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Women’s Health Blog for Baby Boomers and Seniors Who Want to Lose Weight and Use Exercise as Medicine for Lifelong Wellness

New Year, New You

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New Year, New You

The beginning of a new year can be the perfect time to make changes and start down the path to a healthier life! Making permanent changes can be difficult though. Here are a few tips that can help ease the process. Just do it – Commit today to get started, don’t wait for the timing to be perfect. Likely, the ideal conditions will never materialize. Make at least one small change a day that will lead to a healthier you. For example, skip the chips at lunch and eat an apple instead. Add the stairs in place of taking the elevator. Hop off the couch for squats during commercial breaks. Working on small changes on a daily basis will lead to big changes in the long run. Don’t beat yourself up – If something doesn’t go your way, forgive yourself. Don’t make your goals so rigid that there’s no room for life’s interruptions. Missing one day or one step shouldn’t throw you off target. For example, if your goal is one 5k per month, and you’ve missed completing a race in January, don’t quit. You can still aim for 12 races a year. However, it may be necessary to complete two in another month or to slightly extend the time period in order to accommodate your ultimate goal. Find rewards that motivate – Incorporating the right incentives are an important component to achieving goals. If your goal is a healthier you, don’t allow your rewards to sabotage your success! Consider rewards such as a new outfit to accentuate the new, stronger you. Or, take a cooking class that will teach you new ways to prepare healthy foods. Using rewards wisely will help to reinforce all of your hard work and keep you headed toward success. Change may not be easy, but it is possible. You can be healthier and happier starting today! If you’d like help getting started, contact me. I can help you establish realistic goals and keep you on track toward your health and fitness...

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Last Minute Gift Ideas

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Last Minute Gift Ideas

Wondering which gear, gizmos, or gadgets to get your health-savvy friends this holiday season? After taking a quick, anonymous poll, this is what I found: Fitbits and fitness trackers are still the most requested. Tools to track calories burned and steps taken (plus much, much more) are popular. There are a wide variety of options available, such as the Fitbit or the Jawbone. For more info on these devices, and more, click here. Bonus option – buy one for yourself and a friend and start a friendly competition! If you know a swimmer, waterproof music playing devices top their list. There are some cool choices for listening to tunes while in water. One company takes iPod shuffles and waterproofs them. Another has a device that allows you to hear audio via bone conduction. Whichever you choose, this gift will be the coolest of the season! You can’t go wrong with exercise equipment. The most popular piece of equipment on my informal poll? Kettle bells. Kettle bells can be used for multiple exercises and come in a variety of different weights. Need some kettle bell workout inspiration to include in the package? Try these exercises. Workout clothing is a safe bet. If none of the items suits your gift giving tastes or fits within your budget, consider giving some workout clothes. To any fitness buff, there’s no such thing as having too many tech shirts, warm up jackets, or running socks! Get extra points by having some fun. Find t-shirts, headbands, or arm warmers with your exercise buff’s favorite inspirational quote or saying. Wondering what to say? Try starting...

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A Sedentary Lifestyle Is Bad For Your Health

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A Sedentary Lifestyle Is Bad For Your Health

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to numerous diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer1. Common treatments for these ailments often include prescription medications. A simple, but underused, treatment is available – exercise! Regular exercise has been found to be a powerful ally in preventing or correcting these illnesses. Recent studies support that “exercise is potentially similar to many drug interventions in preventing early death in patients with coronary heart disease, who have heart failure, who are recovering from stroke, and in preventing diabetes.“ However, physicians have been slow to prescribe exercise to improve their patients’ health. Even the ancient scholar Hippocrates2 realized the connection between exercise and overall wellbeing. He wrote, “eating alone will not keep a man well; he must also take exercise. For food and exercise work together to produce health.” Aside from the numerous diseases that exercise can prevent or correct, it is also essential for maintaining weight control. But, more importantly, the more we exercise, the less likely we are to die of numerous causes. With this much evidence to support the health benefits of exercise, it’s curious as to why it’s not the leading prescription in the nation! While it wouldn’t be wise to stop taking your prescription medications without the consent of your physician, it’s important to discuss what exercise can do for your health while you are with your doctor. By regularly incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle, you can reap all of the wonderful benefits of exercise – including less stress and more happiness. If you’d like to discuss exercise as medicine in more detail, please contact me. I’d be happy to help you realize the benefits of regular physical activity! Would you like to read more about exercise as medicine? Consider these articles: 1Exercise is medicine and physicians need to prescribe it! Exercise as Potent Medicine Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study Exercise Is Medicine: An Rx for a Better America 2Exercise is Medicine: A Historical Perspective...

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Food as Medicine

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Food as Medicine

The food we eat plays a vital role in our overall health. We need vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order for our bodies to function as intended. Unfortunately, the food we consume is frequently chosen because of time constraints and convenience rather than for the vital role that it has on our wellbeing. Caroline Denton, a contributing writer for Taking Charge of Your Wellbeing, a program based at the University of Minnesota, says, “One of the breakthrough concepts from the Human Genome Project is that ‘genes in and of themselves do not create disease. Only when they are plunged into a harmful environment unique to the individual do they create the outcome of disease.’” As we consume more unhealthy foods, we often look to modern medicine to combat the associated toll on our bodies. But, scientific research increasingly supports that eating the right kinds of food can fight numerous diseases and provide a higher level of wellbeing. The more that we refine or process foods, the fewer nutrients they contain. Sadly, many of the foods that we choose for ease of consumption are highly processed. Choosing more whole foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and natural proteins can make a difference in how our bodies operate – for the better! Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients. These healthy components help prevent numerous dire health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. Whole grains have many of the same nutrients that are essential to normal cell function – vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, whole grains have been found to actually assist in controlling weight (instead of the often cited beliefs to the contrary). Proteins help our bodies regulate numerous systems such as insulin regulation and hormone development. They also are a key source of amino acids. Consuming more on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and natural proteins really can help provide healthy environment within our bodies. The essential ingredients that minimally processed foods provide are essential to our health and can prevent our need for many artificially manufactured medications! To learn more about how food can be used as preventative medicine, give me a call! I’d be happy to discuss the powerful combination of food and exercise in your journey to better health.   Photo courtesy of herbmother and licensed under Creative...

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Make Your Metabolism Work for You!

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Make Your Metabolism Work for You!

Looking to slim down before the New Year? Sometimes, your metabolism just needs a kick start! Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. Many factors can affect your metabolic rate, including gender and age. You’ve likely heard that your metabolism slows as you age. However, that’s not necessarily the case. As we age, we often slow down our activity levels. As our activity decreases, so does our metabolism. By keeping active, you can help combat the effects of age and gender. Here are key ways to build your body’s fuel burning capacity. Increase EPOC (excessive post oxygen consumption) by doing the following: Opt for high intensity cardio intervals over continuous exercise Choose high intensity strength training over cardio for EPOC Research has shown that resting metabolic rates are higher in individuals with more muscle. Your activated muscles will help you burn calories throughout the day. Metabolic rates stay elevated longer with higher intensity workouts, so don’t skimp on your effort level! Keep an eye on how often you eat and drink. It’s important to stay hydrated, with water. Water is essential for your cells to process nutrients properly. Consuming at least eight glasses a day is recommended. Eat small meals, more frequently. By eating every 3-4 hours, you will help keep your metabolism active throughout the day. Consider black coffee for a short term boost. Or, choose green tea for a longer-lasting metabolic pick-me up. Choose more proteins. Your body requires more energy to break down protein-rich foods than it does for carbohydrates or fats. If you’d like to learn more about how your exercise and diet choices effect your metabolism, give me a call. I’d be happy to discuss how you can get the most out of your...

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Preplan to Combat Holiday Weight Gain

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Preplan to Combat Holiday Weight Gain

With all of the holiday stress, extra food lurking around every corner, and the added emotions of the season, you may feel that gaining weight is inevitable. But, it doesn’t have to be! A little preplanning can go a long way in helping to prevent holiday weight gain. Consider these tips to keep your calories in check: Investigate the reasons for emotional eating. Are you feeling sad, lonely, depressed, stressed, or overwhelmed? If so, look for resolution to these problems outside of food, even if it’s only one small step. For example, write a letter to an out-of-touch friend or sign on for an extra project at work to challenge you over the holidays. Be proactive. If you know that you’re going to be in places with lots of food, consider eating healthy, fresh meals before leaving your home. That way, you won’t be as tempted to make poor food choices at the event. Or, bring a healthy dish for sharing to the party, so that you don’t have to guess what you’ll eat when you arrive. Set yourself up for making smart choices at the gathering. For example, choose a smaller plate. This will help give the appearance of plenty of food without having large portions. Also, avoid drinking your calories and consuming the often empty calories of processed foods. Make sure to get plenty of sleep! With all of the stress and increased activities associated with the holidays, sleep is often the first thing to go. But, this is very hard on our bodies and minds. So, help yourself feel better by getting plenty of rest. If this seems out of the question, consider re-evaluating how you’re spending your time. Could any of your to-do items be temporarily delegated to other family members or outsourced to a personal shopper or concierge, for instance? Keep active! With the increased demands on our time during the holidays, keeping a regular workout routine can be difficult. However, it’s even more important to commit to getting “real” exercise sessions in during this season. If time is an issue, consider altering how or where you work out. For example, if you’d normally drive to the gym, but find yourself pressed for time, moving your workout to the living room temporarily might make more sense. Or, if you have extra family in town, make your workout a group activity and find ways to exercise together! If you’d like to plan now to avoid holiday weight gain, let me know! I’d be happy to help you establish realistic goals and workout routines that will fit your busy...

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Fall Fitness Fun

Posted by on in fitness, fun, motivation, Personality, training, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Fall Fitness Fun

This Fall can be the perfect time to add some spice into your fitness routine or kick start your training program! Here are some ideas to get you moving: Many continuing education programs start new sessions in the fall. Explore the schedule – you might be surprised at what you can find for very reasonable prices. For example, many sites offer aerobics and kickboxing sessions, but depending on the location’s facilities, you may also be able to find basketball or racquetball, to name just a few! If you have children, chances are your evenings are very hectic. Consider walking the field around your child’s activity instead of sitting down. Take some time when they’re engaged to get in a quick workout at the nearby gym. If your child’s practice is within a reasonable distance, ditch the car, and take the bikes instead! Now that the weather is cooling, take time to explore the outdoors! Jacksonville is the perfect place to enjoy nature. With miles of hiking and biking trails located throughout the city, you can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere when you’re only minutes from home. (For more information on local parks, click here. Up for a bit more adventure? Check out Florida State Parks here. Try something new! Colleges aren’t the only ones that like to begin new courses in the fall. Many gyms and recreational facilities also begin sessions as well. Have you always wanted to take a ballet class? Now might be the perfect time. Fall into shape with me! Start now on your 2015 new year’s weight loss goals and simultaneously ward off the dreaded holiday weight gain! Sign up now for 8 fall sessions with me and receive a bonus mini-personality assessment/consultation. Designed to help you learn how you like to work out based on who you are! If you’d like a personal trainer to help you navigate through your workout options, please give me a call!   Photo courtesy of Doub Caribb and license under creative...

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Is Your Workout Helping You Function?

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Is Your Workout Helping You Function?

Functional exercises give your body the type of training it needs to make everyday activities safer and easier. It prepares us for common movements that we encounter during our daily lives – at home, work, and sports. Most functional exercises are designed to target multiple muscle groups at one time and also help build core strength. When you think about activities you participate in every day, rarely is a single muscle group used. Most tasks require upper and lower body movements in order to be accomplished. For example, vacuuming involves coordinating muscles in your legs, back, shoulders, and arm. By doing exercises in your workout sessions that increase your strength in these areas, you’ll experience fewer injuries and enjoy a higher quality of life. Functional exercises are particularly important to consider as you age. Over the long-term, they can help improve balance, agility and muscle strength, as well as reduce the risk of falls. Functional exercises can be done at home or in a gym, in individual or group sessions. Yoga and tai chi often work well to improve functionality because they involve numerous movements that focus on both strength and flexibility.  Numerous pieces of exercise equipment, such as kettle bells, weights, and fitness balls can help too. Whether your overall goals include playing more games of basketball with the kids or completing more household chores with less muscle soreness, functional exercise is for you! If you’d like to activities that will help prepare you for easier living, contact me. I’d be happy to discuss the specific benefits of adding functional exercise to your workout...

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One More Brainy Reason to Exercise

Posted by on in fitness, Happiness, Health, motivation | 0 comments

One More Brainy Reason to Exercise

Numerous posts within this blog have discussed the many benefits of exercise. In addition to eliminating the need for medication, exercise can relieve stress, improve your mood, and keep your body moving better for many years to come. More and more research over the last several years has also looked at the benefits of exercise on reducing or preventing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.  Findings support that exercise is the best action to take now to prevent or delay this dreaded memory affecting disease in the future. In fact, according to an article published by Mayo Clinic researcher Dr. Ronald Petersen, “Regular physical exercise is probably the best means we have of preventing Alzheimer’s disease today, better than medications, better than intellectual activity, better than supplements and diet.” The reasons to exercise are clear – better physical and mental health in the short- and long-term. What’s holding you back from getting the most out of your workouts or from starting an exercise routine? Contact me today. I’d love to help you maximize all of the benefits that exercise has to...

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Reality Check: 2014 Running Resolutions

Posted by on in fitness, motivation, Running, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Reality Check: 2014 Running Resolutions

How are your resolutions for 2014 coming along? Did you promise yourself (and others) that you’d run a ½ marathon this year? Well, the good news is, there’s still time! Hal Higdon’s novice ½ marathon training program is 12 weeks long. Beginning your new routine this week or next will give you exactly the right amount of time to run in Jacksonville’s Thanksgiving Day (November 27th) Subaru Distance Classic Half Marathon. If that option feels a little too ambitious, you have another local race before the end of the year! The Jacksonville Bank Marathon and Half Marathon will be held on Sunday, December 28th. Whether these great Jacksonville races fulfill one of your New Year’s resolution or just end your year on a high note, I hope you run strong! If you’d like to learn more about how strength training and running go hand-in-hand, give me a call! I’d love to help you optimize your race...

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