Crossroads Fitness Blog

Fitness equipment or health club? Consider options carefully

January 24, 2017

It’s a new year and you want to get fit. Losing weight and eating right are at the top of your to-do list for 2017. But you’re also wondering on how the fitness piece is going to fit into your new healthy lifestyle puzzle.  

As with any project — especially one as important as your health — it’s imperative to carefully weigh your options. Will you purchase home fitness equipment and do it on your own or join a local fitness facility? It’s important to not only consider the pros and cons, but also your personality. The key to success is finding ways to incorporate your fitness routine into your life and remain committed. Asking some simple question could help you decide what’s best for you. How much do you want to spend?  How will you stay motivated to continue on your fitness path? Does your plan take into account  all the cornerstones of fitness?

Many retailers offer special deals on home fitness equipment at the beginning of the year. Finding equipment that will help you achieve your fitness goals is the first step. If you want to walk,  run or simply improve your cardiovascular conditioning, you might want to consider a treadmill. There are many cardiovascular exercise machines on the market, and each one offers unique features. There are so Quick read more or view full article many new-fangled fitness items you can buy that claim to target one specific body area. Remember the Suzanne Somers ThighMaster? Beware, though, of infomercials that claim, “This machine will do it all.”   

There are pros to home fitness equipment. On days when weather could be a detriment to getting to the gym, home equipment makes it easy to exercise. Home equipment can be convenient to use. Some people also like the idea of working out alone. But this can be a negative factor as well. Unless you’re good at motivating yourself, that newly purchased piece of fitness equipment could become an expensive dust collector or clothes hanger.  

And unless you purchase numerous piece of fitness equipment, weights and accessories, you might not be able to have the variety needed to combine all the aspects of fitness: cardiovascular, flexibility and strength.  

Meanwhile, there are many advantages to joining a local fitness facility. Variety tops the list. Cardio machines include treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent bikes, rowers, arc trainers and many more that track calories burned, distance and heart rate.

There’s also a variety of options from which to choose in building strength, including circuit weights, free weights, kettlebells and plate-loaded strength equipment.

Consider, too, the variety of group exercise classes available at a local facility, whether it’s yoga or Pilates to increase flexibility; strength classes using weights, such as Chisel and BodyPump; or cardio classes that include Kick-It, CIZE and cycling to get your heart pumping. There are also classes for different age groups and fitness levels. 

The most important factor of all to consider, though, is the relationship you establish with a local facility. When you join a health club, you gain an opportunity to meet other fitness enthusiasts. The staff, trainers and instructors are all there for  you. Because of their education, experience and passion for fitness, coaches become cheerleaders who inspire you each and every day to make you successful.

Whether you choose to buy home fitness equipment, join a health club or a combination of both, the most important thing is to make sure you exercise. Make time for yourself. Make living a healthy lifestyle a priority. Be healthy. Be happy.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

This year, set goals — not resolutions

December 20, 2016

We’re approaching a new year and the overwhelming tradition of resolutions. Jan. 1 of every year has become that day when we make our lists and proclaim this will be the year we change our lives for the better. Losing weight, breaking bad habits and saving money usually top the lists.  

Will your New Year’s list look like last year’s list? For most of us, it will be very similar. So why are New Year’s resolutions unsuccessful? Simply put, it’s because there’s no plan to follow.   

This year, don’t call it a New Year’s resolution list. Call it your goals list. The reason I encourage the change is this: Goals work. Goals mean action. Goals involve a plan. 

Most of us make a list for the grocery store or errands to run or create an agenda for a meeting. These activities have one thing in common — they detail what needs to be done and how we intend to do it. Whether you realize it or not, you set goals each day whether they’re written down on paper or compiled in a mental list in your head.

When you write your goal list for 2017, begin by asking yourself some basic questions. Why do you want to achieve these goals. How will it change your life if you do? 

The second step is Quick read more or view full article to prioritize the items according to what’s most important to you. Limiting a goal list to only a few items you’re really serious about will make it easier to devote the time and attention needed to make you successful.

Take one item at a time and turn it into a goal. Try using the SMART system when writing your goals:

Beginning with “S,” make your goal specific. You might write down your top goal is to “lose weight.” How much? 

The “M” stands for measurable. You have to be able to measure your progress. 

The “A” stands for attainable. Divide a big goal into smaller goals. Remember the joke about how to eat an elephant? The punch line: One bite at a time.

The “R” stands for reasonable. Many people set unrealistic goals. Create a goal you can actually see yourself completing.

Last but not least, the “T” stands for timely. Goals take time to achieve. You need to know how much time you’re willing to spend to achieve your goal. Most importantly, give yourself a timeline of when you want to achieve it.

Another important factor in realizing your New Year’s goals is accountability. Decide ahead of time each week what you plan to do. Take two group exercises classes, attend a strength-training class or exercise with a buddy, for example. Tell someone who’s close to you about your plan, then ask for help in keeping you on track.

Setting goals that follow the SMART plan and holding yourself accountable will lead to success. Planning and commitment make the difference between realizing the goals you want to achieve to enhance your life or waiting until January 2018 and putting the same items back on your list. Challenge yourself to set goals this year, not resolutions.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Take a step — 10,000 a day, in fact — to fitness

September 20, 2016

Of the many physical activities that improve our health, walking constitutes one of the most beneficial. Nearly everyone regardless of age or fitness level can participate in this simple exercise and enjoy the benefits of maintaining weight, improving heart health and enhancing mental wellbeing. Moreover, people tend to stick with walking, making it a life-long fitness choice. 

We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the goal. You might wonder where that figure comes from. Research indicates that isn’t a magic number, but rather a good indicator of how much activity a person achieves in a day. An inactive person takes about 3,000 steps or less per day, while 10,000 steps is equivalent to about 5 miles of walking.

Unless you work in a very active job, you probably won’t get that many steps in a day. To reach that goal of 10,000 steps, you’ll need to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, the minimum daily recommendation by health authorities. So 10,000 steps offers a simple way to measure movement.

You can measure your steps in a variety of ways. Many smart phones now have the capability to measure your activity if you have your phone with you. Pedometers also measure steps and come with a variety of options that not only measure steps, but also distance and calories burned. Fitness Quick read more or view full article bands offer the latest in technology to measure steps. Most of them are wrist bands that sync to a phone app and include many features to help you in your fitness journey.

Keep in mind you don’t need to measure your steps to be successful. The most beneficial aspect of measuring your steps is that you gain information. Being able to set a goal and track progress toward that goal is what’s really valuable.

There are many ways to get your daily steps in. Go for a walk, hike or run. Attending an exercise class will boost your step count quickly. Try a dance class or any other cardio-type class. You can even get steps taking a water class. If your step counter isn’t waterproof, you can count on an average of 2,500 steps during a one-hour class.  

Other ways to gain a few extra steps is to park away from your destination, take the stairs or take your dog for a walk. Without even knowing it, you’re increasing your step count and reaping the benefits. To increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism and burn more calories, try increasing the intensity of your efforts by walking on an incline or quickening your pace.  

 Another reason walking is an excellent exercise that’s easy to do and stick with is you don’t need a lot of special equipment.  All you need is a positive attitude and a good pair of sneakers and you’re on your way.

It all starts with a single step. Are you ready to step in and step up?

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Summer a season for fun and fitness

June 22, 2016

We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here.

 When most of us think about summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer offers many opportunities for staying active.  Be aware, however: Changing schedules also could present challenges to keeping your fitness routine on track.  

So what can you do to have the most fun-filled and relaxing — but also fit — summer ever? By all means take the family camping, fishing or hiking. Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors as well as family and friends. Just keep in mind that changes in daily routines — whether at work or having children at  home — could disrupt your exercise schedule. So here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost  the middle of the year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year in achieving your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas and not in others. You also could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe Quick read more or view full article you didn’t even set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. What will that goal look like for you? It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park. 

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days have some structure, including getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Stay busy. Without your filled appointment book, it’s easy to fall into a trap of being bored. Being bored goes hand-in-hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will foster a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day. But with longer daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, pursue activities the family already enjoys as well as try something new.

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. During these times, move your activities inside. Go to the gym or try bowling. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to take precautions. Wear sunscreen and/or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful sun rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks away moisture from your skin keeps you cooler as you perspire. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit in grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Beware of some of fun activities when it comes to the food associated with these events. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage our best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. This doesn’t mean you can’t have them —  just make them  an occasional treat.

Make summer a time to enjoy and stay fit. Write down your summer goal and strive to achieve it. Make the most of every day, and make this summer your best ever.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

What’s your reason for working out?

March 29, 2016

There are many reasons people work out, but finding the reason you work out is what really matters. The benefits of daily exercise and a healthy lifestyle are numerous. But why should you exercise? What’s important to you?

There’s an underlying reason, so take a moment to find out what that reason is for you. Once you have it in your mind, it’s much easier to work out because you have a reason to do so. After working for years in the fitness industry, I’ve discovered each person has his or her own reasons to live a healthy lifestyle each and every day. 

Here are some reasons with which you might be able to identify. Maybe one of these reasons fits you now or perhaps one will inspire you:

You’ll feel less stress. Life is full of stressful situations, from family to work and everything in between. Schedule your workout time so you don’t miss out. Take a mind and body class, such as yoga or Pilates. Pull in a deep breath and stretch tall. Don’t you feel better already?

You’ll make healthier food choices. It’s so true, especially if you exercise first thing in the morning. Knowing you’ve already exercised, you’ll want to continue your great start to the day. It’s much easier to make bad food choices if you haven’t taken the Quick read more or view full article time to exercise. 

You’ll become stronger. By exercising today, you’ll be one day closer to the stronger, amazing person you’ve always wanted to be. Tone your muscles with strength training. Begin by lifting light weights and build up.   

You’ll burn more calories. The key to any weight loss program is to burn more calories than you consume. Exercise in a variety of forms will allow you to burn more calories and, in turn, burn off pounds. By exercising, you’ll continue to burn calories for the day, long after your workout is over. 

You’ll feel happier. Exercise releases endorphins that help you feel happier. Exercise to your favorite music or take your pet for a walk. Smile as you burn those calories.  

You’ll feel more confident. Confidence comes from a variety of sources. When you feel and look your best, you naturally become more confident. Exercise, flexibility and a strong core all help to improve your balance and posture. So walk tall with your head held high. Smile in the knowledge you’re taking good care of yourself. This can’t help but radiate both inwards to yourself and outwards to others.

You’ll become more motivated. By exercising today, you’ll feel more motivated than ever to accomplish both your fitness and personal goals. Once you start seeing and feeling what exercise can do, there’ll be no stopping you.

You’ll become more mentally alert. Whether you’re studying for a class or focusing on your job, exercise helps to clear your mind and gives you more energy. Numerous studies have evaluated what contributes to workplace wellness, and the results repeatedly show employees who exercise are not only more alert, but also more productive.

Do something for you today. This is probably one of the most important reasons of all to exercise. Combine this reason with other reasons if you’d prefer, but do it for you. The funny thing about exercise is that it doesn’t matter who you are, no one can do it for you.  

So find your reason to work out and then do it. Nothing can get in your way when you decide what’s best for you and your health.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Fitness excuses don’t burn calories

January 27, 2016

With New Year’s resolutions perched on our shoulders, we can try to ignore them, shrug them off or embrace their presence.  We often take the path of least resistance when it comes to doing something we perceive as uncomfortable or a change in our lifestyles. We do this through excuses.  

There are many good reasons to exercise. We’ve all heard them, know them and agree with them. But what about the excuses for not exercising? While the excuses are different for everyone, here are some of the most frequent and the ways to overcome them:

“I don’t have time to work out.” This is the No. 1 reason why people say they don’t exercise. It’s true that many of us have a longer to-do list than time to complete it.  The solution takes work. Remember: There’s no other appointment more important than one involving you and your health. Exercising for 60 minutes constitutes only about 4 percent of your day.  If someone told you that spending 4 percent of your time each day would help you feel better, give you more energy, make you more productive at work and help you sleep better, wouldn’t you find time? Schedule exercise like you would any other important appointment you just can’t miss.

“I feel intimidated by fit people.” This is a normal feeling, one which everyone experiences when they start out. There are many people in your same boat. But it’s important not to fall into the excuse of trying to get fit before Quick read more or view full article you start at the gym. Contrary to popular belief, there are people of every size, shape, age and fitness level there. Go to a gym where you feel comfortable.  Start going regularly, and you’ll feel more comfortable in no time.  Stick with it. Anyone can become fit, but it takes time and effort. Set realistic expectations for yourself. Every day you exercise, you get closer to your goal. Remember: You can have results or excuses. Not both.

“I don’t know how to work out.” Walking into a gym and watching people go through their exercise routines can definitely make a newcomer feel wary. There are machines, weights and equipment that’s foreign to many people. The feeling of uncertainty is a strong human emotion. Knowing that everyone has to start somewhere can ease this feeling. Take a gym orientation class. Learn what options are available. Taking a group exercise class that appeals to you constitutes a great start. Most classes have modifications aimed towards your abilities and fitness level.  A personal trainer is another tool. They’re educated and devoted to helping people. Find one who can teach and motivate you to learn how to achieve your goals.  

“I’ve tried to exercise, but I keep quitting.” Ask yourself why? There’s a reason. Maybe you tried exercise and did too much too soon. Sore muscles can make it hard to keep at it. Try starting again, but slower. Some muscle soreness lets you know you’re working your muscles, and that’s a good thing. Perhaps you didn’t see results fast enough. I can guaranteed there were more results than you realize. Weight loss and toned muscles are a benefit of exercise on the outside, but so are a healthier heart and lungs on the inside. Life has its ups and downs can can sometimes get in the way of our routines. Just don’t let them sideline you for long.

 Getting fit isn’t a destination, it’s a lifelong journey. Get started on your journey. No excuses.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Fitness Trends for 2016

December 15, 2015
Every year the American College of Sports Medicine creates a list of what’s hot in the fitness industry for the coming year.  As with any business, trends are designed by the people who use the products and services.  What’s great about the fitness industry is that it not only gives new ideas on staying healthy and fit, but also adds a little variety that we can all incorporate into our lives.
 
A little history about fitness trends – they become an evolution.  Some ideas that are a century old have come back because the basic principals were good ideas the first time.  As we all know, the human body is still created the same.   Although, technology, physiology and education have grown by leaps and bounds, the basic need for movement has not changed.
 
Keep in mind the differences between a fitness fad and a fitness trend.  A trend is “a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving, whereas a fad is a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a brief period.” according the ACSM.  Remember the Thigh-Master®?  This is a great example of a fitness fad.  (I think I have one of those in the basement somewhere.)
 
Let’s get on with the results.  The fitness trends for 2016? Drum roll, please.  The number one trend is Wearable Technology.  This includes devices such as fitness bands, heart rate monitors and GPS Trackers.  The newest wearable technology is Quick read more or view full article the smart watch.  The reason these have taken the fitness world by storm, is that they provide immediate feedback.  This form of recording activity helps the user become more aware of their current fitness level and can help to motivate them to achieve their own fitness goals.    Another reason for being rated number one is in the fact that it can be worn by anyone at any fitness level. 
 
Body Weight Training came in at number two on the list, dropping from its number one spot last year.  Speaking of evolution, the basic principal is not new.  Using our own body-weight to create an effective workout goes back to the basics.  Think of the familiar exercises such as push-ups, lunges and squats and you are thinking about body weight training.   These types of exercises require little to no equipment and can be incorporated into many different types of workouts.   
 
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is ranked third.  This type of workout involves short bursts of exercise followed by a short period of recovery.  HIIT Training provides a dynamic workout with many health benefits and is performed in a short session, usually less than 30 minutes.  
 
 The next four fitness trends involve a personal trainer and / or strength training.  Hiring a certified personal trainer or other experienced fitness professional is on the rise.   Strength training is one of the main components of a fitness program.  The others are cardio and flexibility.  By working out with a trainer, you get not only the benefits of strength training, but an educated coach that is preparing a workout program to fit you and your needs, personally.  Functional fitness is also a trend that uses strength training and emphases balance and the movements required for daily living.
 
Other areas that made top spots for 2016 include weight loss, Yoga, and age appropriate fitness for older adults.
 
This list gives you the knowledge of what’s available to you.  Whether you are looking for a fitness facility or just getting starting in your fitness journey, it provides you options.  The number one goal of providing this information is for you to keep moving.  Whether it is a fitness fad, a studied trend or something new, finding fitness that you enjoy is the key.   Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Now’s the time to step up your fitness

September 22, 2015

There are so many physical activities that can improve our health, but walking offers one of the most beneficial ways to exercise. 

Nearly everyone at every fitness level and every age can walk. This simple exercise is filled with such benefits as improving heart health, enhancing mental well-being and maintaining body weight. Because of the simplicity of walking, exercisers tend to stick with it, making it a life-long fitness choice. 

We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the goal. You might wonder where that figure comes from. Research shows it isn’t a magic number, but a good indicator of how much activity in which a person is engaged in a day. An inactive person takes about 3,000 steps or less per day.  Five miles of walking is approximately 10,000 steps. Unless you have an active job, you probably won’t get that many steps in a day. To reach that goal of 10,000 steps, you would have to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, which is the minimum daily recommendation by health authorities. All in all, it’s a simple way to measure movement.

You can measure steps in a variety of ways.  Many smart phones now offer the capability to measure your activity if you have your phone with you. Pedometers also measure steps and come with a variety of options that not only count steps, but also measure distance covered and calories burned. Fitness bands are the newest in technology to Quick read more or view full article measure your steps. Most of them are wrist bands that sync to a phone app and have many features to help you in your fitness journey. Keep in mind you don’t need to measure your steps to be successful. The most beneficial aspect of being able to measure your steps is that it gives you information. Being able to set a goal and have that goal measureable makes it a valuable tool.

There are many ways to get in your daily steps. Going for a walk, hike or run or attending an exercise class will boost your step count quickly. Park our care away from your destination, take the stairs or take your dog for a walk. Without even knowing it, you’re increasing your step count and reaping the benefits. To increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism and burn more calories, try increasing the intensity of your efforts by walking on an incline or speed up your pace.  

Crossroads Fitness will host a 70,000-step challenge the week of Oct. 12 to 18. Participants will pledge to walk 70,000 steps in seven days, following the recommended 10,000 steps per day. You don’t have to be a health club member to join. Anyone can participate. Everyone receives everything they need to succeed:  a pedometer to measure steps, a 70,000 step challenge t-shirt, fitness pass, walking tips, events and seminars. Each participant who completes the challenge will be entered into a drawing for prizes. The challenge is $10 for Crossroads members and $20 for others.

Are you ready to step in and step up?

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Make fitness routines anything but

March 4, 2015

It’s been said variety is the spice of life, and there’s some truth to that statement. We all get into daily routines and do many of our tasks without thinking too much about them. We eat at the same time, go to work at the same time and take out the garbage the same day of the week.  

Sometimes people could hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s OK to like your comfort zone with its familiar surroundings, people and activities. Routines can be a very good thing in many situations. 

But what about your fitness routine? Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weights for every workout? Maybe it’s time to change that routine. Adding a little spice can turn what’s become boring into exciting and motivating.

Cross training offers one opportunity to add variety to your workouts. Cross training is simply combining two or more types of physical activities. 

There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is the motivational piece.  Keeping interested and motivated to exercise is important. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it.

Cross training also can help you burn more calories by using different muscle groups. In addition, you can reduce the risk injury by doing a variety of exercises —  participating in a high-impact activity like Quick read more or view full article running one day, followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day.

It’s simple to create a variety filled exercise program. To be successful, plan a complete workout that includes the three areas of physical activity: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility.  Under each area, write down what activities you like to do or would like to try.  Some activities fit under more than one area. 

Cardiovascular activities include running, jumping rope, riding a bike or even walking the dog. Strength training can include everything from push-ups to lifting weights to yard work. Activities that promote flexibility include stretching or yoga.

Changing a fitness routine can be beneficial in more ways than just eliminating boredom. It can help improve your fitness level. Our bodies are adaptive and get used to an exercise. It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once it has adapted to a specific fitness routine. Because of this adaptive nature, it’s important to keep our bodies guessing and mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do we go about changing our workouts?  Try something new. Often times we get our minds set onto what we “think” we can do and what we really could do if we only tried. If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give it up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging and not routine.  Remember, when changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.  

Once you choose your activities, plan them into your week.  Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find what really interests you.  Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Spice it up.

Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

This holiday, give the gift of fitness

December 17, 2014

Finding the perfect holiday gift for that special someone  presents a challenging task. Giving the gift of health and fitness is not only a gift they’ll love, but also a gift that keeps giving.  Whether you’re buying for a spouse, parent or friend that’s either a fitness enthusiast or beginner, here are some ideas sure to bring motivation and movement into their lives.

A fun way to share a fitness gift with your loved one is to join a gym together.  This gift will give you both unlimited resources to help attain your New Year’s fitness goals.  By doing this together, it’ll be more fun and hold you both accountable.  If you’re already gym members, try some personal or small group training.  This is a great way to get a jump start on their fitness journey.  It might be the gift they need, but wouldn’t buy for themselves.  You don’t have to be a celebrity to hire a personal trainer anymore. People from all walks of life — young to old, beginners to athletes — benefit from the motivation and knowledge you receive from a training class.

High-tech fitness gadgets top many Christmas wish lists this year. 

What does almost every fitness enthusiast love? Their music. There’s nothing better to help get through a tough workout than a great playlist. Some gift ideas incude music cards or a fun pair of ear buds or headphones.  

The sale of such wearable fitness gadgets as fitness bands is on the Quick read more or view full article rise. This technology not only measures steps, but activity, heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality. While different models have different features, the one common trait among them is the ability to create awareness of your physical activity and inspire you to make healthy changes. These devices are available in a variety of types, sizes, colors and prices.  

Heart rate monitors are another device that provides the wearer with important data that can be very beneficial in regular exercise. 

Still other technology inspired gifts include a multitude of available phone apps. Did you know you can get an app with GPS and record your runs or bike rides? There’s an app for almost every type of activity you can imagine. While some apps are free, others are available for a minimal cost. 

Another idea is a subscription to their favorite magazine that specializes in their sport or area of interest. Want to be an amazing gift giver? Give them a certificate for a massage after a hard workout.

On the eccentric side of gift giving, a little research will lead you to some unique healthy gift ideas. Did you know you can give a yearly subscription to have a healthy snack box delivered each month? How about a cap for runners with lights in the brim of the cap so they can see during a night run? Or a bike that folds up for city dwellers? The list goes on.

A fitness-inspired gift list would be incomplete if you were left unaware of the gifts NOT to buy. Readers of Fitness Magazine asked to chose the worst fitness gifts cited a diet book and a sauna suit. Remember those suits that made you sweat and looked like you were wrapped in foil? Of course, the No. 1 worst gift is a talking scale.

These are just a few ideas to help out with gift buying for the loved ones on your list. Christmas is followed by New Year’s that’s filled with resolutions on being healthy. Giving a gift that helps your loved one be healthier is a gift they will enjoy every day all year. Merry Christmas.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Kettlebells: Old device gains new following

September 23, 2014

Kettlebells might seem like a new fitness trend, but the concept is actually centuries old. 

This funny shaped weight resembles a cannonball with a handle and is often made of cast iron or steel. Kettlebells originated in Russia in the 1700s — although it wasn’t originally used for exercise, but rather for weighing crops. 

Kettlebells soon became part of physical training and conditioning programs throughout Russia and Europe, eventually making their way to the United States. Today, kettlebell training is used in gyms and fitness studios across the county.

To get a picture of what a kettlebell looks like, imagine a small bowling ball with a suitcase handle. This weight comes in a variety of sizes — from 

8 pounds to 97 pounds. They’re versatile, and most standard exercises can be performed with a kettlebell.  

Kettlebells offer advantages over barbells or dumbbells. This type of training is movement based, which means you’re using multiple muscle groups at the same time. This type of full-body conditioning teaches the body to work as one strong unit.  Another benefit of adding kettlebell training to your workout is that it saves time because you’re using multiple muscle groups at one time.

Kettlebells are good not only for only strength training, but also incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic — that is, with oxygen — is the same as a cardiovascular workout, like walking, swimming or bicycling. Anaerobic exercise — without oxygen — is a workout that is a quick, high-intensity exercise, Quick read more or view full article similar to a sprint. 

With the burst of energy needed to perform the exercises with numerous repetitions, it’s guaranteed to raise your heart rate. With increased heart rate and higher repetitions, you can add fat loss to the list of benefits. 

Allen Russell, a trainer at Crossroads Fitness in Grand Junction, talks about using kettlebells. “When used properly, kettlebells activate the kinetic chain — that is, the natural sequence in which muscles are designed to fire — very effectively. In addition to the strength benefits, research has shown that the physiological effects upon the body following the kettlebell swing make it an excellent exercise for anyone to perform.”  

In addition to many athletes, kettlebells appeal to people of all fitness levels and genders. Said Russell: “I find that kettlebells are easily adaptable across most ability levels, depending upon the exercise, to meet the specific individual needs of the majority of my clients.”   

There are many movements performed with kettlebells.  The most common is the swing. Other movements include clean, jerk, snatch and row. Because kettlebell training uses high repetitions, you should start slowly to build muscle strength and endurance.  If done improperly, the movements used in kettlebell exercise can be dangerous to those who have back or shoulder problems. Technique is very important in kettlebell training and should be taught by a skilled trainer to insure proper form. In-person instruction helps to maximize the benefits while ensuring a safe workout.

This “not so new” concept of kettlebell training has become the fitness rage. This training consists of advantageous benefits that include combining cardiovascular and strength training, increased balance and flexibility and weight loss. 

Kettlebell training is an effective and fun method of training to add to your workout.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Fitness bands: Get in step with technology

June 24, 2014

Fitness bands are the new fitness craze. Fitness bands measure not only steps, but also heart rate, calories burned and sleep quality. While different models offer different features, the one common trait is the ability to create awareness of our physical activity and inspire us to make healthy changes. 

By learning what some of the top-selling fitness bands track, why that could be beneficial to you and how to get started, you could be inspired to sport one on your wrist.

Jawbone, Fitbit and Nike+ rank among the top sellers of fitness bands.  Although similar in many ways, there are some differences to consider.  All three bands are user friendly and easy to learn to use.  They use wireless technology to send information to your electronic devices — phones, tablets and computers — and monitor steps and other activity. They’re all water-resistant, but not waterproof. You may enter personal information — including weight, height, age and goals. Creating teams of other users is a benefit, too.   

There are some significant differences to keep in mind, though. The Jawbone and Fitbit bands use the 10,000 steps to monitor, while the Nike+ band uses fuel points based on its own scale. 

If monitoring sleep is important to you, the Jawbone and Fitbit bands both offer this feature. The Nike+ band doesn’t monitor sleep.  

Some reviewers indicate they like the light emitting diode display, time feature and activity progress Quick read more or view full article display of the Nike+ band. Jawbone wearers like the ability to calibrate it for accuracy as well as the inactivity alerts, nap mode and “today I will” daily motivational goals. The Fitbit was noted for its weight tracking and the ability to change the color of the band.

Keep in mind these products are continually upgraded with better support and more features. Being an informed consumer will help you choose a band that fits your needs.  

We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the goal.  Research shows this isn’t a magic number, but a good indicator of daily activity. An inactive person takes about 3,000 steps or less a day. Five miles of walking is about 10,000 steps. Unless you have a very active job, you probably won’t get that many steps in a day.  To reach a goal of 10,000 steps, you’ll have to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes, which is the minimum daily recommendation by health authorities. All in all, it’s a simple way to measure movement.

Once you have selected your fitness band, you’re ready to get started. Here are few ideas to help you be successful.  

Establishing your baseline will help you realize how much activity you’re getting right now. Just put on the band and ignore it, going about your normal routine for the first few days. Once your baseline is set, you can establish some goals. Start out with attainable goals. If your baseline is 3,000 steps a day, increase that by adding 500 steps a day for a week. You can follow your data on most of these devices to see how you’re doing. The graphs can compare day to day and week to week, including time of day. Another important factor to consider when beginning your healthy challenge is to get teammates that will help hold you accountable and motivate you to help each other. Take the time to learn about the device. As with all technology, it might do more than you realize. Learn about all the features so you can enjoy the full benefit of the band.

Fitness bands offer another tool to help you stay fit and healthy. Any product that can increase awareness in movement and inspire healthy changes is worth giving a try. Not only are the  bands fun, but you also could find yourself out walking the driveway at 10 p.m. to get in those extra steps.

Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Health clubs offer healthy option for exercise

December 17, 2013
Looking forward to a new year almost always prompts reflection. Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle could make your list of resolutions again this year.   

There are many ways to improve health, but exercise tops the chart. Health clubs are a healthy option, but not the only option. Alternatives include exercising outdoors or having your own home equipment. The best option could be to combine all three.

Whether you’re joining a health club for the first time or have joined clubs in the past, many factors that come into play to make your decision a successful one.  Joining a health club won’t make you fit. What you do when you get there is what’s important.

Here are some essential factors to consider in making your health club choice.

Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey, a different stage in life and have personal obstacles to overcome. The first decision needs to be made before you enter a health club. Define your expectations and obstacles and decide what’s important.

Choose a club that makes you feel comfortable the minute you walk in. Take into consideration the friendliness of the staff and other members, the music and smells. Can you picture yourself there? Maintaining a consistent exercise program is a difficult task. If you don’t enjoy spending time at the club, your chances of a success will diminish. A health club should be more than just a building with exercise equipment. You need to Quick read more or view full article create a relationship with your club.

The other members constitute another important factor.  Look around when you tour a club and see if you can relate to the other members. Take a tour of the club at the same time you plan to use it. This will give you an idea of the type of members with whom you’ll be working out.  Ask members why they belong to the club, especially those who’ve belonged for a long time. 

Know what to expect after you sign on the dotted line. Is there a free introductory program that will help you get acquainted with your new fitness home? A brief tour of the club alone won’t get you started on the right foot. You should feel comfortable knowing what you plan to do on your first visit. 

There should be a variety of equipment options. Equipment should be clean and in working order. This will tell you the club takes pride in its facilities and maintenance is important. If you’re a runner, make sure the club offers high-quality, runner-specific treadmills. If you like to stretch, make sure the carpet is padded and clean. In fact, make sure everything is touchable.  

Variety in a club will not only add value to your membership, but also keep you motivated. Check out the schedule for group exercise classes. Learn who the instructors and personal trainers are as well as their credentials and teaching styles. Take time to watch a group exercise class or small group training session.

Choose a club that offers educational pieces, such as beginning classes, newsletters, seminars and workshops. The more you learn, the more engaged you’ll become.

Making a health club decision is an important one.  You need to find value, comfort, motivation and education.  When all these pieces are combined, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful relationship with your club and a healthy lifestyle.Looking forward to a new year almost always prompts reflection. Weight loss and a healthy lifestyle could make your list of resolutions again this year.   

There are many ways to improve health, but exercise tops the chart. Health clubs are a healthy option, but not the only option. Alternatives include exercising outdoors or having your own home equipment. The best option could be to combine all three.
Whether you’re joining a health club for the first time or have joined clubs in the past, many factors that come into play to make your decision a successful one.  Joining a health club won’t make you fit. What you do when you get there is what’s important.
Here are some essential factors to consider in making your health club choice.

Everyone is at a different point in their fitness journey, a different stage in life and have personal obstacles to overcome. The first decision needs to be made before you enter a health club. Define your expectations and obstacles and decide what’s important.

Choose a club that makes you feel comfortable the minute you walk in. Take into consideration the friendliness of the staff and other members, the music and smells. Can you picture yourself there? Maintaining a consistent exercise program is a difficult task. If you don’t enjoy spending time at the club, your chances of a success will diminish. A health club should be more than just a building with exercise equipment. You need to create a relationship with your club.

The other members constitute another important factor.  Look around when you tour a club and see if you can relate to the other members. Take a tour of the club at the same time you plan to use it. This will give you an idea of the type of members with whom you’ll be working out.  Ask members why they belong to the club, especially those who’ve belonged for a long time. 

Know what to expect after you sign on the dotted line. Is there a free introductory program that will help you get acquainted with your new fitness home? A brief tour of the club alone won’t get you started on the right foot. You should feel comfortable knowing what you plan to do on your first visit. 

There should be a variety of equipment options. Equipment should be clean and in working order. This will tell you the club takes pride in its facilities and maintenance is important. If you’re a runner, make sure the club offers high-quality, runner-specific treadmills. If you like to stretch, make sure the carpet is padded and clean. In fact, make sure everything is touchable.  

Variety in a club will not only add value to your membership, but also keep you motivated. Check out the schedule for group exercise classes. Learn who the instructors and personal trainers are as well as their credentials and teaching styles. Take time to watch a group exercise class or small group training session.

Choose a club that offers educational pieces, such as beginning classes, newsletters, seminars and workshops. The more you learn, the more engaged you’ll become.

Making a health club decision is an important one.  You need to find value, comfort, motivation and education.  When all these pieces are combined, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful relationship with your club and a healthy lifestyle.
  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

What does fitness mean to you?

November 21, 2013
Fitness means different things to different people and includes many components. There’s physical appearance and abilities, emotional well-being and factual measurements. Considered together, these offer a picture of personal health. Being fit isn’t something you can achieve and check off your list. It’s a lifelong journey during which we can always work on improvements.

Open a fashion magazine and you’ll see people who look like the picture of good health. Their bodies are slim and toned.  Their stomachs are flat. They beam with confidence. You could say they look “almost perfect.” Perfection is a dangerous way to look at being fit, however. Most of us aren’t models and will never look like that, so being the best we can be is a better way to define a fit body. A person might be skinny, but lack muscle or cardiovascular fitness. The admonition not to judge a book by its cover holds true in determining a health you.

Achieving emotional fitness is one of the most important components that make up how healthy you are.  We all have our ups and downs, but how happy are you overall?  Starting each day grateful, happy and engaged will lead to a healthier life. Prioritizing what’s important and not compromising those values will create a healthy habit and emotionally fit mind.
Before you start comparing yourself to a fashion model or competitive athlete, consider where you’re starting from. No Quick read more or view full article one starts out as an amazing athlete. It takes time, focus and hard work. It also takes a lot of time and consistency to be good at something. Determine what you want to be able to do. For some, it could be to compete in a triathlon. For others, it could be to play with grandchildren. Consider your abilities as well as your limitations. Remember that you could be able to do more than you think, but you won’t know unless you try.

Tools are available to help measure fitness. Heart rate offers one way to measure cardiovascular fitness. The healthier the heart, the quicker it returns to its normal beat. The less healthy the heart, the longer it takes to recover from a workout. Measure your heart rate right after the exercise and then two minutes later. Has your heart rate returned to normal?

There’s always that good — or awful — scale, depending on your mood. Our weight says a lot about how fit we are, but doesn’t give us the entire picture. Another tool is measuring your body mass index, an estimate of body fat. BMI is calculated according to your weight and height. The higher your BMI, the higher your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. Although it has limitations, BMI can be useful in determining how fit you are and gives you actual numbers with which to work.
Yet another tool is to take physical body measurements. These measurements include upper arms, chest, waist, hips, thigh and calf. Be sure these measurements are taken at exactly the same spots each time. These measurements will help you determine not only weight loss or gain, but also toned and increased muscle mass.

Although not very scientific, my favorite way to measure fitness is through the clothes in my closet. When my favorite pants fit better, I smile.

Fitness is as individual as you are. You’re a unique person with many aspects to your life. There’s no better feeling than the feeling of being healthy and fit. You don’t have to have the perfect body or be an all-star athlete to consider yourself fit. But remember: Don’t settle for less than the best for you. Read Less

Small changes in exercise can result in big changes in fitness

October 23, 2013
By definition, change means to make something different. But many people don’t easily accept change. We all like the idea of comfortably remaining within the confines of the familiar. 

So how do we make changes that improve our lives? Breaking down a big objective into small steps to change, address or achieve something is much easier and often more successful than trying to make major changes. This theory applies to so many things in life. The same holds true for health and fitness. Instead of making huge changes, think of enhancing your daily routine with small changes that you can live with. 

Last month, I wrote about making small changes through nutrition. This month, I want to talk about making small changes through exercise and activity.

Get in your cardio exercise — it’s recommended you log 150 minutes per week.  You can break that down so it becomes do-able with 30 minutes of cardio five times a week.

If you’re short on time, try Tabata training. Tabata training offers a form of high-intensity interval training that’s great for burning calories. A traditional Tabata session lasts only four minutes. You could perform a Tabata session on an elliptical trainer.  You go for 20 seconds at your maximum and recover for 10 seconds. You repeat this session eight times. This is a small change, but can yield big results. Try it for one Quick read more or view full article of your cardio workouts this week.

Include strength training in your fitness routine.  The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to complete many of your daily activities. A big plus for weight training is that it increases your metabolic rate and causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. Try adding an extra day of strength training.  Shoot for two to three days a week. When selecting a weight, it should be heavy enough that you feel the muscle working, but light enough you can complete the repetitions. Continue to challenge yourself by adding a little more weight or repetitions as you become stronger.

Don’t forget flexibility. By keeping your muscles long and lean, you’re improving your range of motion as well as your posture. Try a yoga or Pilates class. A little change could mean you stand up from your work chair and reach up high to the sky.
Make a conscious effort to get in just a little more activity.  Park a little farther away from work or the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Put on your tennis shoes and go for a walk at lunch rather than going out for a high-calorie meal. 
Measure your workouts not only in terms of minutes, but also exertion. Wear a heart rate monitor. Figure out your target heart rate, and this will help you to reach your goals. Sometimes you might feel you’re working hard when you actually not. Use your workout time for maximum benefit.

Take the big picture of exercise and break it down into smaller parts. Ask yourself which of these tips could work for you.   These tips offer just a few ways you can easily make small changes in your exercise routine. By making small changes, you’ll amazed at how big the results can be.

Keep life fun. Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Ready to overcome obstacles? Races offer opportunities

July 3, 2013
Have you heard about the events in which people race up a mountain, crawl through mud and jump over fire? It’s called obstacle racing, and its gaining popularity at a rapid pace. Last year, more than a million people in the United States participated in an obstacle racing event. This new sport is not for the faint hearted, though: It takes some serious training, determination and endurance.

Obstacle racing involves more than just running a race. Participants run from one obstacle to another.  These obstacles vary from event to event, but often include obstacles similar to ones used in military training, like rope courses and wall climbing. Swimming through a pool of ice, climbing a hay bale stack and crawling through a series of pipes are unique to obstacle racing events. Each event varies as to the distance of the course and degree of difficulty.  

An event called the Tough Guy claims to be the first official obstacle event with its origin in 1989. Two of the most well-known races — the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder — both began in 2010. The Warrior Dash is a 3-mile event with 12 obstacles. The race offers a competitive, yet also fun and social event. Designed by British Special Forces, the Tough Mudder is a 10- to 12-mile course with many obstacles. This hard-core event is not technically a race, however. Not everyone completes the course.

Why are these obstacle races so appealing to athletes?  There are Quick read more or view full article many reasons. These events are team oriented. A group of friends get together and train for months. Many have matching clothing to designate their team spirit.  “It’s a way to set a goal you can accomplish with your friends,” said Suzanne Hatch, who just completed her second Tough Mudder. “We are competitive, so we push each other. There are obstacles that we have to work as a team to complete.”

Athletes like these events for other reasons as well. Some like the idea of doing something different. There are always such traditional races as a 5K, triathlon or biking event. But the appeal seems to be competing in an event in which participants push themselves almost in a war-like setting and cross the finish line covered in mud. There’s nothing boring about an obstacle race.
“It was a real eye-opener,” said Lisa Carroll, who has completed two Warrior Dash races. “It’s quite an accomplishment to finish.” 
Although obstacle races aren’t for everyone, most people with the desire to participate can train and do it. Training for an obstacle race involves strength, speed and endurance. Running is the main activity of the event. John Ball, a certified personal trainer at Crossroads Fitness, helps his clients by bumping up their cardio workouts to train for such an event. “I include running stairs, doing line sprints and mountain climbers in their routine,” he said.

Total body strength training is also important. The “burpee” is a favorite training exercise used by race participants. This exercise engages the lower body, core and upper body in one fluid movement. Concentrating on balance and strengthening the core helps with many of the race obstacles. Health clubs offer a boot camp exercise class that could include some forms of obstacles, just on a smaller scale, that would be helpful during training. 

If obstacle racing seems like a sport you might want to try, check out the different races available in the area. Choose one that best fits your activity level. Round up some friends and start training. 

Who said grownups can’t climb monkey bars and play in the mud? Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Put the weight-loss pieces together

February 21, 2013
Your New Year’s resolutions very likely included weight loss. It all sounded so easy on Jan. 1. You were so excited, committed and motivated. Now, weeks later, some of the excitement has worn off. Even with the best plans, weight loss constitutes a difficult endeavor for everyone. So how do you stay on the right path to fulfill your goal?

Keep in mind that weight loss is a multi-faceted goal. That’s what makes it so difficult. You get set in your ways, and making changes can be tough. Successful weight loss involves nutrition, exercise, motivation, time and a specific mind set.  Here are some tips to help you in each area:

Nutrition goes hand in hand with weight loss. It’s your fuel for everything you do. In simple terms, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. Although it’s not actually that simple, try to think of it as “good” choices versus “bad” choices. Choosing to eat an apple is a better choice than eating a cookie. Be sure to drink plenty of water.  Sometimes you’re just thirsty rather than hungry. Eating several small meals a day will help prevent becoming so hungry you snack and binge. The best tip of all?  Be careful of mindless eating — eating while on the telephone, in front of the television or in your car. Those are the calories that add up. Instead, take the time to enjoy the foods you’re eating.

The exercise portion not only Quick read more or view full article aids in weight loss, but also the numerous health benefits. Strive for a cardio workout to raise your heart rate. This strengthens your heart and burns calories. By adding strength training to your exercise regime, you’ll gain muscle. Remember that muscle burns many more calories than fat. Not only will you be burn more calories, but you’ll also become more toned and look better. 

Creating your goal was the easy part. Sticking to it is the hard part. Staying motivated EVERY DAY can be a challenge.  Try a few of these tips to help keep you engaged. Consider weighing yourself once week and making a log of your progress. Tell others close to you what you goal is and share your ups and downs with them. This will help keep you accountable. Write down a motivational quote every week and put it on your mirror where you can see it daily. Keep that goal in front of you. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Weight loss is a time-consuming process. That’s why it is important to plan out your weekly meals in advance. Shop and cook on the weekends to prepare for your week. Write down your exercise classes and workout times in your daily planner. Schedule them as if they’re an appointment you can’t miss. Make time for yourself. This goal is important to you, so make it happen. You make time for what’s important.

Reaching your weight-loss goal is a mindset. You’re the only one who knows how important it is to you. The reasons behind your weight-loss goal are unique to you. Maybe it’s your self-image, a special event or health issue. Make sure you remind yourself everyday why you’re doing this.

By putting all the pieces together, you’ll be successful not only in losing weight, but also creating a healthy lifestyle that will stick with you for life.
Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Include the four cornerstones in your fitness plan

January 23, 2013
Achieving a healthy and fit lifestyle involves more than just a few minutes of exercise here and there. A complete and balanced fitness plan includes four elements considered the cornerstones of fitness: cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and nutrition. When you incorporate all these elements into your fitness plan, you’re on your way to success.
Cardiovascular exercise: Cardiovascular exercise simply means you’re performing an activity that raises your heart rate. Cardio exercise is important. It not only strengthens your heart, but it’s also one way to burn calories and help you lose weight. Another benefit of cardio exercise is that it increases your lung capacity. It helps reduce your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes. It releases endorphins into your system to help your mood and makes you feel better. It aids in better sleep and reduces stress. Some ways to achieve cardiovascular exercise include cardio machines, playing racquetball, brisk walking and dancing.
Strength training: Strength training is an important part of an exercise plan. With a regular strength training program, you’ll increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.  You naturally lose muscle mass with age. If you don’t replace the lean muscle you lose, your body fat eventually increases. You might hear people say they don’t lose weight the way they used to. Strength training is essential at any age. It helps you develop strong bones.  It reduces your risk of injury. It can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, Quick read more or view full article back pain, osteoporosis and diabetes. Did you know that a single pound of muscle burns between 30 to 50 calories a day as compared to a single pound of fat that only burns two to three calories a day? Some ideas for strength training include lifting weights; attending a group exercise class that includes weights, such as a BodyPump class; and functional fitness training that uses just your own body weight.
Flexibility and mind and body exercise: Flexibility is important because having flexible muscles allows your body to move easily. When your muscles and joints are able to have full range of motion, you have fewer limitations to your activities.  Reaching, bending and twisting are all movements made possible by flexibility in your muscles. Flexibility also helps maintain good posture. Stretching is often the most overlooked part of an exercise routine, but one of the most important. By stretching after a workout, you minimize muscle soreness. You can achieve flexibility a number of ways:  taking yoga or Pilates classes, using stretching machines or simply stretching on the floor.
Nutrition: The best laid exercise plans won’t be successful without a nutrition plan.  The fuel you put in your body is just that — fuel. Remember the old adage, “You are what you eat?”  Everything you eat and drink is part of your nutrition.  Nutrition is usually referred to as your eating and drinking lifestyle habits.  Keeping a daily food log is the first step to eating correctly.  Knowing exactly what you’re eating each day will help pinpoint the areas that are working and those areas that need improvement. This is so important, especially if weight loss is the goal. Healthy, natural foods should be the base of your diet and nutrition program.
Understanding and implementing the four components to a complete health plan is essential. Refer to it as a box. You need all four corners to make the box complete. After you create your box, watch and see what amazing things can happen. This box will become you: complete, strong, fit and happy.
Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Fall a fine time for fun and fitness

October 24, 2012
As the seasons change, it’s no longer summer, but not yet winter. Fall can be a time when exercise routines can waiver. It becomes too cold to continue with many of the summer activities you enjoy. You might even get a little blue realizing summer has come to an end and your favorite activities are over for awhile. But fall brings with it many other opportunities.

Here are a few tips to keep you active and ready to embrace this beautiful season:

Take it outside: Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the beautiful Grand Valley. With so many options to choose from — like mountain biking and hiking — there’s no reason not to get out and enjoy the scenery of vibrant colors.

Go exploring. Hike a new trail or visit a park. Raking leaves or doing some fall outdoor yard work is a great way to get the heart pumping, Spending time out in nature and the fresh air does wonders for your mind as well as your body.

Layer your fall clothing: Learning proper fundamentals of layering for fall and winter activities can mean the difference between comfort and misery. It’s important to layer while exercising in chilly weather. You might feel cold at first. Then, as your body warms up, you might feel overdressed.

Follow the three-layer rule. The first layer next to your skin should be made of a moisture-wicking fabric, often called DriFit. This fabric wicks moisture away from Quick read more or view full article your skin so you don’t feel wet and cold.  The second layer should be a warmth layer and the third layer a protective layer, such as a windbreaker or something water resistant depending on the weather. Don’t forget your sunglasses.

Don’t be blue: Many of us get the winter blues as the weather gets colder and the days get shorter.  It might be tempting when waking up in the dark to hit the snooze button on the alarm, but don’t. With less sunlight, you might want to avoid the blues with increased Vitamin D.  Eat foods rich in this vitamin, such as fish, egg yolks and mushrooms.

Remember that exercise releases endorphins that enhance a good mood and feelings of happiness.

Watch the treats: By some estimates, the average American gains between 5 and 9 pounds during the holiday season that begins at Halloween and continues through New Year’s Day.

Halloween is a time when you stockpile bags of candy from the store for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters could come to your door.  The day after, leftover candy offers the kids a sugar source that will surely fuel unhealthy eating habits into the holidays.

Then, people just put off losing weight until their new year’s resolutions. Remember that Halloween is just one day.

Plan ahead for the holidays: Take out a calendar early. Like now. Mark off time for exercise each day. Schedule a little exercise between things on busy days — 10 minutes is better than nothing.

Keep your goals in mind throughout the holiday season. The time you allow for yourself through exercise, sleep, nutrition and organization will make the busy season more manageable.

Remember to eat right and buy healthy snacks.  Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll start after the new year.”  This is really saying you’ll find an excuse no matter what time of the year. There’ll always be birthdays, parties and special events.

Enjoy the change of seasons. Fall is a perfect time to keep fitness routines on track. Instead of using the cooler weather as an excuse not to exercise, try using it as an excuse to exercise. Read Less

Yoga combines peace, power & the positive

September 2, 2012
 Learning to balance life, with calmness and positive thinking is what yoga is all about. Yoga means “to join or yoke together” the body and mind into one experience.  Practicing Yoga dates back over 5,000 years. It combines three main areas: breathing, exercise and meditation.
    Breathing techniques are taught on the concept that breathing is the source of life in your body. The exercises in yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems and promote total body health and well being.  The meditation part is learning how to quiet your mind. This silent time is to help heal from the outside stresses of life.
    There are over 100 different schools of yoga. The most common type and the one that most people associate with is Hatha Yoga. This is an easy to learn form of Yoga that combines physical movements and postures, with breathing techniques.
    Another type is Bikram Yoga that includes muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss.   This type of yoga is performed in a 95-105 degree environment. This promotes flexibility, detoxification and prevention of injuries. Warm Yoga is a similar type, but in a warm environment, not so extreme in temperature.
            Power Yoga is a practice that combines stretching, strength training and meditative breathing. Many of the poses resemble basic calisthenics, such as push-ups, handstands and side bends.  The pace of this type of yoga is much faster. Each move flows into the next without pausing. Although there are Quick read more or view full article many more forms of yoga, these give you an idea of what is available. Many instructors will use different forms of yoga incorporated into one class.
            Yoga can be practiced by most adults with varying degrees of abilities. There are some advanced classes that are not suitable for people with physical limitations from injuries or pregnant women. Always ask your doctor before engaging in an exercise program; however, there are special classes that incorporate yoga into a work-out with modifications. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and always listen to your own body.
            Taking your first yoga class, you can expect to enter a low-light room with soft music. You should wear  comfortable clothing. You don’t need special shoes; actually, most people are barefoot. You will have a mat, and props, such bands, blocks, and blankets. Your instructor will tell you how and when you may use these.    
            At the end of each yoga class most teachers bring their hands together in front of the heart, bow their head and say “Namaste” and the students bring their hands together and respond back. The definition of Namaste is “I bow to you”.
            The benefits to practicing yoga are numerous. Some benefits include flexibility, strength, posture, and improved breathing. Many people will say that they are too old or unfit for yoga. The truth is, you are never too old to improve flexibility. It stretches not only your muscles but also the soft tissues of your body, including ligaments and tendons. Nearly all of the poses in yoga build core strength in the abdominal muscles. With this stronger core strength comes better posture. You also become more aware of your posture in daily activities. 
            Most forms of yoga concentrate on breathing.  Learning to deepen or lengthen your breath will stimulate relaxation. Yoga also has mood and concentration benefits.
            I’ve had people tell me that they want fun and exciting group exercise classes — not one that is quiet and serious. Is yoga serious?  It really is.  It’s serious in this way.  Taking concentration to stretch your muscles, focus on your breath and clear your mind.  It’s harder than one might think, and it does take practice.
            If you are already a “yogi” then you understand all this. If you’re not, hopefully this helped answer some of the questions you may have had about yoga. Challenge yourself to try a few classes for a couple weeks and see if you don’t feel what amazing qualities you can attain from this form of exercise. Namaste!    Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Turning Olympic inspiration into perspiration

July 25, 2012
The 2012 Summer Olympics are upon us. It’s a time when the country comes together to watch and cheer for the athletes. It’s natural, too, to be inspired by their dedication to their sports, their talents and their competitive spirits. Watching these athletes can be motivating for each of us, whether in competitive sports or personal self-improvement.
Thinking about what you want is actually similar to how Olympic athletes achieve their goals. The philosophy is quite simple. Set a goal, make a plan to achieve it, work hard, follow your plan, allow for some setbacks, stay focused and you will succeed. It works.
Many children become inspired by the Olympics. Watching such event as swimming or gymnastics makes them desire the excitement of winning and cheering fans and also gives them role models to follow in pursuing athletic dreams. I remember tuning into the 1976 Olympic Games and watching Nadia Comaneci compete in gymnastics and score her perfect 10. My goal: to do a cartwheel. Although I wasn’t learning gymnastics at the time, I was convinced I could do it. Practicing in my basement — and after many bruises from running into furniture — I did it!
The Olympics also teaches us the fundamentals of many sports. Even if we’re unaware and unknowledgeable about a sport, viewers enjoy an opportunity to learn. We become familiar with these impressive athletes as they swim, cycle, fence and row their way to the podium. Sports that are featured in the Olympics seem to Quick read more or view full article have an increased following and participation.
It’s interesting how we relate to the athletes when we learn their stories. Often times we are inspired when we learn about an athlete’s personal journey to the Olympic Games. Many athletes have had to overcome hardships. The path to get to the Olympics isn’t easy. Stories give us an opportunity to relate to athletes as real people. They’ve had to overcome many of the same issues we have when trying to achieve our own fitness goals, including motivation, injuries and time restraints.
Inspiration can help us to identify and achieve our goals. They might be goals we’ve had for some time or maybe we’re inspired to create new ones. It could mean that you work a little harder in your exercise routine, lift a little more weight or run a little faster. Successful goals are very specific and measurable.  And there’s no feeling like successfully achieving YOUR goal.  Succeeding and winning doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work and dedication. One of my favorite quotes comes from college basketball coach Bobby Knight: “The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win.”
Watching the Olympics doesn’t just inspire pride, it also inspires motivation. This is a time when we’re more motivated than ever to turn inspiration into action. The Olympics also inspires many of us to live healthier lifestyles.
Take the time to cheer for our athletes, but also think about your goals. What’s holding you back from being the best you can be? Jump off the couch and maybe try a cartwheel! Read Less
Posted by Paula Reece
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Beat the heat with summertime fitness strategies!

June 29, 2012
We wait all year it seems for summer to arrive.  Ahh . . .  now it’s finally here!  When most of us think about summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer brings forth many opportunities for staying active.  Be aware, however, that changes in schedules can also prove to be a challenge when keeping your fitness routine on track.  What can you do to have the most productive, fun-filled, active and safe summer ever?

Warm weather allows many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities. Take the family camping, fishing or hiking. Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game; both in which to participate and to be a spectator.  Part of summertime fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you are with.  

During the summer months, your normal schedule may be altered, whether through work or just having the kids at home. These changes can also contribute to changes in our daily routines, such as your exercise schedule. Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:
  1. Make a summer goal!  It’s almost mid-year.  Ask yourself how you have done so far this year on your New Year’s Resolutions.  You may have succeeded in some areas and not in others.  You may need to re-evaluate the goals you have set to make them more realistic and attainable.  Maybe you didn’t even set goals.  This is a great time to start.  Try setting a different goal.  Call it Quick read more or view full article “summer 2012.”  What will that goal look like for you?  It may be trying a new sport, learning to swim, or visiting a National Park.
  2. Stick to a schedule!  Make sure your summer days have some structure — like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times, like exercising before breakfast, for example.
  3. Stay busy.  Without your filled appointment book, it’s easy to fall into a trap of being bored.  Being bored also goes hand in hand with low energy.  Filling your days with stuff to do will gain you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day, but with longer daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out.  Whether you are taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities that the family already enjoys along with trying something new. 
  4. Manage the heat!  Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable.  During these times, move your activities inside.  Go to the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling.  When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to be safe.  Wear sunscreen and / or a long sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful sun rays.  Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too! Clothing that wicks away moisture from your skin keeps you cooler, as you perspire.  One of the most important items to keep you safe is water.  Stay hydrated!
  5. Eat Healthy!  This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruit that line the grocery stores. Beware of some of the fun activities we’ve mentioned, when it comes to the food associated with these events. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can sabotage our best laid plans of staying fit through the summer.

            Make summertime a time to enjoy! Write down your “summer 2012” goal and set it in action! Make the most of everyday and make this summer your best ever. Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

High tech fits in your fitness regimen

May 30, 2012
You don’t need equipment, music, or computer related devices to be healthy. Exercise even in its simplest form is good for you. However, technology continues to change the way we do things, the way we work, and the way we play. This technology has also spread into the field of health and wellness.  There is new equipment, gadgets, and programs, as well as, new ways that we communicate.

          “Communication” technology relates to how we get our information. Speaking as a health club owner, finding ways to continue to motivate, teach and educate remains high on our priority list. With one-third of Americans falling into the obese category it’s important to get the message out on proper exercise and nutrition. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or more of a couch potato, you probably are influenced by the technology of smart phones, I-pads and electronic devices. These “tools” can help simplify a fitness program.  Scheduling work-outs, recording your weight and keeping a food log are just a few ways to use technology to your benefit. Communication technology for fitness also includes social networking. It is here that you can participate and talk with others about health issues. And it can become a motivator and help you feel like you are a part of a group with similar interests.

            When setting a fitness goal, technology has made getting results more quantifiable. It seems that there is some kind of a gadget that will measure just about everything. A Quick read more or view full article heart rate monitor is one such gadget. These monitors measure, not only heart rate, but fat burning zones, calories burned. You can even track your results on-line. Fitness equipment plays into this technology. You can get on a piece of equipment, for example an AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer®) by Precor. With this machine you can go from short to long strides, walking to running, and climbing to lunging. In addition, you can monitor speed, time, heart rate and more. Remember when all you did was step on a treadmill and press “start?”

            As technology advances, so does our desire to be entertained. Fitness now comes with entertainment. Small personal viewing screens adorn many pieces of cardio equipment. With so many channels to choose from, it’s hard to get bored. I-pods for music and Kindles for reading accompany many people during their work-outs. You can now buy an mp3 player and headphones for use while swimming!

            We, as humans don’t really like change. However, it does become necessary in many facets of life. Even if we don’t want to play along, it’s nice to know what is available and you can make the choice. High tech has made exercise more fun.  Enjoy the benefits that high-tech gadgets and equipment can provide. A healthy lifestyle can’t be obtained without you participating. Be inspired by motivational people. Engage in something that makes the connection for you. Embrace this time of technology, but remember healthy bodies and happy lives still need the human touch!  Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

What has you thinking about spring?

April 25, 2012
What do you think of when you think of spring?  I asked a number of people to say three things that came to mind when they were asked this question.  Some of the answers include:  backyard barbeques, hiking, flowers, warm weather, spring house cleaning, vacation, golfing, and the list went on.  So what did I think of?  I usually include many of these in my answer but this year is different. I have had to step back after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer last summer. 

   As a feature columnist for health & wellness, I decided to write my column from a different perspective this month.  I’m not going to tell you the importance of exercise and healthy eating.  We already know that, right?  I have been asked many times how this experience has changed me.  It has indeed changed me physically, but more importantly, it has changed the way I view things.  Instead of resisting change, I now embrace it.

     Spring is a time of change.  It is a time of renewal. It’s a time to enjoy outdoor activities.  Living in the Grand Valley, our “backyard” is filled with opportunities.  I am amazed how many things there are to experience.  Spring is the perfect time to think about all our senses and how we can embrace this season of change.

            Think about sight!  The grass is getting greener, the trees are filling with leaves and the sky is blue.  The Colorado National Monument stands Quick read more or view full article proud, as the Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa outline our city.  Watch some evening as the sun sets and how beautiful these formations look constantly changing with the lowering sun.

            Listen to the birds!  Listen to children laughing! Ask how someone is doing and really listen to their answer.  The art of practicing yoga or meditation allows your mind to focus on your senses.  We live in such a hurried, over stimulated world it can be hard to teach your mind to slow down.  Spring is a perfect time to stop and listen.

            Feeling my head as my hair is beginning to grow back is honestly not something I EVER thought I would feel.  Pet your dog! Put your hand in the cool water of a stream. Walk barefoot through the grass. Hug someone you love!

            Our sense of smell is heightened in the spring with the blooming buds, plants and flowers.  The calming effect from lavender is my favorite. Savor the smell of a home cooked meal.  Enjoy the fresh scent after a rain shower.

            Patiently awaiting the arrival of fresh fruits and vegetables, I can almost taste them!  Biting into a fresh peach or cob of corn is worth the wait.  I remember helping my grandparents with their huge garden in Wyoming.  At the time I thought it was so much work.  Now, it’s a cherished memory.  Take the time to enjoy every bite of your next meal.  Be grateful.

            As the seasons change, we move from winter to spring.  With that change comes about changes in weather, activities, plans and priorities.  Take the time to think about your life and what is important to you.  Embrace the change of seasons by taking the time to become aware of your senses. What does spring means to you? Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Dream on, but with a good night's sleep

February 25, 2012
When did sleep become such an important health issue facing so many people? I don’t remember a time as a child when I couldn’t sleep. I do remember not wanting to go to bed, like most children, but actually climbing in bed and not being ABLE to sleep – it didn’t happen. I didn’t lay there staring at the ceiling with a list of things that I didn’t get done that day. I’m not sure when it changed, but that cloud of thoughts now lingers above my head. It includes not only what I didn’t get done today, but also, what needs to be done tomorrow.

There are many reasons why you may not be sleeping well. Stress may top the list for many people.

Sleep is so important to the well-being of your body and mind. Without it, you are unable to concentrate on your work and you can become irritable and fatigued.  The feeling of being rested and fresh gives the world the “best you.”

There are so many things you can do to help insure you a good night’s rest. One way is to create a “sleep hygiene”, which is a routine that you do each night before bed. It prepares your body and mind for a good night’s rest.  Part of this routine is to make your sleeping environment comfortable. Be aware of the temperature of the room and the lighting, keeping in mind that this is where you wind down. Balancing your Quick read more or view full article checkbook or even watching television should not be done in bed as it causes you to be alert. Pet lovers may even consider having pets sleep in another room. Although I do not take my own advice on this one; my snoring golden retriever does affect my sleep.

Other parts of your nightly sleep hygiene can include wearing comfortable pajamas, brushing your teeth and washing your face.  Anything you do to prepare your body and mind for sleep will help you to unwind.  “You need to be able to shut down your mind and clear your thoughts.” suggests Crossroads Fitness Yoga Instructor Rhyssa Ferris, during one of her relaxation and restoration workshops, “There are distractions all around you. Learning to concentrate on your breathing and not letting your mind wander will help.”

There are other tips to help beat insomnia that may require changing your lifestyle and some of your behaviors in order to sleep better. Try to wake up at the same time each day. This consistency will help your body begin to know when it’s time to sleep. Another tip is to avoid consuming stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Also, some medications can cause a restless night’s sleep. In addition, eating and drinking right before going to bed activates the digestive system and can keep you up.

Another remedy for insomnia is exercise.  By exercising regularly, you can improve your sleep, both in quality and duration. It is important to exercise at least three hours before you plan to sleep. Engaging in Yoga or other mind and body exercises can also teach you relaxation techniques that can be practiced when trying to improve your sleep habits.

Most adults need seven to eight hours a night of quality sleep. It’s during that time that we relax and rejuvenate our bodies. Sleep is so important for your health and well-being, your concentration and your mood. By trying to improve your sleep hygiene and creating healthy habits, you will be sleeping soundly in no time. Your “to-do” list will wait until morning! Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

New Year's Resolution Road Map

January 25, 2012
If you are the person who is out running at 5:00 am every morning, this article is not for you.  If you are the person who eats nutritious meals every day, this article is not for you.  However, if your New Year’s Resolutions include any part of living a healthy lifestyle, read on.

Every January, people across the country make New Year’s Resolutions.  The number one item is, not surprisingly, to lose weight.  Over the years, I have learned that this is a recipe for failure.  Why?  It doesn’t identify anything about how you plan to change your routine, your mind-set, and why it’s important to you.  I’d like to help you learn about making resolutions with solutions, so that you can actually be successful.  People often fail because they did not identify what it is they actually want to accomplish when it comes to their health. 

Let’s treat this like a journey, not a destination.  It’s not something you achieve and cross off your list.  Some important items to help make you successful include:  creating specific goals, planning a road map and preparing for those bumps and wrong turns that may occur along the way.   Creating your goals is the first step.  It is also the most important step. 

Keep in mind that you are creating YOUR goals.  They are individual, like you.  Don’t let anyone tell you that there is a one-size-fits-all solution.  I have found that a helpful plan when making your goals is Quick read more or view full article using the S.M.A.R.T. program.  It stands for Simple-Measurable-Attainable-Reasonable-Time.  Here’s how it works.  Take the New Year’s Resolution of “losing weight.”  Using this program, this goal now becomes “I will to lose 10 lbs. by March 15th.”    Now, ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?”  Your reason and motivation is just as important.  Maybe your goal is because your doctor suggested it for health reasons or maybe there is an important event coming up that you want to look and feel your best.  Whatever the reason, make sure that you want to achieve this goal for YOU.  It becomes a commitment to you.

The next step is planning a road map.  How are you going to get there?  Think of it like jumping in the car and taking off.  Would you ever consider taking a road trip without knowing where you are going?  Your road map is the map to the success of your goals.  Taking the goal of losing weight; decide what needs to be done to start on the right path.  Divide your goal into smaller parts; for example, nutrition and exercise.  Taking the time to plan healthy and nutrition meals and snacks is essential in losing extra pounds. 

When starting an exercise program, start slow.  Believe it or not, exercise can be fun.  Try a group exercise class or start walking on your lunch hour.  By doing activities you enjoy, you will be more apt to continue to stay on the path of your goal.  Write down what you plan to do each day and stick with it. Starting an exercise regimen every January and stopping it every February can become a habit.  That is why many times the same New Year’s Resolutions show up on the list year after year. 

The path towards successful goals is also filled with bumps and detours.  There will be times when you fail to follow your plan.  You many chose to eat the buttered popcorn at the movies, the toffee leftover from Christmas or both!  Try not to fall into the trap of feeling like you have failed and just quit altogether.  It’s only a slight detour.  Start again the next day, not the next week, but the next day.  There will be many times that you feel like quitting, but nothing tastes or feels as good as it is to be healthy!  Remember that you don’t cross off living a healthy lifestyle; instead it becomes part of your life.   Enjoy the journey!
Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Finding comfort in your health club choice

December 21, 2011
 Going places where we are familiar, doing things that come easy, being around that someone special with whom you can totally be yourself – All forms of comfort! So when you think of comfort, do you think of a health club? Honestly, walking into a gym or health club for the first time can be intimidating. 
            When you are looking for a health club home there are many factors you may consider to help you choose the right one.   There are obvious reasons such as location and amenities.  Let’s also consider some of the “not so obvious” ones:  what they represent, programs they offer, and the member experience.
            One idea is to do a little homework before you go into a health club.  Call them ahead of time and see how you are greeted.  A friendly and knowledgeable voice which invites you to come to their business leaves a positive impression.  Check the website and see what they offer.
            Location is important to many people, but not always the most important.  If the club is too far away from home or work, you may find yourself using the “excuse card” and not going.  The amenities need to fit your activities and lifestyle.  Amenities may include weights, group exercise, pool, racquetball, locker rooms and /or childcare.  Make sure that the club has what you currently like to do or need in a health club.  Extra amenities are nice, so you have the option to try something new!
            Quick read more or view full article Try it first.  Before making a commitment, see if it feels right to you. Find a health club that offers a “free” trial or a money-back guarantee policy.  Then, actually go in and work out a couple times.  By actually using the club, you can tell how well it is maintained and cleaned.  Ask yourself if everything is touchable?
            One of the most important pieces of advice – Meet the members!  Nothing tells you more about a place than the people who are there using it.  Moms who take their little ones to the Kid’s Club are very careful with whom they leave their kids.  Ask the person next to you on a cardio machine about their member experience.
            Your member experience begins with the first phone call. The salesperson should be concerned about YOU and your wants & needs.  Not everyone joins a health club for the same reason.  If you are new to exercise, see if the club offers an orientation program to get you started.   Maybe you want to hire a personal trainer.  Ask for trainer bios, certifications and training specialties.  Finding the right match for you will help in your success.
            Our members tell us what’s important to them.  They find comfort in coming to a place numerous times a week to find their favorite activity in a clean environment.  Hearing their name when they walk in the door, visiting with friends, getting motivated & energized by a workout from an instructor who really cares about their needs, is what it’s all about.  Choosing a health club where you feel at home, becomes familiar, fits your needs, where you are welcomed – that’s comfort! Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Preparing for fun winter sports

November 4, 2011
The leaves are beginning to change colors and the days are getting shorter. While some people look drudgingly at swirling leaves, others are filled with anticipation as their favorite winter activities draw closer. 

It is very important for winter sports enthusiasts to train and do specific conditioning exercises before hitting the snow because, due to the spring and summer off-season, muscles may need time to adjust. Starting off the season with an injury would definitely put a damper on the fun. It’s important to do sport-specific conditioning to reduce the chance of injury and aid in performance and enjoyment of the sport.

Skiing and Snowboarding  Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills including strength, flexibility, endurance, agility, and balance. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while making quick adjustments while skiing or boarding in uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are used for skiing and snowboarding. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga would be a good complement to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain better balance, and improve overall flexibility.

Sledding  Some people underestimate the difficulty level of even the most basic of winter sports. Sledding is often viewed as child’s play, but it is a fun activity for all ages. However, just pulling your sled up that big hill is a fitness feat that often gets overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening exercises Quick read more or view full article can help prepare for a day of sledding with the family. Playing in the snow can be very beneficial to your health. Your quality time spent in the health club doing your winter sports conditioning will be well worth it when the first snow falls.

Cross-Country Skiing  This is a great cardiovascular workout! Like most cardio-related sports, endurance training is a must. To prepare for this fun winter sport, train with your favorite cardio exercises that are appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical is a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level.

Ice Skating  Balance is a really important factor in participating in ice skating. Whether it is figure skating or a hockey game you enjoy, without balance, there would be no skating. Depending on your level of expertise, flexibility would also be beneficial. Hockey players need to be flexible and agile, as well as graceful figure skaters. Bosu® balls would be a great training tool to warm up those muscles that have been hiding, while also improving balance.

Winter may be the most awaited season of the year. There are so many activities to partake in, so being physically ready will make for a fun season. Taking time to condition and prepare for the season will help us to not miss out on the fun adventures of the many sports activities that entice us, entertain us, and of course keep us fit.
Read Less
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>
  • NORTH
  • 2768 Compass Drive
  • Grand Junction, CO 81506
  • 970-242-8746
  • Fax: 970-241-4030
  • DOWNTOWN
  • 225 N. 5th Street, Suite 18
  • Alpine Bank Building
  • 970-241-7800
  • Fax: 970-241-3532
Crossroads Fitness ©
North: 970-242-8746
Downtown: 970-241-7800