Aging Gracefully Blog

Archive for the ‘Workouts’ Category

10 Easy Steps to Home Fitness

Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Home fitness is the easy way to reach your goals this year and get real results. Get your mind set and body ready to make fitness a daily habit with ten easy steps.  The secret of your success is found in your everyday routines. Day by day your choices shape your actions:  Small, smart, manageable choices will become permanent habits with practice.  Consistency is the key to building and maintaining momentum.

1)  Consistency is more important than intensity. Each day you should eat and exercise in such a way today that you can face doing it again tomorrow. This is how to gradually establish healthy habits that will serve you throughout life and that you will revert to when life becomes hectic.

2)  Get in the habit of exercise to overcome weak willpower.  Habits persist even when we're at low energy and weak self-control. Studies show that we tend to default to a habit when we lack the mental capability to make a choice, for example if we are deliberating about whether or not to exercise. Read more:  http://www.joanpaganofitness.com/blog/2013/10/26/get-in-the-habit-of-exercise-to-overcome-weak-willpower/

3)  Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most (at least 5) days of the week.  Exercise accumulated in short bouts of 10 or 15 minutes offers weight loss and aerobic fitness benefits comparable to those achieved in longer workouts.  Think "activity" instead of "workout."    Walk to work, take the steps, lift and carry your groceries, do housekeeping chores energetically.  It all counts!

4)  Count your steps with your smart phone, pedometer or other tracking device.  See how many steps you average and then build on them.  Try to add 1000 steps per day every week until you hit 10,000 in a day!  People who keep a track record tend to achieve their goals. Read more:  http://www.joanpaganofitness.com/blog/2013/11/17/the-quantified-self-health-and-fitness-self-monitoring/

5)  Learn to do a proper squat, the #1 functional exercise for life.  It’s the movement that we need to get up from a seated position - from a chair, toilet or bathtub.  While working the large muscles of the lower body, the squat creates strength and stability to reduce the risk of falling.  As a bonus, it helps lift and firm the bottom line!

6)  Combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting.  Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism and creates a “lazy biology” raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart, kidney and liver disease, and certain kinds of cancers, even if you work out!  For every hour you're sitting, get up and move around for five minutes.  Read more:  http://www.joanpaganofitness.com/blog/2013/02/18/are-you-at-risk-for-the-new-silent-disease/

7)  Practice perfect posture.  Train yourself to stand up straight:  lift the chest, lengthen the torso, roll your shoulders down and back.  “Zip up” your abs by drawing your navel back toward your spine.  Take a deep breath and notice how good it feels to fill your lungs with air!

8)  Wake up your cardio workout.  If you are doing the same kind of steady pace cardio routine over and over, say walking or jogging for 30 minutes most days of the week, your body will stop improving because it has adapted to that level of exercise. Add intervals of high intensity or “bursts” to improve fitness levels and burn more calories. Read more:  http://www.joanpaganofitness.com/blog/2016/09/05/beat-belly-fat-with-burst-training/

9)  Stay supple with stretching.  Relieve morning stiffness and joint pain.  Just a few minutes of daily stretching helps maintain flexibility, which in turn keeps the muscles supple and counteracts the wear and tear of everyday life, allowing you to maintain a youthful appearance and active lifestyle.  http://www.joanpaganofitness.com/blog/2015/10/04/stay-supple-with-stretching/

10)  Be thankful!  Science finds that the practice of gratitude improves your health. Studies show it can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve heart rhythms, boost your immune system and reduce the effects of aging on the brain.

Pick a couple of these fitness tips and begin to incorporate them daily. Then add two more as you work down the list. Don’t be discouraged that things aren’t happening faster. It doesn’t mean you won’t get there. As you are developing a new mindset, it takes time for the brain to adjust and program the changes until they become automatic.

Get simple strategies to enhance daily life with more energy, a better mood and less stress.  Call Joan today:  212-722-8116.

 © Copyright – Joan L. Pagano.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Exercise Smarter, Not Harder

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Exercise smarter not harder

Take a creative approach to exercise.  Not only is it fun to find innovative ways to shake up your normal routine, but all the body’s systems need to be surprised with diverse patterns of stress in order to continue to improve.  Use these simple tips to become more resourceful in your every day activities and watch your body redistribute as you shape up. 

Instead of doing the same old route when you're out for your usual walk/run, look for inclines to power up, stairs to hop down and places to throw in 20 jumping jacks.  By adding intervals of varying intensity, you are simultaneously building bone, tuning up your cardiovascular system and burning extra calories.

If your program is stale and needs rejuvenating, try something new.   Intervals of high intensity work can be adapted to resistance training as well as to cardio activity.  Try interspersing one minute of heart-pumping cardio into your strength training exercises.  You can use exercises like jumping rope, step-ups or running in place to keep your heart rate elevated. 

Use compound movements in your strength training. Combine upper and lower body actions to target 8-10 muscle groups for efficient toning and calorie expenditure.  For example, try combining a front lunge with a lat row, a squat with a biceps curl and calf raise, a plie with a shoulder raise. You improve your coordination and core stabilization in addition to getting a full-body workout in a shorter period of time.

Invent time-saving ways to fit exercise into your day-to-day.  If life intervenes and you can’t do your normal weight training session, at least do some exercises using your body weight, like push ups, squats, crunches and planks.  Do two sets of diagonal push ups after your walk/run, using a railing or back of a park bench for support. Practice balance by standing on one leg while brushing your teeth for two minutes.  Sit on a stability ball at your desk to add some core training as the muscles of the trunk work to keep you upright.

Ramp up your daily activities by becoming more creative in how you choose to exercise.  As you develop an active lifestyle in your daily routines, your body will thank you by becoming healthier and more energetic.  And the changes will be reflected in the way you wear your skinny jeans!

 (c) Copyright - Joan L. Pagano. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

 

 

Burn Calories or Fat to Lose Weight?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Which contributes to greater weight loss:  exercising in the "fat-burning" zone or at a higher level of intensity? The Burn Calories or Fat to Lose Weight?answer lies in the number of calories burned not in which fuel substrate the body uses for energy.

To burn the most calories, you need to exercise at higher intensities.  For example, you burn more calories running for 30 minutes than walking for the same amount of time.  Running consumes calories from readily available fuel of carbohydrates. Walking at a more leisurely pace utilizes slower-burning fat for fuel; however you are using fewer calories per minute than with more intense exercise.

Higher intensity exercise also offers another benefit for weight loss in that it temporarily suppresses your appetite.  A recent study showed that cyclists who rode stationary bikes hard for 30 minutes consumed far fewer calories afterward than when they rode at a more moderate pace.  They also had lower blood levels of the hormone ghrelin, a known appetite stimulant.

According to other new research high intensity interval raining (HIIT), short bursts of intense exercise alternating with recovery periods, may have the potential to lower abdominal fat by creating a surge in hormones that have been shown to drive fat breakdown, especially deep abdominal fat.

So we can conclude that high intensity exercise contributes to weight loss by burning calories, suppressing appetite and reducing abdominal fat.  If you are a fan of moderate exercise, there are several ways to ramp up your program:

  • Know your heart rate training range which determines how hard you should work for light, moderate and high intensity levels.
  • Intersperse faster paced intervals into your moderate cardio activity.  Allow twice as long to recover from a high intensity interval, i.e. if you sprint for 1 minute, allow two minutes of active rest.
  • Add intervals of cardio activity into your strength training program, so that you keep your heart rate elevated continuously.

For more posts on this topic, please see:

Cardio Tune-Up

The 7-Minute Workout

Have You Got IT?  Maximize the Minutes in Your Workout

 

Burn Calories with Winter Workouts!

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Expand your horizons beyond the gym this winter. Take your workout in the great outdoors to tone up, burn calories and stay strong. Redbook Magazine shares three of my favorite winter activities here.

  • Ice skating is a great family activity that you can pursue together, challenging your balance while working inner and outer thighs, glutes and ankles. An average woman (145 pounds) will burn 230 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Cross country skiing is the front runner for all-around aerobic benefits. It's a more complete workout than running or biking because it involves the upper body as well as the legs. The average woman will burn 260 calories in a half hour.
  • Snow shoeing is also a high calorie burn, like cross country skiing. It's more strenuous than walking or running at the same speed.  Adding poles makes it a full-body exercise as you engage the upper body.

Appropriate clothing and gear are essential to keep you safe and comfortable. Wear layers. While you’re moving you may get quite warm, but when you stop you can really feel the wind chill

Winter workouts keep you glowing! Here are a few of the health and fitness benefits of exercising outdoors:

  • Exposure to fresh air and natural light – soak up some Vitamin D.
  • Helps fight seasonal depression.
  • Manage holiday weight gain (the average weight gain is 3-5# during holiday season).
  • Maintain cardio fitness, strength, balance and coordination
  • Core strength is integral to all activities – full-body strength training will improve performance in all.

Cardio Tune Up: How to Get Real Results from Your Cardio Workout

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Are you dedicated to your cardio routine….and not seeing results?  Stuck in a metabolic rut or on a weight plateau? How savvy are
you about manipulating the variables to achieve your goals?

  • Do you know your heart rate training range? It's easy to figure out and check manually. It just takes two fingers and a watch with a second hand.  Or you can use a device like a heart rate monitor. There are a lot of high tech choices now that make the old bulky black jobs so old-fashioned.
  • Are you using it to create intervals in your workout? Interval training is all the rage. By adding intervals of faster paced, higher intensity activity into your workout you train your heart to work in the higher ranges plus you burn more calories. Speed up, recover and repeat at a ratio of 1:2, one minute of push followed by two minutes of recovery.
  • Do you vary your routine by using workouts of different length and intensity? Create a cycle of three workouts, always allowing for at least a 5 minute warm up and cool down.  Do each of the workouts twice a week using any cardio activity.
    • High Gear:  30 minutes total, sustaining the fastest pace you can for 20 minutes.
    • Intervals:  45 minutes total, alternating between high intensity and recovery.
    • Long, slow distance:  60 minutes total, using a steady, moderate pace for the entire time.

Make your workouts more fun, interesting and challenging and you will get results! Contact us with your questions and comments on Facebook.

The Seven Minute Workout: Fitness in a Flash for the Whole Family

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

It's all the rage:  twelve exercises in a seven minute workout using only bodyweight, a chair and a wall. According to the American College of Sports Medicine Human Performance Institute, this total body workout delivers all the benefits of prolonged endurance exercise in an interval training format.

Interval training combines high intensity effort interspersed with brief periods of recovery. The twelve exercises - alternating upper body, lower body and core muscles – must be done in rapid succession, in the order given.  Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, resting for 10 seconds in between. Work at 80% of your maximum capacity, i.e. at level 8 on a scale of 1-10 perceived exertion.

The exercises are:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Wall sit
  • Push-up
  • Abdominal crunch
  • Step-up onto chair
  • Squat
  • Triceps dip on chair
  • Plank
  • High-knees running in place
  • Lunge
  • Push-up and rotation (side plank)
  • Side plank

This is something the whole family can do at home. Several people have told me that their kids are into it. One woman told me that her son does it with her while her daughter times them and her husband demonstrates proper form for push-ups!