Take a Break, Take A Walk!

Elderly father adult son and grandson out for a walk in the park.

For many of us, we’re used to getting our steps in when walking from one meeting room to the next. However, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted to new communication modes. Meetings transitioned to simply clicking from one zoom to the other, increasing the amount of time we stay sedentary. For those who are still working remotely, this is a reminder to make time for movement! Contrary to how long periods of sitting have negative effects on the body, walking has a long list of benefits. In the spirit of National Walking Day, here are some reasons why you should take a break and take a walk.

Continue reading “Take a Break, Take A Walk!”

What Have You Done for Your Bones Lately?

Image of human skeleton, bones.
The many bones in a human. Bone density measurements are typically taken of hip, lower spine and wrist. Photo By Sklmsta, licensed under CC0.

How is your work from home (WFH) exercise routine going? Have you been able to maintain some semblance of a normal exercise routine? Many of us are staying home to avoid potential SARS-CoV-2 infection.

That’s very important. But after six or so months into the pandemic, one starts to consider the impact of not getting more strenuous and varied forms of physical exercise. We frequently think of exercise and it’s effect on muscle tone and heart and lung fitness. But it goes deeper than that. Our bone health is also at risk from lack of exercise.

Bones: Your Newest Tissue
It’s no secret that our bones are tough, made of minerals like calcium and phosphorous. They help us keep upright, supporting a considerable amount of weight against the force of gravity. Bone also protects organs.

Until recently, little attention has been paid to how metabolically active bone is. Research is now revealing that bone is not simply mineralized scaffolding surrounding bone marrow. Bone is actually a tissue, with vasculature and cells with cilia and dendrites that reach through the bony scaffolding, signaling to other cells. This cellular network, influenced by hormones and other compounds produces new bone, and sometimes reabsorbs existing bone, depending on individual needs and state of health.

Continue reading “What Have You Done for Your Bones Lately?”

Improving Fitness Using Your Weight

Push ups, yes. But the gym not needed for this routine.
Push ups, yes. But the gym not needed for this routine.

Body weight, that is.

It’s true. One of the more recent fitness trends is that of using body weight for resistance, in conjunction with high-intensity circuit training. Brett Klika and Chris Jordan published an article on this method in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, in the May/June 2013 issue.

Here is the Article:
 “High-Intensity Circuit Training: Using Body Weight: Maximal Results with Minimal Investment

When it comes to fitness I’m mostly old school. Years of one- and two-a-day swim practices in high school and college, and long runs for track and cross-country practice off-season from swimming were part of the ‘more miles/time is better’ philosophy. You had to put in the time and miles to get the conditioning and strengthening, as well as cardiovascular benefits. Continue reading “Improving Fitness Using Your Weight”

Standing Up For Your Heart

My new standing desk! Still have some work to do to get everything set up the way I want it, but...

I’m standing as I write this. I’m ecstatic about it. After what I thought might be received as a harebrained or frivolous request, our Facilities folks came yesterday and raised one side of my L-shaped desk to about 40″ high. Add one anti-fatigue mat which is cushily supporting me as we speak, and a stool-height chair (for occasional use) yet to be ordered, and I’m hoping my desk and I have the beginnings of beautiful, renewed relationship.

Maybe some reading this are wondering, “What’s the big deal?” Maybe you already get to stand up for at least part of your day. I’m a software developer, so, unless you count a few trips to the bathroom and the water cooler and walking to meeting rooms, I really don’t have a lot of opportunity to stand. Maybe you just really love sitting. I’d just gotten sick of it. I’d go home after sitting all day long and feel exhausted, my body aching like I’d spent the day in the workout room, my back feeling like I was closer to 85 than 35 years old. I’d think, “That’s weird…I haven’t even really done anything today.”

Yeah. Precisely. That turns out to be a big part of the problem. Continue reading “Standing Up For Your Heart”