Health and Fitness Tips and Inspiration

  1. The Benefits of Ellipticals



    Whether you have trained on ellipticals for years or are just starting to fit an elliptical into your fitness routine, elliptical cross training has a variety of benefits that can help a person get into shape and stay healthy. The following list describes some of the benefits elliptical cross training brings!

    1. Elliptical cross training is a low-impact workout that is great for cardiovascular health! Before elliptical cross trainers were made widely available to the public, people who wanted intense cardio activity were limited to high-impact exercise.
    2. Ellipticals can be used by all ages of people and they are easy to figure out. Most allow you to hop on and go.
    3. It is a workout that is easy on the joints. With an elliptical, you can get in a vigorous, heart-pounding workout that doesn’t pound on your joints!
    4. Elliptical cross trainers provide excellent weight-bearing exercise which helps strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. There are also muscle-toning benefits because of this!
    5. You will work your upper and lower body at the same time. With some workouts your focus is either on just the legs, or only the arms. With an elliptical you can work both! Ellipticals also have built in programs that allow you to change up your program and provides some workout variety
    6. Ellipticals do provide for some multi-tasking. If you need to read the latest magazine or catch up on emails, you usually have the capability to get these done while continuing to get your cardio on.
    7. And last, but not least, you can pedal in reverse. There are claims that pedaling in reverse works the calves and hamstrings more than pedaling in forward motion. It's fun to try, so give it a go.
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  2. When is it time for NEW running shoes?



    Old, worn-out running shoes are one of the most common reasons for running injuries. Running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability over time. Continuing to run in worn-out running shoes increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can lead to overuse injuries.

    After about 300 to 400 miles of use, running shoes should be replaced, depending on running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run. Smaller runners can get new running shoes at the upper end of the recommendation, while heavier runners should consider replacement shoes closer to the 300 mile mark. If you run on rough roads, you'll need to replace your running shoes sooner than if you primarily run on a treadmill.

    Try to mark your calendar when you buy a new pair of shoes so you know when to replace them. If you use a training log, record new shoe purchases on that. Or try writing the purchase date on the inside of each shoe's tongue.

    If you want to make your pair of running shoes last longer, buy a second pair of running shoes about halfway through the life of your original pair. Your shoes will last longer when you allow them to decompress and dry out between workouts. Also, having a fresh pair of shoes as a reference will help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced.
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  3. 10 common mistakes keeping you from your fitness goals



    1. Not Having A Plan
    Your primary objective should influence the amount you do, as well as the the intensity and the type (cardio, resistance, stretching) of every workout. Pick a goal such as losing 10 pounds, running a 5K, or improving your endurance and research proven plans. This is a great way to optimize your workout and stay focused!

    2. The All-Or-Nothing Approach
    Research shows that just ten minutes of exercise can provide important health benefits. A ten minute workout is better than a 0 minute workout!

    3. Skipping The Warm Up
    Taking 5-10 minutes to gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate decreases your risk of injury since working cold, stiff muscles can lead to sprains and tears. Warming up also increases circulation and improves range of motion.

    4. Not Switching Up Your Routine
    Once your strength and stamina improve, it's time to upgrade your routine. The same workout week after week will lose its effectiveness and may lead to injury or burnout, as well as becoming incredibly boring. To switch up your routine, you do not need to spend more time at the gym. Simply try to manage your time differently and more efficiently. This is why interval training has become so popular!

    5. Unbalanced Training
    Most people focus only on certain muscles (such as the abdominals or biceps), but it's important to work your whole body and core.

    6. Rapid Progression
    Exercising too hard and too often, or increasing intensity too quickly, can result in injury and/or setback.

    7. Ignoring Heavy Weights
    It can be intimidating, but you aren't gaining anything from avoiding heavy weights. You have two types of muscle fibers: slow and fast. If you don't use the heavier weights, you neglect the fast fibers, which are important for moving quickly, lifting heavy objects and for spine and hip stability. Ladies, if you're worried that you'll bulk up, don't be. Women cannot add much size to their muscles due to low concentrations of testosterone.

    8. Not Protecting Your Bones
    It’s important to do weight-bearing exercises to help protect your bones. While treadmill walking is sufficient to keep the spinal bones strong, your hip bones need more loading. Remember the terms "steep," or "step." Either increase the steepness (incline) on the treadmill or attempt stepping exercises.

    9. Incorrect Machine Set-Up
    Exercise equipment is adjustable. It's important that you set it up to fit you correctly before you use it. Using poorly adjusted equipment could lead to injury and/or setback. If you're unsure about proper set up ask a staff person at your local gym or 2nd Wind Exercise fitness store.

    10. Always Running At A Steady Pace
    Again, we’re back to interval training. It teaches your muscles to burn energy more efficiently so you can go faster. Try starting out with a half or one-mile warm-up, then doing four to six rounds of running faster than your regular pace for a quarter mile and then switching to a slower pace for the next quarter mile. Strive to gradually lengthen the faster-paced intervals, but be careful not to progress too rapidly. Limit these interval runs to a few times a week to help avoid injury.

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  4. [Recipe] Healthy Loaded Oatmeal




    There is no better way to start your day than with a healthy bowl of oatmeal. Mix up your ingredients to keep it interesting and to fuel your body.

    MAKES: 4 servings. Simply divide by 4 to make recipe for one person.

    • 2 cups oatmeal, uncooked
    • 4 Tbsp natural nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew butter or other)
    • 2 cups skim milk (or milk alternative)
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 2 scoops quality protein powder. Pick you favorite flavor
    • 4 Tbsp Flax Seeds
    • handful of blueberries, strawberries, bananas or fruit of your choice


    Directions: Bring the 4 cups of skim milk and water to a boil in a pan. Add oatmeal, natural nut butter, and protein powder to pan and reduce heat. Gently cook for 3 to 5 minutes until mixture becomes thick. Spoon into bowls. Add flax seeds, cinnamon, and your favorite fruit to the top. Enjoy!
    Calories: Around 500 per serving (varies based on fruit, milk, and nut butter choices)
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  5. Burn More Calories With This HIIT Workout

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