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Resolution tips to keep you on track

shutterstock_169613255We’re about a week into 2014, so I thought it would be a good idea to see how everyone’s resolutions have been going. Good, I hope!? I’ve noticed that a lot of resolutions people make revolve around wellness. Losing weight tops the list of the ten most popular resolutions along with staying fit, quitting smoking, spending less, getting more organized and spending more time with the family.

About 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but less than 10 percent actually succeed in achieving their resolution or goal. Unfortunately, resolutions tend to be abandoned quickly. Why is that?

  1. Too vague. More specific goals tend to result in more successful outcomes. General goals are hard to grasp and usually result in loss of interest. Analyze what you are really trying to accomplish and break it down into more specific goals. Instead of “I will drink more water,” try, “I will keep a water bottle on my office desk, in my car, on my nigh stand and drink at least eight cups of water a throughout the day.”
  2. It can be lonely sometimes. While personal goals are… personal, but the effort to reach that goal does not have to be. Studies show that the more you share what you are trying to accomplish with others, a support network, family, friends, etc. the more successful you will be. Friends and family can support your efforts to achieve your resolution. Workout with a buddy, go running with your neighbor find a “team” that will motivate you.
  3. You lose track. As tedious as it sounds, keeping track of your efforts does help.  Whether they are food journals, or fitness trackers; pedometers that track how  many steps you’ve taken in a day or an app that lets you know how many hours of sleep you’ve gotten, can help hone in on areas you want to work on. In addition, it keeps you accountable and well… on track!
  4. Forgetfulness. People who are reminded of their goal on a consistent basis tend to be more successful in achieving those goals. The best thing to avoid losing focus of your goal is to write it down. Make yourself several notes with your goal written on it and post these all over your house; on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator and pantry door; in your car, etc. Make yourself a bookmark and keep it in your favorite book; write it as a screen saver for your computer, tablet or phone. Tell your friends and family. If your goal is to drink more water for example, you can easily program your phone, computer or table to make a sound every hour as a reminder to drink water. If your goal is to get more physically active, carve out time in your calendar (write it in) to do just that. 
  5. No reward system. Good deeds should be rewarded. If you reach a milestone along the way to your final goal, do something good for yourself (do not reward yourself with food). Buy a book, enjoy a massage, take a day off work, etc. Do something that will create a positive feeling. It’ll keep you  motivated. 

Above all, when making resolutions try to focus on ONE behavior change. Trying to change too many things at once is NOT a strategy that will lead to success. Good luck to you and a happy 2014 to all!

A guide to warming up and cooling down when exercising

cool downThere is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down are essential parts of a workout. Doing so will improve an athlete’s level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training, or a competition.

Research suggests that the use of dynamic stretches – slow controlled movements through full range of motion, are the most appropriate exercises for the warm up. By contrast, static stretches are more appropriate for the cool down.

Warm Up

Warm up exercises prepare the body for exercise by increasing the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to loosen up. Doing this gradually increases the body’s temperature and helps muscles become flexible. Any strenuous activity that begins abruptly can cause injury, which is why it is important to warm up first.

This part of your exercise session also protects major joints by increasing the supply of lubrication to the articular cartilages – the body’s shock absorbers. Continue Reading »

Five exercises to help improve your balance for icy conditions

As we all know, Wisconsin weather can be called confusing at best. Temperatures can swing from 30 degrees one day, to 70 degrees the next day. Wisconsin winters can be particularly problematic due to the snow, ice and cold that lasts from December through March. One area of concern is slipping or falling on the ice. In general, people are more careful when they can see ice in the way, but what happens when we run into black ice or ice covered with snow? Is there anything we can do to prevent these falls, or limit the severity of injury when slipping? There is! I have several exercises and tips that can keep you healthier during the Wisconsin winter ahead. Continue Reading »

Friendship, exercise and relaxation for cancer patients

PEACEAre you or someone you know currently in cancer treatment, recently finished treatment or a long-term survivor and need a place to find friendship, encouragement and help for mind, body and spirit? Mercy Medical Center’s PEACE exercise and relaxation program serves people in all stages of their journey with cancer.

Continue Reading »

Exercise during pregnancy

shutterstock_111457892Too busy to exercise during pregnancy? There is data out there suggesting that you should try to squeeze in a few workouts a week.

Some of the benefits of exercise during pregnancy for mom include:

  • Reduced weight gain
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Improved self esteem
  • Decreased incidence of varicose veins
  • Improved sleep
  • Decreased incidence of low back pain, musculoskeletal pains
  • Improved posture, body mechanics
  • Improved heart, lung function
  • A possible link is decreased need for induction, cesarian deliveries, episotomy, anesthesia
  • Prevents and provides treatment for:

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