Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Healthy Habits Start Early: Exercises for Kids

Do you remember your childhood? I’m sure most of us can say we were pretty active as children and looking back we can see how important that was for our continued physical well-being. Without the distractions from electronics and television options, what else could we do but get up and move? We all know that kids should be active, but when kids want to go beyond traditional activities like riding bikes and playing tag, how can we safely challenge them? Check out the exercise descriptions below to get started with your kids. We've also provided a video at the end of the blog that you can use to start family workouts at home.

NIFS | Exercises for kids | Healthy Habits

Planking: What better way to challenge your kids than by asking them how long they can hold a plank? Start with elbows and toes on the ground, keep your back straight, abs tight, and all in one straight line. Body should be parallel to the ground. Strengthen core, upper body, and even lower body by starting with a 30-second plank.

Squats: Squats are just like sitting down in a chair, so if your kids have nailed that, they can get the hang of a squat. With feet shoulder width apart, slowly bend the knees as if you are sitting down on a box or chair. Make sure the knees don’t extend past the toes when lowering down into the squat position. Aim for 15-20 reps to start. Add a hop at the end for a little extra challenge!

Pushups: This is another exercise to test overall body strength. Start from a straight-arm plank position and bending at the elbows, slowly lower the chest to the ground. Make sure the body lowers as one unit versus a form that looks like “the worm."  Aim for 15-20 repetitions. Drop your knees to the ground if a modification is needed. 

Lunges: All legs here! Take a step forward with one leg and slowly lower the back knee down towards the ground. Step forward back to beginning position and switch legs. Make sure the front knee doesn’t extend past your toe, and that the chest stays upright. Shoot for 20 lunges to start, but make sure your form doesn’t weaken as you increase the repetitions.

Burpees: The ultimate test! If you really want to challenge your kids and maybe expend some of that extra energy, ask them to do a few burpees. These will really get the heart racing. Start by squatting down, putting the hands on the ground and either hopping or walking the feet back to a high plank position. Add the optional pushup from here and then walk or hop the feet back up towards the hands, followed by a hop straight up in the air. That, my friends, is one burpee. Shoot for 5-10 burpees and see how they feel. Increase repetitions as strength and endurance improve. 

Repeat all for a challenge!

 

These five exercises are great starting points to get your kids up and moving with you! Repetitions are always great but if you struggle with getting a full set completed, feel free to go for time. Here are some other tips if you're confused about what exercises are appropriate at what age. The key is movement and consistency to build healthy habits for the future!

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Topics: healthy habits exercise for kids healthy kids exercises I can do with my kids

Fitness Tips to Jump Start Your New Year's Resolutions

If you've been considering a New Year’s resolution, "starting a regular exercise program" may have been on your list.  And why not? Starting an exercise program is a healthy choice that can help you feel better physically, mentally and even emotionally. In this blog we'll discuss four simple fitness tips that can help you stay on track with becoming more active.

ThinkstockPhotos-200554312-003-768x512family jump rope-5.jpg

First, start with an exercise plan and write it down on your calendar. This simple step of asking yourself to make a commitment can provide a regular reminder to keep you on track with your schedule and goals.  Ask yourself a few questions before solidifying your plan to ensure your fitness routine is maintained.

When and how will I exercise? Reserving the same time to exercise on a weekly basis will ensure you make your new fitness program a priority. Make sure the times to exercise are suitable for you and can be repeated without interruption. Choose activities you will enjoy to increase the likelihood that you'll keep coming back to your routine.  If you think exercising alone might make it hard to stick to your plan, then consider group fitness classes. Also, be realistic about your capabilities. If you can only exercise for 10-15 minutes then work within that time frame.  Some movement is better than none.

[Read More: 4 Fast Exercises For When You're In A Hurry]

Let's talk about some tips for ensuring success, staying on track and most of all making sure you continue to enjoy your healthy choices. Exercise doesn't have to be a pain or a nuisance. If you can find enjoyable activities, set reasonable goals you're much more likely to succeed and make this a lifestyle change, not just a New Year's resolution. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go. 

Slow and steady wins the race. See your resolution as a lifestyle changer. You will be less likely to continue in the long-term if you are too hard on yourself and increase the intensity without proper preparation. Starting off with a low intensity program for only 10 minutes a session, 3 times a week is a good way to prevent injuries, avoid burnout and make your new routine a healthy habit. Keep your eyes on the prize and only worry about your capabilities. Comparing yourself to others physical abilities may discourage you and we all had to start somewhere!

Set the bar low (at least initially). When creating a healthy resolution focused on adopting regular exercise, set a goal that isn't focused on body weight. Becoming regularly active isn't an end game; it's a lifestyle choice and your goals should reflect that.  Life is busy and things happen that may modify our exercise program throughout the year. Setting a goal such as walking a 10k by June is more achievable than simply focusing on weight. As you feel good striving towards your goal, other achievements will be gained along the way. Remember you can also modify your resolution as long as it’s initially a reasonable expectation.

Bring a friend. Working out with a friend or partner can be the push you need to stay consistent. Consistency is key to achieving your goals and having a friend or partner is added support. Friends keep us accountable, motivated and in some cases a dose of healthy competition!

No matter the goal, remember that a fitness resolution is taking a step in the right direction to improve your quality of life. Keeping your eyes on the prize will reap benefits such as increased energy, healthier bones, and a positive attitude! Cheers to a healthy and active year!

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Topics: new year healthy habits resolutions fitness resolutions fitness tips fitness goals

Health and Wellness: Healthy Doesn’t Mean Perfect

GettyImages-842336990.jpgWhen people think of the word “healthy,” they typically have a vision or an expectation in their heads. We equate “healthy” with having the perfect body (which, by the way, means something different to everyone), making the perfect food choices, getting a certain amount of exercise each week, getting a certain amount of sleep each night, and having very little stress.

Everyone Makes Health and Wellness Mistakes

But this isn’t always reality. It’s not uncommon for people to begin making healthy lifestyle changes and developing healthy habits, only to give up once they realize how incredibly difficult it is to maintain "perfect" nutrition and exercise. In fact, I would argue that this level of perfectionism is impossible to achieve.

Your journey to health will not be perfect. And your efforts to maintain your health will not be perfect. We’re all imperfect. You won’t always make the healthiest food choices. You won’t always get 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise each week. You won’t always dedicate enough time to stretching, or practicing meditation on a regular basis. Wouldn’t it be a dream if we could all get eight hours of sleep every night? And we all have different body types; we come in all different shapes and sizes.

What Does It Mean to Be “Healthy”?

Everyone has expectations, and being a fitness coach and personal trainer for the last 15 years, I’m no exception to this rule. Even I have struggled with finding my healthy. So what does healthy mean? What does healthy look like

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines healthy as

The condition of being sound in mind, body, or spirit; a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well.

The World Health Organization defines healthy as

A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

What’s truly important when becoming healthy is how you feel mentally and physically. Healthy people tend to have more energy; feel well rested, have fewer aches, pains, and illnesses; and just generally feel good about themselves. And that right there is, by definition, healthy. Healthy really doesn’t mean you always make perfect choices or have the “perfect” body; it means you feel well.

My healthy means I occasionally eat chicken nuggets with my kids for dinner so we have time to go outside to play basketball before it gets dark. My healthy is going to bed at 9:30pm and waking up at 5:30am to get some work done, so once my kids go to school I can work out. My healthy means I have wrinkly, stretched out skin on my belly from having two kids, but I’m at a weight where I feel great. I’m not perfect, but once I stopped trying to be perfect, and just was healthy, it made life and achieving mental and physical health so much easier.

At the end of the day, being healthy is not about fitting into a certain mold. It’s not about following the latest diet or exercise trends. It’s about finding your definition of healthy that allows you to thrive physically, mentally, and spiritually. Practice healthy eating as often as possible, get exercise whenever you can, go to bed when you’re tired, and try not to compare yourself to other people’s definition of health. Remember, each individual is different and healthy looks different to everyone. Focus on feeling well!

Benefits of meeting with a nutrition coach >

Topics: nutrition health and wellness perfectionism healthy habits

Short Group Fitness Breaks Overcome Commitment Issues

ThinkstockPhotos-119386421.jpgWe’re onto something in corporate fitness, and guess what? It involves no commitment. I know what you’re thinking; it goes against everything we’ve always said. You have to commit to a workout plan, commit to changing one thing at a time, commit to your goals, commit to this, and commit to that. No wonder we’re all scared of the “C word”!

Not only do we commit to our health journey every day and do our best, but we also have many other obligations: work schedules, family events, volunteer activities, and more. It’s a heavy load, and many feel lost without their handy planner, online calendar, phone, or other gadget to keep it all together.

We’re a society that loves to feel busy, and some even feel more empowered by the more they do. Newsflash: it’s exhausting! Add one more thing to that calendar and some feel like an overinflated balloon. We get it, or at least we’re starting to get it. How can we continue to help our clients on their health journey without breathing that one last breath of air into their already full balloon? For starters, we don’t want your commitment.

Healthy Habits Should Come Naturally

Now don’t get me wrong, committing to a healthy lifestyle is important and should never fall to the bottom of the list. However, it’s also not something you need to add to your calendar. It’s continuous and ever-evolving; so whether it’s a walk, a salad or smoothie, a few moments to breathe, refilling your water bottle, or getting enough rest, many of these things come automatically. There’s no scheduling these, and there’s no plugging them into a calendar. These are signs of a well-rounded health passage, and reassurance that it’s become somewhat instinctual to take care of your mind and body.

If you feel this way, good for you; it’s an excellent start! But what if you’re not in this boat? What if you do need these reminders? It’s just one more thing to commit to and add to the long list of things “to do.” You’re not alone. Many feel this way, and we’ve found something that alleviates the problem. Are you excited? Me too, so let’s get down to the good stuff.

Join the Impromptu Fitness Fun

Our staff are starting to do impromptu stretch breaks, brief meditation introductions, and mild exercise instruction with no obligation. That’s right, no signing up ahead of time, no paying, no email confirmation required, no Outlook invite—none of that. We’re asking you just to show up if time allows.

When, you ask, do these activities occur? The answer is “I don’t know,” and neither does our staff in many cases. They may have an hour on a Tuesday at 2pm or a Thursday at 10am. We’re looking for any free time possible, just as you are. All we’re doing is sending out and a spur-of-the-moment email to members and associates about the quick activity, and they are actually showing up! In decent numbers, too—usually more than our group exercise class participation.

Why? Well, this is my theory. First of all, we aren’t asking for a commitment. Second, I think people enjoy the element of surprise. Imagine you’re plugging away at work thinking about your schedule, upcoming calls, what’s for dinner, when do I need to pick up the kids, and suddenly you get an email that says, “Join us in an hour for a stretch break in the quad.” Your calendar looks clear, it’s only for a short amount of time, and I don’t have to change clothes, so yes I think I’ll go! Miraculously we’re opening the door to two things that most people enjoy: no commitment and a nice surprise. It seems to be well received, and anything well received is worth pursuing. As long as there is no commitment, of course. 

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Want to find out more about how to make group fitness work for your employees?

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Topics: corporate fitness NIFS healthy habits group fitness commitment

Surviving Grocery Shopping with Kids (and Instill Healthy Habits)

ThinkstockPhotos-57568291.jpgGrocery shopping takes time, preparation, patience, and organization. But throw kids in the buggy (or cart) with you, and usually you end up with a big old, stressful mess. Take it from a mom with three kids under the age of 5; I know firsthand that it can be done happily and without tantrums (well, for the most part). But it’s taken some practice.

Three Essential Grocery Shopping Rules

Our family’s weekly shopping trip is usually done all together on Sunday mornings, straight from church to the store. So as we stroll down the aisles with our two separate carts (because how else will we fit the kids and the food?), my husband and I are ready to take on the dreaded shopping trip by following these three essential rules for surviving grocery shopping with kids.

  1. Never shop hungry. If I even think about letting my kids go into that store on an empty stomach, I might as well throw up my white flag right then and there. It’s not a good idea! In fact, it’s not good for adults to go food shopping hungry, either! Research (and, well, common sense) shows you will end up with way more food than you intended, just because your judgment is impaired by hunger pangs.
  2. Be prepared. The night before or morning of, I make my meal plan for the week ahead. I decide what we are eating for every meal, taking into consideration items I have in my fridge, freezer, or pantry that need to be used up. Once the meal planning is done, my list is constructed from there. I separate my list in order of how I go through the store (my game plan, so to speak): first the produce, then the bakery, then to the deli and meats, and so on. This is obviously individual to you and your store, but if you frequent the same place each week, you catch my drift. That way each section has the items listed there I need. And it prevents me from getting to the opposite side of the store and running around like a madwoman looking for that dang ketchup I forgot!
  3. Decide how your kids can help. If you have them with you, they need to feel included (suggested mostly for ages 5 and up). This is scientifically proven to prevent the dreaded boredom that can happen halfway through your trip. Think: how can they be involved? Maybe they can count the bananas. Maybe they can find the cheapest cereal. Maybe they can find the bread with the highest fiber. Of course, this kind of thing will require some patience from you, my dear, so be patient and let them have fun with this! Maybe your child could even have a shopping list, too, that is picture based. (You surely can find this on Pinterest!)

Grocery Shopping with Children Leads to Healthy Eating and Better Nutrition

Instead of hiring your standby babysitter for the weekly food trip, I say get your whole family involved in your shopping and meal preparation. If children learn from you how to shop, prepare, and enjoy healthy foods at a young age, you are instilling healthy habits that will hopefully last their lifetime. Happy shopping!

Looking to better track your dietary habits?  Check out NIFS Dietitian, Angie Mitchell's top 4 apps for better eating!  Download by clicking below! 

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Topics: nutrition healthy habits kids healthy eating meal planning grocery shopping

A Simple Nutrition Checklist to Keep You Healthy and On the Move

couple_cooking-1.jpgMarch is National Nutrition Month! It may be time to revisit and reestablish your New Year’s diet resolutions. I wanted to pass along a basic guide to healthy eating and lifestyle habits that can also be used for weight loss.

Following is a checklist of six healthy habits to guide you on the path to better dietary health. If you are continually skipping any of these steps, you are probably missing opportunities to keep your weight in check or to keep your body healthy and your metabolism strong.

1. Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day.

Every person is different, so the need for more water comes with extra weight and increased levels of activity. But 64 ounces is a good baseline for hydration. Unsweet tea and zero-calorie drinks count. Diet sodas and coffee do not. WARNING: Don’t jump from 20 ounces a day to 64 ounces! Your bladder will not appreciate the drastic change. Instead, increase by 8 ounces every week until you reach 64 ounces.

2. Make your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates look like the ChooseMyPlate diagram.

When trying to lose weight, go with half a plate of vegetables for meals (especially lunch and dinner) and save the fruit for snacks. Feel free to go off the beaten path and give veggies a try for breakfast. Who says you have to have breakfast food for breakfast? Try scrambled eggs with chopped veggies, or top a baked sweet potato with Greek yogurt and chopped nuts.

3. Include snacks.

If you are going 4+ hours between meals or find yourself hungry between meals, add a snack. The time between lunch and dinner is most often the biggest gap between eating during the day—sometimes 5 to 7 hours. Cravings tend to sneak up on you during this time as well. Fight cravings and trips to the vending machine by having healthy snacks readily available. Make sure they include at least two of the groups from the ChooseMyPlate diagram, such as:

  • Grain + Protein
  • Protein + Fruit or Vegetable
  • Dairy + Fruit

4. Moderate Portions.

A couple of ways to do this:

  • Use a salad-size plate instead of a regular dinner plate.
  • Track what you are eating. Use free online tools like www.myfitnesspal.com to determine how many calories, protein, carbs, and fat you are consuming. This includes weekdays and weekends. Note: Do not go below 1,200 calories without medical supervision. 
  • Women typically stay between 1,200 and 1,800 calories for weight maintenance and weight loss. Older, more sedentary women should eat closer to 1,200 calories. Younger, more active women can eat for maintenance and weight loss, eating closer to 1,800 calories.
  • Men typically fall between 1,800 and 2,200 calories for both weight loss and maintenance. Older, more sedentary men should eat closer to 1,800 calories. Younger, more active men can lose or maintain weight eating closer to 2,200 calories. Teenagers and young guys who are very active may need well above this amount. This range is relevant to those with desk jobs who get in a decent 30 to 45-minute workout during the day.

5. Make sure you are active throughout the day.

Think 3 minutes of activity (walking, walking in place, desk exercises, taking a flight of stairs up and down) for every 60 minutes of sitting. If you have time for a longer walk or workout, great!

6. Get your sleep.

Missing out on sleep can interfere with your mental acuity as well as your weight loss/maintenance efforts. Lack of sleep increases cravings for simple and refined carbohydrates that contain little nutritional value but lots of empty, unsatisfying calories. Give up the late-night shows and get your 7 to 8 hours of Zzzz’s. The benefits go well beyond more productivity at work.

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There you have it! Were you able to check off all of the above? Great! Keep up the hard work. If not, celebrate National Nutrition Month by choosing one of the above recommendations and implementing it consistently. Once this behavior becomes second nature, adopt a new habit to practice. Remember, long-term success requires sustained practice and patience. Don’t let a small or even big bump in the road discourage you from moving forward. Your health is worth the effort!

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Topics: nutrition weight loss hydration water sleep calories new year healthy habits

NIFS: Post Game Diet Damage Control

game day foodDid you enjoy yourself a bit too much while watching the big game on Sunday night?  Did you vow to stop at three chicken wings and one beer?  Did the wings and beer turn into a dozen chicken wings, plus two pieces of pizza, and more artichoke spinach dip then you’d like to recall?  Despite our intentions to practice some self-control, we all over-do-it with food and alcohol sometimes. Don’t let one night or even several days of poor eating habits discourage you from chasing after the goals you set for yourself this year. 

 

Here is your guide to getting back on track after a night of over-indulging:

  1. Forgive yourself. No one is perfect including you.  You may feel disappointed that you ate too much, but demanding perfection of yourself isn’t going to make you feel better and it’s certainly not going to help you reach your goals. Acknowledge your feelings and move on.  You can’t change the past but you can determine how you’re going to move forward.  
  2. Don’t get on the scale.  You’ll be tempted to see what the “the damage” is by weighing yourself but if the number is up, it may only serve as more ammunition to make you feel bad.  This is not helpful if you are trying to practice step #1.   Most importantly, it’s unlikely that you actually ate enough calories to gain significant amount of body fat. So, that inflated number you may see is not a reflection of true weight-gain.  The truth is, most of the food we eat when we’re watching football is very SALTY.  Any additional pounds you might see on the scale or feel when you put on your pants likely reflects water your body is retaining because of the higher sodium foods you ate.
  3. Get back to normal.  Starting today begin eating your typically healthy diet and exercising again. “Punishing” yourself with near starvation and putting in more time at the gym for the next 24 hours is not reasonable or helpful. 

Skipping meals leads to blood sugar crashes which can send down the road of over-eating once again.  Eat a normal healthy breakfast to begin the day.  Wanting to eat a bit lighter is a good idea and may make you feel better.  Aim for fruits and vegetables and don’t be scared to include sources of protein to help maintain even blood sugar levels throughout the day.  And finally get rid any left-overs that may be in the house and calling your name.  I suggest storing them in the trash can!

When it comes to getting back to your exercise routine you may not feel like completing that two mile jog if you’re feeling bloated and full.  Start with something simple if you don’t feel well like a low intensity walk.

  1. Drink up. Drink, Drink, Drink that water to help flush the body of water it’s retaining.  Staying well hydrated is also helpful for combating cravings that can occur post-binge.
  2. Review your goals and learn from your mistakes.  As in step # 1 don’t demand perfection from yourself.  You didn’t exactly stick to your plan so ask yourself what you can learn.  Did spend too much time in the kitchen grazing the buffet all night?  What will you do differently the next time you face a similar situation? Don’t forget to commend yourself for the things you did well.  Creating a positive mindset starts with a positive thinking.

If you’re a recovery junk food junkie trying to develop healthy eating habits realize it is a skill that must be practiced.  Don’t forget to review the goals you set for yourself this year. If you didn’t write them down, do that now. Keep your goals in site, review them frequently, and determine what must be done in order to reach them.  If you find yourself modifying and adjusting as you go along, don’t get discouraged, this is only a sign of determination.

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Topics: exercise healthy habits wellness smart goals

NIFS: 4 Additional REALISTIC Tips for a Fumble-Free Football Party

business man fumbleI attended a webinar a few years ago that suggested that the holiday season now extends from Halloween until the first Sunday in February when we gather ‘round a screen and raise a beer to the football God’s to watch the “Big Game”.  During this 13 week stretch, which is a quarter of year, we encounter candy dishes, cookie trays, cheese platters, and punch bowls overflowing with seasonal treats and goodies.  The number of temptations we face should make us wizards of refusal for those of us trying to control our weight, but saying no to creamy dips or bacon wrapped anything can be very difficult.

On Sunday, February 2nd many of us will once again find ourselves in the end zone of a bountiful buffet of wings, chili, pizza, and seven layer taco dip. If you resolved to lose some weight this year or just want to practice better self-control it’s time to step up to the line of scrimmage and play some defense.  Below are tips that can serve as a game plan for keeping you on track at home, at a party, or anytime you’re facing an event where food is the MVP. Additionally, these tips are realistic, meaning you won’t see me recommending a scoop of fro-yo with some fresh berries at half-time (which I have actually seen as a suggestion). That is an excellent dessert option, if that’s want you really want, but the last time fro-yo was offered at a football watch party was never!

      Here we go!

Don’t try to “save” calories for the party. This means, and I’m speaking from experience, that you eat almost nothing for the first part of the day so you can indulge come game time and not ruin your diet. This is a really bad idea.  Frequently this approach leads to over-indulging and eating several hundred if not thousands of calories over what you would have consumed if you had just eaten as you normally would during the first half of the day.   Wanting to eat a little lighter at the beginning of the day, think vegetables and protein, isn’t a bad idea but going into game time with and empty stomach can really backfire.

Create boundaries.  Creating boundaries means limiting your availability to tempting foods.  For me these foods are sweet, offer a satisfying crunch, and are small enough to pop one, two, or twelve in your mouth in no time.  To prevent over-eating these foods that light up all the pleasure centers in my brain I stay out of the kitchen or away from the buffet table. Once my plate is full I don’t go back for a second pass.  My plate, not the entire chip bowl, is my boundary.  For an extra precaution I may only eat dessert as I’m heading out the door.

Keep your hands occupied. This tip relates back to tip number 2.  I’m less tempted to go back to the buffet table if I’ve got my hands and head occupied. For this reason I keep a cup full of water in my hands all the time. In addition to being calorie free the water helps keep me satisfied during the party and the cup keeps my hands from finding its way back to the nachos.

Make and vocalize your plan to someone else. You probably set some goals on or just before January 1st, but did you ever right them down? Did you take the time to specifically make a plan for reaching you goals? If not, it’s not too late. Write down your goals and make them specific.  What do you have to do to reach your goals?  If you have to lock yourself in your house and never attend a party again that is probably not realistic.  Tell a friend, partner, or spouse about your goals and don’t forget to discuss how they affect what you eat and drink at the parties. Ask your confidant to encourage your or even join you in making the best choices when it comes to food and drink.  If you declare you only be drinking water for the evening, ask him or her to hold you accountable.


Let these tips remind you that eating healthier doesn’t mean you never get to go to parties. Instead you now have some new, realistic, behaviors to take with you and practice. Let these behaviors help keep you on track rather than distract you from your goals.  Also remember that like any athletic skill practice is important for success.  Sometimes we have a bad game but that doesn’t mean we should hang up the cleats and give up, instead we learn and we continue to practice and sharpen our skills.

Check out our blog on Monday morning for post game diet damage control tips!

Topics: exercise nutrition NIFS healthy habits

Active Aging: Taking the Extra Step Toward Fitness

senior playing with a dogHow many times do you circle a parking lot looking for that perfect spot right in front of the door? It doesn’t matter if I am at the supermarket, a sporting event, a restaurant, or even the gym (sad, but true); I see people circling the lot like they’re in the Indy 500. As I get out of my car and walk to my destination, all I can do is ask myself, “Do they really think they are benefiting from parking in front of the door?”

My reasons for parking in the back of lots have changed over the years, but the end result hasn’t, and that is more steps walked equals more calories burned.

Can You Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day?

If you have ever been in a walking program or used a pedometer, there is a good chance you were advised to hit the 10,000-steps-per-day mark, but what does that mean? Is it attainable? Let’s break it down into numbers we deal with on a regular basis.

The average person’s stride length (the distance between successive points of contact of the same foot) is about 2.5 feet, so one step would be about 16 inches (assuming a normal walking pattern), which means you take about 4,000 steps to walk a mile. So if your goal is 10,000 steps per day, you will walk about 2 miles per day. If you consistently hit that 10,000-step mark, you are considered moderately active.

But what about the people who frequently take less than 5,000 steps per day? People in this group are considered sedentary. A drastic increase in steps can lead to many people quitting shortly after starting. People looking to increase their daily steps should look to add about 500 to 1,000 steps per day and increase at this rate every week until they hit their goal. So if you currently take 5,000 steps a day and you are increasing your steps by 1,000 per day per week, it will take you 5 weeks to hit your 10,000-step goal.

How to Walk More Steps

So where can you find these hidden steps, you ask? Here are a few activities you can adjust to add extra steps:

  • Parking farther back in parking lots: Parking an additional 20 spaces back equals about 200 steps round trip.
  • Getting up to change the channel: Changing channels 6 times per day equals about 60 steps total.
  • Walking to consult a coworker as opposed to calling them: Based on 2 round-trips of 60 feet equals about 200 steps.
  • Take the stairs: Taking the stairs causes more caloric expenditure than walking on a flat surface, and one flight equals about 15 steps.
  • Walk your pet: Walking around the block equals about 1,000 steps.

These are easy ways to add a few hundred steps to your day; pick and choose all, one, or something else. The goal is to go at your pace and to do what you like; anything else will just lead to a decline in program adherence until you ultimately quit. The steps you need are all around you, and if you look hard enough I guarantee you can find the time and energy to take an extra step.

Topics: employee health walking employee wellness fitness healthy habits staying active physical activity counting steps

How to Burn off Easter Candy Calories

burning off candy caloriesIt's that time for another season of candy!  Actually, none of these candies would be considered healthy, but some of them are definitely better than others. Plus, with all things, it is important to keep in mind the importance of moderation, even when digging through your Easter basket. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular Easter candy choices and what you would have to do in order to burn them off.*

2 Dark Chocolate-Covered Peeps: 110 calories
How to burn it off: Walking for 30 minutes at 3 mph

4 Peeps: 128 calories
How to burn it off: Low-impact aerobics for 25 minutes

35 jelly beans: 140 calories
How to burn it off: Raking the lawn for 30 minutes

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg: 180 calories
How to burn it off: Jumping jacks for 20 minutes

10 Cadbury Mini Eggs: 158 calories
How to burn it off: Ballroom dancing for 30 minutes

1 Cadbury Creme Egg: 150 calories
How to burn it off: Golfing while walking and pulling clubs for 30 minutes

7-oz. solid chocolate bunny: 1,100 calories
How to burn it off: Playing full-court basketball for 2 hours

6-oz. hollow chocolate bunny: 858 calories
How to burn it off: Running at a 10 min/mile pace for 90 minutes

*Calculations based on a 150-pound person.

Enjoy some of these once-a-year treats, but be aware that they should be included in an overall balanced diet. Try to make these goodies last much longer than just Easter Sunday!

When it comes to the kids, feel free to add some non-candy treats to your child’s Easter basket this year, such as a jump rope, plastic eggs filled with change, or a stuffed bunny. Make these items the focal point of the basket instead of the candy.

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Topics: exercise nutrition calories sugar healthy habits