Fit to Serve

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a time to celebrate the birthday and reflect on the accomplishments and legacy of Mr. King. It is also a  on which people are encouraged to use their day off from work and school to volunteer in their community. Individuals and groups across the country participate in community service, with some making this their first-time volunteer effort and many more continuing a year-round commitment to service.

You can maximize your impact in community service activities by being fit and healthy. To be sure, there are ways that people of physical abilities can contribute, but many service opportunities require a certain level of fitness to participate. And it is certainly more enjoyable to volunteer if you aren’t being pushed to your limits. In fact, some service activities are similar in exertion to many forms of exercise and some may be consistent with maximal exercise. Unfortunately, the common pattern of inactivity and obesity can limit people’s ability to function optimally at school, work, or in leisure-time activities, including community service.This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

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Mobility matters.

Achieving and maintaining a high level of physical fitness is essential for good health and an active lifestyle. Regular exercise can promote weight loss, enhancing wellbeing, and improve endurance, strength, and flexibility. Of these three components of fitness, flexibility is the one that often gets the least attention. Unfortunately, this can lead to limitations in movement that can interfere with activity and may cause injury.

 

But improving flexibility alone is not the answer—you should also focus on improving mobility, which is the ability to move without limitations. If flexibility allows your muscles and joints to move through their full range of motion, mobility promotes proper movement and posture.

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Planning to join a gym? Here’s what to expect from a fitness test.

Getting in shape is a common goal for the New Year. Before you start an exercise or weight loss program you may want to have a fitness test to determine your current status and to assess improvement as you progress through the program. If you join a gym, a fitness assessment may be required. This is wise, because a fitness test is important for determining a safe and effective exercise recommendation.  It also provides a baseline for you to realize your improvement. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.

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Real resolutions to help you meet your health and fitness goals in 2020.

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? If not, there is still time. Among the most common resolutions are changes to improve health, including quitting smoking, losing weight, and starting an exercise program. Some people set specific goals, such as losing 20 pounds or running a marathon, while others take a more general approach, like eating healthier or getting in shape. Either way, these are excellent goals, but they should not be your only New Year’s resolutions.

 

Your resolutions should also include the things you need to do and change to achieve these goals. For example, losing 20 pounds is a good goal for many people. But what that really means is learning about a healthier way to eat, shopping for and preparing appropriate meals, finding time to exercise each day, and focusing on turning these behaviors into lasting habits. These behaviors would make an excellent resolutions that would lead toward the weight loss goal.

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With this in mind, here are a few resolutions that can help you achieve your health improvement goals:

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Just in time for Christmas, it’s Santa’s annual fitness report

Since Christmas is this week our attention is naturally focused on one person: Santa Claus. Have you ever wondered how Santa gets in shape for his yearly sleigh ride to deliver gifts to good boys and girls around the globe? Like many elite athletes, Santa does not publicly discuss his training or his fitness. There are certainly no published studies that report his one repetition maximum strength or his maximal oxygen uptake.

Given this lack of information, I attempted to make an educated guess about Santa’s training, fitness, and health. This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week.


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Health & Fitness guide to holiday gifts your friends and family really want.

 

The holiday shopping season is well underway, but you may still be searching for that perfect gift for a friend or family member. You probably know someone who plans to start an exercise program, try to lose weight, or otherwise improve their health in the upcoming year. The right gift from you could help them get a good start on their New Year’s resolutions. With so many options for books, DVDs, exercise equipment, apps, and other gadgets, it can be difficult to pick the right gift.

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What the 2020 fitness trends mean for you.

The fitness industry is constantly evolving, so there always seems to be a new piece of equipment in the gym, a new exercise class, or a new way to perform traditional exercises. Some of these become popular enough that they are considered “trends.” Here are the top 10 fitness trends for 2020, compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). This is the topic of my Health & Fitness column this week in the Aiken Standard.

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