Circuit training is a great way to lose weight! Check out our videos with directions on how to complete a circuit so you can get yourself into a weight loss and exercise routine. Circuit training has many benefits. Read this article to find out the benefits of circuit training: http://188.8.131.52/~thearen1/circuit-training-for-a-new-you/
‘Tis the season for family get-togethers, office parties, and lots of delicious foods & drinks. It’s a common belief that people pack on the pounds during the holiday season. That isn’t necessarily the case. The truth is, while you may gain a couple of pounds, chances are it won’t be anything significant. The holidays don’t necessarily signify weight gain – but overindulging does, and that can happen at any time of year. The key is learning balance. It’s important to focus your time on loved ones rather than counting calories. You should enjoy yourself and some treats, but there’s no need to be reckless! Here are some tricks to beating the bulge this holiday season:
Don’t skip meals! Often times, people think that if they skip a meal it will give them more calories to use later on. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, you’re doing serious damage to your metabolism when you skip meals. Your body will go into starvation mode, and instead of distributing the food the way it should, it turns to fat. Ultimately, you will end up being twice as bloated and feeling worse than if you had just had a small meal or snack prior to your party.
Bring your own healthy dish to the festivities. Let’s face it – time is of the essence this time of year. I’m sure the host will be more than appreciative for the help. Offer to make a healthy side dish or dessert. This will not only be a big help to the host, but it will allow you and your friends &/or family to enjoy the time together and not to worry about what’s on your plates.
If making something isn’t an option, practice portion control. This should be something that’s done all year round, but it’s especially important this time of year. Begin with salad or veggies and be sure to pace yourself by eating slowly before going back for seconds.
That being said, you want to choose your indulgences wisely. No one is saying you can’t have your favorite dessert or your family’s secret, delicious dish. Less is definitely more. Have a little bit of everything you really enjoy and move on. The easiest trick to ensure you won’t overindulge is to load up on water & veggies. That will keep you fuller and keep you from grazing the table.
Be realistic with time. This is another big one. Do your best to keep up with exercise – just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference physically AND mentally. This can be walking around the mall or walking when you first wake up in the morning – every little bit counts and will even serve as a great stress reliever.
Above all, focus on what’s truly important this time of year. If you do eat too much or don’t get as much time to exercise, be kind to yourself – you’re doing your best. Don’t feel guilty – just do better the next day. Life is short – don’t waste precious time agonizing over an extra serving of pie or an extra glass of egg nog. Spend that time with your loved ones; you’ll be happier for it in the long run.
Happy holidays to you & yours!
By Gina Stallone
As we age, it seems like every day we discover a new ache or a pain in our body that never bothered us before. Many of us are plagued by chronic pain, and we do not know how to alleviate it. Part of the issue is that we are constantly doing things during the day which exacerbate our symptoms and we don’t even realize it. Additionally, as we get older, we often forget that our bodies are not quite as resilient; after a week of sedentary behavior, we will hit the gym or play sports full force on the weekend and wind up injuring ourselves.
One of the most common complaints is lower back pain. This often results from sitting for too long and from sitting incorrectly. Sometimes lower back pain can be a result of a disc injury or arthritis, but for most of us, it is just the result of not moving enough. First, position your desk so you are sitting with proper posture. It is also important to get up for frequent breaks and to stretch and to move around. Outside the office, lower back pain can be exacerbated while exercising. It is imperative to make sure you are not using your lower back during weight lifting or other exercises. Instead, focus on activating the hips and glutes to protect your lower back during your workouts. Additionally, strengthen your core muscles to stabilize your trunk, which will also decrease the load on your back.
Another common malady is neck pain and stiffness. This can result from sitting improperly, walking incorrectly, driving with your head jutting forward, or from sleeping with you neck turned. Also, stress and tension play a significant role in neck pain and stiffness as well. Neck pain can increase outside during exercise as well. Often, while performing exercises, we lead with our chin and put extra pressure and strain on our necks without realizing it. Proper form and activation is key to keep the neck pain free. Meditation, stretching and other stress relief techniques are also helpful for decreasing neck pain.
Other common ailments are knee pain, joint pains, muscle strains, and carpal tunnel syndrome. If symptoms are severe and you do not see improvement, you should visit a doctor to rule out a major injury. Assuming there is no disc issue or major tear, sprain or break, many of these problems are caused by our activities of daily living and improper form during therapeutic and strength exercises. The way we sit, walk, talk on the phone, sleep, and exercise all impact how our body moves and feels. Form during exercise is extremely important. Many clients don’t realize their positioning is off and might be affecting their mobility, flexibility, cardio endurance, and strength.
Most people will feel better by engaging in a routine that includes stretching to improve join mobility. It is helpful to use tools like a foam roller or baseball to alleviate knots and to help stretching. Secondly, weight loss often helps with daily aches and pains. Extra weight can put pressure on the joints and cause pain and discomfort. A healthy diet and cardiovascular exercise can help decrease weight and issues with pain. Lastly, strength training, especially core training, helps decrease muscle pain because the muscles stabilize the joints.
It seems like the answer to feeling better and decreasing pain is to engage in physical activity with proper form. As the New Year approaches, make your body a priority, and meet with a personal trainer to ensure you are performing exercises correctly, and to make sure you are utilizing exercises to help with your individual issues.
As Corporate America gets older, the baby boomers are finding it harder to adhere to a healthy and active lifestyle. Anyone, from the receptionist answering phones to the CEO closing 7 figure deals, can have terrible eating habits, less time to exercise, and more stress than they are meant to endure. These environmental stresses speed up the aging process, thus contributing to the deterioration of the body. Throw in a crazy travel schedule and bad sleeping habits, and you have your average American. Because of these stressors, 1 in 3 Americans is considered obese and struggles with weight issues. Our lack of activity is actually killing us, and the older we get the more important exercise becomes.
So why do people refuse to exercise even a little bit? There are too many reasons to list, but often I hear, “I don’t know where to start.” In a sea of misinformation and in an unregulated fitness industry, it is almost impossible to know where to begin. The gym can be a dangerous place if you do not know how to use the equipment. As an expert witness, I have seen improper form and misuse of equipment that leaves me speechless. My advice to those confused about what to do is to start by finding a reputable professional, who has an accredited certification and who can list doctors as references.
As we age if you get hurt it takes longer to recover. For this reason err on the side of caution when starting a program. Regardless of age the most common injuries are low back and shoulder. Very often, these injuries are simply a result of poor exercise form or performing the wrong exercise in general. Starting out at a high intensity and doing complex exercises may seem like the best avenue for fast results, but more often than not, it results in injury. It is crucial to take a person’s daily activities and orthopedic issues into account before prescribing exercise. For example, if you sit all day and have low back pain or discomfort, sit ups and leg raises may actually make your condition worse. Planks, chops and deadbugs are safer and more effective alternatives for the core. In addition, some machines are not designed properly and can contribute to injury. For instance, some seated leg presses can stress the lower back and cause pain and/or injury. For the lower body, it is safer to start with a ball squat or step up instead of a machine, so as not to disrupt natural movement patterns.
As we age, we lose muscle mass and flexibility, and our balance degrades. Posture is a major problem, especially for corporate America, because they sit for so many hours, often without breaks. It is important to create a solid foundation for an active lifestyle and focus on exercises that attain personal goals. Performing balance exercises, stretching and correcting postural distortions are critical to participation in daily activities. Without these exercises, the likelihood of daily pain and injury is markedly increased. Stretching and core strengthening will eliminate most of common everyday aches and pains.
Balance, mobility, postural training, and circuit training with weights at a 50-60% intensity are a great start for the older sedentary population. It might sound easy, but if you haven’t been exercising for a long time, it will be plenty challenging. It is important to remember that we are all individuals with different strength and weaknesses, so what may be easy for one person may be impossible for another person. Do not just copy exercises that surround you in the gym. Remember that you are a unique individual and your workout needs to be tailored to your specific needs. A majority of older clients who were not athletes or workout buffs in their youth have no interest in looking like a fitness model or a bulging Adonis on the beach. They just want to feel better and live longer. More than half the battle is the training consistency, not the training intensity. If a client does a low to moderate level workout and follows a fairly healthy diet, he/she will feel better and have health benefits, even if he/she is only exercising a couple of days per week. The bottom line is some exercise is better than no exercise.
I have worked with many older clients, and in fact, my oldest was 90 years old. In my experience, I found that exercise programs do not include enough flexibility training and intensity is usually too high. Many professionals believe you must train at a high intensity to get any substantial results. There is plenty of reputable research that shows higher levels of intensity can be a better use of time compared to low to moderate levels of exercise. The majority of these professionals will insist that regardless of your age, you need to build your workouts up to intensities beyond 80-90%. While there is truth to the science behind this theory, the experts fail to explain that working out at lower levels is still extremely beneficial. They don’t take into account that at higher intensities, injury risk is increased, and a majority of older individuals are not interested in exercising at that level and will never stick to that sort of program. Others cannot train at that level because of orthopedic injuries or some other health limitations. If a client’s goal is to eliminate back pain, to increase balance and to be able to play with their grandchildren, plyometrics and intense sprinting is probably unnecessary. They will get more benefit from full body circuit training with active rests and with sets that include therapeutic exercises and stretching. When we look long term consistency is king because the most consistent person regardless of intensity will reap the most rewards of exercise.
The fact is low to moderate intensity workouts will produce significant results and keep your client healthy and pain free. If a person is capable of more and wants to work up to a high intensity program, I am not against it and agree that it works for some people. I believe the average person does not have an athletic history and is frequently deconditioned. In my personal experience, it seems that the people who need low intensity exercise the most believe it is a waste of time to work out if they aren’t “dying” during a workout, and therefore they won’t engage in lower intensity training. The truth is most Americans just need to move and do low level exercises to remove stress and to keep them healthy. For some people, exercise is a stress outlet, it helps them stay healthy, and it keeps their eating habits on track. Lower intensity exercise is also important for those who need to recover from their active lifestyle. For example, clients playing 2 hrs. per day 4-5 times per week or those who are avid runners training 25 miles per week should focus their training on flexibility, recovery and exercising when they are in the gym. The goal should be to increase efficiency and to increase the longevity of participation in that activity.
My advice it to focus on the fundamentals and to get the client moving better and feeling good. Once you achieve this, then you and the client can decide what is next. Individualize the workouts and encourage them to meet their individual goals. Start with a solid foundation, and if high intensity is their goal, gradually build up to those type of workouts at a pace that works for the client physically and mentally.
By Charles DeFrancesco CPT
THE ARENA, 1133 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY 10604 www.thearenafitness.com
Contributing Author: Denise Groothuis RD CPT
In today’s society, many families struggle with how to serve healthy meals to their kids, and more importantly, how to get their kids to actually eat them. Part of the problem is that the US culture is always in a rush, and we don’t take as much time as people in other countries to enjoy our food and to enjoy the dining experience.
A new study published in Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that preschoolers made healthier food choices when eating in a happy, pleasant environment. Children tend to have better meal experiences when the interaction with their parents is positive and the atmosphere is supportive and warm. This is further strengthened when meals are routinized and children are aware of the expectations and can express themselves.
So instead of grabbing something on the go or rushing through dinner, try to eat with your kids in a calm, positive setting. It will benefit your children both physically and emotionally.
Last year we published an article titled “Sitting Ourselves to Death,” which discussed the dangers of sitting all day. Recently, reviews.com published an in-depth review of 71 different standing desks and they put together a guide of how standing at work can improve your health. Please check out their research to learn more: http://www.reviews.com/standing-desk/
This is the question everyone older than forty worries about and no one under 40 thinks they could possibly have. The problem with arthritis is that it is an irreversible disease process that often progresses and gets worse.
What is arthritis? Arthritis is simply the damage to cartilage in a joint. The cartilage is the smooth white end of the joints that protects the underlying bone and allows your joints move smoothly. The most common joints affected are the knees, the hips and the shoulders. It also occurs commonly in the hand at the base of the thumb. It can occur in all other joints of the body including ankles, wrists, elbows, fingers and toes.
The most common symptom of arthritis is pain; pain with moving and pain when sitting too long. The joint can also swell and be affected by changes in the weather. Many arthritis sufferers feel stiffness in the morning and it starts to loosen up with activity. People with arthritis often feel popping and crunching in their joints.
Preventing arthritis is much better than treating it. Get your weight where it should be because wear and tear from carrying extra weight will cause arthritis. Stretching and strengthening will prevent arthritis. This is especially important for your larger muscle groups like quadriceps and hamstrings. Avoid unnecessary trauma to joints such as from falls or car accidents, but running does not cause damage to joints. Again, studies have shown that running does not cause arthritis.
Treating arthritis is not complicated and orthopedic sports specialists deal with this problem frequently. Therapy can be very effective. A steroid shot is called “a miracle” by many patients. However, the most important aspect of treating arthritis is first confirming that you have the correct diagnosis.
Almost every day I see patients who were told by another doctor that they have arthritis and that they need surgery. However, most people can be improved or even cured without surgery. If you did not have an x-ray, then arthritis has not been confirmed. Popping and swelling is a symptom of arthritis but the only way to know for certain is get an x-ray and have an orthopedist review it with you.
I always recommend getting a second opinion before you go for major surgery such as total knee or total hip replacement. Some surgeons push patients to surgery too quickly. Find an orthopedic doctor you trust and ask questions. Surgery is almost never the first line of treatment.
Nutrition advice and diet books are a dime a dozen. It seems like every season there is a new diet fad, a new supplement to try, or a new book that guarantees weight loss. Even the educated consumer can become confused by all the different choices, which may make it difficult to determine the best way to be healthy and to lose weight.
The low carb/no carb craze became very popular with the Atkins Diet. Different versions of this model are still widely accepted as the best way to lose weight. Many people swear by the no carb diet, but is this the most effective and healthiest way to shed pounds?
Even though many people have success on carbohydrate free diets, it is not ideal because our bodies absolutely need carbohydrates to survive. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the body because they are easier to break down than fats and they spare protein for more important roles in the body. Additionally, the brain ONLY uses glucose (which comes from carbohydrates) to function. Therefore, if you do not consume enough carbohydrates, your body will break down protein in your muscles to use for fuel for the brain. This is the last thing that we want!
That does not mean we should binge on carbohydrate rich foods. You must choose wisely among starches, but you should not eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet. Fruits, vegetables, and starches all have carbohydrates. Most of your daily carbohydrates should come from fruit and vegetable intake. Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which are essential to human health and well- being. Phytonutrients contain antioxidants, which are compounds that reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which, in turn, affect metabolism. Eliminating fruits and vegetables from your diet may have a negative impact on weight loss and on your health.
Since different types of carbohydrates break down into sugar at different rates, it is important to select high fiber, nutrient dense starches rather than simple sugars to avoid weight gain. This is because simple sugars enter the bloodstream and are absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar levels to increase rapidly. This spikes insulin levels and over time your body may become resistant to this insulin. The job of insulin is to get sugar into the cells of your body where it is converted into energy or stored as fat. As the body develops insulin resistance, there can be increased hunger and weight gain. Your body may also stop responding to the hormone, which could result in diabetes.
Simple sugars and processed foods metabolize quickly into sugar (glucose) and are mostly empty calories. Additionally, most of these items are filled with chemicals and do not contain important nutrients. Conversely, fruits, vegetables, and beans are filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which enter your bloodstream slowly and stabilize your metabolism.
Healthy grains with high fiber can be incorporated into the diet, but they should not contain sugar or be processed. People tend to overeat grains and they may cause inflammation, so it is best to limit them or measure them out into a very small portion if you are trying to lose weight. If you do eat grains, it is also a good idea to eat gluten free to decrease inflammation to the gut while dieting.
The bottom line is that carbohydrates are not the enemy, but sugar certainly is. Eat a variety of fresh, organic foods and stay away from anything processed. Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. This is the answer to weight loss.
Are you a golfer?
Is it a hassle to get loose before a round? Is it time consuming?
Hitting balls at the range and spending time at the putting green is important, however; stretching for 10 minutes pre-round can be saving you strokes too! So maybe it is in your best interest to stop your practice session 10 minutes early and follow these golf friendly warm-ups!
Static stretching is not what you want to do prior to a round of golf. Instead, opt for dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretching accomplishes many things. It increases blood flow, increases range of motion, increases your awareness of joint position, and improves your athletic performance.
These golf specific stretches will not only loosen your body but will provide you with a strong/powerful foundation leaving you with a faster swing and leading to further shots.
Shoulder Blade Retraction
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms out perpendicular to the ground while holding a resistance band. Pull the band apart while keeping arms perpendicular to the ground and posture still.
Place a club over your head with your arms fully extended. Have both hands on each end of the club. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and squat down until your thighs are close to parallel with the ground.
Drop down into a lunge, then try and touch your elbow to the back of your foot. For example, if your left leg is the lead leg use your left elbow to touch your left foot. This extra movement will further stretch the gluteus muscle.
Bent-Over T-Spine Extension
This is a great stretch to open your thoracic spine, which is your mid-back. Get into a golf stance and bend over a little further than normal. Place both arms below with your palms up. Reach around and behind you with one arm while watching that hand.
To perform this stretch, sit on the ground with your right leg stretched out in front of you and your left knee bent with your foot facing your right knee. Keep your chest up and back straight. Bend forward at the hips until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
By Scott Sessions CPT
When men think of testosterone production and function, they mostly think about exercise and vigor. But one very important component that is commonly overlooked, is sleep. In a study that was conducted with young men, getting less than five hours of sleep per night drastically reduced their testosterone levels as compared with a full night’s sleep. The reduction in testosterone levels were mostly observed between the hours of 2pm and 10pm on the days when they had five hours of sleep or less. Five hours of sleep showed a 10-15% decrease in testosterone levels. This study also found that skimping on sleep can reduce a young man’s testosterone levels by the same amount as aging 10-15 years.
Poor and little sleep have been shown to be endocrine disrupters, which means that many of our hormones are not able to function optimally, including testosterone. Testosterone is not just important for your libido, but also involved in regulating metabolism, building strength, and reproduction. There is a natural reduction in testosterone levels as men age by about 1%-2% each year. Low levels of testosterone are associated with a low sex drive, fatigue, a depressed mood, and difficulty concentrating. Paying attention to sleep quality and duration is one major way that anyone can mitigate their decline in testosterone, along with regular exercise. Remember, it’s not just about being physically active. Recovery is an equally important component, and specifically, a good night’s sleep.
By Rima Sidhu