All entries for April 2012

Stay Motivated: Monitor Your Progress!

Research shows that writing down elements of your new health routine contributes to motivation, consistency, and in the end, results!

Whether it’s calories consumed or burned, steps taken, minutes spent on the treadmill or weight machines, or even your thoughts during the day, monitoring your progress is important. Why? Because it gives tangible feedback on how you’re doing…and how you’re improving.

There are many ways to monitor – here are just a few you may want to try:

  1. Keep a journal – Diaries aren’t just for 12-year-old girls anymore! Writing down what you did and how you felt about it is a powerful tool you can use to reflect on your thoughts and feelings of the past, and how much better you feel in the present.
  2. Chart it – Put one on your fridge, next to your home exercise equipment, or on your computer; wherever it is, a chart tracking weight loss, muscle measurements, or even minutes of activity gives you a visual on how much you’re progressing from day 1 to now.
  3. Save the Date – If you have a calendar, circle the day you want to reach your goal. Or even a milestone along the way. Make sure you document it somewhere on your phone, and set up reminders of your smaller goals along the way to the big one. You’ll see how time passes and how close you’re coming to a big day.

No matter what or how you write it down, make sure monitoring is part of your everyday healthy behavior. Marking your change and the incremental steps toward your goals will look satisfying to you and show off the hard work you’re putting in.

Peripheral Heart Action Training

Peripheral heart action training is a form of exercise programming that can be very effective and efficient for those who perform it. Peripheral heart action training involves alternating the muscle groups used from the upper body to lower body. This is an effective form of exercise training for many reasons. First, many resistance training programs focus on performing large amounts of sets and repetitions on one part of the body. When muscle contractions are repeatedly performed on one part of the body, blood is trapped in that area during contraction, which keeps the waste products such as lactic acid in it. Over time waste products can build up, which leads to fatigue and potential delayed onset muscle soreness.

Peripheral heart action training distributes the blood from the upper portion of the body to the lower portion and continues that pattern, which allows for the blood to be shunted from one body part to another. Therefore, the blood is able to distribute waste products more effectively and reduce waste build-up in certain muscles of the body.Changing from upper to lower body exercises also forces the heart to work harder, by shunting blood repeatedly throughout the body in order to perform large amounts of work. This shunting action and increased exercise intensity can increase the hearts ability to pump large amounts of blood through training adaptations such as an increased stroke volume that comes from either a greater stretch of the heart muscle due to increased blood flow or an increased contractility of the heart muscle due to strengthening. This adaptation can also improve a persons’ VO2max, which is a significant indicator not only of a person’s fitness level, but also of their potential risk of morbidity and mortality.

Other features of peripheral heart action training, that can benefit exercisers, include an increased efficiency of an exercise session. This efficiency is created, because while changing from upper to lower body exercises, one muscle group has the ability to rest while the other is working, therefore allowing for extremely short rest periods. These short rest periods and elevated heart rate due to the work being performed correlate to larger amounts of calories being expended throughout the duration of an exercise session. Large volumes of work being performed can also lead to increases in muscle mass and therefore also lead to increases in a person’s metabolism.

 Overall, there are a lot of benefits of peripheral heart action training, but it should be noted that this could be very taxing in beginners. Most people without a resistance training background can benefit from a two-week period in which they get accustomed to lifting and performing resistance exercises before engaging in peripheral heart action training. Most beginners adapt very quickly and can fair quite well even in the early stages of the training. In the case of a cardiac patient, it is necessary to get a doctor’s approval before engaging in an exercise program that elicits large demands on the heart.

The Age-Old Question

South Rim Grand Canyon, Arizona. Six hour hike into Grand Canyon.

I am sitting here, with my darling wife, looking out over the Grand Canyon, enjoying that natural opiate, produced internally, after a great day of hiking the hills.

The promenade along the overlook is filled with visitors from all over the world and of all ages and sizes. Most don't look familiar from our incredible hike today. There seemed to exist this clubby comrade on the trail. All of us wishing each other well and urging one another onward. So I would recognize my fellow enthusiasts and even if I couldn't most of these strollers don't fit the part.

I wonder if it's natural selection or it is the age-old question of the chicken and the egg.

Did these people choose not to hike or did the hike not choose them? Did they become unfit and unable to hike or did their choices not to hike cause them to be unfit.  Either way, missing out on hiking in the Grand Canyon or even around your neighborhood, is a lost opportunity.

So get off the edge (or the rim, the couch, or the sidelines) and jump onto the trail. You never know where it may take you.

Stay Active My Friends

Building on Habit Change: Take it one step at a time

Habit change can be summed up in a few sentences:1. Habit change is hard.2. Habit change takes time.3. The time and effort put into changing habits are completely worth it!The trouble is that people often... More »

Cue - Action - Reward - Craving

April 17, 2012 Recently I mentioned a book "The Power of Habit" written by Charles Duhigg. The science behind forming good healthy habits is fascinating. Duhigg breaks it down very simply. He describes... More »

Skinning! A New Activity to Try

April 16, 2012 90 minutes of Squash Taxes are due tomorrow so I thought I would brighten your day with a new activity I enjoyed recently. Skinning! Yes that's right, Skinning. No, I have not taken up... More »

Healthy Habits of Weight Loss Maintainers

From our Lead Dietician Krista Shawron, MS, RD, LDN: In this busy world, it's often easy to dash out of the house in the morning without stopping to think about breakfast. By the time lunch rolls around,... More »

Reversing Metabolic Syndrome

One of the new buzz phrases in the medical community is “metabolic syndrome."  Metabolic syndrome stands for an individual having a combination of 3 or more of the following: Waist circumference... More »



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