muscles in your feet stiffen so badly that it hurts to walk. And then you complain that your feet hurt. ‘sup with that?

Think about it! You’ll be stomping around on those poor little tootsies for 80 or 100 years. Please people, show ‘em some love!

You may not think about your feet that often, way down there at the ends of your legs, but they’re an essential part of almost everything you do. Whether walking, running, exercising, or just standing, having feet that are happy and well cared for make life far more pleasant. Therefore, knowing how to care for your feet is key.

I’ve posted about this before but lets refresh with some basic things you can do to keep your feet moving.

#1 – Stretch and massage the tendons and muscles in your feet. Especially the thick tissue that runs along the bottom of your feet. Here’s how.

  • Toe Writing — With your feet on the floor and your shoes off, use your toes to “write” the letters of the alphabet, from A to Z, on the floor.
  • The Grip — With your feet on the floor and your shoes off, try picking up a pencil or pen with your toes. Or try picking up a marble.
  • Toe Stretches — Kneel on you knees and curl your toes under your feet. Heals will be up and your rear end will be resting on your heals.
  • Flex & Point — Lift one leg off the ground. Point your toes forward, like a ballerina pointing her extended foot, and hold that position for 15 seconds. Now flex your foot, hold 15 seconds and repeat 10 times each foot.
  • Stretch your arches every day — I like to sit on my shins, butt resting on my heels with toes curled under. You can also stand with your toes against a wall (one foot at time) and lean slightly into the wall until you feel a stretch along the bottom of the foot. Do each foot twice. If you don’t like those ideas, just sit on the floor and pull your toes back with your hand. The idea is to stretch the bottom of the foot.
  • Stretch your toes — Squeeze your toes together (they might crack) and hold for a few seconds, then flex them up. Do this a few times every day.
  • Don’t forgetAnkle Circles and Toe Points to keep the supporting joints flexible.

General Foot Love

  • Stimulate the bottom of your feet — The soles of the feet are extremely sensitive due to a high concentration of nerve endings. Post workout give ‘em a nice soapy scrub with the loofah to wake up all those neurons & synapses. A little lotion massage after is always a good idea too.
  • Rule of thumb — As soon as you’re finished working out take off your shoes. Your feet will swell from the workout (or hard day at work) so give em’ room to breath.
  • Ice your feet — After a long run or day on your feet soak your feet in an ice bath or rest them on a ice bag for 10-15 minutes, then lay on your back on the floor and put your legs up the wall. Stay here for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Don’t file down or shave calluses or corns too much —These are nature’s way to protect you from abnormal pressure. Get appropriate insoles, padding or bigger shoes. A specialist podiatrist or biomechanical evaluation may be required for this.
  • Get a foot massage — You can do it yourself but I recommend having someone else do it for you.

Shoe stuff

  • Buy all your shoes late in the day — Your feet are larger at the end of the day.
  • Running shoes — Replace your shoes every 300 to 500 miles.
  • Obvious stuff — High heeled, pointed toe shoes, mules, strappy sandals and sandals that have thongs between the toes are best avoided. If you want to wear them, keep it to short periods and show your feet some extra love when you’re done torturing them.

This is just a start but you have to start somewhere and this is easy no brainer stuff.

P.s. If you liked this post you may like this one too.