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Let's take the stairs!

No excuses...there is always a way to be active and get a workout in!

There are plenty of ways to get a good cardio workout in.  You don't have to have the elliptical or the treadmill.

Running a few flights of stairs, either indoors or outdoors, will benefit everything from your cardiovascular health to the strengthening and conditioning of muscles.

Woman Running Up the Stairs

* Keeps the weight off

Running stairs is great for burning calories, gets your heart rate up, works your leg muscles and works your lungs as you climb and descend.

The best way to get results is to run stairs in high-intensity, short-duration intervals.

This will boost your metabolism and help you shed extra pounds.

It's a challenging thing to add to your ex routine.  Certainly, doesn't take much time!

* Shapes your butt and thighs

Running stairs will strengthen your thighs and butt.

Your gluts, hips and quads will get stronger. Maintaining good, upright posture is also good for you and will help maintain core stability.

* Anytime, anywhere

Stairs are everywhere. Use the stairs instead of an elevator at work, and get outside wherever you can find some steps. Or go find a hill outside - similar to running stairs.

* Do it right  

Begin slowly.

Warm up by just walking up and down a few flights of stairs first.

When you're warmed up, run up and down the stairs 3 times at a moderate rate, making sure to watch your footing and balance.

Rest for a minute or 2, then do the stairs 3 times again, rest and repeat again.

Then, as you progress and your legs get stronger and your aerobic capacity gets better, you can do it a few more times.

And ya know, doing the stairs doesn't always mean that you have to end up a sweaty mess!  Need an afternoon pick-me-up?  Just go and find a stairway or two!  Better than an afternoon Starbucks caffeine fix (not to mention the additional calories)!

Be careful, so you don't fall and break any bones. Concentrate on what you're doing and it's always a good idea to have a workout buddy.

New to spin?!?

A few things you should know...

I was recently talking to an old friend of mine and she asked me about my workouts. I told her that I love spinning classes. She is not one that is committed to exercise like I am, so pretty much a beginner, but asked more about indoor spin. Here is a quick overview of what to expect, etc.

First of all, can someone who is a beginner participate? Yes, absolutely. But talk to the instructor, tell them you are new, get help on setting up your bike to "fit" you, they will explain more about how to add resistance, etc then, pace yourself and focus on your own workout and forget about keeping up with anyone else. Your butt has to get used to the seat, so don't get frustrated if your butt is killing you after 60 minutes! It will get better. And remember to bring some water.

The instructor chooses music to go along with each phase of the class. He/she may play an upbeat song for 4 minutes as you race and pedal as fast as you can. Or you may bike for 5 minutes with a lot of resistance to mimic riding up a major hill or mountain with a song to match the mood. Then he/she may play a slower song while you catch your breath.

The class will go through different phases as well - climbs up hills that I mentioned, standing and jogging or running, jumps, where you stand up for a certain amount of time, then sit back down in the saddle, sprinting fast , etc.

Cycling is intense. Your heart rate will soar and stay elevated for 45 to 60 minutes. There will be moments of slower pedaling, but most of the time, your legs are working steadily. These classes are a great way to get your cardio in each week. You will also get the benefits from doing some interval training - pushing hard, then recovering, pushing again and recovering. You will shed fat, improve heart health and boost your muscular endurance. Your legs will get a serious, non-stop workout. Your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves will feel the burn, but there is no pounding, so the joints will be treated gently. Plan to do at least 3 classes per week or add a couple classes into your workout routine.

Spin Fitness

I have some arthritis in my knees and was worried that I might not be able to continue on a long-term basis. But, so far, so great! When you cycle, you are building up your leg muscles, and this will help to support the knee joint. And listen to your body. Some days you may want to limit standing movements. That's another great thing about spinning classes...you ride at your own level and adjust your ride to how you feel that day. I usually walk out the door with a lot more energy and in a lot better mood, after getting those happy, feel good endorphins goin!

So...what are you waiting for? Try a class! It's a fun, super-charged cardio workout! If you do, you will want to come back for more! They say if you try 3 classes, you are hooked! Nothing like rockin, good, loud music, dripping with sweat and leaving with a smile on your face! :)

Just You & the Bike

You walk into the room and adjust your bike, place your towel and water, hop on and take a deep breath.
It's you and the bike.

The music starts, your heart rate starts to elevate, the pedals go faster and faster and any tension that you had goes away. You're in this! It's you and the bike.

5 benefits happening to you while you pedal:

1) Cardiovascular

A good cycling class will steadily keep your heart rate well within a vigorous range for 45 to 60 minutes.
Hills and intervals will really challenge you.

2) Lowered stress levels

You will get the rush and release of those happy-mood inducing endorphins. Endorphins are known to create feelings of euphoria and lower your stress level.

3) Increased muscular endurance

Pedaling against resistance can greatly increase the endurance of the muscles in the legs: quads, hamstrings, gluts and even calves. Working out these muscles will also help to strengthen the surrounding bones, tendons and ligaments.

Fitness Tip of the Day

4) Major calorie burn

You can burn anywhere between 400 - 600 calories per average 45-minute class. So if your goal is weight loss, spinning is a great way to do it!

5) Low impact

For such a high-intensity workout, indoor cycling is surprisingly low impact. When done correctly, there is minimal impact on the hip, knee and ankle joints. The circular motion allows for proper flexion and extension, while avoiding the pounding that runners experience.

These are just a few of the many benefits of cycling. What's better than riding to loud, popular music, getting in your own zone, sweating like a pig, competing against yourself, burning 500 calories and walking out after 60 minutes in a happy, awesome mood?!? I love it!

Want an all-natural way to lift your mood, improve your memory and protect your brain against age-related cognitive decline?


** Any type of exercise that raises your heart rate and gets you moving and sweating for a sustained period of time - aerobic exercise - has a significant and very beneficial impact on the brain. **

Aerobic exercise is the key for your head, just as it is for your heart.

This type of exercise provides a boost to the brain with increased blood flow, which provides our minds with fresh energy and oxygen.

Get Moving