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You may have heard of workplace wellness programs and all of the perks that companies offer their employees to help them stay healthy and present. But maybe, for one reason or another, you’ve never really explored what your company has. Even though employee health is good for your company, the focus is YOU so why not take advantage of it all? Here are three benefits you won’t want to miss out on.

Youthful energy: The carefree spirits and good health associated with young adults can be yours too when you take advantage of all the benefits your wellness program has to offer! These programs typically include benefits that are tailored towards helping you to greater physical health — whether that is giving you free fitness classes, getting you a standing desk, or encouraging noontime walks. Being more active through these activities reduces your risk of a whole sleuth of preventable diseases, like obesity and heart disease! These little fitness-y breaks also help you have higher energy levels, a better mood, and less muscle stress. Really, who can say they wouldn’t like to be more healthy?

Organized fun: That being said, sometimes becoming more healthy is hard. Whether it’s to lose that holiday weight or swim a mile, having others support you as you strive towards your goals increases your likelihood of achieving them. Your coworker might be trying to accomplish the same goal, so you can train together and share tips!

Employee health and wellness programs also help you have a greater sense of community at work through team-bonding (or competitive) activities. Think a friendly baseball game with your coworkers vs employees from a different department, a golf outing with the CEOs, or a whole-company charity walk. It’s always fun to make more friends at work, especially through interesting wellness activities.

Unused cash: Even if you’re generally healthy, it would be silly to not use resources already given to you at free or very discounted rates – and you definitely don’t want to spend money on something that you could get for free. My dad has worked at his company for around 10 years and just found out a year ago that he’s been getting a free gym membership with his employment this whole time 😛 .

Besides saving money through free fitness passes, you might be able to save cash in other ways. At some companies, joining a wellness program will make your health insurance premium less expensive or give you free health services. Ask your company to see what you get!

Employees nowadays often spend their 8-hour days sitting slumped at their desk staring at a computer screen, but you don’t have to be one of those people if you partake in some wellness on the job. A healthier you is a happier you and maybe a more productive, likely-to-be promoted you!

Pictures by Lyvly Ambassador: Highsam A. & Melissa

Lyvly Bee

You may have heard of workplace wellness programs and all of the perks that companies offer their employees to help them stay healthy and present. But maybe, for one reason or another, you’ve never really explored what your company has. Even though employee health is good for your company, the focus is YOU so why not take advantage of it all? Here are three benefits you won’t want to miss out on.

Youthful energyThe carefree spirits and good health associated with young adults can be yours too when you take advantage of all the benefits your wellness program has to offer! These programs typically include benefits that are tailored towards helping you to greater physical health — whether that is giving you free fitness classes, getting you a standing desk, or encouraging noontime walks. Being more active through these activities reduces your risk of a whole sleuth of preventable diseases, like…

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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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16851992Walking is low-risk and easy to start. It can help keep you fit and reduce your risk of serious diseases, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more.

A regular walking program can also:

American Heart Association recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. Even short 10 minute activity sessions can be added up over the week to reach this goal. If you would benefit from lowering your blood pressure or cholesterol, aim for 40 minute sessions of moderate to vigorous activity 3 to 4 times a week. You could do this by walking 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If that’s too fast, choose a more comfortable pace.

Get ready

All you need to get started are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters.

Work on your technique

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a stroll that feels comfortable (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20 percent by adding a few minutes or blocks. If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple of 10- to 20-minute walks instead of one long walk, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since they put extra stress on your elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t talk or catch your breath while walking, slow down. At first, forget about walking speed. Just get out there and walk!

Pick up the pace

To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes. Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace. A good way to add variety is to incorporate some brisk intervals. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Concentrate on increasing your speed while maintaining good posture.

Walking hills is a great way to tone your legs. Using Nordic walking poles can help your burn more calories and give you better posture and overall muscle endurance. Treadmill walking, while not as scenic, can be convenient during bad weather.

The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Track your progress. Although experts recommend walking at least 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Be safe

  • Avoid traffic accidents. Listening to lively music while you walk is a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Wear light colors or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick if you walk when visibility is low.
  • Walking on sidewalks is best, but if you have to walk on the street, stick to streets with lower speed limits. Faster streets are riskier because motorists are less likely to see pedestrians and cannot stop as quickly. Accidents involving pedestrians have an 85 percent chance of becoming fatal if the car is moving at 40 mph as compared to only 5 percent if the speed is 20 mph.
  • Know your area. Pay attention to what businesses are open in the area you’ll be walking and know the location of emergency telephones. Walk on well-traveled streets rather than taking shortcuts in less crowded areas such as alleys or parking lots. If you give the message that you are calm, self-assured and have a purposeful gait, you’ll lower your chances of becoming a victim.
  • Two heads are better than one. Walking with a partner or in groups discourages crime and may help alert you to dangers such as speeding motorists or unleashed dogs.

If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. But don’t stop exercising!

Source: Walking 101

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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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9 Things to Look For in a Quality Weight Loss ProgramMaintaining a healthy weight can be challenging and, for some people, even more difficult than losing weight. The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use these 13 tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals.

Dr. Kevin Hall, an expert on metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health recently published the results of his six-year study of participants from the television show, The Biggest Loser. He found that all but one of the people he studied regained all or more of the weight they had lost. But even more staggering was that their resting metabolic rates dropped significantly, so much so that weight regain was inevitable. Participants’ resting metabolic rate continued to stay low even after they had gained back the weight.

Now, we already know that a body at a higher weight burns more calories than the same body at a lighter weight because there is less mass to move and keep alive. However, with weight loss, one has to look at a few variables: how fast the weight loss occurred, and how much of the lost weight came from fat and how much came from lean tissue, primarily muscle mass.

Muscle mass is directly linked to resting metabolic rate, as this tissue requires more calories to keep alive. When lean muscle mass makes up a significant portion of total weight loss, resting metabolic rate takes a nosedive. However, a weight-loss program that promotes weight training to increase muscle mass can potentially offset the decline in metabolism.

The good news is that achieving lasting weight maintenance is possible. Use the following tips to help you succeed at maintaining your weight-loss goals:

1. Stay consistent both with your activity levels and eating plan.

We often see people use the achievement of their weight-loss goal as a sign to stop what they’re doing, celebrate and subsequently revert to their old habits. Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for weight gain. Whatever it took to help you lose the weight is the same plan that will help you keep it off—with some tweaks, of course. Remember, you no longer burn the same amount of calories that you did when you were heavier, so you’ll need to recalculate your calorie needs and make adjustments to your nutrition and/or exercise.

2. Build those muscles.

As stated earlier, muscle mass is directly tied to your resting metabolic rate. Having more muscle mass means your resting metabolic rate will be higher. Focusing on building muscle mass through strength or resistance training is the only way to create new, metabolically active muscle tissue. For weight maintenance, weight training becomes just as, if not more, important as aerobic conditioning.

3. Continue to set goals.

We encourage you to set both long-term and short-term goals and make sure that they are both realistic and achievable. Goals can be about exercise (trying something new), nutrition (have a go at changing up macronutrient percentages, cut out sugar, or stick with a whole-food diet) or training for a race. You might also consider setting goals outside the diet and exercise realm, such as booking an adventure vacation. When you are having fun and are happy, you reduce your production of the stress hormone cortisol, making you more likely to be successful with maintaining your weight.

4. Practice mindful and intuitive eating.

Mindful eating means that you are present when you eat—no television, emails, Facebook or surfing the web. When you are focused on your meal, you can notice the taste, texture, temperature and aroma of it and really find enjoyment with what you are eating. You will be more likely to walk away from that meal feeling full and satisfied. Being an intuitive eater means that you are listening to your body’s signals when it comes to being hungry and full. You eat when you are hungry (not waiting until you are ravenous), and stop when you are full (about 80 percent full), but not stuffed.

5. Have a plan.

You know the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Plan out your week—each day’s workout, as well as what meals you will be preparing and eating. Having a plan means you will more likely stick to it and be successful.

6. Come up with a list of non-food coping strategies.

Emotional eating causes many people to turn to food when they are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, bored, lonely or even happy. And the foods most people typically reach for are salty, crunchy, fatty foods and sweets. When you are in an emotionally neutral state, come up with a list of non-food coping mechanisms that can make you feel better. Try singing, dancing, a short burst of exercise, taking a walk, calling a friend or our personal favorite, laughter therapy. Find some funny video clips to watch and once you start laughing, the stress hormones quickly recede and it becomes easier to feel better.

7. Find support.

Nothing feels more difficult than going through something alone. If your weight-loss journey was a solo trek, reaching out to others, especially people who are going through the same thing, can be both comforting and rewarding. You need to be able to open up and express your thoughts and feelings to like-minded people. You’ll be amazed at the great ideas you’ll come away with, as well as an increased sense of motivation.

8. Eat real, whole, clean food.

Once you achieve your goal weight, you might find yourself a little lax when it comes to your diet. A piece of chocolate cake, a slice of pizza and an extra glass of wine can really add up quickly. Remember what got you to your goal weight in the first place—a sound eating plan. Ditching the refined, processed food and replacing it with real, whole, clean foods, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, clean complex carbs and plenty of water and green tea, can get you back on track for success.

9. Stay within 3 pounds of your maintenance weight.

While we don’t believe in being slaves to the scale, a once-a-week weigh-in should be enough to make sure you are staying on track. If the scale indicates more than a 3-pound gain, it’s time to check in with yourself and assess what you’ve been doing differently. Are you keeping food records? Do you get enough sleep? How’s your stress level? All of these factors play a role in weight gain.

10. Setbacks happen.

You travel for business or pleasure, attend parties and have holiday gatherings—all of which typically mean an abundance of food is available. Again, have a plan for handling these food environments to your advantage. But if you do slip up and decide to overindulge at the buffet, that’s O.K. Learn how to move past it and go right back to your consistent new lifestyle.

11. Stay hydrated.

Did you know that most of the time you think you’re hungry, you’re actually thirsty? Next time you find yourself with the munchies, go drink 12 ounces of water and wait 15 minutes. You might have just solved the problem. However, if you find yourself physically hungry go ahead and eat. As for how much water you should be drinking each day, a general rule is to drink (in ounces) half of your body weight (in pounds). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (150 x 1/2 = 75), you need to drink 75 ounces (approximately 10 cups of water). Add 1 cup if you live in a hot climate and another cup when exercising and sweating.

12. Practice stress management.

Stress plays a big role in weight regain. The main stress hormone is cortisol and when it is high, due to stress, it causes your body to become more insulin resistant. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so the more you have floating around your bloodstream, the more fat you are likely to store, especially around your abdominal region. Stress-management techniques can be as simple as taking a few one-minute breaks during the day during which you close your eyes and practice deep breathing. If you have more time, try longer stretches of meditation or breathing exercises. Again, laughter therapy is a great way to deal with stress.

13. Sleep seven to nine hours each night.

There is ample scientific evidence about the role that sleep plays in weight. When you sleep fewer than seven hours per night, there is a disruption in the production of two main hormones that control hunger and fullness. Poor sleep causes your brain to produce more ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier, and less leptin, which helps make you feel full. So now you’re feeling hungry all the time. And who wants a salad when you’re tired and hungry? This is what it’s like when ghrelin and leptin are out of whack. Proper sleep keeps these hormones at proper levels and hunger and fullness are back to normal.

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N., are the co-founders of U Rock Girl!, a website designed to nourish the mind, body and spirit of women of all ages and stages of life. They have just authored the rockin’ breakfast cookbook, No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Breakfast! available at http://www.URockGirl.com

Source: ACE Fit | Fit Life | 13 Tips for Maintaining Weight Loss Over the Long-term

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Reflecting Forward 20113…2…1…happy New Year! It’s time to put the last year behind you and work toward what you couldn’t accomplish the year before. Lose 25 pounds, exercise daily, stop eating so much chocolate…it’s all so possible!

You go to the gym and it’s packed! Looks like you weren’t the only one who had a weight loss resolution. You start awkwardly fumbling around and after about 20 minutes, you begin to sweat. It’s working! After a month or two, you would have noticed the gym attendance has tapered off a bit—had you continued to go.

Most people are full steam ahead at first start, but often times that steam begins to run out and old habits return. So how do you maintain your resolution and accomplish your goals for the New Year? Here are some tips to keep you going throughout the year.

Make a Plan

Most people just jump into whatever activity they want to improve on, with little thought of the long run. One of the biggest problems with New Year’s goals is the fact that most of them are an abstraction. “Losing weight” and “going to the gym” aren’t very concrete and they fall apart easily. Try putting realistic numbers on your goals. “Lose 2 pounds a week for 3 months” or “eat out one less time per week” give numerical value to your goals and they begin to material and become more concrete.

Start Small

Notice the weight loss goal was was 2 pounds, not 10 pounds. It is best to take time with accomplishing your resolution. Most people kick-start the New Year with a vengeance, but they begin to fizzle within weeks. Most of the time this is because they started too strong and didn’t ease into the transition. Take your time with your resolution, it’s not a race. Start with small victories and work your way up to the big picture.

Create Accountability

One of the best ways to accomplish something is to broadcast it to the world. Tell everyone about your goal, but not as a New Year’s resolution. No one will expect you to keep a New Year’s resolution, but they will hold you to your word on a goal. Tell your friends and family what your goal is and what you’re doing to accomplish it. Over time, they’ll ask how you’re doing and support you, which will in turn give you something to be accountable for.

A new year brings new challenges and an opportunity to change your behaviors for the better. The hard part is sticking to your guns and accomplishing all you want to accomplish. Set a realistic goal, tell your friends and plan it all out and by the same time the next year, you’ll be celebrating the new year and the completion of your goal!

©2016 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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Fitness buffs start year with boot camp at Lakeland YMCAIt can be difficult fitting exercise into the daily grind. People come up with so many excuses to keep them from a healthy lifestyle and staying active. Becoming one of the “fitness faithful” may seem out of reach, but guess what? It’s actually a lot easier than you think! Exercise has to become part of your daily and weekly habits and once it is, it’ll become second nature and just another part of your routine. Here are 4 easy ways to make exercising into a sustainable habit, instead of feeling like an occasional chore.

1. Have a Partner

You know those days where you just don’t feel like getting up and stepping out of the house? It becomes more difficult when you have a friend waiting outside, ready to go! Having a workout buddy helps to create a fun atmosphere and gives you someone to share your workout journey with. There are even websites, like sparkpeople.com, where you can get a virtual workout buddy and log/track your progress.

2. Create a Routine

Consistency is the key to creating workout success. Pick at least three days a week at a specific time where you are dedicated to your exercise program. Make sure not to cancel those trips to the gym on a whim, unless it’s something very important. But this should be the exception rather than the rule. If you have to cancel, reschedule for the same day at a different hour or the next day. Planning your workouts into your calendar, just as you would a dinner date or business meeting, will help form and reinforce a habit, leading you to overall fitness success.

3. Make Yourself Accountable

There are many different ways to hold yourself accountable to your actions, so the idea is to find one that is realistic for you. As mentioned above, having a buddy to go with you provides motivation on those days you feel less than motivated and can help keep the energy high. Does money motivate you? There is a website, stick.com where you create a commitement contract to yourself towards achieving a certain goal. If you don’t meet the goal, it costs you money, which you can designate to go to a charity if you chose. Another way is to create a daily reminder. Most phones have free apps that ask you if you have fulfilled a certain activity for that day. Or you can be traditional and just use a calendar. Either way, when faced with a “yes” or “no” question, it’s harder to skip your workout.

4. Reward Yourself

Come up with small rewards for accomplishing your goals and you will be more likely to succeed. Everyone likes positive reinforcement and a reward system will give you something to look forward to for accomplishing your workout goals. Pick something you like and reward yourself with it for good behavior. Say you like going to the movies. After every two weeks, if you haven’t missed a day, take yourself out to see a movie. You will begin to associate hitting your goals with getting to see the next blockbuster, which will help with overall success.

Habits can seem very difficult to form and break, but if you chop them up into smaller activities, they become easier to achieve. Follow these tips and you will be able to form new, healthier habits that will lead you to a life of good health and fitness!

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

Further Reading

Lack of Workout Time? Fitness Dilemma Solved!

Preparing for a Lifestyle Change

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