Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How to Fit Fitness Into What You Already Do Every Day

We often start the day with the best intentions to get to the gym, go for a power walk, or make it to yoga class. Then life gets in the way. When we have to work late, fold piles of laundry and complete a mile-long list of errands, the workout is often the first to go. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to burn calories throughout your daily routine. We broke it down into three categories: exercises you can do at home, exercises you can do at work and exercises you can do when you're running errands around town. Calorie counts are based on a 150- to 160-pound person. If you weigh more, you'll burn more and if you weigh less, you'll burn less.

At Home:
Vacuum often. Ever break a sweat while vacuuming your house? That's because you're burning around 65 calories for every 15 minutes of mopping, sweeping or vacuuming. To intensify the upper body workout, consider wearing wrist weights.

Make it a deep clean every time. Vigorous cleaning (like really getting in there and scrubbing the bathroom till it shines) can burn 250 calories. Light cleaning like a quick dust burns around 160 calories per hour.

Shovel snow. Here is the silver lining to that reappearing pile of snow in your driveway. Shoveling snow burns more calories than just about any household chore, around 400 calories per hour. (Okay, so it's a little early in the season for this one, but save it for a snowy day!)

Tone your calves. When you're standing at the sink washing dishes or over the counter folding laundry, get your ballerina on. Lift your heels off the floor onto your tiptoes, hold for 10 seconds, and repeat.

Listen to music. Extra movements burn extra calories. Even fidgeting in your seat counts. So while you're doing housework, put on your headphones or bump some tunes. It will likely add a little extra pep to your step and thus burn more calories.

At Work:
Stand up. Many of us have a sedentary job and there's just not much we can do about it. When you can't leave your computer, options are limited. But simply standing up and working for an hour can make a difference. You'll burn about 35 extra calories an hour.

Be mindful of your posture. Sitting up straight and keeping your stomach in and core muscles tight can burn 10 extra calories an hour.

Desk push-ups. Stand a couple of feet away from your desk, anchor your hands on the edge of your desk (shoulder's width apart) and do about 20 standing push-ups.

Seated leg raises. Here's one you can do under your desk without anyone knowing! While sitting, extend your leg straight out at hip level, and hold it for as long as possible.

Lift weights while you phone. Keep free weights under your desk. When you have to take a call, put it on speaker or use a headset, and start lifting.

Around Town:
Take the stairs. Skip the elevator, say goodbye to the escalator, and climb those stairs. You'll burn 5 calories for every 12-step flight of stairs. That may not sound like much, but take the stairs 10 times a day and that's 350 extra calories burned per week.

Lift grocery weights. Don't waste those precious minutes in line at the grocery store. Pick up that can of tomato sauce or sack of sugar and do some bicep curls.

Load your cart. When you hit the aisles, pick up the heaviest items first like a case of water or laundry detergent. That way you're pushing that extra weight around the store as long as possible.

Skip the car wash. This is one errand you should skip all together. Washing your car works your arms and abs. And a half-hour can burn around 150 calories.

Bonus Tip: Laugh often. Getting giggly for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn up to 40 calories!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are You Doing It Right? Part 2


The Faux Pas: This move is meant to target the butt, but it's easy to just "go through the motions" and let the hamstrings take over.

The Fix: Don't cheat! To make sure you engage the glutes, "plant only your heels on the ground, driving through them as you perform the movement,"

Bicep curls

The Faux Pas: Too often, we sees people swinging a barbell or dumbbells up and down with momentum, rather than isolating the bicep to drive the weight up and lower it down. The dead giveaway you're doing it wrong? If your pelvis rocks back and forth as your forearms lift and lower. 

The Fix: Tuck the pelvis slightly under, and keep the abs and glutes engaged with a slight bend in the knee and the head and chest up.

Overhead Press

The Faux Pas: "When people attempt the overhead press, they generally wind up with a tremendous arch in the low back,". That arch is a dead giveaway that you're compensating with your spine to lift the weight above your head.

The Fix: "Tuck your tailbone underneath you, engaging the core and press straight overhead." Squeezing the glutes can also help. If you're still arching, back down to a lighter weight you can comfortably lift with correct form and work up.

Side lunges

The Faux Pas: "The mistake with lateral lunges is that people collapse at the knee instead of the hip," which will greatly tax the quad muscle without much help from the butt or hips.

The Fix: "Focus on bending at the waist by engaging the glutes, allowing you to keep the back straight,". Sit back into the lunge, almost as you would when doing a squat. 

Bicycle Crunches

The Faux Pas: "Most people have trouble synchronizing the movement, because they're making it too hard on themselves,"  It's easy to collapse the elbows in, limiting the twist of the movement. Plus, like with normal crunches, you may be tempted to round the spine and pull on the neck. 

The Fix: "Instead of putting the hands behind the head,you can perform this movement on a bench, and use the hands to hold the bench on the bottom. This will stabilize and allow a more complete range of motion." Remember to move slowly as you bring each knee into the chest for maximum abs benefit.  

source :

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep is glorious and many of us feel like we aren't getting enough of it.

Well, now you have a chart to consult! Just turn to the National Sleep Foundation's newly released set of recommendations for various points of life, sleep-duration numbers that were developed after an extensive review of past scientific literature and input from a variety medical professionals. The recommendations for age categories from newborns to older adults were published this week in the foundation's journal Sleep Health.

Here are their recommended sleep times:

    Zero to three months of age: 14 to 17 hours
    Four to 11 months of age: 12 to 15 hours
    One to two years of age: 11 to 14 hours
    Three to five years of age: 10 to 13 hours
    Six to 13 years of age: nine to 11 hours
    14 to 17 years of age: eight to 10 hours
    18 to 25 years of age: seven to nine hours
    26 to 64 years of age: seven to nine hours
    65 and older: seven to eight hours

"Sleeping too little and too much are both associated with increased risk of mortality and a range of other adverse health issues: cardiovascular disease, possibly cancer and also impaired psychological well-being," said Lauren Hale, editor of the journal Sleep Health and associate professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic. And Hale, who focuses on teenagers, said most American teens are simply not sleeping enough on a whole.

Hale said that while every individual is a little different, the recommendations can provide guidance for parents and others in creating household environments conducive to children and adults alike getting enough sleep (think: electronics off and lights out). And if people are sleeping over the recommended range, this may be a signal of other health problems, such as depression.

"There are always exceptions, whether it's a flight to catch, a test to take, things to do, and some days you need to sleep over the range because you are sick," Hale said. "But, on a regular basis, you should try to aim for the recommended range."