Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

How Much Exercise Do I Have To Do If I Eat This? A Look Into The Haunting Facts About Halloween Candy

If you are like me, you might be tempted to set aside a treat or two for yourself when handing out Trick-or-Treat candy tonight.  Before you do, consider these potentially frightening facts:*
  • Mars Twix PB chocolate cookie bars, Net WT 1.68 oz, contains 250 calories. To burn off these calories, you would have to walk at a pace of 3.5 mph for approximately 52 minutes.
  • Nestle Butterfinger bar, Net WT 2.1 oz, contains 270 calories. To negate these extra calories you would need to participate in an aerobic dance class for about 37 minutes.
  • Snickers bar, Net WT 2.97 oz, contains 280 calories. You would need to rake leaves for approximately an hour to maintain a caloric balance if you ate one of these.
  • Hershey's Zero bar, Net WT 1.85 oz, contains 230 calories. Jogging for approximately 28 minutes will justify this indulgence.
  • 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp bars, Net WT 1.10 oz, contains 170 calories. Approximately 48 minutes of bowling will burn off these extra calories.
*Exercise times are estimated for an individual weighing 150 pounds.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

Compendium of Physical Activities: Classification of Energy Costs of Human Physical Activities; Barbare E. Ainsworth et al.

ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Garden Path to Better Health

A walk through a public garden may be your answer to inner peace and good health. The health benefits for the mind, body and spirit that are obtained from walking are well documented. Research has also shown that gardens offer therapeutic benefits to visitors and onlookers. Investigators recently looked at the combined effects of these practices, along with reflective writing of the experiences, on symptoms of depression in older adults.

The results of the study, which were published in the September/October 2010 issue of Holistic Nursing Practice, revealed that garden walking and reflective journaling significantly decreased the participants' scores obtained from the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) questionnaire when compared to scores derived from the GDS before the intervention. Forty participants, mean age 71.3 years, underwent 12 garden walks through the Morikami Japanese Museum and Gardens in Delray Beach, Florida at their convenience. Subjects were given a walking guide and a journal for reflective writing.  Each walk was designated a different theme (awareness, possibility, transition, connection, journey, trust, joy, freedom, forgiveness, reflection, gratitude, and fulfillment) and involved 6 designated sites along the mile path at which the participants were to stop and reflect on the garden surroundings and the written descriptions on the point marker.

The intent of the study design was to create integrality - a state in which "the human and environmental energy fields are integrated, inseparable, and affect each other," according to the authors. The researchers concluded that the combination of reflective journaling and experiencing the natural beauty present on the garden walk helped the subjects to feel part of the "big" picture and to develop an understanding of how they fit into that picture. It is thought that this connectedness results in inner peace and alleviates depression.

Holistic Nursing Practice; September/October 2010; pp. 252-259; "Garden Walking for Depression: A Research Report"; Ruth McCaffrey et al.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Glowing Truth About Women and Sweat - A look into gender differences of the sweat response to exercise

Women sweat; and, physically trained women sweat more than untrained females. Furthermore, both groups of women sweat less than their male counterparts. In other words, men are more efficient at sweating than women, according to a study published by Japanese scientists in the October 2010 issue of Experimental Physiology.

Sweating is associated with negative connotations by some; however, it is a necessary response to cool the body and maintain its core temperature.  In athletics, an efficient sweating response gives the participant the advantage. An individual who is able to effectively cool his body will be able to exercise longer.

In the current study, the researchers examined the effects of physical training on the sweating response in four groups of subjects: physically trained females; untrained females; physically trained males; and, untrained males. The subjects performed an hour-long continuous cycling exercise during which the intensity was increased every 20 minutes. The temperature and relative humidity of the exercise testing room was held constant. Recordings of the subjects' body temperature, sweat rate, number of activated sweat glands, and the amount of sweat output per gland were taken at each workload.

Data from the study indicated that both the physically trained male and female participants started sweating at lower mean core body temperatures compared to their unfit counterparts. However, it was found that exercise training in men led to greater improvements in the sweat response to exercise, revealing a gender difference in adaptation to exercise training. Untrained females had the least efficient sweating response to exercise, requiring an achievement of a higher mean body core temperature before the sweat response was elicited.

Experimental Physiology; October 2010; pp. 1026-32; "Sex Differences in the Effects of Physical Training on Sweat Gland Responses During a Graded Exercise"; T. Ichinose-Kuwahara et al.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Americans Need to Step Up the Activity

Americans aren't keeping in stride with other countries when it comes to measuring activity level according to steps taken per day. A study published in the October 2010 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that Americans take fewer steps per day than adults in Japan, Australia, and Switzerland--countries in which the obesity rates are lower compared to the United States. On average, American adults are taking 5,117 steps per day compared to 7,168 steps per day in Japan; 9,695 steps per day in Australia; and 9,650 steps per day in Switzerland.

In the study, men took more steps than women. Individuals who were single or who had a higher education were likely to take more steps, as well. Findings also showed that fewer steps were taken by older adults and individuals who were overweight or obese. The researchers suggest that Americans need to walk approximately 30-40 minutes per day to match the number of steps taken by adults in the other countries studied.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; October 2010; pp. 1819-1825; "Pedometer-Measured Physical Activity and Health Behaviors in U.S. Adults"; David R. Bassett JR. et al.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Recess Time at Work?

How would you like to go back to the days of recess? My guess is that many adults would jump at the prospect. Fortunately, the idea does not have to be a mere fantasy. Antronette K. Yancey, MD, MPH, Professor in the Department of Health Services at UCLA School of Public Health and Co-Director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center For Health Equity has created Instant Recess, a program developed to provide adults in the workplace with 10-minute exercise breaks during the day.

The goal of Instant Recess is rooted in the concept of the "built" environment; that is, it's designed to create a surrounding and atmosphere that fosters increased physical activity by its occupants.  Instant Recess, with its simple exercises taken from sports and dance moves and performed to music, makes exercise enjoyable for individuals who are out-of-shape, overweight/obese, or who are new to exercise. Dr. Yancey wants to empower people to become "Champions for Change" by choosing active pursuits over sedentary habits.

For Instant Recess to be effective, employers need to integrate the program into the work environment at specific times of the day, such as during regularly scheduled meetings.  The activities should be performed at a level that allows street clothes to be worn, yet challenging enough that the time spent counts toward the federal government's recommendation of 150 minutes of physical activity per week to promote health.

If you are interested in implementing the Instant Recess program into your work environment visit Dr. Yancey's website at ToniYancey.Com for more information.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lifestyle Behavior Effects Number of Sick Days and Job Productivity, Study Says

Health-related choices made at home effect productivity on the job and the number of sick days taken by employees, according to a new study published online September 27, 2010 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.  Researchers studied the lifestyle habits of 10,624 workers from 49 companies in the Netherlands during the period of 2005 to 2009.  The participants answered an online questionnaire that required them to rate their work productivity on a 10-point scale during their most recent workday and the number of sick days they took during the previous 12 months.  Additionally, subjects answered questions regarding their physical activity level, smoking and alcohol habits, and fruit and vegetable consumption.  Body weight and height were collected from the questionnaire as well.

The researchers reported the following findings:
  • Obesity, low levels of activity, and smoking were associated with a greater number of sick days.
  • Obesity, smoking, and a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables were linked to a decrease in job productivity.
The investigators concluded that lifestyle behaviors and obesity account for more than 10 percent of sick leave and decreased work productivity. They suggest that primary interventions targeting lifestyle choices may maintain a productive workforce.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine; September 27, 2010; "The Role of Obesity and Lifestyle Behaviours in a Productive Workforce"; Suzan J W Robroek et al.,.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Can Reading Your Emails Get You In Shape?

The key to staying on the track toward good health and better fitness could lie in your email inbox. A behavior-changing program called Alive! will send you weekly emails filled with tips, information, and personalized goals that will keep you motivated and moving in your journey to better health.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the development of the Alive! program.

This email-based lifestyle intervention program has been proven to effective in improving the dietary intake and physical activity levels of its participants.  It offers three plans from which you can choose to either increase your exercise level; increase your intake of fruits and vegetables; or change your diet by decreasing your consumption of sugars and "bad" fats (trans and saturated fats) toward one that is composed of "healthy" fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) and whole grains.  Each path will be followed for 12 weeks.

How it Works:
  • Complete an initial questionnaire regarding your current diet and physical activity level.
  • Alive! will help you to set personal goals related to your chosen path based on the results of the questionnaire.
  • Receive customized weekly emails devoted to helping you achieve your goals and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.  You will also have access to interactive tools that will help you stay the course.
For more information about this program visit Alive!.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Fitness Fun For Families

The research is compelling, better health comes from less time sitting and more time spent being active during leisure periods of the day. It's all too easy to decrease your activity level when the season changes from warmer to cooler; but, the end of summer doesn't mean an end to active pursuits. The cool, crisp days of fall are full of opportunities to get out and get active. Try these family fall activities that provide fun and fitness:
  • Take A Fall Colors Hiking or Biking Tour. What better way to experience Nature's beauty than to experience it first hand.  Reap the cardiovascular benefits of a hike or bike ride while stimulating your senses of sight, smell, and sound.  To find a tour where you can actively enjoy the beauty of the colorful trees, the sweet scent of their foliage, and the gentle crunching of fallen leaves underfoot, visit Or, if you prefer a self-guided endeavor, visit
  • Go Apple Picking. Apple picking is an activity that truly offers sweet rewards. It not only works your legs as you walk around the orchard, but it strengthens your arms and core as you pick and carry the apples. To find an orchard near you visit
  • Visit a Pumpkin Patch. The search for that great pumpkin will get your heart pumping as you trek through the patch.  To help you pick the best pumpkin visit
  • Navigate a Corn Maze. Will you be able to find your way? Take an adventure through a corn maze to challenge your wit while you get fit.  For more information, visit

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