Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Taking it to the Beach

Last week we took T on a trip to visit his grandparents in Florida.  We stayed on the beach, which meant lots on long barefoot walks along the shoreline.  Did you know that, aside from the obvious relaxation component, walking on the beach benefits the body in a myriad of ways?  Read on to see how fitness can, in fact, be a walk on the beach:

Build Muscle on the Beach: Have you ever noticed how much harder you have to work while walking on the beach as opposed to pavement?  It takes about double the amount of energy to move on sand.  Muscles like calves, quads, and glutes have to work harder to propel you forward.

A Little Calorie Burn with Your Sunburn: Walking on the beach burns approximately 50% more calories than walking on a firm surface.

Palm Trees and Proprioception: In the gym, I use equipment like the Bosu to improve a client’s proprioceptive skills.  Proprioception is loosely defined as “sense of self”.  Nerves in the body provide information on things like muscle length, tension, and joint position.  Proprioceptive training can improve spacial awareness, which allows for safer and more efficient movement.  The nerve endings in the feet range from 3,000-5,000 in number.  Walking barefoot on an uneven surface, such as sand, is a great way to foster awareness of hip, knee, and ankle alignment.

For more fun exercise information check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

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Squatting while walking on sand…work those little legs T!


Fitness Friday

(Belated) Fitness Friday: The Scoop on Sweat

We had a bit of a family stomach flu epidemic yesterday….Posting this now that I can see straight!

Sweating is our body’s natural reaction to cool itself off.   Being active myself and in my work as a trainer, much of my life is spent either sweating or hanging out with sweaty people.  If you have ever wondered why some people sweat more than others, check out these sweet sweat statistics below:

-The amount of sweat glands varies from individual to individual but is generally between 2 and 5 million.

-Women tend to have more sweat glands than men, though the gland’s of men seem to be more active.

-Fit people don’t always sweat more than sedentary people, but do tend to sweat sooner into a workout.

-Some factors that can increase sweat during a workout are nervousness, caffeine intake, alcohol intake, higher level of intensity, excess bodyweight, and temperature.

-Hyperhydrosis is a condition in which a person’s autonomic sweat response is hyperactive.  Occurring in roughly 3 percent of the population, this condition is thought to be caused by overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system.

Want to know more about sweat or learn how to do stuff that will make you sweat?  Check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Dee, sweating it out through her tongue……



Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: Shift Happens

J often tells me to go for a walk or run to “get the evil out” (he often says the same about Dee which is why she usually comes with me…..).  Though exercise can be good for draining energy as a means to get you to a saner place, one doesn’t want to be drained constantly.  Sometimes you need to tap into what you are feeling and there’s an app exercise for that.

One of the things I love most about working in the fitness field is options.  No one (not even us fitness professionals) feels the same every single day.  With all the daily physical and emotional fluctuations that come with being human, it is a major accomplishment to keep to a routine at all.  So don’t be so hard on yourself if that workout that felt so great yesterday doesn’t feel as great today.  The most important part of learning how to be a more active individual is the skill of adaptation.  Knowing what your body needs and being able to move accordingly.  It takes a little practice but the more you tune in (or tune out when the situation calls for it), the more adept you’ll become.

Here are a few ways to make your workout work for you:

-Play with intensity: Tabata and HIIT training might feel great on days when you’ve slept well and are feeling on top of your game, but may wear you down to the point of unhelpfulness when you are a bit under the weather.  Instead of pushing through and depleting your reserves, why not focus on some slow steady strength work while incorporating some balance?  Work with your body, not against it.

-Consider the scenery: Have you been cooped up in an office for days on end and don’t feel like being cooped up in a gym?  Take your workout outside.  Even when the weather is less than ideal, it is important to attune with nature.  Whether you can see the sunset over a mountain or simply catch the few rays of sun that creep through the city skyline, being outdoors brings benefits beyond physical health.

-Fine tune your footing: Mentally, that is.  Have you been in your head over the same problem for days on end?  A run might be just what the doctor ordered to shift awareness outward.  Have you been dealing with external pressures and lost touch with what you truly need?  Take yourself to yoga class to reconnect and reboot.

For more exercise motivation check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Even though it was chilly T opted for a little fresh air……


Fitness Friday

Fitness Friday: The Latest in Motivational Studies

It’s January.  For the majority of us in the United States, it’s cold and dark.  Before you consider hitting the couch for a “cuddle alert” that lasts until April, read on for a couple of juicy tidbits that made headlines this week.  Just when you thought all the benefits of exercise were already discovered…..

-Cardiovascular exercise makes you smarter: Neuroscientists have recognized that cardiovascular exercise breeds mental clarity.  Previously, scientists believed that our brains had a fixed amount of neurons by the time we reach adulthood.  It was recently discovered that new neurons in the brain are actually produced throughout one’s life.  What prompts new neurons to emerge?  Cardiovascular exercise.

-Bones may play a role in maintaining a healthy weight: We’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking.  It’s recently been discovered that sitting not only wreaks havoc on our cardiovascular systems, it also may trick the body into thinking it is lighter than it actually is.  Apparently, innate to our biology, there are systems in place to keep us at a steady weight.  Hormones like leptin get released to downgrade hunger when the body recognizes a surplus in energy.  The new thinking is that the same might be true for our skeletal system.  Being sedentary might trick the body, via a decrease in sensation from our bones, that it is lighter than it actually is.  Consequently, the hormonal cascade that might occur, had our bones been given the correct information, might not.

Ok, so there is a new theory every other day as to why we should exercise but given the obvious upside and and little to no downside, why the heck not?

For more exercise motivation check out the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Dee says to hell with your studies, I’ll take my chances…..