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. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Learn How to Enable Yourself to "Change Anything"

Information on the importance of exercise and healthy eating is certainly out there…..what lacks is the know-how to implement that information to achieve success at change for the better. “We have a huge knowing and doing gap,” stated New York Times bestselling author Kerry Patterson during our recent phone interview. “We need to [find ways] to motivate and enable ourselves,” he noted; and, that is just what Patterson and his coauthors have set out to help you accomplish with the release of their latest book Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success (Business Plus; April 11, 2011).

Patterson and colleagues lay out a sensible and practical guide to break your bad habits and develop good ones that can be sustained. The strategies outlined in Change Anything are based on research conducted at the Change Anything Labs in Utah, where more than 5,000 people were investigated as they strived to make a change for the better--whether it was to improve their work performance or get fit and lose weight. A lack of willpower is often blamed for our inability to maintain healthy habits; however, as a result of their research, Patterson and his coauthors contend that the key to success does not reside in willpower alone. They found that successful “changers,” regardless of their stage in life and the nature of their bad habits, utilized 6 principles of influence to overcome their challenges.

The authors explain in Change Anything that when we solely place blame for failure on a lack of personal motivation, we ignore the numerous other forces working against us. Furthermore, they note that when we try to change our behaviors we usually rely on just one approach. Patterson and colleagues describe this scenario as fighting blind while being outnumbered in our battle against bad habits. Fortunately, Change Anything provides a detailed plan to recognize the Six Sources of Influence dictating our daily behaviors and how we can skillfully manipulate and use them in combination to bring about positive results. These Six Sources of Influence are like “windows into the world," according to Patterson. In order to engage these Six Sources of Influence in our favor, we need to take an active role in discovery and be both the scientist and the subject, he explained. “We found that a characteristic of top performers was that they knew how to change a bad day into good data,” Patterson stated. That comes from a process of trial and error and learning from your mistakes.

One of the tactics presented in Change Anything to control the influence of personal motivation is to visit your “default future”--that is, the kind of life you will be living in the future if you continue with your bad habits. This can be done by taking a field trip to a place where someone else is living what you will be living if you continue with your ways, according to Patterson. For instance, an individual who is interested in losing weight to prevent diabetes may volunteer for a day at a dialysis clinic. This makes your future a reality. “Humans have an art form of denying what life would be like…..we are designed to live in the moment. It goes against our nature [to think ahead],” noted Patterson. “Tomorrow is our biggest enemy to combat the immediacy of temptation,” he stated.  Patterson explained further that it is easy to give into temptation when we say “one day I will.” Visiting your default future “gives you the presence of mind as to where you could be going [if change is not made].”

Successful changers use strategies from all Six Sources of Influence in combination. Change Anything brings to light what these six sources are and the tactics you can employ to bring about favorable results. To learn more about Change Anything and to get purchase information visit the Change Anything website.

Kerry Patterson; New York Times Bestselling Author; Phone Interview on May 19, 2011.

Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success; Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler; Business Plus; April 11, 2011.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are Your Business Trips Expanding Your Waistline?

Your health may be affected if you are traveling for business more than 20 days per month, according to a study published online in the April 2011 issue of the Journal of Occupational & Envirnomental Medicine. Researchers from Columbia University's Mailman School of Health in New York, NY reviewed the medical records of 13,057 employees who had physical exams in 2007 as part of EHE International Inc.'s corporate wellness program.  The investigators studied the relationship between business travel and cardiovascular health by evaluating the subjects' body mass index values, blood pressure readings, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, self-rated health scores and the amount of time they spent traveling for business.

The subjects were classified into one of five groups: no business travel, one to six days of business travel per month (light travelers), seven to 13 days of business travel per month, 14 to 20 days of business travel per month, or more than 20 days of business travel per month (extensive travelers). Eighty percent of the participants traveled at least once a month. One percent of the subjects traveled more than 20 days per month. The investigators found that when employees who traveled more than 20 days per month for business were compared to those who only traveled one to six days per month, the extensive travelers were more likely to have a higher body mass index (27.5 kg/m2 versus 26.1 kg/m2), lower "good" HDL cholesterol levels (53.3 mg/DL versus 56.1 mg/DL), and higher diastolic blood pressure values (76.2 mmHG versus 74.6 mmHG). Furthermore, those employees who traveled extensively were more likely to rate their health as fair to poor in comparison to their counterparts who traveled less; however, employees who did not travel for business also tended to rate their health as fair to poor and had higher body mass index values (26.7 kg/M2) than those who traveled one to six days per month. The investigators attribute this latter finding to the "healthy worker effect," that is, individuals with ongoing health problems are less likely to be selected for business travel.

Researchers concluded that extensive business travel (more than 20 days per month), as well as no business travel, are associated with unfavorable health conditions. The authors noted that 81 percent of all business travel occurrs by automobiles, which is associated with long hours of sitting and poor eating habits (both increase the risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease). They also pointed out that business travel may increase job strain/stress, which has been linked to elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The authors recommend workplace interventions, such as seminars on healthy eating and exercise while traveling, for individuals who travel extensively for business to reduce ill effects on health. They also suggest that employees actively monitor their health.

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Health; "Business Travel and Self-rated Health, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors"; Catherine A. Richards, MPH and Andrew G. Rundle, DrPH; April 2011

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

PACES in a Family Journey Toward Better Health

Get healthy and be part of a kindred spirit this Saturday, May 7, 2011 by joining the PACES Day initiative, which puts family fitness at the forefront in the fight against obesity. PACES (Parents and Children Exercise Simultaneously) Day was introduced 4 years ago by Len Saunders, an award winning author and creator of the successful campaign, Project ACES (All Children Exercise Simultaneously), which just celebrated its 23rd year of uniting millions of children through simultaneous exercise activities in classrooms worldwide. Project ACES is celebrated each year on the first Wednesday in May. Saunders, who majored in Physical Education at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and who has a Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from Montclair State University in New Jersey, stated that the concept of PACES Day arose from numerous requests from parents who were pleased with Project ACES and wanted a program that included adult participation.

The PACES Day initiative involves parents committing to setting aside 15 to 45 minutes every Saturday to exercise with their children as part of quality family time. The main PACES Day event that kick starts this weekly trend occurs on the first Saturday in May after the Project ACES celebration. Saunders selected Saturdays for the PACES Day initiative because weekends are usually designated for family time in many households. "Family time is different than what is was 20 to 30 years ago," he stated during our recent phone interview. "Now, both parents are out of the house working until late...and kids are not getting out enough [to exercise]."

PACES Day blends family time with fitness fun. Family exercise time doesn't need to be elaborate or costly to be beneficial. In fact, Saunders explained that when exercise is made out to be too complex, it can be a turn-off and individuals opt not to do it. He pointed out that "exercise needs to be doable." He promotes walking as the best form of exercise. Saunders noted that when concerned families ask him what is the best way to manage body weight, his reply is "Eliminate the liquid calories [i.e., unnecessary sugar- and/or fat-laden drinks such as soda pop, dessert coffee drinks, etc.,] and go for a walk for 30 minutes."

Saunders raised another point to keep in mind when getting kids physically active. "The approach to exercise for kids has to be different than that for the adult. Kids like novel and fun activities," he explained. Saunders' website for the PACES Day initiative offers suggestions for family-friendly fitness activities to do throughout the year to keep kids motivated to exercise. He also noted that when kids see their parents and other kids and their families exercising too, it motivates them. This is one reason why Project ACES and PACES Day are such a success--"kids like to know that others are doing it with them," Saunders explained.

To sign your family up to join PACES Day this Saturday, May 7, 2011 and to learn more about this initiative, visit the website at

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.

Len Saunders, physical education expert in the field of children's health, fitness and wellness; Phone Interview on May 5, 2011.

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