Tag Archives: wellness

Health Benefits of Ice Skating

Ice Skating for HealthThe brisk air on your face and in your lungs. The sense of flying as you glide across the ice. It’s easy to appreciate the sensation of ice skating, but are you aware of its many mental and physical health benefits?

Some may surprise you.

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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

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Cucumber Salad

Low-fat yogurt, vinegar and dill give this cucumber salad plenty ofCucumberSalad zip!

Number of servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber (large, peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed (optional)
  • 1 dash pepper (optional)

Directions

  1. Peel and thinly slice cucumber.
  2. Mix all other ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Add cucumber slices and stir until coated.
  4. Chill until serving.

Per serving: 90 calories, 7 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 15 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov.

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Your Farmers Market Guide

FarmersMarket

You’ve heard, “Eat your fruits and vegetables,” since childhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s good advice. Healthy diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. With more farmers markets taking root across the U.S., buying fresh is easier than ever. Choosing produce in their natural growing season ensures value, freshness and nutrient density.

Locally grown trends
In a recent survey*, the majority of respondents said they:
• Go to a farmers market once a week
• Spend less than $10.
• Want to support local agriculture.

4 shopping tips
1. Go in the morning for the best selection, but go at the end of the day for the best deals.
2. Don’t just take advantage of the produce. Explore the baked goods, crafts and more.
3. Bring your own bags for easier shopping and environmental friendliness.
4. Plan for spontaneity—trying new things, like zucchini blossoms, is part of the fun.

Rex is a proud sponsor of multiple farmers markets in Wake County, including:

  • Downtown Raleigh Farmers Market
  • Holly Springs Farmers Market
  • Zebulon Farmers Market

Find a farmers market near you! Check out the USDA’s Farmers Market directory.

*Source: USDA Outdoor Farmers Market Dot survey 2011.

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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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Summer Breeze Smoothie

CaptureSmoothieThis smoothie is loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals for a low-calorie (and great-tasting) treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yogurt, plain, nonfat
  • 6 medium strawberries
  • 1 cup pineapple, crushed, canned in juice
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ice cubs
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Place all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Serve in frosted glass.

Number of servings: 3. Per serving: 121 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 64 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 483 mg potassium.

Recipe courtesy of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

 

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Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Chicken Tenders

Susan Ramsay (intern)-1Susan Ramsay is a Dietetic Intern at the Rex Wellness Center. She currently attends North Carolina Central University.

Getting kids to embrace healthy food choices can be a challenge! To start the process, try re-making some of their favorite foods with healthy substitutes. When they recognize the food they’ll be more likely to try it and won’t miss the added sugar, salt and fat that is usually added to fast food. These chicken tenders are crunchy and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. They’re a delicious guilt free version of the classic. The tenders are coated in panko breadcrumbs and baked, instead of fried, which greatly reduces the overall fat and calorie content found in regular chicken tenders. The fiber in whole wheat slows the digestion of carbohydrate and provides vitamins and minerals not found in refined grains. You can serve them with your favorite condiment and kids and adults alike will love this twist on a classic comfort food.

Chicken

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 lb. (about 8) chicken tenders

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with foil. Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Place the whole wheat flour in a medium bowl. In a shallow container, whisk together the eggs and Dijon mustard. In a separate shallow container, combine the panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess. Next, dip in the egg mixture until the chicken is coated. Last, roll the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, completely coating the outside.
  4. Transfer the chicken tenders to the prepared wire rack.
  5. Lightly coat the chicken tenders with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is just cooked through and the breadcrumbs are starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
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Fiesta Lettuce Wraps and Pepper Boats

Add colorful veggies to your plate with build-your-own lettuce wraps.

Number of servings: 4

lettucewrapsIngredients

  • 6 sweet, mini bell peppers
  • 8 lettuce leaves
  • 1 cup instant brown rice (dry)
  • 1 pound tilapia filets, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 2 teaspoons Southwest chipotle seasoning (no sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes (divided)
  • ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream

For the salsa fresca:

  • ½ cup yellow corn (frozen or canned, no salt added)
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper (minced)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Slice peppers in half vertically. Arrange lettuce and 8 pepper halves on a serving platter.
  2. Cook brown rice according to package directions.
  3. To make salsa fresca, dice remaining pepper halves, tomato and onion; mix with corn, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  4. Sprinkle both sides of tilapia filets with Southwest chipotle seasoning
  5. Heat 1½ tablespoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side (cook fish until it is opaque, 145°F). Flake with a fork and place in a serving dish.
  6. When rice is done, stir in remaining ½ tablespoon oil, juice from one lime, and ¼ tablespoon salt. Cut remaining lime into wedges.
  7. To serve, set out pepper-lettuce platter, rice, fish, salsa, fresca, sour cream and lime, and let diners build their own boats and wraps.

Per serving 350 calories, 12 g total fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 370 mg sodium.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.gov

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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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TRX – Fitness Anywhere

LaurenLauren began her wellness journey shortly after having her daughter in 2008. After gaining over 70 pounds with her pregnancy and spending a year working off the baby weight, she decided on a career of helping others reach their fitness goals. Lauren is currently a Wellness Instructor at Rex Wellness Center of Garner. She is an ACSM certified personal trainer and an AFAA certified group fitness instructor.

TRX on the beach

Over the past few years I have been doing quite a bit of business and leisure traveling. With little access to a gym on my trips, I was forced into workouts that usually involved running. As much as I like the versatility of running, it’s not my favorite thing to do. I usually ended my workouts with sore knees, feet, and hips. In addition, my workouts were becoming boring and repetitive. Recently I had the opportunity to purchase a TRX suspension trainer and I have taken it with me on my trips. It has allowed me the freedom to work out on my own terms with the ability to tailor my workout to the intensity that I desire. I can workout for 20 minutes or an hour. I can push myself to the limits or take a leisurely pace and scale it back to a easy to moderate level. I can work out in my hotel room, at a park, or even on the beach. I recently purchased the TRX door anchor which allows me to utilize my suspension trainer just about anywhere that has a framed door.

TRX (Total Resistance eXercise) was born from Randy Hetrick, a former Navy SEAL. It is a full body training system utilizing body weight for a practical, functional, and versatile workout. TRX is literally fitness anywhere. When I travel for business I am able to pack my TRX in my carry-on bag. No more than 1.5 lbs and taking up less space in my bag than an iPad, I was making a promise to myself that I would work out while I was away from home. Without a gym, I was able to ensure that I could have a fun, fast, effective workout by bringing my TRX along with me.

In a nutshell, TRX uses bodyweight exercises to provide anyone at any fitness level a full body strength training and cardiovascular workout. One of the most common questions I get about TRX is “can I really get as good of a workout with TRX as I get with free weights or weight machines?” My answer is simple: yes, you can. TRX provides you with an opportunity to work your body as an interconnected chain of muscles the same way you do in all of your daily activities. Allowing your body to work as a unit allows you greater functionality and provides you with greater performance in just about any activity.

TRX works the core relentlessly: improving flexibility, muscular strength and endurance, and balance. One of my favorite things about TRX is its versatility. I love incorporating different formats to create a new type of workout. TRX allows me to combine movements used in ballet, Pilates, boxing, and yoga generating an even more intense workout. I recently began working on a vinyasa TRX routine that incorporates yoga poses and flows with the TRX suspension trainer. This has challenged my current students and has intrigued those who have not tried it in the past.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try TRX yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. If you’re new to working out, it provides a great way to initiate yourself into weight training. You control your pace and you decide how hard you’re going to make it. For those extremely conditioned individuals, TRX will take your performance to the next level. If you have any interest in trying TRX, check out our Group Exercise Schedule for upcoming classes at our wellness center locations. There is a small fee for these classes, but members and non-members are both welcome!

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