Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Dylan Ricker

Recent Posts by Dylan Ricker:

Changing Up Your Routine, Try New Exercises!

GettyImages-1351107422When going through one’s fitness journey, there are often times when working out becomes repetitive and boring. When that feeling of monotony starts to take place it’s generally a good idea to find a way to spice up your training. You can do so by varying your intensities during training, which in many cases is a great idea. But another way to add some variety to your training is by simply substituting movements in on a cyclical basis. Let’s discuss why this is helpful and then talk about some ways to change up your routine.

Why would it be helpful to change your routine? Well in terms of preventing overuse injuries, it’s one of the easiest ways to prevent them.1 This can be from a perspective of not just doing one modality of exercise, such as sticking to just running or cycling for cardio, or from a perspective of doing a similar exercise for over a period of weeks and months. Another benefit to changing up your routine, and specifically the exercises being utilized, is that it can help optimize training for strength and hypertrophy.2 In terms of hypertrophy this change of exercise may provide a novel stimulus which can induce greater change in hypertrophy. In terms of building or producing strength, changing exercise selection while keeping intensity the same was shown to be more efficient than keeping the exercises the same or varying both the exercises and the intensity.3 Of course this has its caveats for both hypertrophy and strength, such as a redundancy if there’s an excess of variability in exercise selection.2

So now that you know the why, how are some ways to go about changing your routine? There are some simple but effective ways you change up your exercise selection without going too drastic with the changes.

  1. Change the angle or range of motion of the movement: An effective way of changing the exercise without doing a completely new movement. For angle, think of it in terms of a chest press. You could either press completely horizontally or you could press it at an incline or a decline. The movement is different in a stimulus sense, but not completely foreign where your new to it. For range of motion, a good example could be a deadlift. Either you could pull it from the floor, you could stand on a platform and have the bar be lower than normal (decreasing ROM), or you could place the bar on pins/platforms (increasing ROM).
  2. Use a different tool: Another easy way to do the same exercise but also changing up is by using different equipment for the same movement. Think of it in terms of using a barbell or a set of dumbbells for set of shoulder presses. The movement is identical, but the stress placed on the joints and muscles would differ.
  3. Use accommodating resistance: Accommodating resistance, also referred to as Variable – Resistance, is when you use the addition of other equipment such as chains or resistance bands to affect the strength curve of a lift.

Connect with your Fitness Center staff and change up your workout with a new exercise prescription. 

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Topics: corporate fitness exercise program

Being Mindful of Your Time, Scheduling for Success

GettyImages-1091264670Sometimes it’s hard to juggle all the daily responsibilities in life. Balancing work responsibilities can be difficult enough but trying to also maintain a social life at the same time can feel impossible. Being able to manage your time can be invaluable in many ways. There many benefits of having time management skills and having the right strategies can improve your skills. 

To start, time management is a process in which you plan and control the amount of time dedicated to certain tasks. This will in turn boost your efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity during the day. Controlling your time will allow you to become better at organizing and in turn will help you control your time both personally and professionally. Having the necessary skills to manage your time has different benefits for people, including:

  • Increased time for self
  • Improved feeling of accomplishment
  • Improved self esteem
  • Increased satisfaction in life

The more you can limit work stress and the more time you spend on yourself, the happier you will be. So how do we improve our time management skills? Here are some strategies you can implement:

  1. Know How You Spend Your Time: Making a time log of what you do during a day can help determine how you are already using your time. Over the span of a week or two, record everything you did in a 15-30 minute interval. Evaluate how you used that time. What time of the day are you most motivated? What tasks took the most time? Where do you value your time the most? Reflect on if you’re investing your time wisely, or if you need to reinvest time in other things.
  2. Set Priorities: Distinguishing what is urgent and what is important determines whether you’re managing your time effectively. Some of the most important tasks are not the urgent tasks, but that does not mean that you should let the urgent tasks control your life. Determining what tasks must be done can help you gain control of your life while reducing the amount of tasks that may become urgent.
  3. Use a Planning Tool: Utilizing a planning tool can increase your productivity. Writing down  tasks, making notes on your schedule, and jotting down items to remember can free up brain space to focus on other, more important tasks. Review your calendar daily, synchronize your apps if you use two different types of planning tools, and always have a backup. Some examples of a planning tool: Time Trackers, Time Savers, Calendars, Task Managers, Habit Developers, etc.  
  4. Get Organized: You can’t manage your time if you’re disorganized, and research has shown that clutter has a  negative impact on perceived well-being.
  5. Stop Multi-Tasking: Humans in general are not efficient at multi-tasking. Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t save time or increase efficiency. In fact, it does the opposite. Routine multi-tasking may lead to difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus.

Time management is a skill that can be vital to one’s success. What are some other strategies that you have found to help manage your time?

 

Topics: success corporate wellness success mindfulness

The Impact of Physical Activity on Mood

GettyImages-1073381110The impact of physical activity on mood has been researched over the last few decades. There has been speculation that an increase in physical activity can provide a substantial positive impact on one’s mood, but to what extent? Let’s dive into the known relationship between physical activity and mood, how much of an effect physical activity can have, and finally will provide a few brief explanations over the mechanisms of which physical activity increases mood!

Multiple studies have shown clear consensus for the benefits that physical activity has on the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has been shown that the increase levels of physical activity and exercise are inversely correlated with depression levels. Exercise is also being shown to improve other quality of life indicators for individuals such as improvement in self-esteem, vitality, general well-being, and satisfaction with physical appearance.

There has been a lot of speculation from the actual significance that physical activity has on mood. Physical activity has had similar effects on depression symptoms as compared to those of antidepressant medications. Even maintaining this “antidepressant’ effect that can outlast the exercise period. These findings can have a beneficial impact on even people that are not suffering from clinical levels of depression. In terms of what facet of fitness has an impact on mood, both aerobic and anaerobic methods of exercise have shown an immensely beneficial impact. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise programs (where roughly 65% of a persons VO2 Max is reached) showed improvements in behavioral, mood, and anxiety responses. However, strength (anaerobic) training at low to moderate intensities produced the most reliable and robust decrease in improvements!

Now that I have shown the benefits of exercise, let me explain some of the mechanisms that can cause this improvement in mood. There are two different complex biological mechanisms that occur in your body that may explain the boost in mood with regards to exercise. Firstly, it may be due to a response within the body that has to do with inflammation. Physical activity and exercise reduce chronic inflammation in the body, which is then joined by a lower expression and usage of tryptophan. This limited usage of tryptophan will lead to accumulation, which then results in additional tryptophan being within the bloodstream for your central nervous system. Tryptophan has two major jobs for us in this case: it aids in the biosynthesis (creation) of serotonin, and it also seems to aid in the transmission of serotonin across the blood-brain barrier. As more tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier, consequently higher serotonin concentrations are found in the brain as well.

Another possible biological explanation is the endorphin perspective that physical activity and exercise can play on mood. Endorphins are produced by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands during strenuous exercise. They often resemble opiates in their ability to produce euphoria and analgesia. Exercise elicits the secretion of these endorphins in the brain reducing pain and cause general euphoria. Which then later, these same endorphins may reduce anxiety and depression levels.

Have you found that regular exercise affects your mood? Share below!

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Topics: physical activity exercise and health mental health