This fitness blog is designed with busy people in mind. For so many reasons, it is important to make fitness a priority,
but not everyone feels as though they can incorporate it into a packed schedule. Here, you will find ways to lead a healthy
lifestyle, despite being busy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Power of Running Shoes

Keeping motivated can be one of the greatest challenges in maintaining a fitness plan. There’s nothing worse than knowing you need to get moving and start exercising, yet you can’t seem to peel yourself off the couch. This post is dedicated to my favourite way to combat this: wear your running shoes!

When I am not at work, I am almost always wearing running shoes. I have one pair for indoors and another for outdoors. This way I can always have a pair on without wearing dirty shoes in the house.

Wearing running shoes around the house keeps me on my feet and raring to go; rarely do I even sit down when I am wearing them. It’s when I am not wearing my running shoes that I sometimes find it difficult to get my chores done, let alone get outside for a run.

My suggestion to you is to wear your running shoes throughout the day (when you can). You will feel more energized to keep active throughout the day, and hopefully more motivated to fit in your daily exercise routine.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Got 10 Minutes?

10 minute sessions
throughout the day adds up

When you can’t fit in a 60-minute workout, that’s okay. SparkPeople says we need to get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to exercise. Multiple 10-minute workouts throughout the day can be just as beneficial to our health and our fitness plans. Of course, these multiple 10-minute workouts add up throughout the day, so keep that in mind when you think that 10 minutes just isn’t enough to make any differences.

SparkPeople recommends you follow a similar schedule to the one below for your 10-minute workout:

1-2 minutes – warm up (include stretching)
7 minutes – medium to high-intensity workout
1 minute – cool down (include stretching)

When I know I will not have enough time to do my workout in one session, I like to do some of the following things:

For strength:
+ Use resistance tubes
+ Push-ups
+ Lunges

For cardio:
+ Climb stairs
+ Stationary bike
+ Treadmill

Just remember, every bit counts. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Keep a clean home AND stay fit – yeah, seriously.

You’re busy, so squeezing exercise into your schedule is tough when you have a full line-up of things to do each day: get the kids to school and to extra-curricular activities, put in a full day of work, make sure dinner is on the table at a certain time and maintain a clean home…among other things.

If your household is anything like mine, sometimes chores are abandoned. This has always been an irritating thing for me because when I get a bit of free time, I feel obligated to catch-up on my household duties. Ultimately this means that instead of getting outside for a walk, I am stuck inside cleaning – yay.

Fortunately for you and me, keeping a clean home and staying fit can work together. Barbara Hagen, Provincial Coordinator for Alberta’s Be Fit for Life Network, said, “Anything that you do that is active is going to increase your health benefits.” Guess what? That can include housework!

Calorie Counter, a free online diet program, suggests a 150 lb person can burn the following amounts of calories (per hour) for each household chore:
+ Vacuuming – 238 calories
+ Scrubbing floors/bathtub – 258 calories
+ Washing the dishes/putting them away – 156 calories
+ Laundry – 156 calories
+ Grocery shopping – 156 calories
+ Gardening – Yes, it will be that time soon! – 272 calories
Also, for all of you stay-at-home moms, carrying a child for an hour can burn up to 204 calories!

So, when you have to choose housework over going for a walk, keep in mind that if you put serious physical effort into your chores, you are still working towards your goal.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beat Stress

Stress has an incredible hold on our bodies. We all show stress in different ways: upset stomachs, muscle pain and exhaustion. But what might be news is that stress can also hinder an individual’s weight loss efforts. In fact, according to the American Journal of Epidemiology, stress can actually contribute to weight gain.

Medical News Today suggests that one reason this may happen is because when an individual is stressed, he/she may change eating habits – which can ultimately lead to weight gain.

I know you’re all ready very busy, but I encourage you spend time each day doing something to relieve stress. I have made a list of six stress reduction activities for your consideration.  
Six ways to relieve stress:
+ Take a walk with a friend
+ Schedule weekly massage sessions
+ Maintain a regular sleep schedule
+ Sing (and dance) along with music
+ Take a vacation
+ Participate on a leisure sports team

Thankfully, exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress, so continue on with your fitness and nutrition plan regardless of how stressed you are at any given time. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sleep - Get lots of it.

This is an especially important topic if you are trying to shed pounds. You may be maintaining a proper nutrition plan and exercising regularly, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body may not be accepting your most sincere efforts to drop weight.

Michael Thorpy, MD and director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York said, "Sleep loss is associated with striking alterations in hormone levels that regulate the appetite and may be a contributing factor to obesity. Anyone making a commitment to lose weight should probably consider a parallel commitment to getting more sleep."

You’re not getting enough sleep if…
+ You feel as if you need a nap during the day
+ You fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow
+ You easily catch colds &/or have trouble fighting one off
+ You have trouble getting out of bed in the morning
+ You have trouble concentrating

Eight reasons why you may not be getting enough sleep:
+ Interrupted sleep
+ Stress
+ Anxiety
+ Getting to bed too late
+ Exposure to noise
+ Exposure to light
+ Caffeine consumption
+ Alcohol consumption

So, how much sleep do you need?

WebMD suggests that each age category get the following number of hours of sleep each night:
Infants – Approximately 16 hours
Teenagers – Approximately nine hours
Adults – Range between five and ten hours

Don’t let your weight loss efforts go to waste; get plenty of sleep. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pièce de résistance

Resistance training is an extraordinarily important part of physical and mental health. Steven Fleck and William Kraemer, co-authors of Designing resistance-training programs, offer some of the benefits of resistance training:
+ Increased strength & mobility
+ Increased fat-free mass
+ Decreased body fat
+ Improved heart condition
+ Improved mental health

Clearly these benefits are worth working for. However, if you are unable to go to a gym to use weight machine, just as I am unable to, you can still incorporate resistance training into your fitness plan. One way I do this is by using resistance tubes.

Resistance tubes are flexible, lightweight tubes (similar to surgical tubing) that stretch like a rubber band. They have handles on each end to allow for preferred gripping, and come in various thicknesses for increased or decreased resistance.

Resistance Tubes
I particularly like resistance tubes because they are...
+ inexpensive
+ portable
+ easy to store
+ light in weight
+ perfect for traveling
+ effective for any 
   muscle group

Some disadvantages of resistance tubes include:
+ Elasticity will eventually break down, so you will need to replace them
+ They can snap if they are punctured

Often I use these bands while my child is playing or I am watching TV in the evening because they are so easy to transport around the house, and I do not need a lot of space to use them. I also like to leave one band hanging around so that if I have a spare minute or two, I can do a set of whichever exercise I choose. It never hurts to get an extra set in when you have time.

You can find exercises for any muscle group in specialty books and websites. It is surprisingly easy to use resistance tubes; don’t hesitate to try them out.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Get Strolling

If you’re considering walking for exercise, as I suggested in my last post, you are going to need a really good jogging stroller (if you’re going to bring a child along).

A good jogging stroller makes a big difference. You should not have to struggle with your stroller in any way while you are walking. Struggling with your stroller will make walking irritating, and may discourage you from continuing a regular walking routine. I can testify to that.

When I finally decided to spend the money on a jogging stroller, I bought (and returned) at least two strollers before I bought my favourite stroller. Let me say this now, all jogging strollers are not created equally. So, if you’re going to spend the money on a jogging stroller, buy a good one. It may be $200 more than the one at Walmart, but it truly is worth it.

BOB Revolution SE
I bought a BOB Revolution SE. It is the only luxury jogging stroller I have tried, but why change something when it works for you, right? I love how this stroller handles, the storage space and how much my child likes it - which reminds me - you will want to make sure your child approves the stroller you choose. You will be hard-pressed trying to get your child to join you if he or she is not comfortable in the stroller. After all, if you’re going to spend a lot of money on this stroller, everyone who has to use it, should like it.

Click here to read an informative article from about how to choose a jogging stroller.