Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Skinny on Walking

Health benefits of walkingWhile I would love to say that walking can be just as effective of a workout as running, I can’t, because I would be lying to you. In fairness, the two really shouldn’t be compared against each other. Running due to larger muscle recruitment, greater forces exerted and faster motion capability will always have the proverbial ‘leg up’ on walking. With that being said, walking is a really good form of exercise and can help you reach your fitness and weightloss goals.

As a life long track athlete, who has marveled at race walkers (checkout the olympic walkers on youtube), I don’t scoff at walking. In fact, walking is the suggested workout over running for many people. For example, those with knee, ankle and back problems and also for people who are overweight to obese. Walking is more of the default component of cardio workouts for my older clients and something that I encourage my clients of all ages to do more of every day.
walking to get healthy on the treadmill

Walking is a lower impact exercise and can be done for longer periods of time. The Mayo Clinic points out some of the best benefits of walking.

When it comes to a walking workout, I challenge clients by varying the speeds and inclines on the treadmill. I will also use light dumbbells to better engage the arms and core during the walk. One use of dumbbells is to simply hold them during the natural arm swing movement while you walk. Another variation you can try during your walk is to do an exaggerated runners arm pump. And finally, a favorite move of mine with dumbbells is to do almost a bicep curl arm pump while walking.

Here’s a 30 minute treadmill workout to take your walking routine to the next level.

(Note: try to never hold onto the treadmill while walking, even when at an incline)

Treadmill Walking Workout to lose weight

Parts of this post were featured on NBC News BETTER

Why walking is underrated NBCSo there you have it. Good luck with integrating walking into your fitness routine. It is not only a good way to get and stay in shape, but also to explore your surroundings. Here’s to seeing you on walks around the world.

Outdoor walking to get healthy

Monday, July 2, 2018

5 Tips to Make Your Summer Travel Plans Your Fittest Ones Yet

Brooklyn skyscape

Summer travel season is officially in full swing and I wanted to share some vacation and travel tips with you to keep your fitness and workout routines humming.

When traveling for work, I find a quick workout to be a great way to focus my mind, get my energy levels up and destress from the various modes of transportation.

fire island, boat, water, vacation
When it comes to vacations, I may be one of those rare people who really look forward to having the time to focus in on my fitness. Vacations are in my opinion the perfect time to re-incorporate working out into your daily routine. Like many professionals, my daily routine can be pretty overwhelming, leaving me crunched on time to get in my workouts. Thus, when on vacation I take all the time in the world to do my dream workouts (whether that’s extra stretching, long yoga sessions, or killer 2 hour gym sessions).

jump squat, vacation, workout
An important takeaway for vacation and travel workouts is to emphasize routines and activities that you enjoy and/or make you feel good (or are at least good for you - because those will make you feel good in the end).

Here are a few tips on how to make your next travel plans your fittest ones yet

Yoga, vacation, travel, workout1.) Morning Yoga/Stretching: If you’re like me, you might always have the best of intentions to wake-up earlier in the morning to do a little yoga or stretching but the time crunch of getting into work, kids, eating or sleeping more gets in the way. While on vacation I like to leave my mornings open so I can leisurely wake-up and either do a 10 to 30 minute yoga routine or a stretching session. The app Daily Yoga or on YouTube - YogaTX are good yoga options. 

And here are two stretching series I designed: Sitting Stretch Series and Standing Stretch Series
stretching, workout, JKF Fitness & Health

2.) Runs: As a former competitive runner turned recreational runner, I love exploring my vacation or travel locale with a run. The two apps I use most frequently to track and guide my runs are MapMyRun and Nike Run Club. A cool feature of these apps is they can actually provide suggested routes right in the app for your current location. It’s also always a good idea to check with your front desk or check local running sites on the dos and don’ts of running in your area: for instance best times, safe neighborhoods, and proper footwear and attire.

3.) Best Travel Equipment: I will occasionally bring some equipment with me. A pack of resistance bands or my TRX cables. Both are great because they are pretty small to travel with and not too heavy. Plus, they make it easier to do pull movements and are also a source of resistance for workout moves. I’ll also travel with a small jump rope (my rope of choice)

4.) Workouts!: And of course these tips wouldn’t be complete unless I gave you a few JKF Fitness & Health custom designed workouts. Try my newest Travel workout which has its own accompanying video: 

And here’s a breakdown of all of the moves:

1. Jump Rope - 2 mins
2. High Knees - 45 seconds
2. Butt Kicks - 45 seconds
4. Jumping Jacks - 45 seconds
5. Speed Walkouts - 45 seconds
6. Bulgarian Split Squats - 20 each leg
7. Forward and Back Dive Push-ups - 10 reps
8. Jump Squats - 30 reps
9. Heel Touch Sit-ups - 30 reps
10. Close Hand Push-ups - 20 reps
11. Bent Over Row (Cable or Resistance Band) - 20 reps
12.Push-ups - 20 reps
13. Bent Over Row (Cable or Resistance Band) - 20 reps
14. Wide Hand Push-ups - 20 reps
15. Bent Over Row (Cable or Resistance Band) - 20 reps
16. Pilates Teaser Series (3 moves, (1) legs held up and out, upper body and arms back and sit-up to reach toes, (2) Sitting almost upright with arms extended above head, lower and lift legs, (3) V-up motion - 10 reps of each move
17. Jump Rope - 2 mins

Additional Workouts:

5.) Final Takeaways: Take advantage of the facilities at which you’re staying. If they have a gym or offer classes or running groups, be sure to check them out. Keep it rolling when you get home. Tried out some of the suggested routines above? Start tracking your progress with an app like FitNotes to see how you’re improving with reps, time, weight or resistance level. For instance, I’m challenging myself with some great pull-up and push-up challenges at the moment. I superset 15 pull-ups to 25 push-ups and see how many times I can go through in the shortest time possible. And lastly, be flexible. As my sister reminds me constantly, never let perfect be the enemy of done. If you crunched on time, sometimes the best thing to do is just a quick 20 minutes of cardio, or a 10 minute cross-training session, or a short stretch sequence. The important thing for your long term health and fitness goals is to get in those quality “active” minutes for your weekly total. Remember the CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 mins of intense activity a week to be healthy.
John Ford, bags, travel, vacation