The Need to Breathe… The Right Way

by: Katia Silva, CSCS

Who would have thought that there are “proper” breathing techniques? Some really smart people! Breathing is one of the most natural mindless things humans do.  Over time, our natural habits that we are born with change; mostly because of life factors such as negative stress. Many people will notice there shoulders begin to elevate and stay there, tension is carried through their necks, and breathing becomes shallower. Now, take notice of your own breathing patterns. Is your chest moving or is your belly expanding? Are you taking short shallow breaths? Or are you breathing slowly and fully?

Once you’ve figured it out, try following the next few steps to start using your breathing muscles. Take one hand; place it on your stomach and the other on your chest. Inhale through your nose, forcing your stomach to EXPAND. Think of it as inflating a balloon. Now, exhale through your mouth, trying to blow out 100 candles. Did you feel your abdominals active? If so, that’s what we want! After some practice it will become more fluid and effortless.

What we have described is diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. Proper breathing will help activate your abdominals, optimize your body’s ability to utilize oxygen, and decrease the effort it takes to breath naturally. Try this at night if you have trouble sleeping or if you ever start to feel anxious. It is a wonderful natural way to relax your mind and body.

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You run, but do you actually train your legs?

by: Katia Silva, CSCS

The cardio-protective effects of endurance training (i.e. running, cycling, swimming, etc.) on overall health is unquestionable. The American College of Sports Medicine has laid out the association between active individuals and health outcomes. Factors such as all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease are much lower for those that engage in regular moderate intensity aerobic exercise of at least 30 minutes most days of the week. But, what happens when all you do is aerobic exercise?

Many individuals, marathon runners and general population alike, only do repetitive aerobic exercise. This can lead to varied muscular weaknesses and even injury in the knees and back. Some think it is from over training, and it could be, but it could also be from a lack of training! Just because you are using your legs when you are running or cycling doesn’t necessarily mean you are “training legs”. These activities are NOT muscle building. Diversity in your training program will help increase your overall fitness, prevent injury, and keep you stronger longer.

So, it is time to start adding resistance training to your weekly routine. You should have a variety of exercises that engage all aspects of your lower body. The listed exercises below are a great way to introduce your body to muscle building movements without needing a lot of equipment:

  • Goblet Squats
  • Glute Bridges
  • Single Leg Toe Touches
  • Split Squats
  • X-Band Walks

Start by completing 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. In between each set rest for 30-90 seconds. As you get stronger increase your load and complete 3-4 sets of 6-10 repetitions. Rest for 1-2 minutes in between each set and then repeat.

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20 Anti-Aging Foods!

Eat these anti-aging foods throughout the week as each one offers a unique anti-aging property!

  • Avocados
  • Pecans
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Kale
  • Oats
  • Red Wine
  • Pomegranates
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Green Tea
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Watermelon
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Can Eating Broccoli Really Help You Beat Signs of Aging?

Can Eating Broccoli Really Help You Beat Signs of Aging?

by Mallory Spinelli, RD

Recent studies suggest it may. A powerful compound called Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which is found in green fruits and vegetables like broccoli and avocados, showed more favorable energy levels, skeletal tissue, bone density, and eye function in older mice treated with the compound. Mice treated with NMN also showed improvements with liver function and metabolism, as well as healthier body weights. The study hypothesizes that because humans rely on the same energy production process as mice, that human supplementation of NMN will help people remain healthier as they age. The study goes on to say that the health benefits of NMN are most obvious in older mice, as young mice are able to make an abundance of NMN. It is suspected that inflammation, a byproduct of aging, reduces the body’s ability to make NMN. The Study, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, says the next step is to carry out clinical trials in Japan to test the safety of NMN supplementation. In the meantime, consider a daily dose of greens, such as broccoli or avocado, to delay signs of aging and promote improved energy levels.

References: Fox News, The Sun.

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Moving into old age Hayden Riley, MS

How many times have you stopped and asked yourself, where has the time gone? It’s true, time is passing and as we age, exercise becomes equally, if not more important for our overall health and well-being. You may be noticing that weight doesn’t come off as easily as it once did and you tend to get a little more unstable then you once were – it’s inevitable, right? Wrong. The answer to turning back the hands of time is exercise. As you all probably know, exercise helps us to improve or maintain our aerobic endurance and muscular strength – this is not new or exciting news. But did you know that maintaining or beginning an exercise program can improve your bone health, prevent or delay disease, keep you in good spirits, and minimize falls?

First and foremost, exercise helps to prevent or delay the onset or progression of various diseases. Heart disease, which is the number one cause of death among men and women, is largely preventable through the modification of behavior. As you may or may not know, some of the major risk factors for heart disease include a sedentary lifestyle, obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, dyslipidemia (cholesterol abnormalities), and prediabetes. By moving from sedentary to active, you can improve body composition and therefore combat the harmful effects of obesity, lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol profile, and improve insulin sensitivity which will reduce your risk for developing diabetes.

It doesn’t stop with heart disease. Exercise can also improve joint health, thus minimizing the risk for arthritis. To reduce the risk of developing arthritis it is important to participate in a well-rounded exercise program, complete with aerobic activity, strengthening exercises, and stretching. In addition to preventing arthritis, exercise helps to limit the risk of osteoporosis as well. It may be counterintuitive, but high-impact, weight-bearing exercise helps to build strong bones. Likewise, body weight exercises, lifting weights, and other strengthening exercises also aid in building and maintaining strong bones.

Last but certainly not least, incorporating balance training into your exercise routine is essential. Millions of older adults fall each year and all too often, those falls lead to tragic consequences. Balance exercises should be performed 2 to 3 days per week for 20 to 30 minutes. To avoid making your exercise routine too lengthy, balance activities can be easily incorporated into your resistance training and/or stretching routine. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are all great ways to improve balance, stability, flexibility, and strength.

By remaining as active as possible, you will be able to move into old age in better physical and mental health. Take a step and see how exercise impacts your daily mood and improves your activities of daily life – you won’t regret it!

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So much to do, so little time to exercise Hayden Riley, MS

You’re sitting at your desk wondering how, after 8 hours of work, you’ll have time to fit in 60 minutes on the treadmill before attending your son’s soccer game. Suddenly, exercise falls on your list of priorities and you miss yet another exercise session this week. We have all experienced this struggle – an hour at the gym turns into 2 hours of our day when we factor in changing, showering, and the 20 minutes it takes to motivate ourselves to get there. Yes, family obligations and work are always a priority but exercise must be too. With that being said, let’s talk about a solution!

 

Have you heard of high intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIIT? HIIT is a time-effective and efficient way to complete exercise. Skip your 60 minute workout on the treadmill today and give HIIT a try!

 

What is HIIT?  HIIT involves intense work periods at 80-95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, matched with recovery periods that are typically around 40-50% of a person’s estimated HRMax. Work periods can last anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes and recovery bouts may be equally as long or even longer. The workout consists of alternating between work and relief periods for anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes.

 

Why should I do it? HIIT training not only improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness but it also improves blood pressure, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, and abdominal fat and/or body weight, all while maintaining muscle mass. HIIT workouts are growing in popularity because they provide similar benefits as continuous endurance workouts but in shorter periods of time. In addition, HIIT workouts tend to increase caloric expenditure by 6-15%.

 

How do I do it? Developing a HIIT program involves manipulating the duration, intensity, and frequency of work and recovery intervals. During the high intensity phase of your workout, your heart rate should be ≥ 80% of your estimated HRmax. At this time you should feel like you are working “hard” to “very hard.” During recovery intervals you should be exercising around 40-50% of your HRmax. The relationship between work and recovery intervals is important. Typically a 1:1 ratio is used (3 minutes of work followed by 3 minutes of recovery). However, you could also do a 30 second sprint, followed by ~4 minutes of recovery. You should try out a few different ratios and see which you prefer!

 

I am not suggesting that you boycott steady state exercise altogether but instead, try and swap out a day or two of your normal routine for a HIIT routine.  HIIT is not limited to the treadmill, as it can be modified to outdoor exercise, cycling, the elliptical trainer, and even the stair master. Now, as you sit at your desk and contemplate your workout, doesn’t a 30 minute workout sound a little more feasible?

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Increase Productivity with Walking Workstations

Living a sedentary lifestyle has long been associated with many adverse health outcomes. Unfortunately, for many of us, 40+ hours is spent each week sitting at a desk, slouched over a keyboard. In fact, it has been estimated that the average American spends up to 11 hours each day sitting.

While many have turned to stability balls and stand up desks in an effort to reduce the amount of time spent sitting, many employers have taken the opportunity to promote physical activity a step further by introducing walking workstations or “treadmill desks” into their workplace. Unlike a traditional treadmill that is designed for running and walking at faster speeds, treadmill desks are designed to be used for walking at slow speeds for extended periods of time. They’re not intended to be thought of as a “workout” or as a replacement for regular exercise, but more as a reinforcement to get more physical activity and help achieve the goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day. Researchers have found that the introduction of treadmill workstations had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance. They also seem to be very well received by employees who have put them to the test.

So there you have it. If you’re looking to get or stay active, reduce overall time spent sitting, or just clear your head during a stressful work day, a walking workstation may be the right solution for you.

 

Image result for walking workstation

 

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