It’s hard to exaggerate the important of heart health when almost 600,000 million Americans die of heart disease every year. Even individuals who are apparently fit and healthy can be caught unawares by a diagnosis, so let’s take a look at the steps you can take today to give yourself the best chance at a healthy heart now and in the future.
Courtesy of hometestingblog.testcountry.com
Step 1 – Know your numbers and risk profile: Schedule a doctor’s appointment and a blood test to learn the important numbers (risk factors) for heart disease, such as your blood pressure, cholesterol level, fasting blood glucose level, and BMI.
Having multiple factors for heart disease increases your risk exponentially, and some factors, such as age, gender, family history, and race, can’t be controlled. However, knowing where you stand on the others will help you take the appropriate action; according Dr. Philip A. Ades of Eating Well, treating any one risk factor effectively halves your likelihood of developing heart disease.
Step 2 – Quit smoking (or better yet, don’t start): It’s easy for non-smokers to cite all of the negative effects of this habit as reasons to “just stop,” but they may not understand the seriousness of the lifestyle change required to quit. If it’s been a while since you have reviewed the risks associated with smoking, check them out here, and work with your doctor to develop a plan to quit.
The importance of the remaining steps cannot be understated, as they directly impact all of the remaining heart disease risk factors:
Step 3 – Adjust your diet if necessary: Making a conscious effort to reduce intake of saturated and trans fats, added sugars and sodium, and excess calories in general greatly reduces your risk for heart disease.
Some of the best ways to do that? Eat less heavily processed and refined food and substitute with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins (including fish, nuts, beans, and lean meats). Keep a close eye on portion sizes of snacks and meals to lower your chances of overeating, and drink alcohol in moderation. For more healthy diet and nutrition tips from Midtown, click here.
Step 4 – Exercise more (or at the very least, sit less): Losing weight (or lowering BMI) is just one potential benefit of regular exercise. Consistent daily and weekly efforts to get up and move will help you become healthier, stronger, and more energized, and just 10 minutes of activity here and there can make a big difference.
Courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk
Once you begin consciously moving more, try adding more traditional exercise to your routine a few days per week for just a few weeks. Experiment with different activities until you settle on one that works for you. Your body and mind may not react positively right away, but if you don’t give exercise a real chance (which means a consistent effort), you will never experience the real benefits.
Step 5 – Stress less: While we hold out hope that someone will develop a “magic pill” that will banish stress from our lives forever, managing stress remains one of the most difficult aspects of our lives. Work and family commitments alone are enough to overwhelm our calendars and our worry threshold for the month. You can try to sleep more, take more time for yourself, and clear your schedule, but it’s not always possible to do those things.
So what can you do? It may help to start by identifying the centers of stress in your life and how you feel about them. Observe what happens to your mind and body when you experience stress. Knowing what causes your stress in the first place can help you gain new perspective and create coping strategies that will reduce stress and its consequences. It takes patience and practice, but you and your heart are worth it.
Why do we care about trends? Researchers study them, writers report them, teachers teach them, and tweeters tweet them. Although there are many advantages to being “in the know,” one of the most important reasons to pay attention to trends is that they can help us prepare for and adapt to changes ahead.
Over the past six years, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has identified trends in the fitness industry with their ”Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends” (you can view the full 2012 survey text here). Come January 1, some of the most popular resolutions will be health- and fitness-related, so let’s get a jump on meeting our goals by looking at what the 2012 fitness trends mean for us.
Educated, certified, and experienced fitness professionals are the core of a rapidly expanding industry. In spite of tough economic times, consumers still place a lot of value in getting and staying healthy. The fitness industry has responded to this need by employing qualified trainers and instructors.
What does that mean for you? You can breathe a little easier knowing that you can trust your fitness professionals to lead you in safe and effective workouts, helping you reach your goals faster and giving you more bang for your buck.
Strength training is here to stay. Having been near the top of the trends list for several years, strength training is the first training “type” on the trends list, accompanied by personal, core, functional, and group training.
What does that mean for you? Since most of us sit at a desk all day, adding a little weight-bearing exercise such as resistance training can help improve our energy levels, mood, and overall functionality. Expect fitness centers to continue to update equipment and training options to facilitate strength-training programs that meet the needs of all types of exercisers – a stronger body is yours for the taking!
No one will be left behind. Training options are becoming more population-specific, with new programs being tailored to the aging Baby Boomer population and the fight against childhood obesity (just to name a few). Your fitness professionals are trained specifically to work with a variety of individuals from athletes to people fighting obesity or other diseases.
What does that mean for you? The fitness industry is actively trying to meet you where you are to help you get the most you can out of an exercise program, regardless of your goals or fitness level. In other words, you don’t have to start off looking like Jane Fonda to make exercise a part of your life.
It’s all about energy. Zumba, boot camp, and spinning are growing in popularity. These group classes are high-energy and fun, and put the emphasis on pushing your physical limits.
What does that mean for you?Releasing stress through dancing, high-intensity training, and cycling will leave you feeling strong, accomplished, and ready to tackle life’s challenges. You just have to be willing to give them a try. And although not “trending” anymore, Pilates fans shouldn’t be worried that their favorite class is going to disappear; only time will tell whether these new arrivals and old favorites will continue on as actual trends rather than fads.
The key this year is to work with Midtown to customize a fitness program that will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuventated, and (hopefully) like you had a darn good time.
Now that you know what’s to come in 2012, it’s time to use this information to start doing something that will work for you.
Your 2012 motto shouldn’t be “once I meet my goal, I’ll be happy.” Instead, how about you take a chance on what the industry is giving you and say “it’s time to give myself knowledge, revitalizing energy, and a sense of accomplishment, and add some more fun to my fitness routine.” Now that’s a reason to work out today.
What do you think of these trends? Have you already tried any of these fitness programs or plan to in 2012? What are you going to do differently in your workout routine this year?
A discussion on our Facebook page last week resulted in some interesting member feedback. I asked what kind of information you would like to see featured. Among other suggestions, many members mentioned healthy eating tips and recipes, staff profiles, and member success stories.
The club puts a high value on input from members, and as a result, you’ll soon see many of your suggestions included in our daily social media output.MORE
My younger sisters from my dad’s second marriage were heavily involved with dance as young children. As the proud big sister, I dutifully ended each recital.
The two-year-olds were consistently adorable. There was always one guaranteed on-stage tantrum. The costumes were cute (if a bit cotillion-esque). The music was standard kiddie-tune fare. The dance moves were simple and age-appropriate.MORE
2010 is coming to a close. Newspapers are printing their “Best of” and “Worst of” lists, Time has named its Person of the Year, Merriam-Webster has selected “austerity” as its Word of the Year (no surprise there), and people everywhere are reflecting on the year’s top stories.
I thought Midtown should get in on the action, so here are some of the club’s 2010′s highlights:
Kettlebells arrived at Midtown and have quickly become one of the more popular training methods. Kettlebells are being used in two of the new Group Exercise Classes: MXT(Midtown Xtreme Training) and Triple Fusion, which start in January. Check out the new class schedule and give them a try.
Personal Trainer, Psyclewerks superstar, and Group Cycle instructor Doug Rusho was named the Top Male Indoor Cycling Instructor in the nation. Doug won a Keiser M3 Stationary Power Bike (just like those in the Cycling Room). He also taught a class at the Indoor Cycle Instructor PRO Conference in Boston in October.
Personal Trainers Steve Lopes and Bruce Hedlund launched their new S.E.A.L. (Strength, Endurance, Agility, and Life) small Group Training Program this past summer. The class had a total of 16 participants and is running again in January.
Early this month, group exercise instructors underwent Keiser cycle educational training to better acquaint them with using the new M3 bikes, which are the same ones used in Doug Rusho’s Psyclewerksprogram. The bikes have only been in the club for a few week, and positive member feedback has been phenomenal.
In addition to MXT and Triple Fusion, two other new classes have hit the schedule: Cardio Aerobics, a fun cardio calorie-burner aerobics class for all fitness levels, which may include strength-training and abs, and Sports Conditioning, a challenging, fun class, which used various non-choreographed strength and conditioning drills to improve flexibility, mobility, strength, and conditioning level.
The new schedule also includes two evening Cycle Express classes, and a Saturday Spinyasa class.
Camp Midtown had huge participation numbers throughout the entire season.
The Midtown Currents Swim Team came in 3rd overall in the RPSL Championships (14 teams) with the younger swimmers winning their respective age groups. In two years, the team plans on being the fastest summer swim team in Rochester. Of course, it’s already the most fun.
The USTA recognized Midtown as a pioneer in the field of 10 and Under Tennis, and an industry leader in adapting to the needs of younger players and helping them to hone their technique. This recognition came after the USTA set in place new rules for teaching tennis to kids, all of which Midtown has been implementing for years.
Camp attendance continues to increase, and whenever there is a school holiday, parents have come to rely on Camp Kidtown as a place for younger children to have a blast in a creative, active, and fun atmosphere.
As for me, the year has been a mixed bag. I’m wrapping up my first year as a member, and I have nothing but positive things to say about my member experience. That’s the good.
The bad? Well, the Rochester Half-Marathon I spent months training for in the spring and summer never happened. Sidelined by a double calf strain, I enjoyed a pity party for one on a weight bench in the club as I watched the clock tick over to 7:45am on September 12th, the time the race was beginning.
However, eight sessions of ART (Active Release Technique) in the fall, followed by a strict regime of stretching put me back in the running business. And I plan on rocking the Flower City Half-Marathon on May 1st of next year.
2010 also marked the debut of this blog and the re-launch of the Midtown RochesterFacebook page.
What have you liked about the posts I’ve run on Meet Me at Midtown? What haven’t you liked? What would you like to see more of, or less of?
We also want the club’s Facebook page to be as useful for you as possible, so please let us know what you’ve liked and haven’t liked, or would like to see more of on Facebook as well.
One current Midtown member who submits their feedback in the Comments section or emails it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org will win this high-quality Midtown Sports Bag!
I will select one winner via Random.org on Tuesday, January 4th, at 5pm, and post the name of the winner on our Facebook page and here on the blog on January 5th.
The American Psychological Association’s 2009 “Stress in America” survey, whose results were released last fall, revealed that sources of stress for kids were the desire to do well in school, worry over their parents’ financial concerns, pressure over extracurricular activities, and their relationships with their parents.
Kids with high levels of anxiety can have trouble sleeping, develop behavioral problems, and even suffer more frequent illnesses.
One way kids can reduce their stress is to practice yoga. Long respected as a means to help adults unite mind, body, and spirit as well as improve their posture, energy levels, physical and emotional well-being, and overall happiness, yoga is now seen as a means by which children can experience the same benefits.
Randi Lattimore, Midtown’s Mind/Body Director and a seasoned yoga instructor agrees. ”Kids yoga is a fun, creative approach to yoga that can be very helpful for children whose bodies are still developing,” says Randi. “The use of animated poses and basic stretching promote strength, flexibility, coordination, and body awareness, while breathing and visualization techniques teach kids how to focus, relax, and develop self-control.”
This summer, Midtown is once again running Yoga Camp for Kids, and at the helm is Jennifer Hess, a certified instructor of children’s yoga. She uses yoga-inspired games and interactions to inspire children to think positive thoughts, manage stress, and listen to (and nurture) their bodies and minds.
“I teach breathing exercises like “Bunny Breath” to demonstrate that different breathing can influence how you feel. In “Bunny Breath,” I pass around a flower, and the kids take three quick breaths through their noses. This type of breath is very energizing, and we discuss when taking a “Bunny Breath” would be beneficial during their day, for example, just before a test when anxiety levels are high.”
In addition to breathing exercises, kids in yoga camp also learn a variety of poses, such as “Volcano Jumps” and “Donkey Kicks,” which can release energy, and traditional warrior poses to find internal strength. Animal poses are combined with those kids can create using their imaginations, so each class lends itself to a unique adventure.
It’s only a matter of time before kids turn into the highly stressed adults many of us have become. Childhood, however, should be as stress-free as possible.
If you have children or work with children, how do you help them manage stress? Do your kids take yoga? What positive changes have you noticed in them?
Think you know everything there is to know about Midtown? Whether you’ve belonged to the club for years, or you’re enjoying your first month as a member, I think at least one thing on this list will surprise you.
I asked Midtown managers and staff about the services, amenities, classes, and general features of the club that they feel are under-utilized simply because members might not know about them.
Here’s what they had to say.
Secret: You CAN Find a Quiet Reading Spot
If you’re like many Midtowners, you choose your spot on the pool deck based on where the sun is shining (or isn’t shining) and where the crowds are (or are not). However, that much-sought-after quiet spot to read or catch a cat-nap is sometimes elusive.
However, what many don’t know is that the club uses Sonos, a highly advanced music system that divides the pool deck into zones. Members in each zone can hear different music played at different noise levels. According to Tim Auerhahn, Aquatics Director, those in search of a serene place to read should head to the East deck (near the apartments) or the South deck (near the tennis courts). The music in these zones is generally much quieter.
If you’re looking for a way to mix up your daily workout, train for a triathlon, or swim more laps in less time, look no further than the Adult Fitness Swim program. Your coach will put you through a competitive-style practice in the pool. You’ll receive individualized attention because the group is small, and your coach will put together your entire week of water workouts. This year’s coach has a great pedigree in swimming. The session begins on June 2nd, and you can sign up at the front desk.
Secret: Pilates Reformer Training is All About Results
Want to strengthen your core and transform the way your body looks, feels and performs? Check out Pilates Reformer Training, which is gaining in popularity because of the results achieved by those who have taken it. Check out the information wall for the schedule, and then sign up at the front desk.
Secret: Start Your Weekend Off Right with Guided Meditation
Before you pitch the office printer into an open field or begin harassing your co-workers about your missing stapler, you might want to try a little meditation. Every Friday morning from 8:20 until 8:40, you can attend a guided meditation class. No experience is necessary, and you can either wear your workout gear or your professional clothes.
Category: Front Desk
Secret: Yet Another Use For Your Cell
Keep misplacing your membership keytag? Check into the front desk with your cell instead! Simply take a photo of the barcode on your membership card with your cell phone’s camera, and then use the image on your phone to check in at the front desk.
Category: Housekeeping and Facilities
Secret: Keepin’ It Clean and Orderly
If you’ve ever been crushed upon finding your favorite treadmill out of working order, you can help bring it back to life sooner simply by picking up the phone. Members can dial #264 from any public phone at the club to access the voicemail box of the Housekeeping and Facilities Hotline. Let staff members know of an area in need of housekeeping attention, a broken piece of equipment, or a rack that requires towels. Messages are checked three times a day.
Category: The Spa at Midtown[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Secret: Package Makes Perfect
It’s shower, wedding, and graduation season, and a gift of luxury and relaxation from The Spa at Midtown is sure to please. You can purchase a soothing massage, rejuvenating facial, or a stylish nail service, or package them together and save 10%. And don’t forget to stop in for a treatment for yourself. You’re worth it.
Secret: First Tri’s a Charm
Competition will be fierce among the triathletes competing in Midtown’s very first Mini-Triathlon. You’ll swim, spin, and run for 15 minutes each (kids ages 7-14 will compete in three 10-minute sections), and then you’ll get to see where you rank among the club’s tri-stars. Tim Auerhahn says this event will sell out, so sign up early.
Category: Business Office
Secret: My Kids Bought How Many Bagels?
Curious about the price of that cafe smoothie, or want to double-check your monthly Midtown expenses? Your up-to-the-minute club transactions are just a few clicks away. Head to midtown.com/rochester, and click on Member Login in the upper-right corner. Log in with your username and password (or create an account if you haven’t already), and you can not only check your daily purchases, but also your past statements as well.
Do you have a lesser-known aspect about the club you’d like to share with fellow members? Let’s hear it!