Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


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Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


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Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


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Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

  ·  4 min

Why Do You Run? 4 Reasons to Be Motivated

Improve Your HealthOne of the most common reasons we run, exercise, read fitness magazines and websites and enjoy apps like RockMyRun, is to improve our health. Sure we’ve heard that “exercise is medicine,” but like all medicine, if we don’t take it, it won’t work. And when it comes to running, or any doing any exercise routinely, the motivation for putting on our sneakers and working up a sweat has got to be internal.That means turning the “E” in exercise into “enjoyment” not “excruciating.” Do that by finding your “why” and creating a plan that includes specific, small and measurable steps attached to a written weekly plan. Ensure you do what you say you are going to do by finding a buddy and filling your vision with friendly, not trash, talk about your progress. Do you feel like you are breathing easier already?Look GoodAnother common motivation for exercising is pure vanity—you want to look great in that new bikini or tee shirt. Superficial? No way! Who says wanting to look good is shallow and artificial? Ever apply for a job and show up looking unwell, unkempt, or unhealthy? You get the idea. Whether it’s your wedding, a job interview, your high school or college reunion or the upcoming party, looking good is a prime motivator to put some fuel in your step around the track, on the trail, in the gym or running through the streets of downtown. And by the way, don’t think this is a woman’s motivator. GQ Magazine is pretty, pretty popular!To help you achieve this goal if this is your primary motivation, don’t, repeat don’t, go all out. You might find yourself burning out your flame before its red carpet show time. High intensity interval training that includes planned, focused ups and downs, for about eight cycles, taking no more than about 30 minutes four or five times a week, should be fine coupled with resistance training that focuses on full body activity. Body-sculpting, Pilates, Yoga, TRX, Total Gym, light weights and high reps, are the key here. Lastly, visualize yourself already achieving what you set out to accomplish, seeing yourself in the present bringing that new you to the party. Doesn’t if feel great to be a size 4 or have some muscle under that tee shirt?Socialize“Friends” wasn’t just a widely popular TV show, but socialization is a third reason people decide to workout. The idea of “group ex,” Zumba, Les Mills, biking, hiking, track and running clubs are in large measure successful due to the opportunity for social connection. Many people realize that a great way to connect with others and make new friends is through activities. Ever notice that grass grows without any battles and fruits ripen without any drama? If it’s friends you are looking for, joining a group exercise activity by allowing yourself to be free of self-consciousness will certainly help. Come from a place of acceptance—of yourself and others—and the experience will be easy and effortless.Friends, new or old, can be great cheerleaders and sources of accountability—and you can be the same for others. Set up a social media group and keep tweeting and texting about your experiences—soon enough you’ll attract others to your new passion. Like being a social exercise leader? Check out Fitmob and see if a social group exists near your home yet.Enhance Your MoodFinally, we all get down and blue, worried and irritated and just downright nasty from time to time. Guess what the fourth most common reason people “need to go out for a run”? That’s right! It’s a great mood enhancer. By releasing  and increasing those “feel-good” brain chemicals, decreasing those chemicals that increase anxiety and depression and providing a calming feeling, people find lots of solid motivation to exercise to simply feel happier, more confident, cope more effectively, concentrate easier – all within five minutes after moderate exercise.If this is your primary reason, internal motivation is a high driver and that’s great. You’ll stick with it longer than if your motivation is purely external.  One caveat here is don’t overdo it because you like the way it makes you feel so much.  A plan of about 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense activity will give you the mood enhancement you are looking for. Novelty is important so mix it up. Positive thinking is important to boost mood, so include affirmations such as, “I, Jennifer, already know what it feels like to live my life calmly, successfully and happily.” After an affirmation like this, don’t forget to say “thanks” acting like it’s already present in your life.There you have it. The four top reasons people are buying running shoes, joining gyms, hiring trainers and pushing themselves to sweat—getting and staying healthy, looking good, connecting with friends and feeling happier and more positive. If your main motivation isn’t here, let us know what it is in the comments below.Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker. 


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

  ·  4 min

Core Strengthening For Runners – How It Really Works

Many people are under the assumption that core strengthening only consists of sit-ups, crunches, six-packs, and infomercials. There is certainly nothing wrong with this “aesthetic” approach to core training, but, for runners core training goes beyond just washboard abs.  A stronger, more stable core can improve your performance and lower the risk of injury.What are your core muscles?If you ask the common gym-goer, you’re talking about the rectus abdominis – the six pack muscles.  For runners, however, the phrase “core muscles” encompasses a little bit more than that.  My answer to this question is pretty simple:  Everything from the bottom of your chest to your knees, front and back, is part of your core.Core muscles include front and back muscles, from the bottom of your chest to your knees.It is important to know not only what your core muscles are, but what they do, as well.  Here are some of the major core areas and their functions:Abdomen – consists of Rectus Abdominis, Internal and External Oblique, Transverse Abdominis.  The primary functions here are abdominal flexion and lateral rotation.Hips – Made of the Hip Flexor Group (Sartorius and Illiotibial Tract), Gluteal Muscles, and Lower Back Muscles.  Primary functions are flexion/extension of the hip, adduction/abduction of the legs, and lateral rotation of the legs.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Upper Leg – Consists of the Quadriceps and Hamstrings.  Primary functions are extension and flexion of the knee and adduction/abduction of the leg.Why is your core important?As you can see, we have a lot of muscles that work collectively to make up the core.  Your core serves to connect your trunk, pelvis, and spine to each other and the rest of the body.  These muscles allow us to control movements, transfer energy, and shift body parts in order to move in different directions.  The core is our center of gravity and the place where all physical activity originates.Of particular importance, when talking about running performance, are strength and stability of the core.  A strong core, first and foremost, will help you stand upright against gravity.  It will also produce large amounts of force, which will allow us to do activities such as jump, run, and lift.  A stable core, on the other hand, will keep you more balanced throughout those specific movements.  Less movement throughout the core will limit stress on joints and lower the risk for injury.  It will also allow for more efficient and smooth activity, as multiple muscles and limbs will be moving in unison with less effort.Strong Core = Improved PerformanceStable Core = Efficient Movement, Injury PreventionStrong and Stable Core = AWESOMEHow do we train core muscles?We’ve established that training for runners is more than just sit-ups and crunches.  “Well then what is it?” you might be wondering.  Well, first off, some running-specific exercises might be a little unconventional.  But, if done right, they can be very effective.  I’ve provided a list of 10 core exercises that will be very beneficial for any runner wanting to improve performance – 5 that focus on stability and 5 that are more strength oriented.Stability ExercisesSupermansReverse Lunge Kettlebell SwingsSplit SquatsLunge TwistsExercise Ball Kick ThroughsStrength ExercisesExercise Ball PlanksV-UpsRussian Side TwistsFloor Hip Flexors Kettlebell SwingsPick 5 from the list.  Perform 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions for each exercise.  The key here is tempo.  While many workouts emphasize speed, here you want to go slowly and under control throughout the range of motion.  This will allow you to focus on using the proper muscles, which will lead to a more effective workout.  Do this, and you will develop a stronger core in no time.Core training isn’t always fun.  It can take up added time on top of your distance or interval training sessions, but it does pay off.  If done consistently, it can significantly lower the risk of injury and improve overall performance.  You can watch how to do even more exercises on the BodyFit Punch YouTube channel.Do you already do core training?  What exercises do you find most effective or do you look forward to trying?  Let me know in the comments below.Post contributed by Brock Jones.  Brock is Co-Owner and Head Trainer with BodyFIT, Inc. in Lexington, KY. He holds a Masters of Science in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  You can read more of Brock’s posts about fitness and exercise on the BodyFIT Punch Blog.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


Sitting: The New Smoking

  ·  2 min

Sitting: The New Smoking

There is an epidemic of sedentary behavior in America that is having perilous effects on our health and wellbeing. Whether you are someone who meets the recommended guidelines of 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise five days a week or are just getting started into a fitness routine, too much sitting is associated with an increasing list of health concerns. Let me say it simply: too much sitting can shorten your life. Now, I don’t want to scare you if you’ve been sitting most of the day, but maybe a bit of a shiver will get you up and moving.If you are someone who exercises regularly, but spends more than six hours a day sitting, research shows you may STILL have as large as a 40%-50% greater risk of death over the next 15 years than those who sit for less than three hours a day.A recent study analyzing the results of 18 studies involving 800,000 participants found that comparing people who spent the most time sitting with those who spent the least time, there were increased risk of diabetes (112%), cardiovascular events (147%), death from cardiovascular causes (90%) and death from all causes (49%).Dr Ala Alwan, the World Health Organization’s Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health said, “Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for all global deaths, with 31% of the world’s population not physically active.”The average adult spends 90%of their leisure time sitting down and less than half of adults meet World Health Organization physical activity recommendations.Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Our well-oiled physical structure, driven by the heart as the engine, is made for muscle and bone mobility, stability, agility, coordination, endurance, balance, and strength—not sitting on the couch.What to do if you spend a fair amount of time sitting? Work at a standing desk or treadmill deskWalk or bike to workTake a brief stand up or walking break, up to 10 minutes at least every hourStand at meetings whenever possibleWhen you sit down, sit down then stand up and then sit downWhen you stand up, stand up then sit down and then stand upPark further away from your office, or get off the bus/train/subway a few stops earlierAlways take the stairs, not elevatorsBe an active sitter on a stability ball at your deskKeep the printer away from your desk, perhaps in another officeTake active stretch breaks, push-ups, squats, lunges, reach-and-pulls, twists and turnsKeep stretch bands, light-weights, and other small exercise equipment in your office for lunch breaks“The perils of overwork are slight compared with the dangers of inactivity,” according to Thomas Alva Edison. Boy, did he turn on the lights on this one!Do you spend a lot of time sitting throughout the day?  What tips do you have to combat a sedentary lifestyle?Post contributed by Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.  Dr. Mantell has served as a long-time Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and today is the Senior Fitness Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise, a behavioral sciences coach, an author and a national fitness-health speaker.


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