All entries for November 2012

Staying Healthy During the Holidays

For those working toward fitness goals, the holidays can be a scary time. There’s temptation around every corner – at work, at home, and out and about town. All social events seem to focus on food and drink, celebrating and generally "letting go."  But to me, this is always the best time of year for health and fitness related goals.  Here's why:

Reaching a fitness goal takes persistence and focus, even in the face of constant hurdles. But the truth is, if you started a journey towards a healthier life right after reading this, you could be 10 pounds lighter by New Year's Eve.  Even more importantly, you will have started to establish routines, and perhaps an action/reward system that we know creates long term changes.

Here are some tips to keep you from giving in, and staying on track:

-Write down a new healthy goal for each day during your holiday period, and write it down on a piece of paper to keep in your pocket or your wallet, or set a reminder in your phone. 

-Set a new reward for each week in December, and treat yourself to a present you’ve earned after staying on track with working out and eating well.

-Keep a running tab of every treat you pass up at the next party or night out, and give yourself a dollar for each one you don’t eat. Use the money toward new fitness gear.

Give yourself quality workout time before enjoying down time with family, and you will maintain progress toward your goals and avoid the commonly experienced weight gain!  That way, when you raise your glass on New Year's Eve, you won't feel like a failure with a resolution ahead of you.  You might not reach your goals by then, but you can be proud that you do not need a silly resolution to become healthier in will already be on your way.

Training Through Injury

At some point in life, an acute injury is imminent; if you are cleared for exercise, mindful resistance and cardiovascular training will bring a host of benefits.

Injured or not, we sometimes forget that exercise is a way of life. In fact, it is essential to life. Exercising will not only help maintain fitness but also, in the long run, increase your chance of survival. A study in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that cardiovascular fitness is more important to survival than any other risk factor- including blood pressure and cigarette smoking! This reason alone should motivate you to exercise.

Another benefit of continuing cardiovascular exercise while injured is that it increases blood flow, which helps deliver nutrients to cells that repair the tissue. The increased amount of blood flow will carry the debris away from the injury into the liver to get processed and discarded. These two aspects can help to speed up your recovery time.

Resistance training during this time can provide equally important benefits, such as preventing muscle loss. This is important because muscle loss due to cessation of exercise could result in a lower metabolism.Therefore, maintaining muscle mass during injury can in turn fend off unwanted weight gain due to a reduced metabolism. So how can you prevent this from happening? Exercise! 

They key to overcoming setbacks is to become creative in the gym. There are many ways to work the muscles you’re accustomed to without compromising the injury or any other safety aspect of the exercise.

First, make sure the injured joint has been properly stabilized by a physical therapist or specialist, and take their advice seriously so as not to jeopardize your injury. The next step is to select exercises that target the muscles you are trying to work but does not require the injured joint to move.

If you find this part difficult, ask our Exercise Physiologist, Joel Woldt MS for help at: to learn more about specific exercises to perform with an injury. 

Remember, it is better to exercise with limitations than to stop exercising all together. The science doesn't lie: exercising is essential to life. 



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