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Functional Strength Training

This video is a great way to show what strength training for function and health is about. Often the images in the media for strength training are ones of body building and ‘aesthetic’ fitness. These are certainly uses of strength training exercises but they are not the only reason. In fact, for most of us, strength training is not about looking better, its about functioning as well as possible for as long as possible.

When you want to be healthy, it means more than having a clean bill of health from your doctor. Being healthy means being able to do what you enjoy, with ease and without fear of injury.

When strength exercises mimic movements of daily living, rather than isolating muscle groups, it is strength exercise for being healthy.

In this video, she is lifting heavy (or at least big) weights, but don’t let that give you the wrong idea.

The benefits she is getting is mostly from the muscle memory she is building for all of her muscles working together to do these movements with more ease when she does them in daily life. That does not require lifting large weights. It does require your full attention though so your brain and body can learn to work together. Although there are added benefits of gradually adding more resistance, but only when you have the muscle memory and core strength to do movements with ease.

So strength training for being healthy means doing movements of daily life, incorporating your core in each movement, doing them with full focus, and practicing them on a regular basis.

Keep Moving, Be Well and Stay Strong!

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by | November 16, 2021 · 10:00 pm

The science of making New Year’s exercise motivation last

Happy New Year! I am re-posting my New Years post from two years ago. Little did we know we would need A LOT of help with motivation in 2020! Although it’s a new year, getting a fresh start will be extra challenging this year. We need these three simple tools from motivation science more than ever. When it comes to exercise, it boils down to this:
– Small steps lead to big and lasting changes. When what you do feels good now, your brain wants you to repeat it. If you have not been exercising, restart mindfully so you avoid the trap of trying to push for faster results.
-Cut yourself some slack! Its been quite a ride this year, and we need to forgive ourselves for letting things go a bit. Use the same words of encouragement and kindness you would use for someone else and your motivation is more likely to stick around past January.
– Find the motivation inside you – there is no magic out there. The only one who knows how you feel and what is most important to you is YOU. Take time to find the ‘why’ for exercise that is most motivating for you and you will be your own best source of support.

Keep Moving Weekly

How to get enough exercise in the busy seasons of your life (2).pngAhh, that fresh start feeling of a brand new year.  Your mind is now free of that holiday to do list and your body is ready to get back to healthier eating and sleeping.  This wave of motivation feels great and hopeful.  Let’s give it a boost and talk about what science says about making that New Year’s motivation last!

Create a habit loop:  Neuroscientists  have spent decades studying the brains of people in many different scenarios and have come up with a simple explanation for habits.  As described in this TED talk by Judson Brewer, MD PhD, the brain is hardwired to do what leaves you feeling better and avoid what makes you feel worse.  This gravitation toward instant gratification is there to keep us safe.  Avoiding plants that gave you a stomach ache and traveling to get to a safer location was what helped our ancestors survive.  Using…

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by | January 5, 2021 · 9:36 pm

How are you?

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This is just a quick check in to see how you are doing.   The past few months, and especially the past weeks, have been full of anxiety provoking and stress promoting news and experiences for many of us.  Please pause and take a moment to check in with yourself and ask yourself  “How are you?” with the same kindness you would ask a good friend.

Each of us just want to be well and these days, every aspect of our well-being is threatened.  Our health, the health of loved ones, our ability to get the basic supplies we need, our finances, and our sense of community are all uncertain.

Exercising is about so much more than burning calories.   Its about moving to take care of yourself, in the same way you would take care of a friend.   Exercising is moving not only so you have the strength, stamina and mobility to make everyday life easier, but to restore a sense of calm and and contentment in your mind as well.  It can be a time to connect with others through playing games or dancing, or a time to reconnect with yourself by taking a walk in nature or dancing when no one is watching.  Whatever you choose to do, make it an act of self care to keep yourself well each day.

If you are feeling mentally, emotionally and/or physically drained from the past few months, know you are not alone.  Ask your body what it needs right now and move in a way that helps your whole-person feel better.  Repeat as often as needed.

Keep Moving and be well,

Janet

 

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by | June 10, 2020 · 7:33 pm

The science of making New Year’s exercise motivation last

How to get enough exercise in the busy seasons of your life (2).pngAhh, that fresh start feeling of a brand new year.  Your mind is now free of that holiday to do list and your body is ready to get back to healthier eating and sleeping.  This wave of motivation feels great and hopeful.  Let’s give it a boost and talk about what science says about making that New Year’s motivation last!

Create a habit loop:  Neuroscientists  have spent decades studying the brains of people in many different scenarios and have come up with a simple explanation for habits.  As described in this TED talk by Judson Brewer, MD PhD, the brain is hardwired to do what leaves you feeling better and avoid what makes you feel worse.  This gravitation toward instant gratification is there to keep us safe.  Avoiding plants that gave you a stomach ache and traveling to get to a safer location was what helped our ancestors survive.  Using this with exercise in our modern day life means  listening to your body. Just like our ancestors, trusting your body is the best guide. That takes letting go of the idea that more is better and pain is a sign of progress and letting your body signal your brain that exercise is something it wants to keep choosing to do again and again.

Be Kind (to yourself):  Over and over in many studies, criticism has been show to work for motivation in the short term and to burn out motivation in the long term.  Putting a picture on the fridge to make you feel bad about yourself so you go to the gym is one common self-criticism strategy.  As described in this TED talk by Kristen Neff, PhD, studies have consistently shown that using the same encouraging and supportive tone with yourself that you use with those you care about is the way to make motivation last.  Notice how you talk to yourself before during and after exercise.  Shift the tone to be encouraging, empathetic and supportive.  Contrary to popular belief, this will not make you ‘wimp’ out, it will actually help you sustain motivation.

Motivate yourself:  Studies show that having someone push you will help you reach a goal, but once that push is no longer there, motivation will go too. As described in this TED talk by Daniel Pink, the more lasting way to motivate is from the inside out.  Relying on steps, calories and miles to motivate you will work, but more lasting is being motivated by how you feel and how it connects to what is most important to you in life right now.   By listening to your body and using supportive self talk, you can be your own best personal trainer and inspirational speaker rolled into one!

It takes time to build these skills, but it is the way to lasting motivation.  If previous years you have relied on other people, self criticism and ignoring signals from your body in order to get to a goal with exercise, notice where it has led you.  If it led you back to trying to get motivated again, this year, make a resolution not to waste time with temporary sources of exercise motivation.  Why not invest the time and energy by using your New Years Motivation to build these self-motivation skills from day one.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year!

Keep Moving, Be Well all year long!

Janet

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by | December 31, 2019 · 7:47 pm

How our supervisor keeps moving strong into her seventies

Linda Guerin is our supervisor here at the surgery clinic at UMass Memorial. Outside of work she is active with her grandchildren.   I have known her for many years and her energy level has not wavered.  Her secret?  Healthy eating and exercise!  Read below about what she does for exercise and how she keeps moving strong in her seventies!

Team blog series (5)

What do you currently do for exercise? I currently work out 4 nights a week and have been for over a year- I take a variety of classes including Zumba, P90x, and HIIT class.

What has been your biggest challenge with exercise in recent years?- I need to have both my knees replaced but it does not prevent me from attending classes

How did you overcome that challenge to keep moving?  I just keep moving, I was doing a fitness program with weights for over five years and decided it was no longer working for me and my knees and joined FIT Friendzy Studios over a year ago and I just over the variety of classes they offer and I love to challenge myself.

Why is exercise important to you right now in your life? I’m determined to stay healthy and fit especially the older I get it’s even more important to me. I will be 71 in January. I  work full time and I eat healthy.  Over a year ago I gave up junk food and sweets (sugar) and don’t miss it at all. It’s so important to me to be healthy, you never know what tomorrow brings but it will not be because I didn’t work on my health.  I have also lost 90 lbs since I changed my lifestyle.

I love spending time with my grandchildren and family and friends. I also love to tent camp for a couple of weeks in the summer when I’m visiting my son and family in Michigan. I need to be healthy to do that. I also found a way to exercise while camping. I truly enjoy being active, it’s a big part of my life.  I stay late at work just not to miss my classes. I truly love my life!

Thank you Linda!

Janet

 

 

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by | November 25, 2019 · 4:19 pm