All Entries For fitness

21 Days to Your Healthiest Summer Ever


June is coming up fast, which means sweet, sweet summer is almost officially here! With its gorgeous weather, abundant produce and huge variety of outdoor activities, summer is the perfect time for reaching new health and fitness milestones. If you've been looking for a little extra push to get a leg-up on your healthy-living goals for summer, look no further! We're here for you with a new challenge to help you build up some seriously strong momentum as we dive into the season.

From June 1 through June 21 (the official first day of summer!), we're challenging YOU to ''Streak into Summer" with us. For these next 21 days, we'll give you one simple daily action to help you get on the fast track to a healthier, happier you this summer. 
Posted 5/29/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 49 comments   14,146 views
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The 1-Mile Indoor Power Walking Workout


This one-mile indoor power walking workout will help you stick with your walking routine no matter what time of day or night it is--or what the weather is like outside! 
We'll use a mix of moves that can be done easily in a small space to help you prevent joint strain. We're keeping it simple to help you squeeze in some extra steps anytime, anywhere. Just a heads up, we'll be jumping right into this walk to make this mile short and sweet, so please be sure you are warmed up first. And be sure to stick around for the cool-down to find out more about our upcoming #5MileChallenge with SparkPeople and brand new DVD, "Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles".
 
Posted 5/24/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   21,836 views
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The 6 Best Foods for Runners


Running is a fantastic activity to help maintain a healthy heart and weight. But the real magic happens when you refuel after your run! To get the most out of running, it's crucial that you eat healthy foods filled with vitamins, healthy fats, plus carbs and proteins that aid in muscle repair and development. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to reap maximum running rewards. 

Posted 5/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   10,993 views
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Kick Off Summer with a Fun Fitness Challenge


Editor's Note: We are thrilled to be teaming up with Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer and YouTube fitness star, to bring you the #5MileChallenge! Read on for Jessica's explanation of the challenge, and get ready to lace up your walking shoes on June 1st. See you on the road (or track, or trail, or even in your living room with a walking DVD!).

Whether you are just starting to build your fitness habit or are a more advanced exerciser, a regular walking program offers so many incredible health and fitness benefits. That's why I am so excited to be teaming up with SparkPeople to bring you this fun #5MileChallenge! 
 
Our goal is to help you stay more active when you are not already working out, or to get you moving more often to spark up a new exercise habit. Even if you have been exercising routinely for years, it may not be enough to combat the ill effects of hours of sitting, which is why adding more steps to your day is beneficial for everyone (just check out these scary sitting stats!).
Posted 5/15/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 440 comments   35,835 views
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Treat Mom to a Healthy Day


This year, let’s do Mother’s Day the healthy way. We love delicious, leisurely brunches just as much as the next person, but how did long lines and too many pancakes become the best way to honor all that mom does? Why not show mom you love her by treating her to a healthy outing, instead? No matter where you live, there are plenty of active activities that will get your blood pumping while you spend quality time with the woman who always remembered to cut the crusts off your PB&J. (Or, if you’re a mom yourself, suggest that your kids take you out for one of these fun and healthy events this Sunday.)

Kayak or Canoe If the weather cooperates, seek out the nearest body of water and rent a two-person kayak or canoe. Gliding down a river or through a lake as you admire the great outdoors will be so enjoyable you won’t even notice that you’re exercising your arm muscles and core. You’ll burn over 200 calories in under 30 minutes with this fun warm-weather activity. Plus, there’s no better place to talk about life and love and dreams than out on the quiet water.

Fitness Class Between TRX, barre, Zumba, hula hooping, SoulCycle and others, there’s probably a fitness trend that has caught your eye. Indulge your curiosity and try something new together this Mother’s Day. Grab mom, pick out a class she’s always wanted to try and head out for a morning workout. If you’re not into paying for a class, try an at-home video like this 17-Minute Barre Workout or the 20-Minute Fat Blaster, instead. After you get your sweat on, whip up a batch of smoothies to reward yourself and spend some time laughing about those crazy Zumba moves.

Bike Ride Hop on two wheels and spend an afternoon looping through your local bike trail together. Even on a leisurely ride, you’ll still burn major calories without even realizing. In just 30 minutes riding casually, you can burn almost 200 calories. Pick a scenic trail for maximum enjoyment.

Park Your local park is a great place to spend an afternoon and is especially fun with the family. Challenge your family to a basketball game or see who can swing the highest. You’re all sure to feel like kids again as you work your way across the monkey bars. Make a whole day of it by packing a healthy picnic!

Hike Break out your hiking shoes and water bottle and hit a trail in the woods together. Hike up hills and over uneven terrain to challenge yourself, or find an easy trail where you can work to spot wildlife or identify birds. Thirty minutes on the trail with hills will burn up to 170 calories. Pack some homemade, no-bake protein bars for a mid-hike break to enjoy your surroundings and your company, of course.

Golf Skip the golf cart and carry your own clubs for an extra challenge at the golf course. Walking from hole to hole is a great workout for your legs, and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on life events as you stroll together. If your long game is a little rusty, head to the driving range for an afternoon in the sun competing to see who can make the ball fly farthest. After exerting so much energy, you’ll enjoy that lunch at the club even more.

Run Many cities host Mother’s Day races, so check your local events guide to see if you can sign up together. If you’re not in prime racing form, why not make Mother’s Day the first day of training? Pick from one of the many exciting or wacky 5Ks out there and draw up a training schedule. Not only will you be building up your endurance and fitness levels, but at the end you get to share another special day with one another. Don’t know where to start? Try one of these flexible 5K training plans.

Garden Sounds leisurely, but any real gardener will tell you that working in the yard can be a full-body workout. Between squatting, raking and digging, a typical day of gardening will challenge all your muscle groups. Plus, the end result will yield beautiful plants and vegetables that mom can enjoy all year round. Get some ideas for gardening in the city, easy vegetables to plant and more in our Gardening Guide.
Posted 5/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 5 comments   8,401 views
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Get a Great Workout in 8 Minutes


AMwhat? You might have heard the term "AMRAP" floating around on fitness blogs in recent years as CrossFit has surged in popularity. AMRAP is an acronym for "as many rounds as possible" and is a component of many CrossFit workouts in gyms (or "boxes") around the world. In an AMRAP, you are given a circuit of exercises to do, and you must complete as many rounds of those exercises within a given time frame. It's a time-efficient way to work up a sweat, and it can be done virtually anywhere with minimal equipment! 
Posted 4/21/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   41,882 views
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How to Stay in the Game When You're Under the Weather


You wake up feeling a bit less than your best: Achy, fatigued, sniffly nose--the works. Yep, seems like you're getting sick (ugh!). But you've got a workout already planned for today, and you took a rest day yesterday. Should you push through your planned workout or take it easy?
 
When you're sick and are debating a workout, the first general rule of thumb is simple. When you're deciding whether to head to the gym or stay home and cozy up to that bottle of DayQuil, consider "the neck rule" first. If your symptoms are exhibited above the neck (i.e. runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat), then it is safe for you to head to the gym (but bring some tissues!). If your symptoms fall below your neck (i.e. chest congestion, coughing, or if you have a fever and are taking medications to control your symptoms), you might want to use that gym bag as a pillow instead. Having to press pause on your weekly workout routine can be a motivation killer, but a fully functioning body is your best weapon to stay healthy and fit. 
Posted 4/17/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 3 comments   10,957 views
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Strengthen Your Core Without Wrecking Your Back


The muscles of your core work together to support posture, protect the spine and improve agility, balance and power, making core strength training an important part of any fitness routine. Unfortunately, for many people, core strength training and back pain or discomfort go hand in hand. Often resulting from weak muscles and poor form, back pain is no reason to avoid core strength training, though. In fact, properly performed core exercises can simultaneously help protect your back and strengthen the abs at the same time.

Decrease the probability of injury with these back-friendly core strength exercises. 
Posted 4/8/2015  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   76,883 views
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6 Must-Try Isometric Moves


Strength training is an important part of any good exercise regimen. Not only do you build muscle (which burns fat), but strength training also helps to speed up the metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories for longer periods of time. Looking for new ways to strength train without having to move around too much? Here are six static positions that require very little movement while still building muscular endurance and strength. 
Posted 4/4/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 11 comments   72,553 views
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Why You Should Have an Affair at the Gym


You put on your sweatpants and baggy T-shirt. Throw your hair up into a ponytail and wipe the make-up off your face. You fill your water bottle and head to the nearest elliptical. Headphones in, you tune out the world, focusing on the show you're watching or that new song you downloaded. You set your sights on the console and the clock, watching the numbers—calories, time, and distance—tick up until you've hit your goal on one (or maybe all three). Get in and get out, that's what the gym is to you. You're not there to talk or make friends. You're just there to get through your routine and go home.

But what if I told you that going to the gym could—and should—be a little more fulfilling? The truth is that having an affair at the gym happens more than you might think. It can change your mind and your body—and how you feel about yourself. If you've been going through the motions lately, feeling uninspired or tied down, then break free from monogamy and bring the excitement back with an affair!
Posted 4/1/2015  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 74 comments   84,210 views
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12 Real-World Tips from a Celebrity Trainer


Celebrity fitness guru Latreal ''La'' Mitchell has trained big names like Michael Strahan, so she knows what it takes to get into tip-top shape! We've picked her brain to find out how to get healthy and fit in a realistic way—no fluff, no nonsense and no gimmicks.

Tell us a little about yourself! What initially inspired you to be a trainer? What's been the biggest accomplishment of your career so far?
When I was 18, I really started to develop a passion for nutrition and exercise, and I wanted to help others live their healthiest lives. My biggest accomplishment is founding the Fitness Bunch Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves to fight childhood obesity. Our mission is to help today’s youth bring fitness back into their lives.

What's the biggest mistake that fitness newbies make?
They set unrealistic goals. You need to be realistic with yourself about how long it took you to get to where you are now and how long it will take you to get to your goal. I always tell my clients to be honest with themselves. It might not be easy, but it can be done if you take small, realistic steps.

What's a telltale sign that someone will fail to reach his or her goals?
If you're always criticizing your body or underestimating your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will make it much more difficult to reach your goals, especially if you don't have a plan or support system in place. I like to say, ''If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.'' 

Whenever my clients say anything negative about themselves, I make them do whatever exercise they hate the most! My goal is not to punish them, but to reprogram their thinking and make them realize how frequently they are indulging in negative self-talk. People don't realize that it really can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself you can't do something, you won't do it. But if you tell yourself you can do something, you eventually will.
Posted 3/18/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 23,681 views
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The 5-Minute Abs Workout


Want to work more on your core strength, but aren't sure where to start? We've got you covered! Strengthen your core at home in just 1-5 minutes per day with this quick video series--no gym or equipment required! 

We've created this 5-Minute Abs series for you to use as you see fit. If you're just easing into core work, you can do one video each day for a fun fitness boost, or do all five videos consecutively for a mini core workout that will seriously challenge you. Follow along with each video and post how you did in the comments. We'd also love to hear your feedback about the video series, and are open to hearing ideas about other workouts you'd like to see in this format. Have fun! 
Posted 3/2/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 16 comments   68,641 views
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5 Ways to Find Your Perfect Workout Routine


I hate working out! There, I said it. We all have reasons for exercising, but for many of us, it’s not because we genuinely love it. Working out has a slew of health benefits, makes us feel and look better, and can even slow down the aging process and help boost our immune systems. But sometimes, those reasons alone aren't motivating enough to get us up off the couch if exercise isn't already an established part of our routines. So, how do we go from being sedentary to making fitness a regular part of our daily lives? Honestly, the hardest part is getting started—and these five steps will help give you the motivation you need to make that first step (literally and figuratively). 
Posted 2/19/2015  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   18,564 views
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The 9 Best Exercises for Neck Pain


Neck pain is one of the most common problems that many of us experience. Studies show that 30% of people experience neck pain, with women affected more often than men. The neck includes seven segments (or vertebrae) with discs acting as shock-absorbers between the segments. The vertebrae are supported by 18 groups of muscles that maintain support and allow function. Why so many muscles? Well, the head weighs about 10 pounds and sits about 10 inches above the shoulders with only the neck to support it. No wonder it gets sore from time to time!

So, how do we keep our neck healthy and strong? The answer is maintaining motion and strength exercises. So let’s look at both. And remember, if you experience pain, stop the exercise and consult your doctor. And don’t feel you have to do all of the exercises. Pick the ones that help the most and don’t cause increased pain.
Posted 1/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   55,773 views
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6 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Best Body Ever


My husband Terry, once a top collegiate division one athlete, martial artist and dancer, recently realized that he'd added six inches onto his waist since our three-year-old daughter was born. When we first met, he had a lean six pack, but just a few months ago, he was grabbing a sizeable spare tire with both hands in front of the mirror. ''What happened? How did I get here, Tina?'' he asked me almost helplessly.

Terry knew he had to make a change, but not just for vanity's sake. He knew that if he wanted to see his daughter grow up into a beautiful woman someday and be there for all of the milestones in between, he needed to do something differently right away. So, he started the process of getting healthier immediately. How? By planning for sustainable results. 

Posted 1/30/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   23,937 views
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