Woman running

Get Your Workout Without Hitting the Gym

If a tree falls in the forest with no one to hear it, does it make a noise? The same can be applied to real life situations. If we eat at home alone, did we really eat? If we drink at home alone, did we really get drunk? And if we exercise at home alone, did we really work out? Doing things publicly seems to affirm that they really happened, but they usually involve extra expense, extra energy, and, of course, leaving the house. Sometimes there can be advantages to eating without a restaurant, drinking without a bar, and working out without a gym. Here are some ways you can do the last, and when you see the results, there will be no doubt you had a great workout.

Running
You definitely don’t need a gym to take off running. And no one will deny the results. You’ll get fabulously toned legs and burn tons of calories. Plus, there is no shortage of places to do it. There are running and jogging trails all over the place, or you can run along the street to change up the scenery.

Walking
If running is too brutal for you, walking may be more your thing. You’ll get in your cardio and your calorie burn. You can join a walking club if you need some people to motivate you, or start your own.

Woman exercise to video

Exercise Videos and TV Shows
Videos are great because they provide you with a structured exercise that you can do in the privacy of your home at a time most convenient for you. They also cover every type of workout known to man, from yoga to high intensity, to step aerobics, so you can find the one best suited to your abilities and preferences.

At Home Exercise Equipment
Stationary bikes, treadmills, and stair masters are all great ways to workout without the gym. They can cost a pretty penny but are well worth it when considering what you may be saving in time and gym membership fees.

Woman swimming

Swimming
Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories without damaging your joints, and you don’t even have to break a sweat. While you may not have the luxury of an Olympic sized pool in your back yard, there may be a community center or park nearby that does.

Bicycling
Bikes are functional as well as beneficial to your health. You can get a quick workout while running an errand, or take a more intensity focused ride. Neighborhoods are making their streets more bike friendly, and, biking is a good way to exercise your environmental consciousness while you exercise your body.

Woman playing with pug

Play With Your Kids Or Pets
You’ll get a workout and your family will love you for it. See who lasts longer, you or the kids. Plus, it’s more entertaining than walking on a treadmill.

Public Courts
Public courts are ideal for cool summer nights and lazy summer Saturday mornings. Many parks offer tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts to the public. It’s BYO on the equipment, but space is free.

Are you working out without a gym this summer? Good for you? Let us know what you do when the gym is not an option?

Summer walking

Tips For Starting A Summer Walking Routine

To some, high-intensity internal workouts are the most efficient way of exercising; to others, they are a bizarre three-minute self-torture ritual. Although at times it may seem like the world is being overtaken by the overachieving and impossibly healthy, there are some who still prefer to keep their exercise routines a bit more humane.

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re eighteen months – so let’s talk about an exercise routine so easy that even a baby can do it. Here are some tips for beginning a summer walking routine.

How To Start
The first thing you need for walking is a good pair of shoes and some comfy clothes. Start out slow. Head out the door, walk for ten minutes and walk back. Repeat every day for a week. If you find yourself building stamina, add five minutes to next week’s walk. Keep increasing as is comfortable.

Posture
Keep good posture in mind when you walk. Walk tall. Keep your mind on elongating your body. Your head should be up, your eyes focused forward, Keep your shoulders down, relaxed and back, with your abdominal muscles and buttocks tight.

Preparation
Make sure to have water handy at all times. Be sure to get enough to drink before you walk, and take the water bottle along for mid walk hydration. Try adding stretches to your routine. For example, you might start at a slow pace and stop to do a few warm up drills for flexibility. Slow down your pace at the end of the walk and take some time for a few more stretches. This will help you to feel better while preventing injury.

Sticking with It
The toughest thing for most people starting a fitness routine is making it routine. You should try to walk daily, aiming for a minimum five days of exercise per week. Walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you find yourself short of breath.

Three friends walking

How Much Should You Do?
Speed and distance should not be a priority in the beginning, but once the habit starts to stick, you may want to start developing goals. Here are some general health guidelines:

People walking for general health benefits should try and get in a half hour minimum each day, most days of the week, keeping to “talking pace,” or a comfortable pace at which you can still hold a conversation.

For improvement of cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week are recommended, doing 20 to 30 minutes at a very fast pace. You will find your breathing is elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. Warming up and cooling down time should be additional to the time spent walking.

Those walking to lose weight should probably aim to do 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk rate. The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn. However, make sure to increase pace and mileage gradually to prevent injury.

Tips For Walking Faster
Once you become comfortable with your routine, you may want to speed it up a little. Here are some guidelines for walking faster:

  • Use good posture. Walk tall, keep your gaze forward, focused about 20 feet ahead of you, chin level and head up.
  • Your chest should be slightly raised with your shoulders down, back and relaxed.
  • Your arms should be bent at an angle slightly less severe than 90 degrees. Gently cup your hands and swing arms front to back. The faster you swing your arms, the faster your feet will go, but do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone.
  • Tighten abs and buttocks; keep back flat and pelvis slightly forward.
  • Visualize yourself walking in a straight line.Take smaller faster steps to go faster, trying not to elongate your stride.
  • Push off with your toes, concentrating on landing on your heel and rolling through the step. Use the spring of your calf to propel you.
  • Take deep rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen. Your breathing should be heightened, but not strained.

Have you started your summer exercise routine? How are you staying hot this summer? Let us know!

Woman elliptical

Kickstart Your Heart With These Cardio Staples

There is such a variety of exercise tapes available today, it is sometimes difficult to determine which ones are meant to be taken seriously. Since Joanna Rohrback created a sensation with her much spoofed “Prancercise” video, the health conscious public has been confused by an assortment of bizarre aerobic tapes ranging from the “Dixie Carter Country Hiphop Workout” to the “Japanese Poodle Workout” to the “Exorcise” video. With all this insanity, it is sometimes hard to define what is meant by cardiovascular exercise.

Cardiovascular exercises are so called because they improve the function of the heart, build muscle mass, and enhance consumption and transportation of oxygen. They also strengthen bones, increase joint support and improve cholesterol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a weekly exercise routine consisting of 2 and a half hours of moderate cardiovascular activity or 75 minutes of more vigorous cardio per week. Here are some tried and true examples of cardiovascular staples to help kickstart your health.

In the Gym
The elliptical trainer, which features footpads that require a pedaling motion to operate. is one of the most comprehensive pieces of gym equipment for cardiovascular activity. This, along with the stairclimber and the treadmill, provide their users with opportunities to build endurance and lung capacity while toning the lower body and burning fat.
If instructed gym classes are more your speed, spinning, exercise dancing, and water aerobics are all challenging options. Looking for something more traditional? Step aerobics are an age old way to work the lower body, while jumping rope provides for full body workout, sharpening coordination and boosting lateral movement.

Couple running

Walking and Running
You can burn 180 calories by speed walking at moderate intensity for 30 minutes, while running can double that number. Although body weight can affect the number of calories burned while running, speed has little to do with cardiovascular benefits. Therefore, you can enjoy perks of lower blood pressure, decreased risk of heart attack, and increased lung capacity while still working at a relatively low intensity. However, more vigorous activity has the added benefits of greater calorie melts and metabolism boosts which can last for days after working out.

Sports
If you enjoy competitive sports, racquetball is considered the most heart healthy sport and can burn more than 400 calories in the course of a vigorous 30 minute game. Rowing, skiing and climbing follow hot on its heels, turning in similar figures. Swimming weighs in at a whopping 500 calorie burn in thirty minutes and is known to stimulate circulation, increase endurance and flexibility, and provide stress relief, while strengthening the heart.

Indoor and Outdoor Activities
Biking can be done outdoors or from the comfort of your home and can burn up to 500 calories in a period of 30 minutes. A hilly terrain can increase resistance outdoors for an even greater calorie burn and an increased test of stamina, while stationary bikes include manual intensity adjustments. Equipment free cardio options include unweighted squad, jumping jacks, lunges and squat jumps.

How do you like to kickstart your workout? Let us know how you get your 2 1/2 hours in. We love to hear it!

Woman walking

10 Ways to Meet Your 10K Step Goal

Whether you’ve just gotten a fitness tracker or you’ve had one for a while, this device can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Fitness trackers come programmed with a daily goal of 10,000 steps, which can be a breeze to accomplish on days when you’re super active or hitting the gym, but on other days this can seem like torture. Fortunately, there are some small changes that you can make to your daily routine in order to meet your daily goal of 10,000 steps.

Kill Some Time
Waiting for your child’s piano or dance lesson to end? Take a walk around the block to get some extra movement. If you find yourself waiting other places, like your doctor’s office, consider walking around the waiting room a few times to get steps.

Get Up and Move
Sitting at your desk all day isn’t good for your health or your productivity, so take a break every hour or so to get up and move around. “Take a break during your day, and go walk up and down a flight of stairs. It only takes a few minutes, but the benefits are huge,” says Lee Jordan. Not only do you boost your productivity and burn calories, you also increase your step count.

Woman walking to work

Walk to Work
Not everybody can use this tip, but if it is possible for you to walk to work, then do it. Walking to work can help you reach 10,000 steps super quickly and it’s great for the environment, so walk to work when you can. If you live in a rural or suburban area, simply park farther away from your destination or get off the bus one stop earlier than you need to.

Make it a Family Affair
Get in the habit of taking a walk with your family every evening after you eat supper. If you don’t have a spouse or kids, take your dog for a walk or just spend some time outside in nature by yourself.

Use a Different Bathroom
Using the bathroom right down the hallway gives you a few steps, but you can increase the number of steps you take during your bathroom break by going to one farther away or on a different level of your building.

Don’t So it All at Once
Meeting your goal of 10,000 steps can be overwhelming, and it becomes more so if you think of it as an all-or-nothing experience. Break your steps up into manageable numbers so that you can meet multiple goals during the day. Chris Jordan, the author of The 7 Minute Workout, suggests that you “aim for 2,000 steps before work, 2,000 mid-morning, 2,000 at lunch, 2,000 mid-afternoon and 2,000 in the evening. It will make hitting your goal much easier.”

Officegoers climbing stairs

Skip the Elevators / Escalators
Taking the stairs anytime you are able during the day, even just going up and down them a few times during a lunch break, can quickly help you reach 10,000 steps. Not only will it help you get your steps in, but Lee Jordan an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer, says it can help you in your fitness goals and in getting out the door faster. “Most people at the office use an elevator, so the steps are usually empty. People underestimate how good a workout step climbing is.”

Get Face-to-Face
Many of us are in the habit of simply sending an e-mail or making a quick call to a co-worker, but if you want to hit your 10,000 step goal, get up and walk to your co-worker to discuss what you need to.

Hang Out With Friends
Spend some time with your friends while working towards your 10,000 step goal. Take a walk around the neighborhood or head downtown and do some serious window (or actual) shopping and use this social time as a way to be more active.

Try to be Inefficient
You probably spend all day trying to be as efficient as possible; carrying in all the grocery bags at once, hauling all the laundry down the steps at one time or putting away as many items as possible in one fell swoop. Rather than be efficient, get extra steps by being really inefficient. Carry the grocery bags one or two a time, take smaller loads of laundry to the washing machine and put one item away before grabbing another to help meet your 10,000 step goal.

The American Heart Association endorses the 10,000 steps per day guideline, and it really can increase your health. Don’t let the number scare you, just use the above tips to help you meet your 10,000 step goal every day.

Family walking on a beach.

Activities For the Whole Fam to Keep Minds Healthy

A healthy family is perhaps the most important thing to you, and many others. Feeding your family a diet that nourishes the body and making time for exercise are two of the largest factors in your family’s health equation. However, you might be neglecting a significant area of health: your brain. Keeping your mind active and healthy improves cognitive function, increases focus and memory and can just be downright fun. We’ve come up with several activities the help stimulate the mind to keep it healthy.

Family on a walk.

Walking
Okay, yes we know we already mentioned exercise is important to your overall health, but walking is also an excellent brain activity. The benefits which can be found from walking include growth of new blood vessels in the brain, reducing inflammation and insulin resistance, and stimulating the release of growth factors – chemicals that are present in the brain and can affect the health of our brain cells. You don’t need to put your family in an exercise boot camp to get these brain benefits; a simple walk around the neighborhood as a family will produce these results.

Family playing a puzzle game.

Puzzles
Gathering your family to work on a puzzle together is a great way to spend quality time together while also keeping your minds healthy. You probably know that your brain is responsible for producing dopamine, but you may not know why that it important. Dopamine is the chemical that is largely responsible for learning and memory. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle with your family releases dopamine. The type of puzzle you use will probably be determined by the ages of your children. Younger children will require less complicated puzzles, so be sure to have some kid-friendly puzzles together as well as challenging puzzles for older children and other adults in your family.

Family playing a board game.

Board Games
In the age of electronics and technology, kids probably get more screen time than time spent with family playing games that really encourage a healthy mind. Board games are a great way to spend time together as a family and to improve your minds. Board games are great especially with children in the elementary school age range because they require learning skills such as taking turns, problem-solving and creative thinking. Some of our favorite family games are Uno, Scrabble and Battleship. Monopoly is a great game that teaches about money and cause and effect, but we recommend not trying this one with a toddler.

While the activities mentioned above are excellent ways to keep your family’s minds active and healthy, many of the things you do every day with your family also help keep the mind active. Listening and talking not only strengthen family bonds, but can help stimulate areas of your brain. You could also work on crosswords as a family, color mandalas together (or each color their own) or listen to classical music during meals. The activities available to keep your family’s minds healthy is limited only by your creativity.

Couple exercising in a park.

Resveralife Live Well: Best Outdoor Exercises

The sun is shining bright, the grass is turning green once again and the birds are chirping happy songs. It’s spring. Most people look forward to heading outdoors as soon as the weather is nice enough. Make your outdoor time do double duty by planning not just to get some fresh air and vitamin D, but a total body workout as well. This Resveralife Live Well Guide highlights the best moves that will work your entire body while you enjoy the refreshing and invigorating spring weather.

Woman jogging in a park.

Walk/Jog/Run
A simple walk around your neighborhood or along a local hiking trail help you to get in shape. You most likely know that walking/jogging/running is great to help shed pounds and burn calories, but you may not be aware that there are significant benefits to your mind as well. During cardiovascular exercise, your heart pumps blood to other organs in your body. One of these organs is the brain. The oxygen and other nutrients can improve your clarity, mood and memory. As little as 30 minutes is all it takes to get enhanced brain power.

Woman performing push-ups on a park bench.

Park Bench Push-Ups
Work the arms, chest and core with a twist on the classic push-up. Begin by placing your hands on the edge of the park bench and walk your feet out. Stop when your legs are fully extended. Bend your arms and lower your chest. Repeat 10 times. Beginners may want to stick with three reps, while those with a bit more strength may complete as many as 10 reps.

Woman using a park bench for tricep dips.

Park Bench Tricep Dips
Tricep dips work the arms, specifically as the name suggests, the triceps. Begin by sitting on the bench and placing your arms firmly behind you shoulder-width apart. When your arms are in place, slide off of the park bench and slide forward. Some prefer to fully extend their legs while completing this exercise while others find it more beneficial to keep the knees bent. Straighten your arms then bend your elbows and entire lower body until the elbows reach a 90 degree angle. Push yourself back up and that counts as one rep. Aim for two to three sets of 15 reps each.

Woman doing mountain climbing exercise on a park bench.

Park Bench Mountain Climbers
Take a twist on regular mountain climbers and use the park bench to support your weight. Begin in the same position you would for a park bench push-up with your palms on the park bench and your legs fully extended. From this position bring your knees to your chest switching legs each rep. You can repeat sets by the number you choose (15 complete climbers is a great place to start) or simply do this as a timed exercise and spending about 30 seconds per set.

Getting outside and into nature helps so much more than your body. Strengthen your body, and mind, by getting out of the gym and into the fresh air. As an added bonus, your daily dose of vitamin D helps you strengthen bones naturally as you strengthen your muscles. If it’s been a while since you last exercised, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure that you get in shape in a safe and healthy way.