12 Great Ways to Stay Fit this Fall

fall time activitesSadly, summer’s over – the days are getting shorter, and the mornings chillier.

All those fun summer activities that helped you burn calories, stay fit, and stock up on healthy vitamin D won’t be feasible for much longer. How will you keep fit as the cold weather season approaches?

Fall doesn’t have to mean packing on the weight while hibernating in front of the TV. Cooler temps may mean the end of weekend beach fun and hours of fat burning action in the local pool; but it doesn’t have to mean the end of healthy, outdoor, fitness-enhancing activity!

Here are 12 ways to cold weather proof your workouts, and enjoy the season while keeping fit.

Seek Out Fun Fall Activities

Every season of the year has its unique charms:

Winter – Has the joys of the holidays and New Year’s fun. The beauty of falling snow turns local parks into a fairy land of new and inspiring sights.

Spring – Brings warm breezes, sunny days, and the rebirth of new flowers, green grass, and longer days.

Summer – Is when every weekend is a chance to enjoy sun, surf, icy treats, and endless days of outdoor action.

Fall – Is traditionally a spooky time of haunted houses and the melancholy that comes with summer’s end and a return to school runs, cold rain, and swiftly shrinking daylight hours.

I think autumn gets a bad rap; Halloween parties are a blast, picking pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns, that smoky smell from freshly lit fireplaces around your neighborhood, and the prospect of Thanksgiving just on the horizon makes September an exciting time!

Instead of the pool or beach, you have apple picking, long walks under brightly colored fall leaves, and no more worries about overheating on your daily jogs.

How About Something Different?

leaves on a benchWhatever your fitness routine was during the summer; you’re sure to be a little bored with it by this point. Why not make fall the time to try something new?

How about taking dance classes at a local studio or getting into indoor cycling? There are so many ways to stay active that you can always find something new to get excited about.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life – it’s the best way to beat boredom and stay enthusiastic about working out!

Find Ways to Fit In Working Out

Fall means school runs and after school activities that can keep you sitting around for extended periods of time; how about fitting in some calorie burning action while you wait?

If you’re waiting for ballet or karate to let out, try finding a quiet corner to do a series of yoga moves or calisthenics exercises. Hanging out on the sidelines of a football or soccer practice? Then come prepared to do sprints on an unused section of the field!

Stay Hydrated

Regardless of the temperatures outside, your body still needs to stay hydrated.

It’s easy to forget that simple fact as the air cools and we bundle into jackets and sweaters. Exercising in cool weather still draws moisture out of your body through both respiration and perspiration. Bring water with you whenever you enjoy outdoor, physical activity.

Get Enough Sleep

pumpkins freshly cutDaylight savings time and the growing periods of darkness can disturb your sleep patterns.

Not getting enough sleep can make you crave sugary snacks and encourage your body to put on unwanted weight. Make sure that you’re getting the amount of sleep that you need to wake refreshed and ready for the challenges of the day.

Chores Are Exercise Too

Whether you’re raking leaves, prepping the garden for next year, or chopping wood for the fireplace; you’re also burning loads of calories and exercising your muscles as if you were at the gym!

Take advantage of these typical fall chores to enjoy healthy and productive exercise that will help keep you ‘beach body’ trim until the warm weather returns.

Increase Your Visibility

Shorter days mean that you’ll probably find yourself getting your outdoor exercise under a dark sky.

Wear a reflective safety vest, led safety lights, and carry a flashlight with you to ensure that motorists and others know where you are on bike rides or runs through parks, town or down quiet roads.

Dress Appropriately

fresh applesAs chilly as you may feel before you get started, once you’re moving you’re going to heat up.

If you wear a single layer of heavy clothing, you may find yourself uncomfortably sweaty under that jacket or thick sweater. Instead, you should dress in layers, preferably relying on sports clothes designed to wick moisture away from the body.

Dressed appropriately it’ll be easy to open a couple of zippers or undue a few buttons as you heat up during your workout.

Give Your Fitness a HIIT

It’s understandable that the typically dreary autumn weather doesn’t encourage spending too much time outdoors.

Consider incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise into your routine.

HIIT workouts can be as simple as sprinting in for 5 cycles of 30 seconds running with 10-15 seconds of rest between sets – studies have shown that HIIT is an effective way to build fitness and burn fat without the time commitment that more conventional training can require.

Avoid Temptation

pumpkin pieThis is probably the hardest thing anyone can try to do over the cold weather season.

Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and cozy nights spent on the couch – there are too many opportunities to indulge in tasty sweets and other calorie rich foods. You need to remind yourself that the more you give in; the harder it’s going to be to look trim come spring and summer.

Rock Your Favorite Tunes

Nothing motivates you like listening to your favorite tunes while you’re working out!

Take inventory of the songs you’ve been listening to all summer and change it up. Find new music that will put pep in your step and give you that push you need to get through that tough, last 10 minutes of training.

It’s All about Your Attitude

Summer’s over, get over it.

You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can absolutely change your attitude. Focus on the best things about fall and winter; there’s a lot to love:

  • No more stifling heat
  • Enjoying that hot cup of tea before bed without breaking into a sweat
  • It’s not ‘too hot’ to exercise anymore
  • You can wear your favorite sweater again

Most importantly; you get another chance to shock everybody with how good you look when it’s beach time again!

This is Why You Exercise at the Right Time of Day

Best time to work outIf you haven’t already established a healthy exercise routine – then start one! When you begin an exercise routine; it’s most important to set a routine in the beginning and stick to it, regardless of the time of day.

But, for those of us who already make fitness an important part of our lives when we train can be an important consideration: When is the best time of day to exercise to get the results we want, perform best or maximize our weight loss efforts?

Let’s take a look at the advantages, benefits, drawbacks, and science of physical activity earlier or later in the day for health, peak performance, weight loss or building muscle.

The Best Time to Exercise for Weight Loss

time to exercise for weight lossIt goes without saying that the best way to maintain a healthy weight, besides counting calories, to engage in regular physical activity. But, does exercising at a particular time of day help maximize the effects of exercise on burning excess body fat?

If you want the most effect from your weight loss efforts, a groundbreaking research study indicates that you might do best by setting your alarm earlier and doing your exercising before eating breakfast.

Running on Empty

There is substantial evidence that exercising on a completely empty stomach (a fasted state) — prompts your body to burn more fat and even prevent weight gain when compared to exercising at other times of the day.

Researchers in Belgium recruited young, healthy men to subsist for one and a half months on a diet that consisted of thirty-percent more calories and fifty-percent more fat than they had previously been eating.

One group of volunteers remained sedentary while another group started a strenuous, mid-morning training routine after they had eaten breakfast. A third group followed the same workout routine, but before eating.

At the end of the study, the sedentary group gained roughly six pounds each. This group also developed increased insulin resistance and had a higher body mass index (BMI) than before. Meanwhile, the men who trained after breakfast had also gained weight (three pounds each) and developed greater insulin resistance. But, incredibly, the men who had exercised before eating anything in the morning gained almost no weight and maintained healthy insulin levels. Significantly; they were burning more fat throughout the day than were the other men in the study.

Fasting is the Key

The most convenient way to train in a fasted state is after a good night’s sleep, but the results of this study clearly show that the benefits came from training on an empty stomach, not from the exact time that the test subjects exercised.

If you work nights, or on a rotating shift – you can easily get the benefits of training in a fasted state by exercising upon awakening (but before eating), regardless of the hour you get up.

Morning Exercise for Restful Sleep

It turns out that increased weight loss isn’t the only benefit from starting your day with a good sweat – morning exercise has been shown to also improve the quality of your sleep. A better night’s rest will ensure that you’re more likely to start your morning exercise sessions – which will help you burn more body fat!

Mornings Beat Insomnia

Insomnia is also a risk factor for obesity; consistently restful sleep is an enjoyable and easy way to keep a healthy weight- morning exercise will help you get the rest you need when you need it.

How About Building Muscle?

buildingMuscleOf particular interest to men – what’s the best time of day to train for increased muscle size?

Testosterone Peaks Early in the Day

Unsurprisingly, you need to concern yourself with the time of day when your testosterone (male hormone) levels are at their highest – in the middle of the morning; this is when your blood testosterone levels are at their best.

What if you can’t consistently weight train that early? There’s nothing to worry about. Even though your male hormone levels peak earlier, your muscular strength hits a peak in the early evening hours. Since lifting more weight stimulates greater strength and mass gains; hitting the gym right after work can be an effective alternate option.

Good Company Makes it Easier

Another benefit of exercising later in the day is – company. A workout partner can motivate you when you’re feeling lazy and make training a fun time to trade jokes and have discussions (in between sets of course).

You’ll have a better chance of finding a workout partner for late in the day training. Friends, coworkers, roommates; they’ll all be more willing to join you after school or work than they would be before breakfast!

Best Time to Exercise for Long-Term Success

longTermSuccessWhat’s the best time of day to exercise if you want to stick with it long-term? Anytime that’s right for you!

You’re far more likely to establish a consistent routine if you choose the most convenient time of day for you. Of course, there are ideal times when you can do weight training, or cardio, or exercise to lose weight – but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t consistent.

Set aside a block of time in your day and stick to it! Lifelong fitness is a lifelong commitment, and you need to find the schedule that fits your lifestyle, location, and unique body clock. Morning, noon or night; when will working out be most enjoyable and easy to do? Whatever the answer is, it’ll be the right one if you’re consistent.

All About Low Back Pain

Low Back PainIt’s something every single one of us has had to (or will eventually) deal with at some point in our lives. There are historical references to it going back thousands of years. The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all devoted part of their medical literature to healing this, sometimes terrible, pain

Lower back pain.

From that aching stiffness first thing in the morning to the debilitating agony of a slipped disk – low back pain can affect:

  • Your quality of life
  • Ability to work and play
  • Your mood

If you’re dealing with low back pain and are wondering: What could be causing it? What can I do about it? When is it something serious? Then keep on reading and learn all about low back pain.

The Spine

The Spine and low back painThe spine is composed of twenty-four bones (vertebrae); the three types of vertebrae are: cervical (neck), Lumbar (back), and sacral (base of spine).
The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs.
These are soft, gel-like discs that prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other and also act as shock absorbers.
Intervertebral Discs have two components:

  • A tough outer ring: the annulus
  • A jelly-like interior: the nucleus pulposus

Causes of Low Back Pain

When the annulus is damaged, the soft interior can bulge out or even squirt into the surrounding area (a herniation) impinging local nerves and frequently resulting in excruciating pain.

If a herniation occurs between the L5 and S1 vertebrae – then the L5/S1 nerves that go into the sciatic nerve (a nerve that reaches from the lower back and down each leg) will become pinched, and you’ll feel very uncomfortable.

But, sometimes there’s another reason for pain.

In a normal spine, the nerves travel through your spinal canal and spread to the body through the bilateral foramen (small openings on each side).
sciatic nerve
If any of these openings in the spine become narrowed, the nerve can be pinched and compressed.
When the foramen between the L5/S1 (low back) vertebrae narrows, it will irritate the sciatic nerve, resulting in lower back pain and; tingling, cramps (anywhere along the leg), and numbness anywhere from lower back to the bottom of the foot.

The Muscles of the Lower Back

When the muscles or ligaments in the low back are strained or torn, the area around the muscles will typically become inflamed. This inflammation may lead to back spasm, and it is the back spasm that could cause both severe lower back pain and difficulty moving.

  • Muscles: Are stretchy, fibrous tissue that’s critical for moving your body; they’re connected to the bones/joints by tendons
  • Tendons: Cords of tough collagen tissue attaching the muscles to your bones making it possible for the muscles to move your bones and joints
  • Ligaments: Are elastic/fibrous tissue connecting bones together. They stabilize the joints while you are still, and they help prevent excessive movement that can cause injury when you’re moving

Unfortunately, these structures are all prone to pulling, twisting or tearing, which will also cause low back pain.

6 Facts about Low Back Pain

  1. Low back pain is the leading cause of disability according to this 2010 article in The Lancet
  2. Backache is one of the most often given excuses for missing work, and it’s the 2nd most common reason people visit the doctor’s office
  3. Half of all working people admit to having back pain symptoms each year
  4. It’s estimated that up to eighty percent Americans will have back pain at some point in life
  5. Most low back pain is not caused by serious conditions like arthritis, infection, or fracture
  6. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs

4 Symptoms that Mean You Should See a Doctor Right Away

1) Unexplained weight loss and Back Pain

If you’re experiencing weight loss without changes in your diet or activity levels and have back pain, you should ask a doctor to check for serious issues like cancer or a hormonal disorder.

2) Trauma and Low Back Pain
A severe trauma like being in a car accident or falling from a height or flight of stairs can result in a spinal fracture (‘broken’ back). If this occurred to you and you’re suffering pain – seek out care from your doctor or an emergency room.

3) Loss of control of your bowel or bladder and Back Pain

This can indicate that you have cauda equina syndrome (CES).

If you have lower back pain with sudden incontinence; you possibly have CES (a back condition creating severe pressure on the nerves) that will require emergency medical care to prevent serious nerve damage.

4) Back Pain accompanied by Fever
Back pain with fever could indicate that you have an infected kidney or infection is some other part of your back. Your physician will determine whether you’ll need a course of antibiotics and anything else you’ll need to do to get better.

How to Treat Your Back Pain

girl rolling out her lower back painBed rest used to be the number one recommendation for treating back pain in general and low back pain in particular.

This advice has fallen out of favor as research showed that the people who maintained their normal daily activities recuperated much more quickly and completely than those who didn’t.

Interestingly, the same study found that performing your normal, daily activities was also more effective than performing exercises intended to strengthen and stretch the affected area!

Hot and Cold

Anecdotal evidence suggests there are real benefits to alternating the use of ice and heating pads to relieve low back pain symptoms.

OTC NSAIDS

Can also go along way to make the pain your suffering more bearable – just make sure you follow the dosage advice on the package.

Walking

Taking regular strolls will keep the blood flowing into the injured area (which will speed healing) and relieve stiffness while performing an activity with very little chance of causing further damage.

Time

As hard as it may be for anyone to accept; the best treatment for low back pain that isn’t the result of trauma or an underlying health issue – is time. Most instances of low back pain will resolve within a few weeks with little or no intervention other than avoiding any activities that exacerbate the symptoms.

Benefits of Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga Has a Profound Impact on Health

People have been practicing (and enjoying the benefits of) Yoga for thousands of years. While its popularity has waxed and waned over the last hundred years – Yoga is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the United States. Research has proven that practicing Yoga can have a profound impact on your health.

Let’s take a closer look at one of the most physically dynamic styles of Yoga and what it could do to make you feel better, look better, restore your health, and improve your mood.

What is Ashtanga Yoga

Yoga is a three-thousand-year old practice that originates in the Indian sub-continent; the word itself means to “yoke” or “connect.” The things being connected are traditionally understood to be the body and spirit in order for practitioners to achieve liberation.

There are various styles of Yoga, and each one has a particular focus or goal. We’re going to focus on one style of physically dynamic Yoga that has enjoyed incredible popularity in the U.S. since the 1980’s; Ashtanga Yoga.

The Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga

The eight limbs of Ashtanga YogaAshtanga actually means “eight limbs.” As a system of both physical and spiritual health maintenance, there is an underlying philosophy to Ashtanga Yoga that is divided into eight parts.
1) Yama: Restraints and moral discipline

This limb refers to the vows, discipline and practices that concern the world around us, and how we interact with it.

While practicing yoga can increase physical strength/ flexibility and also aid in calming your mind; what’s the point if you’re still stiff, weak and stressed in daily life?

Ashtanga Yoga has five Yamas; including

  • Ahimsa (non-violence)
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (don’t steal)
  • Brahmacharya (correct use of energy)
  • Aparigraha (avoiding greed).

2) Niyama: Positive duties or observances

The second limb usually refers to our duties towards ourselves, but can also be considered in actions towards the world. Niyamas are traditionally practiced by people who want to build character.

3) Asana: Posture

The physical aspect of yoga is the third limb of Ashtanga Yoga. This concept means being able to repose comfortably, so you’re not “pulled” by aches and discomfort of the body or suffer restlessness from an uncomfortable position.

4) Pranayama: Breathing Techniques

The word Prana means “energy.” It is used to describe the force that keeps us alive and the energy of the universe. Prana is associated with the breath also refers to working with the way we breathe. Ashtanga Yoga teaches that controlling the breath can affect the mind in a very real way.

5) Pratyahara: Sense withdrawal

Pratya means to withdraw or draw in. The second part ahara means anything we absorb; the various sights, sounds and smells we perceive continuously.

6) Dharana: Focused concentration

Dharana means focused concentration. Dha means maintaining, and Ana means something else. Visualization and focusing on the breath are practices of dharana and are what we generally think of as meditation.

7) Dhyana: Meditative absorption

The seventh limb is when we become completely absorbed in whatever we’re meditating on.

8) Samadhi: Enlightenment

This is thought of as the final step of the Ashtanga Yoga journey.

Ashtanga Yoga may have lofty spiritual goals built into it – but we’re going to look at some of the scientifically verified benefits of this ancient practice that will allow to you reap some incredible real-world health benefits.

Ashtanga Yoga and Flexibility

ashtanga yogaand flexibilityThe postures of Ashtanga Yoga are an effective way to build and maintain a high degree of muscular flexibility that will make daily movement easier and prevent the injuries that can come from making sudden moves or being accidentally forced to move a joint or muscle beyond the typical range of motion.

According to a study conducted by the Journal of Athletic Training: Increased flexibility is positively correlated with reduced muscle soreness and incidence of injury in the physically active.

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Research published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine has discovered that female test subjects who completed an eight-month course of Ashtanga Yoga practice experienced a significant increase in muscle strength and flexibility. The conclusion of this study was that Ashtanga Yoga is an effective alternative to conventional strength training.

Ashtanga Yoga is Heart-Healthy

A research study in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology strongly suggests that Yoga has genuine benefits for heart health by mitigating or reversing cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors that may lead to disease.

Ashtanga Yoga and Mental Health

Ashtanga Yoga and Mental HealthThere is concrete evidence that practicing Ashtanga Yoga is an effective way to improve mood, relieve depression, and help maintain a positive outlook on life according to a paper in the journal Mindfulness.

Study participants were required to complete at least two Ashtanga Yoga classes per week for a period of nine weeks. Research subjects who completed the full nine-week course reported significant improvements in:

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Self-esteem
  • Interpersonal functioning related to assertiveness,
  • Increased attention to self-needs
  • Capacity to connect

Your Bones Will Benefit

There is conclusive, research-based evidence that Ashtanga Yoga has a positive effect on bone density in postmenopausal women. The study followed 34 pre and postmenopausal women over eight months to determine what effect if any, that Ashtanga Yoga would have on bone health.

Participants who took two one-hour long classes per week showed measurable improvements in bone mineralization. The researchers further conclude that Yoga practice on a more frequent schedule will likely result in even greater improvements than they observed.

Improving Balance and Stability

People who are visually impaired are at greater risk for falls due to the lack of visual input to establish balance. In this study, scientists evaluated an Ashtanga-based Yoga Therapy program as a multi-sensory intervention to improve postural stability in individuals with a severe visual handicap.

They found that Ashtanga-based Yoga therapy was an effective way to increase balance and physical stability in people who are unable to orient themselves using visual cues. It’s reasonable to assume that these benefits may extend to many people who suffer balance issues or wish to increase improve balance and stability to avoid being injured in avoidable falls.

An Ancient Practice with Health Benefits for Today

Enduring for over three-thousand years; Ashtanga Yoga has improved the health of countless people around the world. Beyond the proven physical benefits, Ashtanga has an effect on psychological health not found in conventional western-based exercise practices. It’s truly a case of “what’s old is new again.” Try it out! Find a nearby class and see how it makes you feel. You may discover a new and exciting road to greater vitality and a unique mental outlook that may buffer you against the challenges of your daily life.

 

Kettle Bells Will Make You Burn 1200 Calories

Incinerate Body Fat and Get Fit with One Simple Tool

Burn 1200 Calories using a KettlebellVery few people enjoy regularly spending hours every week sweating and straining to burn enough calories to maintain a healthy weight. Worse – it can take hours of joint-straining effort to burn enough calories to make a dent in your weight loss goals.

Does this mean that exercise isn’t useful? Not necessarily.

Keep reading to find out why exercising for weight loss can be so challenging and a popular, old-time fitness tool that makes burning massive amounts of calories a breeze.

How Much Work to Burn 1000 Calories?

Let’s take a look at how long you need to perform common exercises to burn 1000 calories:

  • A 155 lb person will need to run 8 miles in one hour
  • You’ll need to use a Stairmaster for about 1 ½ hours at a moderate pace
  • Swimming laps will burn 1000 calories every 2 hours
  • Riding your bike at about 12 mph will do the job – after 1 ½ to 2 hours

These activities have certain things in common; the need for relatively expensive equipment, lots of space, a gym membership or lots of time.

For most working people; fitting in the time to regularly burn enough calories to lose weight is all but impossible. We’re not even considering the time it takes to commute from work to gym and back home!

What if I told you that there is a simple fitness tool that:

  • Takes up almost no space in your home
  • Is comparatively inexpensive to purchase
  • Can burn approximately 1200 calories per hour

And you can use to perform one simple movement that has the same fitness benefit as running 6-minute miles?

Almost Too Good to Be True

Burn1200 Calories using a KettlebellThe tool I’m talking about is the Kettlebell, of course. This cannonball with a handle has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the last 15 years.

Why?

Because it works. Although the tales of how Kettlebell exercises have transformed people’s health and appearance were initially anecdotal – years of scientific research have provided robust data about the extraordinary effectiveness and joint-safe nature of this centuries old training method.

Let’s Start With the ACE Kettlebell Study

The American Council on Exercise enlisted the help of research experts at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse Exercise and Health Program to analyze the energy expenditure and training intensity of kettlebell workouts.

The research team was led by John Porcari, Ph.D., and Chad Schnettler, M.S., who recruited 10 male and female volunteers between 29 and 46 years of age. All the volunteers were experienced kettlebell users.

Two basic kettlebell movements were used; the kettlebell swing (moving the weight in a swinging motion between the legs and up to chest height) and the kettlebell snatch (similar to the swing but the weight is moved to a short stop overhead).

The results of this study were nothing short of incredible.

During a 20-minute kettlebell workout, calorie burn averaged 272 calories, even ignoring the additional calorie burn due to the anaerobic effort involved. The researchers estimated that the study participants were burning 13.6 calories per minute aerobically.

But they also measured blood lactate levels and discovered that anaerobically they were burning another 6 ½ calories per minute!

The volunteers were burning roughly 20.2 calories per minute; which the researchers considered off the charts. 20.2 calories per minute is equivalent to running at a 6-minute mile pace.

According to the ACE kettlebell study: The only other thing that burns calories at that rate is cross-country skiing – uphill – at a fast pace. The intense calorie burning effect is credited to the whole body nature of kettlebell training and that it’s done rapidly in an interval training format.

The researchers conclude by stating that kettlebell training provides an incredible “bang for your buck” in calories burned over a short period of time.

Kettlebells Are Low-Impact and Joint Safe

Burn 1200 Calories using a KettlebelllDue to the smooth, circular movement patterns of kettlebell exercises; using them is safe for your joints and, when done correctly, have a much lower incidence of injury than conventional resistance or aerobic training.

According to this study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research in 2012; kettlebell training exposes your joints to almost no excess strain and even demonstrated a salutary effect on joint health. In other words – kettlebell training doesn’t just help you avoid joint injuries related to exercise but even helped heal previously existing joint issues!

Functional Training for Real-World Fitness

Due to the whole-body nature of kettlebell movements, and the mental focus these exercises require; you’ll enjoy improvements in a plethora of daily activities.

While exercises like bench presses and squats increase your strength one-dimensionally (you get better at benching at squatting movements and not much else), kettlebell training will translate into:

  • Being able to carry more grocery bags farther and with greater ease
  • Easily sprinting after your children in the park
  • Making sudden awkward movements without risking your back or knees
  • Greater strength and agility in most natural, everyday movements

Unlike exercises that train a small number of muscles repetitively; kettlebells require that you learn how to use your entire body synergistically (all parts working together) for the sort of training that prepares you for the challenges that you’ll actually be confronted with in life.

Boredom Killing Variety

Burn up to 1200 Calories Using a KettlebellWhat do the following activities have in common?

  • Running
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Weight-training

If you said: Endless repetition – you win the prize!

There is only so much variation in most resistance or cardio training programs. Unless you’re a dedicated competitor; you’ll lose interest and exercise will become another chore, a chore you’ll start skipping eventually.

As a skill based, whole body training method that burns an obscene number of calories in a short time: kettlebells offer an almost endless variety of movements that you can enjoy just about anywhere you have enough room to stand or lie down.

You can do kettlebells:

  • In the park
  • On the beach
  • In front of the TV
  • On your porch

You get the idea. It fits easily in your trunk, closet, corner or under your bed. Easily change how and where you train for a needed change of pace.

Why Wait?

While this article was just an introduction to the benefits of kettlebell training for fitness and weight loss; a quick online search will reveal thousands of videos and articles that will teach you the basic movements and training methods that you can use.

Kettlebells can be bought for around a dollar per pound online from big box retailers ( a good starting weight is 35 lbs for men or 25 lbs for women).

Instead of blowing your knees and hips out with all-out sprints – you could be reaping the benefits of running without the risks (kettlebell swings).

If you want a safe and effective exercise program to turbocharge your weight loss/maintenance efforts; kettlebells could be your “magic bullet” to achieving your health goals!

 

Burn Calories without Even Knowing It!

How to make workouts more enjoyable!

We all know working out can be boring and repetitive. Forcing yourself to go to the gym, lacking the motivation or ambition to work out. Running on the treadmill or outside can become mind-numbing. Doing the same number of squats every day, the same routine can be boring. How do you keep yourself motivated? How can you stay excited to burn calories? There’s plenty of ways to make working out fun and less of a chore, there’s something fun for everyone. Some of these methods may even be a fun/new experience that you may end up loving!

Take a Hike

man hiking up a mountain
Get some friends together and go for a hike, whether it’s up a mountain or on a trail. I love to get a group together and go hiking up in the Adirondacks. Some days we walk a steep mountain and others we stick with the leveled course. It’s a great way to see your surroundings and also a great way to get your heart rate up and your legs burning. I feel the burn for a good day or two after hiking. The best part about hiking is the view, I love looking out at the scenery, it’s peaceful and beautiful. I feel so good when I see how high I’ve climbed.

Check out your Surroundings

There’s always places to sight-see. Walking tours are great. You can go tour a brewery, a town landmark, a museum, or a zoo/aquarium. Even just walking through-out town. Always something cool to see. This is a great way to count your steps. You can’t even begin to imagine how many steps your taking while being distracted by all the scenery and cool exhibits to look at. I enjoy walking through nearby towns and window shopping in all the stores. This is a great way to meet new people.

Dance like no one is Watching

Dance your butt off. Even if you aren’t the best dancer and have no rhythm, dancing is a ton of fun! You can work out your whole body without even knowing it. There’s dancing classes, fitness dancing classes, even dance marathons. I find swing dancing and zumba a blast and I am always sweating by the time I’m done. My heart gets racing and I get in the moment that an hour goes by instantly. If you aren’t ok with dancing in public then get a DVD tutorial and learn! It can be very useful in the future.

Learn Something New

I’ve tested out a bunch of different classes like zumba, yoga, pilates and spinning. I have always had a blast. My next class will be boxing. There’s something about being with a group of people that all want the same results while doing something active and fun. When you’re working out in a group, you all motivate and push each other. If you go on Groupon you can usually find discount classes.

Play-Time

man playing water tag with his children
One of the most fun ways to burn calories and get your heart rate ups is by playing with kids. My nephew loves to run around. “Chase Me, Chase Me!” All the time I am chasing after him and it gets my heart rate up fast. He loves to throw the ball and loves to swim, all activities that I can do with him and get a great workout. I thoroughly enjoy playing with kids, I laugh and feel happy.

Exercise while you Work

Stand at your desk, walk on lunch break, go to the bathroom on the opposite end of the building. There’s many ways to keep your body active at work, mostly when you work at a desk. On an hour lunch break I walk for a half hour, it just gets your blood moving and your heart rate going again. While I sit at my desk I move my legs up and down in a scissor motion, I stretch at my desk and I even dance while listening to music. Keeps me somewhat active and makes the day go by faster.

Make Cleaning Fun Again

This is always hard, yes, cleaning is a great workout but it’s boring. One of those tasks you hate doing. When I clean, I crank up a fun dance-worthy playlist and get to work. I dance while doing dishes, jump and move around while vacuuming and have fun folding laundry. I strap on some leg weights and get cleaning. Nothing like a dance party to make cleaning an enjoyable work out.

Active Video Games?

How can video games help you stay physically active! Yes, video games are fun, we have all played them for hours and hours. That is a lot of sitting. But recently video games have become more active, we now have Wii, track pads and Dance-Dance Revolution (which is my favorite). I have this track-pad game where you do different Olympic sports like hurdles and sprints. Gets my heart rate up fast by just jumping up and down and running in place. The Wii has many games that enhance physical activity like playing tennis, golf and other sports.

Me?

I love playing WarioWare, which is basically just a bunch of mini games designed to keep you active. In one game, I am jumping up and down and the other I am spinning in circles dancing. Nothing gets your heart rate going as much as DDR. Dance-Dance Revolution is by far the most physically trying video game I have ever played. I once danced so fast for such a long period of time that I had to go jump in a snowbank. I was sweating so bad. It is an incredibly fun game that anyone can play. These games are great to play in a group, you get laughing and cheering each other on, even competing against one another.

Recreational Sports Leagues

men playing baseball
If you love baseball but aren’t at that minor or major league level you can still play on community leagues. I know people who play on local leagues with friends, colleagues and even random people. It’s very common for companies to have their own softball or baseball league that just play against each other. It’s fun and a great way to bond with coworkers and make new friends.

Wear it

Wear a FitBit. I find it fun to take challenges from my Fitbit. You have a certain number of stairs to climb, miles, calories to burn, cardio minutes and number of steps. There’s even a water tracker which helps me because I never drink enough water. I enjoy hitting my goals because I get a congratulatory notification that makes me feel good.

Weight Loss Betting?

Dietbet.com. This website is a fun incentivized game to help you lose weight. You make a set weight goal and the harder you work, the more pounds you shed, the more money you win! They give you goals like if you choose the 6-month program you have to lose 10% of your body weight. Great way to motivate others trying to lose weight.

Couch-less television time

How much time do you spend sitting on the couch watching your favorite shows? On average a show is 30 minutes to an hour. You could get a full workout in and still watch your show. I like to hula hoop, jump rope, do sit ups and jog in place when my shows are on. Gets my heart rate up and the time flies by. Take commercial breaks to relax and cool down but don’t stop moving during the show.

There’s plenty of ways to be physically active and actually enjoy it. Most of the activities on this list are easy and time efficient so there’s no reason you can’t get up and do it. Try it out, let us know what you think or if you have any suggestions to add.