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5 Seasonal Foods Not to Miss This Spring

Rebecca Lewis Apr 12, 2018 Nutrition

When it comes to healthy eating, seasonal foods have so many benefits to offer. Not only are these five foods available at the peak of their ripeness, giving them maximum flavor and nutrition density, but they are also at their least expensive price. 

3 Core Moves to Improve Your Running Form

Makeba Edwards Mar 29, 2018 Fit Fun

Whether you are a recreational or elite runner, incorporating a variety of core exercises into your training program may yield significant improvements in your running form.

For distance runners to sustain posture and performance, core stability and strength is essential. It also helps promote effective running form and movement efficiency, especially when running for extended periods. The core, which consists of approximately 30 muscles in the abdomen, pelvis, low back and hip, controls the position and motion of the trunk over the pelvis and stabilizes the spine during loading and movement. During activities like running, an effectively functioning core improves muscular balance and may minimize the risk of injury and overuse.

During running, when the core is doing its job of stabilizing the trunk and maintaining postural alignment, the hips, knees, ankles and feet can function effectively and ground reaction forces (forces that impact the body when the foot makes contact with the ground) are appropriately absorbed and distributed. This reduces stress and compression of the joints and movement becomes more controlled and efficient.

Here are three core exercises to incorporate into your training program, along with progressions and regressions. Each exercise aims to improve core stability, endurance and strength. Perform each exercise for up to 30 seconds and increase intensity by adding progressions. Duration may be extended for up to one minute. Keep in mind, however, that the goal is to improve function, so duration should only be extended if you can achieve proper form.

Nutrition Fact or Fiction?

Katie Ferraro Mar 23, 2018 Nutrition

There’s no shortage of misinformation when it comes to info about what to eat, from the latest diet for shedding fat to the greatest supplement for enhancing recovery. As a savvy consumer, you have to search beyond the hype to distinguish what’s really healthy and what’s just a fad. Here are five considerations to keep in mind when you’re pondering whether or not something is actually touting proper nutrition.

The Power of Sleep

Dr. Erin Nitschke Mar 9, 2018 News

The nation’s population is “intoxicated” due to sleep loss. Sadly, poor sleep is more the rule than the exception. According to the Institute of Medicine, 50-70 million adults in the United States have sleep or wakefulness disorders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider poor sleep a “public health problem.” Ultimately, this means more Americans are at an increased risk for developing other health concerns if they are getting insufficient sleep.

March is National Sleep Month, which is an ideal time to learn more about how sleep impacts the pursuit and achievement of health and fitness goals.

Breathe Better to Supercharge Your Life

Brett Klika Feb 22, 2018 Fit Fun

Sitting in the back of the cab, my palms were sweating and my heart was racing.

I was on the way to what I considered at the time to be one of the biggest career opportunities of my life. In the driver seat was an affable guy in his 50s with a gray ponytail descending from his well-worn camouflage baseball hat. He could see I was stressing, so he started chatting me up through a gap-toothed smile and southern drawl. “Hey, man, you look nervous.” I confirmed, sharing the source of my stress. “You know what man? When I feel like that, I just take a deep breath, like 1-2-3, then pretty soon, ain’t nothin’ botherin’ me.” 

Wouldn’t it be great if escaping from stress was that easy? Actually, a growing body of research suggests that proper, controlled breathing can improve heart and lung function while decreasing the negative physical, mental and emotional impact of stress.

I’m not sure my cab driver was privy to this research, but he was definitely on to something.

Improve Stability and Mobility with These Beginner Core Exercises

Elizabeth Kovar Feb 15, 2018 Strength

If you are beginning an exercise program, you have probably heard that developing core strength is important. Although true, your goal at the start of an exercise program should be to reestablish stability and mobility in your body, which begins at the center of mass and the core. Thus, you want to develop stabilization throughout the core and spinal column muscles and then progress to training the core by mobilizing the limbs and incorporating movement. 

Following are two phases of core exercises. The first trains stability while the second phase focuses on mobility. It is best to develop stability before progressing to mobility. Start by performing each exercise for 20 seconds and gradually increase to 30 or more seconds as your fitness level improves. If the exercise involves movement, start with eight repetitions and progress to 12 as your core strength improves. Finally, start with two sets and eventually increase to three sets of each exercise.

Three Reasons to Stay for the Cool-down

Amber Long Feb 9, 2018 Fit Fun

Fitness classes typically finish with three to five minutes of programmed cool-down activity. Most often, cool-downs include lower-intensity movement, as well as a mix of dynamic and static stretching. Group fitness instructors have a goal to guide participants’ bodies back to a steady state, and provide physical and mental closure to the class experience. Unfortunately, many fitness class attendees dismiss the cool-down as a waste of time. As the music slows down, they scamper out the door or begin to pack up. While it might seem like a good idea to cut out before the cool-down to save time and get to your next commitment, here are three reasons why those last few minutes of class are some of the important:

4 Steps for Making a Resolution That Sticks

Kelsey Graham Feb 2, 2018 News

The New Year is upon us and with it comes the desire to improve and start anew. For many, this manifests as resolutions to “eat better,” “exercise more” or “lose weight.”

Despite the best of intentions, many people struggle to maintain these resolutions yearlong, and by February gym floors are empty and new fitness gear has been left forgotten in the backs of closets.

While it may seem that sticking to a resolution is impossible, positive change in health and fitness is achievable. To increase your likelihood for success, shift your focus this year from what you resolve to do to how you’ll do it. Here are four proven strategies for ensuring that your 2018 New Year’s Resolution is one that sticks.

8 Lessons Learned from a Year of Lifestyle Change

Daniel J. Green Jan 26, 2018 News

Early in 2017, I issued myself a challenge: to live according to the rules outlined in the federal Dietary Guidelines and Physical Activity Guidelinesfor a full year. I was in desperate need of a lifestyle change, having reached a weight of 245 pounds on my 5’8” frame. I’ve always been a big guy, but I’d let my weight creep higher and higher over the years, and my body and quality of life had suffered the consequences.

A year later, my health, fitness, appearance and performance have all improved, and I’m feeling great about continuing my new lifestyle moving forward. Looking back over the past year, I see plenty of ups and downs and lots of lessons learned. Here are eight key lessons I’d like to share:

Breaking Down Fitness Myths

Dr. Erin Nitschke Jan 18, 2018 Fit Fun

There’s no shortage of information sources in the world today. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we literally have countless resources at our fingertips. On the flip side, the available information isn’t always credible or reliable. This is particularly true when it comes to health, nutrition and fitness “advice.”

It takes little effort to discover a “source” whose author took creative liberties with the science of exercise and offered an interpretation that ultimately sends the well-intended reader down a path of bewilderment. Fitness myths typically start with a grain of misunderstanding and spiral into “how to” guidance with wildly questionable rationales and unfounded claims. Here are a few of the most popular myths those of us in the health and fitness industry battle to bust:

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