Walk It Out!
The pushup walkout is a functional exercise commonly used to challenge the whole body. When equipment is not available, it is great one to challenge the body without any machines or dumbbells and it can also be done in a fairly small space. The pushup walkout is a great exercise to increase core strength, upper body strength, as well as stretching, and it can be modified depending on the different fitness levels and why we have selected it for this month edition of Essential Exercises for Women.
How It's Done:
The walkout exercise begins by having the individual standing with feet shoulder width apart (a). Bend over so that your hands hit the floor (b), bend at the knees if needed. Then walk your hands out as far as possible keeping a stable back and not hyper extending (c). Walk the hands back toward the feet and return to standing position (e and f)). Progress the exercise by walking hands out further as well as walking hands side to side, adding a bit more challenge to both your core and upper body. *See below for figure d modification.
Photo via Women's Health Magazine
Things to remember:
The pushup walkout exercise can also be done as a warm up, always making sure that the knees are slightly bent, as you go down the first few times (at least). Straighten the knees only if your level of flexibility allows you to do so, and once you have done a few repetitions to loosen up the lower back and hamstring muscles.
Make sure you continue breathing through the exercise and move at a pace that is comfortable to your body, increasing the number of repetitions to increase the challenge level. You will usually “feel the exercise” with at least 10 repetitions, or even less depending on your level of overall fitness and stretching.
*Challenge: The walkout exercise can also be finished with a push up at the end (d), either with straight legs on the floor, or by placing your knees down on the floor to have more core support and less challenge.
Watch the video...
As we roll into fall, the last thing on your mind might be wearing your sunglasses. Even when the sun's strength fades as far as the air temperature is concerned, you still need to protect you eyes from the harmful effects of it's rays.
Any health savvy person knows by now that one of the best ways to protect your body from harmful UV rays is to slather on the SPF -- but you might be forgetting one important part: your eyes.
"Obviously you can't put sunscreen on them," says Anne Sumers, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology who is in private practice in Ridgewood, New Jersey. "[Sunglasses are] the only way to protect your eyes."
Exposing your peepers to the sun could trigger a host of serious health problems, including painful sunburns and cataracts. What's worse, buying sunglasses can be a complicated, cryptic process (what do those labels mean, anyhow?). So we asked Sumers and William Brown, O.D., Ph.D., of the department of ophthalmology at the Mayo Clinic, to help us break down what's happening to the naked eye when it's exposed to the sun -- and exactly how to choose the right sunglasses to protect it.
Infographic by Jan Diehm for the Huffington Post.
Both experts caution that wearing sunglasses is particularly important for kids, who still have a whole lifetime of UV exposure ahead of them. Plus, even more UV light reaches children's retinas compared to older people, according to Brown.
It's also important to note that this graphic looks at how the sun affects eye health, not indoor tanning booths -- these beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times of that of the sun. They're best avoided (for reasons beyond eye health), but if you're going to use them it's imperative to sport protective goggles (closing your eyes won't do the trick).
And no matter how good your eye protection, never look directly into the sun, especially during an eclipse. "It's much the same effect as taking a magnifying lens and focusing the sun onto a piece of paper," Brown says. "You can actually set the paper on fire."
Article by Laura Schoker, "What You Don't Know About Your Sunglasses May Hurt You," originally appeared in The Huffington Post
Raising the Bar on Shoulder Exercises for Women
Nothing makes a tank top or little black dress look better then having a great set of sculpted shoulders. In this month's edition of Essential Exercises for Women we chose this terrifc shoulder-shaper which uses the body bar to help you get those toned, sexy deltoids rockin'!
Rotator Curl with the Body Bar
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, gripping center of bar with left hand, arms
by sides, palms facing in. Posture counts, be sure that you are standing tall, lifting
through your ribcage!
2. Bend left elbow 90 degrees so that forearm is at waist level and bar is
perpendicular to floor.
3. Keeping elbow bent by ribs, rotate left forearm out to left side.
4. Return forearm to forward position to complete 1 rep.
5. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.
Note: Start with a light bar, perhaps a 4 lb. bar. This shoulder exercise for women can also be done with a dumbbell. If the 4 lb. bar is too heavy, try a lighter dumbbell.
10 more shoulder exercises for women
The Trust Report
Mom On-the-Go = Mom In the Know
Emily Stone knows a lot about being a busy mom with lots of challenges to maintaining her fitness and wellness routine. Since so many of our readers find themselves in the same boat with lots of different things pulling them in all different directions, we have invited her to share some personal advice with you on how she keeps herself going throughout the day and how you can boost your metabolism. Enjoy!
Boosting Metabolism and Energy Throughout the Day
When I get to the afternoon, sometimes I want to get the license plate of the Mack truck that ran over me. Often it’s just burnout from the day. But when I’m struggling to get myself going from the morning onward, there are a few things I like to do that help me out. These tips boost my metabolism and energy so that I’m still kicking when school’s out.
Did you know that adults who get less than seven hours of sleep each night do not do as well on complex mental tasks? We need more sleep. But as a mom, it’s so hard for me to get a good night’s sleep. There’s the repeated begging for an extra story or song in the evening, and the 3 a.m. nightmare. I’ve had to prioritize my life around getting enough sleep. I usually get 9-10 hours from the time the last kid goes to bed and the first one waking up. I aim to spend 8-9 of that time sleeping, and 30-60 minutes getting ready. If I can’t get quality sleep, at least I can usually get quantity sleep. And I’ve found that the more I sleep, the more active I am and the more I can accomplish during the day.
My metabolism is slower than a tortoise. My best defense against this is to exercise. The cool part is that it stretches me out and gives me a ton of energy, too. Sometimes I sneak in a run after walking the kids to school. Otherwise, I work out at home. I can wake up 10-15 minutes early and do some interval training for a high-powered workout in hardly any time at all.
Skipping breakfast is a terrible idea. Better to make it quick and healthy. If I plan ahead, eating before I’m out the door can be pretty easy. And no, I’m not talking about donuts and pastries. If I have five minutes to sit and eat, cottage cheese is my go-to. I get a healthy amount of fat, decent calcium, and tons of protein. If I don’t have five minutes, I love smoothies and protein shakes. I find that protein is the best source of continued energy for me throughout the day. Instead of starting the day with a coffee, I actually start my day with a whey protein shake. I personally buy my protein from Beachbody, but you can find whey protein everywhere, even at the grocery store!
Natural Energy Boost
I also try to stay away from coffee in general—too much caffeine (particularly on an empty stomach) can make me feel crazy, so I try to take other routes. Most natural supplements that are touted as alternatives to caffeine actually have caffeine in them. If I’m looking to avoid caffeine or cut it down, I load up on B vitamins and amino acids like taurine, which are both known to boost energy and metabolism. I really love the liquid B complex from GNC, you just add a few drops to a bottle of water and you’ll feel continuous energy throughout the day!
Above all, I think it’s important to periodically pull myself off the canvas and look at what I can do to feel happier. This can be as simple as getting up from my desk for a few minutes to stretch and walk around every hour. l set up some music playlists on my computer and phone that I can listen to when I’m home cleaning, out running errands or working. This makes work and chores less exhausting.
In my busy day, I could get exhausted and overwhelmed easily. But when I try to get enough sleep and exercise, eat well and relax, I find that I end the day happier and excited for what’s to come.
Article written by: Emily Stone
Ms. Stone is a full-time mom, health freak, fitness enthusiast, and wannabe chef. She is the proud momma of two girls and a loving wife. Emily is in the process of starting up her own blog, but in the mean time you can follow her at @FitMommaEm.
The opinions and advice expressed by Ms. Stone are not necessarily that of The Women's Club or it's agents.
Can You Really Achieve 'Hormonal Harmony'?
Hormonal transitions occur throughout a woman’s life. The two most dominant are puberty and Menopause! But let’s give credit where credit us due: Perimenopause is no “walk in the park” either. Regardless of where you are in the Perimenopause /Menopause continuum, the normally occurring hormonal shifts can precipitate an onset of complex physical and emotional health challenges.
Currently, there are nearly 50 million post menopausal women in the US. Are you one of them? If so, take heart. You’re in good company and probably well-versed on the symptoms most commonly experienced by your peers. However, in some ways every woman’s menopausal transition experience (this includes perimenopause) is unique. So, how is it possible for women of all ages to achieve Hormonal Harmony?
There is no “one size fits all approach” but, there are solutions for nearly every woman’s menopausal transition issues. The first step is to identify where you are in the menopausal transition continuum by answering the following questions.
Has your menstrual cycle become irregular or have you missed your period for twelve months? Do you have hot flashes? Are you fatigued? Is your sleep interrupted? Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning? Do you have night sweats, vaginal dryness, breast enlargement or tenderness before your period? Have you experienced unexplained weight gain and muscle loss even with proper diet and exercise? Are you irritable? Do you have mood swings? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Have you experienced periods of forgetfulness? Have you lost interest in sex? Have you experienced hair loss, dry skin, and brittle nails? Do you crave sweet and salty foods?
If you haven’t missed your period for twelve months, but have any of these symptoms, you may have entered the stage of perimenopause during which, the hormonal “ups and downs” and natural progression of hormonal decline gradually lead to postmenopause.
Whether you are peri or postmenopausal, you may want to learn about or confirm your understanding of the following:
- The most common hormonal imbalances and symptoms associated with each phase of the menopausal transition.
- How a menopausal transition hormonal imbalance affects the thyroid and adrenal glands and often lead to age-related chronic diseases
- How hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue can be misdiagnosed and symptoms can be mistaken for those associated with menopause
- How underlying or under-diagnosed conditions can sabotage your menopausal treatments, physical fitness program and lead to weight loss resistance
- What tests accurately diagnose underlying conditions
- How personalized wellness approaches prevent or reverse unwanted symptoms and disorders caused by menopause-related hormonal imbalances
Advances in Anti-aging medicine have made it possible for most women of all ages to overcome the challenges of a hormonal imbalance. Self empowerment encourages today’s woman to seek the answers she needs to improve her quality of life at any age. So, get the answers you’re looking for! Please join me on June 19th for an informative lecture on how you can experience “Hormonal Harmony” for life.
Article submitted by: Dr. Eva Coleman of Harmony Medica, Reston VA
Dr. Eva Coleman is a Board Certified M.D. with more than two decades of experience in Internal Medicine; specializing in prevention and treatment of Diabetes, Cardiovascular and chronic systemic diseases. She has held affiliation with INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax, Virginia and completed a fellowship with the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine.
Up Against the Wall!
If you're looking for ways to keep your ab workout challenging and interesting, then you must try this month's essential exercise for women, the wall mountain climber. Much as the name would suggest, this move is like your traditional “mountain climber" only done with your feet against a wall. It is without a doubt the coolest abs exercise we've seen in a while and it can be done anywhere! While it is challenging, the mountain climber on the wall will not only fry your abs and core, but it also works your shoulders and glutes. Oh and bonus...it’ll help improve your performance at all the other exercises in your workout!
WALL MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS
- Assume a pushup position with feet firmly planted on a stable wall.
- Place hands directly under shoulders. (You may place your hands slightly in front of your forehead for maximum leverage.)
- Drive heels into the wall. Bring shoulders down and back, brace through the core and squeeze the glutes.
- In a slow and controlled movement, bring one knee forward. (Make sure to push firmly through the foot that is against the wall, to maintain proper form. Do not allow your lower back to move up or down.)
- Repeat on opposite leg.
Repeat this move for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions
Here's How It's Done
**The mountain climber with feet on the wall is an advanced exercise! If you cannot do mountain climbers on the floor, you should not attempt this exercise.**
Wanna Try It?
If you would like to modify the wall mountain climber and work up to it, consult a personal trainer . If you are living in the Northern Virginia (Chantilly, Centreville, Fairfax, Herndon) and want to find out how one of our trainers can help you learn to do this and many more moves just like it, schedule your free consultation today!
The Good, The Bad, The Whaaaaat?!
Did you know that American people overall have the highest cholesterol in the world...Pretty sobering when you look at it that way isn't it? Most people know that high cholesterol is a dangerous problem but many are not sure of the why's and the how's or what the heck is a LDL or HDL and what all of those the numbers mean. In addition, there are a lot of myths out there about the causes, symptoms and prevention of high cholesterol. The first step to fighting high cholesterol is to sift them and search out medical fact on both high and low cholesterol in order to make the best determination about what is good for you and subsequently good for your health!
Cholesterol Myth #1
You will experience high cholesterol symptoms if there's a problem.
Cholesterol Fact: Most people can't tell when their cholesterol is dangerously high.
About 20 percent of Americans have high cholesterol and don't know it. There are no real medical symptoms associated with high cholesterol. In fact, most won't find out their high cholesterol status until after they suffer a medical event like a heart attack or stroke.
If you would prefer to find out whether or not you have high cholesterol before such an event, you should begin having your high-risk cholesterol checked in your 20s and then once every five years. Your risk for high cholesterol rises with age, so men over the age of 45 and women who are 55 and over should be tested more often. Those who struggle with high cholesterol or have numbers close to the danger line should be tested more often, as well.
Cholesterol Myth #2
A prescription is the only way to lower dangerously high cholesterol.
Cholesterol Fact: Medication is one way to lower cholesterol, but you can do it without a high cholesterol prescription through dietary changes and exercise.
It is in fact recommended-as long as your cholesterol numbers are not too high-that you start fighting the dangers of high cholesterol issue by making changes to your diet and beginning to exercise regularly. If your cholesterol numbers are borderline, you may be able to avoidmedication altogether. If your high cholesterol is a
lready in a danger zone, then you may be able to stop taking your high cholesterol medication after some months of regular exercise and a healthy diet. Here a few goals that diet and exercise can help you attain:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise, even if gently, for about 30 minutes a day 5 to 6 days per week
- Cut out trans fat from your diet (hydrogenated oil)
- Reduce your saturated fats to under 7 percent of your calories
- Reduce your cholesterol intake to 200 mg per day or less
- Increase your soluble fiber intake to at least 10 gram per day
- Increase your fish intake or take omega-3 supplements each day
Cholesterol Myth #3
All cholesterol is bad cholesterol.
Cholesterol Fact: There are different kinds of cholesterol and some are not only not bad for you, but necessary for your body to function properly.
There are three different kinds of cholesterol: high density lipoproteins (HDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL), and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). HDL is good because it serves the purpose of helping your body transport waste to the liver, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, clear extra cholesterol from the bloodstream where it otherwise would collect and block your arteries.
LDL are also responsible for carrying cholesterol from the liver to where it needs to go in the body, but it is much lighter and breaks more easily. This means that they hover in the bloodstream, often attaching to the blood vessel itself, collecting and causing a blockage that often results in a heart attack. VLDLs are even lighter than LDLs and affect the cardiovascular and circulatory systems just as negatively.
Cholesterol Myth #4
High cholesterol is only a problem for men.
Cholesterol Fact: High cholesterol is a problem for both men and women.
Estrogen is a hormone that helps monitor and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol, so women who are experiencing a regular menstrual cycle are less likely candidates for high cholesterol than are men of the same age. However, after menopause when a woman's estrogen level plummets, her chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke due to high cholesterol significantly increase. It's important that women maintain low levels of cholesterol throughout their lives to prepare for the loss of estrogen later.
Cholesterol Myth #5
You should get your first cholesterol test after the age of 45.
Cholesterol Fact: You should start getting tested for high cholesterol in your 20s.
HDL - 60+ mg/dLGetting tested for high cholesterol is easy: a blood test done after fasting called a fasting lipid profile. You can have it done in conjunction with a batch of other blood tests to simply the process. The test will show your cholesterol levels in terms of HDL, LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol. If you have any questions about how to get a test or your test results, ask your doctor. In general, your goals should be:
- LDL - 100 mg/dL or less
- Triglycerides - 150 mg/dL or less
- Total cholesterol - 200 mg/dL or less
Don't Know Your Numbers?
If you live in Northern VA in the Chantilly area, you are in luck! We are hosting a women's wellness event on August 12 which is open to the public where cholesterol screenings will beoffered. Our screening will feature a simple "finger stick" test that will give you the results in minutes! If you are intereseted in learning where you are and what you can do to lower or even prevent high cholesterol in the future, get more details on our upcoming event.
Most people spend far more time working the muscles on the front of their bodies and little time focusing on their back. That is why we have selected the reverse fly or bent over reverse fly as this month's essential exercise for women because it focuses on this area that is so often overlooked.
We've Got Your Back
Recently, I have noticed that many of our members have exceptionally weak back muscles. An exercise that I love and do with many of my clients is the Reverse Fly. This is an exercise that is done with free weights and can be done on days you do weight training exercises.
You can do reverse flies while standing, sitting or lying down. If you are standing, spread your feet hip-width apart and lean forward at a 45-degree angle with your arms down by your legs. If you are sitting, lean forward and hold the dumbbells by your calves. If you want to lie down during the reverse fly, lie on your stomach on a flat weight bench with your arms hanging off of either side of the bench. Choose light weight to begin! It is much better to start light and increase your weight until you determine what weight is right for you!!
Standing Reverse Fly
How it's done
To do a bent over reverse fly, hold your back straight and tighten your abs. Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent as you raise both of your arms. Arms should raise up slightly higher than your back, almost as if you are flapping imaginary wings. As you lift, pull your shoulder blades together, then lower your arms slowly back into starting position. Do 2-3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions to complete the exercise. If you find that this seems too easy, try increasing the weight of your dumbbells.
Seated Reverse Fly
Keep these points in mind...
If you have any joint, back or muscular problems, be sure to consult your medical professional before attempting reverse fly exercises. Also, if you find lifting both dumbbells at the same time to be a challenge, you can alternate your arms so only one is lifting at a time. This is called an alternating reverse fly. As always, if you need guidance with this exercise, ask a personal trainer for help!
If you live in the Northern VA area (Chantilly, Fairfax, Herndon or Centreville) we would be more than happy to assist you. Schedule a free consulation and find out how a female certified personal trainer on our staff can help you reach your fitness goals!
Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club
To Drink or Not to Drink
So you are super pumped and committed to making some changes in your eating habits. Or perhaps you are trying to shed a few pounds to fit into that perfect outfit for a special occasion like a summer wedding or a class reunion. Buuuuuut you also still like to enjoy a drink two socially. What IS a girl to do?! What the heck is the realtionship between alcohol and weight loss and will drinking even a glass of wine socially affect your diet and weight loss plans?
The Down Low
Alcohol does have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, and rightfully so. But the consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the cavemen so imbiming is not likely to go away any time soon. The question then is if an occasional drink have a place in a healthy lifestyle. The answer...yes, but we should have a strategy about how to consume.
First Things First
It is important to understand how alcohol affects your body. Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and fluids. With a normal diet, of carbs, fats, and protein your body gets the energy it needs. These foods are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. This digestive process drastically changes when alcohol is consumed. The alcohol now gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion.When the body is focused on processing alcohol, it is not able to properly break down the foods containing carbohydrates and fat. So what happens is these calories are converted into body fat and stored permanently on your body.
So I Should Save My Calories then Right?
WRONG. Skipping a meal or two because you know it will be a night out on the town or just knowing you will being drinking is a terrible idea for a few reasons. Since alcohol actually stimulates the appetite and then you go out on an empty stomach you are more likely to munch on those salty bar snacks (which makes you want to drink more), or more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline.
A Better Strategy-- Research shows drinking an alcoholic beverage before or during a meal reduces you inhibitions and willpower. Wait to order that drink until you're done with your meal! To avoid over-drinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage and, if you're planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You'll feel fuller, which will stop you from over-drinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.
Tip: To prevent post-drinking noshing you’ll regret the next day, prep some healthy, low cal options before you go out. If they’re ready to eat and right in front of you when you get home, you’ll be less likely to reach for chips or cookies. Good options include pre-popped popcorn, raw veggies with hummus, or cut fresh fruit.
Drinking before bed will keep you from having a deep, restful sleep. Thus leaving you tired the next day which can trigger you to feel like you need to eat more. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid your stomach produces giving you an inflamed stomach lining. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. More importantly, these calories have no nutritional value. None! A 12 ounce beer is about 150 calories. How many cloaires in a glass of redwine? About 88. And if you reaching for a shot of liquor that number can range from 85 to 115 calories. And who usually has JUST ONE? It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier?
Another big reason not to mix alcohol and exercise is because alcohol is a diuretic. It causes water loss and dehydration. You also lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Sip on This
So, to drink or not to drink? I say “In moderation." Limit your intake and take the occasional time off from drinking altogether to give your systems a much needed break. Also, consider swapping out some of those high cal choices like fruity mixed beverages (even as cute as the little umbrella is) with some of these lower calorie "fit chick" options.
What do you think?
How do you feel about alcohol? Does it tend to get in the way of your weight loss goals? Did any of this info surprise you? Please share your thoughts by dropping a comment in the box below or tweet them to us @Womensclub_va.
Get More Bang for Your Buck (and a flat belly) with the Ball!
If you are looking to maximize your time when doing your ab/core work look no further than this month's Essential Exercise for Women. With bathing suits and clingy, unforgiving summer fashions on the menu for the next few months, who doesn't want a flat belly to show off? Answer: NO ONE! So grab a ball, even a beach ball will work if you happen to be laying around poolside with a few extra minutes, and try the ball exchange core exercise. Your abs and core will thank you!
Ball Exchange Exercise
- Lying on back, place your workout ball above your head on the floor. Lay flat on the floor with your legs extended.
- Now, bring your arms over your head and grab the workout ball.
- Contract your abdominal muscles and hip flexors and bring the ball upwards towards the middle of your body, meeting your feet at the mid-line.
- Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet by gripping the ball between your ankles.
- Keeping your arms and legs straight, return to your starting position.
- With the ball between your feet, repeat the same movement, except exchange the ball to your hands from your feet at the midline.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
**You can vary the size of the ball to make this ball exchange exercise more challenging!
Ball Exchange Exercise for Core Muscle Toning—powered by eHow.com
Safety Note: Leg elevation while laying on your back can put a strain on the lumbar spine. Thus, the ball exchange is not recommended for those with lower back issues.
HEY YOU GUUUUUUYS!!!!
We've have heard from a few of our loyal readers but we want to hear from even more! So you there...yeah you in front of that computer or phone screen, if you love the ball exchange exercise, why not drop us a note in the comment section below or click to button to submit other body part(s) you wanna work on. In turn, we will share our sage advice so that you can begin to tackle those trouble spots and get results! So what are ya waitin' for? Click. Type. Send!
Main article body submitted by: Pennie Waston, Director of Personal Training at The Women's Club