Workout Options; Choosing What’s Right for You

Woman RunningSo you’re thinking of starting a fitness program. Exercising on a regular basis has a lot of benefits for both your body and mind. Regular exercise can help you keep your weight steady and your mood as well. But an exercise program you don’t stick with is only going to leave you feeling frustrating. One way to increase your chances of sticking with your fitness routine is by selecting the type of exercise program which works best for you. Consider some of the pros and cons of the following options:

Gym Membership: A gym membership is a great option for some people. Gyms vary greatly in their amenities and their cost.

Pros:

  • Staff: You will have access to gym staff who can answer questions, show proper technique and teach you how to use equipment.
  • Equipment: There will be a variety of equipment, such as weight machines, stair climbers, treadmills and stationary bikes.
  • Childcare: Some gyms may offer childcare, which makes working out easier for parents.
  • Perks: Perks may be included, such as a pool, personal training and exercise classes.
  • Fellow exercisers: Working out around other people may motivate you and allow you to meet new people.

Cons:

  • Cost: Gyms can be costly.
  • Drive time: You may be able to find a gym nearby, but if not drive time may be a con.
  • Fellow Exercisers: Wait, wasn’t this on the pros list? The truth is sometimes your gym mates will be smelly, sweaty and annoying.

Organized Classes: There are all types of organized classes popping up. From boot camp type classes to yoga, you have a lot of options. Classes can be found through community centers, parks and recreation departments and exercise franchises.

Pros:

  • Instructor led: A focused class with an instructor who can provide motivation is just what some people are looking for.
  • Camaraderie: Encouragement and friendship from you classmates can keep you coming back.

Cons:

  • Cost: Group led classes vary in cost, but some can be pricy.
  • Boredom: If you’re doing the same type of workout each time, you may grow tired of it.

Workout DVD’s: Exercising at home with a workout DVD is a good option for some. If you live in an area where it takes too long to get to a gym or if money is an issue, working out at home may be the way to go.

Pros:

  • Convenience: It does not get much easier then popping in a DVD and working out. You don’t have to worry about driving to a gym or class and no one will see what you’re wearing.
  • Cost: DVD’s are not that costly compared with a gym membership. Some libraries may also rent exercise DVD’s cheap.
  • Variety: There are just about any type of exercise DVDs you can think of, such as dance, kickboxing, weight training, yoga and more.

Cons:

  • Procrastination: It may be easy to put exercise off until later.
  • Space: Depending on the DVD you do, limited space may be a problem. If you have to move furniture every time you work out, it may put a damper on exercising.

There are several things to consider when deciding which workout option is best, such as your schedule, where you live and what types of activities you enjoy. Keep in mind, the best option is the one you’ll stick with long-term.

Staying Healthy at Every Age; Medical Tests You Need in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

GirlYou’re feeling pretty good. Besides a few colds every year, or a bout with the flu, you consider yourself healthy. Even if you are healthy, get regular exercise and have no family history of medical problems, you should still see your doctor at least once a year for a physical. In addition to getting regular checkups, there are certain medical tests women need depending on their age. Below is a general guide for which medical tests you should consider.

Twenties

If you’re in your twenties, you may be busy starting your career, dating and living life in a rush. With all you got going on, it’s important to make time for exercise and eating right. Women in their twenties should also make time for a yearly pap smear and gynecologic exam. Most doctors also perform a HPV test to check for the virus, which can lead to cervical cancer. Doctors also recommend women start getting a yearly cholesterol exam and skin cancer screening at age 20.

Something Else You Should Consider: All women should do monthly self-breast exams, and this includes women in their twenties. You may think you are too young for breast cancer, but even young women get cancer.

Thirties

Your thirties are often a busy decade. Some women may be starting a family or working their way up the career ladder. Often women are doing both. Juggling various responsibilities can be stressful.  Make sure to crave out some time for yourself to relax and recharge. Doctors suggest women in their thirties continue to have yearly pelvic exams, skin cancer screening, cholesterol checks and blood pressure screening. It is also suggested women get checked for thyroid disease after the age of 35.

Something Else You Should Consider: Although oral cancer may not be in the news as much as other types of cancer, it is being diagnosed more frequently in young people. Make sure your dentist is doing a yearly oral cancer screening as part of your regular exam.

Forties

Years ago the forties may have been considered middle-aged, but times have changed. Women in their forties are often as active as ever and handling multiple demands of family life and careers. Although some women feel great in their forties, for others it may mean changing hormone levels and increased fatigue.

It is recommended women in their forties have a yearly clinical breast exam and a mammogram. Doctors also suggest women over age 45 have a fasting glucose test to test for diabetes. A blood test to check hormone levels and thyroid function may also be a good idea.

Something Else You Should Consider: In your forties it is important to be aware of your risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Being overweight, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are all risk factors.

Regardless of your age, if you are experiencing new symptoms or just feel off, trust your instincts and see your doctor. Also, if you have a family history of any type of disease, your doctor may recommend you undergo certain early screening tests. Remember it’s up to you to stay fit and healthy in your 20s, 30s 40s and beyond.

 

 

Cellulite 101; What Can You Do ?

Dimples are pretty cute when you smile, but not so cute on the back of your legs. You know what I am talking about. Call it cottage cheese thighs, orange peel syndrome or cellulite. But regardless of what you call it, you hate it. If you don’t have cellulite, you’re blessed. For the other 90 percent of women, cellulite will make an appearance at some point in your life. Separate the facts from the myths on what cellulite is and what helps.Girl in skirt

Is Cellulite Fat?

Cellulite is fat underneath the skin. The fat pushes against the connective tissue, which is why cellulite has a lumpy appearance. Although an increased amount of body fat can contribute to the development of cellulite, even women who are not overweight can develop it. Hormones, genetics, age and thickness of your skin all play a role in whether you will develop cellulite.

Cosmetic Procedure Options

It might seem liposuction, which removes fat, can help reduce cellulite. According to the Mayo Clinic, liposuction does not usually help reduce cellulite. In fact, it might it worse. Laser procedures are also available, which claim to smooth the skin. Although some improvement may occur, maintenance treatments are usually needed to keep cellulite at bay.

What about Lotions?

You have probably seen various lotions and potions on the market, which claim to reduce cellulite and leave your skin smooth. Do they really work? There is good news and bad news when it comes to cellulite creams. The bad news is, they don’t significantly reduce cellulite.

While they don’t get rid of dimpling skin, the good news is cellulite lotions can make the skin look a little firmer. Look for products, which contain caffeine and retinol. Although there is currently not lotions which gets rid of cellulite completely, lotions won’t hurt and may help a little.

Tips

If you are like most women, you probably have some cellulite. You want to feel confident in your shorts and bikini, so what’s a girl to do? Although you may not be able to get rid of cellulite entirely, you can reduce its appearance.

  • Exercise: Both strength exercise and aerobics help combat the appearance of cellulite to some extent. Aerobics helps burn fat and strength training will help you tone. Although exercise will usually not make you cellulite free, it can reduce it.
  • Avoid smoking: Everyone knows smoking is unhealthy, but it can also have negative effects on your appearance. Smoking causes damage to the skin’s elasticity and makes cellulite more noticeable.
  • Avoid yo-yo dieting: Losing and gaining weight repeatedly can cause your skin to be loose, which may make you more prone to developing cellulite.
  • Try a self-tanner: Cellulite is not as noticeable on darker skin. Self-tanners not only give you a bronze glow, but they hide unwanted bumpy skin.

Finally, while no one wants to have cellulite, try to have some perspective. Maintaining good health and enjoying life is what’s important. In the whole scheme of things, cellulite is only a minor issue.  Don’t let it stop you from trying to look your best and feeling great.

8 Tips to Love Your Summer Workout

Photo courtesy of Raquel Baranow Flicker Creative Commons 2.0

Photo courtesy of Raquel Baranow Flicker Creative Commons 2.0

It’s coming up on that time of year again when you want to wear your cute sundresses, shorts and bikinis. If you slacked off a bit working out during the winter months, you may not be feeling all those skimpy summer outfits. Even if you have worked out all winter and spring, summer is a great time to change things up. Sizzling heat and summer vacation plans don’t have to stop your fitness goals. Summer workouts can be fun, effective and leave you looking great in your cutest summer clothes. Consider some of the workout tips below to get you moving.1. Head Outdoors: Being outside when the air is warm and the sun is shining is good for the body and mind. Just be careful to avoid working out at the hottest times of the day.

2. Something New: Summer is an excellent time to get out of your workout rut. Try something you have never done before, such as rowing, mountain biking or marathon training.

3. Consider Pool Workouts: If you’re looking for a workout, which combines cardio and strength training, plus keeps you cool, a pool workout is a good choice. Whether you swim or do water aerobics, working out in the water provides extra resistance, which builds strength, and it’s easy on the joints.

4. Have a Drink or Two: When you are working out during the summer months, you have to be sure to stay well hydrated. In most instances, water is your best bet to replace fluid lost through exercise and sweating. Be sure to drink water before, during and after your workout.

5. Exercise in the Morning: If possible, exercise first thing in the morning before it gets too hot. Another option is exercising outside at dusk. The temperatures are cooler, and you’ll get to enjoy watching the sunset.

6. Stay Committed: Summer may be a time for vacations, barbeques and getting together with friends. There may be several reasons why you don’t have the time for exercise. Throw in hot days and it’s easy to let your exercise routine take a backseat to summer fun. Find ways to stay motivated, such as setting goals or working out with a friend.

7. Dress the Part: If you will be exercising outdoors be sure to wear fabrics, such as polyester blends, which are made to wick away moisture. This type of fabric helps keep your skin cool. Also don’t forget the shades to protect your eyes and waterproof sunscreen is a must if exercising outdoors.

8. Be Safe: Although exercising outside can be enjoyable during the summer, be sure to know your limits. Conditions including heat exhaustion and heat cramps can develop when you are working out in hot weather. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include nausea, headache, dizziness and fatigue. Excessive sweating, cramps in the legs and arms and fatigue are signs of heat cramps. With either condition, stop exercising, get to a cool location such as indoors with air conditioning and drink some water.