Thursday, January 27, 2011

Five top tips from the late Jack LaLanne

To honor the legacy of American fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who died at the age of 96 on January 23, US fitness and health magazine Self reports on the five essential truths of the "Godfather of Fitness."

LaLanne, a brawny showman who towed boats while swimming handcuffed to encourage Americans to get healthy, brought the concept of daily exercise to the American masses long before it became the norm. He opened what was believed to have been America's first fitness club, in Oakland, California, in 1936. He invented much of the exercise equipment seen in today's gyms, including leg extensions and cable-pulley systems. Jumping jacks? Named after LaLanne himself. Last year, LaLanne released a new book titled Live Young Forever, in which he discussed how he stays healthy and active in his twilight years.

According to Self, the LaLanne legacy includes the following five pointers:

1. Pump iron: When LaLanne came onto the scene, lifting weights was relegated to bodybuilders. "But through his fitness clubs and TV show, he helped Americans realize that strength training isn't just about baby oil and bulging biceps," writes Self. Rather, pumping iron stabilizes joints, boosts metabolism, burns more fat, and keeps you healthier, longer.

2. Eat a high-fiber diet: "What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow," LaLanne once said, reported in the article. "If I put inferior foods in my body today, I'm going to be inferior tomorrow, it's that simple.'"

3. Ladies, this includes you too: Before Jane Fonda, LaLanne was encouraging women to the hit the gym, back when most health clubs catered only to men.

4. Challenge yourself: At age 42, LaLanne did a record 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes. That swim while reportedly towing 10 boats carrying 77 people? LaLanne was 66 years old.

5. Scales are not an accurate measure of fitness: The better gauge is how your clothes fit, how strong and fit you are, and how you feel, cites the magazine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chiropractic patients learn tips to keeps new year's resolutions

It is about two weeks into new year's resolutions.

According to health experts, it takes about three months for a resolution to become routine.

During that time, there are ways for people to physically prepare their body to make achieving their new year’s fitness goals easier.

Ruth Burlesan-Garigen suffers from muscle pain in her arm, which prevents her from continuing her new year’s resolution to exercise every day with her husband.

To ease the pain, Burlesan-Garigen visits Chiropractor Chris Garner in Murrels Inlet.

“It’s not just cracking your back,” said Burlesan-Garigen. “It’s a whole other realm of chiropractic therapy. He works on different areas of your body to include your mind.”

Garner has a resolution of his own.

He wants to help his patients make 2011 their healthiest year yet.

To do that, Garner hosts health expos.

“In January we always like to educate people on how to stick to the new years resolutions,” said Garner. “We talked to them about their nervous system and the importance of a nervous system and regulating all bodily function. We also talked to them about massage therapy.”

Those forms of therapy, according to Garner, makes exercising feel better.

Health experts say chiropractors help to make sure the nervous system is in check and that the body functions how it is supposed to.

“Often times it does help people to feel better,” Garner said. “And it also does help them to work out as far as allowing your body to move properly. You always want motion in all of your joints.”

Another resolution that is hard to keep is healthier eating.

Emma Ware, a certified nutritionist and clinical homeopath, works with Garner at health seminars to teach patients that making small adjustments in their diets can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

“To feel empowered, you have got to wake up feeling great. If you’re consuming foods that promote a lot of inflammation, or if you’re consuming a lot of foods that make you feel heavy, then you wake up feeling lethargic and you don’t feel well,” said Ware. “Today, there are so many amazing foods that you can choose from that not only help you keep your weight down, but give you energy.”

Burlesan-Garigen keeps those tips in mind so that she can turn her resolution into a routine.

“We don’t want to do it for a month and stop,” said Burlesan-Garigen. “Its not so much about losing weight as it is about the shape your body’s in and getting healthy and fit.”

Garner will host another new year’s resolution seminar next Saturday at the Pepper Geddings Rec Center in Myrtle Beach.

The event is open to the public.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Work Out Tips: How to stay motivated

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to recommit to our health by working out. You feel the motivation right now, but how do you keep it throughout the entire year?

I started working out when I was 23 years old and have kept it up over the years. Here are my top tips for 2011.
1. Make it a priority

One of the most common excuses for not working out is that we are too busy. Admittedly, I’ve used this excuse many times as well and have to catch myself. The goal of working out is tied often to losing weight and looking better. However, when we really pause to think about our physical health, exercise is far from skin deep.

Firstly, research shows that about 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day can boost brain productivity by 30%. So if you are too busy to workout because you have too many things to do back in the office, you are really operating at 70% of your potential. Physical health impacts mental performance.

Secondly, think of your body like the car you can never replace. Your body can either be a barrier or enabler for everything you want to do in life whether it is having enough energy to keep up with the competition at work or hiking up a pyramid in Egypt. Technology brings many digital experiences to our finger tips, yet nothing beats the real McCoy when it comes to full immersion into the things we are most passionate about. Working out is not a guarantee of great health, but it is something we have control over that greatly increases the chances of a healthy future.
2. Assume you are lazy

It takes a lot of effort to work out. Remove as many barriers as possible to getting to the gym, working out at home or getting to a recreational game of hockey. Try to make working out in your daily routine the path of least resistance.

For example, a couple of things I do. On weekends, I will wake up and put on my gym clothes even if I don’t know when I will make it to the gym that day. I also leave my gym bag in the front foyer so if I decide to go, I just have to grab the bag. If I plan to work out after the office, I throw my gym bag into the trunk when driving home, I have the option to go straight to the gym.

As a last resort, if I am not feeling it, I will convince myself I just need to drive to the gym and then drive back to fulfill my obligations to myself. Every time, once I am in the parking lot of the gym, I go in.
3. Know your type

I am the “gym rat” type if it isn’t obvious to you already. I wasn’t born with a lot of athletic ability and I enjoy mentally zoning out when I am working out. I love the pure predictability of an elliptical machine.

I know several of my friends who would be completely bored with my work out regimen. Clint, my partner in crime, enjoys playing hockey and will often trek down to the cold ice rink at 11 pm with what seems like 20 pounds of gear. This would be torture for me.

Find something you enjoy, but also something you can realistically maintain. That is why I like the gym, it is always there for me and I don’t need to plan ahead.
4. Make it social, make it fun

I use Foursquare to check into my local gym every time I visit and have been in a fierce battle with others to maintain my status of mayor of Club One Silver Creek. Today, I finally ousted my arch nemesis, a guy whom I’ve never met, to once again become the reigning mayor.

Yes, it is a silly game. But it is one other way I motivate myself to work out. I know I am competitive and this is a very low effort way to compete with others.

Another thing I do is post my check-ins on Facebook. I doubt my friends and family care that I go to the gym, but for me, the additional amount of imagined peer pressure helps me get to the gym.

Clint, for example, will compete against his previous performance with a “ghost” of himself on the Expresso bikes. Every time he cycles, he tries to beat his current record.
5. Reward yourself

No, not with a large slice of New York cheese cake (which happens to be one of my favorite desserts). Reward yourself with new clothing and work out gear. Some gyms have even started a point reward system. Club One has WellPower which I have signed up for. It rewards points for each visit towards merchandise and guest passes. I think more insurance companies and employers should also start up such programs.

What you reward is important as well. Focus on the good habits of working out, not on the scale of losing x number of pounds.

The problem with focusing on an outcome in this case is that:

* if you achieve it, you feel you have accomplished the goal and stop working out.
* if you don’t achieve it, you feel like a failure.

Unfortunately, health is a lifelong journey, not a destination. I know, corny isn’t it. It is more about forming good habits, not aiming for a particular “number” goal. The good news about this is that missing a day here or eating a dessert there is okay. What matters is what you do over the long-term.