Tag Archives: fitness

Take Advantage of Winter Exercise Options in Raleigh, NC (Video)

When winter comes to Raleigh, exercising on outdoor trails remains an option for much of the season. Sure, some cold, nasty days make the gym the only option. But plenty of mild days make winter in the North Carolina Piedmont pleasant. Outside activity remains a viable way to keep your heart healthy.

Certified Trainer and REX Wellness Coordinator Logan Johnson agrees, saying, that “Regular aerobic exercise is important during all months of the year. It improves cardiac and pulmonary function, leading to a reduction in long-term stress on the heart.”

Logan offers the following tips for winter exercise in Raleigh.

Tips for Winter Exercise in Raleigh, NC

  • Plan your outdoor activities around the forecast.
  • Dress in easily removable layers.
  • Protect your head, hands, feet and ears from heat loss.

Stretching in Park in Winter

Read more…

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Pokémon Go Safety Tips

Pokémon Go surpassed Candy Crush Saga to become the most popular mobile game of all time with the highest amount of active users ever recorded. Here are some tips to keep in mind while playing:

  1. Like the game says, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t play while driving or walking around roads or parking lots. Also, be mindful of your own hiking skill level if you take on challenging terrain while trying to catch that elusive Dratini.
  2. If you plan to play for an extended period, prepare yourself! You should always stretch before exercising. Also, consider taking water with you, it’s hot out there.
  3. Be respectful of real world locations like museums, hospitals, or churches. Some public spaces may take exception to random trainers walking through checking in at a Pokestop. Use your best judgement.
  4. Be careful late at night or visiting remote locations. There have been some reports of robberies. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations.
  5. Encourage others to play with you. It is more fun to play with other people, and they can get some exercise too!
  6. Volunteer! Some local animal shelters encourage the community to take their dogs for walks. Why not stop by and walk a dog while you play?
    1. Saving Grace Animals for Adoption
    2. Wake GOV Animal Center
    3. SPCA of Wake County 
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Conquering the Beach to Battleship Half-Iron Distance Triathlon

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.

When October 17th rolled around, the Rex Garner B2B team was ready to tackle the fitness challenge of their lives and we could not have asked for better weather.  Temperatures were in the low 50’s at race start and winds were relatively low.  We already knew from Friday’s pre-race dinner that there would be a very strong tide which meant we were in for a fast swim and we were ecstatic about that.

While we waited for the swim start, butterflies and all, we were able to calm our nerves a bit by cheering for the full iron distance athletes as they swam by.  They always start 30 minutes before the 70.3 group and start a mile or so up channel from our starting point.  We could tell by watching the swimmers go by that the tide really was fast so we were anxious to get started.  Rex Members Liz Jackson and Jason Pannkuk were in that group so that added to our excitement.

102815_Rodney6Shortly after the 140.6 group went by, it was our turn.  Unlike the 140.6 group that had a mass start, the 70.3 group start would be in waves by gender and age.  Our first team member to go was Trey Jolly, and we all cheered at the top of our lungs for him.  Next was Mary Miller, Kristey Evans, Jenny Beazley, Theresa Pearce and me.  Last was Tina Manning, Lu White and Angie Caporiccio.  At the end of the day, I discovered that we all had the same swim experience.  There was certainly a strong tide but the water was extremely choppy and you really had to struggle to raise your head above the water to breathe above the waves.  We all managed to get through the swim, ran to T1 (swim to bicycle transition area) and were off on our 56 mile bike ride.

During our bike ride, we had low winds, which was extremely helpful.  That meant we were in for a fast bike ride and our legs would be in pretty good shape for the run.  I was fortunate to see Mary and Kristey on the bike course and caught glimpses of everyone else during the 13.1 mile run.  Seeing the team during the run was a huge relief because I was assured that everyone survived the bike course without a crash or flat tire.

102815_Rodney1One thing that I came to admire about this group of athletes was their undying commitment to their training.  There was absolutely no quitting in this group; even before the race started, I knew they were all destined to be 70.3 Iron Distance Athletes.  During the course of training, you always experience some doubt in your abilities, but at some point during our 22 weeks of training, they overcame those negative thoughts.

As I watched each of them cross the finish line, I met them with a hug and the words, “Welcome to the Club!”  When we were all done, we huddled together to share laughter, stories and tears.  What a wonderful moment in time that was for all of us.  They did it and I am so proud of each and every one of them.  What a privilege it was for me and Angie to share this journey with them.  Great job Team!  Great Job!

102815_Rodney3

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6 Brain Benefits of Walking

shutterstock_219757786You probably know the benefits of walking for building strong bones, improving heart health and losing weight. But did you know that walking offers benefits for your brain, too? Here are six ways walking can give your brain a boost.

  1. Stay mentally sharp. A number of studies suggest that walking helps ward off age-related memory decline.
  2. Lower Alzheimer’s risk. One study found that older men who walked more than 2 miles per day were half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia compared to those who walked less than a quarter mile per day.
  3. Boost brain power. Taking a brisk walk not only gets your heart pumping, it may help focus your thoughts, too. In one small study, kids’ brain scans showed more brain activity after a brisk walk, specifically in the areas of the brain responsible for focus and attention.
  4. Lift your mood. Research suggests that fast walking at least 35 minutes a day, five days a week, can improve your mood and reduce mild to moderate depression symptoms.
  5. Spark creativity. A recent study suggests that walking—whether on a treadmill or hiking on a trail—boosted creativity by about 60 percent compared with sitting.
  6. Sleep better. Research suggests that a brisk mid-morning walk can help you get a better night’s rest.

Want to join a walking group or exercise class? Learn more about wellness programs available through Rex Healthcare. Visit www.rexhealth.com to view information about Rex Wellness Centers.

 

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13 Ideas for 60 Minutes of Family Fun (and Fitness!)

As few as 30 minutes – 60 minutes for your kids – is all it takes to meet recommended guidelines for daily activity. (Aim for more if you can!) Keep everyone active as you spend some quality time together as a family this summer. Here are some tips:

  1. FamilyFunMake the backyard your playground. Throw a football back and forth, kick a soccer ball around or go running with a rousing game of tug.
  2. Go fly a kite. Find a treeless spot, hang onto the kite string and let your child run with it until the kite is airborne.
  3. Ride bikes. Cruise around the neighborhood together as a family.
  4. Gear up. Keep inexpensive equipment such as balls, jump ropes and hula hoops on hand for active fun.
  5. Get the dirt out. Car not looking so spotless? Instead of taking it to the car wash, clean it together as a family. Or host a dog wash for your street.
  6. Pull weeds. Gardening is great exercise for the whole family. Bonus: Your yard looks great!
  7. Head to the pool. Do laps at the YMCA or a community pool to keep cool and fit.
  8. Scale the walls. A rock-climbing gym can provide a full=body workout the whole family will enjoy.
  9. Have a ball. Organize community kickball, soccer, basketball, volleyball or softball games.
  10. Get your groove on. Put on some music and have a dance party. Or clean the house as a family, with tunes in the background to keep everyone moving.
  11. Create a tournament. Set up a relay race, obstacle course, beanbag toss, etc. Don’t forget prizes!
  12. Hit a bull’s-eye. Fill up water balloons and draw a chalk target ring on the driveway. (Fill a few extra for a game of water balloon dodge ball afterward.)
  13. Be cool. Let’s face it: Sometimes it’s just too hot out there. Head to the mall and walk in air-conditioned comfort.
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Wellness Wednesday: All About Cross Training

jenn_foggianoJenn Foggiano coordinates and leads the group exercise and health promotion programs for Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Jenn graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Kinesiology. She earned a master’s from Slippery Rock University and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine.

Spring has kicked off with gorgeous weather!  As long as you can make it through without allergies, you have probably gotten a good start on all those outdoor activities like gardening, home projects, landscaping, and even exercising outside.  Although exercising outdoors is a great way to enjoy walking, running, biking and hiking, don’t drop your wellness center/gym membership yet!  When we move all of our exercise outdoors, we may likely fall victim to mundane and repetitive workout habits. Cross training should be incorporated into your year-round routine.

What is cross training? It’s a training routine that involves several different forms of exercise. It limits the stress that occurs on a specific muscle group because different activities use muscles in slightly different ways.

Here are some reasons to bring your workout inside a few times per week:

  • Injury prevention Using one set of muscles repeatedly can increase your risk for repetitive injury. It is important to give them a break.  By mixing up your routine, you will give your overused body parts a chance to rest and the under used a chance to strengthen. Try lap swimming or a Yoga class in place of your normal cardiovascular exercise.
  • 051115_crosstrainingBetter overall fitness You faithfully run several times per week and occasionally add in a fun run on the weekends and feel pretty fit, right?  But, a friend asks you to go paddle boarding and suddenly you can’t keep up and find yourself with muscle soreness for several days later.  By incorporating several different modalities in your fitness routine you can increase your performance and overall fitness.  Try adding a day of core work, some strength training and some different forms of cardio to mix it up!
  • Reduces exercise boredom  Doing one thing day after day, whether in your daily life, or in this case, your exercise regimen is sure to get old over time.  By incorporating a variety of activities you’ll keep it interesting, keep your body guessing, and will be more likely to adhere to a healthy lifestyle.  As the old saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” even when it comes to exercise!  So why not commit to trying a new group exercise class?
  • Strength training Some of the benefits of strength training include disease prevention, increased stamina for activities of daily living, and an increased resting metabolism just to name a few. So needless to say it is very important to incorporate into your routine.  Maybe you have some strength training equipment at home?  Maybe a few dumbbells, or bands, but most of us do not have the wide array of equipment provided in a facility.  And let’s be honest – most of us with equipment at home do not use it at home.  It more often than not becomes a dust collector.The American College of Sports Medicine recommends strength training at least two days per week.  So, bring your workout inside and lift!  Not sure how to get started? One of our nationally certified personal trainers would be happy to help you!

Rather than canceling your gym membership for the next 4-5 months because the weather is beautiful, keep it!  You will truly find value in your membership by cross training with equipment and classes you won’t have access to outside.  And remember, there will always be rainy days.  With a gym membership there are never excuses!

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Fitness Trackers: Which One Should I Choose?

AllyAlly Setliff coordinates and leads the group exercise and health promotion programs for Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh. Ally graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. Health Fitness Specialist degree. She is also an registered clinical exercise physiologist through American College of Sports Medicine and has experience with cardiac and pulmonary rehab. She holds her primary group exercise certification through AFAA, and personal training certification through National Strength and Conditioning Association. She loves to share her passion for exercise and creativity in every class that she teaches. Her main goal is to make others enjoy exercise as much as she does. Ally enjoys every type of dance, sprint triathlons, running, road cycling, and barre is her newest passion.

fitbit

Technology is a great way to keep us on track with exercise and healthy eating. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular activity trackers, mobile apps and websites that monitor your workouts and can help boost your motivation.

  • Fitbit: This is the most popular fitness tracker on the market. Fitbit offers different types of trackers that can be worn as either a pedometer, activity wristband, or even embedded into a high-fashioned bracelet. Depending on which device you purchase, you may be able to track steps, distance, calories burned, or sleep patterns. You can set daily goals, earn badges, and challenge friends. Newer Fitbit devices have GPS capabilities that track elevation, pace and heart rate. Some also have music capabilities. Be wary! A few trackers that attach to clothing may be easily forgotten and accidentally laundered. I’ve done it at least 5 times already. I recommend purchasing a wristband style instead. Other options in this style include the Jawbone© or Nike + FuelBand. These devices are very comparable to Fitbit, with similar aesthetics and capabilities.

Don’t want to spend the money on a device? There are several free apps or websites that also measure progress and keep you motivated.

  • MyFitnessPal: This is one of my favorite mobile apps. If you do not own a smart phone, you can track your information through their website at myfitnesspal.com. The app makes it super easy to track daily calories, water consumption, exercise and weight. There is also a social component that allows you to challenge and encourage friends. Progress is shown in easy to read charts. The app and use of this website are free. You need to take time to enter your food intake each day. Research shows that those taking the time to track their food intake are more successful in their weight loss/healthy eating journey than those who do not track their food. Be as accurate as you can about portion size when tracking your calories for each meal. You’ll be surprised how quickly calories add up! Other free apps that have similar capabilities as MyFitnessPal are Fitocracy, Challenges, Fleety, and Lose it!
  • RunKeeper: Training for a race? The best tracker I have found for racing is RunKeeper. Whether you are training for a 5k, sprint triathlon, or marathon, this app does a great job with goal setting and providing training plans. It has GPS capabilities to track distance traveled, pace, and speed for running outdoors. It also has capabilities to track indoor workouts on the treadmill. You can track other non-running activities that you do during the week such as Zumba, Barre, or strength training. The app also helps you motivate your friends. It alerts you when you have reached a personal record and it sends push notifications if you have gotten off track that week. Another personal recommendation: Be smart about free training plans provided for long distance races. If you are inexperienced in long-distance running, don’t forget your rest days! You don’t want to suffer an injury by pushing too hard, too fast. It is also important to include core and strength training in your weekly running plan. Other popular apps for race training are Mapmyrun, Nike + running, and PUMATRAC.
  • Heart rate monitors: Your heart rate can provide a more detailed measurement of exercise and can be monitored in several ways during your workout. How do you know if you are working hard enough during exercise? Exertion and heart rate are the main ways to measure how intense a workout it. Some may be familiar with the “talk test” and RPE scale as common ways to assess how hard you are working. You can always track heart rate by manually taking your carotid pulse, but there are several devices that will track heart rate for you. Polar Heart Rate Monitors come with a sports watch that shows current heart rate, max heart rate, and also summarizes your workout. Some devices go as far as telling you how many calories were burned during your workout. There is a free app that can measure your heart rate on smart phones now called Instant Heart Rate. With this, you just touch your finger to the camera lens on the smart phone to gauge pulse with real-time charts. How cool is that?

Bottom line? There are several different ways to track important info from your workout, and you don’t need to get top of the line equipment to do so. Finding something that gives you a way to measure progress is the biggest factor in staying motivated and seeing results.

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Wellness Wednesday: Safety Tips for Exercising in the Cold

ColdRunner

The cold weather is here!

If you plan on exercising outdoors, keep yourself safe by following these simple tips:

  • Check the weather report before going out. Watch out for weather advisories and consider your safety in the event ice is present.
  • Wear layers of clothing and keep your head and hands covered.
  • Stay hydrated, even when in the cold. Hydration is necessary in order for your body to regulate temperature.
  • Check in with your body as you exercise. Don’t let those ‘endorphins’ numb your awareness. Perform a quick, mental, body scan every 10 minutes. That way you can pick up on signs of discomfort that could signal the beginnings of hypothermia before it becomes a problem.

Courtesy About.com

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Wellness Wednesday: Tips for Cultivating a Healthier Relationship with Exercise

RunningCouple

Post by Samantha Bondo, Wellness Coordinator at Rex Wellness Center of Wakefield

Be sure to visit the Rex Wellness Centers’ Facebook page every Wellness Wednesday for a post featuring recipes, tips, workouts and more from our wellness experts.

Maintaining an exercise regimen has the reputation of being challenging. Hundreds of articles provide tips on how to ‘stick with it’ and many of those tips suggest that failure to stay with an exercise program is due to a behavioral fault of the participant.

“Goal Setting”, “Routine”, and “Self-Discipline” are common buzz words associated with maintaining an exercise routine. However, little attention is spent on creating positive emotions around our personal relationship with exercise.

Exercise CAN be easy if you find your confidence and passion. Here are some tips to start:

  1. Acknowledge what you LOVE about your Body: Negative self image is typically what motivates someone to start an exercise regimen. But embracing what you LOVE is far more positive. If you love the way it feels to stretch after a hard day at work, begin by exploring Yoga. If you LOVE the shape of your arms, begin with strength training. By beginning your relationship with exercise in a positive manner, your confidence will grow and before you know it, you will explore the elements of exercise, that once scared you, with renewed vigor.
  2. Avoid the Three C’s: Criticism, Complaint and Can’t. Negative self talk will bring you down. Start your new goals by first being mindful of your thoughts. If the three C’s emerge, stop the thought and redirect to #1.
  3. Start with a Trainer: Rex provides two appointments with our trainers FREE to Members. Even if you are a gym rat, use these appointments. The fitness industry changes all the time, don’t miss your opportunity to gleam knowledge from folks who are in the profession of keeping up with the industry facts.
  4. You’re the Boss: Never forget you drive your choices. Yes, the world will throw curve-balls but you can pick them up and throw them back. If you get off course, don’t beat yourself up (refer to #2) but commit to getting back on course.

Start your fitness journey today! Enjoy this special offer from the Rex Wellness Centers:

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Training for the 2014 Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.

708014_tri3It is hard to believe, but the Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner is just a few days away! This year I was given the privilege of preparing Kristey Evans and Keshia Best to participate in their first sprint triathlon.

Kristey has a full time job and children but thanks to a supportive husband (thanks Jason), has made time for training. Keshia works late hours so our meetings have for the most part been by cell phone and e-mail. Proof positive that carving out time to train can be done in spite of work and family obligations! Last year’s winner, Theresa Pearce, easily met her goal to complete the inaugural Rex Sprint Triathlon and continues to compete. I have no doubt that Kristey and Keshia will also be successful.

708014_tri2One of the best things about Rex Wellness of Garner is that we have a very active group of triathletes. As was the case last year, I recruited a number of Rex Triathletes to work with our trainees and all agreed to return, including Theresa who has excelled from trainee to trainer. Theresa and Shannon Thomsen, a seasoned cyclist, have spent valuable time getting Kristey comfortable with cycling in vehicular traffic which is always a challenge for both experienced and novice cyclist.

For people training for their first triathlon, It has been my experience that concerns vary from one triathlete to another. If you come from a swimming background, your greatest concern might be with the cycling or run. If you come from a running background, you may be worried about the cycling and swimming. Regardless of your background, there is always a concern about endurance.

708014_tri4So how do we overcome these challenges? We train. As a triathlete, you are not simply training to swim 250 yards, ride a bike 10 miles or run 2 miles. You are training to ride a bike 10 miles after swimming 250 yards and training to run 2 miles after swimming and cycling.

Thus, we must brick train. Brick training is a training session in which you train on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption. Kristey and Keshia have been brick training for several weeks. On July 6, one week before the triathlon, we held a mock triathlon. Keshia could not attend but Kristey was able to participate. My wife Angie, Theresa, Keith Manning, Charlie and Carrie Frey all seasoned triathletes swam, cycled and ran the entire course with Kristey. She did great and in the minds of all of her trainers, she is ready.

On July 13, we will all be at Rex Wellness Center in Garner to cheer Kristey and Keshia on and I can’t wait!

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

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