Fitness Blog

5 Tips for Spring Fitness

The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and it is beginning to get warmer and warmer each day! During the winter you may have taken some time off from your exercise routine to take shelter from the cold, but here are some helpful tips from our wellness specialists and personal trainers to help you get back on your feet and into a healthy fitness routine this spring.

1.       Be Realistic : First and foremost, you should always set a schedule of how many days a week you want to workout. You may want to hit the gym 7 days a week from the start, but with work, school and a family, this presents road blocks. Get comfortable taking baby-steps, and accommodate goals to your lifestyle and current fitness status to prevent injury.  A realistic schedule would be 3 days a week for 30 minutes each.

2.       Team up with a friend: Surround yourself with friends who are looking to spring clean their fitness routine and healthy lifestyles as well. Working out with a friend can help you encourage each other, keep you on track, and can be the fuel to a fun fitness routine.

3.       Revamp your playlist: Listening to the same tunes day in and day out can get monotonous and boring, especially during an intense workout. Check out pinterest for some new and uplifting songs that can rejuvenate your workout, and help get your body and mind moving. 

4.       Avoid the couch: After a long day at work, a comfy recliner may call your name. To avoid derailment from your new routine, pack a gym bag with you each day so that you have one less excuse not to get your workout in right after work hours.

5.       Record your progress: Keeping a fitness and food journal is a nice way to track your progress as well as the way you feel after each workout. A journal will also be sure to keep you conscious of your daily activities and habits (good and bad) including food selections.

How to Become a Runner

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Running isn’t for everyone. But it could be for you, and it can be done just about anywhere, just about any time. Running is beneficial for both your mind and body.  It can help to boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve your sleeping habits. Running improves cardiovascular health, aids in weight loss, and strengthens your bones, among numerous other benefits. However, running can be a hard activity to take up. If your new year’s resolution was to become more fit, running is an amazing place to start. It may seem daunting or scary, but here are a few tips to help you become the runner you always dreamed of being.


First, run at your own pace. Many experts will tell you there is a certain intensity that is most effective physiologically, and while this is true, it is not the case for beginners. These targets can be uncomfortable or impossible for beginning runners. This can be extremely discouraging. Instead pick a pace that is challenging, but relatively pleasant. As you get more comfortable, increase your pace.

Next, prepare yourself, a little soreness is normal and expected. It’s not just the exertion experienced during running that discourages many beginners from continuing. It’s also the soreness experienced afterward so-called delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS is caused by muscle damage associated with unaccustomed levels of exertion. The more you run, the less you will experience DOMS. Unfortunately you have to experience it to become resistant to it.

While DOMS is unavoidable for the beginning runner, you can minimize it. In your first workout you want to apply just enough stress to trigger this effect and no more, because doing any more will only result in more soreness without resulting in any more resistance to future muscle damage.

Make your first run short—only about 10 minutes. And instead of running for 10 minutes continuously, break it up. Start with interval training. Run faster than you normally would for 15 to 30 seconds, and then slow to a walk. When you’re ready, run for another 15 to 30 seconds, then walk again. Continue in this manner until you’ve put in 10 minutes and stop, even if you feel you could do more. You may feel good now, but you will feel sore tomorrow. As you run more often, this will subside.

Lastly, give it some time. It takes about a month to start feeling more comfortable when you run if you run consistently and build slowly. Set your expectations accordingly, but don’t give up. Take a “no excuses” mentality into your first month of running. Don’t miss a planned run, no matter how much you dread the next one. If you do this, you will progress at the maximum rate possible and find yourself enjoying your runs after four weeks and no longer needing to psych yourself into doing the next run.

Good luck, and if you need help setting or reaching your fitness goals, or would like a running plan designed specifically for you, contact RWWC today and schedule an appointment with a fitness specialist.

Fitness Tip on Recovering from Holiday Stress

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Holiday stress affects many women through out the holidays. Your in-laws are around more often, you have to cook dinner for 20 guests, make it to Grandmas house by six and traffic is crawling. These stressful situations can increase your levels of stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can affect your memory and ability to process new information as well as raise your risk of depression and anxiety. But it turns out there is an easy fix. 


Studies show that just 20 minutes of physical activity can help tremendously. As your heart rate rises during cardio exercise, levels of the feel-good neurochemicals serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine rise in the body. So does brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance that may protect your brain from emotional disorders and repair damage that stress and depression cause. At the same time, opiate-like endorphins and endocannabinoids (similar to the other kind of cannabis) flood the system, leading to a sense of well-being.

In short, a mere 20 minute work out session can produce mood benefits that last as long as 12 hours to help alleviate the stress you may have been faced with this holiday season.

How to Prepare for Outdoor Winter Workouts

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Winter is just around the corner. The days are short and there is a brisk chill in the air. While you don’t have to give up on fresh air workouts just yet, there are a few things you should know to keep you warm and safe as the temperatures drop.


Here are a few tips to help you keep up your outdoor sessions.

Layers. Wear many layers of moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry as well as warm. Your body temperature will feel about 20 degrees warmer when you are moving at high intensities, so keep this in mind as you get ready for your workout. Wear a scarf or facemask over your mouth and nose to help warm the air before it gets to your lungs.

Protect your extremities. Be sure to cover your hands and have warm socks on your feet. Also, consider wearing a hat. Remember that your body will take longer to warm up in the cold which increases your chance of injury.

Don’t push it. This weather is not conducive to setting personal time or distance records. It is best to run long and slower in this weather.

Have fun and stay safe. If we can help you with your fitness needs give us a call! 

The Importance of Strength Training for Women

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

When women start strength training a phrase I commonly hear is “I don’t want to be bulky. I don’t want to look like a body builder.” I want you women out there to know one thing, that’s probably not going to happen. 

The main component to building bulky muscle, besides a strict training regime, is testosterone.

 

Most women have about as much testosterone as a pre-teen boy. To get the body builder look a female has to work out around 40 hours a week and be on a special diet and supplement program. However, this myth has scared many women away from strength training. Many women only focus on cardio. While cardio is a great and necessary part of fitness, by skipping strength training you are missing a crucial piece of the health and fitness puzzle.

 

This is extremely important for women because strength training had been linked to increased bone density which helps to combat osteoporosis and its associated risks. Strength training is also a way to help target specific problem areas or body regions, something cardio cant do.

 

Don’t mistaken me, cardio is still very important and helps with heart health and increases endurance and stamina, but don’t forget the other part of the equation.

 

Our fitness specialists are here to help you with your fitness needs. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Great Autumn Exercise

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Fall is here, and the weather outside is perfect! The summer humidity is gone and the bone chilling cold of winter is still a few months away. Get outside and breathe in that fresh air while you still can! It is the ideal time for outdoor activities like apple picking or hiking. Hiking is the idyllic exercise this time of year. It can help strengthen the heart, body, and mind. But, prior to hitting the trails, as a beginner hiker, there are a few tips you should follow to make the most of your autumn outing and stay safe while doing it! First and foremost, be ready for a workout.

Even if you regularly do cardio workouts on flat ground, uneven terrain can be a very different, often using different muscle groups. Incline intensifies aerobic work and burns more calories! Secondly, be sure to prepare adequately for your hike. This includes cardio, strength training, balance and flexibility training prior to the adventure. This will help prevent injury to joints and muscles as well as helping you avoid soreness afterwards. Thirdly, be sure to pack for the trip. Have a water bottle handy and be sure to keep hydrating throughout the hike.

Pack small snacks that are high in protein to munch on along the way. Make sure you have checked the weather reports before leaving. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes and bring along layers or a jacket in case the weather changes suddenly. Lastly, don’t go alone and be sure to set a pace that is comfortable for everyone in your group. Work your way up from hills or trail walking to more uphill trails. Have fun and enjoy! We’d love you help you with your individual fitness journey, call today to set up a consultation.

Following through on Fitness Goals

By: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Many adults have weight loss and fitness goals. So, why is it that 80% of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise weekly? The answer lies in priorities and motivation.  It is easy to make excuses or let other things get in the way of a fitness plan. In order to achieve your goals it is important to make it a priority in your life and stay motivated and excited about your fitness journey. Here are a few tips to help you stick with your plan and realize your goals.

Establish a work out time and stick to your schedule. If it is a scheduled time in your day you are more likely to actually follow through. Planning on going “sometime after work” almost assures failure, you’ll let anything take precedent over your gym time! Additionally, it takes about 3-4 weeks to create a habit. While you may struggle to fit exercise into your plan at first, soon enough it will be an integral part of your day, and you will feel better and have more energy because of it!

Set goals. Set them early and often. Make sure you start with small goals that work toward your ultimate fitness goals. Setting a goal like “I will go to the gym 3 times this week” is obtainable and will make you feel like you are making progress. Avoid goals that are long term or unrealistic like losing 55 pounds, or hitting the gym every day this week. These types of goals will only discourage you.

Reach out to friends or family for support. Not only will this help you toward your goal, but it may help them set a goal of their own. Find someone to be accountable to. Plan a time to meet a friend at the gym. Tell a co-worker you plan to work out before work and have them hold you to it. Make a deal with your sister that for every week you don’t make it to the gym 3 times, you will mail her $5 and expect the same from her. You wouldn’t just skip a dinner date or a doctor’s appointment, so treat your work out the same way.

Lastly, add variety. Try out a new triceps exercise you saw in a magazine. Plan to use the elliptical instead of the treadmill. Add new music to your gym playlist. These small changes can make you excited for a trip to the gym.

To help you with existing fitness goals or help you create a fitness plan, call RWWC about an appointment with a fitness specialist!

Listening to Your Body: Beat the Heat

Listen to Your BodyBy: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

With the climax of summer upon us, now is a very important time to be listening to the signs your body is sending you.

It is always important to be aware of what your body is telling you. Whether it’s that you are hungry, in pain, or tired, part of living a healthy lifestyle includes reading the signs your body gives you and responding accordingly. This is increasingly important as the temperature and humidity rise in the summer time. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses and dehydration.

There are a few heat related illnesses that can strike while exercising outside.

Dehydration is due to fluid loss or conservation in the body. Symptoms include thirst, dry mouth, weakness/dizziness, confusion, fainting and inability to sweat.

Heat cramps can be very painful, they are muscular contractions that usually affect the calves, quads and abdominal muscles. Your body temperature may remain normal.

Heat exhaustion is when your body temperature rises, it can get as high as 104 F. you may be nauseas, experience vomiting, headaches, weakness, fainting, and your skin may be cold and clammy.

Heat stroke is extremely dangerous and can be life threatening. It occurs when your temperature rises above 104 F. Your body may stop sweating (Sweating is a natural temperature control system your body has. Keep drinking so you can keep sweating!) and you can become confused or irritable. Brain damage and organ failure can occur if you do not seek medical attention.

To help prevent heat related issues keep a few things in mind.

  1. Time of day is important. Try to stay inside during peak heat hours (10 am-3pm)
  2. Wear loose, light colored clothing
  3. Wear sunscreen
  4. STAY HYDRATED. Drink before beginning your work out and every 15 minutes during, even if you’re not thirsty
  5. Make sure to replenish your electrolyte and salt intake. Your body loses these things while sweating and making sure to replenish them will keep you feeling good!
  6. Try to choose shaded areas when running or biking
  7. Look at the weather forecast, if there is a heat advisory you may be best to keep your work out inside!
  8. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Be aware of these signs and if you feel any of them, stop exercising immediately and, if necessary, get help.

The professionals at RWWC are always happy to help! Call and make an appointment today!

Stay Young with Fitness


workouthairBy: Kathryn Pontius, Personal Trainer

Exercise truly is the fountain of youth. Study after study, regular workouts have been proven to have a multitude of positive benefits on your mind, body and soul. Participating in regular exercise helps prevent heart disease, lowers your risks for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s, and strokes, as well as lowering “bad” cholesterol and increasing “good” cholesterol. Exercise regulates hormones, improves blood flow, and keeps your colon and intestines healthy. It releases chemicals that put you in a better mood, relieves stress, and can help you unwind after a long day.

Routine exercise can also reverse some of the signs of aging we feel in our muscles and joints as we approach middle age. Aches and pains surface that we didn’t feel in our youth. It is a little harder to get up off the floor or out of a chair. However, new research suggests that by participating in regular, moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise you can delay your biological aging by 10-12 years.

After your 20’s, your aerobic capacity decreases consistently. Eventually, it will dip so low that it becomes extremely difficult to perform regular daily activities without fatigue, let alone regular exercise. Starting an exercise routine at any point can begin to reverse some of the aging that has taken place, even if you have lived a fairly sedentary life. So get up and move. Be sure to push yourself during your cardio sessions or use interval training, which has built in times of rest! Challenge your heart and lungs. Increase your aerobic capacity, and begin to reverse aging!  

To help you on your fitness journey call RWWC today and schedule a consultation with a member of our fitness staff!

Spring Clean Your Fitness Routine

Spring Clean FitnessBy: Kathryn Ponius, Personal Trainer

Spring has sprung! Winter is over, flowers and trees are starting to bloom, it is time to do some spring cleaning, and it’s time to do some spring training!

After hibernating this winter, your body may be in need of a make-over in time to get tight and fit for bathing suit weather.

Dust off those running shoes, pump up your bike tires, and get out that water bottle.

While this time of year is exciting, invigorating, and teeming with new life and energy, it is important to remember some tips for training that you may have packed away with your shorts and tank tops.

First of all, be sure to start slow. If it has been a while since you last took a run outside, take some time to stretch. Also, while running on a treadmill does give you the cardio benefits, running outside on different terrains can work your muscles and joints in different ways. Be sure to start at a slower pace than you are running inside and build as your body readjusts.

Protect your skin. People are so excited to be outside in the beautiful weather that they often forget that it may have been a while since their skin had been exposed to so much sun. Before a jog on the trail or a walk in the park, make sure you apply sunscreen to any exposed skin to prevent sun damage and premature aging.

Prepare for all weather. Spring weather is unpredictable. This means check the forecast and dress in layers! Don’t let changes in weather deter you from your training. Be flexible and willing to improvise to keep on track.

Be aware of spring allergies. Lots of people are affected by the change in allergens between the dead winter months and the blossoming spring months. If you are susceptible to these allergens be sure to check pollen forecasts and talk to your doctor before starting any outside fitness programs.

Most importantly, have fun. Spring is a great time to be physically active and enjoy the outdoors! Plan a hike with your friends, bike ride to a river bank for a picnic, keep moving and enjoy!

If you would like some help creating a personal fitness program, the trainers at Rittenhouse Women’s Wellness Center are a phone call away! Make your appointment today!

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