Archive | August, 2016

How Often Should I Be Working Out?

29 Aug

How_much_is_enough_logoIsn’t this always the question?  Is it too much?  Is it too little?  Am I on track or do I need tweak my routine?  How many days should I workout in order to actually make a difference? Should I be doing cardio or strength training?  What about those rest days? Many of us have certain ideas in our heads about what works best to keep us “in shape” and what does not.  Luckily, science has come to the rescue with a surprising conclusion!

Exercise scientists have researched this topic thoroughly and have determined the following:

“A minimum of three days per week, for a structured exercise program. Technically, you should do something every day, and by something I mean physical activity — just move. Because we’re finding more and more that the act of sitting counteracts any of the activity you do.”

Scientists also found that there was a huge difference between working out for two days and working out for three.  With three days, we see significant gains early on and you want to keep progressing from there. With two days, we don’t get the stimulation in our systems in order to see much change at all.

Here’s the key:  If you’re looking to maintain your fitness level, your magic number of days depends on how active you already are. For example, you’ll probably see results from one day a week if you don’t already work out at all. But if your body is used to six days a week, one day probably won’t cut it for you.   Three days a week is the minimum number that you should at least be doing some sort of workout.

The breakdown varies depending on your specific goals, but in general, four to five days a week is the IDEAL number if you’re simply aiming to improve your fitness and stay in shape.  This is what your routine should look like:

  • Full five, three days should focus on strength training, two days should focus on cardio, and two should be active rest.
  • If you only want to (or only have the time to) work out four days a week, think about your goals: If you want to add muscle tone, cut a cardio day. If you want to improve endurance, skip a strength day. Or, switch it each week.
  • If you’re going for three days, two should be on strength training, one day should focus on cardio – but make sure to try and do something active for the other days, such as going on a brisk walk during lunch or after dinner.

Own your workout!  No one else can do it for you.  See you at the Studio!  

~Dayna
PX Front Desk

 

Article Sources:
-Business Insider (www.businessinsider.com)
-US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health (www.nlm.nih.gov/)
-Self (www.self.com/fitness)

 

 

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Exercise Your Stress Away!

22 Aug

breakupWith our busy lives, long commutes, and urgent work emails and phone calls just one button push away, it’s no wonder most people walk around in a state of chronic stress.  For parents, school is now underway which includes a whole other level of stressors on top of it.

Symptoms of this stress can include aches and pains, tension headaches, stomach problems, irritability and an all-around melancholy. Sound familiar?  Thankfully, we have an easy antidote to our daily stress – it’s effective, cost efficient, you can find a place to do it pretty much anywhere and it’s completely natural.   You guessed it – we’re talking about EXERCISE.  It’s one of the best universal remedies out there, and if it’s not a part of your daily life, you’re missing out.

The physical benefits of exercise—improving physical condition and fighting disease—have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.

What does exercise do for you and your body? 

  • It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
  • It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.  So what types of exercise are the best?  Let’s break it down:

Cardio (High Energy Activities)

The benefits of aerobic exercise — like running, dancing, spinning, circuit training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) — include an increased heart rate. When your heart rate is accelerated, your body releases endorphins, natural opiates that make you feel good with no side effects. High-energy activities help you feel better physically and mentally. Just be sure to check with your doctor before starting any high-intensity workouts.

Yoga

Yoga, an excellent stress-relief exercise, involves a series of moving and stationary poses, or postures, combined with deep breathing. A mind-body exercise, yoga can strengthen your body’s natural relaxation response and bring you into a healthy balance. For stress relief, do gentle yoga or yoga for beginners — popular “power yoga” classes may be too intense if your main goal is to ease stress.

Pilates

Pilates, a series of controlled movements and mat exercises named after their creator, Joseph Pilates, is designed to build your strength, flexibility, and endurance — all of which make practicing Pilates, an anaerobic (as opposed to aerobic) exercise, a great stress reliever. Pilates also tones your body, which in turn helps you look good and feel better.

Kickboxing

Kickboxing is a powerful means of reducing stress. It involves controlled punching and kicking movements carried out with discipline. You can get quite a rigorous workout in a kickboxing class, and that’s only one of its excellent benefits. Kickboxing regularly will help improve your balance, flexibility, and coordination. It’s also a great way to work out frustration — having an outlet to release energy and anger can relieve stress.

Outdoor Routines (Take It on the Road)

Long-distance running, biking, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities provide a change of scenery and a dose of fresh air, both of which can help clear your mind.  Also, outdoor settings such as mountains, a biking trail, or a neighborhood park are pleasant places to spend time in. Beautiful settings can lift your mood and shake up your workout routine.

Stress will always be a part of our lives, but we don’t have to let it control us!

~Dayna
PX Front Desk

Article Sources
-Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)
-Everyday Health (www.everydayhealth.com)
-Anxiety and Depression Association of America (www.adaa.org)

Everyday Calorie Burn Made Easy!

15 Aug

keepcalmandburncaloriesHere we are already – middle of August.  Kids are going back to school and we’re getting back to our routines… right?   It’s a common thought that when school starts, parents have more free time.  While that may be the case some of the time, we know the reality of this can be a little more difficult.   Transportation, after school activities, homework, meals, and conferences (to name just a few things) can hamper a steady workout routine.

You do the best you can – and knowing how awesome you are, you probably still make it to the Studio at least 2-3 times a week.  But what about that in between time?   Here are just a few little ways to exercise and burn more calories without taking up any more time to actually workout!  

Work while you prepare for your day.
Brushing your teeth or your hair? Putting makeup on? It’s so easy to turn these daily rituals into low-key workouts. Stand on one leg while you do them! If you’re feeling adventurous, maybe even try some squats. Two minutes of teeth brushing + two minutes of squats = an estimated 11 calories burned.

Power walk everywhere.
Pick up the pace while walking can do a lot. Five minutes at a slow pace will burn about 13 calories, while the same amount of time at a brisk pace will burn 20 calories. Bonus: It’ll make you look super important.

Wherever you drive to, park far away.
Make sure you aren’t running late by planning ahead of time. And remember, an extra 10 minutes of quick walking can burn around 41 calories.

Take the stairs, NOT the elevator.
If you have regular access to stairs, this trick is simple and extremely effective. Just five minutes of stair climbing will help you burn around 48 calories.  Climbing stairs is also a great workout for your legs and glutes!

Only make phone calls when you’re in motion.
Is that your mom calling? Best friend?  Take it outside and go for a walk while chatting or consider pacing around your apartment. A 20-minute call while walking at a moderate pace will burn about 71 calories.

While grocery shopping, use a basket instead of a cart.
This trick is especially useful if you’re on a heavy duty grocery shopping trip. The more you have in your basket, the more of a subtle workout you’ll get. Carrying a heavy basket of food for 20 minutes will burn about 64 calories – just make sure you switch arms to get an equal workout on both sides.

Wash your dishes by hand.
Seriously!  Some of us don’t have a choice, but if you’re going to be doing this chore anyways, it’s nice to know you’re getting an extra benefit from all of that elbow grease—10 minutes of general cleaning will burn about 32 calories.

Stand Up.
Much attention has been paid recently to the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time. While many of us work wholly sedentary jobs, we can usually find excuses to stand and walk around more often.  A lot of workplaces will even accommodate a standing workstation!   Make sure to leave for lunch (even if it’s just for a few minutes) to stand up and walk around a bit.   Power walk if you can!   The simple act of standing instead of sitting may help you burn 20 – 50 more calories per hour, depending on your size.

Own your day!

~Dayna
PX Studio

Article sources: 
http://www.livestrong.com
http://www.myfitnesspal.com

 

Rehydration Smoothie – Green Style!

8 Aug

If you haven’t noticed – it’s summer!  And it’s HOT.  Of course, that isn’t enough to keep us from the Studio, but the combination of the hot weather, outside activities, and keeping up your exercise routine can leave your body dehydrated and tired.   Here is a great recipe for keeping your body hydrated and healthy while on-the-go!  I prefer to drink one of these after my workout AND if you’re using it as a meal replacement, go ahead and add about 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats for a boost of fiber, thickness, and energy sustainment. Cheers!

GREEN-STYLE HYDRATION SMOOTHIEgreensmoothie

-1 celery stalk
-1 small frozen banana (if you don’t want the sugar, substitute a handful of berries)
-half of a small avocado
-1 large handful baby spinach or kale
-1 tbsp. plant-based protein powder (I prefer hemp protein powder for texture)
-1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
-1 cup coconut water (you could also use almond milk, soy milk, or just plain water here)
-juice of half a lime
-a few mint leaves, optional

In a high-powered blender, blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Chill if desired. This smoothie is best enjoyed the day it is made!  I like splitting it into two portions and enjoying one in the morning and one in the afternoon for a boost!

Serves 1-2

Remember:  You only have one body – treat it that way!  🙂 

~Dayna
PX Studio

 

 

 

Fitness At Any Age!

1 Aug

o-FITNESS-FORECAST-facebook

An active lifestyle is important at any age – helping boost energy and immunity, manage symptoms of illness, pain and stress, as well as helping your memory, mind and mood. Exercise is key to healthy aging, but what do you need to focus on during the different stages of your life?  Follow this guide and be consistent!

During Your 20’s
Create your fitness foundation!  As we get older, we naturally lose muscle mass and bone density.  Starting a strength-training routine (such as pilates) now will help your body cope with the losses later on in life.   Keep it up 2-3 times a week.  Add a few cardio workouts in between and you’ll reap additional benefits – keeping your heart healthy and keeping extra weight off!

It also key to establishing good coping skills – shedding life’s stressors in a healthy manner with exercise instead of sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine.  These skills will make it easier in the long run to stick with your fitness routine.

During Your 30’s
Round out your exercise routine!  Cross-training is a great way to prevent imbalance and injuries.  For example, a swimmer might add cycling and running to the lineup, which will ensure a good mix of upper and lower body workouts. It’s critical that your fitness regimen also include balance and flexibility exercises to loosen tight muscles, preserve range of motion, and prevent falls—which is important now and as you age, says the National Institute on Aging.

Stretching is a simple way to maintain flexibility, and exercises such as heel-to-toe walks and standing on one foot will boost your balance. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or dancing are also good options.

During Your 40’s
Preserve muscle strength and fight the fat!  In our 40’s, both men and women start to lose muscle mass and start seeing a decline in metabolic rates  – resulting in a much slower calorie burn.  Settling into a job with extended desk time and with kids mostly grown, adults tend to decrease their amount of exercise and some stop all together, when it should be just the opposite.  A consistent exercise regimen  will help you keep fat gain, stress, and stress-eating in check.

During Your 50’s
Protect your core, protect your heart!  At this point, no matter how healthy or active your lifestyle has been, aches and pains will begin to crop up.   You will need to adapt your exercise routine to account for this.  For example, pain in your knees?  Stop running and find a pool or another exercise with less joint impact.   Our spine also begins to naturally start curving forward at this age, which can cause chronic back pain and also lead to that forward leaning hump.   Maintaining your pilates and yoga routine will help keep your core (including your back muscles) in check and your spine in alignment.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times per week (with mild to moderate exertion) to preserve heart health as you age. It is just as effective and you can do it every day of the week without the fear of muscle fatigue or soreness.

During your 60’s
Let’s talk about prevention!  According to the AHA, by exercising regularly, you’re less likely to die prematurely from a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Staying strong through your 60’s will also improve your odds of surviving a fall, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as a high risk once you hit 65.  Also, your bones become more fragile and your tendons and ligaments become drier.

You need to be lifting weights at least once, but ideally two to three times per week for 30 minutes, alternating sessions of upper body exercises and lower body exercises. A simple resistance regimen can be enough – such as with pilates (either on a mat or on a reformer). Working in a private session with a certified trainer can help you maintain your routine and keep you from getting hurt.  Group class sessions are also recommended – the supervision from the instructor makes it safe and you may find working out with others more enjoyable!

During your 70’s and Beyond
Sustain, Sustain, Sustain!  You must continue to work on flexibility, balance, and strength. Vigorous activities are not necessary and the focus should be on simplicity and consistency.  Your routine might consist of arm raises with resistance bands and leg lifts, then some light aerobic exercises around a chair, followed by stretching.  Take it slow and always check to make sure your form is correct.

You are never too old to benefit from exercise!

Find the activities you love enough to do every day and a lifetime of exercise will seem like a gift, not a burden!  

~Dayna
PX Studio