Thursday, December 17, 2009

Exercising in cold weather

Exercising outside during the winter months with the cold, snow, ice, and darkness can be tough but not impossible. Below are some tips you can follow as you prepare for your next workout outside.

1. Check both the temperature and wind conditions before you go out. Do not ignore either one. Wind can be more brutal than temperature. If conditions are extreme or dangerous, curtail your workout till later or take it indoors. As in any exercise situation, safety should come first.

2. Dress in layers. You want to be warm, but not too warm. You should be able to easily add or remove layers as needed. The innermost layer should be made of a synthetic fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin. It should fit the body snugly. The outermost layer should be of Gore-Tex or other similar fabric that will block wind, rain and snow without sacrificing breathability. You should be able to adjust your clothing as you and/or the temperature starts to warm up or get colder.

3. Wear a hat. Heat loss from the head alone is about 50%. A cotton or knit hat will provide extra warmth and keep heat from leaving the body. It can easily be removed and stashed in a pocket when not needed. Same goes for gloves.

4. If running in the dark, make sure you are wearing reflective gear and/or a reflective vest so you can be seen by cars. Consider carrying a small flashlight. You can get one that easily clips on to your hat. Make it easy to see and be seen.

5. If it is icy, slow down. Avoid fast running, you will reduce the risk of slipping and falling. Be aware of traffic and keep a safe distance, if you are slipping, rest assured cars are slipping too.

6. If it is snowing and windy, pick a course closer to home in case you need to cut your workout short.

7. Carry a cell phone, id and money with you, in case you get stuck in a situation and need help.

You do not need to stop exercising outdoors just because winter has settled in. Exercising outside during the winter can be enjoyable and fun. Just be smart and prepared.

Here to your health!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spot Reduction? What's spot reduction?

If I got 5 cents for every time someone asked me how to get rid of the tire around the belly, or the cottage cheese on the thigh, or the turkey skin under the arm, I would be rich. My response to these inquiries, "there is no such thing as spot reduction". A full body workout, complete with aerobic and strength training, with emphasis on the aerobic, is what will work to eliminate your problem areas.

As adults, women carry extra weight in the lower abdominal area and thighs, men carry it in the belly. This excess weight is due to fat. Period. The only way to reduce extra fat on the body is to start an aerobic exercise program. Whether it's walking, running, biking, exercise classes, etc. Why? When you do aerobic exercise, your body is using oxygen as fuel and oxygen helps burn fat.

To put it another way, the more oxygen used during exercise, the more fat you burn and the more calories you expend. Doing exercises like leg lifts, squats, tricep kickbacks, rows, crunches, etc. will help firm, tone and strengthen the muscles, which is also very important. They will not however, burn off the fat that covers them. Keep this in mind the next time you want to torture yourself with hundreds of crunches and leg lifts. Aim for a total body workout with all the components.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lost weight, but can't keep it off...

Recently I came across an article on that made reference to an article written in the FDA Consumer Magazine, January-February 2002. It was in regards to weight loss maintenance. It had some interesting information, which I would like to share:

With more than 2/3 of the U.S. adult population overweight or obese, many people are trying to lose weight, which takes time, patience and consistency. Unfortunately, although people will have some success, many people will gain back the weight they lost.

The National Weight Control Registry has been examining the data of more than 3,000 people who have lost weight and have kept it off. They have identified four specific weight-control behaviors that these people have followed:

1. They eat a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
2. They monitor themselves by weighing in regularly.
3. They are VERY physically active.
4. They eat breakfast.

These seem like very simple things, yet most of us don't do them or don't do them very well. Imagine if you included one or two of these behaviors in your daily routine, the success you could have in losing weight and getting healthy.

In the ever evolving field of health and fitness there is even more encouraging news. Recent studies have shown that a low-fat, high complex carbohydrate diet can help you lose weight quicker, improve cholesterol levels and improve your mood. In other words, stay away from simple sugars and eat more whole grains.

Here's to your health!