Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Heart Health Month

Did you know that February is Heart Health Month?

Cardio Recommendations

20 minutes of walking a day can lower the risk of a heart attack and stroke
  • Tips: Park farther away
  • Choose the stairs over the escalator

150 minutes of exercise per week
  • Trouble keeping track?  Just try to move more! Get up from your desk/couch and just walk around the room every once in a while

Heart Healthy Nutrition

Cholesterol: Adding more fiber to the diet can help naturally lower your body’s cholesterol levels
Squash is a great winter vegetable that is high in fiber

“Eat the rainbow”: When choosing fruits and vegetables try and get multiple colors. Different colored vegetables contain different nutrients, the more variety the better!

Heart Health and Wellness

Sleep: Recommended that you get 7-9 hours of sleep
  • Tips for a better night time routine: Set an alarm to go to bed, lowered the brightness on your phone/tablet, turn your phone on “Do not Disturb” so notifications don’t wake you
  • Stress: Lowering your stress helps lower blood pressure, boost your motivation, and help you sleep
  • Things to try: Positive self-talk, meditation. Count to 10 before reacting. Take a break by reading a book, drawing/coloring, exercise, or listening to music.  

Talk to your doctor!
  • About old concerns, new concerns, or more tips on how to keep you and your heart healthy!

Source: American Heart Association

Blog post by Erin Womboldt.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stand Up

It’s time to stand up against sedentary behavior!

Did you know that 12 hours is the average time a person sits during the day?

What is sedentary behavior? Time spent sitting, which includes watching TV, driving, eating, and work/school tasks. "Sitting Disease" is a term used by researchers to define those with metabolic syndrome and experiencing the negative impacts of sedentary behavior.

What can you do to decrease sedentary behavior?
  • Try walking around your office more frequently during your work day.
  • While watching TV, try to stand every 30 minutes.
  • Set a timer to remind you to get up more often during your day.
  • Stand more, sit less!

3 Benefits of decreasing sedentary time, there are many more!
  • Helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase focus/productivity

Blog post by Timarie Villa.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


When we do timed breathing exercises that make our exhale even a few counts longer than our inhale, the vagus nerve signals the brain to turn up our parasympathetic nervous system (relax mode) and to turn down our sympathetic nervous system(fight or flight). This means that by putting our awareness on lengthening our exhale we can signal to our body that we do not need to be in fight or flight mode and we can initiate the transition into rest and healing mode. With a long exhale we tell our whole being that it is safe to rest a moment, it is time to digest now, there is time to repair what needs attention within us. Interestingly, because breath modulates the nervous system, it is also a way for us to influence the other automatic, involuntary bodily functions. By setting the parasympathetic tone we slow our heart rate, lower our blood pressure, dilate our blood vessels and turn on our digestion. Just choosing to attend to our breath with intentional exhales allows us to shift our whole body into a restorative mode.

Bringing awareness to our exhale is giving us a lesson in the value of relaxation and surrender. The exhale is about letting go and clearing out. Physically, when we exhale we release the metabolites, the toxins, and the used up air. The exhale is clearing out space, giving us the ability to receive during our inspiration.

Timed Breathing Exercise

Let yourself get quiet and still for a moment during your day. Direct your attention to your breath and just notice, without trying to control or change, the flow of air that is coming and going in your body. Then, invite yourself to breathe out longer than you normally do. You may notice that this is followed by an effortless, expansive in-breath that is deeper than those that preceded. You can also spend a few moments doing an exercise of counted breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and then exhale for a count of 8. Doing this a few times will accomplish the shift into parasympathetic mode discussed above.

Enjoy giving yourself this nourishing gift and know that it can have a cascade of healing benefits for your body, mind and spirit.

Blog post by Ally Wilson.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


While data on exercise changes as new studies are done, one thing that remains constant is that planks are great... but only when you do them properly!

The traditional plank (shown above) targets more than just your abdominals. It requires contraction of the quads, glutes, shoulders, biceps and triceps. It is a stabilizing exercise that can lead to improvements in other exercise moves.

3 Common Plank Form Mistakes

Arched Back

Note: In this position your abs will be inactive. This also put a lot of strain on your lower back!

Hips Too High

Uneven Hips

Other Plank Variations

On Hands

Side Plank

Taking Your Plank to the Next Level

Alternating Leg Lifts

Up, Up, Down, Down

Side Plank with Rotation

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Physioball Planks

TRX Plank

Planks can assist in many other areas!

The core stability provides and increases in your overall stability and balance.  Example: if you are bumped into while walking, having a stronger core can assist you in regaining your balance faster.

Maintain Proper Running Form
A stable core helps a runner’s body stay in proper alignment, rather than twisting mid stride.

Maintain Form in Many Other Lifts
One of the first steps in many lifting exercises is to engage your core. Having a stronger core can make it easier to keep proper form in many activities and can prevent injury to the back. 

Happy Planking!

Blog post by Erin Womboldt.