It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
But more often than not, the holiday season is a time when your exercise schedule can be neglected. So while you are waiting for the turkey to cook and guests to arrive, grab a family member or friend and make your workout a bonding experience. Go for a walk; even better, find a hill in the neighborhood to walk up and down.
As experienced in our Tred n Shred class, walking at an incline can increase the heart rate in less time.
Heres a great 25 minute workout you can do anywhere you can find a hill:
Minutes 1-4: Walk at a moderate pace at a relatively level incline. This is just to warm up and get the heart pumping.
Minutes 4-10: Walk on an incline (find a hill) at a rate that would be difficult for you to maintain- on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the hardest) you should feel like you are working around 7 or 8.
If you cannot walk up the hill for 6 minutes straight, walk for as long as you can up the hill, then come down and repeat until you reach 6 minutes total walking uphill.
Minutes 10-13: Walk on a level surface at a moderate pace.
Minutes 13-19: Repeat hill sequence.
Minutes 19-21: Walk on a level sideways (laterally) at a moderate pace.
Minutes 21-23: Walk at a moderate to slow pace to cool down
Minutes 23-25: Stretch
Is it too cold to walk outside? Put on a fun exercise DVD or play a game of Wii! You don’t have to skimp on family time to find time to stay fit!
-written by Devin Almedia, Certified Group Fitness Instructor
by: Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
Yoga has many proven health benefits, but does it stand up to other forms of exercise? Researchers pitted it against a walking routine and found that those who practiced yoga showed greater improvements in mood and anxiety.
Researchers randomly assigned 19 people to an Iyengar yoga program and 15 to a metabolically matched regular walking regimen.
Both groups took part in the programs for an hour three times a week for 12 weeks. Study participants were tested several times to measure mood and anxiety. They were also given magnetic resonance spectroscopy scans to measure levels of the brain chemical gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that quiets brain activity, reducing anxiety and producing a state of calm. The scans were done at the beginning and end of the study and immediately following a yoga or walking session.
Those in the yoga group saw better changes in mood and less anxiety than those in the walking group. The yoga group also saw increases in GABA levels linked with improvements in mood.
This study was published recently in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Researchers from Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience followed 65 adults (aged 59-80) who were part of a walking; or toning and stretching group. All participants were inactive before the study, reporting less than two episodes of physical activity for 30 minutes or more in the previous six months.
These professional couch potatoes as one researcher described them have proven that even moderate exercise in case walking at ones own pace for 40 minutes 3 times a week can enhance the connectivity of important brain circuits, combat declines in brain function associated with aging and increase performance on cognitive tasks.
In this study, neuroscientists identified a brain circuit called the default mode networked (DMN) which dominates brain activity when a person is least engaged with the outside world for instance, when day dreaming. This circuit, like all the brains circuits, loses connectivity as a person ages. So its good news that a simple activity, like walking, can counteract this process and enhance connectivity. (So you can keep on daydreaming!)