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Healthful Habits
The Impact of Physical Activities

It's no secret that staying active is part of a healthy lifestyle. (If you need reminding, take a look at this list.) But how should we define staying active? Must we all hit the gym for an hour everyday or does a moderate walk three times a week count?
Yes, these are all valid questions and thankfully, we have knowledgeable friends at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that did the research to give us answers. Current recommendations for adults suggest:
  • moderate-intensity physical activities for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week, or
  • vigorous-intensity physical activity three or more days of the week for 20 minutes or more per occasion
The CDC defines moderate-intensity as activities that burn 3.5 to 7 calories a minute such as leisurely bicycling, briskly walking, or push-mowing the lawn. Vigorous-intensity is any activity that burns more than 7 calories a minute.
Of course, we should consider our individual goals when setting up an exercise regime. Are we exercising for weight loss, body-building, sports performance, mobility for activities of daily living, or just for social reasons? Depending on our goals, we might need to modify the above recommendations to include more resistance training, flexibility, and/or aerobic training to meet our needs. Need help doing exactly that? There are some helpful interactive tools on the USDA’s website.
Having attended a certified personal trainer workshop in July put on by the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM), I learned that in 2008, the Department of Health and Human Service issued its first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGA). This initiative provides people aged six and older with recommendations for physical activity. You can download the informative brochure (especially the “Getting and Staying Active: Real-Life Examples”) by clicking here.
Maybe the most important part of physical activity is enjoyment. How many of us will continue doing something that we don’t enjoy? Maybe for a couple months because we know it’s “good for us,” but most likely the activity will fade. To continue to reap the benefits of exercise, try to find ways to exercise that you enjoy. Sometimes it's helpful and fun to have a workout buddy, to join the local recreation leagues, or to work towards a goal of participating in an event (from a 5K walk to 15 mile bicycle ride).

Benefits of a Personal Trainer

Are you someone that needs outside motivation to exercise? Maybe the gym is a bit intimidating to you? Possibly you have some fitness goals in mind but you have no idea where to start? A personal trainer might be exactly what you need!

Don't worry, personal trainers are not all scary, hard-core fitness buffs that will yell and scream until you do 50 push-ups in a row (unless that is what you are looking for!). When you find a personal trainer that can meet your needs and understands your goals, you will probably find it to be the best money you'll ever spend. Personal trainers can offer:
  • Personalized fitness programs that meet your goals
  • Fitness evaluations to determine where you currently are and where you would like your goals to take you
  • Supervised exercise to maintain correct form and stay injury-free
  • Motivation!

There are also group fitness options if a one-on-one is not your style. These include group personal training, partner training, fitness classes, and group runs or bike rides. Check out local gyms in your area (like Snap Fitness) or your town's parks and recreation websites.

Monthly Affirmation

"The greatest wealth is health."

-Publius Vergilius Maro
(a.k.a. Virgil)

Know Your Muscles and
How to Keep Them Happy


Muscle: Anterior Tibialis/

Attachment Sites: (AT) Lateral tibia and interosseous membrane to the base of 1st metatarsal and medial cuneiform; (PT) Posterior shaft of tibia, proximal fibula, and interosseous membrane to the 2nd-4th metatarsal and medial tarsals

Action: (AT) Inverts foot and dorsiflex the ankle; (PT) Inverts foot and plantar flex the ankle

Shin Splints

I included both the Anterior and Posterior tibilalis to address shin splint issues. Here is an article that explains shin splint in depth.

Most shin splints come about because of an imbalance in the strength of the lower leg muscles, which then cause inflammation and stress fractures. To prevent shin splints, here are two videos that show you how to strengthen the AT and PT muscles:

Anterior Tibialis:

Posterior Tibialis:

If you already have significant shin splint pain, follow the suggestions in the article above - ice, take anti-inflammatories, cross-train with cycling and/or swimming, don't run on concrete, and rest your legs.

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