Posts Categorized: fitness

Move Your Body

Exercise is recommended for everyone


Land sakes, it’s like a DIRTY WORD, isn’t it? There’s so much angst and anxiety, social tension and expectation piled into that one word that it hurts to even ponder it. Which is a real shame because, exercise? It’s really good for you. Yes, you. All of you. Pretty much without exception. In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and use the S-word: To keep it in good, working condition for as long as possible, you should find ways to regularly move, groove, and exercise your physical form.

There are studies – oh, are there ever studies – that talk about how fat people can be fit and thin people can be less fit, and we can argue all day long about the finer points of those studies. But let’s not. Let’s instead focus on the fact that – aside from the physically fragile, infirm, and extremely elderly – exercise is recommended for everybody. That doctors, nutritionists, fitness instructors, wellness coaches, scientists, and experts of all stripes want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US to incorporate regular movement into our lives. They don’t care how much or little we weigh, how old we are, what we do for a living, if we’re differently abled, pregnant, or woefully uncoordinated. They want us to exercise because it keeps our systems strong, keeps our bodies in good repair. There are no studies recommending sedentary life or advising the avoidance of exercise.

And those experts? They also don’t care if we’re new mothers, working multiple jobs, suffering from depression, facing new or difficult physical challenges, or any number of other factors that may make exercise seem even more difficult, daunting, and chore-like. They still point out that cardio is good for our hearts and lungs, and women are more likely to suffer from heart disease. They still remind us that weight training is especially important to women because we lose bone density with age. They may even gently suggest that regular exercise can help with mood and stress levels.

And here’s the thing: Exercise doesn’t have to mean three sweaty hours in a humanity-packed gym. Exercise doesn’t have to hack a giant chunk off of your already-scarce free time. Exercise doesn’t even have to be “exercise!” Think of it this way: Make sure you move your body – vigorously and enthusiastically – a couple of times each day. Forget exercise, just move. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park further from your destination and get a little walk in. Do some wall push-ups. Go out dancing on Saturday night instead of hitting a bar or restaurant. Bench press a toddler and watch her giggle with glee. Plank or do a few sit-ups during your favorite TV shows. Check these recommendations if you’re facing a physical challenge or healing from an injury. Exercise can be a burden, but movement can be easy and fun. It can! No, I’m serious, you guys. And besides all that, it’s a key component to long-term self-care.

How do YOU incorporate movement into your life? What’s your favorite way to move your body? I’d love to hear about some non-traditional exercise options!

Image courtesy ian

Related Posts

Guest Post: LynnAnn Covell on Fitness Options

This post was inspired by an e-mail from reader Beth. She wrote:

I would love to hear about some resources for people who are trying to get physically fit, yet may have some circumstances which means they just can’t go “bust a move” like everyone else. I do a lot of yoga but need cardio badly, and walking doesn’t fit all that great into my schedule (or, currently, climate). I have knee tenderness and scoliosis (30% curve that starts at the base of my spine, so my lower back can be wonky). Everything I check out seems to be made for people who are younger and/or can do exercises I can’t do; you’re not really even given ways or examples to build up to something. I think this really hits at diversity and health–for people who really want to try to get healthy, it’s hard to find good resources unless you’re already really into it.

Since this is a question that I felt ill-qualified to tackle on my own, I enlisted the help of a pro. LynnAnn Covell is a senior fitness specialist at Green Mountain at Fox Run, and I worked with her during my visit there. She was SO FABULOUS at customizing exercises and workouts for those with physical challenges, while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that “your pace is THE pace,” and I knew she’d be the perfect person to tackle Beth’s question. Here’s her response:

* * * * *

Fitness Soul Search: Finding Your Cardio Match

It is an exciting and hopeful moment when you find a physical activity that works for you and your body. One that feels good. One that feels right. When you’ve decided after a period of being sedentary that you want to get moving again, you might need to try several things until something clicks and you want to keep doing it. But, the number of options when you have schedule or physical limitations can be … well … limited. So, you might need to get creative.

When time is getting between you and your fitness, one solution is to break down activities into shorter increments. At Green Mountain at Fox Run, one of our favorite quotes is, “Something is always better than nothing.” If your schedule prevents you from taking a one-hour class or going for a longer run or walk, think about breaking the activity down to, say, three times/day for 10 minutes each. It all counts!

Another solution when time is scarce is to incorporate more movement into your “everyday life.” No class or fancy equipment necessary. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you typically drive to the store, try walking. Instead of watching TV with the family after dinner, play a game of badminton instead. You can even find inventive ways to fit strength training into your daily routine – like at your desk or while you are on the phone.

When physical limitations are your primary concern, there are more cardio options than you might realize. First, the classes where you think you might have to “bust a move” and therefore might bust your knee, may be able to be modified for you. Let’s say you want to try Zumba®, but are afraid that it’s just going to be too much for your body. Talk to the instructor before class, let her know what you are dealing with, and ask if she can show you modifications for your knee, hip, shoulders, etc. If she can’t, then move on to another class or another instructor.

Also, consider new activities where there is much less impact on the joints, like swimming or aquatics. Or, how about using an exercise ball? Not only can it remove pressure from the knees, but it can also support the lower back. FitBALL® offers several beginner DVDs that you can try at home, including one I recommend for under-active adults. Of course, you should ask your physician before you try any new workout.

Lastly, don’t forget about online resources in your fitness soul search, where you can learn from others who found what worked for their bodies and their lives. Some of my favorites include Curvy Yoga and MizFit Online.

LynnAnn Covell is a senior fitness specialist at Green Mountain at Fox Run, a retreat helping women find health and their healthy weights since 1973. LynnAnn was named one of SpaFinder’s Spa Professionals of the Year in 2011 and 2010.

P.S. Since LynnAnn was too modest to mention it, I will. The Green Mountain blog, A Weight Lifted, often has tips, suggestions, and occasionally videos that can be helpful to those who face workout challenges.

Image via The Big C.

Related Posts

Guest Post: Nichole Kellerman’s Anywhere Workout

Today’s guest post comes from the amazing Nichole Kellerman, a dynamo of a fitness and lifestyle coach who teaches her clients to enjoy movement and love healthy food choices. Today, she’s going to share a 10-minute workout that can be done almost anywhere. Read on for the details.

* * * * *

Hey there. My name is Nichole Kellerman and I am here to give you some killer tips on how to keep your body in top notch condition so you can feel incredible ALL the time!

We all know that being healthy isn’t just about what you put in your mouth, right? It’s about many components; diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, emotional stability, spirituality, and the list goes on. It’s like a wheel: If a section is missing it won’t function properly.

Today, I am going to show you how to work two components of this wheel at the same time. This workout I made for you has many dynamic movements that incorporate multiple muscle groups and joints, helping to create a strong, fit, injury-free body! Plus I have added some positive affirmations to go along with each movement.

Here’s a printable PDF showing the steps. They’re also outlined below.

1. Side Lunge to Shoulder Press, Balance – “I am climbing to new levels”
– With one dumbbell (5-12 lbs) feet together, step out to the side reaching to the inside of the opposite foot.
– Step back to the starting position
– Press arm up overhead and kick moving leg in front of you, to balance

2. Back Lunge To Rotate – “I love my life”
– Start standing, with one weight, holding on both sides
– Lunge back (ideally 90 degrees at each knee)
– Arms out, rotate over the front leg
– Back to standing
– Alternate to the next leg

3. Deadlift To Row – “Out with the old, in with the new”
– Feet together, legs straight but knees NOT locked
– Both dumbbells in hands bend over, shoulders back, till you feel a stretch in the back of your leg
– Back up to standing, pull arms back, squeeze shoulder blades and repeat
– Advanced perform on one leg (one leg deadlift)

4. Plank With Triceps Kickback – “Create your own affirmation”
– On the floor, core tight, hips down
– Keep core tight (belly button to spine)
– Pull one are up, lock elbow into waist
– Kick arm straight squeezing tricep
– Switch arms

5. Cardio Dance Party
– Put on your favorite jam and DANCE!
– DO NOT SKIP THIS! It is vital for your health, happiness and heart.
– Let go, have fun, be silly, get out of your head and into you body
– *All out* go for it. Your body needs this.

You can do these exercises just about anywhere you can stash a set of dumbells. Just print and follow with these detailed pictures and descriptions. Rock it out! If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me, I am here to help.

Nichole Kellerman

Related Posts