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

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!