• 3 Myths About Exercise and Pregnancy
    3 Myths About Exercise and Pregnancy
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    3 Myths About Exercise and Pregnancy

    hopkinsmedicine.org

    Exercise is one of the most important things you can do during pregnancy. Learn the truth about safely staying active while pregnant.

    Myth #1: If you don’t usually exercise, you shouldn’t start during pregnancy.

    This myth has proliferated for many years, but pregnancy is actually an ideal time to start an exercise program — even if you’ve never really exercised before. Public health guidelines for pregnant women recommend moderate exercise or activity for approximately 150 minutes per week (or 30 minutes per day, five days a week). The following are ideal exercises during pregnancy:

    • Walking: Walking at a moderate pace can be a great, easy way to fulfill the recommended guidelines. If you’re walking, you should be able to walk and talk at the same time. If you can’t, you should slow down.
    • Gym activities: Working out on the elliptical or doing water exercises in the pool are healthy and safe ways to stay active.
    • Pilates or yoga: Pilates and yoga can be mentally and physically beneficial. However, hot yoga is not recommended because you should always stay cool and hydrated while pregnant.

    The most important thing while performing these exercises is to keep it at a moderate level. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion.

    You should be especially careful with exercises that could cause you to lose your balance, since having a fall during pregnancy can be very serious. “Because of the increased fall risk, riding a bike is something I often caution women about,” explains Szymanski. “What’s most important is to find something you enjoy while staying safe. Talk to your doctor to see what works with your personal history.”

    Myth #2: Athletes can continue vigorous exercise throughout pregnancy without cause for concern.

    If you’re a high-performance athlete, you can usually maintain your exercise regimen during pregnancy as long as your pregnancy is uncomplicated. However, you should talk with your health care provider and be more mindful of how you feel while exercising during pregnancy.

    “Women who are highly athletic may have developed the ability to push through fatigue or cramping (‘no pain, no gain’),” says Szymanski. “Athletes may push themselves beyond a ‘safe’ threshold, though, which could affect the fetus.” Your physician can provide you with additional guidance to find the right balance.

    Myth #3: The only value of exercise during pregnancy is to help you lose weight more easily after your baby is born.

    Exercise is a huge component of postpartum weight loss. But the true value of exercise during and after pregnancy is the other incredible health benefits. “Your metabolic function is dramatically improved by exercise, and your risk of developing cardiometabolic disease will decrease as well,” explains Szymanski. Even if you don’t see immediate weight loss after pregnancy, you should always continue to exercise because your body is benefiting internally.

    According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. And that’s just as true during pregnancy.

    Click here to read original article.

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  • 10 Surprising Benefits of Exercise
    10 Surprising Benefits of Exercise
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    For most people, weight loss is the main motivator for getting into shape. But there are a lot of other benefits to exercising than just fitting into those skinny jeans. Believe it or not, regular physical activity can improve your sex life, decrease your cancer risk, make your skin glow and more. Whether you’re already fit or looking for a little extra motivation, check out 10 additional reasons to get moving!

    1. Reduces your dementia risk.
    Over the years, studies have found that staying active can boost mind function and energy, decreasing the risk of dementia. Physical activity “improve[s] cognitive function in healthy elderly persons, and potentially reduce[s] the risk of developing cognitive impairment,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Dance classes particularly, which require learning skills like memory and concentration, are especially helpful for individuals with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

    2. Decreases your osteoporosis risk.
    Fitness, especially load-bearing exercise, is important for bone health, according to certified personal trainer Leigh Crews. “Exercise can be one of the most important things you can do to prevent osteoporosis, protect yourself from falls and help maintain bone mass,” she says. According to The University of Arizona, strengthening exercises like weight-lifting, jogging, hiking, stair climbing, step aerobics, dancing and racquet sports are best.

    3. Improves your sex life.
    The Harvard School of Public Health found that just 20 minutes of regular exercise a day can improve sexual response in women. Not only does working out leave you feeling energized, but it can also make you feel more desirable. “Since exercise can improve health, vitality, appearance and self-esteem, it does indeed tend to increase interest in—and capacity for—sexual activity,” says David Katz, MD, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “Just make sure your partner is on the exercise bandwagon as well!” Working out with your partner, Dr. Katz says, not only will allow you to spend time together, but it will trigger adrenaline and other feel-good hormones to get you in the mood.

    4. Prevents muscle loss.
    As we get older, not only do our bodies build muscle less efficiently, but the muscle we already have breaks down more quickly, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This makes regular exercise an integral part of healthy aging. “Exercise not only helps us maintain our muscle mass, it can increase it,” says Crews. “This ultimately keeps our metabolism high, gives us strength and endurance to complete tasks of everyday life, and helps prevent falls, which can be a life-changing experience for older adults.”

    5. Improves digestion.
    The Gastroenterological Society of Australia found that exercise helps the intestinal muscles break down food and move it through your system correctly by strengthening the abdominal muscles and minimizing sluggishness. Dr. Katz seconds these findings, noting that regular exercise “can help prevent constipation.” He says even short, intermittent walking throughout the day can help keep things regular.

    6. Reduces stress, depression and anxiety.
    We’ve been hearing for years that regular activity boosts your mood, but it does much more than that. According to the Mayo Clinic, “once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference. Working out can definitely help you relax and make you feel better, keeping anxiety and depression from coming back.” How? When you exercise, neurotransmitters and endorphins that ease depression are released. Plus, you raise your body temperature, which has been shown to calm nerves.

    7. Enhances mental performance and work productivity.
    Dr. Katz is a firm believer that exercise is important for improving overall quality of life, especially when it comes to work. Not only does exercise improve self-confidence in the workplace, which helps you take on leadership roles and perform better, but it also increases overall productivity and focus. A study released by the American College of Sports Medicine found that 65 percent of employees surveyed reported an increased ability to manage their time and produce more, as well as an overall improved mental and interpersonal performance when they worked out in the middle of the day.

    8. Reduces cancer risk.
    Several studies have confirmed that the risk of lung, colon and breast cancers can be greatly reduced in regularly active people. In fact, a 2007 study found that exercise is an important step to preventing breast cancer because higher levels of estrogen (which is stored in fat) increase your risk. “Women who exercise heavily are, in general, older at the time of the[ir] first period, and tend to have irregular periods and a shortened estrogen-producing phase,” the American Association for Cancer Research reports. “Postmenopausal women who are physically active have also been shown to have lower levels of estrogen.”

    9. Helps reduce stroke severity.
    A study by the Bispebjerg University Hospital in Copenhagen following first-time stroke patients found that “people who exercised the most prior to their stroke were two and a half times more likely to have a milder stroke compared to those who exercised the least,” reports WebMD. Another positive tip? Even activities like “light housework, a walk outside and lawn care” count.

    10. Improves your skin.
    If vanity is still your number-one motivation to get in shape, then add glowing skin to the list of benefits. For one thing, “exercise enhances the blood flow to your skin,” Dr. Katz says. Studies have also shown that exercise improves acne by controlling the production of acne-inducing testosterone hormones like DHEA and DHT. Plus, sweating can unclog pores and help clear up your breakouts—ultimately detoxifying the skin of oils and dirt.

    To read the original article, Click Here.

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  • How busy parents can find time for exercising
    How busy parents can find time for exercising
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    Most parents feel either too exhausted or too harried to workout. Stacy DeBroff, author of ‘The Mom Book: 4,278 Tips for Moms,’ offers some advice

    With our busy lives, you need to set aside time for exercise every week, because it never happens if left up to chance! Working out gives you more energy, helps you lose weight, improves your circulation and your mood, tones your muscles, and makes you healthier. You owe it to yourself and your family to stay as healthy as you can. Even 10-minute increments make a difference, and getting your kids and partner into the act makes it that much easier. To jumpstart your workouts, here are some insider tips to finding the time and bringing fitness off the back burner:

    21 top tips to a fitness jumpstart

    1. Take advantage of napping with a jog stroller. Nothing like a quick run or fast walk with a jog stroller while your baby or toddler conks out for a late morning or afternoon nap. The larger wheels of a jog stroller offer less resistance, making the stroller easier to push and putting less strain on wrists and shoulders. Plus, you get in some cardio while your child gets fresh air. Even if your child wakes up early from napping, the walk home becomes an activity in itself. Limit running or fast walking to 45 minutes to avoid shoulder strain from pushing the stroller.

    5. Have family fitness fight obesity. Also with rising obesity among our children and cutbacks in physical education programs has made family-oriented fitness a priority. Walk the dog together. Pick up a family hobby that involves exercise: from hiking, to biking, to tennis, to skiing. This can then become a focus of weekend activities together to family vacation destinations.

    17. Enroll in a “mommy and me” exercise classes for new moms. These classes enable you to exercise with your baby, along with introducing you to other new moms who can become workout partners as your children get older.

    18. Enlist help from a trainer. You can even split training workouts with a friend. Having an hour of exercise directed by a physical trainer can really jumpstart strength and cardio training. Even a few sessions can jumpstart you into a more structured workout routine.

    20. Give one exercise-related gift at birthdays and the holidays. From a new bat or bike for your child to three sessions with a trainer for your spouse, having one exercise-related gift makes a great family tradition and reinforces the importance your family places on staying fit and healthy.

    21. Even little things can make a difference. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator at work. Or park at furthest end of the parking lot when going shopping. The extra walking can count as part of your workout! And remember this: if you work in just a 10-minute workout each day, by month’s end you will have exercised over 300 minutes!

     

    To read the complete list from the TODAY show, Click Here.

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  • Five Stages of Change for Physical Fitness
    Five Stages of Change for Physical Fitness
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     | By Rachel Moran

    Five stages are identified for any type of behavioral change. The model was primarily developed in the 1970s to chart the changes in smokers trying to quit. It has since been adapted for physical activity, so that people incorporating healthy exercise can track their progress toward becoming regular exercisers. By knowing the stages, it’s easier to foresee obstacles, stay focused and develop motivational techniques.

    Precontemplation Stage

    Precontemplation is the stage of doing nothing. You may feel comfortable with your level of physical activity or lack thereof. If someone else mentions a need for increased activity, you may deny it outright or ignore her advice. According to Gaby Ronda, a Dutch researcher at Maastricht University, people exercise relative to their belief they will be good at it or enjoy it. Changing from precontemplation may require motivation that fosters confidence.

    Contemplation Stage

    Contemplation is the stage of awareness. Some people begin to notice they lose their breath more easily or their clothes no longer fit. This may be the stage of “I should . . .” statements, like “I should begin exercising,” or “I should lose weight.” Fitness expert Marc Perry advises setting specific goals at this stage. Identify ways that change benefits you in order to motivate you to fulfill your goals.

    Preparation Stage

    Preparation is the planning stage when you decide how you will fulfill your goals. You may begin to use “I could . . . ” statements, like “I could join a gym,” or “I could run outside.” At this stage, rely on experts for guidance or motivation to keep your plans realistic and attainable. As you progress from this stage, expect to feel a sense of mental readiness to enact your physical fitness goals.

    Action Stage

    Action may be the hardest part of the five stages for many people. It’s time to start working out. Lifespan.org advises that regular physical activity is equivalent to 30 minutes of activity per day for five days each week. You may perform all of this activity in one half-hour, or you may break it up into two 15-minute stretches. Marc Perry claims this is when relapse into a prior stage is most likely, so stay motivated with friends, trainers, regular weigh-ins, scheduled measurements or other quantitative reinforcements.

    Maintenance Stage

    The maintenance stage is a stage of accomplishment. Your clothes may fit differently. You may have a lower resting heart rate or perform more quickly for longer periods of time without needing rest. The danger now is that you’ll rest on your laurels and stop working out. Maintenance is a long-term commitment. You can change your workout to stay motivated, but you have to keep working out. Your life has changed successfully from when you were in the first stages of change.

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  • Reinforcement for Creating Exercise Habits
    Reinforcement for Creating Exercise Habits
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    By Trisha McNary

    Getting compliments, and getting paid for your work, are two strong motivators to keep repeating the same behavior. But most people aren’t paid to exercise, and you can’t always count on others to motivate you. Exercise reinforces itself by releasing feel-good hormones and improving your appearance. If you need more reinforcement, positive thinking and visualization can get you started and keep you going until exercise becomes a habit — which takes about three months.

    Natural Reinforcement

    Reinforcement for Creating Exercise Habits
    Happiness is staying in shape. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    Your body needs exercise to be healthy, so nature reinforces your exercise habit by releasing endorphins and other “feel-good” hormones during both cardio and weight-lifting exercise. The level of these hormones in your system will be higher at all times if you have an exercise habit, according to an article for The University of Edinburgh Faculty of Medicine. Experiencing how good regular exercise makes you feel can be all the motivation you need to keep exercising again until it becomes a fixed habit.

    Powerful Thinking

    Research shows that positive thinkers — optimists – are happier, have better physical health and are more likely to exercise than pessimists, explained in an article for “The Atlantic.” If you catch yourself having negative thoughts about exercise, realize that these thoughts can be negative reinforcement against creating your exercise habit. Intentionally think positive thoughts to counteract these thoughts. For example, “I will keep going back to the gym for as long as it takes for exercise to become my habit.”

    to read the full article by Trisha McNary, Click Here.

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  • 6 Heart Benefits of Exercise
    6 Heart Benefits of Exercise
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    Did you know that physical activity can be as beneficial to your heart as medication in some cases? A Johns Hopkins expert covers the powerful benefits and how you can make staying active part of your heart-protection plan.

    “For certain heart conditions, exercise can be as powerful as some medications,” says Johns Hopkins expert Kerry Stewart, Ed.D.

    Understanding just how physical activity benefits your heart can be strong motivation to get moving more. Here’s what to know.

    1. Exercise lowers blood pressure.

    Exercise works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure (when one is not actively exercising). High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease.

    2. Exercise is key to weight control.

    Especially when combined with a smart diet, being physically active is an essential component for losing weight and keeping it off, Stewart says—which in turn helps optimize heart health. Being overweight puts stress on the heart and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

    3. Exercise helps strengthen muscles.

    A combination of aerobic workouts (which, depending on your fitness level, can include walking, running, swimming, and other vigorous heart-pumping exercise) and strength training (weight lifting, resistance training) is considered best for heart health. These exercises improve the muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the blood. That reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles, whatever your age.

    4. Exercise can help you quit smoking.

    As smokers become more fit, they often quit. And people who are fit in the first place are less likely to ever start smoking, which is one of the top risk factors for heart disease because it damages the structure and function of blood vessels.

    5. Exercise can stop or slow the development of diabetes.

    Johns Hopkins research has shown that when combined with strength training, weekly exercise on a bike or treadmill or a brisk walk may cut levels of fat in the liver by up to 40 percent in people with diabetes. A fatty liver can speed heart disease. Exercise also reduces inflammation, a process that can lead to cell damage.

    6. Exercise lowers stress.

    Stress hormones can put an extra burden on the heart. Exercise—whether aerobic (like running), resistance-oriented (like weight training) or flexibility-focused (like yoga)—can help you relax and ease stress.

    To read the original article in full, Click Here

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  • When Do Working Moms Workout?
    When Do Working Moms Workout?
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    By thewannabeathlete

    As a working mom of a one year old (with another on the way!), I have discovered that “me time” is at a premium. I love my job as the Executive Director of a non-profit, but my workload isn’t exactly conducive for stealing away for a midday workout at the gym. My son “the Mini Athlete” is an early riser and that also means he goes to bed pretty early – between 7 and 8pm. Gone are the days of heading to the gym right after work – I want to soak up every moment with my little one before he’s asleep! So that leaves me with the obvious question…when do working moms workout?

    know I’m not alone in this. Thousands upon thousands of competitive runners, yogis and amateur triathletes also juggle the responsibilities of motherhood and a full-time job. Here is some of the best advice I have received:

    1. Find Community When I first went back to work nine weeks after having my son, I felt pretty alone as I navigated my new identity as a working mom. I quickly realized I couldn’t go at it alone. I found a wonderfully encouraging group of moms in the area where I lived at the time – the IRunMommies in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to meeting twice weekly to run – once on Tuesday evenings and again on Saturday mornings – the group actively participates in a Facebook group where you can always find another busy mom looking to squeeze in a run. I highly recommend finding a group like this – or if you don’t have one in your area, start one! Another great place to find community online is through Twitter or blogs. I cannot tell you the encouragement I have received from other moms in those places!

    2. Establish a Schedule

    As mothers, we crave a schedule. Sometimes it feels impossible. But establishing a schedule is one of the best things I did when trying to get back into shape after having a baby. My best friend and I scheduled our times to run every week. We would meet at 5:45am on Monday and Wednesday mornings for a few short miles, and would meet up with the IRunMommies on Saturday mornings for our long runs.

    Yes, it felt early. But we knew that we could guarantee our husbands would be home to babysit at that time and so we had no reason (or excuse) to reschedule. Knowing that my best friend was waiting for me helped me drag myself out of bed on those days I really didn’t feel like running!

    3. Know You’re Worth It

     It’s easy to feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions. The first thing we let go? The time we spend taking care of ourselves. Remember – you will be a better mom, a better employee and a better person if you take care of yourself first. It feels counter intuitive when there is laundry to be done, dishes to be washed and reports to be written. But you know what? There will always be more laundry, more dishes and more reports. There is only one YOU. Make yourself a priority.

    To read the original article By theawannabeathlete, Click Here.

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  • Active Moms Raise Active Kids
    Active Moms Raise Active Kids
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    No surprise there — but do you know the best ways to lead by example?

    We tend to assume that young children are naturally active and require little adult modeling to encourage these behaviors. But new research suggests that’s not true. Parents’ activity levels have a big impact on how active — or not — their young children are, according to a British study which found that the example mothers set determined how active or sedentary their children were. So, parents who forgo their own exercise regimens may be unintentionally raising less active children. And the fallout from parents who simply never exercise much at all is even worse.

    The current recommendations for adult activity call for 150 minutes per week of mild to moderate exercise, which includes brisk walking. It is not clear how many parents of young children manage that, but as the recent British study makes clear, exercise habits within a family can impact other members.

    Researchers specifically explored how mothers’ activity levels affect their young children. Earlier research has found that active mothers tend to have active school-aged children, but there had been little attention paid to preschoolers. Researchers attached accelerometers (which measure movement and velocity) and pedometers to 554 mothers and their 4-year-olds to measure their exercise levels for up to one week. The devices were worn at all times and recorded when, how long, and how intensively the participants exercised. This allowed the moms’ and children’s exercise habits to be compared closely by hour, time, and day of the week.

    Judging from this sample, most moms don’t exercise enough. Only half of the moms in the study engaged in 30 minutes of mild-to-vigorous exercise even once a week. The data also showed that mothers and children tended to be active at the same times throughout the day.

    But the biggest news was that the more active a mother was, the more activity the child did. This was most apparent in early and late in the day. In general, for every minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity a mother engaged in, her child was more likely to engage in 10 percent more of the same level of activity. Similarly, the more sedentary a mother was, the more it was reflected by an increase in her children’s inactivity. Not surprisingly, mothers of more than one child were generally more active than those with just one child.

    The findings should encourage mothers of young children to be more active and encourage their kids’ activity. The researchers hope the study will also make mothers more aware of the negative message their own sedentary time — in front of the TV or computer, for example — sends to their children If you’ve set aside your own exercise regimen, consider taking them up again, free of guilt over stealing some “me” time, and perhaps including your children if possible.

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  • Power Surge: The Hidden Benefits of Exercise
    Power Surge: The Hidden Benefits of Exercise
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    Exercise does your body good almost instantly, research shows. Here’s mega motivation to get slimmer, stronger, healthier — fast!

    Instant Benefits of Exercise

    We’ve got some happy news that will rev up your workout routine: The moment you head out on your run, launch into your Spinning class, or start your Pilates session, the benefits of exercise kick in. “We see changes in the body within seconds,” says FITNESS advisory board member Michele Olson, PhD, professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University at Montgomery in Alabama. Your heart rate increases, and blood is delivered to your muscles. You start burning calories for fuel. And you get an almost immediate mood boost.

    As little as 30 minutes of cardio three to five days a week will add six years to your life, according to research at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Do that plus a couple of days of resistance training and you’ll not only live longer but also look younger, feel happier, have more energy, and stay slim. Ready for some inspiration for getting your move on? Keep reading for our timeline on the quick and long-lasting benefits of regular exercise.

    Long-Term Benefits of Exercise

    You’re getting stronger. Those eight-pound weights don’t feel quite as heavy, because your muscular endurance is starting to increase, Bryant says. Ten reps is no longer a struggle; you can now do 12 or 13.

    Click here to read the full article by Alyssa Shaffer.

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  • Exercise While Baby Naps!
    Exercise While Baby Naps!
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    Postpartum Home Workout: Mommy Movement
    Learn a couple of exercises you can easily do at home while baby naps or plays!

    There are many ways to exercise to tone and strengthen your body while you play with your baby on the floor. Celebrity Fitness Trainer Andrea Orbeck will guide you through a few of these ways to make playtime productive for both baby and mom!

    Watch the full 17-minute series of yoga-inspired stretches and strengthening moves on The Stir

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