Say No to Sedentary Lifestyles!

March 23, 2007

By Sam Guiragossian

Obesity is on the rise due to poor dieting and sedentary lifestyles.  Exercise is a great way to help combat this problem.  Staying fit while on the road can be a daunting task for travelers.  Hotels are coming to the aid of road warriors by offering state-of-the-art fitness centers as well as healthier food and beverage options for guests.  Westin Hotels & Resorts have implemented Westin WORKOUT® facilities powered by Reebok which offer top-of-the line exercise equipment.   These modern clubs feature Life Fitness treadmills, Elliptical trainers, recumbent/upright bikes and a complete line of strength training machines. 

In addition, The Westin Chicago River North offers a No Excuse Workout regime where the hotel provides freshly laundered work out clothes (t-shirts, shorts and even sneakers) for guests who ‘forgot’ to pack their workout gear.  This No Excuse Workout is perfect for travelers looking to pack light, but still wanting to stay fit while on vacation.  Everything is provided including a free personal training session with me or one of the other on-property certified personal trainers.

Remember that any form of physical activity is better than nothing.  If you’re crunched for time, a quick set (or two) of good old fashioned push-ups or squats is a great way to increase the heart rate while strengthening the lower body muscles.  Skip the elevator/escalator and take the stairs to improve cardiovascular endurance.  Always remember to use caution when doing any form of exercise and pay close attention to what your body is telling you.  For some, you may need to consult with your physician before beginning any form of physical activity.

After your daily physical routine, try the Posterior Shoulder Stretch.  Gently pull on your elbow with the opposite hand across the front part of your body until you feel a stretch in your shoulders.  Hold this position for 0 – 15 seconds and repeat three times.

Start Each Day with the Proper Nutrients

March 21, 2007

By Sam Guiragossian

Eating a well-balanced meal is extremely important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In conjunction with regular physical activity, nutrition plays a key role in not only losing weight, but also in how we feel.   Starting each day with the proper nutrients is vital. 

For most people breakfast is probably the last thing on their mind, but studies have proven that it is the most important meal of the day.  Not only does it refuel your body, but it also jumpstarts your metabolism for the day.  Eating a healthy breakfast leads to a lifetime of health benefits, for example:

1.) Having greater strength and endurance.
2.) Enhancing the body’s ability to consume more essential vitamins and minerals, and in turn, decreasing fat and bad cholesterol.
3.) Improving mental concentration and productivity.
4.) Weight control.
5.)  Reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol.

A healthy breakfast should consist of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and small amounts of fat.  Breakfast options should consist of one food item from each of the following food groups: fresh fruits and vegetables; grains such as whole grain cereals, low fat bran muffins, whole grain bagels, wheat/grain toast; dairy consisting of low-fat or skim milk, low fat yogurts, cottage cheese; and protein including protein powder, hard boiled eggs, lean meats, and poultry, salmon, peanut butter or tuna.

Keep in mind that by skipping breakfast you will feel ravenous by lunchtime and set yourself up to over eat in the afternoon.  Bypassing a well-balanced breakfast could cause you to over indulge in some high-fat mid-morning treats.  So remember to keep it simple and stay away from oversized breakfast sandwiches, sugary cereals and sodium-laced processed foods.

A mid-morning stretch is also a great way to begin your day.  Try the Lower Cervical/Upper Thoracic stretch.  Clasp both hands together in front of your body with arms fully extended.  Gently pull shoulder blades apart and bend your head forward.  Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds and repeat three times.  As with all techniques, remember to stretch in a passive manner to achieve a mild and comfortable stretch.

How Stretching Can Increase Flexibility

March 19, 2007

By Sam Guiragossian

With the rise of today’s sedentary population it is vital that we incorporate some form of physical activity into our busy lifestyle.  There are many benefits to stretching properly as it helps reduce aches and pains often caused by sitting for long periods of time.  Some specific benefits of how stretching can increase flexibility and offer a better quality of life are:

1.) Reducing the tension in muscles while helping muscles relax.  Studies have shown that increased flexibility can significantly reduce aches throughout the body.
2.) Improving flow of oxygen and intake of essential nutrients. Stretching allows the muscle to relax, tense muscles cut off their own circulation, which can result in lack of oxygen and nutrients. 
3.) Helps reduce and manage stress.  Flexibility significantly reduces tension and stress in your body, which is essential as stress is a leading cause of many different ailments.
4.) Improves posture.  Stretching your lower back, shoulders, and chest properly helps to align your back and improve posture.  This is crucial because many jobs today confine people to their desks or have them standing and leaning much of the day. 
5.) Providing better blood circulation.  Stretching increases blood supply to the muscles and joints, and improves blood circulation to the entire body.

A quick and simple stretch to try at your desk is the Seated Low Back Stretch.  While sitting in a chair spread your feet apart about shoulder width and bend forward at the waist towards the floor.  You should feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back area.  Hold this position for 10 – 15 seconds and repeat three times.  When stretching pay attention to how the stretch feels as it should not be painful.  If you experience any pain immediately stop.  Breathing is vital to stretching properly so remember to inhale and exhale naturally.

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