Tell us what you want, what you really really want! Fill out this anonymous survey and let us know what you’d like to see, what you’re thinking, or what you like!
Walk the Road to Wellness!
Walking is an underrated, underutilized activity! It has such incredible benefits and for some reason it’s still looked down on in some places… Well no more, it’s time we give credit where credit is due and talk about why walking is so phenomenal.
- It’s low impact- it’s an exercise for all ages! Young and old can both benefit and it gives you a great opportunity to spend some quality time together.
- Heart tested and approved- walking is great for your circulation and blood pressure. Multiple studies have shown that walking can help lower your blood pressure!
- It makes you stronger- did you know that walking can increase your bone strength which can ward off fractures later on in life? It also strengthens your muscles so it’s a win-win-win!
- “If you’re happy and you know it…”- Walking releases the same types of endorphins that running does, so take some steps to boost that mood!
Past the physical impacts on your body, walking allows you to explore! You can walk around the neighborhood, so get out, get fit and explore!
July 28th, 2017 – Recovery Recovery Recovery!
So you just got in a great workout and you feel awesome (and probably a little tired), but even though your sneakers are off, you’re not quite done yet! Proper recovery is extremely important to maintain muscle, flush out lactic acid, and stop your body from cramping later on after your workout.
Recovery is a time where proper nutrition is essential. Protein sources are required to rebuild muscle tissue and to supply the building blocks for various cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones. But that’s just one aspect of recovery after working out; here are NINE things you should be doing after you work out that you may not have thought of — but will make a huge difference!
1. Chocolate (milk) is good for you!
Convenient and delicious! Chug some chocolate milk because the protein it contains will kick start your muscle recovery. And those chocolaty carbs have been shown to decrease the amount of time it takes for the body to get ready for its next challenge!
If you feel stiff from yesterday’s spin class or lifting session, try tart cherry juice and supplements! They help reduce the swelling that occurs when muscles are damaged, allowing our bodies to recover faster and with less pain.
3. Take an (ice cold) bath!
All serious athletes do it! It may sound scary at first, but research suggests taking a cold, full-body plunge after working out can significantly reduce soreness. Not to mention reducing inflammation for up to 24 hours after exercise!
4. Get that beauty sleep!
There have been multiple studies suggest sleep deprivation can have a significant negative effects on performance and recovery. Sleep is prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, so getting extra zzzs after a tough workout might make for stronger muscles and better endurance.
5. Water, water, water!
An obvious one, but a point that cannot be emphasized enough: hydration! Better recovery could be just a glass (or two or three…) away. Exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and reduce the body’s ability to repair itself. So grab a bottle of H2O to go!
6. Cut back on the Happy Hours…
Research suggests more than one or two drinks after working out could reduce the body’s ability to recover, so you may want to pass on those “post-yoga-happy-hours” if you know what’s good for you!
Rolling out muscles with foam or semi-rigid rollers—two forms of self-myofascial release—can help remove those knots and prevent muscle imbalances from forming. While foam rolling can be somewhat painful, the benefits are worth it! You’ll feel amazing very soon after, I promise!
8. Massage, anyone?
Recovery backrubs, anyone? Like foam rolling, massage helps break up scar tissue and reduce stiffness associated with muscle repair. Scented candles and relaxing tunes optional.
9. Compression garments may not be stylish…
…but they do wonders for your muscles! It’s important for a lot of athletes to quickly regain the energy to run, jump, or throw once again. Research suggests wearing compression garments can help decrease the time it takes for muscles to recover between intense bouts of exercise, so try some on!
July 13th, 2017 – Strategy for 5Ks
So you decided to register for a 5K? Great! (If not, you can register for our Road to Wellness 5K Walk/Run here.) Now that you’ve made this decision, it’s time to really think about how you’re going to prepare for the 5K…and what to do when the time comes to really run or walk it!
There are countless possible race strategies floating around. Some runners love to go out hard and hang on. Others like to sit back and kick at the end. We are all different; therefore, we have different strengths that we can use on race day. Here are some quick tips for training for your upcoming 5K and an in-depth strategy for when the big day comes:
Training for a 5K
- Hill training is good practice to improve speed. That added strength in the leg muscles will translate into better efficiency over added mileage and intensity.
- Burpees, box jumps, and high knees — strengthens the muscles you predominately use while you’re running!
- Foam rolling after a hard workout — especially after lifting weights or any strength training!
Strategy for Your 5K
For the first mile: For most runners the most appropriate tactic during the first mile is to follow your overall strategy. If you planned on even pacing be sure you don’t run faster during the first part of the race. If you planned on negative splits, keep your first mile speed at your planned pace. Going out too fast in that first mile can make even pacing, even effort or negative split strategy hard to carry out. The exception to this is with experienced competitive runners and some beginning competitive runner.
- Beginning Runner – Run no faster than planned effort level
- Recreational Runner – Run no faster than planned pace
- Pacer – Planned even pace or up to 3% faster
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Planned even pace or up to 3% faster
- Experienced Competitive Runner – 3% to 6% faster
For the middle mile: The second mile of your 5K is where you should settle into your planned pace or if you are running negative splits, begin to very gradually push your pace. An experienced competitive runner who pushes the pace slightly in the first mile may want to settle into a strong float (strong but relaxed) pace for some active recovery in anticipation of a fast finishing mile.
When the pain and bad patches come, accept them as a good and necessary step to unveiling another level of success. Do NOT think, “Oh, man. Here I go again…” Instead, redirect your focus to something else. Focus on technique: quicken your turnover for the next thirty seconds, drive your arms back, and go through a mental checklist to relax tight hands, arms, and shoulders. By focusing on using your muscles differently, you’ll distract yourself from your doubt, and the moment will pass.
- Beginning Runner – Even Effort
- Recreational Runner – Even Pace or Even Effort
- Pacer – Even Pace
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Even Pace or Gradually Increasing Pace
- Experienced Competitive Runner – Gradually Increasing Pace or Float with Surges
For the last mile: The last mile of the 5K is where most runners either succeed or fail in meeting their running goal. The final mile should be the fastest.
- Beginning Runner- Even effort until the final 200 meters. Then sprint as fast as possible to the finish line.
- Recreational Runner – Even pace until the final 400 meters. Then begin your finishing kick
- Pacer – Steadily increase your pace throughout the final mile. Start your finishing kick with 400 meters to the finish line
- Beginning Competitive Runner – Increasing pace and surging throughout the final mile. Begin your finishing kick with about 400 meters left
- Experienced Competitive Runner – Increasing pace and surging in reaction to your competitors. Begin accelerating strongly with about 800 meters left. Begin your finishing sprint at 300 to 400 meters to the finish line.
Hope these are helpful and happy training! You can do this!
June 30th, 2017 – Post-workout Meals
June is almost over and you’ve been working hard towards your goals — hitting the gym, running around when the weather is nice, and becoming fit in your own way! But, are you fueling your body correctly?
Two common mistakes people make when starting to work out for the first time are that they forget to stretch — and they don’t know what the best foods are to eat before and after they exercise! You are putting your body through tough, physical exercise, which means you need to give your body the correct nutrients if it wants to power itself!
Here are a few of my personal favorite tips and recipes that have been proven to give your body what it wants and NEEDS!
- Greek yogurt with fruit. If you’re going to eat greek yogurt, aim for an organic version. And you don’t always have to go for fat-free! Try a low-fat greek yogurt with fresh berries or banana.
- Peanut butter and banana toast. OH YES. Probably one of my go-to post workout snacks because…PEANUT BUTTER. Opt for 1 slice of whole grain toast, 1 tablespoon of nut butter and half a banana.
- Trail mix/granola. Granola is wonderful because it provides healthy fats, carbohydrates (from the oats) fiber and a good source protein.
- Veggie omelet. You truly can’t go wrong with eggs. I love 1 egg and 2 egg whites mixed with a variety of veggies.
- Cheese and crackers. If you’re like me and LOVE cheese, then this is a great time to get your cheese fix in! Eat an ounce of cheese with a few whole grain crackers.
- Protein shake or fruit smoothie. I usually make a smoothie with a scoop of protein powder, fresh fruit, a little nut butter and almond milk.
- Hummus and pita. Who says your snacks have to be basic? Grab a scoop of healthy fiber and protein-filled hummus plus a few pita chips for something flavorful, satisfying and delicious.
- Cottage cheese avocado toast. Yes, please! The healthy fats, protein and whole grains are the ultimate refuel goodness.
- Cottage cheese and fruit. Another great option is cottage cheese and fruit. Usually I’ll eat a banana, cottage cheese and add a dash of cinnamon on top. A weird, yet delicious creation!
- Whole grain cereal with skim milk. For a quick snack, try a bowl of your favorite low-sugar cereal topped with almond or skim milk. If you can’t have regular milk, try almond milk blended with a 1/2 scoop of whey-free vanilla protein powder!
- Energy bar/bites/balls. Energy bars are the ultimate goodness. Even better when you can make your own! This is one of my favorite recipes: http://skinnyms.com/no-bake-workout-bars-recipe/
So when is the best time to eat post-workout? Usually within 30 minutes! 45 minutes at the very latest. Post workout snacks help to restore energy in your muscles and repair any muscle damage. The “Journal of Applied Physiology” did state that if you wait just two hours post workout to eat, then your ability to refuel your muscles diminishes by a whopping 50%. So get snackin’!
June 16th, 2017
With summer now in full swing, it’s time to really get those summer goals you planned on into action! There are a lot of reasons to add “exercise” and “running” to your list of goals for the summer, but mental health is definitely one of the most important! Didn’t know running helps you physically AND mentally? Then read on, because there are a lot more benefits to getting up and getting active than you may think!
First of all, running reduces stress, sharpens your focus and gives you energy! Over time, with commitment and persistence, prolonged exercise can have a major impact on your mood, build confidence, and can even help fight tiredness during the day!
When you exercise, endorphins are released, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Additionally, running can strengthen the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45. Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning.
Working out, especially between ages 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (otherwise known as neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance.
Although it seems counterintuitive, if you feel lethargic or struggle daily to gather up energy, running can be a great way to get energized, which is why doctors recommend physical activity to people who tend to be tired often. For example, if you’re feeling tired after work, even if you slept a good amount the past few nights, changing into running clothes and going out to the track can turn your perspective around. You will return feeling a relaxing runner’s high and a renewed focus to stay on track with your health goals!
No matter what the reason, getting outside and staying active is a great habit to get into! This summer is YOUR summer, so let’s make it great and stay committed to our healthy lifestyle!
August 2nd, 2016
What’s the point of drinking that much water anyway? Can we get water from other things, like vegetables or other drinks? What are electrolytes? How can I tell if I’m dehydrated?
Your body is 70% water. Each cell and bodily function depends on your continual consumption of water. If you are dehydrated your body is not able to perform!
How do I know if I’m dehydrated?
If you’re thirsty that means you already are dehydrated. Another way to monitor how hydrated you are is to look at the color of your urine. The gold standard it turns out isn’t gold at all but rather clear or very light yellow. If it’s darker than that it tells you that you need to drink more water!
Now what are these electrolyte things and why is everyone so crazy about them?
Electrolytes are charged molecules that we need in our bodies to keep everything working properly. They are salt and other minerals that we lose through sweat and general living. Being electrolyte deficient can have an impact on your performance and can even cause cramping. For a lot of us it’s not generally something to worry about, but with this hot weather it is important to make sure you are doing everything to keep your body healthy and happy.
Ok, then where do you get these electrolytes from?
You do not need to go out and stock up on Gatorade. While this drink is one way to replenish electrolytes, it also has a lot of sugar and most of us don’t actually need all that. The general rule of thumb is if your workout is less than an hour, pass on the Gatorade and make sure you are drinking water during and after, (If you are working out for more than one hour, you might want to consider a little bit of Gatorade during the workout. Remember that everyone is different so it’s ideal to stay in tune with your body and figure out what it needs to perform.
Where else can I get electrolytes from?
Many people can get everything they need from a good post workout snack. Here are some great places to start and you can be creative with your own ideas!
• Glass of chocolate milk
• Apples and peanut butter
• Yogurt and granola
• Salad with leafy greens and tomatoes
What’s so great about 5K’s anyways?
July 19th, 2016
As someone who is not what people would call a ‘natural’ runner, I am always in awe of those who run and really love doing it. When looking at the sport in general, I have always felt running a marathon was basically as good as it gets, especially being in Massachusetts – the Boston Marathon is a sacred event. However, if I am being honest with myself, the possibility of me convincing myself to run a marathon is very, very low. I won’t say non-existent because you know anything is possible, but it’ll be a leap to say the least. When I look at the running world, a marathon just seems like the greatest of accomplishments, the fun fact that would gain you instant respect from people at a party. Saying you just ran a 5K doesn’t produce the same amount of awe, but in my opinion, 5K’s are the perfect competitive running endeavor for runners who appreciate the sport but see it as a vehicle to be healthy and fit vs. those who do it because they have an incredible amount of passion for the sport and the health aspects are just an awesome bonus (although if that’s you, you’re incredible)!
One of the great things about 5K training is it involves shorter interval training, which is the ideal type of workout if you are looking to shed a few pounds and get fit. One of the many fitness tips I’ve heard is that confusing your body is a great way to lose weight. While long runs can be great for decompressing and increasing your aerobic fitness, they aren’t always the best method to lose weight. Along with this idea of flexible training plans comes the ability to protect your body from overuse injuries! Obviously there are many things that we have to do to protect our bodies (like investing in good running shoes!) but the flexibility to vary your training can help you protect those body parts that sustain a lot of wear and tear while running stay happy!
Training for a 5K is intense, training for a marathon is intense, training for any running event is intense. Commitment to your training plan is important regardless of your end goal but the time commitment involved in training for a 5K is smaller than the time commitment involved in training for a marathon, which gives you more time to pursue a passion, maybe you want to take up knitting or salsa, or maybe you want to spend more time with your family or you just really love napping. Whatever it is, do it, the world is your oyster.
Time is money, right? Even better money is money. The entrance fees for a 5K are generally much less expensive than the entrance fees for marathons, or in this case The Road to Wellness 5K is free for community members! 5K’s are also everywhere, in Massachusetts alone there are close to 400 5K events in 2016. In theory (if dates work out), you could run one a day, although we wouldn’t recommend it. The wide availability of these events ensures that there are 5Ks nearby so you don’t have to travel to some distant land just to race.
To preform or not to preform, that my friends is the question. If you don’t want it to be a big deal it doesn’t have to be. If you wake up the morning of your race not feeling great, it’s ok, there’s the other 300 and something other 5K’s this year. And pushing through 3 miles of running seems much more doable then pushing through 26 miles of running. On the other hand, if you want to make it a thing, then make it a thing! Compete with yourself, compete with the guy in the neon shirt, see how fast you can go once that burn starts and how far you can push yourself.
Along the lines of making it a big deal or a short weekend stop, running a 5K doesn’t necessitate fuel belts or special gear. One of the winners from their age group at The Road to Wellness 5K ran in jeans! And while I personally would over heat, anything is possible. Whether you run in a gorilla costume or running shorts, like most things in life it’s all what you make it.
If I haven’t convinced you to run, then here’s another 10 reasons to sign up for a race!
Let’s put the pedal(s) to the metal
July 5th, 2016
Biking is a fabulous non-impact activity that can benefit you in so many ways! If you don’t believe us here are just five of the many benefits:
1. Saves the plant- no but really! No gas! (well unless you followed someone’s advice about the health benefits of beans)
2. Speaking of your bowel health… Physical activity “helps decrease the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, limiting the amount of water absorbed back into your body and leaving you with softer stools, which are easier to pass”
3. People who ride bikes are smarter (kind of)… “physical activity builds new brain cells in the hippocampus – the region responsible for memory”
4. You don’t have to buy a gym membership… Bike outdoors! You can enjoy the sun, soak up some vitamin D, and it’s easy on your wallet. That’s a win-win-win-win!
5. You can spend time with loved ones. When I think of a health focused family outing, a packed gym with sweaty people isn’t necessarily the first thing that pops into my mind… A nice bike ride with a picnic afterwards sounds much more family friendly, but to each their own.
And here’s the best part about it, we don’t all need to ride over 200 miles a week to enjoy biking (although if you do kudos to you!) Here are some local bike paths so you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors this summer!
Franklin Park Golf Course Loop (2.5 Miles)
Southwest Corridor between Green Street and Ruggles Station (2 Miles)
Arnold Arboretum (About 4.5 Miles, length can be modified up to 12 Miles)
June 21st, 2016
Let’s be honest running is a high impact sport, high demand and can be a somewhat exhausting sport! Cross training can be a wonderful way to not only break up your running workouts but actually benefit you later on. Here are five reasons why:
1) Injury Prevention- Cross training can prevent overuse injuries and help counter act any possible muscular imbalances (certain muscles being stronger than others) that occur from running. Running being the high impact exercise that is it can put a lot of pressure on your knees, ankles and back so alternating with a low impact workout can be a great way to keep increasing your endurance without it taking a toll on your body.
2) Improved Fitness- Even if you’re someone who isn’t concerned about competing with others it’s always satisfying to beat your own personal records. Cross training allows for an individual to increase the benefit they receive from active recovery days. If you can full recover between workouts then you are better able to perform during workouts and get more out of them! It can also be a great way to increase your overall strength which can only benefit you when running. Finally cross training can improve your efficiency while running meaning that you can get more out of the same level of work. Neat right?
3) Endurance here, endurance there, endurance everywhere- Your endurance can be utilized in a variety of ways. Think of it as money. Just because you make money at a specific location, doesn’t mean you have to spend it all there. It travels with you so you can use it to buy your bus pass and your groceries. So as it stands if you build endurance from a strength training circuit or a swim workout that all is going to transfer over to your running workouts.
4) Shake it up- As we’ve heard from almost every person featured in our fitness profiles, doing the same thing over and over again is boring. Running the same route, for the same length of time, every day of the week is a recipe for disaster. By utilizing a cross training program you can shake up your routine to ensure that by the date of our 5K you don’t want to rip your eyes out after seeing that same tree ¼ mile into your run. In addition you will burn more calories if you ‘confuse’ your body!
5) No one can be on all the time. Major league athletes, Olympians and collegiate athletes all have ‘breaks’ in their training to allow their bodies to recharge so they can continue to strive after their goals. Dabbling in Line dancing or Yoga can allow your body to take a break and still be working so go ahead try some new things this summer (link to summer fitness schedule)!
Ideas for cross training:
• A little circuit similar to what was posted two weeks ago!
• Weight training
• Strength Training
I asked Gael Henville our local marathoner about her ideas on cross training, here’s what she said…
“I have always loved strength training long before it became widely popular for runners to embrace it. I am often times approached about my strong look as it is always assumed that I am solely defined from running. When I respond that I incorporate strength, women especially found it unappealing and I often find myself gently educating them on the differences of strength versus body building.
What most fail to realize is that strength training your core running muscle groups prevents injuries, makes you more explosive hence a faster pace, enables endurance, continuously burns fat long after your session and for women, coupled with a low-fat healthy diet, minimizes cellulite. The best part is you can easily train at home, in your back yard, at a stadium with stairs, at a track or in the sand at a beach. You can do variations of push-ups which are great for an all-over body work out; same for squats and lunges for your lower-body. As for core work, skip the sit-ups; they truly do not work well. Have fun with a variety of planks, start out slowly and build on – hip-dips, toe rocks, alternate shoulder and floor taps are some of my favorite planks. For good measure, throw in some good mornings and windshield wipers.
Also challenge yourselves with wall sits, backward box jumps off a small bench/box or even a wide step, jumps squats, one legged leg press and leg extensions. Be sure to check with your physician before employing any form of activity and watch your form to prevent injury. You can find instructions on how to perform each action on YouTube. Happy muscles!”
If you’re a person who needs 30 hours in a day…
June 7th, 2016
Ok say we found the motivation to work out. The next question is when are we supposed to fit it in? A lot of us work, so let’s say 9-5 is off limits. Then we have dinner to make, let’s say we spend a total of two hours between preparation, actual eating and clean up (but let’s be honest those 30 minute recipes don’t ever take just thirty minutes so it’s probably more). Add in our recommended 8 hours of beauty rest for adults (kids end up needing more). And that alone totals up to 18 hours. This total number doesn’t even take into account all the extras; the drop offs and pickups, grocery store runs, and commute time, etc.
So we’ve come up with ‘quick workouts’ to squeeze in before our morning shower or after everyone is asleep as a way to decompress from our day or really anytime we can find the time.
Workout 1 (Repeat it again if you’re up for it)
Workout 2 (Repeat 1-2 more times if you’re up for it)
1 min. Arm Circles
1 min. Jumping Jacks
30 sec. Side Plank (each side)1 min. Squat
1 min. Pushups
1 min. Lunges 1 min. Bicycles
1 min. Plank1 min. High Knees (At whatever speed you are comfortable with)
If the Shoe Fits: Run
August 13, 2015
The act of running doesn’t require a lot of equipment; you don’t need shoulder pads, shin guards, or a baseball glove. BUT it is crucial to invest in a quality pair of running shoes that correctly fit your foot.
Choosing a pair simply because of the colors and design can often times seem more desirable, but finding that right shoe can save you from a lifetime of injuries, pain, and blisters.The right pair of shoes should make your foot feel lighter when you run. Each person has a different footprint, just like no fingerprint is the same. It is important to understand this footprint, which can also be called your pronation. Pronation is the way your foot naturally rolls from heel to to when it strikes the ground. Each person has a unique pronation and it should determine what kind of shoe is a right fit for you. Questions to ask yourself when determining your pronation: Do you have a narrow foot? Do you have a flat foot? Do you have high arches? These elements effect the way your foot hits the ground when you run, and your running shoes should be made specifically to support your unique footprint.
Running with the wrong type of shoe can cause injuries. A common injury from running without properly fitted shoes are shin splints. Shin splints start with an aching pain on the inside of the shin, near the border of the tibia and calf muscles. They are more common in less experienced athletes and can become extremely painful. They can be prevented by reducing the amount of stress put on the tibia, and by wearing a shoe fitted specifically for your foot!
So, how do you get fitted for a running shoe that’s made for you? Your foot can be sized and fitted at a local running store. The employees there may have more time to give advice and personal attention than at a large general sports store.
So if you are going to invest your time in running and exercise, also invest that time and effort in finding the right shoe for you to increase your running abilities while providing you with the best support!
Hate Running? 10 Reasons to Learn to Love it
August 6, 2015
For many people, the thought of running is more of a torture than an act of physical activity. People make many excuses for why “they can’t run” or “their body was not made for running,” however there are many benefits to running, many of which you may not have heard before. Here is a list of some of the obvious and hidden benefits of running to reinstate your love for running.
- Stress Relief: Running can provide a great amount of stress relief. It allows you to unwind and focus on your surroundings and breathing patterns, rather than worrying about the negatives of what is going on at home, work, etc. while simultaneously allowing you to think of the best solutions in problem solving.
- Runner’s High: After running consistently and feeling like your endurance is building, you will hit a runner’s high. This high is a point where no matter how far you have run or continue to run, you feel unstoppable. It is hard to explain without having had the feeling, but it is worth running to find out for yourself!
- Longer Lifespan: Running has proven to increase the life of a person, that in itself should make all of us want to run, right?!
- Socialization: Running is a great way to meet new people and running in groups is a fun way to increase motivation.
- Healthy Heart: Running keeps your blood pressure down and is proven to help in maintaining a healthy beating heart.
- One with Nature: Running allows for a variety of time with nature, whether running through the city or through a forest preserve, there are no limits. It’s a great way to keep yourself active while enjoying time outside, especially during the fall months. Few things are better than a run with the colorful October leaves in sunny 60 degree weather!
- Increased Energy: Running in the morning will increase a person’s energy and productivity throughout the day.
- Burning Calories: Running not only keeps your heart healthy, but also is a quick way to burn calories – a lot of calories!
- Sleep: Running allows you to have a better night sleep. You are often able to fall asleep faster and don’t stir as much throughout the night.
- Stamina/Endurance: Maintaining a consistent running pattern will increase your stamina and endurance which will build a person’s confidence and self esteem.
So while we seem to always find the negatives in running, let’s step back and look at all the positive effects running has on your body – physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is no guideline as to what pace anyone must run or how far, each individual is different and that is what makes running available to everyone. Now, lace up your running shoes and get out and enjoy the view!
The Playground Workout for Grown-Ups
When you’re a kid you can get exercise without even trying by simply playing at the playground. When you get older, this ease in excercising becomes more difficult, but that doesn’t mean you have to ditch the playground. Playgrounds can be great places for strength training, as things like monkey bars mirror equipment found at the gym. The next time you are strolling by El Parquesito de Hermandad or the Tiffany Moore Tot Lot in Franklin Park try these excercises.
1. Monkey Bar pull-up: Monkey bars are surprisingly the perfect height for pull-ups. You can do forward, backward or alternate grip pull-ups or if you’re not at this point yet try just hanging and holding yourself up with your elbows bent for as long as you are able.
2. Swing-Set Knee Tucks: Rest your feet on the swing seat and put your hands on the ground so that you are in a push-up position with your legs fully extended. Tuck your knees until they touch your chest and then extend them out again. Repeat 5 to 10 times for an excellent abdominal workout.
3. Slide Split-Squat: Stand at the bottom of a slide facing downward. Extend your right leg back as far as you can so that your right shoelaces are touching the slide. Keep your left leg bent and parallel to the slide. Slowly lower yourself down and then raise yourself back up. Repeat 5-10 times and then switch sides.
4. Park Bench Push-Up: Put your hands on the edge of the bench and extend the rest of your body straight in a push-up position. Lower your torso towards the bench and push back while keeping your core engaged 10 to 15 times.
5. Ladder Step-up: Stand in front of the ladder and bring your right foot up to the highest rung possible. Quickly step down and propel your body up. Return both feet to the ground and repeat on the other side. This is an excellent exercise to stretch and strengthen your glutes, hips, and core.
6. Picnic Table Dips: Rest your hand on the edge of a picnic table (or other) bench and hold yourself up while your hands and body are facing away from the bench. Bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair and use your arms to raise and lower your body. Repeat 10-15 times.
Strength in Numbers: The Benefits of Group Exercise
July 23, 2015
Making the decision to go out and exercise by yourself can be daunting and make fitness seem like a drag, but when you aren’t alone there are immeasurable benefits that will make your workout more sustainable and enjoyable. The Road to Wellness 5k was created with 2 main intentions in mind: 1) to inspire health through activity and 2) to celebrating community. For this reason we think group exercise is the best kind of exercise.
The accountability of working out with others is likely to make the frequency with which you work out more consistent, at least at the beginning of your fitness journey. This type of positive peer pressure can serve as motivation to go workout after a long day because you know your workout buddy will be there and is counting on you.
Additionally, fitness groups provide an outlet for social interaction. By participating in group fitness you have the opportunity to meet new people. It’s the same idea as being on an athletic team in high school; while becoming healthy you are simultaneously forming friendships.
The friends that you make through group fitness will serve not only as companions but also as a support system. Because of this camaraderie, those who you exercise with are not your competitors but instead your biggest fans. Group fitness is all about celebrating growth and improvement, and the encouragement provided by workout partners can enable you to keep pushing past your limits and believing in yourself.
This summer there are many different outlets where you can participate in group fitness and find the type of workout that best suits you. For starters, you can come to Road to Wellness 5k training days every other Saturday including this upcoming Saturday July 25th at Playstead Park in Franklin Park. Additionally, the Boston Parks Fitness Series is offering a wide selection of outdoor group fitness classes throughout the community including Zumba, Yoga, and Boot Camp among others. You can find the full list here.
5 Foods to Fuel Your Run
July 22, 2015
In order to be fueled up for a run you first have to fuel your body. Having enough food in your body before going out and exercising is a critical part of allowing you to stay healthy and reach your full potential. However, eating certain foods right before working out can be inhibiting. So what does a good pre-workout meal look like? It may be hard to believe, but protein bars, broccoli, and apples are actually snacks that you should avoid before hitting the road. Although foods that are high in fiber and protein are great for post-run recovery, they are heavy and can weight you down during the run itself. Instead, opt for easily digestible carbs which will give you that energy boost you need. Try one of these 5 foods for your next pre-run snack.
Jam-packed with all the Vitamin-C you will need for the day and only 62 calories, oranges will give you an energy boost to get through your run while also satisfying your sweet-tooth.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt combines the perfect amount of sugar and carbs to kick start your run. Just make sure not to eat too much as an overload of dairy could upset your stomach.
3. Sweet Potatoes
These high-carb super foods will give you the energy you need to power through the last stretch of your workout and they also contain 230% of your daily serving of Vitamin A to promote skin, nail and hair health as an added bonus.
There is nothing worse than hitting your stride and then having your muscles cramp up. With the potassium in bananas you can stay strong and dodge this obstacle.
Oatmeal will satisfy your hunger and fill you up without sending you into a food coma. Oatmeal is comprised almost entirely of carbohydrates and can be made fun by adding brown sugar, honey, or dried fruit.
6 Healthy Habits for Your 9-5
July 16, 2015
Not only does working from 9 to 5 limit the hours in the day that you are able to squeeze in a workout, but being sedentary for long periods of time can drain your energy and lead to adverse health effects. Top that off with sugary snacks being easily accessible in the break room and it sometimes seems impossible to dodge 8 hours of unhealthy habits. Although the 9-5 slump may seem inevitable, making a conscious effort to avoid desk-job traps can go a long way and leave you feeling energized when you leave the office. Try some of these simple tips and swaps to transform your work day habits.
1. Take control of your coffee consumption– For many, coffee is a staple that provides an energy boost to get through the day. Although coffee can be an essential tool for productivity and also provide health benefit (read more here) the sugar and cream in bottomless coffee refills can add up and can also be dehydrating. Keep track of your coffee consumption and try to limit how much cream and sugar you add or try almond milk as a healthier alternative.
2. Work in Workouts– The Washington Post has compiled a series of fun, quick workouts you can do in your office when you need a surge of energy. Though The Washington Post acknowledges that many of them come with a degree of embarrassment (and even provides an embarrassment scale), sprinkling in a few reps of desk push-ups or “Hallelujahs” could make a big difference in your physical well-being over time. Check out the full list of 20 exercises here.
3. Be prepared for snack attack– When hunger sets in, it is tempting to turn to sugary snacks that will give you an immediate sugar rush and satisfy your huger for a little while. Be prepared for the snack attack by stocking up with healthy options to avoid hitting the vending machine for a candy bar. Non-perishable foods such as protein bars, granola, and pretzels are great options to this end.
4. Hydrate– Believe it or not, often what we mistake for hunger is actually just thirst. Drinking water regularly can help you cut down on cravings. Drinking water is especially important for heavy coffee drinkers, as caffeine is dehydrating.
5. Stretch– With a combination of sitting for hours on end and being tense from workplace stress, it’s easy to leave the office at the end of the day with your muscles feeling fatigued after not doing much of anything. Stop this problem in its tracks by taking at least 10 seconds to stretch every hour. For a 9-5 job that adds up to a total of 1 minute and 20 seconds out of 8 hours to focus on you. Add in some deep breaths to refocus and revitalize your mind even on the busiest of days.
6. Take the stairs– Ditch the elevator and make the trek when moving between floors. Doing so will engage muscles that you haven’t been using all day and get your heart rate up.