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Motivation to Move

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

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.

Aaron Feldman, Professional Fitness Trainer

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.

David P. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer

  • 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.

 

Fitness Band or Pedometer? What’s on Your List?

December 13, 2013 1 comment

Nike+ FuelBand, Fitbit® Flex, Jawbone™ UP—these are just a few examples of what the exercise world knows as “fitness bands”.

A fitness band is a tracking device or tool that provides information to the user on total physical activity. The device tracks steps taken, calories burned, miles and some even track sleep (depends on the brand).

These tools help us track exactly how much exercise we’re getting and how much energy we are expending. Fitness bands can help “alleviate the disconnect between feeling like you worked out really hard and the reality that you actually didn’t work that hard,” says Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Sports Dietitian Meridan Zerner.

Consider the fitness band like a scale. There’s no way of knowing exactly how much you weigh or how much weight you’ve lost if you never step on a scale. Sure, fitness equipment in the gym will help you measure distance, calories, steps, etc., but the moment you step off the treadmill or elliptical, the tracking stops.

A fitness band goes wherever you go, tracking every step, every calorie, every mile. We asked Zerner to explain further.

What’s the difference between a fitness band and a pedometer?

A fitness band adds the next level of technology. With the band, you’ll have a profile you can look at every day to track your progress over days, weeks, months and years. Depending on the brand, you may even be able to compare yourself to other people online or in a fitness challenge. With a fitness band, you get a more detailed readout than you would with a pedometer. A pedometer will only tell you how many steps you took, whereas a fitness band will tell you steps, calories burned and may even tell you how much more physical activity you need to do to reach your goal.

What are the benefits of using a fitness band?

Most people struggle with a certain amount of disconnect when it comes to a true measure of their intensity, total effort or amount of mileage accrued. Tools like this help provide a reality check of how much physical activity we’ve done, how much more we need to do and how much it will take to reach our goal or get to the next level. The reality is, sometimes we aren’t working as hard as we think we are working. A fitness band will help keep that reality in check.

Studies on these types of fitness tools have found that people are more successful when they get immediate feedback. They get a sense of how their workout today fits into the big picture and their long-term goals. Fitness bands provide the ability to look at short-term and long-term goals together. Perhaps your long-term goal is to run a six-minute mile. To achieve that end goal, you must first achieve milestones along the way—perhaps starting with an eight-minute mile, chipping away at that time until you reach your goal.

Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas has equipment that measures similar data to a fitness band. Members are given a chip they can insert into any piece of cardio equipment at Cooper Fitness Center. That chip logs into Preva®, software designed to give “a personalized fitness experience that not only entertains, but motivates you to achieve and exceed your fitness goals.”

Which fitness band is best?

Zerner prefers the Fitbit, as it is “more discreet than the Nike Fuelband,” she says. Ultimately, the brand of fitness band you choose depends on your personal preference, what information you want to get from the tool and your budget.

If a fitness band isn’t in your budget, start with a baseline pedometer. Even this will give you “a more accurate mental snapshot of what you are really doing and how far you are really walking to enable you to meet their fitness goals,” says Zerner. “Using the tools in the toolbox—no matter how expensive or inexpensive—can help you reach your goal.”

Tis the holiday season! We’ve also shared Kitchen Gift Gadgets, stayed tuned for more blog posts for gifts that keep on giving.

Spring Into Shape: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

Health Fitting in Exercise QuoteSometimes exercising isn’t the hard part, it’s more about getting motivated! We’re all guilty of forming excuses to avoid the gym on a regular basis. To kick off this Spring, learn ways to get and stay motivated, making fitness part of your routine.

Research has shown that self-change is a staged process. We go through a process from not thinking about changing a behavior, to thinking about it, to planning to change and then testing out ways to do it, all before we actually start.

Cooper Fitness Center Director of Personal Training Education Carla Sottovia, PhD, shares five tips for fitness motivation.

  1. Make exercise a priority. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work, move exercise to the top of your “to-do” list. Once it becomes a habit, getting it to the top of the list will be a piece of cake.
  2. Set goals. Setting short- and long-term goals are extremely important when beginning or continuing an exercise regimen. Carla suggests staring with a weekly, short-term goal. Try goals like exercising 150 collective minutes a week, or three days a week. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and consider Time. Also, have a reward in mind for meeting each goal. Tasks are almost always easier to accomplish when there is something to look forward to in the end.
  3. Make a specific plan. Get your calendar and start planning your exercise routine. Writing down certain days and times to work out helps you stay accountable and less forgettable. Follow this plan to reach your weekly, monthly or annual goals.
  4. Grab a friend. Two heads are almost always better than one. If you’re having trouble with motivation and accountability when it comes to exercise, working out with a friend can be a great solution. Whether it’s just carpooling to the gym or determining your plan and goals together, friends are great supports for exercise.
  5. Find a professional fitness trainer. These experts are there just for you. Just like your friends, they are your biggest motivators to get fit. Not only do they know what’s best for your body and routine, they can easily help you set goals and create plans.

Exercising usually isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the motivation to do it! With these motivation tips, you can take your fitness goals head on.