According to Blackstone et al. (2017) exercise in a group setting can increase enjoyment of physical activity and be a great motivator. Working towards a common goal can help us with reaching our individual goals and hold us accountable. We tend to work harder in a group setting and feel better afterwards. There are several ways to finding a group that you might enjoy staying active with.
Find friends with common goals.
Chances are very high that people enjoy the same activities you do. That does not always mean having to go to the gym together. If you have a friend who enjoys hiking or walking and if that is something you are interested in, make a commitment to each other to take regular trips.
Sign up for a group exercise class.
Group exercise classes are not only a great way to find guidance but they are also a great way to socialize. The combination of being motivated by others and making new friends is great. Working out by yourself can be beneficial for reaching your personal goals but research also shows that group exercise can significantly decrease stress levels and the production of cortisol (Yorks et. al, 2017). The UCO Wellness Center offers a variety of classes you can join anytime.
Find a workout partner.
If you enjoy going to the gym, do not shy away from finding someone who shares your interest. Finding a workout partner can hold you accountable to making your workouts a routine and can increase the overall enjoyment.
Blackstone, Sarah R.; Reeves, Dayana; Lizzo, Robin; Graber, Kim C., (2017). A Qualitative Inquiry of Motivations to Participate in Group Exercise Among Women American Journal of Health Studies, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p78
Dayna M. Yorks, Christopher A. Frothingham, Mark D. Schuenke. Effects of Group Fitness Classes on Stress and Quality of Life of Medical Students. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 2017; 117 (11): e17 DOI: 10.7556/jaoa.2017.140
By Kamiera Jones
Have you been contemplating on exercising but just can’t seem to get started or find the time to exercise? We as people tend to make time for the things we feel are most important or things that are at the top of our priority list. Therefore, we must make exercising important to us. In order to have a motivational drive for exercise one must understand both the physical and mental benefits of exercising. In order for exercise to become one of our daily habits or become a part of our behavior patterns we must first change our thought process. We must build an attitude for exercise and exercise itself will fall into place. Start off by establishing goals. Establishing goals will get you motivated because you start to think about the rewards and gains you can get from exercise. Establishing goals is also an integral part when considering your work out plan. Your workout plan does not have to be the same as someone else’s it can be solely based around your individual goals and needs. Having a plan for your workout is a vital part to building an attitude for exercise. Next time your contemplating on whether you should exercise write down all the benefits you can gain from exercising it might get you going!
By Javier Ibanez
When it comes to new people wanting to do resistance training, usually the first questions they ask themselves is whether to work out on machines or with free weights. There are many great benefits for each type of weight training, but there has always been a debate on which one is better. The only way to get a look at this is to see some of the pros and cons of each.
- Benefits to free weights:
- You can do more exercises with less equipment
- Able to use full range of motion
- Able to use anywhere
- Disadvantages to free weights:
- Greater risk of injury
- Proper technique takes time to learn
- Will need a spotter if working with higher weights
Now let’s take a look at machine weights
- Advantages to machine weights:
- Usually safer and easier to use
- Isolate specific muscles
- Ensure correct movements when used correctly
- Disadvantages to machine weights:
- Difficult to strengthen stabilizer muscles
- Bulky and expensive
- May have to wait in line to use at a gym
As you can see, there are many advantages to each type of weight training, but it is up to the individual to decide which type they want to do and are best suited for. If you feel like free weights are what you want to do, but you don’t feel that you are ready for them, then it is OK to start off with machine weights first and work your way over to the free weight area. If you know that you are not going to like the free weight area then it is also OK to stick with the machine weights for a while. Personally, I feel like they are both great and they both need to be used for an exercise program to be effective. Something to keep in mind for those that are just getting ready to start but can’t decide which to go with: something is better than nothing, so pick one and get after it. Even if you don’t know which one is better, you will definitely figure out which one you prefer along the way.
By Kaitlyn Johns
Sports have many benefits to athletes including: improvements in physical health, social connections, and improved self-esteem. Sports can also end up creating a negative body image for young athletes once they begin entering the competition world. Society has such a skewed image of thinness and the pressure of competition on athletes, leading athletes to move towards eating disorders. Most athletes with eating disorders tend to be female, but that does not mean males don’t suffer from this disease as well. Most male athletes suffering from an eating disorder are usually in a sport where there’s a heavy emphasis on diet and physical appearance.
There was a study done on Division I NCAA athletes and over ⅓ of female athletes developed attitudes and symptoms that put them at risk for anorexia nervosa. There are three risk factors that are the main contributors to female eating disorders. This includes: the social emphasis on being thin, performance anxiety and negative self appraisal. These disorders tend to be focused more on sports that are centered around individual performance. Gymnastics is a major sport that suffers from eating disorders. Being a retiree of the sport, I have witnessed first hand on how the pressures of “wanting to be the best” effects the mind and body of young girls. Individual based sports emphasize a single person’s performance rather than looking at the team as a whole. This puts more pressure on the athlete to perform and look their best.
While there is no definitive way to eliminate eating disorders from competitive sports, there are some ways to improve an athlete’s environment to steer them away from believing an eating disorder is their only choice. Ways to help include education from the coaches about positive, healthy lifestyles and communication improvements and focusing more on motivation and enthusiasm for the sport rather than on performance and body weight.
By Darla Hyde
Many of us struggle to find time to make it to the gym every day. So here is a simple arm workout that can be performed at home incorporating your chest muscles, your triceps and shoulders. All of these exercises can be modified to be more or less challenging so try them out to see what best fits you!
Push Ups– Keep your body straight by not allowing your back to arch or letting your bottom stick high up in the air. When going down get your chest about a fist distance away. If this is too difficult keep your knees on the ground as shown below or instead of doing them on the ground, find a counter. Aim for 3 sets of 10.
By Javier Ibanez
When it comes to hydration, many people don’t see how important and how beneficial it is. As many people have heard, the amount of water that is needed to be consumed by an individual is an average of 6-8 cups per day. This is a reasonable amount for people to aim for, but the amount of water needed changes from person to person. Yes, it is good to make sure to always have water around for when you are thirsty, but don’t rely on this too much because what many people don’t know is that thirst is not always the best indicator of hydration. Just because you aren’t thirsty doesn’t mean that your body isn’t in need of fluids.
When staying hydrated, water should always be your go-to choice of beverage. If water is too plain for you then a good solution for that would be to add some fruit, such as strawberries, or even a slice of lemon or lime. Sports drinks are also a good choice when taking part in physical activity because they are full of carbohydrates and electrolytes. Be aware of which sports drinks you reach for because some tend to be high in sugar and sodium.
Some key indications that let someone know if they are dehydrated include:
- Dry mouth
- Darker urine color than usual
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
So if you ever experience any of these symptoms, just make sure to drink a big cup of water and it may just have been because you were dehydrated.
By Darla Hyde
Lately our culture has been obsessed with protein. You see it advertised all over the place with protein powder, protein shakes, and protein bars etc. And rightfully so protein has many benefits such as its abilities to build and repair our muscles, maintain bone strength and it fills you up quicker resulting in helping to manage your weight, as well as many other benefits. But what many people do not know is how much protein one should be consuming and what happens when you consume too much protein. When you consume too much protein it can turn into fat because your body cannot store all of it. Consuming too much protein also has effects such as damaging kidneys, bad breath, being thirsty often and weight gain. On average men consume about 100 grams of protein a day while women consume about 70 grams a protein a day. This is 2 times more than the recommendation for men and about 1.5 times the recommendation for women, and that recommendation is that you should have about 0.8 grams of protein per healthy kilogram of body weight. A good average often used is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women. But keep in mind these numbers are for people who are more sedentary. For those who workout and are athletes, the recommendation goes up to 1.2-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a reference, 6 ounces of chicken breast has about 50 grams of protein in it. Therefore, you might want to rethink those protein shakes and bars if you are already consuming plenty of meats, eggs, beans and other protein dense foods.
By Gaven Hohl
Whether you are at home, on the road, in the gym, or short on time, here is a 15 minute ABS workout. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, going from one exercise to the next. Repeat the circuit for a total of 5 times.
1. Bicycle Crunches – 30 seconds
- Lie flat on the floor or exercise mat with lower back pressed on the ground
- Place hands beside your head, avoid straining your neck when performing
- Lift knees perpendicular to the floor, have your lower legs parallel to the floor
- Simultaneously in a slow and controlled motion move your legs as if you were pedaling (pedal forward with left leg while bringing right knee in towards body, bring left elbow to right knee)
- Go back to beginning position and repeat movement while alternating sides
2. Russian Twist – 30 seconds
- Sit on ground while bending your knees and having your heels pressed on the ground
- Lean backwards slightly while keeping your spine straight
- Place your arms straight out in front of you, place on hand on top of the other
- Tighten your core, twist slowly to one side, then repeat to the other side
3. Side Plank – 30 seconds
- Lie on the side of your body
- Support your body by bracing with your forearm and side of your feet
- Raise hips off the floor, keep core tight
- Raise hips off the floor
- Keep body in a straight line
- Hold position for the amount of time
4. V-ups – 30 seconds
- Lie flat on your back
- While keeping your feet together and legs straight, flex your abdominals to pull yourself up so your body looks like the letter V
- Lower back down to starting position and repeat