Tag Archives: Indoor

Keep Moving this Holiday Season

With the beautiful Summer and Fall weather behind us, we are now into the busy holiday season. Normal daily routines may get shifted, time may be limited, and you may fall out of your regular pattern. During this busy time of year, keeping fit is just as important as any other time of year. In fact, during the holidays, you may consume significantly greater amounts of calories, so balancing out these calories with activity is a great way to avoid any unwanted weight gain.

Tips to avoid the holiday fitness pitfalls:

  • Avoid using the “cold weather” as an excuse to not be active. Wear appropriate clothing and follow the information presented in the SDSU Extension article Physical Activity & Cold Weather to stay safe. Be mindful of dangerous weather conditions or extreme cold temperatures and move your workout inside if needed.
  • If you will be traveling long hours during the holidays, pack resistance bands, small weights, or a jump rope to incorporate activity into your travel plans. If you have layover time in the airport, use this time to walk around the airport.
  • It is very likely that your daily routine is shaken up a little with busy holiday plans. If so, plan ahead for this change. This means you may have to do your normal 30 minute walk in the morning or evening, instead of over lunch, or maybe you will have to break up your 30 minute session into three 10 minute sessions throughout the day.
  • If you do not have a family tradition during this time of year, consider starting a family walk, family relay, or a sledding event for everyone to participate in!
  • If you can’t seem to work out alone, find a family member or friend to be your “fitness buddy” during the holiday season. Working out with a friend or in a group will mean someone is counting on you!
  • Squeeze in activity as much as possible, every bit counts. Walk a little faster while getting groceries for your holiday meals, squeeze in a morning walk before the busy day begins, or do squats or balance on one foot while cooking.

Many of us look forward to this time of year for different reasons, whether it is family, friends, good food, presents, or yearly traditions. It is important to use the holidays for some relaxation, but remember that physical activity can be a great way to do this, especially with your loved ones. Avoid using the holidays as an excuse to not be active, they offer the perfect opportunity to do just the opposite!

See more at SDSU Extension

Fit & Strong!

Fit and Strong program logoFit & Strong! is an 8- or 12-week workshop that is designed to help participants exercise safely, improve daily function, and manage joint pain and stiffness. Workshops include a multi-component approach, with flexibility, strength training, aerobics, health education, and group discussion all included.

Class activities include:

  • group discussion
  • goal setting
  • lower extremity strength exercises
  • aerobics
  • stretching
  • introduction to balance
  • upper body exercises

Register for Fit & Strong! Workshops.

Who Can Participate

All ages and ability levels can participate!

Health and Wellness Benefits

Fit & Strong! can help you:

  • Learn about osteoarthritis and how physical activity can be tailored to your needs to help manage symptoms
  • Learn safe stretching, balance, aerobic, and strengthening exercises 
  • Increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise over time
  • Incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle
  • Develop a physical activity routine you can continue after the program ends

Join a Fit & Strong! Workshop Virtually or In-Person

Virtual: Fit & Strong @ Home Includes:

  • Online Zoom delivery, Requirement: must have reliable internet and audio/visual capability
  • Access to online workshop portal
  • Equipment provided
  • Led by trained Fit & Strong! Instructors
  • 90-minute, live group exercise and education sessions
  • Workshop held 3-times per week for 8 weeks or 2-times per week for 12 weeks
  • Certificate of Completion
  • You will be asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop

In-Person: Fit & Strong! Includes:

  • Led by trained Fit & Strong! instructors
  • 90-minute, group exercise and education sessions
  • Workshops held 3-times per week for 8 weeks or 2-times per week for 12 weeks
  • Certification of Completion
  • You will be asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop


For more information on the Fit & Strong! workshops, visit Good & Healthy or contact the Better Choices Better Health® team.

SDSU Extension logo

Walk With Ease

Walk With Ease is a six-week workshop designed to help participants develop and maintain a successful walking program. Topics covered include setting walking goals, techniques for coping with pain, good body mechanics, tips for walking safely, key points about arthritis, and other supporting exercises to try. This program is doctor recommended, and developed and certified by the Arthritis Foundation.

There are several ways to participate:

  • Virtual: Take a Step (with weekly Zoom sessions)
  • Virtual: Self-Directed
  • Virtual: Self Directed Camine Con Gusto
  • In-Person (3 times per week for 6-weeks)

Register online for the Walk With Ease program, or call 888-484-3800.

Who Can Participate in Walk With Ease

All ages and ability levels can participate! If you are able to be on your feet for at least 10 minutes without increased pain—even if you use a cane or a walker—this program is a great way to increase physical activity.

Health and Wellness Benefits

Walk With Ease can help you:

  • Walk safely and comfortably
  • Improve your flexibility, strength, and stamina
  • Reduce pain associated with arthritis

Walk With Ease program logo

Virtual Workshops

Are you looking to start walking, but not able to commit to an in-person walking group at this time? Join an online six-week session from anywhere in South Dakota.

Virtual: Take A Step Includes:

  • 6-week self-directed walking program
  • 30-minute weekly zoom sessions, Requirement: must have reliable internet connection and audio/visual
  • Led by certified CPR and Walk With Ease leaders
  • Weekly e-mail support, online walking log, and access to online walking support materials
  • FREE Walk With Ease guidebook
  • You’ll be asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop

Virtual: Self-Directed Includes:

  • 6-week self-directed walking program
  • Weekly e-mail support, online walking log, and access to online walking support materials
  • FREE Walk With Ease guidebook
  • You’ll be asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop

In-Person Workshop

In-Person workshops are a wonderful option for creating community and social interaction while maintaining a successful walking program.

In-Person Walk With Ease Includes:

  • 6-week walking program
  • 1-hour sessions held 3 times per week for 6 weeks
  • Led by certified CPR and Walk With Ease leaders
  • Warm-up, walking, cool-down, and health education covered during each session
  • FREE Walk With Ease guidebook
  • Certification of Completion
  • You will be asked to complete a survey before and after the workshop


For more information on the Walk With Ease workshops, visit Good & Healthy or contact the Better Choices Better Health® team.

SDSU Extension logo


Where to Walk & Play

With all the great places to be active in South Dakota, you may have a hard time narrowing down the choices. Fortunately, the SD Department of Health, SDSU Extension, and the SD Game, Fish & Parks teamed up to create a couple of handy lists that show some of the different activities offered in South Dakota State Parks.

  • Group activities: disc golf, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and softball
  • Low impact activities: walking, geo-cacheing, swimming, and lawn games
  • Trail activities: walking, running, hiking, biking, and archery
  • Water activities: swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding
  • Winter activities: snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, and hiking

Download the activities postcards or use the SD Game, Fish & Parks’ State Park Filtering Tool to see what activities are available at your nearest park.

Physical activity has immediate health benefits and the best part is—any activity counts! That’s right, even small amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity can:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Improve quality of sleep
  • Help maintain bone density
  • Increase strength
  • Improve flexibility

Walking for just a few minutes a day is the perfect way to start exploring all the great places in our beautiful state parks. So, grab the kids, a friend, load up a pet, and take a walk in one of our great state parks—better yet, find an activity and invite the whole gang!

South Dakota healthcare providers can prescribe exercise through the Park Rx program. When participating providers prescribe exercise, their patients fill the prescription by visiting any South Dakota State Park and receive a free day in the park or a discounted annual pass.

Sources: Health.gov, SD Game, Fish & Parks

Use the FITT Chart to Get Fit!

Have you ever had a hard time picking a fitness plan or exercise program? There are a million plans out there! Which one is best? Which one fits into your lifestyle? Which one guarantees results? Create a plan that “fits” you.

Based on your own goals and circumstances fill in a FITT Principle chart. This can be your starting point. You can follow your own plan from there or find one that fits within your established guidelines!

If you are new to exercise, remember, work your way up. You don’t need to run a marathon or spend hours in a gym to feel the benefits of exercise. Once you get started, make a plan to increase at least one FITT component regularly to help you stay on track and make improvements. Let’s get started with FITT!

F – Frequency
How many days per week can you make time to exercise?

I – Intensity
How intense will you exercise? Intensity can vary between light, moderate and vigorous intensity activities. For example, walking slowly is a low intensity activity, walking briskly or shooting around a basketball is a moderate intensity activity and running (>5mph) is a vigorous intensity activity. A good rule of thumb is that a person doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity can talk, but not sing. A person doing vigorous-intensity activity cannot say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

T – Time
How many minutes will you dedicate to an activity or exercise?

T – Type
What sort of activity will you complete? Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, biking, swimming or dancing or strengthening activities such as exercises using exercise bands, weight machines or hand-held weights.

fitt chart

150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity is recommended each week. For some, a serious behavior change is needed and for others, a modification to current behaviors is more appropriate. When adopting or modifying a physical activity routine, it is important to set realistic goals. Too often, individuals expect to lose unrealistic amounts of weight, run faster and longer and start seeing drastic body composition changes instantly. Instead, use the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

Specific is the what, where and how of the goal.
Measurable is how you will evaluate whether or not you met the goal.
Achievable is setting a goal that you can accomplish.
Realistic is setting a goal that is challenging, but attainable.
Timely relates to when you want to achieve your goal by, and what time frame you have to reach your goal.

Putting the FITT principle together, one can effectively plan an exercise routine and set a S.M.A.R.T. goal.

Source: Avera Health Tip & SDSU Extension

Shake the Winter Blues

Wintertime brings early darkness, cold days, and busy schedules. These new changes can create a variety of feelings, including winter blues.” If you’re feeling blue, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. But, instead of falling into a slump and skipping your workouts, use the winter months as a time to refocus and set new goals for your health.

Exercise is actually a natural way to quickly boost your mood! Research shows there are a number of mental benefits, including:

  • Movement stimulates the brain, which in turn causes brain growth and improves brain health.
  • Regular exercise benefits your overall health, including weight management.
  • Regular exercise decreases risk for diabetes and heart diseases.
Staying Motivated

If you are having a hard time staying motivated or finding time to exercise, try these tips to keep moving and fighting the winter blues feelings:

  1. Avoid using the cold weather or “early darkness” as an excuse to skip your exercise. Try working out early in the morning, over your lunch hour, once the children are in bed or squeeze it in while you’re cooking, brushing your teeth or during TV commercials.
  2. Try new activities. Experimenting with new physical activities can keep your mind interested, as well as keep your body guessing. During the winter months, you can try out snowshoeing, snowboarding or snow skiing. Just be sure to do some research ahead of time if you have never done these fun activities before.
  3. Get a workout buddy! Research shows that working out with a friend helps keep you motivated and accountable. It’s also is a great way to incorporate time to catch up and benefit you socially.
  4. Incorporate exercise into everyday activities. Take an active break during work and take a quick walk, use your lunch break as a time to destress and refocus and hit the gym, play a new game or activity with your children, choose the farthest parking space from the store, or walk to get your mail.
  5. Start or join a social media group. Create a Facebook group and invite friends who would also like to fight the winter blues. You can create a challenge to strive for, or you can use it as a way to keep in touch with each other as you work towards your individual fitness goals. Be creative!
  6. Get plenty of sleep. It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. When we are well rested, we are more likely to feel motivated to be physically active during the day. Regular exercise can also help improve the quality of your sleep as well!
  7. Schedule it in your calendar. Some people live and die by their calendars. If this is you, pencil in exercise into your day just as if you would a meeting. This way, you can schedule your day around your exercise routine and reduce the lack of time barrier that many have with participating in physical activity. Let your calendar keep you accountable.
  8. Do something you enjoy. Lastly, and possibly most importantly, do something you like to do. Physical activity and exercise should be fun even in the winter months.

If you are exercising outdoors, make sure you wear appropriate attire and follow appropriate safety measures. For more information on exercising in cold weather, read How to Stay Active in Cold Weather.

Written collaboratively by Nikki Prosch and Tara Shafrath with SDSU Extension.

Active in the Workplace Series

On average, today’s adults work approximately 8 hours per day. For many, time at work is primarily sedentary—time spent sitting during waking hours in the form of computer use, reading, meetings, and driving or riding in a car. Fitting activity into your work schedule can be challenging, but there are small things you can do throughout the day to increase physical activity.

The Active in the Workplace 5-part video series provides some tips and ideas to replace sedentary time with light physical activity.

Part 1: Cardio

Part 2: Stretching

Part 3: Core

Part 4: Upper Body

Part 5: Lower Body

Check back each month for a new video!

Source: SDSU Extension

Walking Toolkit: Improve Your Health, Well-Being & Quality of Life

Did you know that walking is the #1 physical activity of choice for South Dakotans? We walk for fun. We walk for exercise. We walk for transportation, and we walk to connect – with each other and with our environment. This toolkit is for anyone who wants to walk more and inspire others in their community to Get Movin’!

Learn what walkability is, why it matters and how to create more access to walkable areas. Learn the basics of starting a walking program and find lots of resources to help make walking easy and fun for everyone.

We’re challenging all community leaders, health champions, wellness directors, worksite wellness coordinators, healthcare providers and walking enthusiasts to download, read up and… Walk! Walk! Walk!

Fitness Trends: Barre Workouts

Ballerinas have been doing Barre workouts for years, and now in the 21st century these awesome workouts are becoming mainstream. Ballet Barre workouts have been become very popular in the last 10 years and have found their way to South Dakota.

What is a Barre Workout?

Barre workouts are a combination of yoga and Pilates poses, which utilize a ballet barre to execute the movements. Barre uses isometric exercises that target the whole body. Barre participants hold exercise poses for a set amount of time and then pulse for a series of repetitions. Pulses are small and controlled movements that are no higher than 5 inches. Barre is a class geared to increase muscle strength, that also increases your heart rate during class. Most Barre classes will consist of a resistance portion where you “feel the burn” followed by a brief stretching break.

Who can do Barre?

Anyone!! Men, women, boys, and girls of all ages, shapes, and sizes. You don’t have to be a ballerina to practice Barre poses. Barre is a low impact activity. It can easily be tailored to meet your body’s specific needs. Most Barre classes will allow participants to go at their own pace.

What to expect?

Barre is a full body workout. It will involve exercises geared to tone your arms, legs, and abs. Many classes will give participants the option of using small hand weights, resistance bands, and stability balls. Tip: if it is your first class, opt for lighter hand weights or no hand weights at all. It will give you a sense of your ability level and how your body will react to the exercises.

Throughout class, your teacher will likely give you prompts to help you avoid injury and get the most out of your workout. You will likely have sore muscles after your first couple workouts, which just means you worked them hard. Most of all, you can expect to sweat and have lots of fun!!

What do I wear?

A typical Barre class is done barefoot or in socks. You have the option of purchasing special sticky socks, however this is not necessary. Wear clothes you feel comfortable being active in such as yoga pants or capris, and a light breathable top. You will need a bottle of water to stay hydrated throughout the class and a sweat towel may come in handy as well. Most of all, arrive with a smile on your face and a good attitude because you are about to get the best workout of your life.

Next time you are in the mood to switch up your workout routine, try a Barre class! Do a search of fitness studios in your area and inquire if they offer Barre. You won’t regret it!

See more at SDSU Extension

Yoga: Anywhere for Anyone

Yoga practice involves breath work (pranayama) to connect the mind and body, as well as to connect our thoughts and feelings with movement. Yoga is a great indoor activity with many different styles that work for all ages and levels of physical activity.

Benefits of practicing yoga

Yoga provides a number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits such as:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Improved digestion
  • Stress reduction and relaxation
  • Better posture, strength, flexibility, and balance

Yoga also has been shown to benefit individuals with chronic diseases and disabilities through:

  • Improved body awareness and orientation
  • Development of focus and concentration
  • Encouragement of learning and creativity
  • Increased awareness of our connectedness to others

Choose the type of yoga that’s best for you

Please note: Many in-person yoga classes are canceled until further notice due to measures taken by the state of South Dakota in response to COVID-19. 

One can adhere to safe social distancing by practicing yoga from the comfort of home. Search online to choose from a wide variety of virtual yoga classes and routines. You’ll find different types of yoga, teachers, and styles.

Make sure to select an appropriate class and instructor for your skill level. Types or styles of yoga vary in pace and emphasis. There will be slower-paced practices that include breathing and meditation, to faster types combined with rhythmic breathing.

For example, need to stretch and relax? Try this gentle yoga routine from SDSU Extension.

Want to learn more? Explore more information on the different types of yoga as well as safety, equipment, clothing, and etiquette.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Selecting and Effectively Using a Yoga Program

Family-Friendly Activity Ideas

Help your children form healthy habits for life and improve their school performance by making activity part of your family life. Most active kids have active parents and families, so it’s important to model the behavior for them. Make sure it’s fun, and really integrated into your life, not forced.

Ideas to try:

  • Plan physical games into the day, whether it’s a relay race or dancing.
  • If you have enough people, organize a team sport at a nearby school athletic field or in the backyard.
  • Map out local errands and do them by foot or bike. The more people who go, the more you can carry.
  • Give every member of the family a pedometer and track your steps. Consider monthly prizes for the top stepper. Their prize can be choosing the next family activity!!
  • Simply play together for 30 minutes, three times a week. Try hopscotch, jumping rope, playing hide-and-seek or even climbing rocks.
  • Take a short hike.
  • Give the yard its spring touchup by raking, piling rocks, digging flower beds, or planting a vegetable garden.
  • Do household chores to your favorite songs.

Core-Strength Exercises with a Fitness Ball

Fitness balls, sometimes called physio balls or Swiss balls—are large, vinyl balls that can be used to aid exercise. They help strengthen the muscles in your abdomen and back, improve core stability, and balance. They can also help reduce stiffness, decrease fatigue, and improve strength in your muscles.

Core-strength Exercises

Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core-strength exercises with a fitness ball.

Use a fitness ball sized so that your knees are at a right angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Do each core-strength exercise five times. As you get stronger, gradually increase to 10 to 15 repetitions. Breathe freely and deeply and focus on tightening your abs during each core-strength exercise. If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other health concern, talk to your doctor before doing these core-strength exercises.

To work various core muscles in combination for better core strength, try a bridge with the fitness ball:

  • Lie on your back with your legs resting on top of the ball.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles.
  • Raise your hips and buttocks off the floor into a bridge. Hold for three deep breaths. This works your core muscles and the muscles along your backside — the gluteal muscles and hamstrings — as they contract to keep you in place.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.
  • For added challenge, raise your right leg off the ball. Repeat with your left leg.

Squat & Reach Exercises

To do a squat and reach exercise with the fitness ball:

  • Hold the ball in front of you and bend your knees. Keep your back straight and your arms parallel to the floor. Don’t let your knees extend beyond your feet.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles.
  • Rotate your trunk and reach with the ball toward your left. Hold for three deep breaths.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat to the right.
  • Vary the exercise by holding the ball in a downward position or an upward position.

View Mayo Clinic’s slideshow for more exercises to try with your fitness ball.

Spring into Action

Spring, when the days get longer and the temperatures rise. In addition to all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables spring provides, warmer weather gives us the chance to get out of the house and enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

With a balanced eating plan, exercise is important both for losing weight and maintaining your overall health. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults engage in a minimum of 2 ½ hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.

With planning, you can easily fit 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic activity into your routine most days of the week.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities:

  • Walking (3 mph)
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling (less than 10 mph)
  • Tennis (doubles)
  • Ballroom dancing

Examples of vigorous-intensity activities:

  • Race-walking, jogging, running
  • Swimming laps
  • Bicycling (faster than 10 mph)
  • Tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing

To increase your levels of aerobic activity, first decide which activities you enjoy and look at your daily schedule to see where you can fit in these activities. If you’re starting from little or no daily physical activity, begin with five to 10 minutes per day. Increase your duration every week by 10-minute increments until you’re up to 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week. For maximum cardiovascular health, try to engage in all your aerobic activity at one time. But if your schedule doesn’t permit it, you can break up the physical activity throughout the day.

As you develop your physical activity plan, remember nutrition is fundamental to your peak physical performance. To put in your best effort, you need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. If you’re highly active, you may need slightly more of some nutrients. Whatever your level of activity, maximize your performance by consuming a wide variety of foods and adequate calories.

Source: EatRight.org; Spring into Action

What is Exergaming?

Exergaming is defined as technology-driven physical activities, such as video game play, that requires participants to be physically active or exercise in order to play the game. These games require the user to apply full body motion to participate in virtual sports, in group fitness exercise or other interactive physical activities. The concept behind Exergaming takes the passion for gaming and turns what was once considered a sedentary behavior into a potentially more active and healthy activity.

What are the benefits of exergaming?

  • It is fun and enhances enjoyment of exercise..
  • It allows for social interaction as multiple players can participate at one time.
  • It allows participants to make individual choices when playing the self-paced game.
  • It uses the video game motivation to allow participants to play their favorite games while being active.

Learn more about exergaming (PDF)

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Exergaming

Keeping Kids Active: Dog Ball Game

Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Most of the time can be moderate-intensity aerobic activity– anything that gets their heart beating faster counts. At least 3 days a week, encourage them to step it up to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Try this game to help build strong muscles and bones:

Use your head and follow your nose to win.

This game is for 4 or more players and should be played in an open area on a soft surface.

To play, you need two balls and two teams. (Rubber playground balls work best.)

First, mark the end of your course, which should be about 15 feet long.

Split into two even teams.

On the word “go,” the first player of each team has to bark, get on her hands and knees and use her nose or forehead to roll the ball to the end of the course, around the marker and back.

When players get back to their team, they tag the next person in line. Every player must bark before they set off.

The first team to finish wins.

For more fun games: PBS Kids

Tips to Get Your Kids Active

Part of a healthy lifestyle is staying physically active.

Doctors say kids your age should be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. Here are some tips to keep in mind during physical activity:

  1. Physical activity is fun! Being physically active doesn’t have to be a hard or scary thing. Did you know that riding bikes with your friends, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and running around the park with your friends are all types of physical activity? Any game where you are up and moving are great ways to stay physically active and make your heart, bones, and muscles strong.
  2. Keep it exciting: Ask your friends what their favorite types of physical activity are and make a list of all of them. Make a deal with your friends to try a new activity off the list each week. Who knows, you may learn a new game!
  3. On the playground: Do you sometimes get scared to play a sport with your friends because you think you don’t know how? That’s okay, no one knows how to play every sport. So, the next time your friends start playing a game that you aren’t sure of, ask one of them for help. They will be happy to show you and glad that you are playing with them!
  4. After school: We all have our favorite TV shows and video games, but did you know that too much of those are bad for your health? The more we watch TV or play video games, the less physically active we are. It is okay to do those things some of the time, but no more than 2 hours a day. Ask your parents to help you keep a chart of how long you watch TV or play video games each day and when you come home from school go for a bike ride or shoot some hoops before starting on your homework. Not only will you feel better, but you will think better too!
  5. Warm up before you start. For example, if you’re going to be running, start by walking. Then walk fast, and then speed up to a jog to increase your heart rate. **Fun Fact: A “warm up” is really your muscles “warming up!” When you aren’t active your muscles are cooler and tighter. Make it easier on your muscles by letting them get gradually loose and warmer instead of making them go straight from cold to hot (this is also important after your workout to keep from going from hot to cold too fast).
  6. Stretching after any workout is very important to help prevent injury or strain. **Fun Tip: Pick 2 to 3 of your favorite songs to play while you are stretching and don’t stop stretching until those songs are over. This will help the minutes go by fast and make sure you are stretching long enough.
  7. Water is your friend – the harder and longer you work out, the more you need to hydrate.  **Fun Fact: Did you know that 70% of your body is made of water? Make sure to replace whatever water you sweat out after each workout- your body needs it!
  8. Mix it up and keep it fun! Don’t get stuck in a workout rut. Try and incorporate a new exercise every few weeks to keep you motivated. **Fun Fact: Did you know that your body can get used to an exercise? After a while your same workout won’t have the same effects. Try a lot of different activities and sports to keep your body guessing and to improve your fitness.
  9. Break it up – you don’t have to have 60 minute workouts. As long as your daily physical activity adds up to at least 60 minutes, you are okay.  **Fun Tip: Start a “Workout Log” to track your exercise every day. 20 minutes intervals throughout the day will add up fast- who knows, you may even clock more than 60!

When we are smart about the way we play, our bodies can become healthier, stronger, and faster. Try to use new tip a week to recharge your playtime.

Source: American Heart Association; Hey Kids! Try these tips to Get Active

5 Ways Play Can Change Your Day

It doesn’t matter how you move, as long as you’re physically active. Move until you breathe hard or break a sweat and you will be doing great things for your body and physical health. Here are five changes you may start noticing today:

  1. Sleep tight: Being physically active will help you improve your sleep.
    **Fun Fact: Your body and your brain communicate constantly. By being physically active during the day your body can send the “I am tired” message instead of the “I am still awake” message when you are going to bed.  
  2. Improve your mood: Physical activity can give you a better attitude and give you an extra energy boost during the day.
    **Fun Fact: Drinking a caffeinated beverage (like coffee, energy drinks or soda) does give you an energy boost, but it will wear off after only two hours and will usually leave you more tired than you were before. Exercise releases chemicals in your body that will give you an energy boost that lasts all day. So cut the calories of those energy drinks and get your body moving!  
  3. Fuel your brain: Twenty minutes of physical activity before starting your homework can help you unwind from the day and improve your concentration.
    **Fun Tip: Try and schedule your workouts before you sit down to do your homework or keep a basketball or jump rope by your desk for a quick break to regain focus.  
  4. Bond with buddies: Engaging in physical activity with your friends is a great way to bond with your friends and to even make new ones.
    **Fun Tip: Join a community sports team or organize your friends for an after-school game of pick-up. Not only will your workouts be more fun, but your friends will be counting on you to show up helping to make sure you don’t miss your 60 minutes.
  5. Stretch your talent: Make stretching part of your pre- and post- workout sessions. It can help improve your balance which in turn enhances your coordination and athletic performance.
    **Fun Fact: Most sports injuries can be prevented by maintaining flexibility. Ensure your time in the game and not on the bench by stretching every day.

Source: American Heart Association; 5 Ways that Play can Change your Day

Rowing Exercise

Rowing is an efficient and effective low-impact exercise that utilizes the arms, abdomen, back and legs to provide a total body workout. This activity offers the opportunity for a wide range of training, from fat burning and aerobic conditioning to high-intensity anaerobic. The rowing stroke is a smooth, continuous movement. If you have a history of low back pain, special attention must be given to developing proper rowing technique to prevent injury. If you are interested in rowing as a form of exercise:

  • Use a machine that is in good working order
  • Use the proper rowing technique
  • Avoid twisting or excessively stretching the cord
  • Always warm up before your workout and increase the length and intensity of training gradually over weeks and months
  • Never start rowing with maximal effort in a single stroke

Download and read the ASCM’s flyer for more about rowing and rowing machines.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine; Brochures

Strength Training for Older Adults

If you’re interested in feeling stronger, healthier, and more vital, this program is for you. This strength-training program was developed by experts at Tufts University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Growing Stronger is an exercise program based upon sound scientific research involving strengthening exercises—exercises that have been shown to increase the strength of your muscles, maintain the integrity of your bones, and improve your balance, coordination, and mobility. In addition, strength training can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic diseases, including arthritis.

If you’re not physically active now, Growing Stronger will help you make daily activity a regular part of your life by building the essential strength that makes all movement easier and more enjoyable.

Regular physical activity is not only fun and healthy, but scientific evidence strongly shows that it’s safe for almost everyone. And the health benefits far outweigh the risk of injury and sudden heart attacks, two concerns that prevent many people from adding more physical activity to their lives.

However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming more physically active. Experts advise that if you have a chronic disease, such as a heart condition, arthritis, diabetes, or high blood pressure, or symptoms that could be due to a chronic disease, it’s important that you’re under the care of a doctor and talk to him or her about the types and amounts of physical activity that are appropriate for you.

Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about the Growing Stronger program, including the following points:

  • Why strength training? The benefits, research and background.
  • Motivation — motivation tips, setting goals and celebrating success.
  • Preparation — safety, equipment needs, scheduling exercise and more.
  • Intensity — how to judge your effort.
  • Progression— when and when not to increase intensity, how and why it’s important.
  • Staying on Track — includes log sheets with motivational and instructional tips. These log sheets will help you accurately monitor your progress in strength training.
  • Exercises — From warmup to cooldown.

Source: CDC; Growing Stronger—Strength Training for Older Adults