Expert answers to your health and wellness question.
Why don’t I see anyone doing a warm-up prior to working out?
That’s a great question, and one that’s relatively easy to answer. Most people simply don’t make time for a warm-up. Lots of folks just want to “get in and get out,” and don’t really consider the benefits of properly preparing the body for exercise. Let’s highlight a few of these benefits, so you have justification for incorporating it into your workout.
A warm-up increases the temperature of your muscles and joints, which makes movement more efficient and reduces the risk of injury. It causes blood vessels to dilate, which shuttles oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, allowing you to achieve peak performance. It also prepares you for exercise mentally, heightening your senses and allowing you to focus and concentrate on the work at hand.
There are lots of other benefits, but no matter why you do it, a simple fact remains. You will feel and perform better if you include a warm-up. Take five minutes, and do some light cardiovascular exercise, along with a few basic bodyweight strength exercises. Try the elliptical or some fast walking, and throw in some lunges, push-ups, squats, or planks. And don’t forget, it’s best to try and mimic your actual workout if possible!
Question. How do I manage my food intake during the holidays, especially with all the cakes, cookies, and other goodies seemingly everywhere? Help!
I thought we were going to skirt by without addressing this, but I’m glad you asked. Interestingly enough, the answer depends almost entirely on you. Assuming you’re susceptible to sweets and other treats, you really only have three options…go all-out and worry about the ramifications later, avoid them at all costs, or take a reasoned approach and indulge to a modest degree. I think most people would argue that the third idea is the best one. After all, why not treat yourself to a few holiday goodies, especially if you can limit yourself to one or two here and there. And don’t forget to continue with your workouts during this time as well. Restricting foods that you truly enjoy will only increase your cravings for them, and make for an unhappy holiday season. Bottom line, it comes down to choice, and you can choose to make healthy decisions or not, but you have to be realistic. Keep variety, moderation, and balance in mind, and reward yourself for being active all year long!
Question. I drink a vanilla or chocolate protein shake every day. I like the taste, but I’d like to add some flavour without adding too many extra calories. Can you suggest some simple add-in ingredients that I could buy at my local grocery store?
Bananas, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, rolled oats, and many of your favourite fruits are easy add-in ingredients that will jazz up your protein shake.
You can satisfy your sweet tooth and reduce post-workout inflammation with this chocolate and cherry combination: combine chocolate protein power, 1 cup of skim milk, 1 banana, and a cup of fresh or frozen dark cherries.
Of course, there’s nothing better than the perfect mix of chocolate and peanut butter to curb a craving: combine chocolate protein power, 1 cup of skim milk, ½ banana, and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter.
Vanilla protein powders work well with a variety of fruit. Turn your shake into something you drink poolside by adding vanilla protein power, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of frozen raspberries or pineapple and1 tsp coconut extract for a tropical treat.
Jessica Brown, Anytimefitness.com
Jessica is the Member Experience Manager at Anytime Fitness in Orillia, Wasaga Beach and Alliston. She is a fitness enthusiast with a coaching background in competitive figure skating. She earned her CSEP-CPT certificate through Durham College’s Fitness and Health Promotion Program and is also a certified TRX instructor.