We've Moved!

 Continue to read our thoughts on how to
get free of eating, exercise and weight worries
at our new location: AWeightLifted.com.

Picture 2


December 02, 2008

Fitness and Health: The Driving Muscle

Ballet Yes. There is a muscle on the front of your lower leg. Chances are your right tibialis anterior is much stronger, less tight, and better developed than the left. Why? Because that pedal-to-the-metal action is a perfect strengthening exercise for the lovely muscle. Aside from driving, strengthening this muscle can result in greater ankle stability, a lesser chance of developing shin splints, and prevents the toe from grazing the ground during the swinging phase while walking. It also is responsible for the inward and outward rotating movements at the ankle and supports the arch of the foot.

Every time the toes are raised, the “driving muscle” is getting a mini strength training session. Who said a workout can’t be done in the car? Although driving is somewhat responsible for the development and the strength of the right tibialis anterior, it’s probably best to perform the following resistance exercise in a less, er, mobile setting. Incorporate these exercises into your healthy lifestyle!

Sit in a chair or lay flat on your back with feet flat on the floor. During an exhale, pull the toes upward off the floor slowly, while squeezing the tibialis anterior. Slowly return the toes to the floor, but put no weight on the toes. As soon as the toes touch the floor, pull them slowly upwards again. Continue to repeat the motion, slowly and controlled, 12 times. Three sets of 12 repetitions are adequate for strengthening the tibialis anterior. Between sets, point the toes and rotate inward and outward at the ankle to stretch.

Who knew such a simple exercise could be part of the quest for better fitness and health?!


Posted by meredith beckman on December 2, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 28, 2008

Fitness and Health: Beat the Boredom!

HeartWith the snow and ice outside, my cardio routines have been getting a bit boring…for both mind and body. When my options are limited, I tend to slip into the mentality of “putting in my time” in terms of getting a workout every day…and that certainly eliminates chances of a more intense workout happening. But there are some simple ways to easily increase the intensity of a cardio workout that don’t require sprinting and still achieve your healthy lifestyle goals. Try these ideas to amp up your daily fitness and health routine! The intervals created by throwing in these little bursts of a slightly higher intensity will do wonders for your workout!

Raise your hands above your head for intermittent bursts of time during a walk, aerobics class, or while your dancing around your living room!

Increase either speed or incline during a walk. Choosing a walking path that includes hills provides natural intervals. No hills? Try increasing speed for a few minutes, then returning to a moderate speed for a few minutes.

Try something new! A different mode of exercise challenges the body in new ways. Try enrolling in a kickboxing class, learning to play a sport, or get in the pool.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that moderate intensity exercise should show up in our schedule most days of the week. The duration of exercise recommended by ACSM includes 20 to 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent bouts of aerobic activity accumulated throughout the day. However, something is always better than nothing. Using these suggestions can help make healthy lifestyle management a way of life!

Posted by meredith beckman on November 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

November 25, 2008

Fitness: Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful!

Snow I woke up this morning to beautiful, freshly fallen snow...and ice underneath...and freezing temperatures. It's easy to let less than desirable weather become an excuse to stay indoors and skip that daily walk. But giving up a healthy lifestyle doesn't have to be the only answer when the rain is pouring or the snow is swirling.

On days like today, I like to have a little arsenal of "back up" activites, like a fun workout video, high-energy cd, or game to play, locked away specifically for my rainy days. Days like today are perfect for feeling like a kid again and focusing on that intrinsic movement!

Posted by meredith beckman on November 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 21, 2008

Fitness: A Case of the Fridays

Dog You’ve heard of having a ‘case of the Mondays,’ right? Well, I find I’m more likely to fall under the influence of Friday rather than Monday. On the first day of the weekend, the last thing I want to do is pencil a workout into my last-day-of-the-week schedule. Because everyone suffers at one time or another from lack of motivation in terms of moving their bodies, I’ve put together a nice list of ideas to prevent throwing in the towel entirely on such days.

1. Make plans with a workout buddy. I’ve recently been working out with a friend five days a week, and am proud to announce I’ve only missed one workout this week…and felt horribly guilty about leaving her hanging that day. Though I wasn’t always excited before the workout, I never walked away regretting it.
2. Choose recreation. Have an activity planned especially for low motivation days that’s nothing but fun. Play with your dog, go dancing with friends, or maybe even go shopping – power walking from store to store of course.
3.Create the perfect playlist. If you’re like me, the perfect lineup of tunes can get you through almost anything…and probably even help you enjoy it. Having an arsenal of playlists with different genres of music can help you feel satisfied with what you’re hearing while in any type of mood.
4. Plan a reward. The right incentive can go a long way. A movie night with the girls, that new pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing, or giving yourself permission to sleep in an hour later the next morning might be all you need to push through your workout.
5. Phone a friend. I have a girlfriend that I can call up at any time who is prepared to motivate me at the first sign of giving in. Awhile back I told her I needed her to be that motivational buddy who I can pull from whenever I need an extra push. She’s never failed me.

Of course, some days our bodies really need a break. It's most important to enjoy movement and listen to our body's cues...even if that means hitting the hay early and moving tomorrow when it can truly be enjoyed.

Posted by meredith beckman on November 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 19, 2008

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain: 10 Tips to Guarantee Holiday Weight Gain

The annual holiday food fight is about to begin.  You know, the one where conflicted women nationwide (even worldwide) face down rich-food eating traditions.

This year, to help women understand what doesn’t work when it comes to happy holidays, the healthy-weight experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have come up with some sure-fire tips to take the guesswork out of gaining those holiday pounds.  We counter them with sensible advice for emerging from the holidays feeling great.

For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain

Before the Holidays

·      Diet! Diet! Diet!  Let’s face it, you expect to overeat during the holidays so why not get a jump on weight loss now?  If you’re feeling truly ambitious, try dieting during the holidays, too; the deprivation will be highly effective at driving you to overeat.  Our real advice:  Learn to eat what you want now in a way that leaves you feeling great.  Then the holidays won’t pose any special challenge, and you can enjoy them fully.

·      Work out extra hard and long every day.  You can make up for those times during the holidays when you won’t want or have the time to do anything.  Our real advice:  When we overdo on exercise, we’re more likely to burn out, or worse yet, injure ourselves, and guarantee we don’t want to do anything.  Slow and steady wins the race.

·      Start weighing yourself daily.  You’ll be able to follow your weight up and down the scale, and cut back even more when you’ve gained an ounce.  Then you’ll heighten your feelings of deprivation even more, further guaranteeing holiday overindulgenceOur real advice:  Toss out the scale now and for always.  It generally doesn’t give the instant gratification we seek, and often negatively impacts our motivation to take care of ourselves.

During the Holidays

·      Take on as much work as you can.  If you don’t do it, who will?  The holidays just aren’t the holidays without all the fuss!  Our real advice:  Choose wisely in what you commit to.  You may end up with fewer or simpler celebrations but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.

·      Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel guilty about eating.  It’s easier to say ‘no’ when your spouse, mother, sister, daughter, friend looks disapprovingly at you as you reach for that wonderful holiday sprinkled cookie.  Our real advice:  Educate family and friends about the real impact of their attempts to control what you eat.  If they won’t listen, minimize your time around them when you’re eating.  It may mean missing a party or meal, but you might feel much better as a result.

·      Forget about stress management for now.  You’re too busy!! Just focus on getting what you need to get done.  And be sure to really have too much to do before big parties.  If you can pick a fight with your spouse on the way to a party, all the better to guarantee extra emotional overeatingOur real advice:  Take care of yourself physically and mentally to help keep a balanced view on what’s important during busy times.  Maybe the easiest thing to do:  Get some exercise! Physical activity refreshes, relaxes, revitalizes and will add energy and enthusiasm to your life.  Make it a regular part of your day during the holidays and after.

Before & During Parties

·      Make sure every social event revolves around food.  If you throw the party yourself, make too much food, especially desserts!  Set up nuts and other goodies early so you can pick at them all day long while you skip meals.  You do eat fewer calories that way, right?  Our real advice:  Traditional foods are a big part of festivities, but holidays don’t have to be all about food.  Plan fun activities such as pumpkin bowling (knock down gourd ‘pins’ with small pumpkins), a pine cone toss (count how many pine cones you can land inside a hula hoop) or just fun and refreshing walks through the woods, around the neighborhood talking to friends you pass.

·      Set a ‘hands-off’ rule for all the rich foods you’ll encounter.  If you just say ‘no,’ you’ll be able to nip any weight gain in the bud!  Our real advice:  When we forbid foods or label them ‘bad,’ we set ourselves up for overeating them.  Again, learn to eat foods you love – even those rich in calories, fat, sugar – in a manner that makes you feel well.  That way, you’ll enjoy them and, if you’re following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll enjoy a healthy weight, too.

·      Go ahead and buy all those goodies on sale in jumbo packages.  They’re for your guests; they won’t create any problem for you having them around.  Our real advice:  Good intentions aside, mere exposure to food often sets us up for wanting to at least taste it, especially if we’ve got the idea we shouldn’t.  Help yourself by buying only as much as you really need, and even then, it might help to keep goodies tucked out of sight in the pantry until party time. 

·      Bank calories whenever possible.  Skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you’ll overeat at the party.  Our real advice: Feeding yourself well all the time leaves you better nourished and able to choose wisely whether at parties or the food court at the mall.

Posted by Marsha on November 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 18, 2008

Fitness: Yoga for Peace of Body and Mind

Yoga Sunset This is the time of year when things seem to begin to spiral out of control. Stress builds with the approach of the holidays, visits from family and friends, the end of the work year, making travel plans, and of course the many celebrations centered around food and drink, making mindful eating difficult. As I began thinking about my own personal quest to try not to let my fitness and health slip during these few months, I landed on the idea that maybe it wasn’t just my body that would need the extra attention.

During one particularly busy semester in college – two jobs on top of seven classes – I created a very acute fitness plan for myself. Every day I carved out 30 minutes somewhere for a yoga session, supplemented only with my daily treks across campus. Aside from keeping me in shape, I was more focused and clear-headed than ever before, even with the many responsibilities I held.

With stress being a major contributor to a wide array of health problems, a workout that creates peace in the body, mind, and spirit might have far more benefits than one may think. This holiday season, why not couple a workout with some major stress reduction? Try bringing some peace to your body and mind with yoga!  

Posted by meredith beckman on November 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 14, 2008

Fitness: Forget the Workout – Let’s Play!

Dancing Girl A girlfriend of mine called the other day, unfortunately just missing me, and left a feel-good voicemail. She heard a man on the radio talking about recreation as re-creating ourselves. Because recreation for fitness and intrinsic movement are such powerful components of the healthy lifestyle program at Green Mountain, it really hit home. Finding an activity we really love – in the way that it re-creates our most genuine self – is such a big idea.

At the end of a long day this week, I popped in a CD, and began to work on some choreography for a Zumba class I would be teaching later in the week. Zumba is a fantastic outlet for me, in that dancing and music have always made my “Favorites” list. It’s still something I have to learn, however, and I just couldn’t seem to de-stress with it that day. I tossed in a different CD with a few of my newest favorite songs, and just began to throw out whatever choreography came, whatever the music inspired. Forty minutes later, I was more breathless than I’d been in nearly a month…and I hadn’t even noticed. I was lost in true self-expression, in passionately exhibiting everything in my unique makeup. It was more than enjoyment…it was the satisfaction that only comes from being wholly honest in participating in an activity that brings us sincere joy. When we find something like that, the parts of us that sometimes get hidden are allowed to come out, re-creating us.

Someone once told me that you can learn everything you need to know about that person by watching the way they play the sport they care about. I think you can learn by watching the way the play, period. In a country where a majority of working men and women list work as their biggest stressor, I think the idea of play gets lost, which is quite sad when you consider this entire discussion. If we never take the time to re-create the part of us we love most, we may start to lose touch with who we really enjoy being.

So get fit to play, because playing will keep you fit!

Posted by meredith beckman on November 14, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 31, 2008

Fitness: Stretching - The Magic Bullet?

Circle What if I told you I knew a way you could increase your annual salary by 30 percent? Perhaps you’d be more interested if I told you I could make your food 30 percent more satisfying. Maybe I’d have your attention if I could convince you that the same strength-training routine you’ve been doing for years could be 30 percent more efficient. Well, if you know the undisclosed weapon for achieving the first two, go ahead and send that tidbit of invaluable information my way, while I let you in on the secret to locking down the third. It’s a little thing I like to call stretching.

Not just for increasing flexibility anymore, stretching after each set done for a particular muscle group can lead to increased strength gains on the size of said muscle group, as well as boost growth abilities. But let’s face it…we think about stretching as we’re speeding through our workout about as much as we pause to think about flossing every morning – a nice touch, but only if we have time. Studies suggest that fascial stretching - a slightly more intense form of stretching – added during rest periods between sets (not even adding time to your normal routine) can amp up muscular strength and size.

According to Nick Nilsson, President of an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company called BetterU, Inc, explains how stretching is the solution to avoiding plateaus in muscular strength and development.

"Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body.
Because fascia is so tough, it doesn't allow the muscle room to expand. It is like stuffing a large pillow into a small pillowcase. The size of the muscle won't change regardless of how hard you train or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your muscles is constricting the muscles within."

Nilsson suggests holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds after each set, which also meets American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines. He also stresses the importance of stretching following strength training, while the muscle is “pumped up,” or showered with increased blood flow.

The fitness staff at Green Mountain at Fox Run leads women through stretches before, during, and after each activity, thus preventing them from being tired, sore, and achy the next day…not to mention super-charging the efficiency of each workout by creating possible strength gains.

According to Lynnann Covell, an 18-year fitness staff veteran at Green Mountain, a number of women verbally express improvements in flexibility, strength, and stamina by day three – even participants with arthritis. I don’t know about you, but those effects coupled with the idea that more muscle means greater calorie-burning capabilities has me sold. Enjoy your day – I’m off to stretch!

 Fascial stretching video

Author: Meredith Beckman - Fitness Specialist/Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator, Green Mountain at Fox Run

Tags: , , ,

Posted by Cindy on October 31, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 22, 2008

More on Healthy Weights & Reading

51ilyzv1gwl_sl500_aa240__3A couple weeks ago, I posted about research that showed reading books that young girls could identify with helped improve self esteem and might be a good way to reach them with helpful fitness and health information. Emphasis on the helpful, which to us at Green Mountain means health at every size [HAES] messages.

For anyone who can use a primer on what HAES is all about, I'm thrilled to report that Linda Bacon has published her long-awaited book (long-awaited in HAES circles at least) "Health at Every Size, The Surprising Truth about your Weight." Excerpts from the website:

Fat isn't the problem. Dieting is the problem.

A society that rejects anyone whose size or body shape doesn't meet an impossible ideal is the problem.

A medical establishment that equates "thin" with "healthy" is the problem.

The solution? Health at Every Size

Health at Every Size is not a diet book. Read it and you will be convinced that the best way to win the war against fat is the give up the fight.

This is a book with helpful messages that anyone concerned about womens healthy living -- or anyone else's, for that matter -- can really use.

Posted by Marsha on October 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 23, 2008

On the Job Fitness

It's a gorgeous Fall day here in Vermont -- sun shining, fairly warm outside. I want to get out soon for a walk.

But I also know what's coming -- winter in all its glory...and all its reasons not to get outside (although after living here for more than two decades, I've adjusted and really love snowshoeing and other winter-time activities).

In case you're still struggling to develop a love of the outdoors in the winter time, or if you find yourself tied to a desk much of the time when it's still light outside, our most recent FitBriefing "Work or Workout? Office Exercise You Can Do" might have a few good ideas for keeping your fitness program alive.

These types of activities are good for what ails us, whether it be just feeling down (I find physical activity a quick way to adjust my mood) or a need to keep a healthy lifestyle program going for a weight loss program, diabetes management and/or reducing risk of the host of disorders that a healthy lifestyle works against.

And if anyone in the office thinks you're a bit strange doing some of these activities, just invite them to join in the fun!

Posted by Marsha on September 23, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack