Since 2006, hundreds of women each year have participated in more than 3,000 Female Focus classes, a science-based small group training program designed to help women exercise to gain strength as they manage diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The women who have participated in Female Focus throughout the past 10 years listed the top 10 reasons why the program has benefitted both their physical and mental health:
- A sense of accountability to health and fitness and provides motivation to work harder both in and outside of class
- Camaraderie and support of women going through similar challenges and life experiences
- Personal attention from Colette Cole, the director of the program, and other trainers – staff expertise and experience is unmatched
- Improved overall strength, posture, balance, mobility, endurance, functional movement and daily activity movement
- Weight loss and maintenance
- Enjoyment from a variety of fun workouts
- Reduction of injury risk and attention to detail regarding training for specific injuries
- Sessions are personalized for both exercise and nutrition
- Focus on specific women’s health issues, including improvement of bone density
- Stress reduction
The program is based on materials and research from Women’s Health and Fitness Guide written by Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic, and Colette Cole, MS, Cooper Fitness Center Female Focus Director and Professional Fitness Trainer. Under Colette’s guidance, participants learn how to overcome physical and mental challenges that are often a side effect of health issues.
In addition to learning and growing stronger physically, many of the women are drawn to the program because of the bonds they form with each other. Many are going through similar life changes, such as kids going off to college or becoming caretakers of aging parents. They also face similar challenges and are working toward similar goals – to be healthier and happier.
Dr. Jill Ombrello has participated in Female Focus for the past three years. She joined the program because she wanted the accountability of a scheduled and customized workout. However, she had no idea how many additional benefits she would receive as a result.
“Not only did I gain accountability, but I also joined a community of women looking to improve their health in the same ways as me. We are not equally strong or flexible, but Collette creates a different, unique and interesting workout for us every time we attend. In a society where many women are often competing with one another, Colette has created a unique environment where we all feel supported and pushed to achieve greatness.”
For more information about the Female Focus program, visit cooperfitfemale.com.
Dining out can be a challenge when you’re watching your weight. With so many food and drink options put directly in front of you, it can be tough to turn down the free chips and salsa, a refreshing soda or a slice of cake for dessert. Part III of the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist will guide you through difficult dining situations and keep you on track for eating healthy and losing pounds. Download the checklist here.
Part II of the exclusive Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist is now available! You can download it here.
Limiting variety and temptation can be a challenge, but with some kitchen reorganization, healthy substitutions and determination, you can make it happen! Share your best tips for limiting food variety and unhealthy temptations in the comments below.
Looking for a way to jump start your weight loss journey and set attainable goals? Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has created an exclusive weight loss checklist that can fold into your daily life, one step at a time. Start by taking things slow and substituting certain foods for healthier options, as described in our first weight loss checklist. Download the checklist here, and be sure to share your healthy lifestyle changes and experiences in the comments below!
Healthy eating starts with what you put in your cart. You can’t go wrong with keeping these staples on your grocery list to make healthy eating convenient for your busy lifestyle. Cooper Clinic dietitians weigh in with their favorite Top 10 Convenience Health Foods.
- Fresh fruit. Fruit is the world’s “original” fast food. Pick a variety for meals and snacks.
- Bagged salad greens. Throw a salad together in a pinch. These pre-washed greens can be served up as a side dish or main entrée with chopped chicken or canned tuna.
- Fish fillets. Individually frozen fish filets (salmon, cod, halibut, sole, and tilapia) are lean proteins and take just a few minutes to broil.
- Whole grains. Frozen corn and 90-second brown rice are good sources of fiber, low sodium, and healthy sides to compliment your meal.
- Yogurt. Select nonfat Greek yogurt for a high protein snack or after-dinner treat with fresh fruit topping.
- Frozen vegetables. Pop these in the microwave for a quick side dish.
- Canned beans. Simply rinse to reduce sodium by 40% and add to salads, soups and stews.
- Canned tomatoes. Buy low-sodium tomatoes to add to pasta, soups, sauces and casseroles.
- Nuts. One small handful of nuts is a perfect snack to carry you to the next meal.
- Oatmeal. One of dietitian’s top-pick cereals as a filling source of fiber and heart healthy breakfast that takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave.
To learn more tips and advice from Cooper Clinic Dietitians, join us March 2 for the Cooper Nutrition Expo! With 40-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health, this event is FREE and open to the public. View more details and the list of vendors here.
New Year’s Resolutions shouldn’t be a thing of the past. If you need another burst of motivation from the trainers at Cooper Fitness Center, read on.
The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.
With all of the exercise related technology, gadgets and new equipment that is available in today’s age, it is easy to forget the underlying principle of exercise: Incorporating a consistent level of cardio-vascular activity with regular resistance training and stretching, we can maintain a level of health and wellness as we age. Instead of overcomplicating it with numbers, formulas and fitness related phone apps that may distract us, sometimes it is better to just get out there and do SOMETHING.
- Consistency. I would rather have someone be consistent with a new exercise routine, over intensity any day of the week. When starting a new routine everyone wants to go all out in the beginning then they burn out really quickly. Relax! Rome was not built in a day, so take your time.
- Careful with the running. You don’t run to get in shape—you get in shape to run. Starting too quickly on a running routine can cause nagging injuries. Remember the body needs time to adapt to the pounding so never underestimate the power of walking first before you hit the pavement jogging.
- Balanced diet. We can take in more calories in 5 minutes than we can exercise off in an hour. Visit a nutritionist and get some simple guidelines that will help you achieve your goals. Fruits and veggies: eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. We hear too often “careful with eating too much fruit, that can be too much sugar.” Meat: I am all about protein, but do we need to have a meat product with every meal? Try to fall into the “meatless Monday” trend to get in more fruits and veggies.
- Athletic development. No matter how old you are—it is very important to stay athletic! Not everyone should be practicing sprints and plyometric exercises, but some basic athletic drills that require foot work and agility goes along way. All locomotion starts from the feet—work on your balance and foot strength by standing barefoot on each foot for 1 minute.
David H. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer
Tired of trying to crunch your way to washboard abs? Strengthen your core, with a few crunch variations.
- Correct Crunch (Front) – Lay on your back, lift your legs off the ground to form a 90 degree angle with your knees and legs. Then lift your upper body about two inches off the ground for the crunch. Breathe out when you lift up and breathe in when you go back down. If you have neck problems, place your hands on the back of your neck for support, but remember to not pull on your head.
- Side Plank (Side) – Lay on your side and lift your body off the ground, balancing on one forearm and one foot. Contract your abdominals for the workout, and remember to breathe. For an added workout, lift your hips up and back down remaining lifted. Make sure you maintain good posture and your elbow is supported directly beneath your shoulder.
- Cobra (Back) – Lay on your stomach and place your hands at your side with your palms down. Squeeze your glutes and raise your chest about two inches off the ground. To engage the exercise, rotate your thumbs up and out and lift your head neutrally. For an advanced version, start on your stomach with your arms bent in 90 degree angles by your head. When you lift up, stretch your arms out in front of your head. This is known as the superman and you may watch the demonstration here.
- Reverse Crunch (Lower Abs) – Grab a small stability ball and grip it between your thighs while laying on your back. Make sure your palms are facing up. Squeeze the stability ball between your thighs to activate the lower abs. Roll your knees toward your chest with the ball for the exercise.
To achieve your goals for a strong, lean core, you also have to incorporate healthy habits in the kitchen! Mark your calendars to join us at Cooper Fitness Center on Monday, March 2 for our 8th annual Nutrition Expo! Come see 20-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health! FREE and open to the public.
Lisa Hanley, Professional Fitness Trainer
Lighten the weight if it helps you do it correctly. While it is true that exercising with a challenging load increases strength, sharing the work among unrelated body parts will cheat you out of a good workout. Or worse, expose yourself to excessive wear and tear.
Help your body last a long time. There is no substitute for original parts. Reinforce and maintain the ones (knees, hips, discs) you were born with.
Exercise has evolved. Your workout should too. We now have the opportunity to reflect upon the long-term effects of exercises promoted as beneficial 30 or 40 years ago. The risk to benefit ratio of certain activities can range from extremely unfavorable to downright crazy! We should all treat our bodies better than that.
Exercise, massage and stretch. A certain amount of tissue elasticity will be lost as a normal result of aging. The best way to slow this process is through stimulating, increased circulation and range of motion from strength and cardio activities and remodeling soft tissue to be more extensible through massage and stretching. This helps muscles and fascia work more like a rubber band, the way they do in our youth.
To meet with a Professional Fitness Trainer from Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/Pros or contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.
Known as nutritional “powerhouses,” there are so many reasons to celebrate beans! Beans are low in fat and high in fiber and protein and also serve as good sources of folate, calcium and iron. Beans fit under not one but two food groups: vegetables and meat/protein. Nutritionally higher in carbohydrates than non-starchy vegetables, beans also count towards the goal of getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Benefits of Beans
Weight: Beans promote a healthy weight because of their high protein and high fiber content. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness that keeps you satisfied from one meal to the next. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans has about 120 calories, 7-8 grams protein and about 6 grams fiber. Check out the nutrient profiles for several beans in the table listed.
Reduce risk of disease: Research has shown that eating just a half a cup of beans several times a week helps reduce your risk of heart disease. There are also correlations between eating beans and reducing risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
How to Fit Beans into Your Routine
- Pick a meatless meal (like the popular Meatless Mondays) for the week and use beans for your protein.
- Buy frozen, dry or canned beans- they are all healthy! Rinse canned beans to reduce sodium by almost 40 percent.
- Reduce gas-producing side effects with the following tips. If you are cooking dry beans, discard the soaking water and rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking. Take Beano, an over-the-counter gas remedy, prior to eating your first bite.
- Kidney beans are great for chili and three-bean salad.
- Pinto beans can be refried for dips or served as side dish. They are also popular in stews. You can buy fat-free refried beans for a healthier option.
- Navy beans are perfect in soups, stews, or baked beans.
- Lentils are great in soups and stews.
- Garbanzo beans can be tossed into salads or used to make hummus dip.
Nutrient Profiles of Various Dried Beans: (Per ½ cup serving)
|Baby Lima||Black Beans||Black-eyed Peas||Baby Lima Beans||Pinto Beans||Red Kidney Beans|
|Calories||114 calories||100 calories||115 calories||118 calories||109 calories|
You really can’t go wrong with any type of beans. Try incorporating these little gems into your routine and you will reap all the potential health benefits. Set a goal; aim to eat beans 4 times a week!
For information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services call 972.560.2655 or visit cooperclinicnutrition.com.