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Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

When my daughter was a toddler, she had a talking toy Bullwinkle Moose that said “walking is good for you!”  For years it was a bit of a family joke and every time we went for a walk, someone had to quote Bullwinkle.      walking_focus_destress

Now, science is firmly behind the concept that walking really is good for you!  Among others, the American Heart Association promotes the positive benefits of walking. The simple of activity of walking can:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids profile.
  • Maintain your body weight and lower risk of obesity.
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer.
  • Reduce your risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.

What do you need to start walking?  Basically you just need comfortable supportive shoes and a safe place to walk.

The Mayo Clinic gives some suggestions for starting and maintaining a walking habit.

  • Set yourself up for success! Have a simple, attainable goal. Maybe the first week you plan to walk 5 minutes at lunch time.  Once that becomes a habit, gradually add time to your walk.
  • Track your progress. It can be very motivating to see how many miles you have walked in a week, month or year. You can record this in a journal, a spreadsheet or an online app.
  • Make it enjoyable. Some people like to walk alone, listening to music or just enjoying some “me” time. Others prefer to walk with a friend or two. Find out what works for you.
  • Vary your routine. Plan a couple of different routes – walk outside when possible or join others walking at the gym or local mall. If you’re walking alone, let someone know where you will be walking. Keep your cell phone in your pocket for emergency calls! If you have a light or whistle, take it with you.
  • If you miss a day or two, don’t give up! Remind yourself how good you felt when you were walking regularly and ease back into it.

While walking is a relatively low risk activity, you still want to think of preventing injuries to yourself. If you haven’t been active, start slow and gradually add to your time, distance and speed.  To avoid blisters, some studies have shown that synthetic fiber socks can be better than cotton socks which absorb moisture and increase friction. Shin splints (pain on the front of your lower leg) and knee pain can be prevented or minimized by wearing proper, supportive footwear and stretching and strengthening the supportive muscles.

Remember, every step you take helps you lead a healthier life. So, get up, lace on your walking shoes and get going!

walking shoes

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension, Franklin County rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension ,Pickaway County treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

The Mayo Clinic. Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261?pg=1
The American Heart Association.  Walking, Take the first step.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walking_UCM_460870_SubHomePage.jsp

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Want to stay in shape but don’t have a lot of time for your regular work-out routine? Then do a plank exercise!  Planks are one of the most effective exercises offering considerable results.  They take a short amount of time, no equipment, and offer many benefits including:

  • Not many exercises strengthen multiple muscles at the same time. There are movements that strengthen muscles in your arms or legs, but the plank exercise can help strengthen frontal upper and lower-body muscles and inner core strength, all at once.
  • Planks can also help improve mental strength. If you have a sedentary job, tension can build if you tend to slump forward. Doing planks can help stretch muscles that may become stiff during the day, contributing to stress. They may also help calm your brain, reducing stress.
  • Since plank exercises activate core muscles, they can help prevent swayback or flat back and improve your posture as a result.
  • Plank exercises can help increase flexibility in muscle groups, stretching and expanding your posterior muscles including the hamstrings and even the arches of your feet.

Plank Photo

Photo courtesy of Dana Dowling/Demand Media

How to do a Plank

A good plank requires proper alignment. Everything should be in a straight line, including your ears, shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles.  Here’s how to do a standard plank:

  1. Start on all fours, kneeling on your hands and knees. You can use a towel or blanket folded underneath your knees if you need padding. Make sure your hands align directly beneath your shoulders. Feet should be hip-width apart, toes can be curled under.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor. Your body weight should be on your forearms, not on your hands.
  3. Pull in your stomach, engaging your core muscles.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds, gradually adding time as you feel comfortable.

Sources: Women’s Health, 4 Secrets to the Perfect Plank, Roberts, A. October 28, 2014.

Huffington Post, Fix Your Form: How to do the Perfect Plank, June 5, 2012.

Livestrong.com, What Are the 4 Main Benefits of the Plank Exercise? March 21, 2016.

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Spires, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

 

 

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I’m already late for work and now I’m in the middle of a traffic jam?  How am I going to get the kids to gymnastics, soccer and tee ball practices at the same time?  Everyone’s coming home at a different time tonight and we’re supposed to have supper together?  Make sure and schedule quality time for myself?  Really?  You’ve got to be kidding me!

Stress Management:  Rules for the Weary    stress taming

  • Stress is part of life.
  • Not all stress is bad.
  • Only you can prevent stress disorders.
  • Stress management is a lifestyle, not a technique.
  • As in life, success requires certain skills.
  • With practice and guidance, skills can be learned.

Coping with Minor Stressors

Research at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio State’s internationally recognized center for the study of body-mind interaction, has resulted in key findings related to how stressors in marriage and care-giving impact health; how stress can lessen vaccine effectiveness; how stress can aggravate allergies and asthma; and the development of interventions that can lessen the effects of stress and promote health.

Try some of the following to help cope with stress:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Use meditation, relaxation exercises or breathing techniques.
  • Look at situations from a variety of perceptions.
  • Talk and share with friends.
  • Journal and clarify why things bother you.

Name it, Tame it and Bust that Stress!

  • List Priorities: Write down what is most important for you to do and then number from 1 to? With 1 being the most important for you to accomplish.
  • Plan Rest Periods: Schedule for “taking a break” in your daily activities.
  • Perfection: There is no perfect “anything”. Do the best you can and congratulate and reward yourself for it.
  • Exercise: (I think we talked about this earlier!) Try to exercise in your usual manner.  Or, start to exercise.
  • Childlike: Have FUN! Engage in playful activities.  Watch children play to remind yourself about “how to play”.
  • Spending: Be mindful of your spending.
  • Emotional Health: Talk with supportive people. Listen with empathy.  Use non-judgmental approaches.  Say “No” to avoid overdoing.
  • Gratitude: Be grateful for what you have and don’t dwell on what you don’t have.

One final thought about Taming Stress

In the words of Somerset Maugham, “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”

Remember to always choose the “Best” for yourself!

stress taming 2

 

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:

Lisa M. Borelli LISW-S, Counselor, Ohio State Employee Assistance Program, The Ohio State University Health Plan, Columbus, Ohio.  Stress Taming.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Improving Your Health Through Stress Reduction.  http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/patient-care/healthcare-services/improving-your-health-through-stress-reduction

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Mindfulness Practices – Mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and stress.  http://go.osu.edu/wexnermindful

onCampus.  February 11, 2016, 16th Annual Health and Wellness Guide, Wellness is a journey, Pages 7-18.  http://go.osu.edu/HealthWellnessGuide

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Does the thought of exercise, of sweating, of getting off of the couch and out of your pajamas fill you with dread? For most of us, we would rather make excuses than take small steps to get up and get moving. But who wouldn’t want to be healthier? Wouldn’t it be great to move with less pain, to be able to walk up the stairs without being winded, to be able to play more?

gym-1180054_1280

If you have been watching TV, scrolling through the internet, or reading a magazine in the checkout line, you already know that moving more is good for you. This is not a new concept. Don’t groan if you aren’t ready to compete on American Ninja Warrior or even walk to the end of the block! There is hope for you! Just get up and move!”

First, focus on the ways you are already moving!  Cleaning the house? Walking the dog? Playing the Wii? Dancing? Walking around the grocery? Swimming? Going to the basement to do laundry? Stretching? Shooting hoops? Standing up and then sitting down? Vacuuming? Catching a ball? Bicycling?  Give yourself credit – these movements all qualify for physical activity!

Next, whether you have 5 minutes or 45 minutes of movement in your day, find a way to add ten more minutes of movement.walking-690734_1920Consider purchasing an activity tracker  and work to increase your daily step count. Go slowly and work to increase your steps each day. Did you know that 2,000 steps per day is the equivalent of 1 mile?

Finally, set a short term (one month) and long term (6 month) goal and write it down and share it with others. By setting goals and recording/sharing them, you have accountability to follow through.

 

Written by:  Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences,  Ohio State University, Hardin County,  dellifield.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Hamilton County, even.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/tips-help-get-active/Pages/tips-help-you-get-active.aspx

http://www.letsmove.gov/ 

Picture Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/shield-directory-forward-step-note-492991/

https://pixabay.com/en/gym-fitness-sport-instructor-1180054/

https://pixabay.com/en/walking-feet-people-shoes-footwear-690734/

 

 

 

 

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christmas tree

As the holiday season approaches, requests are made to participate in “Secret Santa” at work, office parties, “Ugly Sweater” contests, and for the kids, “Elf on the Shelf”. Add to that list decorating, cooking, shopping and gift wrapping, inventory, and end of year reports at work. That’s a lot to juggle from now thru the end of the year. To help you stay sane, try a strategic approach to reduce stress, while still balancing work-life responsibilities during the holidays:

  1.  Set Priorities– Go through the task of ranking your priorities. Is your top priority family time? Volunteer work? After you establish your priorities, you will be able to say no to events that don’t make the list (or at least put time limits on your participation).
  2. Do a Time Study – For one week, keep a log of how your time is spent. Log general groups of tasks that include activities such as errands, housework, shopping, cooking, and so forth; then total your column times. Did the way you spent your time align with your priorities? If not, adjust your schedule to bring your life back into balance.
  3. Set Limits on Work Hours – This is easier said than done, but if work-life balance is important to you, then set limits on the hours that you are willing to work and enforce them. Maybe that means leaving the office no later than 5 pm, and/or no working on the weekends. As the holidays approach, it’s important to carve out extra hours for all of those seasonal tasks, as well as keeping time for you to exercise and relax. If you’re someone that usually works late hours, communicate the temporary change to co-workers.
  4. Get Help – Is cleaning the house, running errands or baking taking up a large amount of time? Consider sourcing out some of those chores. It may be a better use of your time to pay someone to do a few of those tasks – such as purchasing cookies from a neighbor that likes to bake. If you are not able to hire out, scale back your menu, have a potluck or rethink hosting every party.
  5.  Unplug – Turn off the social media and emails. Don’t check your work emails until you are back at work. If you can’t forgo checking emails, set limits for when you will check work email.
  6.  Get Moving – If exercise didn’t originally make your priority list, be good to yourself and schedule it back in. This will boost your energy level and improve your mood!

Work-life balance is an ongoing process. Keep your priorities on task and just do your best. Priorities will change as your life changes – especially during the holidays. Periodically reassess your priorities and take inventory of your work-life balance.
Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD, LD. Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Donna Green, MA, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu
Sources: http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/25-ways-find-joy-balance-during-holidays

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Sleep or Exercise? Both activities are critical for maintaining good health. But let’s be real; it’s much more fun to do an extra hour in bed instead of on the treadmill. Have you ever made the decision to wake up early in the morning to workout, only to find yourself feeling like an extra hour of sleep would be more beneficial to your body than forcing yourself to exercise?sleep

But how can you tell if the desire for sleep is biologically dictated and not just procrastination? Is exercise even beneficial after a short sleep cycle? There is no quick, one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but looking at sleep/exercise research may help you make an informed decision when faced with those groggy “Should I really get up to work out?” thoughts in your head:

  • Adequate sleep and exercise are both critical for optimum health
  • Sleep and exercise promote one another – physical activity promotes high-quality sleep, and high-quality sleep promotes physical performance
  • Adults need a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but if you are averaging around this amount, it’s okay to skip a half hour of sleep a couple of times per week to get in a morning workout
  • The CDC and American Heart Association recommend a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week.
  • Some experts, when absolutely pressed to choose one that would be considered more important, choose sleep. But (and this is a big but), it simply is not advisable to recommend opting out of exercise completely, and exercise should be considered a “must” for a healthy lifestyle.

**These facts are based on average adults. Those with sleep disorders or other health conditions that affect their ability to sleep or exercise should consult a health care professional when making decisions related to these activities.

For those who cannot find time for adequate sleep and exercise, try to evaluate and organize your schedule to:

  • Go to sleep a little earlier so you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice sleep time.
  • Schedule time in the evening to allow for exercise so you can sleep longer in the morning.

Once you make a conscious effort to live in a way that allows you to practice habits that are healthy – and that includes both adequate sleep and adequate exercise – you will feel much more balanced. We can’t take best care of others and our responsibilities until we take best care of ourselves.

Written by: Joanna Rini, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Medina County

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Sources:

http://time.com/3914773/exercise-sleep-fitness/

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898

 

 

 

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treadmillWhen you exercise, you generate heat. If the exercise is vigorous or sustained, you produce so much heat that you become hot and sweaty. How many calories did you burn? Check your METS.

What is a MET?

MET stands for Metabolic Equivalent Task. One MET is equal to the rate you burn calories while you are sitting. Obviously, as you begin to move or exercise, you will burn more calories and this will increase your METS. Some of you may have noticed that the exercise equipment you currently use measures METS. If the treadmill, for example, shows five METS, then that means that you are burning calories at a rate five times faster than if you were sitting.

However, the actual number of calories a person burns varies based on age, weight and fitness level. As an example, let’s say you meet a group of women at the mall every morning for a one mile walk. Every one of the women walks the full distance, but some walk faster than the others. Those that can walk faster will acquire more METS.

METS and Disease Risk

To get enough exercise to reduce your risk for disease, you need to acquire 15-20 MET/hours per week. How can you do that? We’ll use walking as an example.

“Lady A” walks two miles every day in 30 minutes (15 minutes/mile). She will accrue 2 METS, because a person who can walk a 15 minute mile (which is pretty fast walking), gets 1 MET for every 15 minutes walked.  Assuming she walks every day of the week, “Lady A” would accumulate 14 METS (2 METS x 7 days = 14 METS). However, since 15-20 is the goal, she should walk a little longer every day (say 45 minutes instead of 30), or walk her two miles at an even faster pace.

There are charts available to help you determine how many METS you accrue per activity, but remember they are predicated on speed and intensity of the workout.

Want to learn more?

For more information on METS, refer to the following sources. Dr. Susan Love has an excellent fact sheet on the relationship between METS and breast cancer.

As well, The Cooper Institute and Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas website provides healthy information in an easy-to-read format.

Written by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.dslrf.org/pdfs/Great_Reads_MarieMurphyBCRisk.pdf

http://todayiwill.com/2012/04/met-minutes-a-simple-common-value-to-track-exercise-progress/

http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/what-exactly-does-moderate-intensity-mean

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