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Walking Pace

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I read recently that if you are not walking at a certain pace, you may as well be home sitting on your couch for all the good it’s doing you!  While I am not sure that is entirely correct, it is something to think about.  Walking at too leisurely a pace is not going to help you with your fitness goals.

If you are judging by perceived effort level, you want to be around a 6 or 7.  You should feel slightly breathless, able to speak short sentences but not carry on a lengthy conversation.  Heart rate level should be at 75% of your max and you should be doing a 3.5 -4.0 mph.  At these paces you should not have your arms down along your sides.  Make sure your elbows are bent with your fingers hitting from around pocket level up to rib cage level.  Just increasing you arm swing frequency can help speed things up!

Now get out and get walking!  Laughing

The right running shoes

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Selecting the right running shoe can mean the difference between enjoying your runs and dreading them!  Your feet are an important part of running posture and are key elements for preventing injury!  Here are some tips for how to find the perfect pair for your feet!

1. Don’t go cheap!  Wal-Mart and Target are not good places for quality running shoes.  A good quality pair of shoes will cost between $65 and $85 dollars.  Of course there are more expensive shoes if you just have to have them, but the quality and wear does not improve with a price much over $85.

2.  When trying on running shoes you should have plenty of wiggle room in the toe box.  Most people need a half  to a whole size larger than their street shoes.  The shoes should feel comfortable right away….like slippers.  If you are feeling too much arch support, rigidity in the sole or slipping in the heel, try another pair.

3.  It’s best to use a reputable running store that allows you to try on some shoes and go outside to run in them.  Also, if you go later in the day after you have been on your feet for awhile you are more likely to get a nice comfortable pair with a good fit.

4.  Don’t tie the laces too tight.  Running shoes should not feel like a corset on your feet!  Your feet should be allowed to move around in the shoe which helps to  promote a more natural foot strike and running gait.

Buy a quality pair of running shoes that feel good on your feet, fit well, in a color you like Smile, and you will be bounding out the door to get your runs in!!


Preparing to excercise

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Preparing to Exercise

Before you begin a rigorous exercise routine it is important to remember several key points. Paying attention to these points can make your exercise routine more effective, enjoyable, and safer.

Check with your health professional to receive an approval to do the exercises you intend to perform. This may entail a physical exam to make sure it is safe to do the routine and to make sure the exercises you are going to do are not going to cause any problems with any pre-existing conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, or other conditions that may affect your health.

Establish goals for your program. This will help to keep you motivated as well as help you decide what you want to gain from your program. General goals may include strengthening, toning, or improving cardiovascular endurance. Your goals may be more specific to what parts of your body you want to work on such as upper body, abdominal strength and so on. You can even be more specific to include how much weight you eventually want to lift, or how many sets you want to work up to, or how much endurance you want to gain.

Establish a specific and regular time to exercise. This will help you to keep your routine more consistent and more of a habit. It also ensures that other things in your daily life activity will not interrupt you. You may also find that you prefer to exercise at a certain time of day.

Wear comfortable clothing. Clothing should not interfere with your exercise equipment. Wear clothes that allow you to absorb perspiration and that allow good airflow to prevent overheating. Wear proper athletic shoes for foot protection in case a weight is accidentally dropped.

Warm-up prior to starting your full program. A warm-up prepares your body by increasing blood flow, loosening up the muscles, increasing heart rate, and can help reduce injury. This may be a short walk or jog or a mild bicycling regime. Simple range of motion exercises are also very good. These include shoulder circles, neck rotations, trunk rotations, leg circles, and so on. You should warm up each part of your body that you intend to work out. A warm-up should last about 4-5 minutes. Another part of warm up is to start out with lighter weights and gradually work up to the full routine.

Keep a workout log. This will help you determine when you have reached your goals. Record sets, reps, weights, treadmill speeds and information of this nature. You may also want to keep measurements of your arms or waist as well as your weight.

After your exercise routine, go through a cool down. Cool down can be the same as your warm up. Simple active movements help your body to return to its resting state. Gentle stretching is also a good thing to do. It keeps you limber and may help ease any delayed onset muscle soreness that may occur.
For more information and details, consult with your health professional.

Perceived effort levels (PEL)

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Perceived Effort Levels (PEL)

Level 1: I’m watching TV and eating bon bons

Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long

Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder

Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly

Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily

Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless

Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I’m sweating like a pig

Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period

Level 9: I am probably going to die

Level 10: I am dead

You want to exercise around level 5-7, warm-up and cool- down level 2-4, short intervals at level 8.

Keeping a daily food journal

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Keeping a Daily Food Journal

DOWNLOAD the Daily Food Journal Here

In order to determine how much food you need and how much you actually consume, an activity and food journal should be maintained.  A journal is a notebook to record the foods you eat, when you eat them, how you felt when you consumed the foods, and how much you exercise.

These guidelines need to be followed:

•    Record your weight weekly.
To determine accurate progress, record your weight weekly using the same scales and if possible weigh yourself unclothed.

•    Record your physical activity.
Record activity performed, level of performance, and duration.

•    Record your emotions.
What were you feeling when you ate?  Where you happy, sad, angry, or actually hungry?

•    Record EVERYTHING you eat and the amount.
In other words, if you Bite it – Write it.  If you have 3 M&M’s record it in your journal.  If you had 2 bites of ice cream – record it.

•    Record all information immediately after consuming the food.
You don’t want to forget foods or your feelings; your feeling can change several times during the day.

•    Calculate your journal at the end of each day.
Determine and total calories consumed for the day.

•    Congratulate your efforts for a good day.
If you maintained an accurate journal congratulate yourself. If you
did not, strive to make a better effort tomorrow.

Diet and water consumption

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Diet and Exercise Evolution: Water: 65% of Your Body Can’t be Wrong

The Liver
The function of your kidneys is to filter your blood (which is mostly water). And one of the functions of your liver is to metabolize fat. If you don’t consume enough water, your kidneys can’t function properly, so your liver starts to help perform kidney functions. So, if your liver is busy helping your ailing kidneys, you can’t burn as much fat. Let me repeat that: No matter how much you exercise, if you don’t drink enough water, your liver will not metabolize fat for you, because it is trying to help your kidneys.

Too Much Water?
Being hyper-hydrated (consuming too much water) is not in any way harmful , and actually helps your body metabolize fat. The greatest ill effect of excess water consumption is that you will visit the washroom more often. Consider it a chance to fit in a little more exercise into your daily routine.
There have been a few cases of long distance runners who have died from drinking water to toxic levels, but this is extremely rare, and their situation is very unique, so it is nothing for a normal person to worry about.

Retaining Water
You may have a medical condition that causes you to retain water, probably because of excess salt (sodium) in your system. The solution is simple: drink more water. Your body retains water for the same reason it retains fat: your body thinks that it’s hard to come by. If you teach your body that food is abundant, it will stop storing it. If you teach your body that water is abundant by drinking more of it, your body will stop storing it. For more information on how your body adapts to various stimuli, read my articles about adaptation on my website, they’re free.

Other Benefits
The more water you drink the healthier your skin becomes, because it has to be moisturized from the inside and out. It also contributes to joint lubrication, reducing the risk of injury in any activity. Water is the best cure for constipation, and should be your first choice, even before increasing fiber or taking laxatives.
When you are active, you should drink even more water, especially on hot days, to replace what you lose in sweat. Do not wait until you’re thirsty, because that is your body telling you that it is already under-hydrated. Try to keep yourself over-hydrated for best health. Here’s an extra tip: cold water is more easily absorbed into your system, plus it slightly lowers your body temperature, so you have to burn a few extra calories to bring your body temperature back up.

I Drink Plenty of Coffee, That’s Mostly Water, Right?
What counts as water? Some say “only water”, but some research has found that fruit juices that are mostly water can be counted towards your daily quota. However, you simply can’t drink as much juice as you can water. Juice will fill you up, and contains sugar which you should try to minimize in your diet. So, it’s really not a substitute for simple, clear water. And even though coffee is made with mostly water, it does not count since it is a diuretic and actually strips water from your system. Colas are also full of that diuretic caffeine, besides their ultra-high sugar content, so soft drinks should be the first item to stop consuming if you’re trying to lose weight. Replace those “alternatives” with a glass of water, and you’ll feel better and start losing pounds and inches.
It was recently found that even diet sodas do not help dieters, go to the “news” section of my site to read more about this research.
I hope it goes without saying that alcohol, even when mixed with water, is a diuretic and my advice is to minimize your consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Final Tip
You don’t have to drink a huge glass or two all at once, either. I have a large glass of water at my desk all day. As soon as it is empty, I refill it. I naturally sip it whenever I like, and I end up drinking more than my quota of water every day.

Determining Heart Rate

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Determining Heart Rate

1. Use a wrist watch with a second hand, place watch where it can easily be seen.

2. With one palm facing upward, place the fingertips of your other hand on the opposite wrist, in the groove just below the base of the thumb.

3. Press lightly until you feel your heart rate/pulse.

4. Once you’ve located your pulse:

a. Determine the rythym (regular/irregular)
b. Count the number of beats that occur in 15 seconds, and multiply by 4.
c. If your heart rhytyhm is irregular, be sure to count for a full 60 seconds.

Determining Maximal Heart Rate
To determine your TARGET heart rate you must first find your Predicted Maximal Heart Rate. Note this is a predicted rate and may need to be adjusted depending on you level of conditioning and/or other medical conditions. Check with your doctor or health professional.

To calculate the predicted maximal heart rate subtract your age from 220.

For example if you are 30 years of age, subtract 30 from 220.
=190 Maximal Heart Rate

Determining Target Heart Rate
There are two methods to determine target heart rate. In either method, you determine what your range is. If you are sedentary or not participating in regular exercise, you may want to keep you target heart rate at the lower limit. Ask your health professional or doctor where your particular level should begin.

Method 1:
Take your pulse to determine your Resting Heart Rate. Subtract your resting heart rate (rate while sitting still) from your maximal heart rate. Take this answer and multiply it by
.6 to find lower limit, and multiply by .8 to find upper limit. Then add the resting heart rate back to find the final result.
Example: Your maximal rate is 190. Your resting heart rate is 70.
190 190
-70 -70
= 120 = 120
x .6 x .8
=72 =96
+ 70 +70
= 142 = 166
Lower limit is 142
Upper limit is 166

Method 2:
Take Maximal heart rate and multiply by .7 and .85 (If you are just beginning an exercise program and feel you are very deconditioned, then you may want to use .6 instead of .7)
Example: your max heart rate is 190
190 190
x .7 x .85
133 161
Lower limit is 133
Upper limit is 161
As you can see the results are very similar. Remember these are only guidelines. Check with your health professional or doctor for your particular target heart rate ranges.

Common questions regarding fitness

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Common Questions Regarding Fitness

There are many misconceptions and general questions regarding fitness training. Following are listed many of the more commonly asked questions and some general answers to those questions.

1. Why do my muscles get sore after exercise? The soreness is call Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and results when a greater than normal load is placed on a muscle. (It was thought that a build up of lactic acid caused the soreness, but it is now thought that the soreness is a result of micro tears in the muscle directly due to the mechanics and nature of the muscle response to the greater than normal loads as well as a release or leaking of enzymes from the muscle fibers.) Soreness usually diminishes as the muscles adapt to the loads and is a natural part of the muscle response.

2. Will I get bulky muscles if I workout? This is difficult to answer. Much depends on the nature of your workout and the parameters. Much will depend both on your genetics and gender and the amount of testosterone in your body. Generally, if you do not want bulky muscles, it is easy to participate in a muscle toning program rather than a muscle building program.

3. How often should I workout? Organizations like ACSM, AHA, ACE, and others have recommendations for workout frequency. Recommendations have changed over the years as new studies and research is provided, but the general consensus is 3-5 days per week for 20-60 minutes. Much depends on whether you wants to maintain a certain level of fitness or gain improvement. For more detail and the latest guidelines, check with your personal trainer.

4. Can I spot train certain areas? Spot training implies that a certain exercise will get rid of the fat over a certain muscle. It is not true and does not exist. To remove fatty areas one must do two things. First, reduce overall body fat percentage. Second, improve muscle tone or mass of that specific muscle by strength training or toning.

5. What is the best equipment to use? When it comes to equipment, there is no best or worst. Much depends on your goals and level of fitness. Generally machines are better for the beginner because they provide more stability than free weights. However, machines may be limited in the exercises and weight increments that you can perform. Free weights and cable pulley machines can be more versatile in that sense but require better skill on the part of the participant.

Excercise Preparation Hints and Guidelines

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Exercise Preparation Hints and Guidelines

Proper preparation for a fitness program can serve several purposes. First, it helps prepare the body physiologically for the program, which means warming up the muscles and preparing the joints for loads. This in turn, decreases the risk of injury and improves general performance during your program. There are also other non-exercise related aspects of the program can help keep you on track and comfortable with your program. Following is a list of general guidelines:

1. Prior to initiating any type of exercise program, get a physical from your physician, especially if you are overweight, sedentary, over 35 years old, have any heart problems, have a history of heart problems in your family.

2. Set achievable, measurable, attainable, realistic goals.

3. Dress comfortable with material that allows good circulation of ai,r and choose fabrics that absorb perspiration. Choose clothing that won’t restrict your movement, and that has none or few zipper or buttons. Wear good athletic shoes that provide plenty of arch support. Dress for the climate. In cold climate areas it is a good idea to have warm up “sweats” to keep muscles warm and to keep warm after exercise session.

4. Choose and schedule times to work out that fit your daily routine. There really isn’t a time of day that is any better than another, but it helps to pick a time when you usually feel energetic. For instance, if you are not a “morning person”, it may be better to choose late morning, afternoons or evenings as your workout times.

5. Keep records of all the exercises you perform, along with weight, sets and repetitions. This helps you consistently repeat your program, eliminates missing exercises and can help when you want to progress your program.

6. Warm up for 5-10 minutes with a combination of light activity and stretches that target all the major muscles. If you are short on time, it is possible to leave out the initial stretches as long as you do 5-10 minutes of light active movements (slow walking, stationary bike, etc) but DO NOT leave out your stretch program in the cool down phase.

7. After your workout, finish with a cool down phase of 5-10 minutes, again with light active movement and stretches.

Check with your personal trainer for more detail regarding specific types of stretches and the activity for your warm up and cool down.

Step 1: Have a Plan

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An important factor in beginning an exercise program is to start with small steps!  If you are currently not active at all and you decide your goal is to run a 5K race, that’s a big step!  Instead, your first goal should be to get moving!  Start by running around the block.  Then decide how many times a week you would be able to run around the block.  Once you are consistently running around the block numerous times a week then you can increase your distance.  A mistake most people make when first starting out with a goal or resolution is starting out too big.  By making smaller changes at first and then being consistent with those smaller changes you are much more likely to be successful!  Plan on your own success!!  Don’t put too much on yourself that you fail.
Have a plan; think about what you honestly will do, when you will do it, and how often you are likely to do it.  Take a day of the week…I like Sunday….and plan your week.  Write your plan into your calendar just like you would a doctor appointment.  Plan your food for the week.  Make sure you have good healthy food choices available.  Plan for your success!!  I do a lot of interior painting.  One thing I have learned about painting is the better you prep, the nicer the paint looks when you are done.  You have to carefully tape your borders, sand any rough spots on the wall, fill in nail holes, etc…  The better the prep or plan the better the end result!  You plan for many things in your life, you plan for your education, you plan for your vacation, you plan for your retirement, PLAN FOR YOUR HEALTH!  After all, you want to be able to use your education, enjoy your vacation and be active in your retirement.