Easier Fitness: "Helping people with little time or low energy find simpler ways to exercise, eat better and stay healthy."
The Easier Fitness Blog brings you interesting information and tips on getting in shape. See what's happening in the areas of weight loss, working out, running, cycling, yoga, nutrition and more!
Subscribe to the RSS feed by clicking on the "orange button".
See below for the latest:
Jun 21, 20 10:00 AM
A region of Costa Rica has some of the oldest people in the world. And they owe it all to a simple lifestyle of work, family, helping others and looking forward to tomorrow. Are there any ways you can…
Jun 14, 20 10:29 AM
The Centenarian Olympics are helping people to train to live to 100. Talk about a long-term goal! I think this is a great idea!
Feb 20, 20 07:00 PM
This is a great article from Shape Magazine on how to really feel enjoyment from running no matter what your time.
A region of Costa Rica has some of the oldest people in the world. And they owe it all to a simple lifestyle of work, family, helping others and looking forward to tomorrow.
Are there any ways you can simplify your lifestyle?
The Centenarian Olympics are helping people to train to live to 100. Talk about a long-term goal! I think this is a great idea!
This is a great article from Shape Magazine on how to really feel enjoyment from running no matter what your time.
Do the artificial sweeteners in diet soda actually do more harm to you than the sugar in regular soda? This BrainMD article has more on the story.
A study has found that 2 hours a week minimum of being in nature is needed for good health.
I have blogged here before about a study that found that your mood increases after exercising outdoors for only 5 minutes and that after that your mood doesn't increase much more at all, even after an hour. That is, the biggest gains are after 5 minutes. This 5-minute threshold is great news for people who don't have much time and want to feel better.
I am not sure of how these two studies are related in terms of the 5-minute mood boost and the two-hour minimum for good health.
But it is definitely nice that these were studied and to have benchmarks for which we can aim. Also, the 2 hours a week is an easier target to meet than say, 5 hours or 10 hours a week. And that isn't 2 hours of exercising outdoors, that is just being outdoors, which makes it easier still.
These 4 people are working to make health and wellness spaces more inclusive. For example, meet The Villij, which incorporates nature walks and discussion forums into a yoga class to help build community as well as fitness.
Here is a great 15-minute workout you can do with bodyweight exercises published by Outside Magazine. These can be done outdoors as well as indoors.
Have you ever commented on somebody's weight loss to them or has someone commented to you on your weight loss? This "SELF" article discusses some good points on why this can be damaging to people.
This Healthline article summarizes the 8 best exercises you can do to lose weight and how many pounds you can realistically expect to lose.
Try doing intuitive exercise, which is the same thing as intuitive eating, only with physical fitness. When you eat intuitively, you listen to your body and see what it feels like eating.
So for intuitive exercise, you listen to your body and see what it feels like doing physically. This article has more on the subject.
Looking for inspiration to get off the couch? Ida Keeling, at 103-years-old, is breaking running records in her age category.
She has also written a book about her life called, "Can't Nothing Bring Me Down: Chasing Myself in the Race Against Time".
Check out more about her at this Runner's World article.
Do you find yourself holding back in certain situations, not wanting or unable to give it your all? Do you cave in to the pressure and come away with a lackluster performance?
Would you like to bring more of yourself to your job, your family or your own health?
Todd Herman has written a book that teaches you how to use alter egos, secret identities or personas to bring your best to the table, the stage or your home.
Pretending to be a superhero, or a lion or a tiger, is something we all did as kids. However, many CEOs, Olympic athletes and performers have used this method, including Beyonce, Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King.
It is a fascinating book and the concept can be applied immediately to your performance. Many people pick up on the method very quickly and see results in a short period of time. Perhaps it could work for you.
Did you know that the long-distance Kenyan marathoners run not with a pained expression on their face like most runners, but with a relaxed smile? Did you know that you can become a better runner by running not at your maximum speed, but by a slower, more comfortable speed?
These are some of the things that Mark Cucuzzella talks about in his new book, "Run for Your Life: How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain or Injury and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy". This book is about more than just running tips. He is also a big advocate on encouraging people who have never run or who have given up running, to get into it, or get back into it.
He says many people think they don't like running. But if they try it at slower speeds and find more fun in it (hence the Kenyan runners' relaxed smiles), they might discover that they actually like enjoy running.
He also discusses finding other people to run with and how important group running is to your overall well-being.
Has running not been your friend? He says the human body is made to move. Try doing a bit of running, a bit of slow jogging, and have fun with it. Put a smile on your face.
Don't think you have to have a full-on grin and risk appearing foolish. Put on what is called the "half-smile", which is essentially just turning up the corners of your lips a little bit. It doesn't look like a big grin at all, but it does feel like you're smiling more - more so than the pained expression of many runners.
This Runner's World article has more about the book.
There is a new fitness trend called F45 that started in Australia in 2011. It has trained 1 million people worldwide in 1320 franchises in 37 countries.
The "F" stands for functional and "45" is the length of the workout in minutes. Functional fitness means it makes you work your body out in a more natural way, instead of something like bodybuilding that aims to achieve a certain look. It takes a lot of inspiration from Crossfit, but is a less intense version with less risk of injury.
This Guardian article has more on the story.
There is a new trend of stretching studios where trained professionals stretch people's muscles for them. Often people don't end up doing stretching themselves, but they will if others do it for them.
This trend could as big as Pilates or maybe even bigger.
Most people don't do much stretching. Even people who regularly exercise can often avoid it. But 20 minutes a week can bring good benefits to you.
These studios can be a blend of gym and spa atmosphere. Sessions can be about $40 for 20 minutes.
And for those who don't consider themselves athletes, some people use the studios as a form of relaxation in our fast=paced lifestyle.
This Fast Company article has more on the story.
Doing exercise in bite-sized chunks instead of all at once might help you get more active. The new trend is called "fitness snacking" and doesn't involve eating food snacks, as the name might lead you to believe.
It is being promoted by British celebrity trainer Matt Roberts. This Global News article has more on the story.
Are you having trouble motivating yourself? You might be able to get yourself going in as little as 5 seconds if Mel Robbins has anything to do with it. Her 5-Second Rule says that you must act on an urge to do something within 5 seconds of thinking it with physical action.
Think of it as the countdown to a rocket being launched - "T minus 5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second...we have liftoff!"
This blog article of hers has more on the process.
Not everybody is doing as well as you think they are. Sometimes we think we are the only ones with problems, because it's hard to see other people's pain at times.
Celebrity Dwayne Johnson, "The Rock", has opened up about dealing with depression at times in his life. For someone who exudes strength, confidence and happiness, it shows no one is immune from bad feelings.
One of the Rock's secret weapons for dealing with his bad emotions? What do you know, it's hitting the gym.
So the next time you start to feel like you're the only one with problems and you're watching someone shiny and happy on the screen, remember that that person probably has had some pain in their life.
Take a lesson from what they do too. Even though they have suffered or are suffering, they get the nerve to go and be in a movie. Or start a company or do some big things with their life. Despite their pain, they follow their dreams. If they can do it, maybe you can follow your dreams too.
At Easier Fitness, one of the main recommendations I make for you in the diet department is cutting back on junk food, sugar being a main culprit.
Here is a New York Times article that gives some good tips on how to cut back on sugar.
B.J. Fogg, a Stanford University professor, has created a Tiny Habits program to help you create small adjustments to your habits. Sometimes the larger habits we try to incorporate into our routines are overwhelming.
Fogg has a TEDx talk on his tiny Habits program. And you can read this Huffington Post article for more.
Before you dive into that bag of chips, ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired.
This is called the "HALT" method. Many of our poor choices come from being in one or more of these four states. By asking yourself these questions before you eat junk food, or make the decision to lie on the couch and not work out, or some other poor choice, you can make yourself aware of what your actual needs are.
This article has more on the method.
Danica Patrick's new workout book, called "Pretty Intense", gives you not just a physical edge but a mental edge too. She talks about the importance of the mind and how it governs so much of what you do.
She also has a section on food and cooking.
You can read more about the book in this ESPN article.
Do you need a lightning bolt of inspiration to get you to start on a new path in life? In one actual second, will it hit you what you're supposed to do with your life? Whether it is to work out, lose weight, quit smoking, start a charity or what have you?
Jeff Haden in his book, "The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win" says it doesn't have to be that way. In fact people rarely have a lightning bolt of inspiration, according to Haden. Sometimes they do, but more often it's something different.
The way people tackle large goals successfully goes like this. Take one small step towards your goal. Simply begin. There, you will feel better about that. You have one piece of success under your belt. Doesn't that make you feel good?
Now take another step towards your goal. There, another success. As you keep taking actions towards your goal, you will keep getting successes. Okay, you might get some failures, but hopefully the successes will outweigh the failures.
As you keep getting successes, your confidence will grow. Your initial successes will eventually seem small as your continually growing confidence allows you to take larger and larger steps towards your goal.
As your new role as exerciser, non-smoker, slimmer person, etc. becomes more a part of you, you feel more and more comfortable in that new role. You don't have to wait for years for that lightning bolt. The lightning bolt that probably won't ever come.
So simply start. You won't be an overnight success. Or an overmonth success. Or maybe even an overyear success. But you will have lots of smaller successes that will help you continue what you're doing. You'll have more confidence and your new role won't scare you as much.
It creates a cycle of small step, success, small step, success, small step, success. Simply start. You could spend this year on the couch, thinking maybe you'll go to the gym this year. Maybe you'll go tomorrow. What day will that be? June 2 at 10:00 am? October 24 at 6:30 pm? When? Maybe it will be next year?
Instead, go the gym today. This morning at 10:00 am. Or tonight at 6:30 pm. Go. Go once. And keep taking those small steps.
Do gyms intimidate you? If you're not sure of how it might be to enter a gym for the first time, this article could give you some insight in how to get over your fears.
Alex Hutchinson in this Globe and Mail article describes some of the trends in fitness research for 2018.
Play-based fitness is one of them. An emphasis on making exercise fun and enjoyable should be promoted more. Sadly, too many people think being in shape means drudgery and suffering. Showing people that fitness can come from having a good time needs to be discussed more.
He also puts the study of individual variation in responses to exercise on the list. Not everyone makes the same gains from a given workout. People would be better off if they knew what workout gives them the best results.
Find out more on these and other trends for 2018 here.
One of the best New Year's resolutions I've ever heard was "to keep doing what I'm doing". The person who said this was happy with the way they were living their life and wanted to keep it that way.
I might want to add an extension to that and say "to keep doing what I'm doing, but always look for improvements I haven't thought of yet". Sometimes we don't know what we don't know.
For some more New Year's resolutions, check out this Men's Health Magazine article. It describes 5 typical resolutions people make that don't usually work in the end and some smarter alternatives to them.
Are you intimidated to go to the gym? Does the thought of entering those doors keep you from going? What if there was a way that would make it easier for you to go?
Try this: just go once. Don't get a gym membership; get a day pass. Think to yourself, "I'm just going to go once and, if I don't like it, I don't have to go back."
Often when we think of joining the gym, we automatically think we have to get a year membership, or 6 months or so. If you go for just one day, some pressure is relieved. If you haven't been to the gym before, then you wouldn't have to be thinking about the commitment part of it all. You can focus on the workout part of it and see how that goes.
If you think after that one workout that you might like to go again, that you really enjoyed it and, yes, you want more of it, then get a gym membership. Maybe you would have to get 3 or 4 or 10 day passes before you feel ready to commit. Day passes are relatively cheap, so losing a small amount of money is better than getting a gym membership that you may not use.
Or try this: commit to using day passes for a month or so, until you're ready to commit long-term. If you do this for a month, in the short term you will lose money - a month membership is usually cheaper than using day passes for a month. But if you decide to quit after a month, you will save money; you won't have to pay a long-term membership price, only a month's worth of day passes.
If you do this and only get day passes for awhile, a bonus feature is you can try out different gyms in your area and see which one you like the most. This way you're less likely to spend money on a membership at a gym that's not your favourite.
A cheat day (or a cheat meal) is when you eat whatever you want instead of sticking to your usual diet of healthier choices. Cheat days can help you stay on your diet for longer without giving up on it entirely.
A common ratio of good food to bad food is 80:20, although some people don't ever have cheat days. This is probably quite hard for a large majority of the population. Following the 80:20 rule will be easier for you.
For 3 years I had one treat a week. It wan't even an entire cheat meal, just a part of a meal. I was surprised by how much easier it was for me to do than I thought. The last 4 years I have been having one treat once a month or two.
I found reading books on sugar addiction and how to stop eating junk food very helpful for this. It helps you to get in the right mindset, as well as giving you lots of tips on how to stop eating trash.
I haven't made the jump to one treat every 6 months or year, but maybe someday I will. Here's hoping!
This Huffington Post article has more on whether cheat days could work for you.
Do you have problems getting enough sleep at night? A gym in the UK has created a napping class, called "Napercise", where you can catch some winks in the middle of your day.
Sleep is the foundation of all health and many of us don't get enough of it. Some companies offer nap rooms in their workplaces to help combat this problem. Some predict that nap rooms will be as common as boardrooms in the near future.
This Telegraph article has more on the story.
Some people recommend you weigh yourself every day when you're trying to lose weight. Others say never to weigh yourself. Which is right?
What did people do before scales were invented? People have survived for thousands of years without them.
That said, weighing yourself every day might work for one person, while never looking at the scale might work for someone else.
Personally, I use my scale randomly and infrequently. A couple of weeks might go by before I weigh myself, or maybe a couple of months might go by.
Generally, weighing myself is not foremost on my mind, but whenever it pops into my head, my scale is there to use. So it's not something I think about a lot, but my scale is there whenever I need it. It is like a tool to keep at hand, like a screwdriver or a hammer. You don't think about it much, but it's there at your disposal.
This way it helps me to not worry about my weight too much. I can spend my time thinking about other things. But at the same time, measurement of your progress is an important aspect of attaining many goals, so I don't want to downplay that.
So to answer the question, should you weigh yourself or not, I'm throwing another alternative out there - weigh yourself randomly and infrequently. This would allow you to keep tabs on your weight, but not have to worry about it too much.
How is your self-esteem? If you're trying to get in better shape, the way you think and feel about yourself is very important. How often throughout the day do seemingly small events upset you emotionally? It happens to all of us more than we'd like to think, but so often, we don't do anything about these troubling emotions.
I recently stumbled upon Guy Winch's TED talk on why we should practise emotional first aid. I was really impressed with him. We brush our teeth three times a day. We put bandages on our cuts. We take medicine for colds and headaches. How well do we treat our emotions, though? Do we do much of anything for them, or do we just let them take their course? It's like we have no control of them.
I highly recommend you check out his TED talk. He also has a book called "Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts."
Not all of us can attain "the perfect body". These 10 athletes are trying to break the mold by offering more acceptance of the bodies we've got. See this "Mother Nature Network" article for more.
You might want to check this book out: "Big Fit Girl" by Louise Green. The author talks about the challenges plus-size women have when they try to get in shape.
I'm excited to see this book. The only other book I have noticed before on this topic is "Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now" by Jayne Williams. It was published in 2004.
This Canadian Running Magazine article has more on the book "Big Fit Girl".
A recent study in the USA found that shortening your stride when you run lessens injuries more than switching from a heel strike to a mid/forefoot strike.
This article from the Montreal Gazette has more on the topic.
Scientists have developed a pill that increased the aerobic endurance in mice by a whopping 70%. In the study one group of mice not given the pill ran for 160 minutes; the mice given the pill ran for 270 minutes.
If this drug is developed for humans, it could have implications both good and bad. For one, it could help people not able to exercise to have better health. On the other hand, though, it could be misused by athletes. The following article has more on the story.
When nighttime comes calling, do you head to the fridge? Do you wonder if those late-night snacks do you more harm than good? How bad are they anyway? In this Globe and Mail article, dietitian Leslie Beck weighs in on the issue.
How long does it take to get fit?
Quick weight loss commercials often say something like "six weeks to great abs". Usually it takes people three to four months to see some significant changes to their health and fitness.
For people who exercise consistently, diet properly and who aren't overweight to begin with, they can usually have a lean and muscular body within a year.
But wait! You can have a significant boost to your mood and energy levels within only two weeks of beginning a fitness regime. You don't have to wait six weeks, three months or even a year for that.
You can read this "Healthline" article for more information.
Martin Gibala's new book, "The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter" gives more evidence for small bursts of energy as a way to stay fit. This New York Times article has more on the story.
Do you find that your exercise routine isn't working as well as you'd like? Maybe you're an exercise "non-responder", someone who doesn't seem to benefit from working out.
A new study may give you some hope.
Researchers have found that although you may not be seeing any benefits from your current routine, you might from a different routine. Trial and error can be used to find a form of exercise that works for you.
This New York Times article has more on the story.
Samuele Marcora, an exercise researcher in England, says that how tired your brain is can have almost as much impact on your ability to work out as how tired your muscles are. He says people can perceive themselves as being tired, but in actuality they still have fuel in the tank.
This has immense importance to athletes. If they can get around the perception of fatigue, they can perform better. So how do you do it? I've written about one tip that I've had amazing success with at www.easierfitness.net/self-motivation-skills.
For Samuele Marcora's tips, check out this article from "Outside" magazine.
Timothy Ferriss has put out a new book called, "Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers". I've only just started to read it, so I can't give a full review, but I really like what I've read so far.
The book is a compilation of the tips he's gotten from interviewing world-class people on how they do what they do. Another one of his books I highly recommend reading is "The 4-Hour Body".
Here is an article written by Mr. Ferriss about 8 of the top mental toughness tricks he included in "Tools of Titans".
I'd like you to meet Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest competitive female bodybuilder in the world. At 80 years old, she lifts weights 4 days a week and runs 10 miles a day. Impressive? I think so. I can only hope I will be doing something similar at her age.
Ernestine's book, "Determined, Dedicated, Disciplined to Be Fit: The Ageless Journey of Ernestine Shepherd" is now on my list of books to read.
Another book along these same veins is "What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-Something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives" by Bruce Grierson. It came out in 2014. I highly recommend reading it.
This article has more on Ernestine Shepherd and Chinese actor and model, Wang DeShun, who is also 80.
Are you interested in getting in shape? Congratulations! That interest alone is responsible for 30-40% of your chances of being successful, researchers say.
How do you get the other 60-70% to make your dreams come true? This article on the difference between intent and motivation may have the answer you need.
Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University, started going to the gym after her long research hours began to get the better of her. She was so impressed with how she felt by doing so, she decided to totally change her course of research.
She now studies the effects of exercise on the brain. Did you know that the simple act of walking improves your mood better than aerobic exercise and high-intensity intervals? This is good news for those who don't like to or can't exercise too hard.
Of course, aerobic exercise and harder forms of exercise excel at improving other functions of the brain too, things like like memory and attention.
See this Huffington Post article for more information.
Exercise can often create a sense of adventure in you. Going for a run, getting out on your bike, in your hometown or somewhere you're visiting, nurtures the explorer in us.
A book I stumbled upon in my local library had a big effect on me. In "Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes" the author, Alastair Humphreys, says that for many of us who can't go on vacations all the time, going on smaller outings can have a profound effect on our health and happiness.
He mentions a time when he went with some friends on a weekend trip hundreds of miles away to go biking in the mountains. Being so far away from home created a real sense of adventure for him. But even staying in your own city, and even just for an evening, can do the same thing. He gives many examples of different types of microadventures you can take.
Maybe it will nurture the explorer in you.
I saw a new book in my local bookstore: "Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World" by Kelly Starrett. Did you know that the typical seated office worker suffers from more musculoskeletal injuries than those who do daily manual labour?
I first heard of Kelly Starrett in Tim Ferriss's book, "The 4-Hour Body" (another book I highly recommend reading). In "Deskbound" he gives tips on how to reduce the time you spend sitting, ways to make your desk an active, dynamic workstation and exercises you can do to relieve pain from too much sitting.
Are you an emotional eater? I'm guessing most of us are guilty of it. This Huffington Post article describes why we do this and how we can stop.
Do you want to stop drinking pop? It's one of the first steps I took to start eating healthy. This "People" Magazine article gives some great ideas on how you can drink less of the stuff.
Strauss Zelnick, a 59-year-old media mogul, has created an invitation-only fitness club. He decided to give fitness the same attention he gives meetings or time with friends and family. He said I can meet with you, but I'm going to work out now; you can come with me, if you'd like, and we can keep talking while we work out.
The group keeps acquiring new members and they meet four mornings a week at 6 am. The article I've linked to here is short, but the video gives a good overview of what he has going on. In the video I found it inspiring to watch a big group of people working out on a beautiful morning.
Maybe this is something you could try with people where you work. The health benefits from being in shape include becoming a better performer in the workplace. Perhaps you could improve your work environment by doing something like this.