Summertime tends to get steamy in July and August, yet exercise enthusiasts love their outdoor workouts. So how do you brace for a good sweat without suffering any consequences of exercising under a hot sun in high humidity?


Follow these helpful hints:


1. Don’t ditch the indoor machines! Continue to use treadmills and other indoor exercise equipment while gradually extending your outdoor activity. Our bodies take up to two weeks to acclimate to warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Consider long outdoor walks at lunchtime or after work before cranking up the intensity.


2. When exercising outdoors, seek out shaded areas and schedule workouts during the cooler parts of the day or evening. Drink plenty of water after your workout to rehydrate – you will lose a lot of fluids when you sweat profusely.


3. If you take medications, check with your physician or pharmacist to see if the meds increase your risk of heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration. Also be sure to wear sunscreen outdoors. Antibiotics and other meds make your skin even more vulnerable to sunburns. To protect your eyes, wear sunglasses.


4.  Consider your post-workout condition. After exercising in the heat, see how you feel to determine what you can do for subsequent workouts. If you are overly fatigued, light-headed or dehydrated, be cautious about your exercise duration and intensity.


Regardless of the weather, always be aware of your surroundings when exercising outdoors. Stay clear of street traffic and other hazards along your route. Enjoy safe workouts for the greatest success!    

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

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Expecting? Exercise!

If you’re expecting a baby in 2014, congratulations! Now more than ever it’s important to care for your body – and the baby you’re carrying. While your OB/GYN has probably prescribed prenatal vitamins, has he or she prescribed an exercise plan?


Surprisingly, many women and healthcare providers are still under the assumption that vigorous physical activity should be limited during pregnancy, which was one of the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1985. Since then, reams of research indicate that women who exercise can expect a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. Compared to expectant moms who are inactive, those who exercise are more likely to stay within the recommended weight gain range. They have a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.  Furthermore, active women are less likely to deliver big babies (more than nine pounds) and their children may be less inclined towards obesity at two to five years of age.


The most recent U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services guidelines for physical activity during pregnancy state that women who are not already active should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Those who were more active to begin with may continue their normal routines provided they communicate openly with their healthcare provider.


What remain undetermined are the best types of activities to perform during pregnancy.  For instance, it may be better to do low-impact activities like brisk walking and swimming rather than running and jump roping. For guidance, seek out a qualified fitness professional and consult with your physician.  

Meghan Rath

Meghan Rath

M.S., CSCS, HFS is a HealthEase Fitness Manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. She is also ACSM and NSCA certified.

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Chuck the Diet, Change Your Daily Habits

I believe that you should not have to give up on food you love when trying to lose weight.  Instead of depriving yourself, think moderation or even just improving your favorites with healthy swaps! I guarantee that if your mindset is in the right place then you will improve your daily choices instead of struggling over a diet.


So what does this change in daily habits entail?


The basic difference between a diet and daily habits is your mindset or, better yet your perspective on food, exercise, nutrition, etc. It makes your goals achievable, and if you are truly dedicated to a healthy lifestyle you really won’t miss out on anything at all.  The best part about this transformation is that it is not temporary, like dieting.


A diet is all about numbers—the number on the scale and the number of calories you eat and burn. Success is defined in terms of how well you stick to your numbers.


Changing your daily habits is all about you. It’s about lining up your eating and activity with your real desires. Success is defined in terms of how these changes make you feel about yourself.


A diet assumes that reaching a certain weight is the key to finding happiness and solving other problems. That’s why messing up the numbers on any given day can be so upsetting—it means you’ve failed.


A lifestyle approach assumes that being overweight is usually the result of other problems, not the cause. Addressing these problems directly is the best way to solve both the problems themselves and your weight issues.


Going on a diet involves obsessing over your exterior self and making a temporary change to your eating habits. You start counting and measuring, and you stop eating some foods and substitute others, based on the rules of whatever diet plan you are using. Maybe you throw in some exercise but that might just be so you can eat a few extra calories. You assume that it’s the technique – not you – that produces the results.


The results of a diet are external; if you’re lucky, you may change on the outside—but not on the inside. Once you reach your goal weight, you don’t need the technique anymore, and things gradually go back to “normal.” But then so does your weight—and then some. And, of course, all the problems you hoped the weight loss would solve are still there!


Changing your daily habits involves looking inward and making permanent changes in how you relate to food, eating, and physical activity. You recognize that the primary problem isn’t what you eat, or even how much you eat, but how and why you eat. Eating mindlessly and impulsively (without intention or awareness) and/or using food to manage your emotions and distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts—this is what really needs to change.


Learning to take good care of yourself emotionally, physically, and spiritually—so that you don’t want to use food to solve problems it really can’t—is a lifelong learning process that is constantly changing as your needs and circumstances change.


Start this new attitude today by looking away from the mirror and looking into what really matters and what you can control. Soon you’ll notice a healthier, happier self!

Liz Reichel

Liz Reichel

works for HealthEase as an Exercise Specialist and Assistant Manager of a corporate fitness site. She has a degree in Exercise Science as well as an extensive background in personal training, group exercise, health coaching, nutrition, and post rehab exercise.

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10 Ways to Weight Train More Wisely

Weight training is important for muscular strength and endurance as well as bone health. When I am supervising the floor of a fitness center, I stay alert for people who may be following improper form or need a helpful reminder. Make sure your routine is done right so you get the results you want!


1.     Warm Up


Warming up improves blood flow to tissues, which helps with muscle performance and flexibility. You can do gentle stretching, light cardio, or light lifting before heavier lifting.


2.     Use Good Form


When you lift weights or use weight training machines, you need to know correct form in order to lift safely, and to achieve the best results. Ask a fitness professional before you begin an exercise program with weights. An important general rule: lift weights in a slow and controlled manner; never fast and jerky.


3.     Keep Your Back Straight


Good lifting form includes keeping the back straight and not curved when lifting or squatting. If you can’t maintain a straight back, you are probably lifting too heavy weights.


4.     Check the Weight of Your Weights


Start with light weights and progressively move to heavier weights and more challenging exercises. Don’t lift too light for too long, and don’t lift too heavy too early. Ask a trainer for advice if you’re not sure how to do this.


5.     Use a Spotter When Lifting Heavy Weights


A “spotter” is a person who helps when you train with heavy weights. He or she is there to grab the weight if you are unable to lift it and are at risk of dropping it. Safety is crucial!


6.     Never Train the Same Muscles Two Days in a Row


Weight training should be performed on alternate days, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to give your muscles a chance to recover and build. If you want to weight train on back-to-back days, focus on different muscle groups, such as chest, back and arms on Monday, legs and abs on Tuesday.


7.     Don’t Train if You Are Sick


You don’t want to risk spreading your germs at the gym. And if you need rest, you don’t want to overexert yourself by weight training. Wait until you are well.


8.     Be Courteous to Other Exercisers


Don’t hog the machines or workstations if people are waiting. Put things back where they belong. Wipe down the machines after using and have a towel handy to stay dry.


9.     Cool Down


At the end of your exercise routine, cool down to lower your heart rate slowly to its normal level. The best way is to engage in some light cardio exercise or do a series of easy stretching exercises for 10 to 15 minutes. Performing stretches at the end of your routine is optimal for increased flexibility and a reduced risk of injury.  

Eric Mamon

Eric Mamon

Eric Mamon, cPT, CSN, has been Regional Director of HealthEase since 2008. He is a nationally certified Personal Trainer and a certified Sports Nutritionist as well as an Alliance Member with the American College of Sports Medicine. Eric is also an accomplished martial artist and bodybuilder as well as a regular participant in marathons and charity runs.

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