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Many people establish an exercise routine to get into better physical shape. Beyond appearances, though, exercise benefits the mind and body in myriad ways you can’t see in the mirror (or in a selfie). Twenty minutes per day is all you need to reap these benefits of exercise!

Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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Your kids have their costumes ready and are counting down the days until October 31st! Maybe you’re having a party with school friends or plan to just walk the neighborhood. Whatever your plans, be sure to include some heart-healthy fun in the mix.

Try these tips to mapumpkin jack-o-lanternske your Halloween festivities a little healthier for your family, party guests and all those trick-or-treaters.

For the Trick-or-Treater

  • Fill up first. What kid doesn’t want to eat their favorite candy right when it goes into their trick-or-treat bag? Having a healthy meal BEFORE your kids go trick-or-treating can reduce their temptation to snack while walking or to overindulge, because their tummies will be full.
  • Bag it. Be sure to find the right size collection bag for your child and steer clear of the pillow case method. If you encourage your child to only take one piece of candy from each house, they’ll be able to visit more houses in the neighborhood.
  • Get rid of it! Worried you’ll have leftover Halloween candy until long after Valentine’s Day? Using a smaller bag will help, but sometimes kids STILL end up with a ton of extra sweets. Here are some ideas of what to do with the leftover candy:
    • Keep enough candy for one piece a day for one or two weeks (long enough for the excitement to wane). Throw away, donate or repurpose the rest.
    • When your child asks for a piece of candy, make sure to pair it with a healthy snack: an apple, a banana, some nuts, or celery with peanut butter.
    • “Buy back” candy from your child with money or tokens they can trade in for a fun activity: a day at the zoo, an afternoon playing at the park, going ice skating, or a day at the pool.
    • Some dentists’ offices have buy-back or trade-in programs, too.
    • Save it for holiday baking.
    • Donate excess candy to a homeless shelter or care package program for troops overseas. A familiar sweet treat from home can be comforting at the holidays.
    • Save it to fill the piñata at the next birthday celebration or give out with Valentine cards.
    • Use it in an arts and crafts project or to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
    • Throw it away! And don’t be tempted by the half-priced candy after Halloween!
  • Get moving. Get some exercise by making this Halloween a fun family physical activity event. Set a goal of how many houses or streets you’ll visit, or compete to do as many as you can. Bring a bottle of water and wear comfortable shoes for walking!
  • Safety first. Check expiration dates and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them. Don’t let children eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies.
  • Have a plan. Halloween can be a great time to talk with kids about making smart choices, the need for balance and moderation, and how to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern. Plan in advance how much candy they’ll be allowed to take at each house, keep and eat. If they’re old enough, let them help decide what to do with excess candy.

For the Party Host

  • Up the fright factor. Serve healthy snacks dressed up in the Halloween theme. There are lots of creative ideas being shared online at this time of year!
  • Play with food. Incorporate healthy foods into activities, such as decorating oranges like Jack-O-Lanterns, making banana ghosts, and bobbing for apples.
  • Keep ‘em moving. Include plenty of physical activities, like a zombie dance party, three-legged monster race, spider crawl or pumpkin toss.
  • Rethink your drink. Don’t forget that cutting back on sugary treats includes soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. Offer water, unsweetened tea, 100% juice, or fat-free/low-fat milk instead. Make a festive Halloween punch from sparkling water and a splash of 100% orange juice, garnished with plenty of orange slices and black grapes or blackberries.

For the Stay-At-Homer

Be THAT house. You don’t have to pass out candy on Halloween. Start a new tradition on your street and give out healthier treats or non-edible items. Get creative! Here are some ideas.

Healthier Treats:

  • Clementines or small oranges decorated like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink)
  • 100% juice boxes or pouches
  • Snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • Snack-sized packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as baby carrots or apple slices
  • Mini boxes of raisins
  • 100% real fruit strips, ropes or leathers
  • Squeezable yogurt tubes or pouches
  • Sugar-free chewing gum

Non-edible items:

  • Glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys
  • Crayons and coloring books
  • Stickers or stamps
  • Soap bubble makers
  • Plastic spider rings or vampire teeth

Be careful to avoid giving very small items that could be a choking hazard to little ones.

  • Who’s in charge? Hand out treats to each trick-or-treater – one per child – instead of letting them decide how much to take. If you have more than one item, ask them to choose which they prefer. This is a great way to get control of your Halloween budget, too!
  • Avoid the whole mess. Want to avoid candy and masses of kids at your door? Dress your family up in their costumes and go see a movie. Or deliver healthy Halloween treats to your local police and fire stations, nursing home or children’s hospital.

Source: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/How-to-Have-a-Heart-Healthy-Halloween_UCM_317432_Article.jsp#.WAuNTfkrKM8

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You’d like to mingle more with your co-workers, but every opportunity seems centered around eating and drinking. Don’t fret. There are plenty of ways to integrate your healthy lifestyle with your on-the-job social life, enabling you to boost your social capital while staying true to your health goals.

Studies show that healthy habits are strongly influenced by the people we spend time with, for better or for worse. Don’t let your co-workers’ negative health habits bring you down. Instead, be a positive role model for an active, healthy lifestyle and help build a corporate culture of health from the ground up.

Go For a Walk

  • Invite a co-worker to join you for a quick walk instead of a coffee or smoke break. You’ll have a chance to catch up on work or personal matters, and return to your work stations reenergized and focusing on the tasks at hand. Even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood and creativity.
  • If you have a standing 1:1 meeting, suggest making it a walking meeting and reap the benefits of physical activity while getting the job done.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible and others will likely follow your example.
  • Take it one step further and organize a workplace walking group. Meet before or after work, during breaks or at lunch time for fun, fitness, and camaraderie.
  • Bring your lunches to a nearby park or other outdoor area. After eating, enjoy a walk together.
  • Visit a local bookstore, art gallery, or museum during your lunch break.

Team Training

  • Join a company-sponsored or community sports league and have fun playing basketball, softball, hockey or soccer with your work team.
  • Find a local fitness event, such as a 5K walk/run, walk-a-thon, or sprint triathlon and invite your colleagues to train together for the upcoming event.
  • If your workplace has an onsite gym or fitness classes, or if a nearby gym offers a corporate discount, participate.  It’s a great way to meet like-minded co-workers.
  • Help organize and promote an internal fitness event: Climb stairs to benefit a charity or create a pedometer step challenge.
  • Bicycle or walk to work. Find other employees who get to work on foot or on wheels and commute in together, if possible.
  • Take 2-minute stretch breaks throughout the day together.

Just For Fun

  • Organize a potluck, but bring a healthy dish to share and pay attention to your portion sizes.
  • Play Frisbee® or freeze tag on your lunch break.
  • Organize a weekend company day hike or volunteer to help organize active games at the employee picnic.
  • Volunteer as a work team to plant trees, clean up a park or walk dogs at the animal shelter.
  • If unwinding at a pub after work is part of your workplace culture, join in once in a while. Practice moderation, and if you don’t want to drink, order a sparkling water or orange juice.
  • Invite co-workers to your home for a barbeque and a backyard Badminton tournament.
  • Start an employee bowling league.
  • Invite a co-worker to join you for an after-work run, bicycle ride, or game of racquetball.

Social Success

Developing good relationships with the people you work with is important, not just for your career, but for your health. Don’t let your commitment to good health stop you from getting to know your co-workers. Take the initiative to be active at work and encourage others to join in. When you inspire your co-workers to make physical activity a priority, you create even more of the social support you need to keep yourself moving.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3223/20-active-ways-to-be-social-at-work/

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8295214_XXLMorning, midday or midnight — when’s the best time to work out?

Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you.

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Your best time is based on a “constellation” of factors:

  • location,
  • time of day,
  • type of physical activity and
  • social setting, among others.

“It’s not just what time, but what activity, with whom and where,” said Pate, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “This mix of factors for people come together to result in being consistent.”

Everybody’s Different

“Different people will have different preferences and predispositions with regard to how they respond to exercise at different times of the day,” Pate said.

For example, if you’re much more likely to work out consistently with a partner, “then you’re better off to opt for a social part regardless of the time of day,” Pate said. “On the other hand, some people like the solitude, the chance to get away.”

You might have heard that the best time to work out is early in the morning — to get your metabolism revving or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your regimen. “Are there differences in working out at different times of the day? Maybe. But those differences would be minor compared to the overall effect of doing it consistently,” Pate said.

“If you’re not a morning person, it does no good for you to try to get up at 5 in the morning to work out,” he said. “Try to stack as many cards on your side of the table as possible by doing what’s most likely to work for you. The converse is, don’t make it as hard as it doesn’t have to be.”

Fit in Fitness

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. But what if you’re tight on time? Then, be creative and break up your activity into daily bouts of 3-10-minute increments.

For example:

  • In the morning, park 10 minutes away from the job and walk briskly.
  • At lunch, walk 10 minutes in or around where you work.
  • In the afternoon/evening, walk briskly 10 minutes back to your vehicle.

And there you have a 30-minute workout!

“Accumulation across the day doesn’t have to be performed in one bout, but can be across the day,” Pate said. “More is better, but we’re absolutely certain even modest amounts are much better than being sedentary.” And remember, “exercise” is any kind of physical activity that gets your heart rate up for at least 10 minutes at a time.

So get moving — at the time that’s right for you!

Source: When is the best time of day to work out?

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The warmth of the summer months beckon us to spend time with family and friends outdoors and away from work to enjoy these precious days of sunshine. However, there are challenges to maintaining our mental well-being when these days come. I would like to share with you some facts about working in the summertime, and how you can help your staff feel their best.

Spreading the hours around

A study noted in the Huffington Post found that 26 per cent are not using paid vacation days provided by their employer. The majority of those said it was because they felt they had too much work to do and taking time away would leave them behind in their work. Others are saving their vacation days for emergencies, and still others claimed to not want a vacation. By encouraging staff to take time away, even for a staycation, the benefits in creativity can be reaped when returning with a fresh view and feeling more relaxed. Time away also decreases burnout and subsequently can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Covering for others

According to CMHA Ontario, the summer months of vacation time can be a cause of stress for those filling in for others in their absence. Whether it is on the assembly line or in an office, taking on the job of another, often one that they may have little experience doing, can make those employees feel anxious and stressed. When personal life stressors occur during this time, the pressure at work can seem overwhelming. To make vacations work for everyone, discuss with everyone the upcoming workload so you can plan deadlines around vacation dates. Knowing who is on vacation and when will also help you plan your projects. Ensure staff that is covering for others are clearly aware of new tasks and responsibilities, and check in to see how manageable the workload is while other staff is away.

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder typically affects some in the winter months with shorter and colder days, but there are some individuals who are affected by depression in the summertime. Increased humidity is unbearable for some, who may stay in their air-conditioned home to avoid the heat, and are likely less active as a result. When it’s too hot to cook, many choose to eat out or order in and poor food choices are often made. Changes in routine and schedules can bring on feelings of depression, such as having bored school children or university students now at home. Financial strain with camp and entertainment costs is increased, as well as the costs of going on a destination vacation. Wearing shorts or bathing suits can increase feelings of poor body image, and may inhibit some from joining friends at the beach or poolside. Some signs of summer depression to look for in your staff could include difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain, and feelings of anxiety. One way to stave off symptoms of depression is to maintain physical fitness, so encourage employees to use their employee discount at the air-conditioned gym, even for the summer months. Another way to maintain mental wellness is to stay connected, so hosting a BBQ for staff to enjoy each other’s company outside of the workplace and engage with each other in a social environment helps build camaraderie, minimize isolation and enhance work relationships.

I hope you take the time to enjoy your summer, with your co-workers, family and friends!

via Keeping Your Cool in the Workplace this Summer — Charles Benayon

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16851992Walking is the most popular form of exercise and offers great health benefits, even if it doesn’t burn as many calories as running or other more intense forms of exercise. But a new study has some encouraging news: The equations commonly used to predict the number of calories burned during walking count too few calories in nearly all cases on level surfaces.

Here’s why: Standardized equations commonly used to predict or estimate walking energy expenditure assume that one size fits all. Plus, the equations, which have been in place for close to half a century, were based on data from a limited number of people.

A new study at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, found that under firm, level ground conditions, the most commonly used standards are relatively inaccurate and have significant bias. The standards predicted too few calories burned in 97 percent of the cases researchers examined, said SMU physiologist Dr. Lindsay Ludlow.

A new standardized equation developed by SMU scientists, however, is about four times more accurate for adults and kids together, and about two to three times more accurate for adults only, Ludlow said.

“Our new equation is formulated to apply regardless of the height, weight and speed of the walker,” said Ludlow, a researcher in the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory of biomechanics expert Dr. Peter Weyand. “And it’s appreciably more accurate.” Study results, along with the new equation, were published earlier this year in The Journal of Applied Physiology.

“The economy of level walking is a lot like shipping packages,” explains Weyand. “There is an economy of scale. Big people get better gas mileage when fuel economy is expressed on a per-pound basis.”

The SMU equation predicts the calories burned as a person walks on a firm, level surface. Ongoing research is expanding the algorithm to predict the calories burned while walking up- and downhill, and while carrying loads, Ludlow says.

The research comes at a time when greater accuracy combined with mobile technology, such as wearable sensors like Fitbit, is increasingly being used in real time to monitor the body’s status. The researchers note that some devices use the old standardized equations, while others use a different method to estimate the calories burned.

NEW EQUATION CONSIDERS DIFFERENT-SIZED PEOPLE

To provide a comprehensive test of the leading standards, SMU researchers compiled a database using the extensive walking metabolism data available in the existing scientific literature to evaluate the leading equations for walking on level ground.

“The SMU approach improves upon the existing standards by including different-sized individuals and drawing on a larger database for equation formulation,” Weyand explains.

The new equation achieves greater accuracy by better incorporating the influence of body size, and by specifically incorporating the influence of height on gait mechanics. Specifically:

  • Bigger people burn fewer calories on a per-pound basis of their body weight to walk at a given speed or to cover a fixed distance.
  • The older standardized equations don’t account for size differences; rather, they assume that roughly one size fits all.

The exact dates are a bit murky, but the leading standardized equations, known by their shorthand as the “ACSM” and “Pandolf” equations, were developed about 40 years ago for the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and for the military, respectively, Ludlow says.

The Pandolf method, for example, draws on walking metabolism data from six U.S. soldiers, she said. Both the Pandolf and ACSM equations were developed on a small number of adult males of average height.

The new, more accurate equation will prove useful, as predicting energy expenditure is common in many fields, including those focused on health, weight loss, exercise, military and defense, and professional and amateur physical training. Accurate estimations of the rate at which calories are burned could potentially help predict a person’s aerobic power and likelihood for executing a task, such as training for an athletic competition or carrying out a military objective.

In general, the new metabolic estimates can be combined with other physiological signals such as body heat, core temperature and heart rate to improve predictions of fatigue, overheating, dehydration, the aerobic power available and whether a person can sustain a given intensity of exercise.

  • SMU’s new and improved equation for predicting the energy expenditure of walking:
  • VO2total = VO2rest + 3.85 + 5.97·V2/Ht (where V is measured in m/s, Ht in meters, and VO2 in ml O2·kg−1·min−1)

Source: ACE – ProSource: May 2016 – Study: Walkers Burn More Calories Than Previously Thought

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Working OutWith class schedules expanding at gyms around the country and boutique fitness studios booming, it’s clear that people are flocking to group fitness classes—and with good reason. Group fitness classes offer the opportunity to experience movement in positive, memorable, and purposeful ways, inspiring meaningful change both physically and mentally.

Here are the top five reasons people love group fitness classes, and why you will, too.

1. Expert guidance with no guesswork

One of the main reasons people are drawn to group fitness is the expert guidance they receive from certified instructors. An exceptional group fitness instructor is proficient in the art of creating enjoyable movement experiences that keep participants committed to their health and wellness journeys. There’s no guesswork when it comes to how to structure your workout session— the GFI has done the work for you.

2. Accountability to create a workout routine

The fact that group fitness classes occur on a set day and time works wonders with creating structure around physical activity, even for people who struggle with workout consistency. As opposed to hoping you’ll make it to the gym at some point during the day, choosing a class to attend and signing up in advance creates a greater sense of accountability and enables you to plan your day around your workout (and your health!).

3. Social support and so much more

The feeling of being part of something bigger and the camaraderie forged in group fitness classes is something that quite simply can’t be replicated. Group fitness classes exude positivity, and serve as a welcome invitation for people of all different ages, backgrounds, and ability levels to come together in one inclusive experience to move with passion and intention, all without judgement or expectation.

4. Explore movement in a new way

If you find yourself stuck in a fitness rut, group fitness can be a perfect option for adding variety to your routine, while also ensuring a well-rounded approach to exercise. Do you dread the idea of running on a treadmill to get your cardio in? Try attending a dance-based fitness class to improve endurance while burning just as many, if not more, calories. Feeling uninspired to focus on your flexibility? Try a yoga class to improve your range of motion and enhance your movement quality.

5. Fitness and fun rolled into one

Hands down one of the most commonly cited reasons people choose to attend group fitness classes is because of the fun factor. Group fitness classes prove the old saying “no pain, no gain,” couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, an effective workout can and should be a fun one, as the more enjoyment you experience during exercise; the more likely you are to stick with a regular routine of physical activity.

Contact Energy in Motion for more information on bringing exercise classes to your workplace.

Original Article: https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/5892/5-reasons-people-love-group-fitness-classes-and?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ACE-Fit-Life-04-13-2016&utm_content=Consumer+Outreach&spMailingID=25230537&spUserID=NjU5NTYyNDEwMjUS1&spJobID=782085234&spReportId=NzgyMDg1MjM0S0

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