Monday, February 19, 2018
Health

Give your health and fitness routine a spring clean

Spring is in the air, and all across the nation people are weeding through closets, kitchens and garages, resulting in hauls to Goodwill, curbside freebies and overflowing trash cans everywhere.

In other words, the big spring clean — in with the new and out with the old — is on.

So how might this ubiquitous wish to clean and improve translate to your health and fitness?

Personal trainer Jenny DeMarco suggests doing an inventory of what works and what doesn't in your health and fitness routine (or lack thereof).

"If you made a New Year's resolution, it's good to check in every few months and just ask some inventory questions," DeMarco says.

Among suggested questions:

• What was the original goal?

• Where am I now?

• How far do I have to go?

• What is helping/hindering that goal?

If you're having a difficult time sorting through what needs to stay and what needs to go in your routine, it could be a good time to hire a trainer to help you identify tools and goals as well as figure out whether your goals are attainable.

"Especially if you feel like you've plateaued, a trainer can help you figure out what is going on," DeMarco says.

If your routine has been consistent for a couple of months, it often needs to be switched up to yield continued progress. This might mean increasing intensity, frequency or duration, or adding a new component. We often get stuck with what we like — not what we need.

"We get into a comfort zone, and we tend to stay there," DeMarco says.

But it's not just about continuing to progress. It's also about staying injury-free.

Injuries often start to pop up after six to eight weeks of a one-sided or repetitive-motion activity, such as running, says Robert Gillanders, a physical therapist with Point Performance Therapy in Bethesda, Md.

Gillanders, along with DeMarco, emphasizes the importance of a well-rounded fitness routine, especially for people 40 and older.

"Tendon structures, for example, get very fragile as we get older," he said. "We need a broad routine, and we need to think long term."

That broad routine also includes making sure that your daily life supports your overall health and fitness. If you sit all day, for example, you are more likely to compress the lower spine, and this can be painful. So make sure to get up from your chair, walk around, do stretches and assume good posture.

"The benefit of exercise is lost if we assume schlumpy postures when we are not in the gym," he says.

Aside from variation and good posture, recovery, including sleep, is crucial for our soft tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) to recover and heal themselves after exercise, Gillanders says.

"Sometimes the best thing for the body is to work out less," he says.

Rebecca Scritchfield, a wellness coach and nutritionist in the Washington area, says that when the body doesn't get adequate sleep (seven to eight hours a night), it might be better to sleep in or take a long yoga class instead of going to the gym.

"Part of self-care is to listen to your body," Scritchfield says. "And if you decide to do your hard workout anyway, be compassionate with yourself."

Aside from sleep and rest, part of recovery is to nourish the body correctly, giving it enough good protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals and fat to work at its best.

Among spring-cleaning tips, she suggests doing a kitchen and pantry makeover to get rid of expired products and to donate unused nonperishables to food banks. Also, get rid of gadgets and other products you don't use. In other words, a decluttering of your kitchen can be part of creating a healthy eating environment. So fill that empty clean space with things that promote healthy habits, such as a large bowl of fresh fruit.

Stay focused on your goals and use yourself as a barometer.

"Remind yourself of the long-term benefits you will see," Scritchfield says. "And remind yourself that you are not going to love every moment. But your job is to take action."

Gabriella Boston is a fitness trainer and freelance writer.

Comments
Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

Be prepared to help save a life: Learn CPR

70 percent of cardiac arrests outside hospitals happen at home. American Heart Association 3 a.m. Jan. 4, 2016. Lisa Peters of St. Petersburg is awakened by her husband, Rick, making strange gasping sounds. She can’t wake him. He feels cold. Only 46...
Published: 02/16/18

Step by step, ramp up your daily activity

Jae Bermanhe Washington Post There are many reasons that people avoid exercise. Time is an obvious one. Our lives are already busy — who has time to work out? Money is another common excuse. Gym memberships and equipment can get pricey.People often w...
Published: 02/16/18
Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Put Alaskan king crab leg shells to work in a creamy, dreamy bisque

Nothing says indulgence like noshing on some seriously giant Alaskan king crab legs. They’re not just tasty, they’re a low-fat source of protein: One leg has about 25 grams of protein and a host of vitamins and minerals (including sodium, incidentall...
Published: 02/15/18
Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

Avocado toast gets a persimmon twist

You’ve likely seen persimmon in the grocery store and then shied away from it, not quite sure what to do with it. The most common variety in the United States is the fuyu persimmon, also called Japanese persimmon, and it looks similar to a slightly f...
Published: 02/15/18
News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

News co-anchor Dan Harris delves into meditation, and why being distracted is ‘a victory’

Emma Seppalahe Washington PostDan Harris is co-anchor of ABC’s Nightline and the weekend editions of Good Morning America. His first book, 10% Happier, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He later launched the 10% Happier podcast and an app called...
Published: 02/15/18

Mayo Clinic Q&A: exercise stress tests; breast self-awareness versus self-exams

DON’T SWEAT THE EXERCISE STRESS TESTI have a treadmill stress test scheduled to look for heart disease. I know this involves exercising, and I’m worried that I’m not physically up to it. Is there another way to gather this information?Yes. There’s an...
Published: 02/15/18
Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Gay doctor takes a drug to prevent HIV. Then he couldn’t get disability insurance

Three years ago, Dr. Philip J. Cheng, a urology resident at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, nicked himself while preparing an HIV-positive patient for surgery.Following hospital protocol, he took a one-month course of Truvada, a cocktail of t...
Published: 02/15/18
Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

Doctor removes worm from Tampa man’s eye. ‘Luckily we caught it just in time’

TAMPA — Nothing seemed wrong or out of place when it was time for Sam Cordero to make an appointment for a routine eye exam.The 57-year-old man from Tampa occasionally saw a few bright or foggy spots in his left eye, but thought it was just "floaters...
Published: 02/14/18
Updated: 02/15/18
A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

A couple calls to ask, ‘Hey, can we donate our kidneys?’ The stranger who got one is in awe

LARGO — Keshava Persaud entered the room inside Largo Medical Center, his wife at his side. His eyes went right to the couple across the room. They looked so young, he thought. Tears welled as he handed the woman, April Scott, 49, potted white silk f...
Published: 02/14/18
Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health system gets new leader

Bayfront Health has hired a new executive position to oversee the six regional hospitals it operates along the Gulf Coast of Florida. Joseph Mullany has been appointed regional president and chief executive officer of Bayfront Health, and will overse...
Published: 02/13/18