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Exercise 101: Spruce Up Your Spring Workout

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Now that the seasons are changing, it 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 your exercise routine. This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

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.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells.  Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout.

Fitness for All: Switch up Your Workout!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

If you are getting tired of the same old gym workout day after day, then luckily there are plenty of other options out there to shake things up a little bit.  Here are some fun and interesting ways to add a little something different to your daily gym routine.

Mixed martial arts training and conditioning : If you have even seen a mixed martial artist then you know that they are in top physical shape.  Not only are they lean, but are also very strong.  Some gyms offer MMA circuit training, but if they don't you can perform all of your exercises in one big superset, rest and then repeat.

Resistance training : Many gyms now offer plenty of different options when it comes to resistance training and you can spot chains and bands virtually anywhere in most gyms.  You can begin using these bands and chains by putting them on the ends of barbells and dumbbells.  As you lift, the weight will get heavier.  While this is an often-overlooked technique, it is an excellent way to increase strength and size quickly.

Non-traditional implements : Not all gyms will have tractor tires, sleds and sledgehammers lying around, but if they do, then you should be using them!  Implementing these non-traditional items into your workout is a great way to increase strength, improve conditioning and increase power.

Train unilaterally : By training unilaterally, or one side at a time, you can quickly point out weak spots while eliminating the need to do other parts of your workout that you used to do to make up for these weak spots.

Rest actively : If you find that you are spending lots of time at the gym and not seeing results, you may be spending too much time resting. If you rest for two minutes in between sets, either shorten that to one minute or do another quick exercise, such as jumping rope, during one of those two minutes.

Spring Cleaning 101: Burn Calories While You Clean

Written by Lisa Jillanza

With spring comes the ever popular, “Spring Cleaning.” While everyone loves to have a clean house, it's also good to know that you can burn some decent amounts of calories (thereby losing some weight) while you are doing your Spring Cleaning this year.

Here are some calorie breakdowns:

  • Window washing : 226 calories
  • Scrubbing floors : 291 calories
  • Dusting : 97 calories
  • Scrubbing toilets and tub : 246 calories
  • Vacuuming : 317 calories
  • Cleaning gutters : 258 calories
  • Sweeping : 194 calories
  • Mopping : 153 calories
  • Washing dishes : 77 calories 

Editor's Note: The calories burned estimates listed here are based on one hour of cleaning for a 155- pound woman.

Fitness for All: Recreational Workouts and the Calories They Burn

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Tired of your typical gym routine? Day in and day out you are hitting the gym and getting bored. If you still want to be active and burn calories, without the hum drum of being indoors at the gym every day, you can try one of these recreational activities that are not only fun and exciting but great calorie burners!

  • Cycling is one of the best non-weight bearing exercises and depending upon your speed you can be burning around 300 to 400 calories in just a half hour.  Cycling provides a great cardio workout and builds your calf and leg muscles.
  • Swimming is an excellent overall body workout burning up to 360 calories in a half hour time depending upon what swimming stroke you are using.  The best swim workout is interval training : swim two lengths, take a breather, and then repeat.
  • Because rock climbing relies on quick bursts of energy to get from one rock to the next, your strength, endurance and flexibility will significantly improve, plus you will be burning about 370 calories every half hour.
  • Running is a great cardio-respiratory workout, burning about 450 calories every 30 minutes : based on an 8-minute mile.  Your leg strength and endurance will also benefit greatly from a good run.
  • Racquetball is a great recreational workout burning 300 calories in simply 30 minutes along with building your lower body strength, endurance, and back and abs flexibility.  Just be sure to warm up first to avoid twisting an ankle!
  • Because of the non-stop action of basketball, you will burn more than 285 calories every half hour that you play.  Basketball also helps to develop flexibility, cardio-respiratory health and endurance. You also need to warm up properly before an intense game of hoops, so you don't get injured.
  • Rowing burns about 280 calories every half hour and is a great way to burn extra energy. It also builds up endurance, strength and muscle in your shoulders, thighs and biceps.  In the same vein as rowing, but not as high in calorie burning are kayaking and canoeing, which each burn about 170 calories in a half hour.