One of Our Worst Enemies – Cellulite

It is a known fact that all women hate cellulite. It makes them feel fat and unattractive. Little do females know; you do not have to be overweight to develop cellulite. Cellulite occurs more in women than in men and is normal fat build up underneath the skin. The bumpy appearance occurs from the fat pushing against the connective tissue. Especially now that we are in summer, women want to feel comfortable going to the pool or beach in their bathing suits or even just wear their favorite part of shorts. Unfortunately, cellulite can cause a lot of self-esteem issues which prevent women from doing things or wearing things that they love.

What we don’t realize is that cellulite can develop because of multiple reasons

  1. Fad dieting
  2. Poor diet
  3. Lack of physical activity
  4. Slow metabolism
  5. Dehydration
  6. Hormone changes
  7. Total body fat
  8. Thickness and color of skin

There are many extreme treatments to reduce and eliminate cellulite such as liposuction, lasers and radiofrequency systems, or topical treatments. These treatments can cost a lot of money and will never fix the true problem of why cellulite develops. The best treatment for cellulite reduction and elimination is weight loss and an increase in physical activity.

Regular exercise is the most beneficial treatment for cellulite. Strengthening muscles in your thighs, butts, hips, and abdominals will help improve the appearance of puckered skin. The benefits of weight loss alone are limited which is why strengthening muscles and maintaining a healthy diet will be the best way to treat the cellulite that has developed.

Although cellulite cannot be 100% preventable, keeping off excess weight and strengthening muscles by living a healthy active lifestyle can help maintain skin tone and texture. Get into the habit of working out and eating right. Don’t give up because you will see progress if you stick with your goal!

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Exercise and Alcohol

It’s an obvious statement that many people in the world will have an alcoholic drink in their lives. Even people who are very serious about their health and physical fitness. Certain events come up such as holidays or weddings where people may stray form their eating, drinking, and exercise habits. Although veering from your regular habits is not the end of the world if it is only for one or two days, you want to make sure you do not hinder the progress you have made by consuming too much alcohol.

Excessive consumption of alcohol can undo everything that you just did as a workout.

  1. Alcohol contains calories – You are more than likely going to consume all the calories you burned in a workout by drinking alcohol
  2. Alcohol messes with hormones – Testosterone decreases with consumption of alcohol leading to increased fluid retention and fat deposits.
  3. Alcohol leads to imbalances in the liver – Imbalances in the liver cause one to have low blood sugar, a fatty liver, and fat build up in the bloodstream.
  4. Alcohol depletes water and nutrients – Alcohol irritates the lining of the stomach making it harder to absorb nutrients that are needed for the body.
  5. Alcohol dehydrates your body – Hangovers can last up to 24 hours and sometimes longer. During this time your body is recovering from the alcohol consumption and is very dehyrdated. 

Tips for drinking while on an exercise regimen

  1. Drink in moderation – Socially drink; have 2 drinks with friends
  2. Drink a water in between each alcoholic beverage – You will not only be able to enjoy the alcoholic beverage, but you will also reduce the risk of becoming more dehydrated
  3. Space out your drinks – You do not need to chug your drink to have fun with friends. If you are out for the night, take your time drinking your beverage so that you do not consume more than you originally wanted
  4. Always end the night with a non-alcoholic beverage – This will help reduce the risk of having a hangover the next day, while hydrating yourself more after the night is over.

*The legal drinking age is 21 years old*Drink responsibly*

Exercise and Arthritis

As people get older their is a significant decrease in their activity level. This could be due to many things that occur with age including arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints of the body that cause joint stiffness and pan. Many people do not realize that regular physical activity can decrease the stiffness and pain that is caused my arthritis.

Exercise that will improve arthritis only has to be moderate intensity. Some examples of what types of exercises to engage in include:

  • Exercises with Full Range of Motion
  • Resistance Exercises
  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Yoga or Tai Chi

It is important to talk and work with your doctor to find out what exercises are best for you because every cause of arthritis is not the same. Incorporating a regular fitness plan into your treatment can improve your symptoms significantly. Not only will exercise improve arthritis symptoms, it is also vital to one’s overall health. So while your main objective might be to decrease stiffness and pain in your joints, you will receive many other results by adding regular physical activity into your life including

  • Increased bone strength
  • Increased muscle strength around your joints
  • Increased energy throughout the day
  • improved sleep each night
  • Maintained weight
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence

Don’t be afraid to get started on a fitness plan now! Better late than never.

Bodyweight Exercises

When I was younger I did gymnastics and loved pretty much everything about it except conditioning at the end of practice. Almost all of the workouts we would do were bodyweight exercises and movements. Looking back though I realize how much I now love all of those exercises. I have become very fond of bodyweight resistance exercises for a lot of reasons.

#1 These exercises require no equipment

#2 They require you to stabilize more of your joints

#3 Combining multiple bodyweight exercises together can be a better workout than you think (Making the outcomes more satisfying)

#4 You can perform these exercises almost anywhere

#5 Bodyweight exercises can increase stability, flexibility, and strength

Now those are just a couple of the benefits of bodyweight exercises, so to get you started I’m going to give you five of my favorite bodyweight exercises and challenge you all to incorporate these into your workouts.

#1Jumping Jack Planks –Start in a plank with shoulders over the wrists and the body in one straight line. Keep your feet together, then do jumping jacks with your legs, moving them out to the sides, then back together. Really engage your core and keep your body tight in a straight line. Do not stick your butt up in the air.

#2 Burpees – Start in a low squat position with hands on the floor, jump both feet back into a push-up position, jump knees back to your chest, then jump up as high as you can & clap hands above your head. This is an explosive exercise so not only do you want to use all your power, but you need to make sure every position is hit with tight muscles. If the regular burpee is too easy, add a push-up to increase the challenge.

#3 Mountain climbers – Begin in a push-up position, drive one knee to your chest. Jumping on the leg that is extended, switch legs and drive opposite knee to your chest while extended the other out to catch yourself in the push-up position. Don’t touch your toes when you drive your knee to chest, hold your one leg up each time your knee comes to chest.

#4 Flutter Kicks- Lay on back with your feet 6 inches off the ground, alternative moving legs up & down in a pulsing motion making sure you are keeping your core engaged. Try pushing the small of your back to the ground to add more core stabilization.

#5 Wall Sit – Leaning against a wall,slowly slide your back down the wall until your knee and hip joints are at 90 degrees. Thighs should be parallel to the wall and knees should be directly over your ankles. Back should stay straight against the wall. Hold this position for a set amount of time.

Bringing Back the Blades

So this week I have rediscovered a great past time. Rollerblading! When I was younger it might have been one of my favorite things to do. My grammar school had rollerskating parties at a roller rink and I would always love going to them. Not only did rollerblading this week remind me of some childhood memories, but it also reminded me how GREAT of a workout it is!! My neighbor and I went out to a nearby forest preserve trail and, man oh man, it was such a great cardiovascular workout. We were cruising on the path and, I will admit, I had to get used to it again; but kind of like bike riding…. you never really lose the skills needed to rollerblade. You just have to awaken those muscles again! Something people don’t always realize is that in order to live a active lifestyle you NEED to find activities you have fun doing! So if even the slightest part of you wants to see if you would enjoy rollerblading again, go into your garage, crawlspace, attic, or where ever you have those blades hidden and get out there!!

Rollerblading can be a huge benefit to one’s health both physically and mentally. A couple things I noticed after my rollerblading extravaganza included:

1. A Great Cardiovascular Workout

You can really pick up speed when you are on a trail rollerblading, the tricky part is maintaining that speed. Keeping your heart rate up is the best way to get a more intense cardiovascular workout. Make your heart work so it can become stronger; that way you can push yourself harder the next time!

2. Stimulating Infrequently Used Muscles

I  could definitely feel some muscles working in my gluteal and inner thigh areas that haven’t been worked in a while and I LOVED IT! The main muscles used while rollerblading include quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductors. While most exercises involve your quads and hamstrings; it’s the adductors that don’t get worked as much. Stimulating these muscles will work your muscular endurance.

3. Improved Balance and Coordination

There is no doubt that rollerblading takes some balancing skills, especially if you come around a curve, or a bump in the road/path/trail. Although rollerblading is mainly a linear activity, you are still pushing laterally in order to move forward. The movement is different from riding a bike or going for a jog so you end up working more accessory muscles when controlling coordination and balance.

4. Release of Endorphins

All exercise releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters which aid in us feeling good, comfortable, and relaxed. Rollerblading is a great activity that can keep a consistent flow of endorphins moving through your body to help you feel great after you are done.

5. Low Impact Activity

Unlike running, rollerblading decreases the pounding impact on the ankles, knees, and hips. This could be very beneficial for people who do not have the best joints. The gliding movement makes it more natural to build hip and thigh muscles. Not only is it low impact, but it is also intrinsically easier for most people.

Here are a few tips to improve your rollerblading experience:

– Find a Friend

Recruit a friend to join in on your ride.  You can challenge one another to get an effective workout.

– Bring Some Music

Having music is always a great way to keep a positive mood and increase motivation. It keeps your mind off the intensity of the workout and you go for a longer duration.

– Go on a Sunny Day

Now that the weather is finally nice and sunny, go get a tan and soak in some vitamin D!! Many people might not know this BUT vitamin D helps make you happy… and who doesn’t want to be happy during a workout 🙂

Some cautions to have while engaging in this activity:

– Protective Equipment

If you are worried or cautious about falling, don’t be embarrassed to wear wrist guards, knee pads, and a helmet. Also make sure your rollerblades are in good condition so that no injury occurs when out blading.

– Clear Path

I won’t lie, I almost had a couple spills when I came up to gravel or a pot hole on the road; this is why I would recommend going to a forest preserve trail or clear path where there is the least amount of danger.

– Proper Footwear

Wear high socks. Your feet might sweat more but your calves and skin will be happy you wore some extra padding.

Tips on Obstacle Racing

The new racing fads now involve obstacles courses along the way to not only challenge your endurance, but also your strength! I am excited to say that a week from today I will be participating in my first ever Warrior Dash!!

The Warrior Dash is a 5K obstacle race which includes 10 obstacles. You are not required to complete each obstacle but they provide pictures of the obstacles in order to help you prepare for the race.

Another well known event is The Spartan Race which is an obstacle race series that offers different distances to allow for different skill levels, styles, and racing. They pride themselves on keeping the participant guessing. The race does not provide a map or pictures of the obstacles to keep the participant surprised during the race.

Both of these events attract many people to participate and I believe it is because of the intense competitive atmosphere. Although is it a competitive race, it is also high-energy fun! Last summer I was able to watch my best friend compete in the Warrior Dash and even if people were competing throughout the race, by the end everyone was laughing and socializing having a great time. I like these events because not only to they promote physical activity and challenges, but they do it in a way that makes it fun. People need to know regular physical activity and exercise can be just as fun. Now that is just my side note on the new obstacle racing and what I really want to help with is how to train for these events!

These races are challenging your cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and muscular strength. In order to prepare yourself in each of these components, here are my four tips for training.

#1- Change up your course

Running on pavement will not prepare you for running on a grassy, hilly, muddy course. When you go out for runs change it up a little. Find some hills to run or grass to run on so that when it comes to race day you aren’t a newbie to the course

#2- Try some circuit training

Circuit training will help build your muscular strength and muscular endurance. Make sure you do these circuits for around the time it would take you to complete the 5K (~30 minutes). the exercises included in the circuits should be targeting all major muscle groups because the obstacles will challenge your legs

#3- Go for longer runs

You don’t want to only run the length of the race in obstacle racing because when it comes to race day you will be surprised how easily the obstacles can slow you down. Increase the time of each run you go on when training for obstacle racing that way your cardiovascular endurance is ready for the course.

#4- Do not “milk” any of your workouts

A lot of what comes along with the physical aspects of racing is the mental aspects. You have to be mentally tough along with physically prepared. Make sure you complete every workout of your training with 100% effort and do not modify any workouts because on race day, nothing will be changed for you.

Have a great race!!

How Humidity Affects your Workout

I think we can all say we are ready for this weather to stop playing games. Right when we all think it’s supposed to be a beautiful summer, we are getting rain and thunderstorms. Unfortunately, the rain we have been getting is now leaving the days warm and humid.

Humidity is the water vapor in the air around us. Sweating is your body’s way of effectively cooling itself down, but the only way your body can reduce its temperature is if the sweat can be evaporated into the air. With all the water vapor in the air, your sweat can not evaporate, leaving your body temperature to increase. Fluid loss from sweating will also decrease one’s blood volume. This makes the heart work harder and faster to make sure there is blood flow to your muscles when exercising.

Now not only is your body less effective in cooling itself down, your heart rate is higher and you have an increased chance of getting heat stress while working out. Here are some tips to reduce that chance and keep your body temperature lower on those hot and humid days.

#1. REPLENISH YOUR FLUIDS

You should not only be replenishing fluids while you are exercising, but throughout the whole day. Set a goal for yourself at each hour or so on how much water you want to drink. You may be getting up more to use the bathroom but you won’t have to worry about being dehydrated.

#2. WEAR THE PROPER CLOTHING

Light clothing that doesn’t retain excess moisture or heat while you workout.

#3. BRING A TOWEL WITH YOU

Since you know your sweat isn’t going anywhere, wipe it off to help your body cool down in the warm weather.

#4. FIND AS MUCH SHADE AS POSSIBLE

If you stop to stretch, do stationary exercises, or rest, find shade. Get yourself out of the sun and into a shaded area to cool yourself down.

#5. BE FLEXIBLE WITH YOUR WORKOUTS

Check the weather consistently throughout the day so you can alter your workout if need be. Split up your workout so you aren’t in the humidity for long periods of time, decrease the intensity so you aren’t over-stressing your muscles, or go inside if it is a must.

#6. DON’T LET THE RAIN STOP YOU.. unless there is lightening and thunder.

Jogging, running, biking, rollerblading in the rain will feel glorious with the cool rain coming down. Of course, if it is storming bad with lightening and thunder, don’t go out there because although the rain might feel nice still, being struck by lightening probably won’t!

Don’t let humidity stop your workouts! There are always things that can be done to help you get through humidity in warm weather!

If you develop a headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps or spasms, or nausea get inside to a cooler temperature, drink water, apply cool damp cloths to skin, and call for medical attention if severe.

Exercising in hot, humid conditions can be dangerous; It is crucial that you realize the importance of precautions and tips when working out so injury can be avoided.