All Entries For safety
For some people, safety and form during a workout is a huge priority. For others, it's an afterthought. If you work out without the careful eyes of a trainer or instructor watching your every move, it can be difficult to know if you are exercising with proper form—even when you're really trying to.
Learning how to move with correct alignment isn't just about looking good; it can mean the difference between muscle activation and joint strain—or even injury.
Here are five exercises that are common—and may even seem simple—but are most often performed incorrectly by people of all fitness levels. Read More ›
Last month I subbed a couple of hot yoga classes. Confession: I am not a fan of hot yoga, as a teacher or a student. In addition to being hard on the environment (think of how much energy we use to artificially heat a room--thanks to one of my favorite teachers, Wendy Green, for instilling that in me!), hot yoga can be downright dangerous if you're not prepared. Some studios crank the heat above 100 degrees--and increase the humidity, too. (You want hot yoga, just come to Cincinnati!)
At the studio where I practice, the temperature frequently tops 85 degrees in summertime--that's with minimal air conditioning. If you pack a room full of people who are moving, sweating, and breathing, you'll create heat.
By the end of a practice, the windows are foggy, we're all soaked through, and our mats are dripping with sweat. That's my kind of hot yoga!
Hot yoga is a hot trend in the practice these days. Almost every studio offers a hot class of some variety, from Bikram to Moksha, vinyasa to yin. (One of the studio owners I work for confessed to me that she doesn't like or believe in hot yoga, but it's what students have requested.) And in summertime, almost every yoga practice can feel like a hot one.
Why hot yoga? Advocates say hot yoga facilitates stretching, increases range of motion, removes toxins, and promotes weight loss. It's true that it is easier to stretch warm muscles (and you should never stretch "cold" muscles), but whether hot yoga will lead to greater weight loss depends on the type of yoga you're practicing.
According to the American Council on Exercise, Hatha yoga (in the West, this has come to refer to slower-paced classes) burns about 150 calories an hour (and does not raise your heart rate enough to be considered a form of cardio), while vinyasa (faster-paced, flowing yoga) burns about twice that much. If you're losing pounds after each hot yoga class, it's likely water weight. (More on that later.)
Whether you practice naturally hot yoga as I do or practice at a studio that cranks up the heat, you'll want to be safe. (You might also want to read: "I Tried Hot Yoga" before you take a class.) Here are some tips to help:Read More ›
One of my favorite times of day to run is in the early morning before the rest of the world wakes up. It’s quiet and gives me time to think before the craziness of my day begins. I prefer to run when the sun is already up, but at certain times of the year, that becomes more difficult. When I do head out in the dark, my first priority is safety. Although I never assume that cars can see me, I try to make myself as visible as possible.
I hear of too many runners, walkers and bikers out with no lights, no identification, wearing dark colors and expecting that everything will be fine and that cars will gladly move out of their way. Accidents happen all the time, but you can reduce the chances they will happen to you. Here are some of the products I recommend to help you stay safe and visible when exercising in the dark. Read More ›
I previously blogged about the importance of self-defense and I still feel very strongly about it being something that every person should know. Because of this, I was very excited that I had the chance to review "Stilettos and Self Defense with Jennifer Cassetta." While this isn't a fitness DVD, which is what we typically review, this DVD does have a lot of valuable information and can help prepare you for possible attacks.
Jennifer Cassetta, a third-degree black belt in HapKiDo and certified personal trainer, is the instructor in this DVD. According to Jennifer's profile information, her HapKiDo experience helped her early on in her training when she was "grabbed on a NYC street, dressed in her highest heels and used her martial arts training to scare off her attacker." So Jennifer has not only been trained in self-defense, but she has also experienced the need for it and is passing along her knowledge to other women on how to defend themselves.
From the DVD cover:
Read More ›
After living in the state of California all of our lives, five years ago my husband and I decided we were ready for a change, and we moved to Missouri. We have enjoyed the change that we experienced with that move and decided that it was finally time for us to purchase our first home. We purchased our house in mid-July and have been enjoying being homeowners. We honestly couldn’t ask for a better first home as we both love it very much. It feels great, and we both feel quite accomplished that we were able to become homeowners much sooner than we ever thought was possible.
Our new house is located in a neighborhood only a few miles away from the house we were renting. Now, this is generally a safe and quiet neighborhood. However, last week we learned an important lesson, that bad things happen even in "safe and quiet" places.
Read More ›
We live in South Florida. It's summer. And it's hot.
This time of year, it's 80 degrees at 7 a.m. with 80 percent humidity. It can get to be 90 degrees in the shade by noon.
I've stopped complaining about it, and my kids, born into this sweltering subtropical region, believe the freezing point to be 50 degrees. Yet, even they protest that it's too hot to play outside during the summer, which is fine by me since I'm constantly worrying that they'll collapse of heat stroke from running around the ''bases'' in our backyard.
Still, it's summer, and the kids can't be cooped up all the time. We've discovered a few ways to stay active–and safe–in the heat. Read More ›
Summer is almost here, which means the temperature will continue to rise. Some of you may have already experienced some early summer-type heat and are already starting to get acclimated to it. As we change over to summer weather, we need to remember to take precautions when exercising in the heat.
Our bodies do a great job at cooling off in general, but it does take time for them to get acclimated to the heat as the season changes. Depending on your age, current health condition and your activity level, your body can take 2 or more weeks to acclimate to the heat. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you are feeling like your workouts are getting harder during this time of year and/or you have humidity to deal with on top of the heat.
Read More ›
How many times have you seen a product that promises great results for weight loss in a short amount of time? Too many, if you ask me! Not only do they make these great promises, but they have "fabulous before and after photos" to show consumers how their product can help you see such amazing results too. Of course, the photos that they show make their product look like it really works, but are they true before and after photos? I'm sure most people have heard about photos being manipulated in Photoshop, which some may be, but below is a video that shows some interesting insight into how some before and after photos for "weight loss" can be done in the same day (within 5 hours of each other, without Photoshop).
Read More ›
Coach Nancy is a woman who knows her running gear. You can always count her for advice on the latest and greatest shoes, accessories and clothes. For a few years now, she has been raving about something called a Road ID.
Last year, I started attending my boyfriend's bike races, where, it seemed, all the cyclists wore one. I decided to learn more. The co-founder of the company, it turns out, is an avid cyclist, and it was while training for a marathon that he was inspired to start Road ID with his father.
The back story is here. They say: If you can’t speak for yourself, Road ID will speak for you.
Though they have several products, most of them are bracelets that you wear while exercising. They also have shoe pouches and anklets. With Daylight Saving Time coming up this weekend, and shorter, darker days just around the corner, we thought it was a perfect time to host a giveaway with Road ID!
They say: If you are a runner, cyclist, triathlete or just a person who doesn't sit on the couch all day, Road ID is for you. This awesome piece of gear not only looks good but it could save your life. In the event of an accident, if you can't speak for yourself, your Road ID will. Available in 6 different styles. It's not just a piece of gear - it's peace of mind.
After discovering that Road ID is not only a company that's focused on healthy living, like SparkPeople is, but also one that's based in nearby northern Kentucky, I reached out to them. Road ID agreed to let several SparkPeople employees try their products--and my co-workers and I were thrilled with our Road IDs! (Psst, Road ID is giving some away to you as well!)
Read More ›
Millions of young athletes get broken bones, sprains and other injuries each year. Here's what you need to know to keep them safe.
1. Get a pre-participation physical exam. Taking your child for a checkup before the sports season is essential. “Basically a ‘well-child’ checkup, this is especially important for kids who play sports, because exerting the body during a game or practice may cause a previously undetected problem—like a heart condition—to crop up,” explains Stephen Daniels, MD, PhD, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Make sure the doctor reviews your child’s medical history and thoroughly examines him, including measuring his blood pressure and listening to his heart. The doctor should also make sure that your child’s muscles and joints are in good shape.
2. Encourage kids to cross-train. “Overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, occur because you’re repetitively using one body part, which doesn’t give it the downtime to repair itself,” says Margot Putukian, MD, a team physician at Princeton University and a spokeswoman for the American College of Sports Medicine. If your child is very focused on one sport, make sure that her training also incorporates activities that work different muscles. For example, if your daughter runs track, urge her to add swimming to her regimen.
Read More ›
For many of us, exercise is the part of the day we look forward to. But for those who struggle with chronic pain, working out isn't enjoyable. It hurts.
Knees are particularly vulnerable to pain during exercise (and afterwards). There are several common exercises (from lunges to those performed in kneeling positions) that are known to cause knee discomfort. But rather than skip some of these very effective moves, you can modify your workouts and still get great results—minus the pain.
Here are four exercises that can cause knee pain, along with some simple tips to modify the exercise so that you can perform it safely and effectively. Read More ›
It’s no secret that there has been a lot of extreme heat in many of the states this summer and it doesn’t seem to want to let up. Where I live, it has been extremely hot and humid, which has put a big damper on some of my daily walks with my 9 month old puppy, Zoe. Neither of us has been enjoying the heat, but she loves being outside and going for walks. However, when she is panting quite a bit by the time we get to the top of the driveway, I know there is no way to get her to go for a walk and not have her be overheated.
Dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do, so they have a harder time trying to cool themselves off. Some signs that your pet may be overheated may include excessive panting, increased heart rate, and in extreme cases – vomiting and diarrhea.
Coach Tanya recently shared some tips for helping us stay cool and healthy during extreme heat, but what’s a dog or cat to do in this type of extreme weather? Well, there isn’t much they can say or do about it, but there are plenty of things we, as responsible pet owners, can do to help them stay cool and healthy.
Read More ›
Finding one of these little buggers on your skin doesn’t mean you’re destined for Lyme disease. If the tick is tiny (the size of a poppy seed), it has probably been on your body for fewer than 48 hours and most likely hasn’t had time to transmit the Lyme-causing bacteria, says Durland Fish, PhD, professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of Public Health. Whatever the size, here’s the right way to remove it (don’t use petroleum jelly or nail polish remover):
1. Use pointed tweezers to grasp the tick by its head or mouthparts right where they enter the skin. (View them through a magnifying glass if necessary.)
2. Swiftly and firmly pull the tick out (don’t twist). Clean the area with rubbing alcohol.
3. Place the tick in a jar or sealed bag with rubbing alcohol. Call your doctor and ask if you should save it (some doctors may want to examine it to figure out how long it’s been on your skin, says Dr. Fish).
4. If you develop a rash near the bite (it could take up to 30 days), see your doctor. You may have Lyme disease and need an antibiotic (doxycycline). Read More ›
One day you hear that a certain food, supplement, or diet is good for you, the next day you hear the opposite. According to survey results shared by the American Dietetic Association, one in five people reported being confused by news reports that give dietary advice. Can you blame them?
Most people don't have access to the professional journals that publish these studies, so the average person relies on secondary sources (newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and other media outlets) that interpret, condense and report on the studies in a more consumer-friendly way. Trouble is, research is hard to interpret. Ten people could look at one study and come away with 10 different takeaways. And even the best reporters and bloggers can get it wrong, especially under tight deadlines or pressure to write an eye-catching story that will sell papers or garner more views.
Mundane news becomes sensationalized to get viewers and readers. Results are often spun to feed the writer's or organization's own interests. And vital details like who funded the research (conflict of interest), how it was designed, or how well controlled it (or not) was often go unmentioned.
But it's important that we all become better consumers of health information—and read any news story with a discerning eye. Because what you read—and believe—based on these reports affects your behaviors, which in turn affect your health.
So the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA), a partnership of the ADA, American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and the Institute of Food Technologists, developed the Ten Red Flags of Junk Science to help people recognize nutrition misinformation. Remember these points next time you read the latest news on weight loss or nutrition. Read More ›
This is the year of running for me. I ran my first half marathon this spring and will complete my third one this fall. I've reached new trail running goals, including a first and second place finish in recent races. In August, 11 other teammates and I will run the Hood To Coast relay, covering 200 miles in less than 36 hours. I've done fun runs, too, like the Krispy Kreme Challenge and the Warrior Dash. I'm loving every minute of this run-filled year, from the training to the races. The worst thing that could happen to me now is to be sidelined by an injury.
Yet it seems that every runner I know has dealt with a running related injury. There are lots of reasons why running can lead to injury, but I do believe is that you can avoid and prevent most running injuries if you train smart and set realistic goals. That is exactly how I've avoided injury despite increasing my mileage and speed and taking on greater challenges. It's not about luck—it's about leading with your noggin instead of your legs.
If you have goals of becoming a runner, completing a marathon, racing your way into smaller jeans, or even finishing that first 5K, this is a must-read for you. Here are the five training tips that have kept me running injury-free for years. Read More ›