Category Archives: General Wellness

15 Ways to Increase Physical Activity During Your Day.

Written by Jonathan Glick; BS-ESS, CPT-ACE.

1. Park the the back lot or as far as possible away from the entrance in the building you work at. If you find a “designated” spot that is always open you can make this a habit. For instance, at the college I teach at I park by the “J pole” or the next available spot (further away). It’s now ingrained in me as a positive habit and I don’t often think twice about it.

2. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. You can make exceptions, such as only walking the first 5, or 10 flights of stairs; or start with only walking up the stairs, or only using the stairs. When necessary, commit to something you’ll stick with, rather than trying the “all or nothing” approach.

3. Instead of emailing or phoning an associate that works in your building, deliver a message to them personally. Not only do you get more steps and thus more physical activity, it gets you out of your chair for a welcome break; plus you and your associate will benefit from open, in-person communication and it could help your work relationships.

4. Eat lunch on the “go.” Instead of eating your lunch sitting down, think about taking a walking lunch. No need to incorporate power walks but there are many foods easily edible while doing a short walk around the office, park or mall on your lunch break; and it’s definitely better than sitting!!

5. Microwave Push Ups. Warming up your morning coffee? Heating up last nights leftovers? Challenge yourself to complete as many counter top push ups as you can while the microwave is going. You can also do other exercises that require only your body weight, such as squats or lunges, or go all out with some Burpees!

6. Never just wait, ever again! You may find yourself completing tasks in which you have no choice but to wait. Just like the the microwave Push Ups, you can use down time, or “N.E.T.” time (No Extra Time) to complete a few exercises – heel raises while standing in line, lunges while waiting for that download to finish, Paper Ream Arm Curls in the office waiting for copies to finish, or even a whole-body workout while you’re working on laundry!

7. Get out of the car! At the bank, fast food place (gasp! but you’re getting a salad..) or other locations you typically go through a drive through. You body will love you for getting out and stretching those legs!

8. Take the Heavy Bag. Are you in school or remember when? All those text books sure got heavy. But now to increase your fitness you can carry them on purpose. Add some weight via books or other means to your gym bag, suitcase (if possible) or briefcase. The extra weight = extra calories, plus you can use your bags and cases for weight when you’re completing some on-the-go exercises like mentioned in idea # 6. Don’t forget to keep your posture more properly aligned by double strapping back packs!

9. Shovel snow from your neighbor’s sidewalk. Good deeds ALWAYS come with benefits, and extra physical activity and caloric expenditure is just one of them that comes from helping out your neighbor in this way. You don’t have to stop with snow shoveling, as raking leaves, gardening, planting flowers, or mowing lawns are also great alternatives.

10. Use a manual can opener. Yes, you read that right. The more often we do things manually, the longer we will be able to do things, manually or otherwise! It’s not time or age that plays the most critical factor in our dependency as we grow older, but lack of movement or the simply act of doing. Think about how by completing such simple tasks using manual tools rather than power tools you can not only increase physical activity but start creating the right mindset for lifelong wellness as well.

killtv11. KILL YOUR TV! OK, this is tough one right, but if you’re not going to go all out… there are alternatives to help increase your activity while you watch TV. The obvious solution is working out while doing so, even if its something simple as riding a stationary bike. Or how about instead of channel surfing with the remote you simply get up to change the channel rather than using a remote? WARNING: You may find yourself doing other things you enjoy (reading, gardening, and working out!) after you got up 74 times because there wasn’t anything worth watching on!

12. You don’t have to get rid of your TV, really. But if you can find time to watch television, you certainly can also find the time to workout – even if you don’t decrease the amount of time you watch TV. Here’s another no-extra-time idea: the Commercial Sprint & Stretch! Here’s how to do it: While you’re watching TV, as soon as a commercial comes on you run out your door and sprint down the street 4, 5, 6 or even 10 houses in length; then jog or walk back to your house. You don’t have to stop there, you can fit in other activities while the commercials on. A few sets of strength training for instance; or just stretch during commercials as well. Since the typical commercial is 30 seconds you can even use them as a timer for when to switch to a new stretch.

13. Run to the store. Literally. Of course you can walk, bike, roller blade or even skateboard! Since most errands are within an easy bike ride from home, you can consider using non-motorized vehicles on short trips. What is within a 10 minute walk or bike ride from your home? Consider this or another time or distance length, and commit to doing it anytime the weather is nice enough outside to do so.

14. Cook your own meals. Another small item but can add up your daily movement and activity over time. Not only are cooked meals typically more healthy, tasty and less expensive (added benefits!), it surely takes more personal physical activity to make a meal yourself rather than going out or ordering in.

15. Open up your own door! Just like elevators and escalators, there’s a time, place and need for automatic doors, but unless it’s necessity for you, consider going through doors you have to push or pull open yourself. When you start purposefully thinking, and doing these kinds of activities in the name of physical activity, you can truly change your mindset about your physical capabilities and willingness to EASILY add physical activity your your daily routine, even without structured exercise!

My Electric Powered Snow Shovel.

A snow storm rolled into town today, and I decided it was a timely opportunity to try out a new electric powered snow shovel I recently received as a Christmas gift. After about 10 minutes, I can tell you that it was both the first time and the last time I will use it! Although it was a nice and thoughtful gift, I’d rather use what I am already blessed with: two arms and legs, a healthy heart, and a strong back! Did you know that a 150 person burns an average of over 100 calories shoveling snow for a mere 15 minutes?

Now, I’m not advocating that you have to shovel snow with a regular shovel, but remember that this and other physical activities of daily living can contribute significantly to your daily caloric expenditure goals. Just from this one activity alone, shoveling snow 15-20 times per year over 40 years is the equivalent of burning 20 pounds of body fat! Over the next week, ask yourself what activities of daily living will you consider doing to increase your daily caloric expenditure, whether it be taking the stairs, walking to the grocery store, or even shoveling snow.

Until next time, ENJOY!

IHFA QUICK TIP – Three extra flights of stairs each day.

A person who walks an extra 3 flights of stairs every day starting when they are age 25 burns the equivalent of over 40 pounds of body fat by the time they are age 65.

Here’s the math:

3 flights of stairs = 10 calories burned (average person). This is also about 3/10 a mile for the average person. Note: Factors vary based on body weight and speed of movement.

So, the average person would burn an extra 10 calories every day, 365 days per year which is a total of 3650 extra calories per year; 146,000 extra calories over a course of 40 years.

There are 3500 calories in one pound of body fat. 146,000 calories / 3500 calories per 1 pound of body fat = 41.70 pounds of fat!

What can you do to burn an extra 10 calories every day?

ACSM’s latest guidelines for Exercise Prescription

ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Prescription – Updated August 2011

Guidelines for improving cardiovascular and respiratory fitness:

Frequency: 150 minutes/week
Intensity/Time: 30-60 min of moderate 5x/week OR 20-60 min of vigorous 3x/week
Progression: Gradual
Other Information: one continuous session each workout day OR multiple sorter sessions of 10 minutes minimum are acceptable.

Guidelines for improving muscular fitness:

Frequency: 2-3x/week
Intensity/Time: 2-4 sets of either 8-12 reps for strength/power, 10-15 reps for older persons new to exercise or15-20 reps to improve endurance.  Light intensity for beginners or older adults.
Other Information: wait at least 48 hours between sessions

Guidelines for improving and maintaining flexibility:

Frequency: 2-3x/week
Intensity/Time: Hold each stretch 10-30 seconds to point of tightness or slight discomfort. Repeat 2-4x to accumulate 60 seconds per stretch. Static, dynamic, ballistic, or PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) are appropriate.
Progression: Gradual
Other Information: warm up first before stretching

Guidelines for improving Neuromotor ability and function:

Frequency: 2-3x/week
Intensity/Time: 20-30 minutes/day
Progression: Gradual
Other Information: include motor skills (balance, agility, coordination, and gait), proprioceptive training, and tai chi, yoga, etc.


There is much debate in the nutrition realm as far as what is the “right” way to eat. Which method is correct?

While I will fail to provide you with a specific answer, I have a common sense test! Any diet must answer yes to all the following questions to pass:

1) Is it balanced?
A diet that recommends too high (or low) of any one macro-nutrient (fat, carbohydrate, protein, etc) doesn’t pass this test.

2) Does it allow moderation of all foods?
A glass of wine? Sure. A bottle every day? No. Ice cream as an occasional treat? Why not. Ice cream as a daily meal replacement? No.

3) Is it something you could sustain long term and remain in good health?
The best diet is a healthy one you can maintain for your entire life, not a restrictive fad you follow only temporarily.

When a client asks a diet related question, my first response is to ask them if it passes this test.


Is there bone building benefit to walking with ankle and or hand weights?

Adding weight to the hands or ankles may significantly alter the natural gait of the participant; and thus the reason why I feel it is definitely not the best idea for most anyone, especially those that train intensely or competitively. A better idea to increase intensity (without having to run) would be to add a weight vest, add incline, or perhaps throw in some walking lunges or stationary squats every “x” number of minutes/miles/etc.

Any weight bearing exercise will provide the benefits of improving bone health. While using hand weight and ankle weights can certainly increase the intensity of a workout when walking, as well as help increase heart rate for those who cannot run or jog, the added weight is too insignificant to really see any additional improvement in bone density or bone health. In addition to cardiovascular type activities (running, stair stepping) results can also be had through traditional strength training.


What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common orthopedic issues related to the foot and is defined as an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis can develop when the tissues that create arch of the foot, the Plantar Fascia, is overstretched or overused as a result of many possible causes. Risk factors may include but are not limited to: less than ideal arch of the foot – either flat feet or too high of an arch, obesity or sudden weight gain, tight calf muscles and especially the tendons surrounding the foot and ankle, long distance running or prolonged standing or walking from occupational or other activities, and from shoes that have insufficient arch support or soft soles. Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis most often include an either sharp or dull pain as well as stiffness under heel and throughout the arch of the foot. The pain can include tenderness, redness and swelling as well and is usually greatest during the morning or after inactivity, after repeated standing or sitting, while climbing stairs and after moderate to intense physical activity.

Though most often affecting men and women over 40, Plantar Fasciitis can happen to anyone as there are many risk factors and common causes that may contribute to developing this condition. Depending on the situation, Plantar Fasciitis can occur more suddenly or develop over a longer period of time. Those who feel pain in the bottom of the heel and stiffness in the arch of the foot are often diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis though other conditions must be ruled out before a diagnosis is complete. Heel spurs, stress fractures, and Achilles tendonitis are examples of conditions that are more likely to be present in addition to Plantar Fasciitis; while other issues affecting the foot like diabetes, leprosy, and peripheral neuropathy are much less linked to having or developing Plantar Fasciitis. While many people may have a genetic predisposition to developing this condition – such as an excessive high arch or flat foot – most other risk factors are influenced by your environment, occupation, and behaviors.

If you have been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, there is a wide assortment of short and long term treatment options available to you. Treatment may last a few short months or even a few years, though the average treatment time is around 8-10 months. It is first very important to rest as much as possible for 1-2 weeks after being diagnosed with the condition. Over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen and the application of ice to the affected area a couple times a day for 10-15 minutes may help alleviate any associated pain and swelling. Doctors may also recommend using night splints that help stretch and heal the Plantar Fascia, or wearing a boot cast for up to 6 weeks, and sometimes a steroid injection into the heel to relieve more extreme or prolonged pain. If these treatment options don’t alleviate most of your symptoms, surgery to relieve the pain and release the tight tissues may be considered.

Wearing proper shoes, especially during physical activity or prolonged walking, sitting, or standing may be one of the most important steps you can take to prevent Plantar Fasciitis. Shoe inserts, particularly those prescribed by an orthopedist or chiropractor may help prevent the condition from happening or at least minimize the chance for more intrusive actions needed such as surgery or steroid injections. Maintaining foot flexibility, and to a lesser extent lower and upper leg flexibility is also a great way to prevent Plantar Fasciitis and other related foot issues or injuries. Improving ankle mobility without compromising stability and stretching the muscles of the lower leg can be completed through various stretch positions. All of these prevention tactics can be implemented immediately and can help you maintain healthy (and happy!) feet so that you can sustain your preferred activity level and desired lifestyle.



Life Lesson From a Physics Textbook

Consider the accuracy of an unmanned space rocket when traveling to a specific destination; it is not accomplished by staying on a predetermined path or by getting back on that path if it strays off course. No effort is made to return the rocket to its original path, but instead a control center determines “where is it now, what is its current velocity?” Corrections are made to direct the rocket on its new path and the process is repeated multiple times over on its way to its destination.

The life lesson, as quoted in the book Conceptual Physics by Paul G. Hewitt “Suppose you find that you are off course. You may, like the rocket, find it more fruitful to follow a course that leads to your goal as best plotted from your present position and circumstances, rather than try to get back on the course you plotted from a previous position and under, perhaps, different circumstances.” Regardless of where you started and how far you reached thus far, by continuing to ask questions, make corrections, and by moving forward, you can reach your preferred destination and obtain (and surpass!) your desired goals.


Four Principles of Great Goal Setting

Perception – It has been often said that “Perception is Reality.” How do you feel when you have to do something? What about when you get to choose to do something? Use the right language “I get to/ I choose to” rather than “I have to, I must do” – and then create within yourself that same attitude and personal belief.

Plan – If you leave your house without planning your direction, how likely are you to arrive at your desired destination? Create a specific action plan that allows you to take the first step in the right direction, and provides you with the knowledge and knowhow to keep moving in that positive direction. Also, remember to be realistic and flexible!

Prioritize – Keep this in mind: If you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of others! It’s OK to be selfish sometimes, and making time and taking time to participate in activity actual benefits you in the long run; when you create that wellness for yourself, you will find that you have more time, energy and vitality to help others.

Play – Make goals that are joyful not only for reaching the product or outcome, but for enjoying the process – the journey. Have fun along the way and focus on goals that are truly desirable for YOU. You’re far more likely to succeed at your goals, dreams, and aspirations when they align with your true wishes, interests, and purpose.

Here are some other P’s – consider these key words during the creation of Great Goal Setting: promise, prosperity, parties, pro-action, perseverance, potential, peace, possibility, and purpose!