May 062013

We all know the importance of fitness for personal health. Unfortunately, those who travel frequently often find it difficult to maintain healthy fitness habits. The rigors of the road can take their toll on travelers who experience repeat changes in routine, irregular mealtimes and interruptions in regular sleep patterns due to unfamiliar surroundings. As a result, frequent travelers tend to be in much poorer health than those who stay closer to home.

However, you needn’t feel trapped in an unhealthy lifestyle if your job requires frequent travel. Simple planning and some basic awareness can help you change stressful trips into opportunities to maximize your personal health and fitness.

Before you leave, plan to make the most of fitness opportunities on your trip. Research the locality to which you plan to travel. Learn about hiking or running trails near your accommodations. If you have the opportunity to book your own accommodations, pick a place with excellent fitness amenities. You might be able to find a hotel with in-room yoga or other fitness videos, a well-equipped fitness center, running trails, and so on. On a recent trip to Maui I was able to book great accommodations for my fitness needs by looking through a travel site beforehand. I searched through this list of Maui hotels and found one within my budget that had a 24-hour gym.

When packing, remember to bring along loose, comfortable clothing for working out. If you have portable workout equipment such as a simple exercise band, pack it so that you can take advantage of short timeframes in which to get a powerful workout in limited space. Also, never leave home without a refillable water bottle to help you remain properly hydrated and avoid purchasing unhealthy drinks.

On your flight, get a little exercise with simple stretches and in-flight calisthenics. Simple shoulder shrugs, side stretches, knee lifts and ankle rolls will help minimize many of the discomforts associated with long flights.

Throughout your trip, remain aware of opportunities for exercise. Take the stairs instead of riding an elevator or escalator. If your schedule is packed with meetings and events, use small breaks throughout the day to get a workout. For example, do some exercises between meetings using a chair and your exercise band. In a break during afternoon sessions, find a secluded spot to do a few crunches and lunges. Every little bit will help, and you will notice a decrease in travel-related stress as well as more physical energy when you put these tips into practice.

Sep 172012

As many office workers know all too well, maintaining good posture and strong core muscles can be difficult when you sit at a desk all day. At times it seems impossible to get a tight core without changing jobs to … say … a lumberjack?

But guess what — there are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen your core while at the office. Some of these you can do without your coworkers even knowing you’re working out! These exercises will make your core tighter and stronger, which in turn makes it easier to sit for long periods of time. Just make sure you use a sturdy chair for the seated exercises!

Try these out:

1. Use an exercise ball. One of the easiest switches you can make in your workday to improve your core strength is to use an exercise ball instead of a chair. By sitting on an exercise ball, you’re forced to balance all day, and your posture will improve as well because you’ll be less inclined to slouch. Exercise balls strengthen your upper and lower abs, obliques and hip flexors, all without you having to think about it. Exercise/stability balls suitable for sitting on will be 55 or 65 cm in diameter. Your legs should form a right angle when you sit with feet hip width apart, feet underneath knees.

2. Isometric squeeze. Isometric exercises are perfect for the office, because they don’t require any movement at all. Simply sit straight and tall in your chair and contract your abs — hard — for several seconds, making sure to breathe the entire time. Release and repeat several times. Make sure you’re really focusing on making your muscles tight rather than just sucking in your stomach.

3. Sitting crunch. Get ready — you’re going to look a little odd for this one. Sit in your chair with feet flat on the floor (move forward to the edge if you need to) and knees bent. Rest your hands lightly on the side or back of your head, and tip body back, bracing through the abdomen. Rise slowly back to a vertical position. Do several repetitions.

4 . Sitting March- Sitting upright in chair with rib cage lifted, do marching movements with one foot and then the other.

5. Sitting twist. Sit up straight in your chair and place your hands on behind your head. Now raise one knee while simultaneously rotating your trunk to touch that knee with your opposite elbow. Try to stay long through the spine with rib cage lifted. Switch sides and repeat continuously for 30 seconds.

6. Leg pull-ins. Sit at the forward edge of your chair with your legs straight and place your hands behind you, grabbing hold of the seat on either side. Lift your legs a few inches off the ground and lean back a little without resting on the chair. Now crunch your body inward: Lean forward and simultaneously pull your knees in toward your chest. Return to starting position and repeat several times.

7. Plank position. Rest your hands firmly near the edge of a sturdy desk, then take a few steps back until your body forms a diagonal with the floor. Keeping your body tight and straight, hold the position for as long as you can, or at least 30 seconds, focusing on bracing through the abdomen, tightening your glutes, and keeping your back straight. Also make sure to breathe continuously. Over time, when this starts to feel easy, this can be done kneeling on elbows (buttocks higher is easiest) or with toes curled under and elbows on the floor or on top of the stability ball.

Practice these exercises a few times a week, and soon your core will be so strong, no one will guess you sit at a desk all day.

About the Author:
Patty Englebaugh founded in 1993. She has 19
years of experience installing ergonomic office furniture and computer accessories that create healthy work environments in home and corporate offices as well as in the healthcare, education, government, and business sectors. You can reach her Mon-Fri 8-6pm EST for one-on-one support for your ergonomic needs: (877) 971-0151.

Mar 202012

by David Haas

Physical activity is not only recommended for the healthy, but also for most people fighting diseases such as cancer. When dealing with common cancers such as breast cancer or the more rare forms like mesothelioma, your body must be at its best. A lot of research has been carried out to know whether exercising has any effects on the lives of people who are undergoing cancer treatment or those in remission. Exercise does benefit people undergoing cancer in many ways, but one should seek the council of their doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

Studies conducted in relation to how physical activity affects cancers have shown that it could help in the prevention of breast and colon cancer. Preliminary results of other studies have also indicated that physically active people have a reduced risk of prostate and endometrial cancers. The Center for Disease Control has gone ahead to recommend that people engage in moderate physical activity for a period of 30 minutes at least five days of the week. Alternatively, you can do intense physical exercise for 20 minutes for three days during the week.

The merits of physical activity speak for themselves. However, it is an important pillar to ensure that our bodies are strong enough to fight off infections. It is also important to accelerate the healing process when we are sick. The following are some ways that it may help cancer patients.

Cancer treatment can leave a patient extremely fatigued and make it feel like a Herculean effort to get moving. Although it may be hard to get started, daily physical activity can boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and help your body get stronger again. Simply go for a walk around the block to elevate your heart rate or participate in a Yoga or Pilates call to improve muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Most cancer patients can benefit from exercise, regardless of the stage of treatment. A positive frame of mind often makes it easier to cope with the emotional and physical stress of illness. Consult your doctor and find a workout plan that is appropriate and get out there and get active!

Joining the organization in 2011, David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to our site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.

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Feb 212010

Maybe you’ve never run before or maybe it’s just been so long that you feel like you are a beginner all over again. Don’t fear the road; conquer it!

First remember not only the tangible matters when it comes to getting results. Yes, a leaner body and plenty of long distance training under your belt will help. However, what matters most comes from the inside. By overcoming your limitations and obstacles, you learn to feel more confident about yourself.

First, analyze your current lifestyle and find the time you need to commit to running. If you can’t fit it all in at once, take two short runs duing the day. In the beginning, establish a schedule you know can work. Don’t worry about how far you’ll run, just plan for a certain amount of time. Interval training is a great way to build up your mileage. Try running for thirty seconds, then walking for a minute. Power walking also improves aerobic conditioning. When you can’t run, you can use walking as an active recovery.

Remember; don’t forget about activity and rest. Running too much creates risks of burnout and injury. Running too little means you won’t improve much and could leave you shy of your your goals. As your goals change, so should your training schedule. If you are training for a race, adjust speed, time, and/or frequency of training to match what you’re working toward.

Often improper form or poorly fitting shoes can lead to unnecessary joint paint. Consult with someone at a highly recommended running shop, where an expert watches you run outside or on a treadmill. They will be able to analyze what type of shoe suits your stature and movement patterns and tell you whether a shoe insert may be of help. Remember to follow recommended mileage limits for shoes. Running on worn-out sneakers, which have most of the cushioning compacted and broken down, is asking for an injury.

If you get out of breath quickly when running, slow down and work on establishing a pace that you can maintain for 20 or more minutes. A lot of beginning runners make the common mistake of running too fast. Try to run so you can speak to another person and breathe comfortably. Using a heart rate monitor can help you get a feel for whether you are working at a good pace. Most fit individuals without cardiovascular risks and who are not taking medication which lowers blood pressure should do aerobic training at a heart rate between 60 and 80 percent of their maximum heart rate. As you get stronger, you can increase your pace without having your heart rate go up any higher and your heart rate will drop more quickly whenever you slow your pace or stop exercising.

If you get a side cramp, try slowing your pace. If this doesn’t help, then reach your arms up over your head to see if the gas bubble moves.

Post-exercise stretching is imperative for reducing post-exercise muscle soreness, preventing injuries and maintaining flexibility. Stretch all major muscle groups worked – quadriceps, hamstrings, piriformis/gluteals, inner thighs, and calves. Hold the following stretches for about 30 seconds while taking deep breaths to enhance the relaxation response.

Don’t let your fears or anxieties about running stop you from going out and giving it a try. Its a sport that can be done almost anywhere by almost anybody.