How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

20 02 2014

 

IMG_20140126_134514Article last modified:  19 Feb 2014 by Marc Woodard

There are so many exercise programs one could engage in to increase fitness levels.  How does one know which is right for them?

This question is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight loss, sustainment of body weight and better physical endurance and energy levels.  Not to mention, excellent  pain alleviation benefits for weight bearing arthritic joints.

So what you really want to know is what exercise activity will give you the best bang for the buck?

I highly recommended if you are getting back into an exercise fitness program or activity, you condition your way back through a 3-5 day/workout program.  This may take you 2-6 weeks or longer to get back into good physical condition before you ramp up your efforts.  Especially if you’ve just recovered from some type of physical adversity.

Five day exercise program – Consider making two of your exercise days on Saturday and Sunday to include family fun activities as substitutes for exercise activity.  Work in the other 3 exercise activity days with exercise you enjoy and can stick too.

This type of programming will provide more flexibility at first to develop healthy fitness activity around your busy schedule while reducing stress.  After the fitness habit is maintained for 2 week period, begin to incorporate more activity choice into the plan to keep it interesting.   I’ve always found it important to take two days off in the week for needed rest [Typically Mon & Fri for me].  I don’t recommend a 6-7day workout routine unless you are training is too meet some particular fitness goal as are conditioned to do so.

Recommendations, Tips, How to safely increase fitness levels and activity,

You must develop a plan that lists your daily fitness objectives to meet your fitness goal.  Is your goal to lose weight, increase fitness level, build muscle, better health, sustain weight, increase muscular endurance, higher level of competitive sport, improve task specific activity (ski, golf, walk, biking, running, etc.).  So now you know before you spend money on an exclusive fitness membership, be sure to have a plan to achieve the fitness goal you have in mind.

Second, you must be realistic about your daily schedule. If you’re a working adult with children, there are considerations that must be thought out.  Like working around busy work and family schedules.  However, it is not impossible to squeeze in exercise activity even with a busy schedule.  It’s a matter of priorities.

For example, if you want something bad enough like a new car, getting the furnace fixed, or watching a game, or taking the spouse out to a movie you manage to find the time and resources don’t you?  Yet you have a tough time making time for any type of exercise activity.  Your fitness levels and health must be as valuable to you as any other tangible thing like a home or car you insure.

Only through daily continuous daily movement activity can one “insure” an additional layer of protection from life stresses on the mind-body.  Sustained exercise activity daily is also a proven centurion attribute, or better known to others as a fountain of youth fitness principle.

If you have time before work or after the children are in bed a daily exercise program can become a habit you will become addicted too once the commitment is made.  You simple must want increased fitness health as bad as you want to create a better lifestyle for your family.

For me, working out provides great stress relief and fitness benefits.  And for many years I’d get up at 5:30am go to the gym, or jog where the adrenalin and metabolism was at full throttle just before hitting my full time job at 7:00am.  This habit served me and my professional careers well and ensured I was always at the top of my game, I didn’t need energy drinks to start my day.  Now in my mid-50’s, my age appropriate exercise activities is walking 7 days a week and 2-3 days strength conditioning in the gym.  I’m just as competitive at these exercise activities as I was when I played football during by high school years.  I attribute much of my career success, energy levels and clarity of thought to age appropriate continuous exercise habits.

Like anything else it takes dedication to be successful at anything you do.  It’s more a matter of finding an activity that you really enjoy, get excited about and can become addicted to it.  I tended to become addictive to new exercise conditioning if I could get through the first 5 days.  If I didn’t make the 5 days, I’d reduce intensity until ready for more intense training.  I didn’t quit the training; I took it down a notch until I could physically and mentally accept the fitness conditioning plan.  To push when your not ready for it is defeating and causes too many beginners to give up when they’ve not planned accordingly.

Third, your never too old to begin a daily fitness conditioning program.   All too often I hear people give up on their fitness and activity aspirations because they “self proclaim” their too old to exercise.  And then begin to look for unsafe – fountain of youth short cut gimmicks to lose weight, increase sexual performance, anabolic steroids for max muscle increases, etc.  This line of reasoning is absolute nonsense; when did 40 become the 80 plus crowd?  Exercise activity is a metabolic optimizer that increases hormone production and immune system to keep us healthy and stimulate all things that keep our bodies, mind and spirit engaged in a satisfied lifestyle.  “Without the need of dangerous manmade chemicals that temporarily mask the real reasons were not happy with our bodies energy levels, how we feel and physical performance.

Forth, if you are infrequent about your exercise, or activity routine, it is very important you learn to pace yourself each time you exercise until your body is ready for a 3-5 day exercise activity routine. Ease into your workouts, forget about competing with what others are doing.  Set your mind to see yourself as the healthiest 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old possible in your neck of the woods.  If you think exercise-activity appropriate per decade, you’ll stick with a healthy exercise program for your age while physically appearing and feeling 20-30 years younger.  Why don’t I talk much about 80+ years old and fitness training programs?  Actually, 80 years and above should walk-swim, push light weights, participate in flexibility exercise, eat balanced nutritious foods, socialize and travel as much as possible for quality lifestyle experiences.  At this age, I thoroughly believe, each day is a blessing and one should enjoy life to the fullest while reducing life stresses.  And these life stresses and health are adequately sustained through social activity and low-stress walking, swimming and dance exercise.

Fifth, if you over consume too many calories per day, especially after 7:30 pm, or binge over the weekends it will be harder to lose weight.  Body metabolism slows down tremendously during evening hours and excess calories will be stored as fat for every hour you take in calories after 8pm.

Weekends will be your worst enemy with regard to calorie consumption if you don’t have an activities plan to offset food intake with caloric expenditure.  This is why in the next paragraph I recommend plan fun movement activities on the weekends.   This will help increase metabolism and will help burn off extra calories that may be put back on over the weekend.  Then over the weekdays if your mindful to balance calorie intake and expenditure relative to days of the week, you can actually continue to lose weight.

Sixth, find a workout routine you can stick with and enjoy. Various examples:  Try biking, stationary treadmill, stationary rowing, dance, ball room dancing with spouse, tennis, walking, golf, jogging aerobics sessions, swimming, etc., 3 days a week (mix it up with gym activity).  Make sure you get in 2 days a week exercise activity and 3 days aerobics (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical walker, swim, hike etc.) minimally.   On the weekends substitute an aerobics week day activity with a planned family outdoor activity, backpack, dance, walk and shop for your meals, camping, beach walking, fishing, etc.

I recommend 5 days a week exercise activities to sustain fitness levels and good health.  I use combinations of all these activities listed above to sustain my age appropriate fitness levels and overall health.

Changing up fitness activities will help with motivation and will power to stick with exercise activities daily.  Mixing up activities also becomes very addicting when you  break the initial 2 week conditioning barrier.  It takes about this long for brain chemical stimulation and muscle toning to optimally provide the motivation and will power to sustain this lifestyle change.  Brain chemical release (adrenalin, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin) through exercise activities is as addicting as nicotine is to a smoker; and is chocolate  to a chocoholic.

Now that I’ve provided you “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels,” get out there and get it done!  Try various combinations of exercise activity.  At a minimum, if you can walk you can improve your fitness levels and experience greater lifestyle experiences.

The cost to to walk is nothing, other than your time, effort and commitment to sustain it.  Through daily walking fitness levels will increase.  This will also positively impact mood as well as how your body feels.  Sustained walking activity is good for you heart, lungs, metabolism and overall fitness goals.

Take one step at a time, one block at a time, and one mile at a time.  Do what you can daily if your exercise activity is walking.  Put no time lines, intensity of pace, or distance limitations on yourself.  The mind-body will tell you each day what it’s capable of doing.  If you have the ability to walk you’re much further ahead in becoming more fit and healthy.  The key is to move more daily, work to reach 10-15min/day exercise activity at a minimum before increasing distances and intensity of pace.  Be consistent at daily walking activity to sustain greatest fitness and health benefits.

Other tips:  Consider “not taking” your car to the store for daily staples once you can walk half a mile total distances.   Make a goal to walk and shop for your evening meals, or drive to and walk the mall.  Get a small backpack “once able to walk small distances;” carry healthy produce, products to the car, home etc.

Never carry more in weight than you can do so comfortably.  For example, I personally never carry more than 5lbs in bags, one for each arm, greater than 1 mile.  That’s .5 mile one way.   In other words when starting a shop & walk activity program, you don’t haul extra weight until you lose weight, or alleviate weight bearing joint pain [if this is a problem for you].  To do so when the mind-body is not ready may risk secondary weight bearing injuries to body compromising overall increased fitness success.

The information presented within this article and on our website, is in no way intended as a substitute for medical consulting or treatment.  Always consult a physician before starting any course of fitness programming, particularly if you are pregnant or currently under medical care.

Also Read:  Relative Fitness Programming Sustains Active Lifestyles

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





"How Healthy Feet Equate to Healthy Mind-Body-Spirit"

24 05 2010

Let’s first look at the fitness and health connection problems from misaligned feet unattended for many years through my personal example and experience (also read preceding article, Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?”   Mirror Athlete Blog Article, 25 April 2010).

        When I went into the military; during my physical examination the examining physician said, “You have another 5miles left on those feet,” he laughed a little with me [I had no idea what he meant-only to be enlightened 30 years later by a number of orthopedic surgeons] and sent me on my way to the next exam station.  The doc’s diagnosis: I was flat-footed with a little arch left in both feet.

    I sailed through the physical exams and off to basic I went.  Of course, being a young male with plenty of testosterone, I paid no heed to this diagnosis until years later when foot aggravation caused much pain throughout my body at various stages of my life.   I did note during Army field training exercises my feet were always grossly blistered and in pain like many other soldiers.  So this just seemed to be a normal physical result of the training.  After years of hard physical military training and poorly supported military boot ware, this took a toll on my feet, ankles, hips, back and neck.  Today I interchange 3 different insoles into various foot ware dependent on what activities I’m doing.  These custom support insoles make a big difference in my ability to alleviate pain during movement activity.  My overall health is good because my pain tolerance is acceptable to get work done (aerobic walking, hiking, yard work, etc.) while keeping my body conditioned through this corrective ware.

    Now let’s look at my potential fitness and health future had I not figured out what was going on and the impact that may have had on my overall health.  Like many, I could have continued doing work daily while sucking up pain for years due to uncorrected foot problems while slowly becoming a pain prescription junky.  In time, the misalignment of musculoskeletal tissue would cause permanent nerve and soft tissue damage with more radiating pain.  This pain disorder would then cause pain depression, possibly affecting my mental health diagnosed as clinical depression.  If pain becomes chronic, less motivation to take care of overall fitness health often occurs.  For many, this means weight gain and other associated health problems can get out of control in a very short period of time if not corrected.

    I don’t have to tell you that obesity in itself impacts blood pressure, heart, lung, kidney, liver health function… The list goes on.  At the same time excess weight on otherwise healthy weight bearing joints can and does cause potentially irreversible damage to the integrity of the soft tissues surrounding these areas.  It’s never too late to correct misaligned posture, which at a minimum will alleviate pain.  And in many cases damaged tissues corrected through foot posture alignment may forgo unnecessary surgical correction.  Although I have structural damage throughout my spine, correction of my foot ware has alleviated enough pain that back surgery is now off the table.

    There should be greater importance impressed upon postural alignment and pain prevention programs in all educational institutions.  When I was a kid, there was minimal information on this matter.  As an adult, even during my undergraduate work in Exercise Science, there was postural alignment education, but “not” emphasizing the foot relationship to overall effect on “healthy posture-healthy mind-body.”  These relationships were implied with no extensive focus on any scientific model of the time between foot alignment impacts on wellness.  I believe at the time of my undergraduate work wellness and alternative health science was experiencing a renaissance of encompassing being (mind, body and spirit).  Now there are literally thousands of such books available.

    In the military, there was no emphasis on the postural alignment system at all, except PT (Physical Training) form to standards.  In our school systems, your children may/may not receive corrective information with regard to sitting up straight during the early grade school years; and less, if any emphasis on proper foot ware.  It appears our shoe manufacturing industry has incorporated better designs for proper foot alignment per activities (sport, walk, running, etc.).

So will our foot ware industry take care of our feet and body alignment needs?

    There are a few problems with this line of thought.  If the foot to total body health is not prioritized in our schools and community at large, priority to postural health will not be emphasized starting at the feet.  This means one will give less priority to good shoe design when purchased.  And also, less priority on replacing shoes that are badly worn.  Wearing shoes badly worn and also shoes with bad design can cause much pain to weight bearing joints.  If this practice continues on without correction, irreversible soft tissue damage and pain can and does occur throughout the postural system.

The point is, preventative illness and disease education is up to each and every parent and educator.  Hopefully in the near future our education systems will teach our children early on in matters of this importance.   Take a preventative course of action now.  See our icon links (skeleton, posture chart, or foot icon on Chronic Pain page at the home site), click,  read up and learn about Posture Control Insoles if you, or your children are in sports are experiencing any pain in the following weight bearing points of the body:  Foot, ankle, knees, hips, back, neck and read up on how posture correction starting at the feet can help to promote greater activity, fitness and health benefits for life.  Words of wisdom, “if you have little arch in the feet and go into the military, walk and run a lot, or sports professions, ensure you invest in some good insole shoe support, “even if your feet are in good shape!” This will preserve the integrity of the foot anatomy and body health for a lifetime.

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





"Uncorrected Posture Alignment was Important, What Happened?"

23 04 2010

Read the rest of this entry »





How to Exercise Safely and Increase Fitness Levels

24 02 2010

Bicep Exercise tones and strengthens grip, wrists, forearms, bicepts

MAE Video Safely Build Fitness Exercise Activity.  There are so many exercise programs one could engage in to increase fitness levels.  How does one know which is right for them?  This is pretty much a two part question because you also want to know, “even though you may not have completely thought it out, which exercise activity will increase your fitness levels significantly?  This is important why?  Increased fitness levels contribute to healthy heart, lungs, metabolism, lean body, body strength, reduced body fat, weight control, weight loss, better physical endurance, excellent circulatory properties, pain alleviation and ill-health prevention, etc.  So what you really want to know, how you can get the best bang for the buck with busy lives?

I highly recommended if you are getting back into an exercise fitness program or activity, you participate by working your way back to a 5 day/wk program.  This may take you 2-6 weeks or longer to get back into gear.  For example, after one of my surgeries, it took me one and half years to work my way back to walking significant miles in a day.  Persistence paid off big health and fitness dividends for me.  Having an Exercise Science undergraduate degree provided a knowledge base in my rehabilitation fitness process.   I understood without applying fitness, alternative health and pain management methods I would experience a disabling life outcome of limited activity, mobility, more pain and increased secondary health risks.  I know many of you reading this won’t have to rehabilitate yourself from injury, depression, disease or surgery.  However, it is important to understand, if you find yourself in a disabled and rehabilitative state you can enjoy fitness conditioning activities that provide quality living experiences while you nurse yourself back to good health.  The point is, depending on your fitness and health condition(s), there is a way to slowly work back into a 3-5 day exercise-activity program.  Those that work too fast to achieve an exercise-activity program will likely drop out of fitness conditioning; while possibly looking for high risk shortcuts to achieve physical results.  This is a bad plan!

One would be wise to follow a physical fitness conditioning program for the first 6-8 weeks while easing back into a fitness routine if you’ve been out of it for a while.  Your goal is to achieve a 3-5day consistent exercise activity program after significant fitness conditioning occurs.  Fitness conditioning prior to the 3-5 day exercise activity program may require rehabilitative services to reach the 3-5 day exercise activity goal.  And if you need to, consult with your medical providers before you exercise to ensure applicable health risk considerations are taken into account before you begin a 3-5 day exercise program.

Five day exercise program – Consider making two of your exercise days on Saturday and Sunday to include family fun activities as substitutes for exercise activity.  Work in the other 3 exercise activity days convenient with your work schedule, etc.  This will provide more flexibility at first to develop healthy fitness activity around your busy schedule, reduce stress, and more time to focus on exercise-activity technique, etc.  After the fitness habit is maintained for 2-6 week period, begin to modify the plan much like you’d schedule anything else “balance!”  I’ve always found it important to take two days off in the week for needed rest (Mon & Fri).  I don’t recommend a 6-7day workout routine unless you are training at an elite level for competitive sport.

 Recommendations, Tips, How to safely increase fitness levels and activity,

 First of all you must develop a plan around busy lives.  And before you develop the plan, you must have an ideal of what are your fitness goals.  Is your goal to lose weight, rehabilitation, build muscle, better health, sustain weight, increase endurance, competitive sport, improve task specific activity (ski, golf, walk, biking, running, etc.).  So now you know before you spend money on an exclusive fitness membership, be sure to have a plan to achieve the fitness goal in mind. 

 Second, you must be realistic about your daily schedule.  If you’re a working adult with children, there are considerations that must be thought through, like working around schedules, appointments, etc.  However, it is not impossible to squeeze in exercise activity even with a busy schedule.  It’s a matter of behavioral habit change.  For example, if you want something bad enough like taking a family vacation, new car, boat, weekend outing, social networking during time off, watch evening football, baseball, basketball game, spending more time with your significant other; you manage to find the time and resources don’t you?  Yet you have a tough time committing to a healthy activity because you simply don’t have the time or see the point.  Your fitness requirements must simply become as valuable to you as personal time, or personal possessions that you protect through health, home or car insurance.  You pay for these things for prevention against catastrophe.  Your fitness health requirements are no different.  You simply must value your health as much as you value your personal time and possessions.  Also keep in mind, just because you pay for health insurance there is no guarantee after years of physical and mental abuse medical services will provide a cure-all solution.  You must also do your preventative health part.  Only through daily preventative activity exercise can one add an additional layer of protection from all that will assault the mind-body as we age.  Activity exercise is the best pain and ill-health alleviation strategy.  Physical activity for life is a key centurion attribute.

 Many employers have fitness centers at the job and/or promote life fitness schedules that allow time for workouts.  Be sure to check with your employer, if you haven’t’ already done so to see if they have corporate fitness center discounts in the local area.  If you have time before work or after the children are in bed a daily exercise program can become a daily habit that you will become addicted too.  You simple must want increased fitness benefits as bad as working more overtime for more discretionary income.  Or value fitness goals as much as indulgences.  For me, working out after work and before dinner had a great stress relief benefit.  And for many years I’d get up at 5:30am go to the gym, or jog where the adrenalin and metabolism was at full throttle as I hit the job at 7:00am.  This habit served me and my professional careers well as I was always at the top of my game, I didn’t need energy drinks to start my day.  Now in my 50’s one of my age appropriate exercise activities is walking which I’m as competitive as when I played football as a youth.  I attribute much of my life and career success to my age appropriate fitness habits.

Like anything else it takes dedication to be successful at anything you do.  It’s more a matter of finding an activity that you really enjoy, get excited about and can become addicted to.  I tended to become addictive to my exercise program if I could get through the first 5 days.  If I didn’t make 5 days at the planned fitness level goal, I would reduce intensity until ready for more intense training.  I didn’t quit the training; I took it down a notch until ready for the stress load on mind-body.  Activity exercise must vary daily dependent on how the mind-body feels.  To push when not ready is defeating and causes many to give up when they don’t have flexibility built into the exercise activity.

Third, you must plan and program around age appropriate exercise if you want to find a workout plan, or activity that you’ll stick with.  All too often I hear people give up their fitness goals and activity dreams because they “self proclaim” their too old at forty to exercise.  And simultaneously they begin to look for fountain of youth quick results gimmicks (weight loss, muscle max goals, chemical stimulus, etc.).  This is absolute nonsense; when did 40 become the new 80 plus crowd?  On the flip side, there is absolutely no reason, 50 can’t be the new 30 plus crowd.  Also, you are not 20 if your biological age is 40.  Age appropriate exercise does not mean training to become a marathon runner at 40 years of age!  My point is, if you want to look and feel better regardless of age, you must find age appropriate activity and exercise programs, or you’ll not experience true quality living experiences.

I’m not saying this isn’t possible, as a matter of fact there are some very conditioned athlete’s well into their 50’s.  But for most of us, you can’t go from lethargic couch potato and train the way you did before you became a potato.  One thing you’ll find out about elite athlete’s (50+) they have not lost step with their competitive physical-mental edge, they’ve sustained a competitive habit without fail throughout the years.  Is there a health risk for this competitive demographic?  Certainly there is, they are pushing the biological-physical plane envelop.   This activity training intensity is not meant for most entering their 40’s.  Unnecessary stress on mind-body relative to age is something that needs to be considered if you want to increase fitness health goals safely.

Forth, if you are infrequent about your exercise, or activity routine, it is very important you learn to pace yourself each time you exercise until your body is ready for a 3-5 day exercise activity routine.  Ease into your workouts, forget about competing with what you see others doing.  Set your mind to see yourself as the healthiest 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 year old possible in your neck of the woods.  If you think exercise-activity appropriate per decade, you’ll stick with a healthy exercise program for your age while physically appearing and feeling 20-30 years younger for your age.  Why don’t I go beyond 80 years of age?  Actually, 80 years and above should walk-swim, light weight, flexibility training, eat right for good health and socialize, travel as much as possible.  At this age, I thoroughly believe, each day is a blessing and one should enjoy life to the fullest while reducing life stresses.

All too often those 40 and above seek the Hollywood conventional wisdom to find their fountain of youth quick result gimmick(s) after they fail to change behavioral fitness activity habits.  They become mesmerized by the tabloids and their favorite star’s physical appearances.  They focus in on young, vibrant and wrinkle/fat free models and starlets.  They are not focused on age appropriate activity.  Instead desperately want to turn back the hands of time and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal.  This is not God’s law. You have a purpose for every decade of life.  It is your job now to be wise and healthy for your children’s sake and grandchildren.

Those that follow Hollywood conventional wisdom must have blinders on.  Because if they follow the nip-tuck; take 30lbs off in 30 days; blast your abs, thighs and buttocks; fountain of youth gimmicks then they also know the following is true.  What does Hollywood do with its actors and actresses once their physical flaws become too apparent?  They throw them out like old dish rags don’t they?  The paparazzi relentlessly pursue them and exploit their aging, overweight, illness flaws, relationships gone bad through the tabloids for a buck.  Many of these star icons you worshiped can’t keep up with the immortal Hollywood youth expectations and self destruct.  You see this, but deny the reality of the situation and search for a younger icon to follow ageless beauty advice, etc.  Why would you ever follow a celebrity’s advice as a fitness health expert in your 50’s?  Especially if they have no specialized training in age appropriate fitness techniques?  Hollywood and your iconic stars don’t cater “how to achieve” quality living experiences for the 50plus crowd.  Instead, they offer quick result diet and fitness solutions to turn back the hands of time to make a quick buck.  All the while, they use perfect model specimen’s, made up to look as if the results are mostly due to their products secret ingredients. 

There is nothing mentioned about life long health habits and healthy behavioral change in order to achieve and maintain these quick result appearance benefits.  And this always leads me to wonder, really how healthy and how well do these diet and fitness products improve fitness levels?  And what health risk are these customers subjected to in the long run for a quick result promise?  I know this to be true because I have a vice.  I love to read smut magazines about the stars.  And they do slam aging stars without mercy.  I read these for pure entertainment, a habit I can’t seem to break since my childhood.   There is one fitness celebrity that sticks out in my mind as one of the greats, Jack Lalanne.  For years, he has been known as a world renowned fitness expert through the 60’s at his peak celebrity status through our TV’s.  He now is known for his Power Juicer products.  To this day his life-long fitness story is amazing.  Research him on the Internet if you get the chance and learn more about someone’s applied exercise fitness principles that have served his followers well through a lifelong fitness career discipline. 

Fifth, the other factor to staying with an exercise age appropriate fitness program is food intake.  If you over consume, especially after 7:30 pm, or on the weekends it will be hard for you to notice weight loss and body toning (reduced body fat).  Body metabolism slows down tremendously after this evening time storing excess calories as fat.  Weekends will be your worst enemy (over consumption typically occurs during this time).  This is why in the next paragraph I recommend if you are just getting started into a workout, fitness activity routine; plan two of your five days on the weekends during the first 2-6 weeks.  Try consuming mostly a Mediterranean diet and/or 50%protein, 20%fat, 30% carbohydrate diet.  What this means in real general terms.  Stay away from the following main dishes/snacks:  Pizza, pasta, breads (whole grain ok) baked goods, ice cream, deserts, casseroles, pancakes, waffles, restaurant chains (fast foods), too much salt, chocolates, muffins, donuts, lard, candy, gum, chips, fried foods, milkshakes, alcohol, beer, diet sodas, popcorn, artificial sweeteners (aspartame), energy drinks, coffee additives (cream, sugar, artificial flavored, etc.).  These are the main addictive foods and food consumption habits that are causing much obesity in this country. 

After exercise and fitness goals are achieved, balanced eating behaviors become much easier.  You will naturally crave healthier food as the chemical food toxins are removed from the body.  This is not to say you can never have pizza, deserts, etc., or have a few drinks.   “That would be ridiculous.”  Balance my friends; we simply must get to a level of fitness for your age that you desire and will stick.  Thereafter, the fitness habit will become addictive which will lead to lifelong healthy habits including balanced consumption of food choices.

Sixth, find a workout routine you can stick with and enjoy.  Various examples:  Try biking, stationary treadmill, stationary rowing, dance, ball room dancing with spouse, tennis, walking, golf, jogging aerobics sessions, swimming, etc., 3 days a week (mix it up with gym activity).  Make sure you get in 2 days a week exercise gym activity and 3 days aerobics (walking, biking, treadmill, elliptical walker, swim, hike etc.).   On the weekends substitute an aerobics week day activity with a planned family outdoor activity, backpack, dance, healthy cooking recipes (walk and shop for your meals), camping, beach walking, fishing, etc.   I recommend 5 days a week exercise activities to sustain fitness levels and good health.  I use combinations of all these activities throughout the week to sustain my age appropriate activities.

I use combinations of daily walking, swimming, gym exercises (stationary equipment use for muscle building and toning, light weights, 12-15 reps per exercise per body part), to include aerobic cross trainers (elliptical), bikes, etc.  I also like to bike, boat, walk, hike, travel, camp, and fish on the weekends as activity substitutes, etc.  Changing up fitness activities will help with motivation, will power to stick with a program and breakup gym exercise routines nicely.  These are activity mix habits that become very addicting if you can break the 4-8wk exercise habit barrier, because it takes this long for brain chemical stimulation, muscle toning and toxins to be adequately removed from the body.  Natural brain chemicals will stimulate activity motivation and will power if given the chance.  Efficient Brain chemical release (adrenalin, epinephrine, dopamine, serotonin) through exercise is as addicting as nicotine is to a smoker; chocolate is to a chocoholic.

Now that I’ve provided you “How to Exercise and Increase Fitness Levels,” get out there and get it done!  Try various combinations of exercise activity, break up the fitness conditioning patterns and don’t go into any activity program at full intensity until conditioned to do so.  “Good things in life come to those that take the time to do it right!”

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Proper Foot Posture and Pain Alleviation Benefit"

25 04 2008

 Q.   In your chronic pain center you talk about the connection between our feet and postural benefits and pain reduction throughout the weight bearing skeletal system.  Would the postural correction insoles I’m looking to purchase behind your skeleton or foot icon image link on your home site “chronic pain tab” be of benefit for kids in sports?

I mean would they provide better balance, reduce risk of injury, enhance performance in any way?  I would think a child’s performance and health as they grow would benefit from a posture correction for a child as well as an adult.  Am I right?  Or is this product for adults only? 

A.   You are correct with your analysis on children’s performance related to the foots sole correction, or athletes in general.  Instead of attempting to rework this fact, let’s look at the foot science from the experts.  Simply click on the foot, postural, or skeleton icon link at our home site to read up on insoles, postural alignment and performance differences with and without these types of insoles.  Any questions, don’t hesitate to write a comment.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Proper Foot Posture and Pain Alleviation Benefit”

25 04 2008

 Q.   In your chronic pain center you talk about the connection between our feet and postural benefits and pain reduction throughout the weight bearing skeletal system.  Would the postural correction insoles I’m looking to purchase behind your skeleton or foot icon image link on your home site “chronic pain tab” be of benefit for kids in sports?

I mean would they provide better balance, reduce risk of injury, enhance performance in any way?  I would think a child’s performance and health as they grow would benefit from a posture correction for a child as well as an adult.  Am I right?  Or is this product for adults only?  

A.   You are correct with your analysis on children’s performance related to the foots sole correction, or athletes in general.  Instead of attempting to rework this fact, let’s look at the foot science from the experts.  Simply click on the foot, postural, or skeleton icon link to read up on insoles, postural alignment and performance differences with and without these types of insoles.  Any questions, don’t hesitate to write a comment.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Body Posture and Pain Relationship

6 03 2008

Is there a relationship between correct anatomical posture and pain?  “The answer is definitely yes!”  Have you experienced acute (short-term), or chronic (long-term) pain in your major weight bearing joints or muscles?  The joint areas that come to mind:  Feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, neck.  Do you experience muscular and/or joint swelling, radiating pain, or nerve aggravation in these areas especially when you exert yourself (working, or exercising, etc.)?  Have the doctors diagnosed you with “acute, or chronic body strains, or sprains?”  Does the only answer for relief seem that your pain management program has a never ending supply of pharmaceuticals?  Have you begun to experience other health issues since you’ve been taking pharmaceutical prescriptions [such as headaches, Irritable Bowel Syndrome “read IBS health article at our site,” upset stomach, racing, or irregular heart rate, sick more often, no energy, body weight out of control, etc., the list goes on!].

What would you say if I told you, “You could completely remove or significantly reduce the pain at the joint, thereby eliminating your only other pain intervention options:  More pills and unnecessary health risks.  No doubt surgical intervention “will” follow if nothing else changes as you age [conditions will turn chronic if not managed correctly!].  Do you really want to go this route?  Or do you want an alternative and preventative measure to get your health back?  I think the answer is 100% “Yes, I want my health!”  To reduce or eliminate pain one needs to consider correcting the foot posture first as there is a high correlation with other posture pain.   Poor posture is responsible for many strains i.e., overexerted muscle, ligament, nerve, disc, tendon that has become overworked, overstretched around a joint [or where a traumatic impact has created a short-term injury].  The biggest difference with a strain vs. “sprain” is the severity of damage [sprains are typically long-term injuries].  The sprain injury is commonly substantiated and verified with MRI equipment (Magnetic Resonance Imaging can see muscular, tendon, disc or ligament tear(s), etc.).   Postural pain typically begins at the feet and works its way up the major load bearing joints of our bodies creating many radiating pain centers as we age (back strains are common posture problems and can become sprained!).  Follow my recommendations listed below to correct poor posture… “Look first at the foot, the most under diagnosed cause of postural pain.”  Don’t live in pain!  You don’t have to.

Recommendations:
1.   I highly recommend you read “Manage Acute Back Pain.”  Go to our home site; also see other “Recently Syndicated Health Articles (Health, Weight Management & Fitness Categories).
2.   Seek a referral from your Primary Physician to get a diagnosis from podiatry (foot) specialist if your feet are causing you pain and/or if other weight bearing structural areas of your body hurt.
3.   Get foot orthotics that exercise the foot arches.  Don’t pay $300-$1500/year from your podiatrist. Click on our site foot, or postural alignment image icon on our home page www.mirrorathlete.com..  Then click on Pain Center Page.  Read about “Posture Control Insoles” ~$50.00/pair.
4.   Also a good weight reduction plan will reduces “pain load” on your postural structure (See Purity Supplements, etc.,” look in our “Wellness Product Stores tab”).
5.   Exercise routine with low pain aggravation.  Walk, stationary bike, etc., 20min day/3x wk.
6.   Wean off of pharmaceuticals if you’re having a pain free day.  Drink 6-8 glasses of water/day.
7.   Use the Wellness store supplements for Natural Joint health maintenance.
 

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing,  www.mirrorathlete.com,, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter