Friday, August 28, 2015

Free Zumba Classes


Zumba classes Saturday afternoons in September

Are you looking for a group to motivate you to maintain your workouts, challenge your fitness level and to just have fun with? It's been proven that people imitate the behaviors of the groups they spend time with. What a great idea to spend time with people who model healthy lifestyles. Try something new in 2015, add variety to your workout program and meet new people.

September 12, 19 and 26

12 - 1 pm

Bring water, towel, family, friends & kids!

Taught by my friend and colleague JoDee Geryak
AFAA certified and Zumba certified instructor at the Burbank YMCA

Classes are absolutely free!

Classes will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church
Holy Cross Hall
3801 Scott Road, Burbank

Friday, August 21, 2015

Benefits of Massage

We all know massage will ease those sore muscles after a tough workout. Just 10 minutes can reduce inflammation, which can help your body recover. However, the health benefits of touch extend beyond simply soothing aches and pains. Here are just three benefits you might not know about:

It counteracts all that sitting you do
“Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress,” says Aaron Tanason, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist. “More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.” More advanced forms of postural stress “show up as pain or weakness in the low back and gluteals caused by prolonged periods of sitting.” Massage can counteract the imbalance caused from sitting.
It can reduce stress and pain
In a review of research on the topic, it was determined that massage therapy lowers cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 31 percent. And when cortisol levels decline, serotonin, one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms, increases. In the review, serotonin grew by an average of 28 percent after massage therapy. So by lowering cortisol, you boost your ability to fend off pain.  Research found that a single session of massage therapy has an immediate effect on perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches.

It boosts immunity
Studies of women with breast cancer found that when cortisol levels are up, natural killer (NK) cells are down. Natural killer cells are the front line of the immune system. They kill cancer cells, viral cells and bacterial cells, so you definitely want them up. In one study, for instance, women with stages 1 and 2 breast cancer were given 30-minute massages three times a week for five weeks. At the end of the study, the women had lower depression and hostility levels and increased urinary levels of serotonin, dopamine, NK cells and lymphocytes—all of which suggested their immune systems were stronger. Another study found that massage boosts patients' white blood cell count (which plays a large role in defending the body from disease).

Treat Your Body Well and Get a Massage This Week

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Exercise Outdoors

Last weekend, I hiked with my cousin during our Girl's Weekend Getaway in Phoenix. Despite the desert heat, it was great to move our bodies, experience the mountains up close and chat with other hikers on the trail. Exercising outdoors has been shown to be significantly different than indoor workouts.

Science suggests there are benefits to exercising outdoors that can’t be replicated on a treadmill or a track. You stride differently when running outdoors, for one thing. Generally, people flex their ankles more when they run outside. They also, at least occasionally, run downhill, a movement that isn’t easily done on a treadmill and that stresses muscles differently than running on flat or uphill terrain. Outdoor exercise tends, too, to be more strenuous than the indoor version. In studies comparing the exertion of running on a treadmill and the exertion of running outside, treadmill runners expended less energy to cover the same distance as those striding across the ground outside, primarily because indoor exercisers face no wind resistance or changes in terrain, no matter how subtle.

In another study, volunteers were asked to go for two walks for the same time or distance — one inside, usually on a treadmill or around a track, the other outdoors. In virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside.

Another small study found that people have lower blood levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress, after exerting themselves outside as compared with inside. There’s speculation, too, that exposure to direct sunlight, known to affect mood, plays a role.

Take Your Workout Outside This Week
Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food

Friday, August 7, 2015

Smoothies Can Be a Healthy Choice

Smoothies are thick shake-type drinks filled mainly with fruit or vegetables and other nutrient dense ingredients.  They make wonderful options for a meal or a snack when made with natural items. The number of healthy ingredients available for smoothies is practically limitless. After your basic fruits and vegetables, you can add an array of the various spices, herbs, seeds, nuts and more. The possibilities and combinations are endless.

Will drinking a meal make me ravenous?
Studies show that consuming protein, fiber or fat helps you feel full. A drink that packs all three is satisfying. Be sure to carefully choose your ingredients to create a complete meal. Also; blend, blend, blend - up to five minutes. Another study found that incorporating air into the the liquid makes the drink more filling.  

Practice calorie and portion control
Smoothies do provide fiber, as the entire fruit often goes into the blender, skins and all, but they still contain a lot of calories. Choosing a vegetable-based juice in your smoothie is one way to reduce the sugar content. We all crave sweets from time to time. Replace the treat you would normally splurge on with a healthy alternative in a smoothie. But remember, practice portion control. Smoothies are a meal-replacement.

Avoid pre-made smoothies
Don't be fooled by the claims that smoothies made from prepackaged mixes with chemically altered ingredients are a wise health food option and weight loss tool.  These products are purely a marketing ploy to make you think you are living healthfully. 

Try this Apple Pie Smoothie
In a blender, pulse, five raw almonds. Add an apple (leave the skin on), 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup nonfat milk, one banana, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Delicious!

Drink a Smoothie, Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food

Friday, July 31, 2015

Jogging with a Stroller

As moms, sometimes we struggle to fit in our workouts. Jogging strollers are a great way to keep your little one entertained and get some exercise at the same time. Pushing 25 or so pounds of stroller plus the weight of your child will, of course, slow you down - by about 30 seconds per mile. But pushing the stroller will burn more calories while you run.  Then, when you do run solo, it will feel so much easier.

Be aware of your form.

*Don't hunch over the handlebar, and alternate your right hand and left hands so your other arm can maintain a pumping motion. 
*If you have a double-wide stroller, you'll probably need to keep both hands on the stroller for better control. Similarly, if you're going up or down a significant hill, hold on tight with both hands with the wrist strap secure around one. But in flat areas where you can really go, it's a good idea to alternate hands.
*Make sure you are not leaning into the stroller, especially near the end of a run when you are tired. Rather, stay upright and keep your elbows bent.

Jog with other moms for accountability and fun. 

Connect with a friend from playgroup, from the gym or church and meet up for runs. Working out with a friend guarantees a more consistent exercise schedule and is more fun! Fleet Feet, a running store in Burbank, sponsors a stroller jogging group on Thursday mornings. Click for more information.

Keep safety in mind when out with your jogger.

*The safest strollers have a wrist strap that's connected to the handlebar. Use it. Also, many jogging strollers have a lever that you can flip to lock the back wheels. The stroller will move down the slightest hills if the wheels aren't locked. Don't risk it.
*Remember, you're responsible for two people when you're running with a stroller. Be paranoid about whether the route is safe, if the weather is too extreme, if it's too dark, or any number of other factors. Never let your guard down.

Keep Jogging, Stay Active and Enjoy Your Little One

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hopping Can Lead to Strong Bones

Hopping on one leg can significantly improve bone density. British researchers have used 3D bone strength mapping to reveal remarkable gains.  The men were asked to hop on only one leg and the study compared the density and mass of the hip area of both legs.

Hopped On Leg
Cortical Hip Bone Mass increased by 2.7%
with localized regions of hip neck and shaft gaining 6% in exercised leg

Trabecular Density increased by 6.4%
inferior region of hip neck reached 12% gains in hopping leg

Cortical Density increased by 1.8%

These impressive results were obtained by 70-year old men who would normally experience aging bone loss each year. The gains were from the impact with each hop delivering 2.7 to 3 times body weight ground resistance force. While the study was done with men, there is no reason why women would not achieve the same gains from brief single-legged hopping. Most likely, one would obtain substantial benefits from one-legged hopping even if they did not reach the high impact level used in this study.

Try this plan:
*Warm up before each session
*Begin with low hops and jump higher each week
*Start with just a few one-legged hops each day and work up to 5 sets of 10
*Rest between sets, walking in place a bit
*Hold a chair for balance, if necessary
*As you get stronger, make hops multi-directional. Jump forward/back & side to side.

All of us are concerned with bone density as we age. I prefer to try natural methods to achieve health gains before turning to medication with it's potential side effects. This simple program can help all of us combat age-related bone loss and lead to better health overall. Include single-leg hops in your weekly exercise routine.

Hop Daily, Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Battling the Belly Bulge

Women who are chronically stressed tend to have more belly fat than those who aren't. When you're frazzled, your body pumps out substances that encourage food to be stored as body fat. Anxiety also revs production of the stress hormone cortisol, which, in addition to increasing your appetite, causes fat cells to grow in your abdomen.

Here are three ideas to help battle the bulge. 

Take a Power Walk
A 15-minute cruise around the neighborhood right after eating helps reduce the damaging blood sugar spikes that occur after meals. Also aim to get up and walk around at least once an hour. The more time you spend sitting, the bigger your waist size.

Chew Gum
Chomping on a stick of gum is proven to lower cortisol levels. A theory says that the act of chewing may relieve tension and increase blood flow to the brain, so you can better concentrate. Also when you have gum in your mouth, you can't snack on sugary, fatty foods.

Do Dairy
Women who had three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese a day lost more belly fat after 12 weeks than those who had fewer. Calcium and other compounds in dairy help the body burn fat faster. If you can't stomach dairy, try calcium- and vitamin D- fortified orange juice instead.

We know that exercise is essential to burning calories and maintaining health. Be sure to include both cardio and strength training for maximum results. Combine that with sensible portions and healthy food choices and you will be on the road to success in flattening your belly.

Smile, Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food