The Best Exercises You Can Ever Do

Harvard Medical School put together this list of “5 of the best exercises you can ever do” and I like them because it touches upon so many areas that I think are for getting more people to exercise:

  • Accessibility – the exercises mentioned here are accessible to nearly everyone without having to pay excessive gym fees
  • Not skill level dependent – Folks from all skill levels can participate in these activities.
  • Purpose – Besides losing weight or gaining muscle, these exercises have an added benefit of increasing balance or halting memory loss.

Examples and quotes below are from the Harvard Medical School:

1. Swimming: “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight bearing,” explains Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Research finds that swimming can improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.

2. Tai Chi: Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible, and valuable, for people of all ages and fitness levels. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. Lee says.

3. Strength Training: Muscle also helps burn calories. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight,” says Dr. Lee. Strength training might also help preserve your ability to remember.

4. Walking: Walking is simple yet powerful. It can help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease for example). A number of studies have shown that walking and other physical activities can improve memory and resist age-related memory loss.

5. Kegel exercises: These exercises won’t help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Strong pelvic floor muscles can go a long way toward preventing incontinence.

For more information about what I’ve posted above and to download a very helpful guide to “Starting To Exercise” from the Harvard Business School, please click here.

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Are Shin Splints Stopping You?

Many of you have started running since the New Year as it was a New Year’s resolution. And unfortunately, some of you have developed painful shin splints. Ugh! Shin splints hurt so bad that you must stop running and they can be so discouraging that you may stop all exercise.

Shin splints can occur when you have overworked the muscles in your lower legs. Besides straining the muscles, the muscle fascia (a tissue that sheathes the muscles) becomes inflamed creating the shooting pain that stops you in your tracks. If left untreated, the pain can take weeks before it goes away.

The folks at Runner’s World have put together a video of four exercises to help you strengthen the area around your lower legs and thus avoid the pain for shin splints.

And if you already have shin splints, RW has included for tips on how to resolve the pain. Check out how ice, arch support, and stretching can rectify your injury and get you back on the path to be your physical best.

The Dreaded B Word: BURPEES!

A show of hands, who enjoys doing burpees? Let’s see, that will be … no one. Burpees are a tough sell: The exercise is no fun, you feel awkward when you are doing them, and you can easily question if any gain from the burpee is worth the pain.

Danielle Zicki, a writer for Runner’s World, makes a compelling case for why we should integrate burpees into our exercise routines. In her article “I Did 30 Burpees For 15 Days and Here’s What Happened” , Ms. Zicki highlights the positive physical changes she saw in short period of time. Those changes included:

  • Improved running
  • Gained more energy
  • The exercise got easier (strength and stamina improved)
  • Felt powerful!

After completing a challenging 15-day routine, I think we would all feel powerful. And how long does take to complete 30 burpees? 10 minutes when you first start your routine? Maybe 5 minutes? Your speed will vary, but my point is that the time it takes to complete the daily round of 30 will be negligible when compared to the gains you will see.

To read more about Danielle Zicki’s experience with her 15 day burpees challenge, check out her article on Runner’s World here.

34 Minute Metabolism Busting Workout

Are you wanting a new routine or looking to make a change to your current routine? I really like the video being featured on the LIVESTRONG site. The routine is 34 minutes, so it isn’t too long. You are constantly moving; thus, your heart rate is accelerated and your fat burning metabolism is kicked up. Extra bonus, you don’t need any equipment!  You can do this in your home before you go to work, or as soon as you get home without dedicating hours of your time or breaking your wallet.

Check out the video from Stronger, located here

Video Creenshot from livestrong and stronger

Let me know your thoughts about the routine and if you add this to your workouts. I’m adding the routine to my “off days”, when I’m not running.

Don’t Let YOU give up on YOU

Here is a little fitness inspiration. The picture and associated article are from Runner’s World. What you will read is a cool little story about how 50-year-old Molly Friel just qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials! That was not a typo, and YES, she kicked butt. Read her story at Runner’s World:

Reading this article inspires me to say, “Don’t let YOU give up on YOU”. Don’t give on your health. Don’t give up on your fitness. Don’t settle for the slow slide into obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other degenerative maladies. Don’t put yourself in the position where you look back 20 years from now and say, “If I had only done a little more exercise, I could now … enjoy my retirement… travel more… explore places I have never been…. play with my grandchildren.”

At 52 years old, I completely understand the challenges of a health and fitness routine. Can getting started on a fitness routine be difficult? Yes. Can staying vigilant of health issues be tiresome? Yes. I no longer bounce when I hit the floor. When I mix up my exercise routine, my muscles are now sorer for longer than when I was younger. But, I do believe that nothing worth gaining ever comes easy, and gaining and keeping your health is worth every sore muscle. Decide today that YOU won’t give up on YOU. I’m not saying that you need to run a marathon Molly Friel, but if you want to run in her footsteps, go for it! Molly is a great example as to why we shouldn’t let age define our health or our fitness.
If you don’t have an exercise routine today, think about it over the weekend, put together some simple plans, and get started. Starting is always the hardest part. Once you are in motion, you’ll keep moving. And don’t fret if your plans are too simple. Just move, and your health will fall into place. Plus, I’ll continue to provide you with new ideas each week and after a while, you’ll find the routine that works best for you.
I’ll have write more on this topic in the following weeks. Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, I hope you can enjoy some exercise, and if you cook this week’s food recipe, let me know how the recipe turned out for you.

WELCOME!

Welcome to my site, “The Wide-Body”. For those who used to follow my former site, “The Wide-Body Speaks”, welcome back!

For the uninitiated, this site is for the everyday athlete who has an interest in Health, Fitness, and Food. I research those topics, make sure the information comes from credible sources that I can cite, add my two cents, and do my best to provide you with an engaging, educational, and fun read. Each week I’ll be publishing new material throughout the week, thus keeping the site fresh and interesting for you. The typical publishing cadence will be:

  • Early in the week, I’ll feature a new idea on exercise. By publishing this early in the week, you’ll have time to plan for a way to incorporate the new idea into your exercise regimen.
  • Mid-week, I’ll publish features on Health, as well as the occasional miscellaneous item. The field of health and medicine is constantly changing, and new advancements are being made that could impact you in a positive way. I will do my very best to stay on top of the latest developments.
  • End of week, I’ll feature Food. My food features are always focused on healthy options that can be prepared and cooked quickly, or can be placed in a slow cook crock pot while you are away. Let’s face it, after working all day, most folks don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen, and for some folks, the lack of time is a barrier to healthy eating. I hope to overcome that barrier.

This site only works if you participate. I want to hear from you, so please send me feedback on topics. Did a new exercise regimen work for you? Did you try the new recipe and you family loved it? Let me and the rest of the readers know.

For additional details about me and this site, check out the pages on this site, “Who and What is a Wide-Body” and “Why this Site?”

I’m looking forward to traveling on this adventure with each of you. And thank you again for visiting this site.

Chris Stiehl, aka The Wide-Body