Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to ramp up your exercise routine

I just got one of the best compliments of my life. Rachel in Renton told me that she was inspired to join a gym after trying a few weeks of my Fitness Me In grocery store and cardio cooking exercise routines. I’m so excited about her healthy lifestyle change!
I hope I’ve managed to inspire others as well. If so, I have some advice from David K. Spierer, Ed.D, co-author of “Get Firefighter Fit,” and assistant professor in the Division of Sports Sciences at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus.

He says an intelligent progression of exercise has three keys:

1. Consistency. “Be consistent with your exercise, whether you’re doing the elliptical trainer or walking outside. If it’s not consistent then you can throw it out of the window,” Spierer says. “All of the benefits …don’t come into play unless it’s consistent.”
2. Duration. Once you’ve added exercise to your to-do list, increase the minutes in exercise sessions by 10 percent each week until you max out on available time.
3. Intensity. “Once you get to that ceiling of time, then work on intensity,” Spierer says. For example if you have been walking for 20 minutes a day, pop in some jogging intervals.

I get to the gym as much as possible, and I'm following his advice as I get my foot healed and back up to speed. On the days I cannot make it you know what I'm doing in the grocery store or in front of my stove (if not see this week's Fitness Me In Workout below)!

Here Are Some Healthy Beauty Secrets

With those holiday parties coming up, I thought you might like a couple of tips for glowing beauty from within.
Sarah Merson, author of "The Top 100 Foods For a Younger You" and a mom of three, believes the Green Garden Cocktail is amongst the single most important recipe in her book that moms can use to remain youthful.
“It's a fabulous detoxifier, which leaves the skin glowing and also promotes overall elasticity of the skin. It also gives boundless energy which is a true characteristic of youth,” Merson says.
She has a way to sneak some veggies into your kids, too.
“As a fellow mum, I'd have to add in that the Carrot Beauty Juice is a quick and easy recipe to start each day with -- and the kids love it too,” Merson says. “Apart from anything else, it's a great way to get them to eat their vegetables or fruit without really realizing it.”

Here are the recipes:

Green Garden Cocktail
1 tray fresh wheatgrass
2 celery stalks
Handful of parsley
Masticating juicer
To harvest wheatgrass, grasp a small bundle of blades firmly and cut them off above the compost level. Rinse all ingredients in cold water and feed them into the juicer. Repeat with 2-3 more wheatgrass bundles. Drink about 2 tablespoonfuls each day on an empty stomach.

Carrot Beauty Juice
4 cucumbers
4 parsnips
8-12 carrots, scrubbed with tops removed
2 lemons, peeled
1 green bell pepper
Cut cucumber and parsnips lengthwise and feed through a juicer. Follow with other ingredients. Pour into a glass and serve.

A Great Family Activity - Volunteering

Tis the season of giving, but if your family is like mine you are feeling the financial crunch.
No worries - giving of your time is especially important this year because volunteer organizations are feeling the pinch, too.
You can even work in a workout with some of the volunteer activities!
For example, you can get out, tromp around and become "frog watchers." That means you collect information about the frog and toad populations in your neighborhood for Frogwatch USA http://www.nwf.org/frogwatchUSA/ which uses the information to learn more about the diversity of frog and toad populations and to emphasize the importance of protecting wetland habitats.
There are, of course, other reasons to volunteer. Volunteering with your kids strengthens your bonds with them as well as your family's ties with the community.
I didn't know this until recently, but there are actually lots of ways you can volunteer from home.

Here are a couple of ideas:

1. Pick up litter at a park, shoreline, mountain, river, beach or wilderness area. Take a few digital photographs of what you've picked up. Have your family e-mail an essay about your experience along with your favorite digital photo, your names, age(s) and address to mail@wildernessproject.org. Your essay will be published on the Web site, your children's names will appear in the Registry of Apprentice Ecologists and you will get an official certificate. Go to http://www.wildernessproject.org/

2. Help animals by baking dog biscuits, making cat toys or donating blankets. Go to http://www.pets911.com/index.php.

3. Make cards for other children, their parents or their siblings who are going through a difficult period in their lives. Go to http://www.makeachildsmile.org/.

For more ideas, go to:




For more info on the reasons to volunteer with your family, see my article in The Olympian newspaper, http://www.theolympian.com/living/story/668477.html

Monday, December 1, 2008

Here's one of the best ways to avoid the flu

It seems there is a week for everything, but this is a good one. Dec. 7-13 is National Hand-Washing Awareness Week.
Not ironically, this overlaps with the Centers for Disease Control's recently announced National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 8-14).
This seems silly to some, but washing your hands is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infection.
We all THINK we know how to wash hands, but there's actually a proper way to do it -- and not everyone does it right, according to USA.gov News.
If nothing else, you might want to remind your kids on the proper techniques. I know my boys need daily monitoring! Here are the instructions:
1. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
2. Rub hands together, making a lather, and scrub for 15-20 seconds (imagine singing "Happy Birthday" two times).
3. Rinse hands well under running water.
4. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet. NOTE: I'm one of those paranoid people who also uses the towel to open the door if I'm in a public restroom.

If soap and clean water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub, AKA sanitizer.
There's a right way to do this too, says Thurston County Health Officer Diana Yu.
First, use sanitizer on visibly clean hands. Otherwise the grit and dirt trap the nasty stuff you want to get rid of.
Also, you need to use a good-sized glob, wet the entire hand and let it air dry.
“If you wipe it on your shirt or a towel you have messed it up,” Yu says. “There’s actually a correct way to use hand sanitizer. The evaporation of alcohol kills the bugs on your hand.”

Here's some more information on flu shots as well as the vaccinations we need as adults in an article I wrote for The Olympian newspaper: http://www.theolympian.com/living/story/681526.html

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fitness Me In Workout Series #7

Week 7

Cardio Cooking

Another busy mom day has left you with no workout -- and now it’s time to cook dinner.
Here’s the solution: Grab the remaining leftovers from Thanksgiving and make this Turkey Chili recipe from the Mayo Clinic.

2 cups chopped zucchini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
1 pound chopped cooked turkey
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 cups diced canned tomatoes, no-salt-added variety
4 cups canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 475 F and gather and prep your ingredients. Dance to some upbeat holiday tunes – or whatever else strikes your fancy.
2. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the zucchini in a single layer in the baking dish. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly tender and lightly browned.
3. While the zucchini is roasting, add the oil and chopped onions to a dutch oven or soup pot. Sauté over low heat until the onions are browned. Meanwhile grab a hand weight or soup can and do 15 bicep curls on the left, then the right (leaving second hand free to stir).
4. Add the celery and peppers and continue to sauté. Do 15 more bicep curls on each side, but this time squat about halfway down each time you do a curl (this works upper and lower body at the same time).
5. Add garlic, turkey, chili powder and cumin seed. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Now’s your chance to do some lunges. Try for at least 20 on each side. HOW TO DO THEM: Stand with feet together. If you can, hold your weights or soup cans. Move forward into a lunge position (Land on heel first and end with front knee and back knee at 90 degree angles. Make sure your front knee does not bend past your toes). With your weight in your heels, push back up to starting position.
6. Next, dance as you stir in the tomatoes, kidney beans, vegetable broth, brown sugar and the roasted zucchini.
7. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes before serving. Meanwhile do 2-3 sets of tricep kickbacks. HOW TO DO THEM: Hold a weight or soup can in each hand and bend over until your torso is at a 45-degree angle or parallel to the floor. Keep abs tight to protect the lower back and slightly bend knees. Bend your the arms and pull the elbows up to torso level. Now, straighten the arms out behind you, squeezing the triceps muscles. Hold at the top for count of 3 before returning arms to starting position. Rest or dance for 30 seconds to 1 minute between sets.
8. Get back to that booty shake as you set the table.

You can find more healthy recipes at the Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Recipe Center, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-recipes/RE99999

Grocery Day

Here’s a workout that you can do in the grocery store this week to tone some of the spots all that turkey and stuffing went into. You’ll want to wear a long shirt or coat.

1. Walk around the store for 3 minutes
2. Find a deserted aisle and go down it. Each time you take a step lift your knee so the thigh is parallel to the floor, contracting your abs as you do so.
3. Walk for 2 minutes, and then repeat the ab exercise above.
4. Now stop to read a label, slowly tightening and releasing your butt 30 times.
5. Walk for 2 minutes.
6. Stop in another spot and very slowly do 10 side leg lifts on each side. Hold at top position for counts of five.
7. Walk for 2 minutes, and then repeat the butt tightening exercise (you can even do this in the checkout line – thanks to that long shirt no one will know).
8. As you pay for your groceries, keep your abs pulled in tight the whole time.
9. Go home and have a great day!

1. Walk 3 minutes
2. Knee lifts with tight abs
3. Walk 2 minutes
4. Knee lifts with tight abs
5. Butt crunches
6. Walk 2 minutes
7. Slow side leg lifts - 10 each leg
8. Walk 2 minutes
9. Butt crunches
10. Tighten abs at checkout

Cleaning Day

It’s time to catch up on that darn laundry again – but at least you can tone your thighs while you’re at it.
1. Warm up by walking around your house for 2 minutes, grabbing your laundry that needs to be folded en route.
2. Set yourself up so you can do a wall sit as you fold some of the laundry (I like to scoot my dining table close to the wall). HOW TO DO THEM: Place your upper back against a smooth wall. With feet shoulder width apart, lean back against the wall, inhale and slowly lower into a squat position while sliding down the wall. Keep abs tight. Hold as long as you can before coming up. Shake your legs out, and then repeat. Do 3-4 sets.
3. Now walk or jog the folded laundry to its proper place(s).
4. This time as you fold, do side leg lifts. Try for 20-30 on each leg. HOW TO DO THEM: For the side lifts, lift your leg straight out to the side until your foot is 6 to 12 inches off the floor. Slightly bend leg you are standing on and keep abs tight. At the top of the movement pause and count to 3. Return the leg to the floor.
5. This time as you bring the laundry to its destination(s), walk sideways like a sumo wrestler. HOW TO DO THEM: Start with feet together, and take a step sideways to the right, ending in a squat with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Transfer your weight to the right foot and stand up. Continue walking sideways in this manner. Lead with the left leg on the way back.
6. If you’ve got more laundry to fold, do calf raises while finishing the chore.
7. Then walk or jog the laundry to where it goes, stretch your legs and feel the tone in your thighs!

Play Day

It’s fun to be a goofball and exercise with your kids. Today, you’ll play mirror. Stand facing your child(ren) and pick one person to be the “looker.” The rest are mirrors who mimic the looker’s actions as if they are the image in the mirror. Turn on some upbeat music and have fun with this one! If your kids are like mine, they’ll have you jumping around and doing all sorts of crazy things!

Groggy Day

Don’t have lots of energy? That’s OK. Here’s a Pilates routine for flexibility on YouTube that’ll make you feel much more focused and centered: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZopL5-P8zgs

Legal junk/Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice or care of medical professionals. Consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, or exercise program, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.