Posts Tagged ‘Physical fitness’

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The Perdy Family take sa break from their biking adventure

I have a fair number of clients that have stressful jobs, long commutes and small children at home. It’s also a common scenario to see a client come in and say “I used to work out all the time and in the last year I haven’t been working out much.” Invariably I ask, do you have a one-year-old?” It’s not always the case, but often the answer is “Yes, how did you know?” The time of having a new baby int he family is an exciting and exhausting time. For a few months (to many months) this can mean sleep deprivation, more time needed at home to care for your child and of course the joys of seeing a new life, a new smile and bonding with your new son or daughter. But all this change can also bring a halt to mom and dad’s workout routines.

I am a big advocate of incorporating regular activity into our daily lives. But having a new baby or small children at home makes it difficult to workout like you did pre-children. That doesn’t mean you can’t work out at all. It just gives you an opportunity to try something new, think outside the box and modify your workout routine without taking too much time away from your family. One of the things I tell my parent clients is that working out and being fit is one of the best ways to role model healthy physical activity behavior to your children. And taking your kids along on your workout, while a bit tricky, can be a great way to spend time with your family without giving up time for your own health.

How to Incorporate more physical fitness into your life without sacrificing  family time.

• Used to going on long bike rides but can’t get away for long enough to get your rides in? Add a bike trainer to your own bike or buy a spinning type bike and put it in your basement, garage, workout room, where ever it is out-of-the-way but easily accessible for riding. If you need motivation to keep you from being bored, put the bike in front of a TV and use the SpinRider, an indoor cycling DVD that simulates an outdoor bike ride in different locales. Each DVD includes 3 bike rides filmed from the rider’s point of view. The videos take you to the countryside, city streets, beaches, and back alleys, while the onscreen subtitles and bonus features inform you about the destination’s history, people and activities. Spinrider releases a new 3 ride DVD every September, December, and February. Individual DVD’s are $19.95. Subscribe for 3 DVDs $44.95. Order here.

• Are your children old enough to be bundled up and go outdoors but too small to go on long walks? Pack them up in a stroller or bike carrier and either hike with them or bike with them.

• If you kids are old enough to bike but not old enough to keep up with you on your bike, let them cycle while you run or roller blade with them.

• Make family fitness a regular activity. Each weekend plan to explore a new forest preserve, a new lake, river or scenic outdoor setting. The Chicago area is chock full of small and large forest preserves. And children that experience and interact with nature will be more likely to be comfortable experiencing and protecting nature as adults. Check out  the Little Red School House for your children to explore Chicago area wildlife and go for a short hike together before the winter covers the woods with a blanket of snow!

• If you absolutely must leave your family to get in a workout, obviously, you want to minimize your time away. So if you join a gym, find one close to home, or put on your jogging shoes and go for a run. Adding a small workout room to your basement or spare room also means less travel time and less time away from the family. AND you kids get to see you role modeling good fitness behaviors. (Versus role modeling sitting in front of the TV eating cookies!)

• If you children are a bit older (say 7 or 12 years old), you can also have them join you in using Wii Fit or following along on beginner’s yoga videos.

• As your children hit the teenage years, it’s more likely that mom and dad are chaffering the kids around to their sports and athletic events more so than joining in on your children’s activities. But that doesn’t mean you need to go your separate ways when it come s to working out. If your children are old enough to do resistance training, you can work out together! If your son or daughter is a good swimmer, hockey player, roller blader or snow boarder, you can plan day trips or weekend trips to areas where the whole family can enjoy your favorite sports together.

• Take a dance class with your kids. Hip Hop is an easy dance to learn and a great aerobic workout. I’ve taken Hip Hop classes at the Old Town School of Folk and enjoyed every sweaty minute of it!

• If you have Dance Dance Revolution, make a game out of  playing it with your kids a few times a week.

• In the winter, go ice skating or sledding with your kids.

• Ask your kids what they want to do to have family fitness time each week. They may come up with answers that you all will love and that you might never have thought of without them!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The answer: Change your life!  What do I mean by that? Change the way you relate to food and exercise.


Healthy people exercising

Today I was reading this article on Yahoo Health about women that lose a significant amount of fat and transformed into healthier leaner people. And they kept the fat off over a period of years. If you read through their stories you will find a common theme: They switched from eating processed foods to “clean” foods like salads, brown rice, fish, vegetables. And they added regular exercise to their daily routines. They didn’t become professional bodybuilders, they did not subsist on a peanut and a celery stalk a day. They just eat healthier food in smaller more frequent portions. And they added activity to their daily lives One woman follows the simple guidelines of the ACSM: She added 30-60 min of cardio or strength training each day. Another woman said she makes sure she works out even on busy days at least 15 minutes.


If you read fitness magazines, blogs or know anything about fat loss and physical fitness, this story won’t be a big surprise to you. I think it’s important to remind ourselves that there are no quick fixes for fitness. But is losing fat, getting in shape and then STAYING in shape so easy? For most people, it’s not. It takes a few key qualities:

1. Perseverance-We don’t skip brushing our teeth every day to catch up on weekends and brush for 2 hours. Why would working out for 2 hours once a week be better than working out for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week? It isn’t. Our bodies work best in increments. We eat several times during the day, we sleep each night. We wash up each day (hopefully). Our 2010 lifestyles may make it tough to fit in movement when most people work in offices or in jobs that involved sitting for hours on end.  Adding in movement a little bit each day is easier than trying to pack in a mega workout once in a while. It takes perseverance (to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement). Taking stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from the store, walking when you can versus driving. Working out while spending time with your family and children also makes it easier to incorporate daily activity into your routine.  What’s important is that you add some exercise activity each day or at least 5 days a week. Don’t have time to go to a gym? It’s easy to make a home gym or workout to videos, Wii Fit or other cardio program. Whether you run swim, hike, bike or do yoga, it’s important is that you keep it up on a regular basis.

2. Discipline as in Self discipline-Fast food, junk food and high calorie, high fat food are all around us. It’s tough to get out of bed and go for a run or come home from a long day and fit in that 30 minutes of cardio or strength training. Making it a regular nonnegotiable part of your routine can help. And when you feel the urge to overeat or skip your daily workout, it takes a bit of self-discipline to pass up those french fries or push yourself to work out even when you’d rather sleep! But the rewards are feeling better, being healthier, having a clearer mind, being less stressed out and of course, being fit!

3. Prioritization-like that word? I did NOT make it up. It means making the most of your time and resources. And in this case, I say it means making sure that fitness and healthy eating are a priority. I use this analogy. If your child (if you don’t have a child, think about your niece, nephew or another child you care about) needed to eat, rest or get some exercise, would you let other priorities get in the way of taking care of the child?  (Hopefully not!) Yet adults often neglect our own needs for health and fitness because “we are too tired, too busy or too unmotivated.” Yet if we have to walk the dog or feed a child healthy food, somehow we find the inner strength, time and resources. So it’s not a matter of not having time or energy to take care of ourselves. It’s really about priorities. Learn to make your own health and wellness a priority. It benefits you and it also provides a good role model for children in your life!

4.  Focus (directed attention, concentration)-Focusing on how we look is rarely motivating. For some, working out to get the body they want or fit into a particular outfit may help motivate them to work out and eat right. It doesn’t work for me and many of my clients though. For me, I have to focus on how I feel. I feel better when I work out and eat right. How I look may change for the better but it’s not my  main focus. My focus is in feeling good, having more energy. sleeping well, not having stomach aches or feeling sluggish. No matter what your prime motivator/s is/are, use them to give you strength when you need a push to work out or eat right!

5. Fun-Wellness needs to be fun to be sustainable.  If you hate running, how motivated will you be to get up and run in the morning? But if tennis is fun for you, you will be more likely to play tennis than run. Wii Fit tries to make exercise fun for adults and children by integrating games in with the movement exercises. healthy food doesn’t have to be drab and boring. take a cooking class that specializes in healthy eating: Indian food, Middle Eastern Food , Chinese Stir Fry and even some Italian dishes can be low-fat and healthy.  Learn to add healthy spice to your food and “healthy” becomes fun and tasty! Make learning new fitness routines fun by trying them out with family and friends.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

The American College of Sports Medicine tracks trends for the fitness industry and published their findings to show you what to expect in fitness in the coming year at the gym, in your doctor’s office and at work. Experienced fitness professionals topped the list while strength training, core work, special fitness programs for older adults, pilates and balance training also made the top ten. Dr. Walter Thompson, of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) which conducted the poll, said that 1,540 ACSM-certified fitness professionals from all around the world took part in the online survey.

“We really wanted to look at trends,” Thompson, a professor of Exercise Science at Georgia State University, explained. “We instructed the respondents to ignore fads, like the devices you see on late-night TV infomercials.”

Fitness professionals and personal trainers captured the first and third spots in the survey, but according to Thompson, this increase is at expense of clients. Why? Because the increase in demand for personal trainers and fitness instructors has led to an influx of people entering the profession lacking the necessary training to avoid injuring clients. Thompson said, “There has to be some policing. People are getting hurt by trainers who just don’t have the qualifications.” Personal training was introduced about 10 years ago and was once a luxury for movie stars. Now most gyms provide personal trainers and some gyms are personal trainer-only gyms.

Children and obesity came in second in the poll. “For the first time in history the next generation of young people may not live as long as their parents or grandparents,” said ACSM representatives. Strength training  and core training were in the top five as well.

The stability ball  came in at number eight. (Note: The use of the stability ball did not even make the top 20 in an ACSM survey in 2007.)  Fitness professionals once thought this was a fad, according to the ACSM, but the ball has become into a versatile teaching tool for stability, balance and strength.

Balance training, which includes yoga, Pilates, tai chi and exercise balls, came in at number 10. (Two years ago it was not even in the top 20.)

The emphasis on comprehensive health promotion at the workplace was number 12. “The notion of wellness coaching (number 13) was also a surprise. Last year it was at the bottom.” said Thompson, adding that nutrition as well as exercise and wellness training points to a more holistic approach to fitness in general.

Thompson and his team don’t predict the future, but they believe that the trends they track to inform the fitness industry are also useful in educating the public. For example,  physician referrals to exercise professionals is a growing trend. “Exercise is medicine,” Thompson concludes. “We’re bridging the gap between fitness professionals and physicians.”

Read the full article  here.
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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

In an effort to be as relevant as possible to my readers, I want to take a short poll to see which topics you’d like me to write more about. I wish I had good news about the Wii Fit and a Tai Chi module, but sadly, no news…YET!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, let me know what you are interested in. What burning questions do you have about massage, fitness, nutrition, wellness coaching, stress management, workplace wellness, ergonomics or any other topic you think might be relevant to your wellness.

If this is your first time to my blog or if you are an infrequent reader, I’d love to have you back more often. Tell me what you want to read more about!  Feel free to take the poll and/or provide comments in the comment section.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Biking is A Great Way to Exercise

Our bodies change over time. As we age we tend to lose bone and muscle mass. However, that’s no reason to avoid fitness! In fact, in the U.S., active people now tend to maintain their fitness well into their senior years.

Now there is a blog that is devoted to “Fitness Over 40.” and it’s aptly named over40fitnessguide.

Check out some of the recent posts from this blog:

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