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My Biggest Pet Peeve at the Gym

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of spring! Now’s the time to get psyched for those outdoor workouts, new group fitness classes and maybe even splurge on some new workout wear. As we tweak our routines, it’s also the perfect opportunity to make a conscious effort to eliminate one horrible habit I see far too many people engaged in during a workout. It also happens to be my biggest pet peeve when I’m at the gym. I’m taking about texting while exercising.

Texting simply distracts even the most focused fitness fanatics. Being distracted doesn’t only lower your intensity level and lead to a less-than-optimal workout; it can be downright dangerous. According to a 2017 study published in Performance Enhancement & Health, texting during exercise:

  • Impacted balance and stability by 45%, compared to not using a phone.
  • Talking on the phone made balance 19% worse—less than texting, but still significant enough to contribute to injuries

Simply put, texting can raise the possibility of injury from everything from falling off a treadmill or rolling your ankle during that power walk.

Then there’s the fact that texting and taking up space on a machine is just plain inconsiderate. If something is so important that not replying immediately will put someone’s life in danger, step away from the machine, let someone else attack a set and work back in when you’re focused. Sure, emergencies will happen, but unless you’re on call as a physician or some kind of emergency responder, the world won’t end if you take 10 extra minutes to reply to a text.

If you know you’re easily distracted by that smartphone, you may want to consider signing up for more group fitness classes this spring. You’ll be forced to put that phone away for the duration of the class and you can focus on your form and intensity level. Don’t be shy about telling your family, friends and even co-workers if there’s a time of day that you’ll be unreachable. You’re making the effort to exercise and take care of yourself, so you also deserve a sliver of time that truly belongs to you. It’s having those few precious moments of me time that can help all of us be better partners, parents, caregivers and employees.

Smartphones provide tools that can help many of us in our health and fitness journey. They give us access to online workouts, heart-pumping music and apps to keep track of everything from our steps to our calories to whether we’re getting a good night’s sleep. But texts and emails shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s workout routine during any season of the year. So let’s make this the spring we stay focused on what we really need to attack our plans to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

It’s Time for Spring Cleaning!

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

A little spring cleaning for your health & fitness routine can keep you smiling! Photo by Leslie Hassler

We made it to the first Motivation Monday of April! Now’s the time to embrace three staples of the season: Yankees baseball, spring showers and spring cleaning! As you carve out some time to de-clutter the closets and desk drawers, remember this is also the perfect opportunity to get rid of what’s sabotaging your health and fitness goals, too!

Here are my top three tips to help you take stock of what’s working, what’s not and what new things you can look forward to this season:

  1. Do NOT Skip Meals! It seems everywhere we look at this time of year, we’re bombarded by ads pushing us to get that bikini-body ready pronto. One of the biggest mistakes people make in trying to make that happen is skipping meals. If you’re thinking “Well, if I skip some meals, I’ll consume fewer calories and I’ll lose weight,” think again! The reality is you’ll probably end up consuming the same amount of calories if not more because when you do eat, you’ll be ravenous and consume extra calories you didn’t need. Also, when you don’t eat for long periods of time, your blood sugar levels drop which can leave you feeling fatigued, less focused and less productive in general. Instead, go ahead and use this time to develop the healthy habit of eating smaller meals every few hours to keep your blood sugar stable and control your appetite.
  2. Clean Out the Closets, the Drawers…AND the Pantry!  I know it may hurt, but maybe it’s time to get rid of that college T-shirt with the permanent sweat stains. I’m not saying you should toss your school pride in the trash, but why not treat yourself an order an alumni shirt online? While you’re at it, add a few bright-colored, moisture-wicking items to freshly de-cluttered drawers. We all like getting new duds for the season, so why should your workout wardrobe be any different? While you’re getting rid of old stuff in your closets or drawers, let’s not forget the dust bunnies collecting on those sweet or salty treats that have been hanging around in the pantry since the holidays. I know no one likes to waste food, so if you can bring the leftover boxes or bags of treats  to an office or school break room (and you know you have the will power to avoid digging in) let some other people enjoy them. (Assuming they haven’t stuck around past their expiration date, of course!)
  3. Mix Up Your Workout Routine! Don’t let boredom stop you in your tracks! Check for new group exercise classes at the gym or see what workout opportunities exist in the great outdoors. Whether you bang out some Tabatas in your backyard, play kickball with a community group or take an extra long walk in the evening, now’s the time to use Mother Nature as the ultimate motivator.

With a whole new month to look forward to, now’s the time to explore the many different ways we can all have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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