Tag Archives: Exercise

Running to Be

27 Feb

Sometimes before I run, it can take a lot of motivation and 1,000 excuses to get me going out the door. Then, all of a sudden when my feet hit the pavement, I say to myself, why did I think I didn’t want to run today? Why would I want to miss this feeling of flying and being one with myself?

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My motivation comes from  other runners, because every time I see a runner,  I crave to run. Other motivation comes from feeling a sense of accomplishment, weather, or being able to get my mind off of something, or just running to be.

The other day, I experienced running in the rain. It was hands down the coolest experience to feel the rain against my face as I paced myself  mile by mile. The trails were so quiet and I could only hear my thoughts. At one point, I completely zoned out. It’s amazing how the body can keep moving when you’re not even thinking about it.

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What motivates you to run or exercise? What was one of your best running or workout experiences?

On a side note, I have a sneaker tip for if you ever go out into the rain for a run and come home with soaking wet sneakers or if you just want to keep your sneakers smelling pretty.
Putting newspaper in sneakers when they are wet will keep them dry and smelling fresh.

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After runs in dry weather or the gym, I like to put fabric softener sheets inside of my sneakers.

I saw both of these tips in Good Housekeeping and swear by them! I haven’t had a stinky sneaker since!

The 411 on Strength Training- Part Four of the Food for Your Heart and Soul series

8 Feb

Are you a runner who only runs, a dancer who only dances, a die hard 7 day a week spin class taker, or someone that enjoys breaking a sweat on the elliptical every day and never ventures to the weights?

If you answered yes to any of the above, this post is for you!

Cardiovascular exercise such as running, dancing, cycling, the elliptical, is one of the most important ingredients for a healthy body.

Muscular strength is another essential part of the recipe.

The body will reap many benefits when both are mixed together in the same exercise plan.

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Why is strength training important?

Strength training helps people with every day activities such as lifting heavy things- a 32 pack of bottled water from BJ’s or Costco’s for instance. It also helps maintain weight, because when you build muscle, you burn calories throughout the day, even when you’re in front of the TV. Next time you settle in on the couch and are feeling guilty for lounging and in my case, watching The Real Housewives or something, DON’T, remember you’re burning calories. With regular strength training, your balance will also be rocking. This helps prevent injury. Hello to all of the runners out there who are reading this! Strong muscles also lower a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Solid, huh?

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Types of muscle strength training activities:

Using your own body weight, weights, weight machines, resistance bands are a few of the ways that you can incorporate strength training into your workout routine.

Today, there seems to be a type of strength training class offered for everyone. Body Bar, Body Pump, Lean Conditioning, TRX, and Kettlebell are a few of the ones that come to mind.

Not one for classes? Don’t let the meat-heads in the weight room intimidate you! They’re harmless, I promise! No gym membership? At home muscle strengthening workouts are just as good as if you were at the gym!

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How many days a week should I strength train?

Each major muscle group should be trained  2-3 days a week. Major muscle groups include chest, shoulders, upper and lower back, abdomen, hips, and legs. Always, always, always give muscles 1 day to recover before training again. For example, if you did a full body workout on Monday morning, wait until Wednesday morning to train again.

For more information on exercise plans, click here. This will bring you to part 2 of the series, Penciling in a Workout.

How many strength exercises should I incorporate into a single workout session?

It is recommended that 8-10 exercises are included and involve more than one muscle group. For muscle development, each exercise should be done for 8-12 repetitions/ 2-3 sets. Your muscles should be fatigued at 8-12 repetitions and you should feel like you can’t do anymore. If you can do more, the weight you are using may be too low. Rest for 2-3 minutes in between sets.

(ACSM, 2010, p 169-170)

What is the difference between a repetition and a set?

A repetition is one complete movement of a single exercise. For example, doing A and B below for only one time.

A set is a group of consecutive repetitions. For example, doing A and B below for 12 times.

(NASM, 2012, p 338-339)

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Why is muscular strength important to me?

Muscular strength is important to me because I want to keep my bones strong for life and lower my risk for osteoporosis. Kelly Ripa and Elisabeth Hasselback are two of my role models when it comes to working out and strength training. Have you see their arms? Goodness gracious. They inspire me day in and out. Strong is the new skinny.

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Today, I encourage you to incorporate a strength workout into your exercise plan if you do not have one already. Please always check with your doctor before beginning or doing any type of exercise program!

Who is your fitness role model?
What’s your favorite strength class or strength exercise?

Bibliography:

ACSM. (2010). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

NASM. (2012). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Philidelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

“It’s Just Another Manic Monday”

21 Jan

Poor Mondays, they get such a bad rep.

Just look at this guy —>

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At least the Monday Campaigns gives us something to look forward to! Unfamiliar with their initiatives? Take a look at the Monday Campaign overview on their website.

Today’s Healthy Monday Tip:

“Start Slow, Go Steady
Physical activity isn’t just a way to lose weight; it’s an essential step towards a long, vibrant life! If you haven’t been active in a while, now’s the time to revamp your routine. Start out with smaller amounts of exercise at lower intensities and gradually progress to moderate-intensity activity to reduce your risk of injury. This week, work on your fitness routine and don’t worry about how fast or hard others are exercising around you. Remember that you’re never too out-of-shape to get active!”

Ideas:

  • Calling up friends for a walk- especially great for today if you have the day off! Soak up that Vitamin D!
  • Try a new exercise class (I know from experience that it can take awhile to find what you like to do, but once you find a class you love, you’ll be hooked and feeling great, I promise!)
  • One of my favorites:

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Examples of small bouts of physical activity I like to incorporate into my day:

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Dishwasher calf raises

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Dishwasher Plie Squats

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Crunches with Stability Ball while watching TV

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Russian Twists with Stability Ball while watching TV

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Tree Pose while at computer

Every little bit helps us to stay healthy!

Strategies to increase physical activity

My Meatless Monday meal: For dinner, I’m planning on having Amy’s, the nation’s leading natural frozen food brand. I’m torn between if I want her Tofu Lasagna or her Bean and Rice Burrito. I always add a big salad on the side! I can’t wait to do a post on Amy’s!

Looking for ideas? Check out the Meatless Monday page, another one of the Monday Campaign initiatives! Good stuff!

Join me in my yoga sesh today: 

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Motivation for today:

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Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

What kind of physical activity will you engage in today or this week?

Enjoy your Healthy Monday, friends!

Follow Healthy Monday on Twitter!

Like them on Facebook!

Let’s Get Physical- Part One of the Food for Your Heart and Soul Series

18 Jan

Did you ever have to take that fitness assessment in high school following the guidelines from the President’s Challenge?

In the time leading up to my fitness test, I remember getting excited for it so I could show off my athletic skills to the class. Then, what I now call  dooms I mean test day came, I found out, hey, I’m not really athletic. Sure, I played recreational basketball and volleyball every now and again, but I never had an exercise routine that I followed. Honestly, I didn’t know that in order to keep myself healthy on the inside and outside as opposed to burning off a doughnut  per se, I’d be doing myself a favor to create one.

How the heck did I get started on an exercise plan? Over time, I was exposed to Pilates, group exercise classes, swimming, and cardio equipment at the gym. I always wanted to be on a sports team or be an elite dancer, but that never happened, and I saw this as a second chance.

I began college as an Education major and graduated with my BS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.

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Since my high school fitness assessment:

  • I can run several miles
  • I can do multiple push-ups
  • I sleep better
  • I have lower blood pressure
  • I feel and am strong

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Benefits of regular physical activity:

  • Strengthens bones and muscles- a preventive measure against osteoporosis!
  • Reduces risk of some cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease
  • Mood booster- one of the reasons I prefer to work out in the morning
  • Not to overwhelm you, 101 more benefits:

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Upcoming topics on the Food for Your Heart and Soul series include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating a weekly workout schedule
  • Breaking down resistance training
  • Gym terminology
  • How to fit in a workout when you’re crunched for time
  • Finding the right exercise program

I’m open to topic ideas. Please share if you have one on your mind that you’d like me to talk about! 🙂

If you’re interested in testing your fitness or for kicks, click here. Good luck!

How did you get into exercise? What’s your favorite kind of exercise?

Have a great weekend!

A Marvelous Morning Run

17 Jan

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My run day is finally here! I came to the point where I was dreaming of running outside. I imagined the weather, the songs I would listen to, the feeling of my body flying, and the adrenaline rush I would experience. It’s a miracle I did not suffer serious heart palpitations, but I did suffer from withdrawal.  This morning as I laced up my running shoes, I felt anxious, excited, and ready to get out the door. When I took my first strides, I inhaled and exhaled the fresh air and smiled as my feet took me along for the ride.

Today’s run motivation:

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Mileage: about 5.3 miles

I track my runs using the Google Map Pedometer.

Time: 52 minutes

Today’s Top Five Running Jams:

  1. Blown Away by Carrie Underwood
  2. Bleeding Out by the Lone Bellow (free on iTunes this week)
  3. Mumford and Sons- Little Lion Man- Thank you Alex@therunwithin!
  4. Fergalicious by Fergie (throwback!)
  5. Walking on Sunshine- Katrina and the Waves

Stretching:

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After my run, I did some lower body stretches, then when I came inside, I followed the YouTube stretch routine below. I can be so stubborn about not stretching at the end of a workout, even though it’s so important! I’m trying to get better at this!

Finish the run sentence

I run because… it makes me take a step back to appreciate the blessings in my life.

Blessings on my mind this morning:

My legs. I’m so thankful that I have legs to run, to walk, and to move me from place to place.

Being able to live in a beautiful county. On my runs, I feel like I can take in the scenery and appreciate it that much more. 

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It was a gloomy morning run, but my surroundings brought me some sunshine.

Fresh air. I’m thankful to live where I can go outside and take a deep breath.

Security. I’m thankful for food, having a plan for the next two or so years of my life, and a roof over my head.

I invite you to finish the sentence: I run because… or I exercise because…

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