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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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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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Staying Hydrated

Sure, it’s the same route you run for each workout, but today is different. It’s a scorcher and the radio is warning it may hit record temps. You can’t skip another day due to the heat, so you decide to go out and run anyway. You want to do it safely, but how? Here are some tips on how to get out there and exercise, even when the sun is beating down.

Wear Lighter Clothing

Exercise generates great amounts of body heat. Avoid wearing cotton when running because it holds your sweat and doesn’t dry quickly, which can lead to chafing. Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from your skin so cooling evaporation can occur.

Light-colored clothing that reflects the sun’s rays will help your body breathe and cool itself naturally. Tight clothing restricts that process, and dark colors absorb the sun’s light and heat.

Never wear rubberized or plastic clothing, such garments interfere with the evaporation of perspiration and can cause body temperature to rise to dangerous levels.

Stay Hydrated

It is important to stay hydrated during any workout, but on a hot day, this is especially important. If you don’t hydrate properly before, during, and after your run, you may be at risk for dehydration. Lack of hydration can lead to a heat stroke, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness or a whole host of other medical issues.

The easiest way to avoid heat disorders such as dehydration is to keep your body hydrated. This means drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. You should make sure that you’re starting out your runs well-hydrated.

When it’s extremely hot and humid, you’re going to drink more than you usually do. Bring more water than usual and take the time to replace lost fluids. If the conditions have you concerned about possible dehydration, slow your pace down so that you sweat at a lower rate.

Time of Day

You may have a favorite part of the day that you like to run, but you may have to consider making a few adjustments due to the heat. If you run in the morning, consider running an hour or two earlier; in the evening, consider an hour or two later.

There is a mid-day window in which the heat may be unreasonable and it’s not worth risking health problems because you don’t feel like waking up a little earlier. Plan ahead and get plenty of sleep the night before so you are ready to get up at an earlier hour.

Go a Little Less Hard

It’s hard to pull back, especially when you’re making really good progress, but a hot day isn’t the best time to break your personal record. Ease up a bit on these kinds of days and don’t over-exert yourself. Listen to your inner voice; if you feel yourself wearing out a bit earlier than usual, that’s okay. Go with it. It’s better to stop a little early and get a little less exercise than to go longer and injure yourself.

Hot weather doesn’t mean you have to skip out entirely, but there are some precautions you should take. Be safe and pay close attention to what your body is telling you. You can still get a great work out in, just be careful. Enjoy the beautiful day out, hydrate and have fun!

© 2015 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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pilatesSweating at work isn’t that foreign of a concept. Sweating at work to cool music in workout clothes-that’s a little different. Onsite group exercise classes for businesses are growing in popularity and for good reason. There are so many benefits, some that reach beyond losing weight and getting into shape. Here 3 reasons why onsite group exercise classes are beneficial for everyone in the office:

1. Mood and Morale

Have you ever heard of a “runners high”? When you’re working out hard you get in the zone and an upbeat feeling takes over. Exercise helps to boost the mood and overall morale of the office, causing a more pleasant and stress-free work environment. A lot of the everyday workplace tension gets released in a positive way, leaving people feeling calmer and more cheery.

2. Workplace Relations

Sometimes work can get so hectic that you don’t really have the time to interact socially. Other times you may just be feeling tired and not up to interacting with your coworkers. This can leave you feeling isolated and left out, leading to low morale and less productivity.

Group exercise classes are a social atmosphere that give people the opportunity to laugh, sweat and interact with coworkers in ways they may not have done before. This interactions leads to a better workplace environment and helps with a “team player” mentality.

3. Health!

Of course, the most obvious benefit is overall health. Just a half an hour to an hour a day can enhance your overall health and life longevity, as well as quality of life. Whether the goal is to lose weight or to just get a little extra cardio in, group exercises can be tailored to fit any individual’s fitness level and can help them reach their overall goals.

Companies also benefit from onsite group exercise classes with more fit employees that are less likely to get sick or have job related injuries like back problems and muscles strains. Having an onsite group exercise class can change the overall landscape of a company and can increase both the mood and productivity of workers. Employees will look forward to these classes as an opportunity to interact and get in shape and because of their proximity they will be able to help each other reach their fitness goals with a support system.

An Onsite group exercise class program is a win-win for everyone involved-employees get exercise training and employers have healthier, happier employees.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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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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22571019The good news is that no matter which is first, cardio will improve everything from your heart health to your mood and weight training will improve everything from bone density to metabolism. However, depending on your fitness goals, there may be some benefit to doing cardio first followed by weight training or vice versa.

If power, strength or building lean muscle mass is what you’re after, you don’t want to fatigue your muscles with cardio first, so do it after your hit the weights. If general fitness is your goal, then definitely mix up the sequence of aerobic exercise and resistance training on different days. Each sequence has advantages. Research shows that a person burns slightly more calories when they finish the workout with weight training. However, studies also show that since a person has more energy in the first part of a workout, they can train at a higher intensity which is advantageous for those doing resistance exercise first. So for variety and total benefits, mix up the sequence on different days of the week.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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Working Out BWThe fresh start of a new year inspires lots of people to make New Year’s resolutions. Some of the most popular wellness resolutions include losing weight, exercising more, dieting, quitting smoking and stress reduction. Here are some tips to help you stick to those resolutions for 2014:

  1. Find Your Motivation. Make sure you REALLY want to make the change. What is your motivation for making a change? Don’t just do it because someone else told you or you need to fit into a new dress. Find your intrinsic motivation and you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Maybe you want to lower you cholesterol or reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. Only when you feel this intrinsic motivation, this reason inside of you with the true desire to make a change, then your chances to succeed are high.
  2. Set Goals. You must break the old habits and replace them with new ones. Instead of a rush of activity in a one-time effort, consistency is the key to success. You need to do things regularly to achieve challenging goals. Make a realistic plan to reach your goals. Resolutions are really just annual goals. But like all goals, they should be SMART: 
    • Specific- your goals just identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.
    • Measurable- as the old adage says, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”
    • Actionable- every resolution should start with a verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.)
    • Realistic- you have to be careful here. A good resolution should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense.
    • Time-bound- every resolution needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that resolution? It could be by year-end (December 31) or it could be more near-term (March 31).
    • With SMART goals, you now have a visual reminder of your plans and a way to measure your progress.
  3. Make Your Plans Public. Tell your family and friends what you are committed to achieving. If you’re accountable to someone else for your work, you might be more likely to stick with it. Better yet, find someone with similar resolutions and buddy up. A co-worker or friend who is interested in going to the gym will often make it more likely that you both will go.
  4. Measure Your Progress. Measurement allows you to visualize your progress. It will give you something to look back at and be proud of. If you have a feeling of accomplishment towards your goal, you will most likely continue to strive. Even if each day’s effort doesn’t feel like much, it adds up to a big change.
  5. Reward Your Success. Rewards are a great motivation to keep going so celebrate the good stuff you’ve done. If you’ve reached a mini-goal or you’re stuck with your resolution for a month, treat yourself to something special. But, try not to use food as a reward.
  6. Don’t Give Up. Be ready for setbacks along the way. Nobody’s perfect. Forgive yourself and get back on track as soon as you can. Plan ahead for how you’ll deal with setbacks so you won’t be surprised if it happens.

Sticking with your New Year diet resolutions in 2014 can be easier when you have a plan. Use some of these tips and strategies to stick with your New Year diet resolutions in 2014 – and beyond!

Happy New Year! …Tiffiny

© 2013 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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