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Planning Your Next Vacation? Don't Forget to Plan in Exercise!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Everyone looks forward to that one or two weeks out of the year when they get to take a break from their daily work or at-home duties and go on vacation. Vacation is the perfect time to relax, unwind and have a great time with friends and family.

While vacation is a time to unwind and relax, it is not a time to take a break from your daily fitness routines. Just because you are away from your home gym or from the gym you visit to get into shape, doesn't mean that you can't get your exercise elsewhere.

Being on vacation is a great time to try something different with your cardio workout. Remembering to keep your routine different each day will help you to enjoy your vacation and exercise even more.

Try these great cardio workouts while on vacation:

Surfing, swimming or snorkeling: While you may not be the “hang ten” type, even attempting surfing can be an excellent form of exercise. Snorkeling is more laid back and still provides a great workout and we all know that swimming is an excellent form of exercise for all of your major muscle groups.

Walking or running on the beach: Experts have said that walking or running on the beach burns more calories than running or walking on a flat surface, thereby making this an excellent vacation workout for anyone.

Biking: Biking trails and biking in general is a great form of exercise and it a great way to get around on vacation. You won't be burning up gas in a car to get around and you'll be giving your body a pretty intense workout.

Hiking: Many families choose the outdoors instead of the beach for their vacation, which allows for another great workout by hiking trails and through the mountains. Adding elevation and a backpack to your hike helps you to burn additional calories.

Beach volleyball: You don't have to be a professional volleyball player in order to get a great workout by playing beach volleyball. Besides burning more than 150 calories per hour, playing beach volleyball is a great way to meet some new people while on vacation.

Play golf: Many of you are probably saying, “Play golf? Now that's up my alley.” You may not realize this, but playing golf is an excellent form or exercise and is also a great way to relax the day away while you are on vacation. By carrying your clubs and walking the course, you can burn 200 to 300 calories per hour and you'll be exercising even though you might not realize it.

Shopping: Yes, men, believe it or not, when your lady decides to take a day out of vacation and get some shopping in, she is actually getting in a pretty decent work out. While this workout is a leisurely one it can still be a good form of exercise with all of the walking and heavy lifting/carrying that could ensue.

So whether you decide to hit up the beach volleyball court and try your hand at surfing, or if you just go shopping and take a walk on the beach, there are plenty of ways that you can get a good workout while you are on vacation.

This way, when you return home you will not only be well rested, but you won't be out any fitness time and can jump right back into your normal routine without starting fresh.


Straight From the Headlines: Exercising with Allergies

Written by Lisa Jillanza

For those who suffer from seasonal allergies it seems very hard to get outdoors and enjoy the spring weather because of all of the allergens. But thanks to recent report put out by Penn State University, researchers offer these tips to exercise with allergies.

Run early in the morning or later in the evening when it is damper out and less pollen is in the air.

Wear sunglasses to rebound any pollen from getting into your eyes.

Shower immediately following being outdoors exercising and use a neti pot to clean any pollen or allergens out of your nose.

Try swimming and water-based exercise if the pollen and allergens are still getting the best of you.

How Fit Are You?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2012, take these three self tests to find out how fit you are first!

1. How are your muscles? Do some push-ups. A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor. For every decade after 30, the amount of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.

2. How is your flexibility? Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart. Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet. Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet. Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet. Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet. Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles.

3. What's your heart rate? Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate : for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age. Then exercise all out for three minutes. Check your pulse. Rest for two minutes and then check it again. Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats. The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Three Benefits of Stability Ball Workouts

Written by Lisa Jillanza

No matter what your fitness level, at some point, you are bored with your workout and looking for something new. However, getting a whole new routine or doing something completely different is a big step and takes lots of work. What if I told you that you could up the intensity of your current workout and see more results just by adding a stability ball? That's exactly what trainers have been doing for years and the great news is that it works!

Anytime you add an element of stability to a workout, you engage the muscles differently and even add engaged muscles to certain exercises. Ever think your abs could get a great workout while you're doing shoulder presses? The stability ball allows your body to work harder and more efficiently and you'll end up with a body that is stronger, more balanced and a workout that is fun!

Here are 3 of the benefits of using a stability ball for workouts:

Core Strength

Everyone wants a flat belly but few people use the stability ball to strengthen and tighten the ab muscles. Yes, we know that diet is really what reveals your 6 pack but working the ab and back muscles on the ball can help you to sculpt those muscles so that they are ready to shine! When you do stability ball exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses, crunches and even squats with the ball, your core muscles have to engage to keep you from rolling off the ball! This means that those muscles that you'd normally skip are getting a workout!

Balance & Posture

Balance and posture are something that we take for granted but you really can improve upon them. Learning to use your core muscles while sitting or leaning on the ball can help your body to learn to activate those stabilizing muscles when they are needed... Ever slipped on a patch of ice?! Proper posture is so boring, I know, but knowing that sitting up tall can make you look 10 pounds lighter is very exciting! Using the stability ball helps you learn proper posture which will make you look and feel better!


Doing the same old exercises can be boring for your brain and your body. Simply taking your existing routine and adding a stability ball to it can help to spice up your workout so you aren't bored AND you get a harder workout! Remember, adding intensity isn't always about adding more reps or weight, it can be something as simply as adding a stability ball!

These are just 3 benefits of using a stability ball for workouts. If you haven't already, I suggest you give it a try. Stability balls are found in nearly every gym and most of the time, you'll have a friend that has one you can borrow! I've been using stability balls for my own workouts, as well as to train clients for years with excellent results! I've even included it in Month 2 of the Ten Pound Cut Down workout program because I think it is such a great way to add intensity and achieve great results. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Amy Mac is a certified personal trainer from SDSU and NASM and has a B.S. from Purdue in OLS. She is the founder of WithAmyMac.com, the host of the video podcast, Fit Life, is an Amazon Best-Selling Author and has been recognized by Shape Magazine as one of the Top Fitness Gurus to Follow on Twitter. She is also the co-founder of the health and fitness startup, EverydayBetter.com .