runners

‘The extra mile’: Families cheer on young Olympia runners

Originally published Sept. 28, 2017 in the Pantagraph.

MINIER — Every student at Olympia West Elementary School got their blood pumping Wednesday.

Each grade level took turns lining up outside the school in Minier to run the mile for physical education class. The biannual run has turned into a much-anticipated tradition for students and their families.

Rusty Richards of Minier joined the spectators to support his three elementary students.

 “I like to attend their activities so they know I’m here for them,” said Richards. “The run gives my kids a healthy sense of family, pride and confidence. The school goes the extra mile by inviting everyone out to cheer for their kids.”

How physical activity can boost young brains

Originally published Sept. 23, 2017, in the Las Cruces Sun-News

Savannah Burke, For the Sun-News

There was a time when children would play outdoors and get exercise by riding bicycles, running or playing hopscotch. The popularity of cell phones, video games and computers and increased academic demands have contributed to the decline in outdoor play for children. Except when children are involved in sports, gymnastics or similar activities, some may not be getting enough exercise, which may lead to undesired health consequences.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity during childhood is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing various health conditions. Not only does regular physical activity improve overall health and fitness among children, but they will also build strong bones and muscles and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.

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Why A 7 Minute Workout Is Effective For You

Why A 7 Minute Workout Is Effective For You

BY KAREN REED 

7-minute-workout-image-design-1Have you heard of those people doing 7-minute workouts on a daily basis? It may seem like that isn’t enough time to benefit your health. After all, we’re constantly told that we need to work out for 30-60 minutes a day if we want to look after our health and lose weight.

The great news is that a 7-minute workout could be perfect for you! You’re doing something, and your body will thank you for it in the long run.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s why 7-minute workouts are effective for you and why you should take advantage of them right now.

Getting the 7-Minute Workout Right

Before you follow any plan for seven minutes, you need to make sure it’s the right one. These 7-minute workouts don’t just involve a few exercises that will strengthen your body. They’re designed to get your heart-rate up in ways that 30-minute exercise plans will.

You’ll need to follow a specially designed program to get the full effect within the short period of time. These plans are also known as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) plans. You have short bursts where you put your full effort into the program to get the most out of them.

Most of the time, you do 30 seconds worth of exercise with a short 10-second rest. You then move into the next burst of exercise and have another 10-second rest. Keep going like this until your seven minutes are up—and they will be up before you know it!

The programs make sure you work on the full body and include the likes of triceps dips, squats, jumping jacks, and more. There’s no need for expensive, specialist equipment, as you can do them using your own bodyweight to build up your strength. You can even do them in your own home.

Some of the 7-minute workouts aren’t quite seven minutes. There are 5-minute plans and 12-minute plans out there. They’re all just as effective as each other.

Just how do they become effective for you? Here’s a full look.

You’ll Never Have the Time Excuse

Be honest with yourself. Do you really think you can’t find seven minutes in your day to work out? Even if you go away, there will be a seven-minute period where you can fit your exercise in. Sure, you need the time to get changed before and after, but you can fit it all into your routine.

You don’t have that excuse of not enough time, so you can definitely fit a workout into your day. This makes highly effective because you’re actually doing it! You’re spending time on yourself to improve your fitness, work on your health, and help yourself lose weight.

It really just involves getting up seven minutes earlier than you usually would. Most of the exercises can be done in your pajamas as you wake yourself up. Your exercise is out of the way, and you can move onto focusing on the rest of your day.

In fact, by setting such a short time frame, the exercise seems more doable. If you’re just coming back from an injury or haven’t exercised since you were a kid, the idea of doing 30-60 minutes a day could seem somewhat scary and overwhelming. When you hear that you can do bursts of 7-minute workouts throughout the day to build up to 30 minutes, it seems achievable and sensible.

You’re more likely to just right into the plans. There’s confidence in that you can complete it, so you’re more willing to give it a try.

Really, now what’s your excuse?

It’s All About the HIIT

Fitness Workout

There are plenty of studies that show a 7-minute HIIT workout is effective for you. In fact, the studies show that these HIIT workouts are just as good as long exercise plans at a moderate level—and that’s what you’ll do when it comes to those 30-90 minute bursts of exercise.

You’re more likely to fit a 7-minute plan into your day every day, which makes it even more effective. However, you will need to make sure you get right into these plans. Put your full effort into the program, so you expel as much energy as you can. It takes grit and determination to make these HIIT programs work. The best part is you know they’ll be over sooner.

HIIT programs encourage the liver to use up the fat in your blood before releasing the blood to the rest of your body. This means that you’ll burn more calories—and that benefit continues throughout the day. Your metabolic rate is given the boost it needs to help burn the calories and help you lose weight.

Of course, you will need to follow a healthy and balanced diet to make sure you fully benefit from the HIIT programs.

A Happier You Is a Healthier You

Exercise makes you happy. You may not think it at the time of doing it, but afterward, you get a release of serotonin—the happy hormone. By doing your program right at the start of your day, you are happier with your work. You’ll want to do much more, and that helps you feel the overall health benefits.

You see, a happier you is a healthier you. When you feel happier, you can make better choices when it comes to food and drink. Socializing is much easier, and you’ll find that saying “no” to treats is something that you want to do. You put your overall health first, rather than trying to give your body a quick boost of energy or serotonin—leading to a sugar crash and problems with insulin absorption.

Exercise also helps the brain release endorphins—the natural pain relief. You’ll find that general aches and pains are a thing of the past, which will make you feel even happier. Exercise on a daily basis can loosen your joints and improve flexibility in your muscles. Chronic pain could be a thing of the past, which means you feel like you can handle much more.

Get Yourself Moving

sexy woman with dumbbells

We often find it difficult to get ourselves moving, and this leads to so many health problems. Let’s not focus on why we don’t move but on what it does to us. We’re at a higher risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • And much more

Our confidence levels take a dip and we can end up suffering from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. We just don’t feel like ourselves.

These 7-minute workouts actually get us moving. It may be only for a short time, but it’s better than nothing at all. We reduce our risks of so many health problems mentioned above. We focus on putting ourselves first and protect our organs and reduce our weight gain issues.

Work All Our Muscles

While getting moving, we also don’t focus on one set of muscle groups for too long. These 7-minute workouts focus on all our muscles. They get our arms and legs building while getting the blood pumping to focus on lung and heart health. These workouts were excellent for our overall health.

This is something that we just don’t get from longer workout plans. We may focus too much on our cardio health or only work on certain body parts—like our stomachs or legs. We forget about the muscles that we don’t use as often or that we don’t completely care about. This can lead to uneven weight loss or toning.

Variety isn’t just important for our health, but our mind. These 7-minute workouts give us variety on a daily basis. We’re not as likely to get bored, which is a common reason people stop working out. Our shorter workouts invigorate us and make us want to get on with them. We’re interested in the next session, even if we’ve done it in the past. The constant change between different types of programs and exercises and working on a cycle helps to give our brains something new and interesting.

Working on the muscles offers another great benefit. The muscles continue to work after the workout, by repairing the natural tears and damage. That means your body is still burning calories at a higher rate. You’ll find that your metabolism is always working at a higher rate because you’d done the right type of exercise.

Exercises Can Be Adapted

Girl doing pushups

More often than not we find injuries or ailments stop us doing a certain exercise. We may not be fit enough to do some plans, especially if we’re just starting out.

This isn’t as big of a problem with a 7-minute workout compared to longer types of programs. The exercises are easily adapted depending on our needs. For example, we can switch full press-ups to those on our knees or work using exercise balls to keep us off our backs when it comes to pregnancy.

That doesn’t mean you should just jump right in. You will still need to discuss things with your doctor or midwife. Make sure you are ready for the bursts of exercise and find out the best ways of adapting them to work for your current medical needs.

Now Make It Work for You

To make sure the 7-minute workout is effective, there are a few things that you need to do. The first is to focus on a healthy and balanced diet. High protein and fiber diets are much better for you than those full of carbs, but you still need some carbs and fats. Make sure they’re the right type so they break down in the body slowly and fill you up!

Switch your sweet treats and sugary snacks for fresh fruit and vegetables. Look at adding cottage cheese and other calcium-protein-filled foods for your after workout snack or meal. The more you fill your body up with nutrients, the better your 7-minute workouts will be.

You can’t just do the 7-minute workouts and hope they’ll work for your weight loss. The body will need more at strategic points in the week. Once or twice a week focus on the lower intensity exercises, like long runs or longer exercise classes.

Make sure you also follow the training plan accurately. Don’t miss out exercises, unless you have options to replace them because of your health needs. By skipping exercises, you stop working on a certain part of the body, and you’ll end up reducing the intensity at points.

You’ll also want to make sure you keep the intensity levels high during the exercise bursts. Don’t allow yourself too long to rest—10-15 seconds is the recommended amount. However, if you do feel sick or dizzy during the workout, you have likely pushed yourself far too much. Take a step back from the exercise and put your overall health first. Pushing yourself too much can lead to injury and future issues.

Young girl doing Dumbbell Incline Bench Press workout in gym

Over time you may find that you need extra resistance to continue building your muscles. You’ll need to find weights that are safe to use for the specific exercises. Dumbbells tend to be affordable, or you can opt for medicine balls to help with adding extra weight for your sit-ups or crunches. Don’t load yourself up with weight from the start. Build your way up slowly to protect yourself from injury.

If you do feel like you need to do more than 7 minutes in a day, you can also do the workout again at a later period in the day. There is often the recommendation to break down 30-minute exercises into 10-minute bursts, so this will help with that.

Will You Add a 7-Minute Workout to Your Day?

It’s time to stop the excuses and do something good for you in your day. The 7-minute workout is a great way to get fit and look after yourself.

You’ll hear some nay-sayers, but they haven’t read all the research that has gone into the plans. Some of these will also be bodybuilders or athletes who have worked out for years or have hours in their day planned around exercise.

The 7-minute workout is highly effective for you. It’s easier to fit into a busy day, and you’ll be able to focus on improving strength in specific areas of your body. The change in routine will help to keep your mind happy, as you avoid the boredom of long, drawn-out workouts. You can get rid of all those excuses holding you back from putting your health first.

Will you add a 7-minute workout to your day? It really could be the best thing you have ever done.

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