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Cue the Music! Listening to Music Aides Workouts

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you are new to the “gym scene” then you may have noticed that nearly everyone has their ear buds in synced up to their iPods while they are working out. Believe it or not, these gym-goers aren't being antisocial. Instead they have learned what many experts are now saying ,that listening to your favorite music while working out can boost performance by up to 20 percent.

According to a study done by Dr Costas Karageorghis, of Brunel University on news.bbc.co.uk, "music does have an impact on physical performance by blocking fatigue and helping you keep pace by synchronizing your movements.” The study finds that while listening to music on the treadmill or elliptical can actually boost your calorie burn, too.

Dr, Karageorghis found that listening to the right songs before and during training boosts performance. He recommends fast tempo music for high intensity exercise and slower tracks to help with the warm up and cool down. It's the speed of the music that plays a key role.

To get the most out of your workout he suggests creating your own play list according to your own personal music tastes and preferences as well as keeping in mind the intensity of activity in which you will be engaging. Loud, up-beat music can be used as a stimulant while soft music may calm pre-performance nerves.

As exercise begins, music tempo can be synchronized to help regulate movement and prolong performance. It can also help to narrow attention and divert your mind from sensations of fatigue. People who listen to fast tempo music can typically exercise longer and they typically feel that the exercise is easier (even though it's the same exercise) and not as tiring, as when they don't listen to music.

Karageorghis found an 18% improvement in adherence to exercise regimes with the help of the right music.


Six Outdoor Exercise Tips to Keep in Mind When Heading Outdoors this Winter

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The dark days of winter are upon us and one way to beat the winter blues is to get outside event if it is cold. It's important to get outdoors and get your exercise in especially during the winter. Experts say that while this is a healthy decision, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before you head outdoors this winter:

1. Remember to warm up first- Just like you were working out indoors, warming up first before you get started working out outdoors is definitely important. Colder temperatures can cause your muscles to tighten up, so a proper warm up session will help prevent injury.

2. Dress in layers- According to Mayoclinic.com, one of the biggest mistakes you can make while exercising in cold weather is to dress too warmly. Exercise generates a lot of heat and sweat but once that sweat starts to dry you can get chilled. So dress in layers that you can remove as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed.

3. Drink up- Working out outdoors is no different than indoors when it comes to hydration. Drink even when you do not feel thirsty.

4. Protect your hands, feet and ears- When it's cold outside your blood flow is concentrated in your body's core, leaving your extremities like hands, feet and ears vulnerable to frostbite. Consider a thin pair of gloves under heavier gloves and adjust to your body's temperature, wear thermal socks and don't forget your hat or headband to protect your ears.

5. Don't strip down when you come back inside- Give your body time to adjust from your outdoor workout. Post-exercise hypothermia is possible, so be sure to let your body adjust before taking off all of those layers.

6. Choose appropriate gear- If it's dark when you're exercising outside, wear reflective clothing. Also choose shoes with plenty of traction to prevent falls and consider chemical heats packs to keep hands and feet warm

By keeping these tips in mind you're sure to have an effective and pleasant winter outdoor exercise experience.


Tips to “Fit in” Fitness This Holiday Season

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The months of November and December can be two of the busiest months for many people. From holiday entertaining to endless shopping, and from visiting friends and family to all of that food, it is very easy to get off track when it comes to your diet and exercise.

But your exercise regimen doesn't have to falter just because it's the holiday season. Use the following tips to help keep on track when it comes to fitness this year:

Instead of taking that leisurely stroll through the mall when you do your Christmas shopping turn that stroll into a power walk.

Take the stairs while you are at the mall instead of using the elevator or escalator.

Park in the lower lot of the mall and get that extra exercise by walking a little further to the mall.

Invite your house guests on a brisk walk with you so you can spend quality time with them and still get your exercise in.

Ehow.com suggests setting a creative goal like walking a mile for every $10 you spend on gifts.

Sign up for a holiday race or event. Many cities have Turkey Trots or Jingle Bell Runs which can easily become annual family traditions.

Bundle up your family and take a tour of your neighborhood holiday lights by foot or bike instead of just sitting in the car.

Add workout clothes or gear to your Christmas wish list. Everyone knows that if you look good, you feel good and are more apt to get in a good sweat at the gym.

While these are only a few tips to help you keep fit over the holidays, these are definitely a jump start in the right direction.


Spruce Up Your Exercise Routine: What to Get and What to Ditch for a Switch in Your Regimen

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now is the perfect time to change up some of those old worn-out items and routines that you have been stuck with for so long in exchange for a spruced up exercise routine. Changing things up not only keeps them fresh for you (which in turn helps you stick to them) but also benefits your body.

This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

Get rid of that cheap pedometer- Instead buy a good $20 one that counts accurate steps; cheaper pedometers are highly inaccurate.

Ditch the old running shoes- Instead opt for a new pair and keep track of how much “mileage” you get out of them. Typically if you run/walk 10 miles per week then shoes can last for 12 months (15 miles : 8 months, 20 miles : 6 months, 30 miles : 4 months).

Throw out the old cotton workout t-shirt- Instead invest in some shirts that are made of wicking fabrics. Wicking fabrics (like synthetics) do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler when you are exercising.

Get an exercise ball- According to fitnessmagazine.com, exercise balls are good for developing balance and stability while making it easier to target specific trouble spots. It may be hard to not roll off at first, but once you get the hang of it there are a number of exercises that you can do on a fitness ball including pushups, squats and sit-ups.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells- Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout. Making small changes and gradual increases in weight may not seem like a big deal but will make a difference in the effectiveness of your workouts.

Try a resistance band- Work out your chest, biceps, triceps, abs, and shoulders better by using resistance bands. With their varying levels of resistance and their extreme versatility, resistance bands are suited to most fitness programs and people of most ages. They add resistance and challenge to a normal fitness routine.