Category Archives for Fitness Advice

8 Tips To Keep the Pounds Off at College

Workout with a friend.

When you’re busy balancing college life, your body often pays the price. Here are some simple fitness tips to keep your weight in check.

This time of the year, when you’re heading off to college for the first time or returning after the summer break, it can be challenging if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. The “freshman 15” weight gain becomes a reality for many new college students, and a return to a standard college diet of fast food becomes a reality for those coming back. The only way to avoid weight gain is to find ways to stay active, reduce stress and stay on track with a healthy eating plan. Here are some tips to help you squeeze in daily activity and avoid gaining weight.

Start walking:

Walking can help you burn calories, improve muscle tone and reduce stress. Using a simple pedometer that clips to your waistband is a great way to monitor your daily walking activity. A healthy goal to try and reach is 10,000 steps per day.

Build up your pace:

As you add regular walks to your day, slowly increase your duration until 30 minutes feels comfortable. Then increase your intensity level by walking faster. Start including varied terrain, such as hills, and then progress to a jogging or running pace.

Climb stairs:

Climbing stairs is great for improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Plus, it works all of the muscles in the back of the legs and butt. If you can’t find a good set of stairs to climb, do step-ups instead. Aim to do the equivalent of 50 stairs per day.

Lunch-time catch-up:

It’s much easier to complete a training program when you have a partner who is doing it with you. Try to convince a friend or family member to exercise with you during your lunch break or any free time you may have between classes. It’s a great way to catch up while doing your body some good.

Find a fitness deal:

Many colleges have recreational sports leagues and offer discounted gym memberships or fitness classes. Also, look online for a program that allows you to try out lots of local fitness classes at a discounted price.

Learn a few moves:

Perform body weight resistance exercises, such as simple squats, lunges and push-ups in your dorm or wherever you live. When you’re ready, you can progress to using weights. If you know how to do the basics, any time you have just a few minutes to spare you can maximize your time by getting stronger with simple exercises. There are lots of exercise routines that you can do for free online when you have a little more time to spend.

Snack well:

Don’t fall into the bad habit of grabbing unhealthy snacks on the go. Instead, be prepared and carry healthy treats in your bag. Try to find snacks that are high in protein, as they will help you to stay fuller for longer. Avoid empty calories and opt for nutrient-dense foods that are essential when you’re stressed and busy.

Stay hydrated:

When your body is well hydrated, you may hold on to less water weight. I also find that when I’m drinking fluids throughout the day, I’m less likely to snack. Quite often we mistake thirst with hunger. Aim to drink a minimum of 8-10 glasses per day and even more if it’s hot or you’re exercising.

If you stick to a healthy routine and squeeze in my tips, you’ll sail through the busy school season with your body composition intact.

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7 Ways to Create Healthy Habits for Fitness

Create an exercise space at home.

Leading a healthy lifestyle starts with creating healthy habits for yourself. Here are some tips on how you can do exactly that.

The best way to create a healthy habit is to look first at how your brain processes information to create any habit. Then use that knowledge to your advantage. For example, many fast food companies use your senses to get you attracted to their products. Advertising stimulates your senses in ways to make what’s offered appear to be more attractive. And it works. Using your senses of vision, taste, smell and hearing can help you create a positive association with a certain food or behavior. So, why not use this knowledge to create a positive feeling about exercise and healthy eating?

How to Create Healthy Fitness Habits

Get Outside

Exercising in beautiful outdoor surroundings is a great way to enjoy being more active. Many people find that what was supposed to be a quick 20-minute walk becomes much longer when they’re enjoying their environment. What is visually appealing differs for each individual. Some enjoy the mountains and fields, while others feel alive in the busy city streets. It’s important to know what setting you prefer and create a routine around it.

Be Creative Inside

If exercising outside is not possible for you, work out close to a window so you can look outside. If watching people exercising in the gym motivates you to work harder, choose the cardio machine that faces the gym floor. During your next workout, think about how what you see impacts your energy level.

Set Up an Exercise Space

If you plan on exercising at home, you can create an exercise space by simply placing a mat on the floor. Get into the habit of using the same space in your home for exercise each day. When you have a designated space, it allows you to focus and concentrate on your routine. Clearing an area around your mat will allow you to move freely; a less cluttered space can help you to feel less stressed overall.

Prepare Beautiful Food

Take time and care to create beautiful, colorful, visually appealing meals and snacks. If, for instance, your favorite color is red, adding peppers, strawberries or red apples to your snacks will make you drawn to them. We always feel much happier to eat food that looks good, which is why we’re often drawn toward beautifully decorated cakes. Quite often the healthy options don’t necessarily look all that stimulating. But with a little creativity and time you can prepare good looking, healthy meals.

Play Music to Enhance Your Mood

The music you listen to during your workout can impact how you feel and how hard you work. Be sure to pick your favorite upbeat tunes for those difficult workouts where you know you need some extra motivation. When you wish to exercise at a steady pace, playing music that’s inspiring and sets the pace can help you stay on track. When stretching and doing yoga, playing music that’s slow can help to reduce stress.

Whip Up a Flavorful Exercise Drink

Get yourself into the good habit of staying hydrated while you exercise. Prepare a nice bottle filled with something you enjoy to help you look forward to your exercise routine. Be sure to choose your beverage wisely, as you don’t want to overdo the sugars and calories. An electrolyte drink that’s water-infused with your favorite fruits or a low-sugar sports drink are some good choices.

Use Scents to Influence Your Mood

When you think of exercise, I’m pretty sure the smell that comes to mind is sweaty socks and a musty gym bag. That’s probably not the great motivation you’re looking for. Gather some scents that help you boost your mood and energy level. Choosing a particular scent that you associate with exercise is a great way to establish a healthy habit. The smell of lavender, for instance, is very calming and soothing. A perfect way to get into a calm state of mind is to use a lavender scent before doing yoga.

If you need to perk up, a good energizing scent to use is peppermint. Peppermint oil is inexpensive and great to smell when you’re feeling tired. Lemon has an uplifting and refreshing scent, so it’s perfect for your pre-workout routine.

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3 Ways a Morning Workout Can Improve Your Whole Day

Morning workouts provide a natural energy boost.

Do you struggle to get your day started? Find out how to start it on the right foot with a morning workout.

I love mornings. I happily jump out of bed with a smile to make my cup of tea, take my dogs for a walk and drive to the office to hit the gym. And that’s all before 7 a.m. To some, that may sound like torture, especially if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I’m not going to suggest that you jump right into a routine of getting up at 5am, but I will suggest that you consider getting up a few minutes earlier each day until you can fit in a full 30-minute morning workout.

If you can make being active in the morning a natural part of your daily routine, I believe that you’ll start to see changes with your body. More importantly, you may start to feel more positive and productive throughout each day. I appreciate that we are all individuals and the best time for you to get the most out of an exercise routine may actually be later in the day. However, there are some great benefits associated with starting your day with a morning workout. Let me share my top three fitness tips with you in an attempt to convince you to jump out of bed early.

3 Ways a Morning Workout Can Improve Your Day

Healthier food choices

When you kick-start your day with exercise, there’s a good chance that you’ll make overall healthier food choices throughout the day. The morning is a time when people often reach for sugary, high fat, high carbohydrate foods, because they feel like these foods help them to wake up. When you start your day with unhealthy choices, you’re setting your body up for a day of blood sugar highs and lows. Sugary foods can be very addictive. Once you start your day with a donut, there’s a greater chance that you’ll continue eating poorly throughout the day.

Get a workout energy boost

The natural energy boost that an exercise routine provides will save you from consuming so many unnecessary and unhealthy calories. Many people I speak to say that they consciously prefer and choose fresh foods after they work out. A workout in the morning that gets your heart rate up and blood flowing can make you feel more alert and positive.

Beat the traffic

If you have to commute to work in rush hour traffic, consider joining a gym close to work. This will help you to use your time more constructively in the morning. Leaving home early to work out instead of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic will not only help to improve your body, but the mental benefits and stress relief you may experience could greatly improve your mood. If you can’t join a gym, consider getting to work early and going for a walk.

I understand that during the summer months it’s much easier to adapt to a morning workout routine because it’s bright and inviting outside. During the winter months, I’ll admit that the temptation to stay in bed for an extra hour is much greater—even for a morning workout fan like me. This is why I’m trying to convince you to get started now with a healthy morning routine. If you can make a habit of doing an early workout over the next few weeks, then by the time winter rolls around you won’t want to quit.

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Aerial Yoga, Trapeze and More ‘Weird’ Ways to Work Out

Find activities that will keep you coming back for more.

If you’re like many people, the idea of “getting fit” is right up there with winning the lottery – seemingly unattainable. You’ve thought about it, and maybe you even purchased an obligatory gym membership as part of your New Year’s resolution to get moving and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

But now – four months later – you’re bored and lost that motivation.

Well, there’s no better time than now to get excited about fitness again. Regular physical activity is good for everyone’s health – and people of all ages and body types can be physically active. Try these more unusual activities for a fitness recharge designed to keep you coming back for more. Note: It’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider first to make sure you’re cleared for takeoff.

And there are many reasons to feel great about yourself after any type of exercise. You’re helping control your weight, reducing risk of heart disease, managing blood sugar levels, minding your mental health, and strengthening bones and muscles.

1. Trapeze: Actress and singer Zendaya did it in the film “The Greatest Showman.” You may not fly through the air with the greatest of ease, at least not the first time, but if reaching new heights appeals to your adventurous side, take on the trapeze. No, don’t try this in your backyard, but search for a well-established trapeze school near you.
A trapeze workout can build your upper body strength and test your flexibility and coordination. Plus, your mood and self-esteem will get a bountiful boost when you conquer that initial “I can’t” and overcome your hesitation. Now you’re ready for more.

2. Aerial yoga: As long as we’re above ground, we had to mention this exercise because it’s so different. Circus hammocks pull you up and away to hang out as you work on yoga body positions and alignment. And no, you don’t start at 10 feet high; maybe just a few inches.
In 2016, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) completed a small study on aerial yoga that found it offered benefits akin to those you get from low- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. After a six-week program, participants experienced improvements in body weight, body-fat percentage and blood pressure.
3.Trampoline: Indoor trampoline facilities are popping up across America, and some gyms and boutique fitness studios offer small, individual trampoline classes for all ages. These low-impact workouts strengthen derrieres, hamstrings and abs. Plus you get a strong dose of balance training with every jump.

4. Dancing: A 2016 study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science concluded that an hour of cardio dancing could burn at least 400+ calories – and people had fun! Dancing also helps overall coordination and is great for general toning.

5. Aqua cycling: There’s not an aqua cycling studio in every city, but if you’re visiting a major one such as Los Angeles or New York – or if you have your own pool – consider aqua cycling or hydrospinning on a special bike. Fans swear by its super-low impact, since the human body consists of 60 percent water, and your lower body and core are “surrounded” by it. It’s a full-body calorie burner, up to 800 per hour, as the water actually supports your joints. You’ll also be using muscle groups that might not get used as much in a regular spin class.

Now the word “exercise” sounds better, right? Enjoy!

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How to Work the Right Muscles to Get Toned Abs

Strengthen your core muscles.

If you want six-pack abs, you need to know how to work all of the muscles that make up your core. There are five major muscles that you need to work to get a flat tummy and strong midsection.

Your core is made up of much more than your six-pack muscles. All humans are born with six-pack abs, but for the majority of people they ’re hidden behind a layer of abdominal fat. Working your core muscles with specific exercises will help make them bigger and more defined.

In order to get six-pack abs, I suggest doing a comprehensive exercise routine that effectively burns fat, strengthens your muscle and works the core. I like to say that ‘six-packs are made in the kitchen,’ because good nutrition is essential if you want to display these muscles or any other muscles in your body.

Below are some exercises to work each of the muscles that make up your core complex, as part of your well-balanced fitness routine.


Crunches are a simple, yet effective exercise that will activate the abdominals, the most external of the core muscles. These are the famous six-pack muscles.

How to do it: Lie face up on the floor with your knees up and bent. Begin the crunch movement by contracting your abs to curl your shoulders towards the pelvis. Clasp your hands behind your neck or crossed over your chest. Injury can be caused by pushing against your head or neck with your hands, so be careful to use your abs and not your head to lift your shoulders off the floor. Hold for a second then return to starting position.

How many: 15-20 perfect form crunches, 3-5 sets.

Bicycle Ab Crunch

The muscles at the side of your waist are called the internal and external obliques. These muscles are important for stability, especially for movements that involve lateral (sideways) movements.

To activate these muscles, you’ll need to perform exercises that involve side bending or twisting. The bicycle ab crunch is my favorite exercise for working the obliques.

How to do it: Lie on your back on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight and place your hands behind your head. Raise your legs one at a time so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground and your calves are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet together. Contract your abdominal muscles and touch your right elbow to your left knee. At the same time, straighten your right leg out in front, keeping it several inches off of the floor. Then switch, bending your right leg and straightening your left, like pedaling a bicycle. Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward so that your elbow can reach your knee.

Note: Do not pull on your neck. It’s OK if you can’t quite reach your elbow to you knee.

How many: 30 seconds of bicycle crunches, 3-5 times.

Side Plank

The deep stabilizing muscle that connects the upper and lower body is called the quadratus lumborum. It’s an important muscle for stabilizing the hips and the spine, and it also plays a role with the diaphragm for deep breathing.

This muscle is worked with side bending or twisting movements. My favorite exercise to strengthen this muscle is the side plank.

How to do it: Lie on the floor on your side. Place your hand on the floor under you and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground. Raise your other arm straight up, or let it rest on your side. Keep your legs straight, letting the lower half of your body rest on your underside leg.

How many: Try to hold this position for 45-60 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.

Leg Raise

The hip flexor muscle, called the psoas major, is used for all activities that involve moving your legs. My favorite exercise for working this muscle is the lying down leg raise.

How to do it: Lie on your back on a mat. Place your hands under your butt to stabilize your pelvis. Without letting your lower back lift, pull your knees toward your chest, then straighten your legs back to the starting position. To increase the resistance, try the exercise with straight legs. To increase the difficulty, do leg raises on an incline bench.

How many: Start out doing 10 raises, 3 sets. If your back starts to lift, stop, because you’ll be engaging the incorrect muscles.

The Vacuum

What I call the flat tummy muscle, the transverse abdominal, is a deep core muscle that’s responsible for stabilizing your spine and pelvis, especially for lifting movements. The best exercise is so easy you can do it anywhere—it’s called the vacuum.

How to do it: You can do this exercise while sitting up or lying down. It can be done in bed, at the office, or while driving your car. All you have to do is suck your belly in as far as you can and hold. Make sure you’re pulling your abs in as if they’re meeting your back.

How many: Hold your tummy for 10 to 15 seconds then release. Try to continue breathing and don’t hold your breath.

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Fitness and Traveling – Six Tips to Stay on Track

Remember to pack your workout clothes.

Travel or sudden changes in your schedule can wreak havoc on your weight management and fitness plan. If you travel frequently and have trouble maintaining your fitness level on the go, here’s how you can stay fit while you’re away from home.

Airport food, unexpected travel delays and lost luggage are enough to make even the most disciplined health guru reach for a sugary treat. If you’re a frequent business traveler, or if you plan on seasonal traveling with your family, there are certain things you need to commit to in order to stay fit while traveling. For starters, you must understand what your body needs so you can stay balanced and be at your best—especially when you’re away from home.

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a long time to create healthy habits, but one bad day can throw off your rhythm for weeks.” I think this saying is quite accurate. So, in that light, here are my top tips to help you reinforce your fitness plan and stay balanced when traveling.

6 Tips to Stay Fit When You Travel

Pack early to squeeze in a workout

Don’t wait until the day of, or even the day before, you travel to pack your bag. Pack a few days in advance so you can save the day before you leave to squeeze in a workout. I find packing the most stressful part of business travel, so getting this out of the way a few days in advance means that I’m a little more relaxed on travel day.

Plan your week and adjust your workout routine so that your travel day becomes your scheduled rest day from exercise.

Get organized to avoid airport stress

Stress is one of the main culprits that lead to poor eating and fitness disruption. My advice is to get organized to limit your stress. You know that getting through security at the airport is a stressful process, so ensure that all of your liquids are the right size and within easy reach. Keep your travel bag organized, and pack a few healthy snacks so that you aren’t tempted by all of the junk food available at airport terminals.

Travel essentials to stay rested and ready

Arriving at your destination feeling relaxed is important if you want to get your workout routine up and running right away. Some travel essentials you should remember to pack are earplugs, eye mask, flight socks to help with blood circulation in your legs, a neck pillow and a warm sweater. These items may weigh you down a little, but trust me, traveling with some of your own comforts can provide pleasant relief from listening to loud conversations or not being able to rest because the light’s in your eyes. Not to mention that exercising will be the last thing on your mind if your neck is stiff when you land.

Set yourself up for success

Always remember to pack your workout clothes and shoes so you can stay fit while you’re away. Sounds simple, but this is something that people often forget while traveling. In fact, you can keep a spare set of workout clothes in your carry-on bag. You never know when surprises like someone spilling a drink on you might occur. Workout clothes are lightweight and practical. Just think that if your checked bag goes missing, you won’t have an excuse for missing a workout.

Nutrition on the go

Hydration is the most important thing to remember when you travel. Dehydration can affect your skin, your energy level, and it can lead to headaches and negatively impact your digestive system. The great news is that you can easily get water on the plane. If you have your own personal container, it will serve as a good reminder to keep sipping.

Good food while traveling is harder to come by. Given the risk of travel delays, you could ruin your healthy eating plan if you’re not prepared. Pack nutrient-rich snacks in your bag, such as nuts or protein bars, to help keep you full and away from unhealthy choices. With time changes, you’ll want to keep your body fueled throughout the day to avoid binging at meal times due to excessive hunger.

Create an in-room workout

Fitting in some exercise during your trip may help you to sleep better and be more mentally alert in your activities. If going to the gym is not possible, simply commit to a quick 20-minute routine in your room at morning and a 10-minute stretch at night. If you make regular exercise a necessary part of your travel schedule, you’ll have a better chance of staying on track with your health and fitness goals.

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Hit the Hiking Trails for Fitness and Fun

Hiking is a great way to get outdoors.

Here are some ideas to get you hiking for fitness and fun.

I love an exercise challenge, exploring new surroundings and being outdoors. Hiking gives me all of those things in one simple and free activity.
As a child I would hike with my mom up and down hills, through streams and across rocks. We encountered all kinds of fun obstacles in both the wilderness and the urban jungle. She was trying to provide me with an adventure, but she also gave me the opportunity to become a fit, healthy, balanced and coordinated individual.
I now carry on the family tradition and at least once a week I take my family on a hike. We set off on foot from our own doorstep to various destinations near and far. I try to keep it challenging, exciting and fun, all while knowing that the health benefits associated with hiking are vast. Here are five great reasons to go hiking:

1. Improved Cardiovascular Function

Engaging in mild to moderate intensity exercise is linked to improvements in lung capacity and increased cardiac function.

2. Improved Balance and Coordination

The rugged and varied terrain of most hiking trails forces your body to stabilize itself, in time improving your balance and coordination.

3. Improved Mood

Taking time out from your busy life and enjoying the outdoors can relieve stress, while the stimulus of enjoying nature––the sights, smells and textures––can make you feel more mentally alert.

4. Weight Loss

Physical activity burns calories, and slow and steady cardiovascular activity promotes fat burning. Hiking, combined with good nutrition, can lead to significant weight and fat loss.

5. Having Fun

There is something about discovering new trails and being outside that is fun. Taking time out of your busy day to connect with friends, while doing an activity such as hiking, can improve your mood.

You can leisurely hike and enjoy your surroundings, chat with a friend or daydream as you check out nature, but you also have the option of finding your inner hiking guru and stepping up your hike into a calorie blasting athletic adventure.

Here’s how you can get more out of your hike:

1. Pick Up the Pace

Give trail running a try to increase the intensity of your hike. If you’re not ready for running, try alternating between power walking and jogging.

2. Steepen the Gradient

The steeper the hill, the harder your body has to work. Spend time finding a hike with a challenging incline.

3. Raise the Altitude

Training at a higher altitude has many health benefits and can improve your overall fitness level. However, it’s something you should build up to slowly.

4. Vary the Terrain

Start out on mostly flat trails and build up to sandy or rocky surfaces. Walking on uneven terrain forces all of the small under-worked muscles and tendons in your feet and ankles to get strong.

Hiking can be full of adventure, fun, sweat and burned calories, but as with all activities, it’s ultimately what you make of it. My best advice is to get on the trail, enjoy yourself and see how hiking can help you reach your goals.

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Try These 3 Low-impact Water Workouts

Water workouts keep stress off your joints.

A low-impact water workout is ideal, regardless of your age or current fitness level.

If you head to a water-based destination on vacation, instead of skipping your workout routine, you should consider taking to the water to get your exercise. This may help to ensure that you avoid gaining too many vacation pounds as a result of lazing around. Also, if you’re looking to challenge yourself without putting stress on your joints, or you just like being in the water, you’ll definitely enjoy giving water exercises a try. There are many types you can do. Here are three of my personal favorites:


Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a combination of kayaking and surfing. It’s one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. Many people are drawn to it because it provides you with a full-body workout. It improves your core strength, cardio fitness, balance and flexibility, with virtually no impact. It’s also a lot of fun.
Your core will be working overtime to stabilize your body position, and as you add in the paddle motion, you’ll also get a shoulder and oblique challenge. The resistance created by the paddle in the water will help you to gain muscular strength. Paddleboarding is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels, and unlike surfing, you don’t need waves to do it. Calm, flat water is perfect for beginners, and you can do it on an ocean, lake or other body of water.

Aqua Aerobics

Water exercise classes are a fun way to use the resistance and buoyancy of water to condition your muscles and improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength and flexibility. By employing strengthening exercises and stretching techniques, such classes can help you to increase your body’s tone and range of motion. You don’t need to attend an official class to get a great workout. Simply hop into the pool and experiment with different movements that take your joints through their full range of motion.


Swimming can help you to improve your aerobic fitness level, because it forces your body to learn a new breathing pattern. Being face down in water means your body must learn to adapt quickly. By expanding the depth and volume of each breath, you’re forcing the lungs and heart to process oxygen more efficiently. Because swimming creates no impact on your joints, it’s great for giving your overworked muscles a break from high-impact activities like running or weight training, which can place stress on the joints of your hips, knees and ankles. Plus, you can choose whether you want to swim to relax or create a calorie-torching, total-body workout with lots of laps.

You don’t have to be on vacation to reap the benefits of being in and around water. Its tranquil nature can help you to feel relaxed and may help you to relieve stress. I love to add a water exercise day into my week all year round. And because of the resistance it creates, I know I’m burning a significant number of calories each time I do it.

It’s fun to get out on the water and enjoy nature, and it hardly ever feels like exercise. This summer, consider staying active with some water exercise.

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6 Tips to Start Your Family Fitness Journey Today

Make fitness fun for the whole family.

There’s no better time than now to get started on a family fitness journey and raise healthy, active kids.

If you’re looking to make healthier choices for your children and teach them how to make healthier choices for themselves, here are six essential tips to help you get started.

Consult Your Child’s Physician

Talk to your child’s pediatrician about what kind of fitness is right for them. Going from a low level of activity to an active lifestyle can be a shock to their system. All changes in physical activity should be gradual.

Create a Routine

The best way to start your family fitness journey is to create a schedule of activities for two days per week. Plan activities such as hikes, bike rides or indoor/outdoor sports to make them feel less like a chore and more like fun. The more you involve your kids in the planning process, the more enthusiastic they’ll be about the change.

Embrace Technology

If you have children that rely on computers, phones and tablets, you might face a rebellion if you try to swap gadgets for family fitness time. Instead, you can embrace technology and ease them into an active lifestyle with fitness games and challenges. There are many dance, fitness and activity games available that combine technology with simple tasks that motivate kids to get active.

Go Back to Basics

Remember how much fun it was to play a simple game of catch with your friends when you were younger? As you move towards more traditional fitness-based activities, focus on coordination and body awareness moves. Kids have developing nervous systems and will benefit from engaging their motor skills. Related activities include kicking, catching and hopping.

Be Smart about Weight Training

There are differing opinions on the age at which children should start lifting weights, and it’s a decision that should be discussed with your child’s physician. As an alternative, body weight exercises are a great way for kids to build strength. I started lifting weights at the age of 15 and I am raising my children to have fun with squats, push-ups and other body weight exercises until they are well into their teens.

Lead by Example

The greatest gift you can give your children is to lead by example and practice healthy habits. Try popping in a fitness DVD or follow a fitness routine on the computer to set an example. If your young children want to join in, you should let them. Just make sure they stay away from potentially dangerous equipment like weight machines and treadmills.

We can all make healthier choices to lead our children down an active lifestyle path. If you keep the activity fun, you can set them up for a lifetime of being active. However, if you do it with force, they may build a negative opinion of exercise forever. The above tips are ones I use successfully with my own family, but make sure to experiment with different activities so you can find the ones that your whole family will enjoy doing together.

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Start Running: A 4-Week Beginners Guide

Sign up for a 5K

Are you ready to get running but don’t know how to get started? Use these running tips and training guide to start working toward your goals today.

Put a spring in your step and start training for a local race. Signing up for a race is a great way to get a jump start on a new fitness routine. Having a purpose and a deadline is ideal for keeping you accountable, motivated and dedicated to your overall health and fitness goals. In case you don’t know how to get started with a training program, I’ve put together a simple 4-week plan for you to use.


Before you start training, there are a few things you need to do to prepare. This way the only thing you have to think about each day is your running routine. Being prepared in advance will help you on those days when you have a busy schedule.

Flex your think muscle

The first step is not a running step, it’s a mental one. Make a mental commitment to get started. If you’ve failed to stick with a plan in the past, put it behind you–– today is a new day to get started with an “I can do it” attitude.

Find a training buddy

It’s much easier to complete a training program when you have a partner who’s going for it with you. Recruit an eager friend or family member so you can start the program together.

Find a race to set a date

Having a time-specific goal that you’re working towards is incredibly helpful. It’ll help to keep you on track with your fitness goals, and you’ll know exactly how much time you have to get yourself prepared.

If the shoe fits…

Running in poorly fitting shoes will interfere with your progress and your success. And running with sore feet and blisters can really set you back. Make sure that you have a lightweight shoe that offers you both the comfort and support that you need.

Wear the right clothing

Invest in a few tops that have wicking and quick-drying properties. And make sure you have a visor or hat to keep the sun off your face. If the weather is cold, start by wearing a few layers which you can remove and tie around your waist as you go.

Go with a full tank

Once you start running for more than an hour, it’s important to have easy access to fuel and hydration. A handheld water bottle or a running belt that holds your bottle is a great accessory to have.

Be flexible and focused

In order to progress with your running fitness, you need to find time to run. But don’t be too strict with your training and stress yourself out. Instead, have a flexible attitude, try your best to stick with your plan, move around the days and timing to suit what’s happening in your life. And, finally, listen to your body. Tuning in to how your body feels each day, and adjusting your training accordingly, is an important part of the training process.

4-Week Training Program

Run on 3 days of the week—all steady pace runs.

Cross-train (x) on 2 days of the week.

Rest on 2 days of the week.

  Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Rest 1 mi. X 1 mi. Rest 1.5 mi. X
Week 2 Rest 1.5 mi. X 2 mi. Rest 2 mi. X
Week 3 2.5 mi. Rest 2.5 mi. X 3 mi. Rest X
Week 4 3 mi. X 3.5 mi. Rest X 3.5 mi. Rest

Options for x (cross-training)

Work out 30-45 minutes doing any of the following:

Riding a bike, swimming, Pilates, yoga, boxing, dancing, low impact aerobics or any activity you enjoy.

Rest days don’t mean sitting on a couch all day. You can enjoy being generally active, but be sure that you rest from running to allow your body time to regenerate and recover.

If you’re new to being active, you can simply start by doing the three running/walking days and slowly add in cross-training when you feel ready. If you prefer to use time as your guide, go with 10 minutes as the average time it takes to run one mile.

After Week 4 of this program, running a 5k race should be an achievable goal. If you want to run a 10k race, continue working with this chart to increase your running distance each week by a half-mile. This progression is nice and slow, which will give you time to adjust and get used to running longer distances.

Find out more at:

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