Posts Tagged ‘Wii Fit’

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

Dr. Bonny Flaster responded to my training query about getting ready for the Warrier Dash this fall. Her advice is spot on: combine strength training with balance training using a Bosu Balance Trainer. Her advice is here.

Bosu Balance Trainer

According to the Amazon product description: The Bosu Balance trainer helps you strengthen and coordinate several major muscle groups, including the muscles you don’t see. The Bosu targets your core muscles–the muscles around your abdominal and back area–while you perform a host of different workouts, from squats and bicep curls to lateral shoulder raises and hip extensions. As a result, you not only gain strength, trim, and tone, but also improve your balance and coordination along the way. In addition, Bosu training helps strengthen the mind, with thoughtful movement that requires the participant to not only be physically involved, but also “here and present” with the mind fully engaged. By combining physical and mental focus, Bosu training will boost your performance across a wide continuum of activities, including sports, recreation, and daily tasks.

The Bosu balance trainer–which measures 55 cm and comes in blue–comes with a foot pump and an exercise manual.

The Bosu System is available from Amazon for about $70. Click here for link.

Wii Fit Balance Training

For those that are not quite ready for the Bosu system, you can also start working on balance and flexibility with the Wii Fit. Wii Fit does not provide the instability of a Bosu “ball” but it does give you some great practice on maintaining your balance and coordination. And it has a fantastic yoga module for flexibility.

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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

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

I’ve been getting a lot of hits on my blog lately for my Wii Fit Tai Chi post. I regret to report I still haven’t found a Tai Chi program for Wii Fit. I wrote Nintendo and asked if there had any plans for a Tai Chi program. Their response was, “We don’t have any announcements about a Wii Fit Module.” When I asked what this means the response from Nintendo Customer Service was that they don’t know of any such programs being developed and wouldn’t be able to tell me until the product is actually ready for release. They also told me they don’t accept (and other game developers don’t accept) unsolicited ideas for their games.   But fret not, loyal readers, in this post I provide some other resources for Tai Chi (until Nintendo or EA or another gaming company produces a Wii Fit module for Tai Chi. Or a Tai Chi module for Wii Fit).

Tai Chi Health with Tricia Wu link here. According to her website, Trica’s mission is to help make tai chi and qigong accessible to everyone, regardless of age, ability or physical condition. As a pioneer in integrating tai chi into therapeutic exercise and pain management, she have collaborated with health care professionals to create innovative programs and materials that are designed to enhance our collective well being. All of her programs and materials are  based in study and daily practice in Yang Style Cheng Man Ch’ing lineage tai chi, and over three decades of experience teaching tai chi to thousands of students and professionals.

Tai Chi Books

To learn Tai Chi from a book check out this book at Amazon: Tai Chi for Beginners and the 24 Forms

Tai Chi DVD’s

To learn Tai Chi from a DVD check out this highly-rated DVD from Amazon for only $14.99: Scott Cole: Discover Tai Chi For Beginners
OR check out Samual Barnes also highly-rated DVD for only $8.49 Element: Tai Chi for Beginners .

High Tech Tai Chi

Demand Video of Tai Chi Fundamentals by Jesse Tsao for $1.99 on Amazon: Tai Chi Fundamentals for Beginners

For those that want to learn Tai Chi via Kindle, check out this 5-star Amazon reviewer-rated product by Ramel Rones for $8.79: Sunrise Tai Chi: Simplified Tai Chi for Health & Longevity

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

As fall approaches, I hear winter calling as well. For me that means more indoors workouts and potentially more boredom in my workout routine, UNLESS, I use more Wii Fit. And as luck would have it, game designers are still creating new offerings for the Wii Fit. And while Wii Fit may not have a Tai Chi module ready for us, there is a new combination Yoga and Pilates program coming out for Wii Fit. According to Wii Fit Yoga blog here, there is a plan for a new Wii Fit module to incorporate both Yoga and Pilates exercises. It is being developed by a UK based developer and is slated for release on September 28, 2010.

According to the UK version on Amazon,  this Wii Fit module includes:

  • 117 exercises and 3 Real Personal Trainers
  • A comprehensive Yoga & Pilates training program with relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Customizable goals for a unique experience
  • Videos with different framing and fully localized audio commentary.

Pre-order your own copy of the Wii Fit New U module via this link: New U Fitness First Yoga and Pilates

Check out some of the sample screens below!

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There is no case of my sore feet that Sarah ca...
Image by colorblindPICASO via Flickr

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

The internet is full of great exercise videos. The news publishes reports daily about the benefits of exercise. Yet I hear the same refrain from people all the time: I don’t have time to exercise. I have great sympathy for those with no time to workout. And I offer you this: maybe it’s not that you don’t have time. Maybe it’s more a question of changing our thinking about exercise rather than finding time to exercise.

In the U.S., we tend to compartmentalize exercise. We think we can only exercise if we go to special places and wear special clothes. We think “we have to sweat to be doing any good.” But these are all myths.

Exercise myths include:

• Exercise is something we only do at the gym.

• Exercise is something you need a personal trainer to do.

• Exercise requires long hours of sweat and exertion to be effective.

• Exercise is something we have to set aside large chunks of time to accomplish.

These belief’s only keep us from doing what we need to do. Before The Industrial Revolution, people got “exercise” doing daily chores and work. Farmers and farm hands got “exercise” toiling in the fields, herding cattle, riding horses around the ranch, milking cows, etc. Before “labor-saving devices” like dishwashers, washers and dryers and the infamous automobile, people got “exercise” every day without needing gyms or “workouts.” Of course, people didn’t live as long. 40-45  was the average life expectancy. But since then we’ve made great progress in modern medicine, diet and education. People don’t HAVE to labor to earn a living. And labor-oriented jobs have been leaving the U.S. for years. So how do we get our daily exercise dose?

Flash forward to the typical American life in 2010. Male or female, the typical American works 50-60 hours, drives or takes a train or bus to work, averaging 1 hour commute each way. With a few small children at home, by the time mom or dad gets done helping kids with homework, preparing dinner, and putting the kids to bed, the day is done and it’s time for a little TV time. There is little time to “work out.”

So, think about putting a little labor back into your life. You don’t have to go to the gym to ‘work out.” If you can find the time and need the focus of the gym to squeeze in some cardio or strength training, go for it. But if going to the gym means taking precious time away from the family, incorporate your kids into your workout. use yoga tapes or the Wii Fit at home. Make it a family fun time.

Ways to Put a Little “Labor” Back  Into Your Life

• If you normally try to park as close as possible to the store or work, park  farther away. The extra walk will do you good!

• Hang your laundry on a clothesline outdoors to dry (also saves energy and money).

• Plant a garden and spend time weeding, watering and enjoying your garden a few minutes every day.

• If you take public trans, get of or on the bus/train/etc. a few blocks earlier.

• At work, do some mid-day squats at your desk. Simply stand up then start to sit down. But don’t let yourself sit. As you feel the chair under your posterior, slowly stand back up again. Then “sit” again, without resting on the chair. Lather, Rinse and repeat 10 times.

• Take a walk around the block after dinner. Even a 15-min walk helps you feel better, teaches your kids the benefits of exercise and allows you to spend quality time with your family.

• Whenever possible, at work, take the stairs. If you can, take two 10 minute breaks each day to walk up and down a few flights of stairs. Don’t run, take your time so you don’t get sweaty! Your form is more important than trying to race up the stairs.

• In parking garages, take the stairs, too, versus the elevator.

• If you live in a home with stairs and you are doing housework, putting away laundry, etc., make more trips up and down the stairs.

• If you don’t have kids, get a dog. You are more likely to make walking the dog part of your daily routine than if you were to take yourself for a daily walk!

• If you are single and live alone, get to know your neighbors. Help out the sick and elderly by volunteering to do their chores. It will give you exercise and make you feel good about yourself!

• Buy a set of dumbbells (even Target sells them!) and do basic resistance training at home in front of the television. (Versus sitting on the coach with a bag of chips!)

• Take your kids to a water park, a forest preserve or a park on the weekends. Climb the stairs of a few slides with your kids. At a forest preserve or park, paddle boat or canoe with them. Take nature walks.

• Ride your bike to work or around the neighborhood after work, before dinner.

Related articles:

How to Get a total Body Workout without going to the gym here.

Reasons why you don’t exercise here.

The best exercises for lazy people here.

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