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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

For a Healthy Heart

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
We don’t need to be convinced about the importance of a healthy heart. Every year approximately one of every four deaths — 600,000 people — in the United States are the result of heart disease. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women, and a major cause of disability around the world. We are all at risk, therefore it is absolutely vital that we understand that foods we eat and the amount of activity we take part in dramatically affects the overall health of our heart. You can prevent and may even reverse heart disease!
Research has shown that regular training can help fend off the major heart attacks by improving triglyceride counts, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and reducing body fat. Strength training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility training work together to build a healthy, strong heart.
Strength training. Researchers from Harvard studied 44,000 men and found that those who lifted weights for 30 minutes or more a week reduced their risk of heart disease by 23 per cent. Strength training conditions your heart to work better when you have to lift and carry heavy objects, so your blood pressure and heart rate are lower during everyday chores.
Aerobic exercise. Aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise is an activity that increases breath rates and spurs deep breathing. It includes walking, running, swimming, and dancing. Aerobic machines in gyms include rowing machines, treadmills, stepper and elliptical trainers. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart muscle by improving the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood for the body’s use while improving metabolism of fats and carbohydrates to energy.
Flexibility training. Stretching helps relax and lengthen your muscles, encourages improved blood flow, and helps to keep you supple so you can move more easily. A study published in the American Journal of Physiology, found that while regular exercisers generally have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, participants who could not reach to or beyond their toes in the sit-and-stretch test were more likely than their flexible peers to have higher systolic blood pressure! Another recent study found that middle-age and older adults who undertook a stretching exercise regimen significantly improved the flexibility of their carotid artery, which carries oxygen-rich blood to the brain!
Small changes to your diet is another important and effective way to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
• Reduce fat consumption, especially saturated and trans-fats.
• Eat more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain food and soluble fiber.
• Reduce salt to maintain lower blood pressure.
• Grill, bake or steam food rather than frying.
• Limit intake of trans-fats from processed food.
• Eat at least two portions of omega-3 rich fish, such as salmon, each week.
If you are overweight, you may increase the risk of heart disease as much as eighty percent! Eat a healthy diet and , take regular exercise, and you’ll live healthy, strong and long!
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Why You Need to Train Legs…

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Leg day is the easiest session to skip in the gym. Leg training is tough — no doubt about it — and it can be tempting to forget your leg workouts in favor of easier training sessions or missing the gym altogether. Many guys and girls prefer to focus on the showier muscles — arms, abs, shoulders and chest — but leg training has many benefits that go beyond aesthetics. No matter how big your upper body is, Not training your legs will stunt your potential for your overall body. Having small legs will make your physique look odd at the least, if not ridiculous too. I was called chicken legs by a man who was like a second dad to me, my Brooklyn manager Dr Julie Levine who owned R & J Health studio. Those words were rocket fuel for me, it motivated me to prove him wrong, which thank God I did. In bodybuilding contests, judges don’t look at muscle mass in one area — they look at your whole package. This includes proportion and symmetry criteria, so if your legs are lacking, you won’t get far in the bodybuilding game. Even if you’re not looking to compete, small legs don’t look good when you’re at the beach or strutting your stuff in shorts.As you get older your legs become your best friend, helping you get out of a chair or car or bath tub.
For sport and athletic performance, working out your legs is vital, according to a 2013 study. A bigger squat, dead lift and power clean will translate to running faster on the sports field and jumping higher on the basketball court. Even endurance athletes can benefit from stronger legs. You’ll also build strong knee, hip and ankle joints leg training, reducing your risk of injury.
Think you need cardio workouts to burn fat? Think again. Training your legs, particularly with multi-joint compound exercises, burns a higher number of calories than easier upper-body moves such as biceps curls or lateral raises. This leads to increased fat loss, which is also partly caused by the release of hormones you get when training legs. Your leg muscles are so large that this hormonal response can even help you build upper-body muscle mass.
Weight-bearing exercises and resistance training are crucial components in the prevention and management of osteoporosis and arthritis. If you’re using weight training purely to keep bones and joints healthy later in life, do front squats, stiff-legged dead lifts, calf raises, leg presses and any other challenging leg moves that take your fancy. If you’ve been diagnosed with a bone or joint condition, however, and are looking to training to manage your condition, consult with your doctor and a fully qualified trainer before starting a routine.
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Hot Weather Tips

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
We all embrace the warm weather after a long, hard winter, but we also need to keep in mind that changes in temperatures call for changes in our workout regimens. An average of 618 heat-related deaths occur each year in the United States. It’s a grim statistic, but with a little planning, you can avoid dangerous hot weather health issues!
Start by making adjustments to your fitness workout routine to prevent heat-related problems while keeping active. Here are a few important pointers to keep in mind:
• Drink Water. We sweat more when the temperature’s hot, especially when working or exercising in the heat. You also burn more calories working out in hot weather due to the extra cardiovascular effort required to cool the body when blood is pumped to the skin — this results in increased perspiration. It’s important to drink water to replenish the fluids lost by any excessive sweating.
• Work out during the milder times of day. The combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious heat-related illnesses, so don’t try to maximize your regimen when temperatures and humidity are high! Try to fit the most demanding parts of your regimen in early morning or evening hours.
• Wear sunscreen. It reduces the risk of long-term damage to your skin, and protects the ability of the epidermis to do its job — regulate temperature.
• Eat regularly. Your appetite may be reduced on hot days, so try eating 5-6 small meals throughout day. Eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, they’re in season and nutritious.
There may be days when it’s just too hot and humid for you. Heat combined with humidity increases the risk of a heat-related illness, so consider other exercise options when temperatures spike:
• Try speed-walking and stair-climbing at a local mall with air conditioning. Join your local exercise club.
• Have a cool room at home? Pull out your workout DVDs you’ve been looking at, open up the strength training or Pilates book that has been sitting on the shelf!
• What could be more refreshing than swimming on a hot day! Look for water aerobic classes at your local public pool or include a water routine in your current regimen.
• Find a gym that works for you. Local gyms come in all shapes and sizes. It’s easier than ever now to find one that fits your budget… with or without a contract!
Whatever option you decide to embrace, pace yourself and enjoy your workout. A hot summer day can give you a new appreciation for the value of sweat equity!
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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, 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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