Don’t just sit around the playground.
When my kids are at the playground, I’m usually the only parent making a spectacle of herself. I do push-ups and lunges. I hang from the monkey bars and try to pull myself up. Or I repeatedly squat down, lower my butt until it hits the bench and then stand up.
Yes, playground workouts can be embarrassing, especially when other moms and dads are relaxing or chatting on cellphones. But if you’re strapped for time, playgrounds are ideal workout spots, and not just because they’re free. You’re stuck there anyway, they’ve got all the equipment you need, and research shows even tiny bouts of exercise are associated with increased fitness.
And while a public workout takes some courage, “your actions might inspire a lifetime of health and fitness in your children or others,” said celebrity fitness trainer Marco Borges.
For some people, playground equipment may even be better than regular-size workout structures, said Borges. Monkey bars, for example, are built for kids so they’re shorter than regular pull-up bars. “That means you can start from a standing position and use your legs for added help,” said Borges, who runs a playground fitness boot camp.
Get out of that chair and move
New exercise guidelines released by the American College of Sports Medicine Tuesday may be more detailed than the last, but don’t worry — the overriding message is that pretty much any kind of activity is better than sitting on the sofa.
Thanks to copious new research the guidelines, last updated in 1998, got an upgrade. The 150-minute or more per week rule for cardio is still there, as is information on strength training. Perhaps the biggest change is the relaxing of stringent exercise guidelines, says Carol Ewing Garber, ACSM vice president and associate professor of movement science at Columbia University. The previous approach emphasized reaching goals for cardio and strength training, a la, “You must do this or you won’t improve your fitness and health,” Garber says. Sure, it would be great for people to reach those goals every week, but that probably won’t happen. “Research now supports the fact that you can do less than what’s recommended and still get benefits. Your weight may stay the same, but your overall health may improve.”
Don’t undo your hard work in the gym.
Barbeques are such an easy summer get-together. We usually find ourselves snacking throughout the evening and eating more than we are happy with. Skip the snacking and go straight for the dinner as soon as food is off the grill. Save yourself and step away from the spread, which is usually loaded with sodium and sugar. Sip unsweetened ice tea and club soda to keep your calorie count down. Curious about what all those condiments add up to? Allan Borushek, author of Calorie King Counter and Fat and Carbohydrate counter itemizes them up for us:
(CNN) – We’re all looking to maximize results while minimizing time and effort in the gym. That search for shortcuts has translated into a lot of myths about exercise. CNN.com asked exercise physiologists, trainers and nutritionists about their most hated exercise myths.
Consider these the 10 persistent myths of fitness.
10) Your cardio machine is counting the calories you’re burning.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” said Mark Macdonald, personal trainer and author of “Body Confidence” about the calorie numbers spit out by the cardio machine.
Some machines don’t even ask for your weight or sex.
“It’s not asking your body composition,” he said. “If you’re at 18% body fat, you’re going to burn a lot more than if you’re female at 35% body fat.”
And how many people know their body fat percentage?
The number calculated by your machine is likely not accurate.
Runners are a time-crunched crew. Too often, we push back our speed, fitness, or weight-loss goals when life gets in the way. The focused workouts in these pages are designed to make you faster, stronger, and fitter in however many minutes you can spare.
THE BUSY RUNNER’S GUIDE TO GETTING FASTER
Developing speed is ideal for time-pressed runners because getting faster requires short, targeted efforts. “Quick bursts improve your ability to produce energy without using oxygen while strengthening muscles, all of which help improve your speed,” says Jason Karp, Ph.D., an online running coach in San Diego (runcoachjason.com). If you’re new to speedwork or coming back after a layoff, reduce the number of intervals in the following workouts by half and add more time to warm up, recover, and cool down. Add an interval every other week until you’re up to speed.
You’ve got … 20 minutes
YOU SHOULD: Run short sprints.
“It’s the best workout in terms of bang for your buck,” says Karp. “Sprints will help improve your neuromuscular ability to produce force and power, which can improve your running economy and delay muscle fatigue.”
HERE’S HOW: Run 100 meters all out.
Then walk for three minutes until you have recovered and caught your breath. Repeat three times. (Start and end the workout with a five-minute jog.)
It used to be that kids accustomed to playing video games or hanging out on street corners after school had few enticements to get involved in physical activities. But that is changing around Seattle as a number of programs concentrate on sports that are more inclusive and less competitive.
AT 14 YEARS old, Nik Vasquez had never hiked up a mountain, strapped on a pair of skis or scaled a climbing wall.
He spent his afternoons bumming around with friends in his Seattle neighborhood and paid scant attention in classes at Cleveland High School. That all changed when a leader from the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department’s Outdoor Opportunities program showed up at his school. If Vasquez joined, they told him, he could learn how to snowboard, camp and explore the Northwest outdoors — all for free.
Team Coco has some encouraging words for the 2011 class of Dartmouth University:
A healthy diet is one which contains foods rich in vitamins and minerals. While you may spend a lot of time counting calories and looking at how much saturated fat is in your foods, how often do you look at the potassium levels?
Potassium is actually essential for the body. It has many health benefits yet not many of us actually bother about it. If you want to improve your health then eating foods rich in potassium is definitely a good idea.
The Health Benefits of Potassium
The main health benefit of potassium is that it lowers the blood pressure. It is also particularly good for athletes. Many athletes have a potassium rich diet as it helps to prevent cramps and cardiovascular irregularities. A lot of potassium is lost during exercise which is why athletes need to have more potassium in their bodies than the average person.
There’s the relentless voice that tells parents their kids are overweight, and the one that wants to protect them from the truth; the voice that makes them feel guilty when they let their kids have a treat and guilty when they say no; the one berating them to do more, and the one nagging at them — as they see a world of hurt in their children’s eyes — that nothing they could say seems right.
When Nanette Magno looks at her youngest son, she sees a sweet 8-year-old who plays soccer and baseball and likes to help out in the kitchen.
Other people, she realized a few years ago, see something different. There was that day in church, for instance, when they ran into one of his classmates.
“That fat boy is in my school!” the kid yelled out, excited to see a familiar face.
Magno doesn’t generally talk about this with other moms. It’s too painful. But one day, looking for help, she will begin to share. First she’ll show you his soccer team photo.
“He does stand out,” she says. And indeed, he does.
She will go on to tell you that three of her four kids are significantly overweight and that she’s overweight herself. She will confide that as much as she keeps it inside, the problem consumes her. She is confused. Frustrated. And ashamed.
“I feel sometimes we’re being judged,” she says quietly.
She’s right, of course.
By Jen Ator, Women’s Health
Here’s something you’ll love to learn: Your shoulders and upper back tend to carry less fat than the rest of your body, so the right exercises can give this area a nearly instant makeover, says Ramona Braganza, a celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba. Braganza’s workout, below, hits every major upper-body muscle and will help stabilize your shoulder joints, improve your posture, and build that strong, toned look you’re after.
Using five-to eight-pound weights, perform 15 to 20 reps of each exercise and go from one move to the next with little or no rest between. Do two or three sets three times a week.
Four Top-Tier Moves
1. Reverse fly
By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health
Quick! Let’s free associate. Complete this sentence:
_ SETS OF _ REPS.
Did you answer 3 and 10? Of course you did. It’s the Pavlovian response. After all, anyone who’s ever picked up a dumbbell knows that doing 3 sets of 10 reps of each exercise is the quickest way to build muscle.
Except it’s not. In fact, it’s the quickest way to get nowhere with your workout routine, says Michael Mejia, C.S.C.S., a long-time Men’s Health fitness advisor.
Truth is, today’s most sacred exercise guidelines originated in the ’40s and ’50s, a time when castration was a cutting-edge treatment for prostate cancer, and endurance exercise was thought to be harmful to women. Worse, so-called fitness experts across the country are still spewing these same old conventional wisdoms, despite plenty of research indicating that they (the experts and the wisdoms) aren’t wise at all.
Chances are, these are the rules you exercise by right now. And that means your workout is long past due for a 21st-century overhaul. We asked Mejia to do just that. Here are the five muscles myths he most commonly hears. Hopefully, we’re about to bust them for good.
MYTH #1: DO 8 TO 12 REPETITIONS
The claim: It’s the optimal repetition range for building muscle.
By Shira Scott, GalTime.com
Getting on the scale to see the same number over and over again is frustrating and leads many of us to want to throw in the towel. But don’t give up yet! We asked GalTime Registered Dietitian Elisa Zied for the top 5 reasons we all get stuck at one time or another when we’re trying to lose weight.
1. You’re too sedentary. You may be going to the gym, but you may also be sitting around much of the rest of the day. Don’t think you can take it easy just because you hit the treadmill for an hour. You need to move throughout the day in order to burn calories. Too much sedentary time can also mean more frequent eating.
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Editor, EatingWell Magazine
Last week, when I went to the USDA in Washington, D.C,. to attend the unveiling of the new food icon—MyPlate—to accompany the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, I also met Michelle Obama (!). Full disclosure: I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time and it was brief, but long enough for me to ask the First Lady what she ate for breakfast that morning.
So, what did she have for her a.m. meal? Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage and fresh grapefruit. Delicious, healthy and nearly in line with MyPlate. She was missing her grains and dairy. She fell short on vegetables, too, though if she doubled up on her fruit servings that would have counted as a sufficient substitution for a vegetable serving.
Don’t Miss: 6 Expert Food Rules to Follow
This made me—and some other editors in the EatingWell office—curious… What do other nutrition and health experts eat—and how do their breakfasts compare to MyPlate?
Losing 40 pounds in two weeks is extremely difficult for the average overweight individual. Anyone who has not been medically diagnosed as obese should not attempt to lose such a large amount of weight in such a short period of time. However, for individuals who are very overweight, 40 pounds is not as dramatic in relation to their overall weight. This can be done healthily and safely, although results are not guaranteed. Individual body chemistry and metabolism play large roles in weight loss.
- Difficulty: Challenging
By Laurel House
I don’t get why tabloid magazines continue to “expose” celebrities with cellulite when the fact is that 85% of women – both fat and thin, have it! Another little-known fact about cellulite: it’s not fat’s fault. Which is actually bad news because since it’s not a fat problem, dieting and exercise is not the curative… but it can help minimize the appearance and fight it off before it attacks in the first place.
Cellulite is free-floating fat cells that have penetrated a weakened lattice of connective tissue bands separating the layer of normal fat from the dermis (the middle layer of skin), and have become trapped just below the surface of the skin. There are 3 causes of the sticky stuff:
- Hormones (which is why men infrequently get it)
- Genetics (Thanks a lot mom!)
- Lifestyle (that’s all on you).
6 Surprising Bone Builders
Your bones do such a good job supporting your every move, it’s easy to take them for granted. But your skeleton is a living tissue in constant need of replenishment: As early as age 25, you can start to lose more bone than you build, leading to progressively thinner, weaker bones as you grow older and raising your risk for osteoporosis (literally “porous bone”) or debilitating fractures and breaks.
A balanced diet rich in fresh, whole foods is the foundation for good bone health, says Jeri Nieves, Ph.D., a health-care professional affiliated with the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) and an associate professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. Here, Nieves shares 6 weapons against bone loss:
Get your share of lean protein—but not too much. Protein aids the production of collagen fibers that provide a framework for bones, and adequate protein intake is important for bone health. In fact, according to several large studies, older adults over age 80 with low protein intake had more rapid bone loss and a higher risk of fractures than those with sufficient protein.––
1. Eat: About 5 ounces of lean protein (skinless poultry, fish, beans, low-fat or fat-free-dairy foods, nuts and seeds) per day for women, 5½ for men. (A serving of chicken or fish the size of a deck of cards is about 2 to 3 ounces.) Avoid: Red meat, poultry skin, lard, butter, cream and tropical oils (saturated fat can thin bones). Caution: If you are on a low-carb, high-protein weight-loss program, your body may leach calcium from your bones, causing them to weaken. The key: keep a good balance and make sure you consume enough calcium. (See “Eat Calcium-Rich Foods,” below.)
Cereals are crammed with attention – grabbing health claims: A good source of calcium! High in Fiber! Well, guess what? Cookie crisp, yes, the cereal that looks like little chip cookies – is made with whole grains and boosts 10% of your calcium needs, doesn’t mean it’s your best option.
So skip the front of the box and head for the nutritional facts on the side of the box, says Sari Greaves, R.D. dietician at Step ahead weight loss center in New Jersey and an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. Choose cereals that have at least 3 grams of fiber( good for weight loss, health and will keep you full longer) fewer than 200 calories per serving and no more than 8 grams of sugar. You’ll regret making a low – cal, high sugar, low-fiber selection. When the sugar high crashes, you’ll be hungry because there’s no slow digesting rough stuff in your system.
Measure up! Stay certain of your serving sizes with this handy bowl. The guides on the porcelain Measure Up Bowl shows how much you’re about to eat. $20 each www.measureupbowl.com
Blood Sugar controlled by Weight Training
Blood sugar declines with age and is influenced by genetics diet and physical activity. Muscle accounts for 42 percent or more of total body mass in Men. So it is an important tissue for regulating blood sugar. Arizona State University – conducted a study of the effects of weight training intensity and volume on blood sugar control in adult men and women. – avg age 30, with slightly elevated resting blood sugar levels. High intensity, multiple set weight training controlled resting blood sugar better than single set low-intensity workouts. Blood sugar was lowered without affecting blood insulin, which showed that weight training is an important and effective was to control blood sugar.
MAC Personal Trainer & Nutritionist - Breanne Curran
AASDN – NS (Nutrition Specialist)
Training hard for the next big thing? Make the most of your body’s energy and time with some healing massage on the side. Massage is a way to increase circulation and decrease muscle tightness which can speed recovery time from injury and every day workouts. People who get regular massage or just get that every now-and-then boost when it’s needed can benefit from the manual stretching, lengthening of muscles and getting new blood flow into those tight, painful spots that are holding you back. What does the ideal, uninhibited body feel like? Come on in to find out!! We all deserve to feel our best.
Mackenzie joins Katy on the MAC massage team, where you can find a range of types and styles of massage to suit your body and its changing needs. Both therapists focus on deep tissue massage geared towards the athlete’s body with passive stretches, joint mobility and injury treatment, trigger point work (specific pressure on those crazy knots), and lots of yummy deep, relaxing work up the spine and everywhere else.
Massage is now available Monday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday and Saturday mornings. Easy online scheduling available at riseupmassage.genbook.com. Call Katy directly at (206) 414-9392 for questions or check out our massage website at www.riseupmassage.com with information on package discount prices, gift certificates for your loved ones, and our self-care blog.
First massage only $60!
Katy Cañete – Massage
Most graduates are told to go find themselves, writes David Brooks. The better advice would be to tell graduates to first lose themselves in the tasks of life. From that experience, they will find the thing that summons their passion.
By David Brooks
Over the past few weeks, America’s colleges have sent another class of graduates off into the world. These graduates possess something of inestimable value. Nearly every sensible middle-age person would give away all their money to be able to go back to age 22 and begin adulthood anew.
But, especially this year, one is conscious of the many ways in which this year’s graduating class has been ill served by their elders. They enter a bad job market, the hangover from decades of excessive borrowing. They inherit a ruinous federal debt.
More important, their lives have been perversely structured. This year’s graduates are members of the most supervised generation in American history. Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have been monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree.
People connect. It’s a natural state of being. And it is personal. Connection can be a simple “hello” and “good bye.” Or it can be an intense, life-changing experience. In fitness, connection happens most commonly in three areas — ourselves, the Club and with other members.
People join clubs with a specific intention. This intention may fall into the category of “healthy lifestyle” or it may be more specific to an event such as running a marathon. While good intentions usually get us moving, they do not always carry us through. Connection can be a powerful motivator. How do you feel- – physically, mentally, emotionally–when you start your workout? At the end? Compare the two. Take note of what you can do at the beginning of the month, then at the end. Has you your body changed? Your mood? Has your positivity increased? How? Ultimately it is about looking for the link between where you started and where you intend to be.
By TRAVIS MOTLEY for Magnuson Athletic Club
1. Set a quantitative goal - Base your goals on numbers, such as “I want to weigh 185 lbs. by August 1st” or “I want to run one mile in 11 minutes.” Having a non-specific goal, such as “to lose weight” isn’t good enough.
2. Find and use a support system - Tell some close friends and/or family members about your goals so you have people to encourage you and hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set.
3. Sign up for an event - Events have a time and place that you must be ready for and can be a big motivator in keeping you accountable. Bonus points for signing up with a friend!
4. Have a workout partner - Find a friend or another fellow gym member with similar goals and interests as you. Not only will it make coming to the gym easier, it’ll be twice the fun!
5. Just get up and do it! - Most of the time it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be work. But the sooner you figure that out and stop feeling sorry for yourself the better. You know what is fun? RESULTS and results can only be found at the gym!
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS for the New York Times
Let’s consider the butterfly. One of the most taxing movements in sports, the butterfly requires greater energy than bicycling at 14 miles per hour, running a 10-minute mile, playing competitive basketball or carrying furniture upstairs. It burns more calories, demands larger doses of oxygen and elicits more fatigue than those other activities, meaning that over time it should increase a swimmer’s endurance and contribute to weight control.
So is the butterfly the best single exercise that there is? Well, no. The butterfly “would probably get my vote for the worst” exercise, said Greg Whyte, a professor of sport and exercise science at Liverpool John Moores University in England and a past Olympian in the modern pentathlon, known for his swimming. The butterfly, he said, is “miserable, isolating, painful.” It requires a coach, a pool and ideally supplemental weight and flexibility training to reduce the high risk of injury.
Ask a dozen physiologists which exercise is best, and you’ll get a dozen wildly divergent replies. “Trying to choose” a single best exercise is “like trying to condense the entire field” of exercise science, said Martin Gibala, the chairman of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
But when pressed, he suggested one of the foundations of old-fashioned calisthenics: the burpee, in which you drop to the ground, kick your feet out behind you, pull your feet back in and leap up as high as you can. “It builds muscles. It builds endurance.” He paused. “But it’s hard to imagine most people enjoying” an all-burpees program, “or sticking with it for long.”
Kate is from a big family and grew up in Michigan. She attributes her early love of sports to her two cousins Scott and Jason, who would include her in pick-up street basketball games, and played team sports throughout high school. In college she discovered yoga and mountain biking, and since then has indulged in many physical pursuits but found the most passion in yoga, snowboarding, surfing, biking and swimming.
“I love yoga because it is such a complete practice. Through yoga you gain flexibility, strength and endurance all while calming the mind,” Kate explained. “I savor that time of quiet movement in my day.” After having spent so much time playing competitive sports, Kate finds it nice to have a practice that is so personal. “I love teaching and it’s so rewarding because I meet so many wonderful people and get to seem them transform each week in class. When you practice consistently, the power of yoga sneaks up on you. It’s subtle but powerful, and I like that.”
Recently, Kate organized the Magnuson Athletic Club 21 Day Yoga Challenge and was met with great success! “The benefits of yoga are best seen with regular practice. After 21 days of consistent practice – even if it’s just 10 minutes – you will see and feel a difference in your body. Watching the challenge participants deepen their practice over the 3 weeks was really great for me.”
Kate lives a fairly busy life. When she is not teaching yoga, she works as a research biologist for the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. She mainly works with two declining species – Steller Sea Lions and Northern Fur Seals – but was recently given the privilege of traveling to Australia to help out with studies on Australian Sea Lions and New Zealand Fur Seals. Kate is also in school to become a holistic health counselor, and in her free time can be found playing outdoors with her husband, Rod, and their dog, Luna.
Kate holding a New Zealand Fur Seal pup
Think you’re an avid cyclist? Meet MAC Member, Carol McKean, who is about to embark on a summmer cross-country bike trip with her husband, Bill.
MAC: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
CM: Well it took me a long time because I’m 71 years old. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and I came out here after high school and I’ve been here ever since, except for a 6-year stint in North Carolina where we lived in Raleigh. I’ve always been sort of an outdoorsy person interested in sports and physical activity. Ever since our last bike trip about 4 years ago I’ve sort of became a slug and I was feeling very sluggish at the beginning of this year and then I got something in the mail about the opening of this facility and I knew we were going on this bike trip, so it thought maybe this would be a good thing to do. It was near our house, it was convenient, and I couldn’t use the excuse that it was too far away. So I came and took the tour, I liked it and decided I needed some structure so I signed up with Maryann and it was a great decision – both of them.
MAC: Tell me a little bit about training with Maryann? How does she push you?
CM: She made me work hard which was great. That’s exactly what I wanted. She gave me a lot of exercises to do, and so I worked out with her for four weeks in January and then went about 6 weeks on my own. I then decided to sign up with her again, going two times a week for two weeks, so I did that and then finished that about three weeks ago. I signed up with her once a week until we go (on the bike trip) because I decided I had to just stay with her until we left. I’ve been very motivated; I feel a whole lot better, lost 12 pounds. Things really have turned around, so I feel ready for the bike trip now.
MAC: You’re going on a bike trip with your husband soon; can you tell me a little about that?
CM: We’ve taken 6 long bike trips, two in Europe, and one on the Oregon coast. We took the mountain loop, went over the North Cascades Highway and back over Stevens Pass through Winthrop and Chelan. Actually, our first one was in 1996 when we went to Colorado for my husband’s 40th high school reunion. That was our first bike tour and we really like it. It’s a great way to go, you get a lot of great experiences; it’s an adventure, it’s great physical exercise and I think people think we’re nuts but this could be our last hurrah, I don’t know, we’ll see. For the first time I’m having a few doubts about coming all the way across the country but I hope we make it.
MAC: So it’s a cross-country trip… where will you be starting?
CM: We’re flying to Raleigh, NC and visiting some friends there for about a week. Then we’ll leave from there and go up through Virginia and along the C&O Canal Towpath, which is now a biking and walking path. In fact you can go all the way from Raleigh to almost Pittsburgh on a bike path, we don’t even have to go on a road so that’ll be great.
MAC: How long are you anticipating the trip taking you?
CM: At least two and a half months. I suspect we won’t be back until toward the end of July.
MAC: What has been your favorite (bike) trip so far?
CM: It’s hard to pick one because they’ve all been very different but the two in Europe probably were my favorite ones just because we were in such a different place. Our last one we went through, starting in Switzerland, went through Austria and the Czech Republic which was very interesting because it’s sort of a former third world country and some parts of it are still struggling to get back. But it was so interesting and we spent several days in Prague, which was a beautiful place, beautiful city, and we had a very interesting train trip from there to Munich, Germany. And all in all, I think for interesting experiences in a different environment it was probably my favorite one. And we were with a couple of friends for most of that trip.
MAC: What do you like best about the MAC?
CM: I like the atmosphere; the spaciousness and the newness of everything. The staff is very friendly and they just make you feel welcome and motivated to come back. I like it a lot. And it’s convenient to our house, I’ve walked down here several times or back or both.
Carol with her husband, Bill, in France on one of their many bike trips.