Sit Less, Move More

Sit Less, Move More

Your body has been designed for movement.  However, in our fast paced, technological society, the reality is that we have slowed down.  Think about what your day is like.  How long is your commute to work?  What is your job like?  Are you sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen for the majority of your workday?  When you get home, do you relax in front of the TV or with your head down engaged with some sort of mobile device?  Have you ever added the time up to take an honest look at your activity level within a 24-hour period? You may be surprised how little you actually move.

Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time negatively impacts your health.  Sitting for an extended amount of time has been linked to poor posture, lower back pain and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

On average, a US adult spends an average of 9-10 hours sitting per day.  What is discouraging about that fact is that studies are showing that even if an individual works out for 30-60 minutes, it is not enough to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting.  You simply cannot offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.  We need to find ways to be creative and simply move more throughout the day.

It is a simple concept.  Simply get up and move. However, we have become used to so much sitting, while working, eating, watching TV and even at social event that we simply don’t think about getting up.

There are some simple ways to incorporate some non-exercise activity throughout the day:

Walk across the hall to speak to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail

Take the stairs instead of an elevator.  (Being able to pick up your own body weight is extremely important, especially as we age.)

Stop looking for the closest parking spot!  Take the opportunity to get in more steps and park further away from the entrance. 

Take a longer, roundabout way to get to your office or desk.

Stand-up for 2-3 minutes every hour to activate muscles and upregulate metabolism.  Take a fitness break:  10 squats, 10 calf raises and 10 wall push-ups require little space and not much time.

Hold walking meetings, whether it is business or casual.  Walking and talking improves mood, concentration and blood flow in the body.

In addition to a regular exercise routine, adding some non- exercise movement will positively benefit your health. You may even find that you not only feel better but also have a little more energy to do the things you enjoy. Take a stand against sitting and find ways to move more throughout the day.

Have a heart?

Have a heart?

Written by: Charlene Morin

February was Heart Health Month.  Even though it is now March, media still focuses on all the issues of heart disease and how we can prevent and treat them.  We are bombarded with information on diet, exercise and the cessation of smoking.  These are the biggest changes that we can control to help in the prevention of developing heart disease and other health challenges.

However, there is a major component that we unfortunately have no control over. Genetics.  You know, the things of which we can thank our Mom and Dad. Whether it is our height, hair color, shape, laugh, or attitude we can thank (or blame) them.  Unfortunately, factors for developing health issues such as heart disease can also be passed down from your parents.

I bring this up due to the recent news of the heart attack suffered by the “Biggest Loser” trainer, Bob Harper.  This man has dedicated his life to health and fitness, and we often are left wondering how or why this would happen to such a healthy individual. Genetics.  Heart disease runs in the family and his own mother died of a heart attack. Luckily, Because of his healthy lifestyle he has survived and is on the road to recovery.

Physical fitness and healthy eating habits don’t guarantee immortality.  There are no guarantees in life.  However, developing healthy habits over your lifetime do lower risks for disease and help prevent recurrences of any negative incidences. Staying active and eating well are still your best defenses.

I was touched personally two years ago with the unexpected loss of my friend Lisa.  At only 47, she too was the picture of health.  She worked out daily and ate well.  A strong group fitness instructor, she had a passion for motivating people to better health and fitness.  She too collapsed at the gym working out.  Although, not categorized as a heart attack, she had underlying issues that caused Cardiomyopathy, which eventually lead to heart failing her. Genetics?  I’m not sure. I just know the loss of this powerful bundle of energy affected our small fitness family in the Merrimack Valley tremendously, and left us shaking our heads.  Sometimes when the harsh reality of a life cut too short hits us, we realize we need to embrace life.  We need to take a step back and accept who we are and where we came from.  Understand or past (family history. Etc.) so we can understand how to best prepare for our future.

Lisa had a big heart.  Her passion for fitness was only matched for her passion for animals.  To honor her memory, Flow Fitness held the MSPCA’s 14th Annual Spin for the Animals on March 18, 2017 from 9am -12 pm.  We wanted to thank everyone who participated, it was an amazing event and we look forward to hosting it again next year.

Thanks for having a heart!

Resolution Resolve

Resolution Resolve

Every January we resolve to “do” something, “make” something, “be” someone we currently are not.  Maybe we are striving to taking the time to read more, spend less, and increase the quality of time with our friends and family.  Fantastic things for which to aim!

However, it’s the middle of January, and if you check in with all your intentions for the brand new year, how are you feeling about all of which you have chosen to resolve?  My bet is that there are a select few that are on the right track.  Are you one of those individuals?  Or are you someone whose best laid intentions are starting to weaken as “real” life has taken over your goal to be down 40 pounds by the end of the month. (PS: this is not realistic)

Stop resolving!  Resolutions are painful.  Start looking at what you would like to change and where you are in your personal life.  Start thinking of your resolutions as your intentions, desires and outcomes.  Decide that YOU actually want to do something to make a positive change in your life and find and understand your why behind them.

Being told you have to lose 30-40 pounds by your doctor because that is what the clinical norms say, isn’t necessarily a good why.  But wanting to lose weight because YOU would like to feel better, move better, keep up with your kids, be more active and improve your health because you would like to hang around this earth in a healthy state for as long as possible, that’s a good why.  

The health and fitness industry is ever changing and in January every year, the public gets inundated with promises of the best workouts to achieve the best results.  If there truly were a best program for everyone to receive the best results, wouldn’t there only be one program for everyone?  News flash; there isn’t one program that caters to all the individuals out there looking to improve their health and fitness level. In the nearly 30 years I have worked in the health and fitness industry, there is one message that has stayed consistent; “eat well, move more”.  Simple, but not always easy.

The bottom line is there are many fantastic ways to get in shape and stay on your journey to improved health and well-being.  Your goal is to find out what feels good to you and makes sense to you and your why.  And know that change doesn’t happen overnight, or within a month or even a year.  Positive change is a process and my challenge to you is to enjoy the journey with your good intentions.

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.  The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible you.” -Earl Nightngale

Submitted by: Charlene Morin, BS, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, Director of Flow Fitness at Riverwalk