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

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Swim This Summer

The City of Burbank has a fabulous resource for all of us with its two outdoor public pools. Summer is a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to cross-train and add swimming or aquatic classes to your weekly workouts.

Burbank aquatic programs offer recreational swim, swim lessons, water polo & swim team, lifeguard certifications and even a Splash Pad & waterpark for the kids. For us exercisers, there are Aqua Fitness classes and lap swim.

Verdugo Pool offers both Short Course (25 yards) and Long Course (50 meters) swim times. Long Course is available in the mornings from 5:30 - 8:30am. After that, Short Course is available for most of the day until 8:30pm. Verdugo Pool is open year-round. Once you try adding swimming to your workout schedule, you may really love it. Know that you can continue lap swimming outdoors at this pool throughout the year.

McCambridge Pool also offers the Long Course in the mornings from 9:00 am - 12:45pm and in the evenings 4:30 - 7:00pm. In the past, McCambridge Pool has operated on the school schedule, opening when school gets out for the summer and closing when school starts. This year McCambridge is scheduled to close August 16,

Both pools offer open showers and lockers. Lifeguards monitor the lap swim for safety.

Swimming promotes cardio fitness, flexibility, agility & coordination as well as strength. It asks your muscles to coordinate and work in a completely different way than land-based exercise so it is a perfect complement to what you already do in your fitness regime. Aqua Fitness can provide relief for painful knees while getting your heart rate up and increasing strength.

For specific information,

This Summer 
Swim, Get Wet and Have Fun!

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Fit Mindset

The fit mindset can be described as the philosophy that healthy living is not a series of must-dos but instead about curiosity, participation and celebration. When you're in the fit mindset you know that making a 7am yoga class isn't a hassle but an opportunity - for mental clarity and physical well-being. It's not just a task to be crossed off a daily list but a personal reward.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is viewing healthy living from the point of view that there's an endgame: "For this period of time I will give up this food group until I reach this number on the scale." And while goals are important - without them we remain static, frustrated or just plain stuck - when you're in the fit mindset, they shift to being about empowerment, not recrimination.

All of us have some aches, pains and limitations. But there is so much our bodies can do. Celebrate the movement that is good for you and within your ability.  I can park far away and walk into the mall. I can hike up the hill at Stough Canyon. I can bend & stretch and play with my dog.

Enjoy the summer opportunities you have to move this week. A beautiful evening offers the option of a relaxing walk after dinner. An early sunrise is a chance to wake slowly with gentle yoga and meditation. Feel strong & powerful in strength class.

Enjoy the foods you eat this week. Summer fruits are juicy and satisfying. A cold glass of tea quenches on a hot day. Savor a dripping ice cream cone shared with a friend.

In the fit mindset, it's not about what you can't have but what you can. It's living fully and completely and engaging with life. Good food choices and opportunities for movement are a personal reward. Reward yourself this summer!

Focus on the Fit Mindset, Keep Moving and Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mind Tricks for Healthy Eating

All of us struggle from time to time with making healthy food choices. Here are a few tricks I use to help me eat moderately.

When you are preparing or eating a meal, promise yourself that you will eat healthy for Just This Meal. It can be overwhelming to think about sticking to your food plan for the entire day, and especially for the entire week. But most of us can adhere to healthy eating for one meal. Once you have success with that meal, often you will be encouraged to continue through to the next. Always give yourself a "high five" for choosing healthy food at a meal.

Another strategy for success can be delayed gratification. After eating your healthy meal with moderate portions, you might still feel hungry. Promise yourself that you will eat more if you are still hungry in 30 minutes.  Usually, at this point, your body will have had time to process the satiety signals and you will feel satisfied. If I have been exercising a lot, sometimes I will still be hungry after the 30 minutes. Then I will have a second small meal.

Many of us like to have something sweet at the end of a meal. A giant bowl of ice cream or a hunk of cake can fill that need but what other options do we have? I mentioned before in my previous blog on Talking Yourself Out of Temptation that the first few bites of any food are the most satisfying. Given that logic, we only need something small to give us that sweet satisfaction. A date is very sweet as is a handful of raisins. Any dried fruit is super concentrated and sweet. A lollipop or a peppermint or a chocolate kiss all give that sweetness without a calorie binge. My daughter makes sweet protein balls with peanut butter & dried fruit. I like non-fat plain yogurt with a drizzle of honey. A sliced banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter is sweet & filling. Being prepared with a sweet option in mind can help you say NO to the ice cream & cake and still enjoy that sweet taste at the end of a meal.

Eat Thoughtfully, Stay Active & Enjoy Your Food

Friday, June 12, 2015

Holy Yoga

I have enjoyed a wonderful class on Monday nights called Holy Yoga. It is taught by Allison LaBianca, a certified yoga teacher. Holy Yoga is experiential worship created to deepen people's connection to Christ. The sole purpose is to facilitate a Christ honoring experience that offers an opportunity to believers and non-believers alike to authentically connect to God through His Word, worship, and wellness.

This particular class is Gentle Yoga. Many of the poses are relaxing and stretching. No previous experience required and no fitness level needed. This class can be described as yoga with Jesus. The teacher includes Scripture, prayer, Christian music and meditation. I really enjoy moving my body and opening my heart & spirit for renewal and refreshment. Allison also does a little relaxing touch if the participant desires.

The class I attend is at 6:30pm at Fellowship Church on Angeleno Avenue between Glenoaks Blvd and Third Street in Burbank. There is a suggested donation of $8 but Allison says don't let price bar you from attending. Bring your own mat. Allison teaches other levels on Thursday and Saturday mornings at different locations. You can contact Allsion at and get on her newsletter mailing list. You can find out more about the format at

A healthy lifestyle includes cardio & strength, flexiblity & agility, and also spiritual peace and wholeness. In our fast-paced, high stress world, it's virtually impossible to take time out to let your body and brain rest. Holy Yoga might help you reduce stress, decrease your heart rate and lower the level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in your blood. The class can help train you to be a bit more accepting of what's happening in your life. You can learn to be mindful of the present moment and aware of the whole range of sensations that reveal themselves when we are not too distracted to notice.

Join me on a Monday night at Holy Yoga!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Summer Ice Cream Treats

Ice cream and summertime go together. How can you enjoy a sweet treat without overdoing it?

An ice cream scoop is a useful portion-control device. It turns out that most scoops tend to be fairly moderate in size. Scoops are designed small partly because a large one would be difficult to wrestle through a hard-frozen dessert. Most scoops contain less than the 1/2 cup recommended as a serving size. How much you get depends in part on how firm the ice cream is. Keep in mind that light ice cream, which tends to be airy, delivers less fat in 1/2 cup than full-fat ice cream.

Hard Frozen Ice Cream
Average-size single scoop
0.37 cups (about 1/3 cup)

Slightly Softened Ice Cream
Average-size single scoop
0.44 cups (a scant 1/2 cup)

What about using a big spoon? Expect to eat a bigger portion. Testers tended to serve 50% more than the recommended serving size when handed a large spoon.

How much fits in a cone? It depends on the cone. When given a classic cake cone, most testers were happy with a single scoop. When given a waffle cone, the first scoop fell to the bottom, out of sight. Most testers added a second scoop.

Consider another ice cream treat. Instead of choosing a scoop of premium ice cream, why not savor an ice cream sandwich? You'll save 100 calories. Want to save even more calories? Dig into a creamy chocolate fudge pop.

When the temperature soars, you can enjoy a cold creamy treat. Make informed choices and always
Enjoy Your Food