Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Three Important Facts to Help You Start a New Exercise Habit

ThinkstockPhotos-186871442-1.jpgIndividuals who are new to regular exercise, or those who are considering recommitting after a long hiatus, may have preconceived notions about what it takes to effectively reap the benefits of a new routine. For this reason, I want to establish a number of foundational principles and debunk some common myths surrounding fitness. Reworking your current schedule to include exercise can seem like a daunting task, but starting with a foundation of knowledge may help to quell the discouraging thoughts that make starting a new exercise habit so difficult.

Following are three important evidence-based facts about exercise and fitness.

1. Reaping the benefits of exercise does not require a large time commitment.

If your idea of exercise is a monotonous jog around the block or on the treadmill, you need to start defining exercise in broader terms. Long walks or runs are great if you enjoy them enough to complete them on a regular basis, but there are endless activities that can lead to similar benefits while requiring less exercise time. Vigorous-intensity exercise (exercising at 77 to 94% of maximum heart rate*) has been shown to have positive effects on cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness in bouts as short as 10 minutes. (*The Gelish equation to estimate maximum heart rate is HRmax = 207 – [0.7 x age].)

Examples of vigorous-intensity exercise include sprinting, swimming, boxing, jumping rope, dancing, bicycle sprinting, and a number of other exercises that can be performed at a gym or fitness center.

2. Working out at a gym does not require any more than basic knowledge and can lead to drastic results within weeks.

The benefits of consistent workouts are created by bodily adaptations triggered by a stimulus—the activity that you performed. While experienced weightlifters and endurance athletes require more advanced and intricate stimuli to produce more adaptations, those who are sedentary can expect to see significant gains in strength or aerobic capacity in a short amount of time when they start exercising regularly. This can make for an excellent motivating factor when starting an exercise habit.

3. There isn’t one type of exercise that’s mandatory in order to achieve positive results.

Purposeful exercise generally falls into one of two categories: resistance or endurance. However, many different activities straddle the lines between these two forms (such as CrossFit, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT), boxing, gymnastics, and various other sports). All types of exercise have the potential to improve overall health.

Benefits of resistance training include increased resting metabolic rate (faster metabolism), improved insulin sensitivity, lower body-fat percentage, increased bone density, potential for slower cognitive decline, improved balance, and improved strength, mobility, and self-esteem. Endurance exercise has the potential to produce many of the same benefits while having a slightly more robust effect on cardiovascular health. This shows that even without choosing a specific activity, you can realize the rewards of exercise.


Careful planning can be important for effective habit change, but sometimes too much thought can hinder your ability to implement change. The mind always seems to have a way of creating obstacles. Remember that physical activities can produce benefits in just a few short sessions per week, even when performed with just basic knowledge and in an unorganized way.

Hopefully this new knowledge will help you smash through your barriers and get moving!  Looking to add exercise to your workplace, click below for how to get started.  

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Topics: high-intensity workouts workouts resistance exercise habit strength

Free Workout Friday: Weight-Loss Circuit

Free Workout Friday

It’s Good Friday! That means two more days until we find ourselves seated around the Easter dinner table, snacking on chocolate eggs, and getting second helpings of ham.

It’s important to remember that even though physical activity is important to overall health and weight-loss or maintenance, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. A person may be able to burn roughly 300 calories for a 3-mile run or 30 minutes on the elliptical, but it is very easy to consume 300 calories in just a handful of candy, a large soda, or a coffee drink with added flavors and whipped cream.

As you try your best to maintain healthy eating patterns around the holiday, try this weight-loss circuit to help shed calories before (and after) the big feast. Alternating cardio exercises with higher-impact or combination strength moves will keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout, thus burning more calories!

Complete 45 seconds of each exercise, allowing 15 seconds of recovery time in between each exercise. Try not to rest for more than the allotted 15 seconds in order to keep the heart rate up. Repeat the circuit 3 times through for a jam-packed 24-minute workout! Watch our short video for exercise demonstrations!

  1. Butt kicks
  2. Squat, bicep curl, shoulder press
  3. Line jumps
  4. Rolling medicine ball push-ups
  5. High knees
  6. Side lunge with upright row (switch sides halfway through)
  7. Plank jacks
  8. Plié squat with overhead medicine ball swing

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Topics: weight loss weight management Free Workout Friday cardio calories strength training high-intensity workouts

Corporate Fitness Review: Insanity® (Part 2: Cons)

young woman working out resized 600Does the Insanity® workout really work? This is perhaps the most intense workout on the market today. It, along with P90X, has been put into the extreme fitness category. In my preceding post, I explored the positives of the Insanity workout. This post is dedicated to the precautions to be taken when participating in this style of workout.

Insanity is an innovative workout, using high-intensity exercise and body-weight moves to give a total body conditioning. However, some of the moves may be too advanced for the general public. As a former NCAA Track and Field athlete, I enjoy Insanity. It reminds me of the drills and training I experienced as an elite competitor. However, if you do not have a background in sports, have orthopedic limitations, or are beginning exercise after being sedentary, this program might be too intense starting out. Extreme exercise can cause unexpected results, including sprains, pulled muscles, and even broken bones.

In speaking with people who have pushed themselves too hard, I have found some common mistakes that lead to injury:

  • Poor plyometric training
  • Overexertion
  • Jumping too soon and landing too hard
  • Trying to execute difficult exercise for the first time

The Insanity program is designed for people who are already in shape. Unconditioned exercisers can participate if they take it slow and pace themselves. Get help from your corporate wellness center staff to learn safe approaches to the program. Don’t feel discouraged if at first you can’t keep up. In fact, if you take your focus off of Shaun T and watch the extras in the back, you will notice they have a tough time keeping up, too. Know your limits and gradually build up to your ability to begin and finish Insanity.    

Topics: corporate fitness high-intensity workouts DVDs

Corporate Fitness Review: Insanity® (Part 1: Pros)

man wiping sweat resized 600DIG DEEP! This is the encouraging motto of the Insanity® fitness DVD workout that is captivating the fitness world. This DVD set showcases the workout that was featured on the Dr. Oz show. All types of exercisers, from former athletes to soccer moms, are taking the challenge. It promises to burn fat and give you the toned look of a beach body.

With this workout's allure, you are probably curious to know if it's the workout for you. This post is dedicated to the pros of the Insanity series. See part 2 for the cautions to be considered for this type of training.

Shaun T, the creator of the 60-day total body conditioning plan, gives you 10 action-packed workout routines that will challenge your body through plyomeric interval training. This style of training is one of the hardest workouts on the market, characterized by high-intensity exercises with little to no rest in between. Recent studies have shown that high-intensity interval training can be just as effective as traditional exercise. If you are conditioned enough to handle the workout, it can be effective for weight loss and muscle toning. Other pros of the DVD set include the following:

  • The exercises require little or no equipment. Many are body-weight exercises that require little space to perform.
  • It includes a variety of specific workouts, which allows you to change the workout from week to week.
  • You receive a nutritional guide that emphasizes the importance of consuming the right amount of calories to sustain an intense workout regimen.

If you are well conditioned, this style of exercise can be very effective. However there are some concerns of injury associated with intense exercise. Read “Corporate Fitness Review: Insanity® (Part 2: Cons)” to learn how you can make the workout a bit saner.  

Topics: corporate fitness centers high-intensity workouts interval training DVDs