Tag Archives: habit

One Step at a Time

Part Two – Putting One Foot in Front of the Other; the Beginning of Cardiovascular Wellness.

Getting yourself moving sounds like an easy step, but for someone who is beginning their wellness journey for the first time, or someone who is starting to work out again after some time off, it can be really daunting.

Try Different Things The first place a beginner heads to when they walk in the door is the treadmill. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different things you can try when getting started, but overall the best place for anyone new to the gym is the place that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and secure.  I’m a fitness professional, and the idea of hanging out on a treadmill for an hour sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  The key to finding a successful cardiovascular program is to change it up and find something that you like to do.  The treadmill might be your favorite place in the gym, others will find the elliptical, track, or bike your happy place.  If you want to try something and don’t know how or are intimidated by it, please ask us!  There are staff working in the weight room at all of our facilities and as active people, we would much rather talk to and help our members than sit at a desk!

Not Everyone is Built to Run Every single one of us is different. Our body’s physiology and genetic code plays a great deal into what our optimal style of workout is.  There are different muscle fibres in each of us that will make certain styles of physical activity easier than others.  If you absolutely dread long distances, try inserting some higher intensity intervals into your workout.  An example of this is to run a lap, do a set of jumping jacks, running stairs, or jump rope etc… in-between resistance training (weight lifting) sets.  So of you don’t like to run, don’t stress! There’s always something else to try!

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone, and Stay Within It! An individual’s target heart rate zone (THRZ) is based on age.  The easiest way to figure out your THRZ is with this basic equation: 220-(age)= Heart Rate Max (HRM)  This is a number that we should aim to never surpass when doing cardiovascular activity.  Multiply that number by .6 and you will get 60% of your HRM.  Multiply that first number again by .8 to find 80% HRM.  During your cardiovascular workout, you would want to monitor your heart rate and keep it between 60% and 80% of your HRM For example, if you were 25 years old, your math would look like this:

  • 220 – 25 = 195 beats per minute (BPM) as your Heart Rate Max
  • 195 x .6 = 117 BPM
  • 195 x .8 = 156 BPM

This would mean that you want your heart rate somewhere in between 117 and 156 BPM during your cardiovascular workout.

Other Options Hiking groups, team sports or group fitness classes are an amazing way to sneak in a little cardio without even noticing it! It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you can meet new people who are living a healthy balanced life to help keep you on track. Here at the YMCA there are numerous different options to get involved in both aspects.  There are registered and drop-in group fitness classes offered at every branch in the city. We also offer climbing wall classes, swim and aquatic fitness classes, as well as some sport options.  These can differ from branch to branch, so check what is offered at your home branch. A lot of towns and cities have different recreational organizations to help people get involved with team sports as well. In Calgary, a great resource to check out the Calgary Sport and Social Club.  You can join a sport by registering a full team, partial team, or an as individual to make up a full team.

Build the Habit If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged! It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes a stumble will happen.  This is where you need to pick yourself up, dust off those hands and take another step.  Think to yourself the number twenty one. 21. XXI.  It takes twenty one days to build a habit.  Twenty one days to notice a real difference in your physiology. Twenty one days.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll hit your stride.  You’ve got this.

Happy Trails!

January resolutions

Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? You know the kind…..lose weight, start exercising, stop doing this or that. How well do those resolutions actually work? If you come to a fitness facility in January you are in the company of many folks who have excellent intentions of getting leaner, stronger, fitter. The challenge with this is that we can venture into “all or nothing” thinking.

This kind of thinking sets us up for failure as nobody can have ideal health habits 100% of the time. It’s okay to have a treat sometimes! The key is how often – honestly – that you have that treat. If you indulge in a cookie (or three) on Monday, a mocha coffee on Tuesday, fries with your sandwich on Wednesday and so on, those treats can add up in a negative way. If, however, you allow yourself something that is a fun splurge two or three times a week, that is healthy and allows you to feel like you’re not missing out all the time.

Nutrition habits are just that: habits. Try to do one thing at a time and allow a week or two to let it settle and feel like you have it down. Then adding another habit can feel both comfortable and even, gasp, exciting. May 2013 bring many new healthy habits to you!

Toddlers & Biting

Check out this article by Stacey Stein on the Canadian Living Moms website entitled Child behaviour: What to do when your toddler bites. The article breaks down why biting happens, and provides tips & tricks for getting your little chomper to quit biting.

“As distressing as this situation can be for parents, biting is perfectly normal among the toddler set. “They explore their environment through their mouth, and biting really is a part of that process,” says Montreal-based child psychologist Julia Daki, who emphasizes that biting is normal for children under the age of three, who still don’t fully understand that the act hurts others.”

Read the article in full on the CDN Living Moms website.

I Know I Should, but…

Here’s an article on the Time Healthland website about taking action for positive change in your life / getting unstuck from your rut (and sometimes those changes can be life-saving):

“There’s a deep-freeze of sorts for all good intentions — a place that you store your plans to make changes in your life when you know you’re not going to make them at all. There’s no way of knowing for sure which of your plans are destined for cryo-preservation, but when you utter the words “I know I should,” it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve found one. “I know I should lose weight” too often means you won’t. “I know I should quit smoking” is what you say right before you light up. “I know I should work out more or leave a bad marriage or get out of this lousy job,” are far too often followed by the word, “but.” …

And that’s generally the end of it.”

Click here to read the full article by Jeffrey Kluger on the Time Healthland website.

Lost track of time?

Written by Social Media Youth Volunteer, Jewel Montilla

Christmas break was a whole lot of fun but it is back to school for us again and the biggest difficulty for us teens is transitioning from sleeping in into waking up early and getting back to our study habits. Here are just a few guides to help you out:

  • Turn off the TV or your laptop an hour before you go to bed. The intense light beams aimed at your eyes could be interfering with your sleep patterns.
  • We can’t concentrate on things such as lectures for a long period of time. Eventually, we’ll feel worn out. So while studying, give yourself a break every 20 minutes or so. 
  • Always have snacks while studying! If you let yourself get hungry, you will not be in the right state of mind and won’t be able to concentrate. Fruits are good for your brain because it has sugar in it and it helps you stay awake. Do not rely on coffee too often because after a while, you will end up crashing and fall asleep.
  • Know what kind of a learner you are. Example: If you are a visual learner, you can draw charts, or use hi-lighters to help you out with your notes. (Types of learners: Visual Learners, Auditory Learners, Kinaesthetic Learners, etc.)
  • Some people do better in studying when they listen to music. But there are times when songs mess us up due to the fact that we will eventually start going along and sing the lyrics. Try listening to instrumentals! It’s soothing and helps us focus on what we are doing instead of the lyrics.