Friday, March 25, 2011

Yet another reason for MEN to stay active...

As long as I've been a trainer, I've struggled to persuade people to be physically active.  Even in my own family, it's a constant struggle to keep everyone moving.

Well here's a new one that will most certainly get some attention: Men who exercise are less likely to experience sexual dysfunction as they get older.

Analyzing data from surveys of nearly 32,000 men ages 53 to 90, researchers concluded that men who were the most physically active were least likely to become impotent. According to Eric B. Rimm, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, men who ran at least three hours per week appeared to have the sexual functioning of men two to five years younger.  But even moderate activity proved beneficial: Men who briskly walked for 30 minutes, most days of the week, had a 15 to 20 percent reduction in the risk of erectile dysfunction.

Fewer than 25 percent of Americans get enough exercise (males and females combined!), so it is not surprising that sexual dysfunction is a common complaint, particularly among older men.  However, some doctors believe that impotence could be considered an early warning sign of what could happen to the heart.
Exercise appears to benefit the small arteries that control erections, which is the same reason that exercise is good for the heart- it benefits the arteries that feed the heart. And while many men appear unconcerned about heart health, chances are they may be more motivated to do something about the health of their sex lives.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2003; 129, 161-168

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bored or lacking in motivation?

Join the club!  This time of year, many factors tie in to your feeling unmotivated.  We all start the new year with resolutions and goals for how we're going to lose weight, get healthier, eat better, and so on.  But now, 3 months into the year, it's hard to keep that initial energy going forward. 

Here in Wisconsin, spring can be a great time of renewal, but the weather isn't cooperating just yet.  The days are longer, but the sun isn't necessarily shining, and mid 30's to 40's isn't as inspiring as 70 and sunny, right?  And so we tend to get impatient, with ourselves, the weather, and our exercise program.

How to fix this perennial problem?  First, change up your program.  This could be done in many ways--try new exercises, a new approach, or even a new exercise class.  If you work out only on the week days, try changing up to outdoor activities on the weekends.  Get outside for a walk, or a bike ride.  The fresh air and vitamin D from the sun will help with your attitude, as well.  If you've been working exclusively on strength, try yoga or a fusion of yoga and pilates for added flavor.  Have a trainer write up and teach you a new program for you to follow for then next 6-8 weeks to refresh your committment to yourself.

And remember, that's exactly what exercise is:  a committment to yourself, your health, and your quality of life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pilates Roll Up

This is an exercise that is very difficult for many people.  Yet, it really does a good job of functionally strengthening the abdominal wall.  Remember you are rolling slowly, one vertebrae at a time.  If you need to, you can bend your legs as your roll up.
Pilates demonstrating the Pilates Roll Up, Poses One to Four:
(diagram derived from original photo).
Joseph Pilates doing the Pilates Roll Up

Spinal Flexibility and Stretching Exercises, chart.

Taking care of your spine takes some work and diligence, but the work pays great dividends in pain free range of motion and ability to participate in the activities you want to do.

large graphic of Spinal Flexibility and Stretching Exercises

Side Plank

View Full Size ImageSide plank, from Pilates and Yoga is a great exercise for your obliques, transverse abdominus, supporting arm and leg.  Inhale at the bottom, then exhale, and lift yourself into this position, staying in one plane.  Hold for 3-4 breaths, and release slowly down to the floor.  Repeat 3-4 times per side.

Save 120 calories per day!

Can you save 120 calories a day, just by using sandwich bags? Research says, yes, it is possible. According to a recent study, using sandwich bags to divide up your snacks limited the calories participants consumed to about 100 per snack. This satisfied them, and overall, they ate about 120 calories less per day, just by pre-portioning their snack food.

You can also save money doing this, by buying bulk foods and dividing them yourself into proper portions, instead of paying for the extra packaging that goes into the 100 calorie packs of pretzels and other snacks.

Have a great week!