by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. Fitness Psychology
A couple of years ago, a series of studies came out that showed that couples who work out together increase their chances of sticking to their exercise program more than 90%! This can’t be ignored and it got me thinking about couples I treat for relationship problems. Maybe they ought to go from a therapy session to the gym, and they’ll not only stick to their exercise program, but also stick together.
You may know that I won’t take anyone into therapy/counseling unless they are working out or have a genuine plan to initiate a physical fitness program. So why not make working out as a couple a therapeutic recommendation?
After all, not only does going to the gym together enable couples to spend quality time with each other, it allows for discussion of mutual goals and fitness levels, sharing a common commitment to well-being, creating mutual motivation, developing a deeper bond with each other, and offers opportunities to celebrate each other’s successes.
I see couples at The Sporting Club working out together frequently and have often wondered about setting aside time once a month or so JUST for couples to enjoy an evening of fitness, perhaps dine on some of Minh’s great food, and finish with a brief discussion on some aspect of relationship improvement. Consider it a date night at TSC!
Matters of the heart beyond cardio benefits are only some of the rewards you can look forward to with couples exercise. Remember, there are studies that show that men and women who exercise regularly report better and more frequent sex with their partners—so how much more enjoyable can exercising with each other be?
Here are seven simple ideas to get started:
- Take a class or two together. From spinning to Yoga, stretching to Pilates, gravity to Zumba, The Sporting Club has enough classes each week to satisfy your interests and needs.
- Do cardio side-by-side by finding two treadmills, stair machines, or bikes and work at your own speed – double head phones in the same iPod lets you share music!
- Learn how to stretch each other – gently helping each other with a pull or push can ease each other’s muscles before and after a couples’ workout.
- Develop some trust with each other simply by serving as each other’s spotter. Knowing your partner is there to assist can aid in communication and trust building. And there’s nothing like saying “thanks” to help a relationship. Bench presses, chest flies, skull crushers all can provide opportunities to assist each other and demonstrate a feeling of safety with each other.
- Do resistance exercises using each other as the resistance. Push-ups against the press of your partner and leg raises with resistance from your partner are only two ways to begin partner-assisted resistance. It’ll help your arguments later.
- Eye contact and communicating while exercising offer chances for intimacy building that can extend to other activities that are, well, a bit more intimate and reserved for out of the gym exercise.
- One program I came across for at-home couples exercise is the “Fit2Touch” DVD fitness program that combines Yoga, Pilates and strength training. You can find it on line.
It’s been well known that exercise is good for the body, soul and mind. Now, we can add, it’s also good for our relationships. The Sporting Club may just be the best date destination in San Diego.
Live Life Fit
(ARA) – Getting fit makes you feel good inside and out. When you exercise, your clothes fit better, your energy levels get a boost and it helps the stresses of your life melt away in a pure endorphin rush. Luckily, no matter where you live, it’s easier than ever to get exercise all year round so that you can maintain your health and fitness.
Whether you’re pounding the pavement or hitting the gym, keep in mind that beauty and working out aren’t mutually exclusive. With a bit of smart preparation, you’ll be feeling good during your fitness routine and gorgeously glowing afterward. Keep these ideas in mind to help you look great, even between workouts.
* High and dry: High temperatures might be what we crave during colder months, but when you’re being active, they can make you feel less than your best. For a new way to stay fresh and dry, The Body Shop offers its DeoDry collection – it gives you 24-hour protection and contains no aluminum salts or parabens. Powered by a volcanic mineral that has powerful absorption abilities, the deodorants will help you stay dry during your hardest workouts.
* In the drink: As you work out, it’s natural that your body will shed water in the form of sweat, and it’s essential that you keep your body’s fluid levels up. Dehydration can cause everything from discomfort to serious sickness, so don’t let your body down. Even when you’re not working out, hot days call for extra hydration. The added benefits are that drinking more water can help to keep your skin clear and your appetite sated.
* Face forward: The exertion of exercising can be a pore-clogging nightmare. That’s why it’s particularly important to have a good skin care regime adapted to your skin’s needs. To keep your skin radiant and in balance, keep products like a refreshing mist spritz and an exfoliating cleanser on hand and in your medicine cabinet. The Body Shop Vitamin C skincare line has those two essential items and more – including a must-have SPF 30 daily moisturizer.
* Hair apparent: Swimming’s a great way to stay active – whether in the pool or the ocean – but it can take a toll on your locks. Whatever your activities, it’s important to use an eco-friendly shampoo – after all, a good choice for the environment can be a good choice for you, too. The Rainforest Hair Care collection from The Body Shop will leave your tresses shiny and manageable and is free of parabens, silicone and colorants. Even better, all the formulations are biodegradable so they are not harmful to organisms living in the water. If your tresses are stressed out, be sure to give them a deep conditioning treatment, too.
Whether your inspiration is getting healthy or a beauty boost, exercise is the best way to do it. Taking advantage of the opportunity to work out, regardless of the season, with these thoughts in mind will help you look your best, throughout the year. For more information, go to www.thebodyshop-usa.com.
Courtesy of ARAcontent
by: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. Fitness Psychologist
The Brits seem to be doing some interesting research these days on basic physical tasks and mortality. I mean really basic physical tasks like shaking hands. Sure a handshake is about the most widely recognized way of greeting someone worldwide and it’s just common sense that the way you shake someone’s hand matters in building a first impression.
But recent research reported in the BMJ (British Medical Journal), demonstrates that it’s more than first impressions and personality characteristics that show up in your handshake. It’s also when your LAST impression might be coming.
That’s right. Researchers studied more than 53,000, mostly elderly, people in the UK, and found that among the weakest, their death rate was 1.67 times greater than among those people with the stronger handshake grip.
This simple ritual of two people grasping hands with a quick shake carries with it all kinds of information but let’s face it. Between getting that job, impressing a client, offering congratulations or completing an agreement versus a signal of your mortality, it’s definitely your lifespan that takes top tier importance to you, right?
Did you know there are 8 different kinds of handshakes? From the “vice”, with the strongest grip as its name implies to the “dead”, the most relaxed (often called the “fish”), each one says something about your personality.
A good “firm” shake is the norm, while the “blood sucker” holds on a little too long, making it entirely uncomfortable—just when do you let go? “Wet hands”, from anxious sweat, “two hands,” as the name implies, and “encroaching” in which the handshake moves from between two people to a spot that’s invasively close to one or the other. And finally, the “dominant” in which one of the two people turns their arm so that their hand ends up above the other one’s. Obnoxious.
All of these 8 aside, it’s the strength of the grip that counts if it’s longevity that you are interested in. Remember, people in this study with the weakest grip had a 67 per cent increased risk of premature death compared with the strongest. Ask one of the trainers in The Sporting Club to show you how to develop your grip. While a stronger grip has been shown to be associated with increased mortality, strengthening your grip also directly influences how much weight you can lift. In the gym, there are two types of grip strength: crushing strength and pinching strength.
The first, crushing, is used when shaking hands or crushing a can of soda for example. The pinching grip is demonstrated by holding a heavy weight plate between your thumb and fingers and letting it hang towards the floor. The latter is more difficult to train for. The grip the Brits have demonstrated is associated with longer life, is the crushing grip, and that’s the one you want to develop. Some describe a third, called holding strength, the kind needed to pull your body weight up a mountainside—how much weight you can carry in a bucket with a good grip.
So regardless of your handshake style, do exercises that will develop your crushing strength.
Keep in mind that the British researchers have concluded in their research, “a steep decline in physical capability may be a better predictor of mortality than is the absolute level at a single point in time.” For this, simply insure that your exercise regimen stays consistent in order to keep your physical capability from declining.
Here are 5 Tips to know, once and for all, if you have a healthy and fit body!
Healthy and Fit Body Tips #1: Proper Nutrition Providing your body with the right food and liquid is the most important component to your health. If you struggling with weight loss and the inability to get yourself fit, start with a change in your diet. Eating right does not mean eating less. A soy-based meal replacement once a day works for me, along with a few targeted supplements you can not find in food.
Even people who exercise all the time can not be totally fit if they grab a bag of potato chips over an apple. No matter what you look like on the outside, your inside is what matters the most. If your body is not getting right nutrition, you can not expect it to look and feel good. You are what you eat. Never forget that.
Healthy and Fit Body Tips #2: Muscle Mass Our bodies require a certain percentage of muscle to stay healthy and meet the tasks of daily living. This varies per individual, but after the age of 30, our bodies lose muscle mass each year. The key to restoring this is resistance exercise to keep muscle mass. To age gracefully by being fit, keep your muscle mass percentage high.
Healthy and Fit Body Tips #3: Body Fat This your total body weight that is composed of fat. 10 percent to 14 percent is considered good for men, and 14 percent to 18 percent is considered good for women. Being too far below it and above it both have health risks. Unless you’re a weight-dependent athlete or a fitness model, you should strive to fall into your category.
Healthy and Fit Body Tips #4: Aerobic Endurance I bet you do not think about how well your body transports oxygen, right? From shoveling snow to running a marathon, aerobic activity is a good indicator of good aerobic fitness. Your cardiovascular goal for fitness is simple. Get your heart rate up and hold it, then bring it down without becoming short of breath.
Healthy and Fit Body Tips #5: Strength How much force can your muscles generate? Your body needs to be able to move stuff, and you, around. Mass protects your body, strength moves it and keeps it from falling over. Strength training requires short bouts of high-intensity outputs, much different from aerobic activity. Strength training slows the aging process, so the stronger you are, the slower you age.
A fitness center is basically a place where you will find everything you need to lose weight or keep yourself fit. You do not need all the equipment they have to offer you. So look for a fitness center that has just what you need.
1. Decide what it is you need to meet your fitness targets. If you are into a regime to lose weight you will not need a fitness center that offers only treadmills and a few weights. You need expert advice on dieting as well.
2. Do your research and find which fitness centers are offering the most competitive rates. You will save yourself a few hard earned bucks and get yourself a better deal by researching the market for the best center.
3. Fix a budget and stick to it. Never let a physical fitness instructor or counselor tell you what you need. You fix the price and the plan. Though it is important to have a trained physical instructor guide you do not have to let them take over your fitness regime. A book or two will suffice when it comes to telling the instructor when he or she gets off and lets you decide how much you need to spend to get in shape.
4. Ask for a break-up of what you are paying for. Some fitness centers will offer you pool and sauna facilities and then when you have paid up they will ration you a very little time at the facilities. So make sure you know what you are paying for.
5. Look around. You are entitled to inspect the fitness facility. If you are paying for it you need to inspect it for cleanliness and ventilation. Do not pay if they are restricting you to certain areas. You must also inspect the machines and equipment for proper maintenance as a bad machine could cause you a lot of damage.
There is no such thing as the perfect fitness center. You just have to look for the one that has everything you need and not charging you for the equipment you do not need or are not going to use.
Most people might define being fit as having rippling muscles, superman strength, and a body-builders build. But in reality, fitness is less sexy and more fundamental. It means having the proper resistance level and stamina to endure sustained physical activity. Peak fitness is that point where you’re meeting your body’s potential in strength and stamina.
And physical fitness isn’t just for young people. All of us should maintain peak fitness – whether we’re the busy young parent, the middle-aged professional, or the older retiree. Keeping our bodies in peak condition is fundamental to good health and a long, quality life.
There’s more to peak fitness than a good build and having the muscles of a construction worker. It means adhering to healthy habits in what you eat, how much rest you get, and a variety of exercise to develop different muscle groups and maximum stamina. It means giving your body what it needs to perform at your fullest potential.
Giving your body a healthy balance of energy-building foods (and their calories) is essential to a good fitness program. That doesn’t have to mean cutting out calorie-rich foods to lose weight. You need calories to have energy. They are the fuel necessary for the most simple task. Fiber is important to a healthy diet and peak fitness. It promotes healthy digestion and waste processing. Fiber-rich foods like unpolished rice, fruits and vegetables, and stone-ground natural wheat fill you up and reduce the temptation to eat too much. Daily intake of green vegetables and fruits gives you the vitamins and minerals that build stamina and help you resist disease. You can’t achieve peak fitness without a healthy balanced diet