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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category


Belly Fat Risks

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Recent news on belly fat reminds us that there are more reasons to get in shape than appearance! A new international study found that men and women with larger waists are more likely to die younger from a wide array of illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems, and cancer. The study was managed by a Mayo Clinic researcher and is published in the March edition of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
 
The researchers pooled data from 11 different studies that included more than 600,000 people from around the world. They concluded that men with waists 43 inches or greater in circumference have a 50 percent higher mortality risk than men with waists less than 35 inches, while women with waist circumferences of 37 inches or greater have an approximately 80 percent higher mortality risk than women with waist circumference2 of 27 inches or less. They also found that this risk increased 7 percent in men and about 9 percent in women for every 2 inches of greater circumference, even among people who had normal body mass index levels.
 
Men tend to have more belly fat than women from an earlier age, which may be why men have more coronary disease than women. After menopause, women’s fat settles in the belly and increases the risk of death from heart disease and breast, uterine, cervical, colon and kidney cancers!
 
Why does belly fat have such a great impact on your health? The fat you see on your stomach indicates the development of deep visceral belly fat — the fat that grows close to organs such as your kidneys and liver. This is why when you develop belly fat, you want to concentrate on full-body weight loss and include exercises that tone and tighten your abs.
 
Here are three pointers that will slim down that waist and help get rid of the that dangerous visceral fat.
 
• Maintain a healthy, balanced nutrition regimen. Drop the processed food, refined baked goods and sweets and focus on fruit, vegetables, nuts, lean meats, fish, whole grains and beans. Remember, healthy fats not only lower cholesterol and prevent food cravings, they also increase fat burning. Olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados help prevent insulin spikes. Sesame, sunflower and safflower oil are thought to have significant fat-burning qualities.
 
• Good nutrition is a vital part of getting rid of that belly fat… as is physical activity, which leads to an even greater percentage of loss of the visceral, intra-abdominal fat. Cardiovascular workouts will help burn the fat. Start with 20 to 30 minutes three days a week on nonconsecutive days, then work towards longer and higher intensity workouts.
 
• Weight training helps build active muscle mass. Like cardio training, start with 20 to 30 minute workouts three days a week and and aim towards higher intensity and longer workouts. Do your weight training on the days you’re NOT doing your cardio workouts.
 
You’ll look better and live longer!
 
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Understanding the Core

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Many of us embark on new exercise programs in the spring. We embrace fitness programs with specific goals in mind, from overall health, strength training, leaner, shaped abdominals, or a slimmer silhouette. An important thing to remember is that whatever your focus in training, core exercises that strengthen the torso and abdomen are a vital complement to your strength or aerobic regimen.
 
Core exercises offer what is called ‘static and dynamic stability.’ Static stability refers to posture and balance,while dynamic stability refers to flexibility, strength, endurance and cardio-vascular. So what are the benefits of including the core in your workouts?
 
Core exercises train the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen to work in harmony, leading to better balance and stability on the playing field and in common daily activities.
 
• If you’re looking for more defined abdominal muscles, core exercises are important. Aerobic activity burns abdominal fat, core exercises strengthen and tone the underlying muscles.
 
• Strong core muscles make it easier to do everything from swinging a baseball bat, to dusting the shelves or climbing stairs. They strengthen you against poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries.
 
• Aerobic exercise and muscular fitness are the primary elements of most fitness programs. Including core exercises completes a well-rounded fitness program that will help you reach your fitness goals.
 
• You don’t have to go to the gym to do core exercises. Do them on the floor at home while you’re watching your favorite show, or pull out the balance discs anywhere in the home!
 
Some tips to keep in mind:
 
• Choose exercises that work all of your core muscles simultaneously.
• Concentrate on the quality of the movement, form and technique over quantity.
• Be mindful of your breathing.
• When you need a break, take one!
• Remember, always talk to a medical expert before starting a new exercise regimen.
 
Core exercises: strength from the center!
 
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Fitness During the Changing Seasons

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
The changing seasons can wreak havoc on your work out routine. The milder weather draws us outside for walks, biking, or running, but that can be interrupted by a rainy day. The heat can seem insurmountable, making it harder to get started, or surprisingly chilly — so try having some alternative options in mind.
 
Keep these basic ideas in mind when designing your fitness routine.
 
• Own Your Goals: Allow your goals to change as you progress. Break them down into smaller goalposts. Use the SMART method: Make them Specific (what and how), Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (set an achievable date!).
 
• Consider the Weather: Wear UV-protective sunglasses and a hat when it’s sunny. Dress in light colors to reflect the sun’ rays. Take a water bottle. If heat or stormy weather cancels your outdoor workout, try interval walking at the mall. On hot days, head to your local community pool and swim some laps! Remember, this time of year the weather changes daily, sometimes hourly! So be prepared!
 
• Try the Buddy System: It can be difficult to start a new routine by yourself, so consider elisting a friend to help you get into your workout routine.
 
• Make New Routines: No routine can block commitment and progress, but don’t be afraid to change once in a while if the one you have no longer works for you. Sometimes you may want to spice it up with new workouts or trade in one walk a week for an aerobics class at your local community center.
 
• Be Kind to Yourself: If you do miss a couple of days of exercise, just start up again as soon as possible.
 
• Track Your Progress: Journal your workouts. Make yourself accountable to yourself and your fitness schedule. Keeping track of the calories you burn gives you that sense immediate accomplishment that can spur you on.
 
A new rule here at Peter’s Principles, and one to pay serious attention to is: If your use a headset and are walking or running … keep the volume down! Be sure you can hear the traffic and remain aware of your surroundings.
 
Remember the saying, “Fitness is not a destination, it is a way of life!”
 
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A Season For Renewal

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Winter may try to hold on, but spring has finally arrived! We can put away our heavy winter clothes and embrace the lush, green growth of trees and gardens , and the warming air that greets us each morning. Neighbors we haven’t seen all winter will be out working in their yards, walking or jogging, and soon fresh spring produce will arrive at the grocer’s. It’s a great time of year to renew your health resolutions or make a new commitment to a healthy life!
 
After long months spent indoors, it can be a big challenge to adopt a major fitness program, especially if you have a busy schedule. Ease into it!
 
• Choose an activity you will enjoy!
 
• If your schedule makes it difficult to set aside a 30 minute block of time, try three 10-minute workouts or walks.
 
• Walk or bike to work or to the local store.
 
• Wear a pedometer to keep track of the number of steps you take and and set a goal to increase the amount you walk. A Harvard study found that taking six thousand steps a day is correlated with a lower death rate in men.
 
• Park your car a distance from your destination and walk.
 
• Use stairs instead of the elevator.
 
• Take a walk at lunch with coworkers.
 
• Join an office or community sports league.
 
If you’re hungry when you get home from your fitness outing, try a handful of nuts! A study from Loma Linda University found that participants eating a diet that has majority of fat coming from almonds resulted in significantly higher loss of body and abdominal fat in 24 weeks than participants who ate the same amount of calories with more carbs and less fat. Other nuts to add to your diet include Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts and walnuts.
 
You’ll probably be thirsty too! Drink plenty of water; researchers in Germany found that drinking two cups of cold water can boost metabolic rate by 30 percent! If you have a taste for something different try green tea, its primary ingredient – epigallocatechin gallate – reduces the effect of the enzyme that normally breaks down norepinephrine. That keeps the metabolic rate up, and you burn more calories throughout the day. Black tea also aids fat loss. A study conducted by University College in London found that drinking black tea regularly can reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that encourages fat storage around the midsection.
 
Make physical activity a regular part of your day and you’ll begin to notice some positive changes, whether it’s weight loss, a smaller waist or a new, fuller sense of well-being.
 
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Crossing over: Running vs. Cross-training Footwear

With so many different exercise options available for those looking to stay in shape, the choices of what footwear to purchase is equally expansive. Luckily for customers, however, they can be broken down into two main categories: running shoes and cross-trainers.
 
But which is better? The answer to that question, simply, is another question: What are you using them for? With varying weights, support areas and treads, the differences between running and cross-training shoes make it easy to find the perfect shoe.
 
One brand to consider is one you’ve likely heard about before. Under Armour originally made its name in compression gear, has created some breakthroughs in the world of footwear. Their new running models, the UA SpeedForm ® Apollo 2, UA Micro G ® Speed Swift and UA Micro G ® Assert 6, use innovative technology to combine weight, comfort and support into a revolutionary experience.
 
Lighter and sleeker than traditional foams, UA Micro G cushioning delivers ultra-responsive, low-to-the-ground performance for better, natural stability and comfort. SpeedForm Apollo 2 features a supported and smooth upper with ultrasonic welded seaming for next-to-skin support. A TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) heel counter locks in your foot for superior comfort.”
 
While Under Armour running shoes offer a wide range of innovations, the same can be said for Under Armour’s cross-trainers. Cross-trainers are built a little differently to maximize not only running, but side-to-side and jumping movements.
 
The Under Armour Strive V has the UA Micro G cushioning system, which is a mainstay in the running shoes. But what differentiates this model from its running counterparts are the details. The shoes feature a wider base for lateral stability, and multi-surface traction pods on the outsole for different ‘training’ scenarios both indoors and outdoors. They also have stitched-down leather overlays to help lock the foot into place, as well as for extra durability.”
 
Whether you’re signing up for the next big marathon event, going for a jog outside or enjoying a HIIT workout at your local gym, the running and cross-training footwear options by Under Armour at Dunham’s will have you covered. With so many technological advances like UA Micro G cushioning to lighter and sleeker designs, your next run or training workout will be as explosive as you can make it.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Squeeze The Most Out Of Your Workout

There are so many choices on the market when it comes to exercise apparel. You can get different cuts, prints, colors and fits. And you’ve probably seen apparel that calls itself “compression.” But what does compression gear mean? And what are the benefits?
 
According to Jack Eig of RBX, compression clothing has areas made up of very stretchy fabric that can create firm, supportive pressure. This material can be used for almost any type of workout clothing, including shirts, tank tops, leggings or partial garments, such as sleeves.
 
It’s a common misconception that compression apparel can actually help prevent injury during a workout. That isn’t quite true. Actually, it’s thought that the biggest benefit of this gear is that it can help prevent muscle soreness, Eig said.
 
“The best advice for any athlete is to remain aware of their body’s signals during exercise,” Eig said.
 
According to an April 2015 article at menshealth.com, studies show that the tight compression gear can reduce the fluid buildup in your muscles after exercise. When you exercise, your muscles experience inflammation. When that happens, fluid and white blood cells rush to the muscles to help repair them. Compression gear prevents this fluid buildup. Reducing fluid buildup prevents pressure and swelling, resulting in less cramping.
 
Compression gear could also increase blood flow to your muscles. Unfortunately, it won’t rid you of soreness and cramping completely.
 
“When you’re working out in your compression gear, the clothing is putting 360 degrees of firm support around your major muscle groups and holding them in place,” Eig said. “The increased pressure also helps stimulate blood flow, which helps prevent your muscles from cramping.”
 
This apparel might even boost your confidence. Eig said that another benefit of compression gear is the way it fits and shapes your body.
 
“Compression gear is great because while that same firm fit is cradling your muscles, it’s simultaneously eliminating any sort of jiggles and bumps and smoothes your body’s curves,” Eig said.
This season you can find RBX leggings at Dunham’s Sports. These compression leggings feature laser-cut details, heavyweight fabric and a high, compressed waistline for maximum support.
 
So remember, while compression gear might look and feel great, it won’t prevent injury during exercise. It could, however, help your muscles recover more quickly. And that will get you up and active sooner!
 
Try compression gear out for yourself. You can find shirts, tank tops, leggings and more this Spring at Dunham’s!
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Lost In TheBeat

The Synergy of fitness and music.
 
Running shoes? Check. Gym shorts? Check. T-shirt and hoodie? Check. Headphones? Headphones? Oh PLEASE tell me I brought my headphones. Of course not. A very disheartening feeling, knowing I’d made it all the way to the gym and forgotten a crucial piece of workout equipment. Yes, I consider headphones workout equipment, but I’m not the only one. Not by a long shot. At my University fitness center, every head was sandwiched between a pair of the things. And not just earbuds. We’d use anything we had available to us to make sure we could jam while working out, regardless of circumstances. Seeing someone struggling to keep a huge pair of studioesque over-ears from bouncing off their head on the treadmill was entertaining, at the very least. If nothing else, it further illustrated to me the intimate relationship between music and exercise.
 
Whether we’re exercising or not, music moves us, figuratively and literally. Music doesn’t just compel us to dance, it lends us energy. Peace when we’re stressed. Stress when we’re too peaceful (heavy metal, anyone?). Those who listen to music while working out know that it doesn’t simply help you pass the time. It gives you the second wind to run that extra mile, or the emotional power to fuel three more repetitions when you thought you’d given up. Music helps us find strength in ourselves. And just as people’s personalities, workouts, and lives are varied and organic, so is music. Subtle nuances give your favorite songs and artists their flavor and character. For this reason, different music is better for different workouts and everyone has their own cup of tea, so to speak. I recall an instance where a dedicated amateur bodybuilder dropped his phone pulling his headphone cord out, immediately filling the freeweights section with Korean pop music. Go figure.
 
The point is, better sound can capture those elements of our favorite music that motivate and energize us. As exercise continues to gain popularity in the US of A, streaming music companies compile workout playlists for users, and audio tech companies like Koss have started creating sweat-proof earphones designed to withstand drastic movement and stay on your noggin, like the KSC32i FitClips. “Music is inspirational; getting lost in the right song can really take you to the next level” says Michael J. Koss Jr. of Koss Corporation. “We’ve created a line of headphones specifically crafted for the active music lover.”
 
Every pair has been delivering the excitement of a live performance since 1958, when John C. Koss invented personal listening with the world’s first SP/3 Stereophone. Now, that quality sound can carry you through your next workout. Oh, and the KSC 32i’s come in several colors, including coral pink. For you, K-pop guy.
 
-Fitness Fanatic
 
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Walking to a Healthy Future

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
As the temperatures become milder and spring weather calls us to enjoy the world around us, we begin our summer fittness routines … and what better way to kick off the season than with daily walks! Walking is a great, low-impact exercise that comfortably takes you into a highly improved level of fitness. It’s a simple, everyday activity for most people and offers many health benefits. If you’re looking for a convenient way to improve your health, walking may be the answer.
 
What can walking do for you? A lot! Maybe these benefits will encourage you to go out for a walk today!
 
• Reduce symptoms of depression. In one study, walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression by 47%.
 
• Reduce the risk of colon cancer. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer. Exercise also has been shown to improve the quality of life and reduce mortality for colon cancer patients .
 
• Prevent type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program reports that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes by 58%. Pretty sweet!
 
• Improve brain function. Researchers found that women who walked at an easy pace (2 miles per hour) at least 1 1/2 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week at the same pace. Literally food for thought!
 
• Strengthen the heart. Mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day in one study. Women in the Nurse’s Health Study who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.
 
• Strengthen bones. Studies have indicated that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances
 
• Improve overall fitness. Walking three times a week for 30 minutes at a time can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness. Shorter walks improve cardiorespiratory health, too! A study of sedentary women concluded that short brisk walks — three 10-minute walks per day – were as effective in decreasing body fatness as long bouts and offered similar overall fitness.
 
Walking is the most popular activity among members of the National Weight Control Registry. The NWCR is a list of 5,000 men and women who have maintained a 30-pound weight loss for a minimum of one year. The current average weight loss among NWCR members is 60 pounds and the average time that loss has been maintained is about five years!
 
The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes or more of accumulated moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days per week to improve health and fitness. Accumulated means you can do it in shorter routines throughout the day. Moderate intensity is indicated by a feeling of warmth and being slightly out of breath. Walking counts!
 
It’s easy to incorporate walking into your day and accumulate 30 minutes.
 
• Park your car farther from the store.
 
• Do you commute? Get off the bus a stop earlier, if you drive, park farther away from the building.
 
• Walk to pick up your lunch, or the newspaper.
 
• Walk for errands like picking up a gallon of milk or running to the post office instead of driving short distances.
 
• Finally, keep your walking shoes handy, and take a quick walk to relieve that stress instead of an aspirin!
 
If you’re beginning a walking routine for the first time, make reasonable goals to help motivate yourself. Try a daily ten minute walk and increase by a few minutes each week, you’ll be taking 30 minute walks in no time!
 
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Getting Fit for Summer Sports

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
 
Spring fever has hit! That means many of you are looking forward to heading outside to hit the golf course, the basketball court, the baseball or soccer field. But before you step one foot out on the green, court or field are you ready? Yes I know you’re ready mentally, but what about physically? Are you in shape for summer sports? This is very important especially for people who have been cooped up inside all winter.
 
Start an Exercise Program-Now! The first thing you need to do before you participate in any sport is make sure you are working out on a regular basis. A good regular exercise program will increase your physical fitness and help reduce the chance of injuring yourself. Your program should include strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Then you can move on to more intense conditioning with plyometrics.
 
Make the most our of your cardiovascular exercise program you should keep your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time. (see chart below) The best way to do that is through repetitive activities such as walking, jogging, cycling or using machines such as the elliptical trainer or a stepper. Use the F.I.T. (Frequency, Intensity, Time) principle to determine what is best for you. (see chart below)
 
• Frequency: You should try to do cardio at least 3-5 times each week.
 
• Intensity: You should strive to maintain a target heart rate between 70 and 80% of your max heart rate. Use the formula below to determine your range.
 
• Time: Each of your cardiovascular workouts should last for 30 to 60 minutes or more.
 
HEART RATE INTENSITY FORMULA

220 – Age = Max HR
Max HR x .7 = Low end of range
Max HR x .8 = High end of range
 
The second part of your exercise routine should be resistance training. This is the best way to build muscle. Try to do two to three sets of 10-15 repetitions for each muscle group.
 
Plyometrics
 
Now if you want to put some power behind your conditioning, try plyometrics. This type of exercise is used by many athletes to increase their speed and strength. The exercises were developed for Olympic competitors to make a muscle reach full movement as quickly as possible. During each exercise your muscle will reach its concentric contraction (muscle shortens) immediately followed by an eccentric contraction (muscle lengthens). Then the force of each exercise will increase. Here are some examples of lower body and upper body plyometric exercises.
 
Lower Body:
 
• Drop Jumping- For this exercise you will drop-not jump-to the ground from a raised platform and them immediately jump up. The drop down gives the pre-stretch to the leg muscles, the intense jump up causes the concentric contraction. The exercise is more effective the faster you do it-meaning the shorter your feet are on the ground. Start slow and then build up to 3 sets of 10 drops.
 
• Bounding- This exercise will help with your speed. Push off with your left foot and bring the left leg forward. Your knee should be bent and thigh parallel to the ground. At the same time you’ll reach forward with your right arm. As the left leg comes through, the right leg extends back and remains extended for the duration of the push-off. Hold this extended stride for a brief time, then land on your left foot. Make sure you’re landing flat footed and you feel the energy pumping through your leg. The right leg then drives through to a forward bent position, the left arm reaches forward and the left leg extends backward. Think of it as a slow, exaggerated run. You want to make sure each stride is long and cover as much distance as possible. Do 1 to 3 sets covering 30 to 40 meters each set.
 
• Hurdle hopping- Jump forward over barriers or hurdles with your feet together. The movement should come from your hips and knees. Another form is with one leg. Push off with the leg you are standing on and jump forward, landing on the same leg, then immediately jump again. Do one leg then switch and do the same thing with the other leg. Do 1 to 3 sets jumping 6 to 8 hurdles each set.
 
• Jumping- With a box in front of you, start in a deep squat with your feet shoulder width apart. Keep you arms behind your head and jump onto the box. Stay in the squat position and then jump off. Do 1 to 3 sets jumping up on the box 6 to 8 times per set. You can also jump without a box. Start in the standing position, then jump up grab both knees as they come up to your chest and return to the standing position-then immediately jump up again. Do 1 to 3 sets with 5 to 10 repetitions per set.
 
Upper Body:
 
• Clap push-ups- Begin in the push up position then lower your chest to the floor, explosively push upward to cause your hands to leave the floor, clap and put your hands back on the floor, then immediately explode upward. Do 10 repetitions.
 
• Medicine Ball- Lie on the ground face up, a partner drops the ball, you catch it and immediately throw it back up to your partner who drops it again. Do 10 repetitions.
 
Specificity is key! Think of the movements you perform in your sport and condition your body properly. If you’re a basketball player jumping and bounding plyometrics are areas you should concentrate on. For golf, upper body plyometrics and stretching are important. But remember, it takes overall full body conditioning to avoid a sport injury.
 
Start your program now to be ready for the fun and games this summer.
 
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