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Missing your gym? Not sure you are doing a good job working out? We know being active is important as it: reduces our risk of illness, reduces stress levels, and helps us sleep better. It’s probably more of a challenge now for many. My home does not have the machines and all the weights I used at the gym. I ask myself am I getting in a good workout? 

You may have received some online links you can use for working out. I have found some work better than others for me. When I started looking to find some good programs, I discovered some gyms are allowing anyone to use their online workouts right now. Check out the free online videos from the YMCA. They have a variety of types and offer categories for different levels of fitness and/or ages. If you choose one that is too hard, you can always modify it to fit your fitness level by slowing down your tempo or doing less repetitions. Check with your health care plan as some are offering free online options right now. If you have not been working out in the past, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before you start a new routine. 

Your workout routine should optimally include cardio, strength and stability, and flexibility. Getting your heart rate up is the important thing during cardio. Walking in place or dancing can work inside, while running or biking are better suited for outside. If you have a treadmill or bike you are in luck since you can use them anytime in any weather. Since I do not have machines at home, using some inexpensive videos helped me kick up my routine. Besides the above guidelines, the American Heart Association has these suggestions:

CARDIO EXERCISES

feet of person walking up stairs
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squat Jumps
  • Jogging or Marching in Place
  • Stair-Climbing or Step-Ups
  • High Knees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Star Jumps
  • Burpees

Add some strengthening exercises, to keep muscles and bones strong. Below are some you can do without any equipment:

STRENGTHENING AND STABILITY EXERCISES

Person doing a push-up starting in the top position and then at the bottom position
  • Plank and Side Plank
  • Pushups or Modified Pushups
  • Sit-Ups or Crunches
  • Hip Lift or Bridge Position
  • Triceps’ Dips on a Chair
  • Lunges
  • Squats or Chair Position
  • Wall Sits

Check out the American Heart Association handout as you can do the above exercises as a circuit to incorporate cardio and strengthening into the same day.  Don’t forget to stretch after you warm up with some light walking in place perhaps, and before you really start exercising, then finish your session with some stretches. After a workout is the best time to stretch since your muscles are warmed up.

To increase your flexibility, try some Yoga, Pilates, or a similar type of workout. It seems as we get older, we are not as flexible as young kids. I don’t know how or when I lost it, but I can’t do what my granddaughter does. Flexibility is important to reduce our risk for injuries, so make sure you make time for it.

Our Live Healthy Live Well team is offering a one-time online session on exercising at home without any equipment.  Please join us on Thursday, April 30 at 12:30 pm at osu.zoom.us/j/93822958724                                             

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References:

American Heart Association. (2018). https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-infographic

American Heart Association. (2020). https://www.heart.org/-/media/aha/h4gm/pdf-files/home_choose_circuit_workout_infographic.pdf?la=en&hash=91B1E339932789FB796B6E5D28100F87E5B48DF6

Department of Health and Human Services. What’s Your Move? https://health.gov/themes/custom/healthgov/src/microsite_resources/myw_microsite/pdf/PAG_MYW_Adult_FS.pdf

Nieman, D. C. (2011). Moderate Exercise Improves Immunity and Decreases Illness Rates. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 5(4) 338-345. Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1559827610392876

YMCA.  (2020). NewsCenter. Available at:   https://www.ymcasd.org/about-y/news-center/general-health-membership-miscellaneous/virtual-membership-work-out-anywhere-anytime

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stay at home

With so many aspects of our lives disrupted recently, a lot of people may be feeling anxious and overwhelmed over the current stay-at-home order.  Many are learning how to work from home, navigate through the home-schooling process, and balance the many changes in daily routines.

We all live busy lives.  This new “style” of life has altered our everyday routines and is likely impacting work life/home life balance.

Recently, at a conference I attended, the keynote speaker Theresa Glomb gave an inspiring talk on improving work life. This theme also relates to our overall daily lives and provides a relevant message with easy action steps. Consider using these four steps to improve your stay at home work life:

  • Work Hard
  • Have Fun
    • Create a positive home environment.
    • Use technology to stay connected to family, friends and neighbors. Video chat play trivia games or start a virtual book club. Remember to monitor children’s usage on any digital social app.
    • Use technology to learn something new. Take an online cooking class, watch a virtual concert or experience zoos, museums and aquariums online.
    • Choose a book to read a chapter out loud each night with your family.
    • Play board games, card games or do a jigsaw puzzle.
daffidols
  • Choose Kind
    • Text a co-worker and ask how their evening was last night.
    • Give a compliment for a job well done.
    • Express gratitude to essential workers (first responders, health care professionals, etc.) who are on the front lines.
    • Practice self-care. Exercise daily, using online physical activities if needed. Stick to your sleep routine and eat healthy meals.
  • Be Present     
    • Uni-task. Pay attention by focusing on the task at hand.
    • Engage in mindful practices daily.
    • Stay positive.
    • Reflect on one good thing that happened at the end of each day at dinner.

These changes are temporary and when things return to normal, we will all have learned valuable lessons to continue to use daily.

Written by:   Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County.  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

Theresa Glomb. https://www.theresaglomb.com/

Ohio Department of Health. Stay at Home Order FAQs. https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/stay-at-home-information/stay-at-home-order-frequently-asked-questions

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"If you want to reach your goals, you must shrink the size of your but." - Toby Mac #speaklife

July was a big month for me. After evaluating and reflecting on my personal wellness in a blog post in June, I decided it was time to act. Motivated in part by the meme pictured above, which I initially saw on a friend’s social media page, I knew it was time to stop making excuses for my lack of inactivity and re-invest in my personal well-being.

In June, I had identified coping with stress as a priority area for my overall wellness. I knew I needed to either resume an exercise routine (my former go-to method for coping with stress) or identify an alternative stress coping strategy. I decided to resume exercising, and I set a SMART goal for myself to re-establish a routine. 

A SMART goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. My goal was to attend at least one fitness class for a week for a month. This goal was:

Specific – I stated what I wanted to accomplish.

Measurable – At the end of the month, I could tell whether I had achieved my goal by looking at my fitness class attendance.

Attainable – Because I did not have a current routine when I set this goal, I started small by challenging myself to attend just one class a week.

Realistic – In setting this goal, I knew I had the time and financial resources to attend fitness classes at a convenient location for me.

Timely – My goal was for the coming month.

I am proud to say that I met my goal, and now I am working toward a new goal of attending two or more fitness classes each week this month!

Before setting and achieving this goal, I was not entirely inactive; I used resistance bands and my own body weight to do simple strength training exercises while at work, and I took walks around my neighborhood when I was able. But, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, while some physical activity is better than none, engaging in moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is key to experiencing substantial health benefits.

Regular moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity:

  1. Reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes such as coronary heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, diabetes, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease; and  
  2. Promotes brain health by reducing anxiety and depression risk while improving sleep quality and overall quality of life.

The guidelines state that the benefits of physical activity generally outweigh the risk of adverse outcomes or injury. However, if you are starting a new physical activity routine, make sure to choose types of activity that are appropriate for your current fitness level, knowing that you can increase your activity over time to meet your goals. If you have a chronic condition and/or are unsure about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for you, take time to consult with a health care provider before setting a goal or beginning a routine.

Sources:

Stanford BeWell. Achieving your SMART health goal. https://bewell.stanford.edu/achieving-your-smart-health-goal/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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telomere

When my sister-in-law turned 50, my family flew out to Arizona to help her celebrate. She warned us when we took our suitcases into the bedrooms to not leave our tennis shoes out in the open because her cat liked to chew on shoelaces. I forgot after the first couple of days and left my shoes on the floor. The next time I put them on, the laces snapped in half where they had been chewed and I had to tie my shoes with about one inch of shoelace.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because it’s a metaphor for what happens when we don’t follow exercise guideline advice. Have you heard the term “telomeres” before? Ten years ago, three American scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their discoveries about telomeres. Telomeres are caps on the ends of our DNA strands (chromosomes).

Chromosomes hold our DNA, and the ends of them, called telomeres, help keep the chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other. Chromosomes are like our shoelaces, and telomeres are like the plastic tips on the end. Every time one of your cells divides, the telomere gets shorter. When telomeres get too short and cannot be repaired (like my shoelaces), chromosomes fray and the cells can no longer divide.

This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death. However, it turns out that we may have more control over our telomeres than we think. Lifestyle is an important determinant of telomere length and telomerase activity. The more exercise people get, the less their cells seem to age.

How to keep your telomeres lengthened.

Simple answer? Exercise regularly. Spring is the perfect time to refresh your exercise routine. You don’t have to worry about extreme cold, snow or ice. 30 minutes daily will provide you with younger looking telomeres. It’s still not clear what level of exercise intensity is required to yield the best results.

Recent studies show that higher levels of physical activity or exercise are related to longer telomere length. This relationship is particularly evident in older individuals, which suggests the role physical activity can play in combating the aging process.

Bottom line.

This complex field is still in its infancy, with more unknowns than knowns. So far, the findings reinforce commonsense advice about a healthy lifestyle— not smoking, exercising regularly, controlling stress, and having a healthy diet.

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

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

Sources:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/09/108886/lifestyle-changes-may-lengthen-telomeres-measure-cell-aging

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/aging-what-telomeres-can-tell

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546536/

https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/telomeres/

 

 

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It is the season where many of us are spending hours (or even days) at a ball park or sports field. You may be there for yourself, your spouse, or more likely with your children or grandchildren. But have you planned ahead to keep yourself and your loved ones protected from the sun, insects, or unsafe equipment?

Start by being aware of your surroundings – did you park under a light? Can you safely move from your car to the field or diamond? There are often prime parking spots that allow for safer trips back and forth from the car, you may need to arrive early to get one. Are there places to sit like bleachers that are in good repair, or do you need to bring your own chair or cushion? Are there close bathroom facilities or a drinking fountain?

If the child in your life is playing a sport, make sure to check the league equipment and safety rules before you sign them up. There may be equipment you need toKids playing baseball order, or rules about the number of innings they can play or things like a pitch count. Kidshealth.org offers a great start to sports safety lists for a number of organized sports as well as bike riding.

Here is a list of a few things that can make your next outdoor trip to a park, field, or diamond a more pleasant experience:

  • Avoid ticks and mosquitoes by covering up and using an insect repellent. When you get home do a body check to insure that ticks are removed before they can embed into your skin and shower within two hours. The Environmental Protection Agency has an interactive chart to help you select the right insect repellent.
  • Practice sun safety with wide brimmed hats, and waterproof sunscreen that is 30 – 50 SPF and can be reapplied every 2 hours. Check the expiration date on the bottle. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Ensure proper hydration by drinking about 2 cups of cool water before you hit the field, and then continuing to drink during time-outs and halftime, and following up with re-hydrating after the activity is finished. Sports drinks are not necessary for most athletes, good old tap water works for most of us with less cost and calories too.
  • If your outdoor time includes a pool or beach – make sure lifeguards or trusted adults are always watching children. Enforce water rules – “No diving means, No diving.”
  • Check any playground equipment to ensure that it is in good condition and not too hot to burn the tender skin of young children.

By practicing these safety tips, your trip to the ballpark or field can be a hit!

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm, https://www.cdc.gov/bam/safety/cool.html.

United State Environmental Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County

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Exercise has some amazing benefits. It can boost your mood, sharpen your focus, reduce your stress, and improve your sleep. So let’s get moving. Did you know that all activity counts? It all adds up. Adults need to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and 2 muscle-strengthening activities each week. What is moderate intensity aerobic activity? Anything that gets your heart beating faster. Even short bursts of physical activity can add up to a healthy lifestyle. What’s your favorite way to move? Walk, clean, shop, arm circles, gardening, dance, hike… it all adds up.

Health.gov offers an activity planner to help you plan your physical activity for the week. If you’re just starting out, pick an activity you enjoy and take it slow and easy. Once you get the hang of it, you can build on it — or try something new. Find an activity you really enjoy — whether it’s soccer or swimming, biking or ballet. You can have fun, let off steam, and stay fit at the same time.

Do you have a disability, chronic condition, or injury?

Don’t let a limitation become a barrier to exercise. There are lots of ways you can adapt activities to work for you. Health.gov has compiled a page of exercise resources for people with special conditions.

picture of man and girl walking in woods

Parents: Get your kids moving too

Kids need exercise too. In fact, they need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day. They also need muscle-strengthening (climbing and swinging on monkey bars) and bone-strengthening activities (weight-bearing like running and jumping) during the week. Encourage your kids to play actively with friends. Give rewards for active chores. Or move together… go for a walk, dance, or play an active game with your kids.

Need help getting motivated?

Feeling tired can be a barrier to starting exercise, but knowing that exercise can actually boost your energy is a great motivator. This two-minute video shares ideas for getting motivated and tips for getting started with exercise.

Move Your Way Logo with people doing various activities on top of MOVE

  1. Set yourself up for success. Get workout clothes out before you need them. Plan time in your schedule for your activity.
  2. Find an activity buddy. If you don’t feel motivated to exercise alone, friends can make it more fun.
  3. Make a pledge. Share your pledge with a friend or online, and you’re more likely to make it stick.
  4. Set small goals. Five minutes of exercise is a nice, small goal to start with. Something is better than nothing. Start small and work up from there

So what’s your move?

Sources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2018. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Move Your Way Campaign. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2019. https://health.gov/moveyourway/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County

 

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man and woman in business attire out for a walk

One of my new year’s resolutions for 2019 is to move more. I know that to be successful with my goal, I am going to have to incorporate physical activity into my 8 hour work day. Sitting for hours every day depletes my energy and leaves me feeling sluggish.

Being more physically active can reduce coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Other benefits of being more active include more energy, better sleep, a more active mind, and less stress. These are all beneficial, especially to my professional career, but again, it’s my job every day that is providing the most periods of sitting or sedentary behavior. This is problematic as research has called sitting “the new smoking”, and long periods of sitting have been linked to early death.

With a little effort and creative thinking, I was able to find some ways every day to accomplish my goal and work more physical activity into my time at work. Here are a few ideas to try:

Incorporate What You Like to do in Small Ways at Work: I take a barre class twice a week. In class, we use light weights and a small playground ball. I purchased an extra set for my office, so when I feel the need to move, I can grab them and do a few moves. If barre isn’t for you, grab a yoga ball to sit on, or bring in equipment you use and are familiar with.

Involve Your Office: Chances are good there is someone else in your office with a similar goal. Ask your coworkers to join you, or look for an office challenge to participate in. An office challenge can have the benefits of increasing physical activity, building office unity, and usually will provide an incentive. You could also suggest standing office meetings, which can provide an opportunity for activity but also help increase the productivity of meetings. Standing meetings can be up to 25% shorter than standard meetings!

Incorporate Physical Activity into Breaks or Lunch: Taking a walk during a break or planning to spend part of your lunch walking or taking an exercise class can be beneficial when trying to increase physical activity.

Walk or Ride Your Bike to Work: Consider starting your commute with some physical activity, if you live close enough to work to do so. If walking or riding isn’t an option, try parking a little farther away to increase your activity before and after work.

Consider Your Day: Can you walk over to a coworker instead of sending an email? Is walking and dropping a letter in the mailbox an option instead of adding it to the mail pile? Could you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Be aware of your daily habits and look for opportunities to include activity in the things you do every day.

Set a Timer: Consider setting a timer or alarm reminding you to stand up and stretch or go for a quick walk at certain points throughout the day. If you have a standing desk, use a timer to remind you to use your desk.

Need more ideas to stay active during your workday? Take a look at these exercises you can do from your office, and comment below with whatever strategies you might add to the list!

 

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed By: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension – Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

 

Sources:

American Cancer Society (2018). Staying Active at Work. https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/tips-for-staying-active-at-work.html

John Hopkins Medicine. Risks of Physical Inactivity. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/cardiovascular_diseases/risks_of_physical_inactivity_85,p00218

Lobb, J. (2018). Work it at Work. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2018/05/03/work-it-at-work/

Medline Plus. Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle. https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

Remley, D. (2016). Take a Stand Against Sitting. Live Healthy, Live Well. https://livehealthyosu.com/2016/06/08/take-a-stand-against-sitting/

Rini, J. (2015). Workplace Wellness Trend: Standing Desks. https://livehealthyosu.com/2015/08/13/workplace-wellness-trend-standing-desks/

Taparia, N. (2014). Kick the Chair: How Standing Cut Our Meeting Times by 25%. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/06/19/kick-the-chair-how-standing-cut-our-meeting-times-by-25/#7ea9900535fe

 

 

 

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