Relax! Unwind from the week by spending 15 minutes meditating or performing deep breathing exercises.
Archive for April 2010
Are you looking for a quick way to build lean muscle while also improving your cardiovascular fitness? Well, Kettlebells are the answer. While Kettlebells provide a quick workout, I must emphasize, it’s not easy!
What are Kettlebells?
An ancient Russian strength training mechanism, Kettlebells are quickly gaining popularity in today’s fitness world. Kettlebells are round cast-iron weights with a single looped handle on the top. They range in weight from two to over 100 pounds. These bowling ball sized balls are popping up in fitness classes and gyms around the country.
What’s the hype really all about?
Unlike dumbbell weight training workouts which focus mostly on a single muscle group through isolation, Kettlebell training recruits your entire body all at the same time (compound movements). This type of training forces you to use your muscle groups synergistically – moving as a coordinated whole. Bottom line – not only will you develop strength, but improve flexibility and cardio all at the same (shorter amount of) time!
How to get started
Kettlebell training can be tricky, so it’s best to start slowly. In the video below, H3 Fitness Director Adam Martin, shows us the basic Kettlebell swing. It may look easy at first, but to avoid injury, it is very important to have correct form and technique. Make sure you start with a very light weight (or none at all) to practice the correct movements and when you feel comfortable, gradually increase your weight.
A great way to mix up your circuit routine is to add a set of Kettlebell swings. Add a 30 second interval between your sets for a quick, heart rate pumping cardio burst. If 30 seconds is too easy, try moving up to one minute. If you are looking for an entire Kettlebell workout, reach out to your nearby gym for a personal training session.
Now that you know the basics of Kettlebells, you can add a little variety to your existing routine and watch as you improve your strength and muscle tone.
Have a swinging Friday!
Take advantage of opportunities! You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
If you missed yesterday’s Who’s Who weekly update email, here is your chance to learn more about our Wellness Counselor, Beth Leermakers.
Dr. Beth Leermakers earned her B.S. degree in Psychology from Duke University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida. As a Certified Lifestyle Counselor in Weight and Stress Management, Beth has more than 15 years of experience in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of obesity. Her past experiences include Director of Education at the LEARN Institute for Lifestyle Management, as well as Program Director at the Cooper Institute in Texas. In January of 2008 – wishing to be closer to family – Beth accepted the position of Hilton Head Health Wellness Counselor and packed her bags for the east coast.
Beth’s main responsibilities at H3 include leading discussions on stress management, stress eating, body image and motivation, as well as conducting Health Habit Review sessions and Individual Consultations. Her goal is to help individuals discover what’s interfering with their healthy lifestyle behaviors and find strategies to overcome these barriers. She finds that the first step is to help the Guest realize that they need to make health a priority.
According to Beth, “one of the highlights of my job is seeing when Guests, who are initially very shy and scared, start to feel more comfortable and come out of their shell. We’re able to create such a safe and nurturing environment, that each Guest really has the opportunity to blossom and share.” Beth’s passion is driven by seeing Guests really open up and rediscover passions that they’ve put on hold for so many years.
When Beth’s not supporting Guests at H3, you can find her at the beach with her two dogs or volunteering at animal rescue.
Inspect your sodium intake! Decrease sodium intake to less than 2400mg/day.
Don’t forget your tennis shoes because today is National Walk@LunchDay. In yesterday’s post, Tips for a Healthy Cubicle, I gave you a few tips to keep your healthy habits throughout the work-day. National Walk@LunchDay encourages you to incorporate physical activity into your work day and encourages you to increase your daily physical activity by walking at lunch every day.
We all know the benefits of walking, but in case you forgot:
- Decrease your risk of a heart attack and type-2 diabetes
- Control your weight
- Improve your muscle tone
- Reduce your stress
Bring your lunch and walk for half of your break or make a date with a co-worker to walk to and from your favorite lunch spot. Even if it is only for 10 minutes, make it a point to pencil in your walk to your daily task list.
Worksite wellness is on the rise with companies implementing programs to keep their employees healthy and productive. Not only does this help the company’s health care costs, but improves the lives of every individual, therefore affecting the company as a whole.
Here at H3, we have decided to expand our Healthy Lifestyle program into something that companies can experience on-site. Sure, you may miss out on the peacefulness of a sunrise beach walk, but through our program offerings, you can build a personalized program for your company including on-site visits, group workshops, webinars and more!
Take the initiative to create a culture of health at your workplace. Bringing your healthy lifestyle into the workplace seems like a no brainer, as it’s where we spend most of our time!
Now, lace up your shoes and get out there and WALK.
Flaxseeds are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. To regularly consume flax seeds, sprinkle them on your cereal, salads, and sandwiches or put in soups and stews.
Try eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day. It works to increase your metabolism and keep your satiated.
Back to reality, back to the grind.
If today has you feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed, try the following to relax:
Take a Walk
Walking is a great way to clear your head and to get in a healthy dose of aerobic exercise at the same time! Leave your worries behind and focus on the fresh air for a little while.
Write in a Journal
Venting is a healthy way to get rid of unwanted stress. Your journal is a great outlet because you don’t have to worry what others may think or say about your feelings. Once you’re finished writing, at least some of the weight will be lifted from your shoulders and your thoughts will be less clouded.
Take a Hot Bath
Taking a long bath slows down both your mind and body and melts away anxiety. Go all out with suds, music, and candles if you want! By the time you dry off, you’ll feel refreshed and energized.
Listening to relaxing music and sounds can help you clear your mind after a busy day. Whether you listen to tapes, CDs, MP3 downloads or Podcasts, you can find a recording that will help you fall asleep easier, meditate, beat stress, and more. Many stores sell relaxation CDs, which may contain music, nature sounds, or guided meditations.
An easy and convenient way to relax, it is the core of many other relaxation techniques. You can practice deep breathing anywhere. Simply take ten deep breaths, lifting your chest to fill your lungs completely and then exhaling all the way. Each breath will relax your body a little bit more and you will feel the tension seep out of your muscles
Progressive muscular relaxation (PMR)
PMR helps release muscle tension. Your muscles tighten as one of the first signs of stress and can become a real pain in the neck (or lower back). But this pain doesn’t have to be a way of life. PRM is simple yet effective at reducing pain and enhancing relaxation. Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Start by tightening a group of muscles, such as your fists, as much as possible. Hold this tension for a few seconds and then relax the muscles. Once your muscles are relaxed, consciously soften them even further in order to be as relaxed as possible.
Once you have mastered tensing and relaxing your fists, you can move on to other muscles groups and then to your entire body. Apply the same technique, starting at your feet, and working upward. It takes just 10 to 20 minutes to completely relax your entire body. To get the most relaxation possible, try combining PMR with deep breathing.
Mental imagery, or the picture in your mind’s eye, can help you regroup and relax. Picture an idyllic and peaceful scene, such as a meadow or a beach, and use all of your senses. Do you smell jasmine in the air? Can you hear the birds singing and feel the light breeze on your skin? Your body can’t tell the difference between a thought and a real event, so bring your peaceful scene to mind the next time you’re feeling anxious. This “mini vacation” will help you feel refreshed, as if you’d really visited to a tropical paradise.
You can also visualize the stress flowing out of your body or running off your back like water. This imagery is particularly useful at work if you don’t have much privacy. Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee the next time your boss changes a deadline on you, picture the stress flowing peacefully out of your body from your head to your toes and start smiling.
Meditation is the conscious act of focusing on one thought, object, or word. This deliberate focus occupies your mind and diverts your attention away from the problems that are causing you stress. Many people who meditate claim that it helps boost their creativity and ability to solve problems by allowing subconscious thoughts to arise to conscious awareness. But meditation isn’t far out or mystical. Like deep breathing, you can do it anywhere and without specialized training.
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and relax your body, concentrating on breathing rhythmically. Feel your breath and focus on each breath you take. Thoughts will come to mind, but just let them pass without giving them any attention. You can also focus your attention on a phrase, such as a positive affirmation, an object, such as a candle flame, or a comforting word like “calm.” Try clearing your mind for 15 minutes in the morning and again before you go to sleep, gradually increasing the amount of time you meditate each day.