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December

Easy Ways to Turn Your Holiday Shopping into a Workout.

Although you simply cannot reap the benefits of a good workout by just shopping, Geralyn Coopersmith, director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute points out that there are still ways to improve your health while making your rounds at the mall and the supermarket. Learn how here:

  • First, walk as much as possible. This means not using your grandmother's handicapped tag for a front space and parking in the back of the lot instead. If your mall has an option to take the stairs, skip the escalator. These are activities that mimic cardiovascular exercise and, therefore, burn calories.
  • Just because shopping doesn't have the same effect as running a 5K doesn't mean you should slack off. Carole Carson, author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction, says that shopping can often help women reach their goal of 60 minutes of cardio a day — the amount required to avoid gaining weight with age. In fact, the average shopping trip involves walking almost three miles. Add that to the number of times you hit the mall during a given week or month, and you've got yourself a serious workout.
  • Go equipped with a pedometer and a friend. Park at the outer perimeter of the parking lot and walk briskly through the mall. Set a goal for a number of steps you want to log and keep walking until you’ve reached your goal. (Window-shopping is allowed as long as it doesn't slow your pace.)
  • While waiting for your purchase, pull your belly button toward your back. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. This will strengthen and tone your glute muscles and your abs.
  • If you're already holding bags, do bicep curls while waiting in line for the bathroom. Do 20 reps for lighter bags and 15 for heavier bags. You can also do shrugs, which will help tone your shoulders and chest.
    Not one for the mall? Try these exercises while shopping at the supermarket:
  • If you're purchasing only a few items, carry a basket as you shop. After your groceries are bagged, carry them to your car. A gallon of milk weighs approximately 10 pounds!
  • When reaching for an item on a lower shelf, squat. Repeat two to three times to work your calves, thighs, glutes, and abs.
  • Reach for items high on shelves; hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this five times. If you feel self-conscious, pretend you can't decide whether to buy the product. Stretching on your toes with your arms above your head strengthens the legs, back, and arms. It also improves balance.
  • Grasp the grocery-cart handle tightly on both sides and try to pull your hands apart. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. This strengthens your shoulders and the back of your arms.
  • Grasp the middle of the cart handle with one hand and push right and left for five turns. Alternate hands. This will work your shoulders, arms, and abs.
  • Spread your legs to the width of your shoulders. Try to squeeze the floor together between your feet, holding for 10 seconds. Then push your feet apart and hold for 10 seconds. These two exercises will firm up your inner and outer thighs.
  • While your groceries are being checked, stand on one leg, straighten your body, and bend one knee. Hold for 90 seconds and repeat with the other leg. This will improve your balance and strengthen your ankles.

November

Spice up your workout routine and get involved in one of Fox News’s Top 10 Fall Workouts:

  • Flag Football – don’t just watch the game, go out and play it. This boosts power and agility in a fun way.
  • Mountain Biking – this puts less stress on the joints than running or hiking while still building endurance and burning calories. It works the quads and the glutes more than regular biking.
  • Chopping Wood – this stimulates almost every muscle in the upper body for a great workout and calorie burning activity.
  • Basketball – an upper and lower body workout that is easily made into a group activity.
  • Ultimate Frisbee – a popular endurance builder while strengthening balance and agility.
  • Raking – a dreaded chore to some, but you could burn 350 – 400 calories by raking an hour.
  • Hiking – for those who don’t enjoy running, this builds strength in the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Hiking is a great calorie burning activity without putting strain on the joints.
  • Rugby – a little intense for some, but it will get your adrenaline pumping. It will burn calories quick and help build leg muscles as well as upper body strength.
  • Cross-Country Running – with the temperature drop, it’s the perfect weather to go for a run outdoors and build muscular endurance.
  • Rowing or Dragon Boating – a cardio exercise that works your chest and back muscles as well as abs.

October

October has the perfect weather to get outside and go for a walk or run. There are many benefits to walking and here are a few:

  • It burns calories
  • It can help towards maintaining a healthy weight
  • It helps to boost your metabolism
  • It helps to reduce body fat
  • It boosts your energy levels
  • It strengthens your legs
  • It helps to strengthen the immune system
  • It improves your circulation
  • It lowers your blood pressure
  • It helps to prevent and control diabetes
  • It promotes positive mental health, including higher levels of self-esteem
  • It helps you to manage stress and release tension
  • It helps to improve the ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep well
  • It can be done almost anywhere
  • It’s more environmentally friendly than driving
  • It’s free

The challenge this month is to exercise at least 90 minutes per week. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast in Ireland had 93 healthy adults ages 40 to 61 complete at least three half-hour brisk walks per week. The walkers saw average drops of at least 5 points in systolic blood pressure and 1 inch off their waistlines in 3 months--without any dietary changes. Participants were even allowed to break the walks into smaller chunks (of no less than 10 minutes), so long as they totaled 30 minutes daily, at least 3 days per week. A stroll at lunch, and 10 minutes before and after work, should enable you to reap the benefits.

So give this walking challenge a try and walk 30 minutes a day for at least three days a week! You can switch up your workout by walking around neighborhood one day, the park the next day, and going for a hike the next day. And if it’s raining, you can even walk on a treadmill or around the mall!

April

Yoga for Workaholics
Yoga at the office: Use yoga workouts to relieve the pains of your desk job.

Even if you love your job, spending 40-plus hours at a desk every week can sometimes lead to more than just a headache; it can also be a pain in the neck, shoulders, back, feet, and eyes. Being chained to your desk starves your extremities of blood, oxygen, and other fluids, resulting in tight muscles and stiff joints. But before reaching for the industrial-size bottle of ibuprofen, try these poses from Karin Wiedemann, yoga instructor and director of Urban Yoga in Washington, D.C. She suggests spending 3 minutes every 2 hours doing the following moves to relieve some tension.

The pain: Wrists and hands

The cause: "Typing is a very repetitive motion, and we do it for hours," Wiedemann says. On top of that, we hold our hands in a very tense position, so the muscles get stiff and blood doesn't circulate as well (as evidenced by how chilly your hands can get even in summer.)

The yoga fix: Sitting at your desk with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, lengthen up through the crown of your head and let your shoulders gently drop away from your ears. Bring your hands together on your lap, interlacing your fingers. As you take a deep breath in, reach your arms out in front of you and press your palms away. As you exhale, raise your arms overhead and try to straighten your elbows as much as you can without scrunching your shoulders. If your shoulders rise up, keep your elbows slightly bent. Hold this pose for 10 complete breaths and lower your arms on the last exhale. Repeat twice more.

The pain: Feet and ankles

The cause: High heels push body weight to the front of the foot. "And the pointy styles we wear shove our feet into unnaturally narrow spaces," Weidemann says. High heels throw off your entire skeletal system because your foundation, your feet, doesn't have a solid connection with the ground.

The yoga fix: Remove your shoes. Next, sitting in a chair, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Weave the fingers of your left hand from the bottom of your foot up between your toes as if you were holding hands with your foot. Begin making circles with your ankle. Make 10 circles in each direction. Next, carefully release your fingers and hold onto the top of your foot. Bend your toes back towards your shins and then down toward your heel. Do this five times in each direction. Now, using your thumbs, gently massage the bottom of your foot, especially the arches. Switch sides.

The pain: Neck and shoulder

The cause: Typically, we slouch, rather than sit. Your head is as heavy as a bowling ball, so when you push, drop, or tilt your head forward to squint at your strategic plan, your neck is bearing a lot of weight.

The yoga fix: Stand with feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on the corners of your lower back with your fingers pointing toward the floor. Rotate your shoulders up, back, and down, bringing your elbows close together without pressing your hips, shoulders, or head forward. Take a deep inhale. Now, root your feet firmly into the floor as you lift up through crown of head and bend back very slightly. Press your elbows closer, lifting up through your heart. Hold for five deep breaths.

The pain: Eyes

The cause: "You may be unaware of it, but while staring at your monitor or reading, you probably tense up your face," Wiedemann says. Plus, recent studies say hours in front of the glowing computer screen may fatigue the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain.

The yoga fix: Turn away from your computer so your eyes are focused on a completely different object. Sit up in your chair with your chin parallel to the floor. Now, without moving any other part of your body, look up to 12 o'clock, over to 3 o'clock, down to 6 o'clock, over to 9 o'clock, and up to 12 again. Do that five times in each direction.

The pain: Back

The cause: When you're sitting at your desk, the discs in your back are bearing three times more weight than when you're standing. The result? Spinal fluid—which keeps your spine flexible instead of brittle—gets squeezed out. This means discs can slip out of place, rub up against each other, and cause excruciating pain. To top it off, a brittle spine increases your risk of injury because there's less fluid to act as a shock absorber, which means bending down and lifting your 5-pound purse can cause a lot of damage one day. The remedy? "Twisting poses strengthen and lengthen your spine to create more space," Wiedemann says. This allows fresh fluid to flood in, relieving compression and bringing sweet relief.

The yoga fix: Keep your chair facing forward, but turn your entire body to the right. Keep your thighs parallel and knees over your ankles. Next, place your hands on the back of your chair. As you inhale, lengthen up through the crown of your head. As you exhale, rotate from your belly, ribcage, and shoulders (but keep your shoulders relaxed and chin parallel to the floor.) To enhance the twist, push with your right hand and pull with your left hand.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/yoga/yoga-for-workaholics?page=2

March

Don’t want to miss your favorite shows because of exercising? These simple calorie burning tricks can be done right in front of your TV.

  1. Jump rope for two-minute intervals. Repeat four times. (111 calories)
  2. Run up and down the stairs of your apartment building or house during a commercial break. (42 calories)
  3. Stand in front of your couch, squat until your butt is just above the seat cushions, and hold that position for one minute. Repeat four times. (80 calories)
  4. Lie down on the floor on your side and do leg lifts for five minutes. (50 calories)
  5. Do arm circles for one minute. Repeat two more times. (20 calories)
  6. Sprint to the bathroom, hover over the toilet seat while you pee, and sprint back. (30 calories)
  7. Grab three-pound weights or two soup cans and do one minute each of lifting for your triceps (put your hands behind your head, with your elbows at your ears and lift the weight up and down). Do three sets. (17 calories)
  8. Sit on an exercise ball and do one minute of ab curls. Repeat four times. (50 calories)
  9. If you’re not down with that, work your core by simply sitting on the ball for an hour. (38 calories)
  10. Stand approximately five feet away from the TV and do lunges for five minutes. (37 calories)
  11. Lie down in front of the TV and hold yourself in the plank position for one minute. Repeat two times. (35 calories)
  12. Lie down on your couch and scoot around until your back is on the cushions and your legs are resting on the seat back, at a 90 degree angle to your waist. Curl your torso up towards your legs in a crunch and release. Keep doing them for an entire commercial break. (30 calories)

SOURCES: Nutritionist Heather Bauer, founder of Nu-Train nutrition counseling center in Manhattan; dietician Tanya Zuckerbrot, creator of the F-Factor Diet; personal trainer Brooke Maronne, founder of Brooke Maronne Fitness

February

Get Fit at Work!

For each exercise, keep your abdominal muscles tight to develop a strong core.

The Chair Squat: While sitting up straight, slowly proceed to a standing position. Keep your arms straight out for balance. Repeat and perform 15-25 repetitions.

Chair Triceps Dips: Secure your chair against the wall and place hands at the end of the chair. Bend your knees so your thighs and lower legs form slightly more than a 90-degree angle. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body. Straighten the elbows to raise the body up. Repeat for 12-20 repetitions. This fitness tip is deceptively easy, because it will help build your muscle strength more than you realize!

In-Place Marching: Stand up straight with arms at your sides. Now, slowly lift your left leg until it is waist height. Next take your arms and-in a big fashion-circle them. As your arms circle forward, drop your left leg to the ground and follow by raising your right leg. You will proceed in this fashion for 25 total repetitions of total forward arm circles. After completing 25 forward circles, continue marching in-place and circle arms backwards for 25 repetitions.

November

  1. Tone Your Arms This Month!
    Bar Bell Bicep Curls This should be the core bicep exercise in your bicep routine. It allows you to go heavy and is one of the easiest to do in terms of getting the technique correct.

    How to - Stand with feet shoulder width apart and lift up the bar bell. Lift up your chest so that your shoulders are lower than your chest but your back is still straight. Curl the bar bell up to just above your pectoral muscles and slowly lower back down.

    It is of paramount importance that your elbows do not move during this exercise. Make sure they stay solid next to your side.

  2. Skull Crushers
    This is a tricep exercise that will pack on the progress if you do it correctly. If you don’t, it might pack on the injuries!

    How to - Lie on a flat bench and take light bar bell. Lift the weight over your head with your palms facing the roof. Now shift the weight backwards so if you were to drop it it would land on the floor behind your head and so that your triceps are pointing behind you instead of straight up. In this fixed position, lift the weight up until you have a straight arm and then lower it slowly until you get a deep stretch.

    This is one of my all time favorite triceps exercises and has allowed me to make some significant growth.

  3. Alternate Dumb Bell Curl
    The alternate dumb bell curl is a great biceps exercise as it allows you to focus on one arm at a time and gives the other arm a rest. For this reason you can handle more weight and perfect your technique at the same time.

    How to - Take two dumb bells and stand with your back straight. Assuming the same position as in the bar bell curl, curl one dumb bell up to your shoulder as if you were trying to curl it PAST your shoulder. This gives a tighter contraction. Slowly lower the dumb bell and rotating it until it is in the resting position by your side, lift the other weight at the same time.

    Tip - Make sure this exercise is down slowly and with extra control.

  4. Close Grip Bench Press
    This exercise allows you to use a heavy weight in a safe way. However, it is slightly more tricky to perform than it looks.

    How to - Take a medium bar bell and lie on a flat bench. Push the bar bell up until you arms are locked and then lower it down slowly. Just before it hits your chest push it up quickly with a little bouncing motion for about two inches. This short stop and bounce stops your chest muscles coming into play here and keeps the weight on your triceps. It’s a great secret.

  5. Cable Curls
    As you know I’m not a big fan of exercise equipment but the cables allowed me to build my biceps so fast I got stretch marks at one point! This exercise has been core in my biceps routine for a long time.

    How to - It is exactly the same as the bar bell curl but there is a constant tension on your muscles because the cable is always trying to pull the weight back down. For this reason you will fid it much harder to handle a lot of weight. Remember to keep your elbows still and your chest up.
    http://realwomensfitness.com/upper-body-exercises/top-5-arm-toning-exercises/

October

The 20-Minute, 300-Calorie Treadmill Cardio Challenge

Burn fat and calories and build your lower body with this 300-calorie-burning treadmill routine.
20 Minutes to a Better Body

Minutes: 0:00-3:00
Miles Per Hour: 3.0, Incline: 1

Minutes: 3:00-3:30
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 2
Minutes: 3:30-4:00
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 4
Minutes: 4:00-4:30
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 6
Minutes: 4:30-5:00
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 7
Minutes: 5:00-6:00
MPH: 4.0, Incline: 1
Minutes: 7:00-7:30
MPH: 4.5, Incline: 2
Minutes: 7:30-8:00
MPH: 4.5, Incline: 4
Minutes: 8:00-8:30
MPH: 4.5, Incline: 6
Minutes: 8:30-9:00
MPH: 4.5, Incline: 7
Minutes: 9:00-10:00
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 1
Minutes: 10:00-11:00
MPH: 6.0, Incline: 1
Minutes: 11:00-12:00
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 1
Minutes: 12:00-12:30
MPH: 5.0, Incline: 2
Minutes: 12:30-13:00
MPH: 5.0, Incline: 4
Minutes: 13:00-13:30
MPH: 5.0, Incline: 6
Minutes: 13:30-14:00
MPH: 5.0, Incline: 7
Minutes: 14:00-16:00
MPH: 3.5, Incline: 1
Minutes: 16:00-17:00
MPH: 6.0, Incline: 1
Minutes: 17:00-20:00
MPH: 3.0, Incline: 1

About one in four Americans is overweight, but whether or not you have weight concerns, cardio workouts are important for your overall health. They're also good for your emotional wellbeing. Cardio workouts increase endorphins, which give you a sense of well-being. A good cardio workout will exercise your heart muscle, increase your lung capacity, burn calories and reduce stress.

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/tips/expert-advice/the-20-minute-300-calorie-treadmill-cardio-challenge/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Cardio-Workouts-for-Fun-and-Fat-Burning&id=319880

September

Enjoy the year's most beautiful season: In many parts of the United States, autumn is a near-sacred season, with its warm, sunny days, cool evenings and postcard perfect colors. Get outside and enjoy the season by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, and playing golf and tennis. Explore parks in your area; find a new bike path through the woods, take a walk around a lake. The time spent out in nature will do as much good for your mind as for your body.

Benefits of Hiking

There are many benefits of hiking. The most common benefits are:

Weight loss.

  • Decrease in blood pressure.
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis by improving bone density.
  • Relieves back pain.
  • It doesn't cost much.

May

Spring cleaning time is here. This month take a day off from the gym by burning calories while you channel your inner Mr. or Ms. Clean!

Top 12 Spring Cleaning Calorie Burners!

Activity:
Calories burned
(per 30 minutes)*:

Doing laundry
73

Dusting
85

Gardening
184

Ironing
77

Mopping the floor
153

Mowing the lawn (push mower)
148

Raking the lawn
135

Rearranging furniture
225

Washing dishes
77

Washing the car
153

Washing windows
105

Weeding the yard
153

*Based on a 150 lb. person.

Try These:

Put on some fast music -- rock and roll, salsa, whatever you like. This helps you pick up speed. Whenever you're doing chores, tighten your abs. This prevents you from slouching. Carry heavy baskets of laundry or supplies up from the basement, if your conditioning allows. Climb on a stepladder every chance you get.