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Today’s Kids and Physical Activity Do Not Always Go Hand In Hand But Garmin Can Help

It seems like every time we turn on the television we are hearing about how the United States is suffering from a wave of inactive citizens. We are becoming more and more sedentary and now over the past several years it’s affecting our kids. In fact, according to the federal governments National Health and Nutrition agency obesity in our country ranges from 13.5 all the way to 25.8% of the children today, based on ethnic and demographic areas are obese!

Other data obtained from regional sources have found that High school students are watching less television but spending more recreational time on computers and in turn their struggling to get enough physical activity. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reveals that among U.S. high school students, 43% used a computer three or more hours a day for fun outside of school work, up from 41.7% in 2015 and 41.3% in 2013. And with the increased use of smartphones and the draw of social media apps. Kids ranging from 12-17 years old are spending an average time on their phones of 3-4 hours a day.

This increased use of electronic activity hinders or takes the place of face to face interaction between children on a regular basis and so are getting less and less time being spent conducting any physical activity that would help to reduce the amount of body fat our children are building up on a regular basis.

In order to help combat this trend of inactivity, using a techie device that can attract the attention of the younger generation, Garmin has developed a fitness activity monitor geared to make being active fun for our kids and get them thinking being active is fun and rewarding.

Garmin came out with the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  Relying on the fascination that our children have for everything Disney and Marvel characters, Garmin developed this monitor to entice our kids into earning points in order to advance in the chosen role of their choice.

Every day that your kids meet their 60-minute activity goals, they advance in the kid-friendly adventure of their choice! You can choose between Mickey’s Birthday Surprise, Ultron’s Revenge: A Marvel Avengers Mission, or BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story.

The app experience matches the style of band you choose. Get access to new adventures and more fun by purchasing additional bands and pairing them with the free parent-controlled mobile app.

Parents manage their kid’s activity tracker by using the free app. You can add multiple children, and see their steps, sleep, daily activities, and chore data, yes we said chore data when it syncs to your mobile device.

You can assign tasks and chores for your kids which really starts building the concept of earning what they have worked towards. Not a bad concept, right? You can set schedule alerts, find out how many reward coins each child has, access adventures, and even invite the whole family to compete in daily step challenges together, all from your mobile device.

So, let's look a little deeper in just what this “Kids” geared activity monitor has going for it.

1st. There are a variety of different models of the Vivofit Jr. 2, all of which are tied to specific Disney ‘adventures. Essentially the way it works is a band is linked behind the scenes which unlocks a given software adventure for that particular Disney band. These adventures/themes are:
 Mickey Mouse
 Star Wars
 Captain America
But that aligns to six different bands:
 Stretchy Minnie Mouse
 Adjustable Minnie Mouse
 Stretchy Star Wars BB-8
 Adjustable Star Wars The Resistance
 Stretchy Avengers
 Adjustable Captain America

There are two types of bands. The adjustable bands are aimed at kids 6+, while the stretchy bands are aimed at kids 4-7 years old. Previously there was only a single size band.

When you get the monitor, in the box you'll find the activity monitor, along with a small, easy to use manual, it's not hard at all to set up! And for battery life, you’re not going to have to charge the thing each night in order for it to be ready for your kids next busy day, No. It takes a "Coin" cell battery, easily replaceable, that will provide power to your monitor for about a year. Not bad right? It takes the problem of constantly charging another personal device, like you don't have enough things plugged into a charger all over your home as it is!

Once you have the Vivofit Jr. 1 all you need to do in order to change up the adventures is purchasing a new adventure/themed band, which run about $29.00 each. Once you swap out the old band for a new one, you'll get an unlock code for that particular band's adventure/theme that you can add to the mobile app.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind that you won't get unless you have a Vivofit Jr. 2 unit:
 Toe to Toe challenge is only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Reminder Alerts are only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Only a single alarm on Vivofit Jr. 1 (versus two alarms on Vivofit Jr. 2)
 Up to 8 reminder alerts on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Color screen on Vivofit Jr. 2, versus not-color on Vivofit Jr. 1
 No color screen means no customizable Disney step icons on Vivofit Jr.

Setting it Up:
The first step in getting the unit set up, as well as your app and instructing your family on the do's and don'ts of using the monitor. The Vivofit Jr. doesn’t use the typical Garmin Connect Mobile app, but rather uses a totally separate app, aptly called ‘Vivofit Jr.’. That said, that app does integrate behind the scenes to your regular Garmin Connect account, if you have one. Note: This app should be installed on the parent's phone/device- NOT something the kids use.

Next, you need to create your family group within the app.
Once this is done, you can invite other people you know or those who's kids also have the Vivofit Jr to manage the children's progress as well as yourself. They can do this from the same app that they install on their own phone or device. This way it doesn't need to be all on you to monitor the progress of your kid's activity levels. you'll have some help.

Then you take the Vivofit Jr. and add it to the app. To do this you just hold down the button for a few seconds and it starts the pairing mode. It’s really just that simple.

Once you've associated the tracker with the app, you can create a child to add to the family. This is simply setting the name, age, gender and sleeping hours for each child. You can also configure either a default icon or an avatar, for each child.

The final step is to specify a steps icon, which is tied to the theme that you purchased (the different type of band). The child will be able to unlock additional steps icons later down the road as they do more steps. Also, you can specify the name that’s displayed on the tracker itself for each child. This can also be used in competition between devices.

Using it:
With everything all set up, it’s time to get your family into the mix. Simply put, the kids will go off and go through their normal daily routine with the band and it’ll track their steps – just like an adult activity tracker would. It’ll also track their sleep if they wear it 24/7.

They can see their steps at any time by just pressing the button on the front. By default, it’ll show the time. Press the button once though and it’ll show the date.

Once the above steps are completed you’re good to go. In the event you have additional kids or devices to set up, you’ll repeat the process. Note that the icons differ between the different Vivofit Jr. 2 packs that are bought. So if you bought a Star Wars band, you’ll get Star Wars icons

Press it again and it shows their selected icon along with the number of steps they’ve achieved this day. Here’s where you see that customizable Disney step icon.

Press it once more and they get a simple icon towards their ‘active minutes’ goal for the day (default is 60 minutes). This is where things differ a bit from an adult in that on the Garmin adult activity trackers you’ve got step goals and intensity minute goals. So this is just simplified as active minutes, without a specific step goal.

Tap it one more time and the child can see how many chores they’ve accomplished for that day:
Pressing again gets the child to their coin/point earnings for the day. This is controlled by you within the app.
Once you’ve gone through those steps, you get to see just how many stars you’ve earned!

And that’s essentially the core screens a kid would use most of the time. However, if they hold the button down for a bit, it gets into a second-tier menu that offers:

The ability to Sync with their parents’ phone: This will trigger the Vivofit Jr. 2 to start a data sync to upload steps

Timed activities: These are pre-configured activities you can create like 15 minutes of homework time or two minutes of brushing their teeth. They can move through the various icons and pick which ones to do, and the unit will count-down the time remaining. This could be for ‘chore’-like activities such as homework, or rewards activities like screen-time.

Stopwatch: Simply put, it’ll count time upwards forever.

Step Challenge: The Toe-to-Toe Step challenge that I cover in a moment with a two-minute timer to get the most steps. This can be done either individually or against others.

It’s really all pretty straightforward and easy to navigate around.

As we mentioned above, there are a couple of new features specific to the Vivofit Jr. 2, one of which is the ‘Toe-to-Toe’ challenge. Within this, kids can challenge each other to a two-minute timed step contest. To kick this off they get to the menu through the two-tier set of menu button presses to begin the challenge. The units then use wireless ANT to communicate between themselves to enroll participants and get ready to start. It’ll show who you’re competing against as well as part of this.
Once complete, they’ll see their total number of steps during the challenge and find out if they triumphed over their friends or beat their own personal best. It’s all controlled right from the wrist. Download the Connect IQ™ app to a compatible device to challenge your kids to a step competition.

And it's not just limited to preloaded contests based on the types of bands you purchase. You can also create “Chores” customized for each child if you wish. How about that, an activity tracker that lets you know when or “IF” a chore given to your child is completed! How great is that, and by using the Garmin Vivofit Jr. your kids start getting excited about doing their chores and getting them done in a timely manner, especially if they're competing against a sibling.

And they can’t “Fudge their scores, marking them as done, so they can move off to another level. It’s up to you to mark the chore as being completed so that you know when to check out their tasks and then YOU mark them as completed.


All in all, this is a pretty great tracker to entice our young ones into getting accustomed to being more active on a daily basis. And from the apps used, it's great that Garmin has built in so much interaction and tracking ability with the device while allowing a parent to customize it so it fits their daily lifestyle.

So are you ready to have the kiddos get active and make their day competitive with some outside adventures, instead of sitting inside watching tv or playing video games? And how about you, are you going to be leading by example so while the kids are out there doing their chores, are you going to be out there with them doing yours? Like mowing the grass, maybe splitting some wood for the stove or just doing the one in a hundred of things any homeowner can do on a weekend?

Go ahead, click on this link Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  and get the whole family on a more active, energetic lifestyle. What are you waiting for?

 

Read more

It seems like every time we turn on the television we are hearing about how the United States is suffering from a wave of inactive citizens. We are becoming more and more sedentary and now over the past several years it’s affecting our kids. In fact, according to the federal governments National Health and Nutrition agency obesity in our country ranges from 13.5 all the way to 25.8% of the children today, based on ethnic and demographic areas are obese!

Other data obtained from regional sources have found that High school students are watching less television but spending more recreational time on computers and in turn their struggling to get enough physical activity. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reveals that among U.S. high school students, 43% used a computer three or more hours a day for fun outside of school work, up from 41.7% in 2015 and 41.3% in 2013. And with the increased use of smartphones and the draw of social media apps. Kids ranging from 12-17 years old are spending an average time on their phones of 3-4 hours a day.

This increased use of electronic activity hinders or takes the place of face to face interaction between children on a regular basis and so are getting less and less time being spent conducting any physical activity that would help to reduce the amount of body fat our children are building up on a regular basis.

In order to help combat this trend of inactivity, using a techie device that can attract the attention of the younger generation, Garmin has developed a fitness activity monitor geared to make being active fun for our kids and get them thinking being active is fun and rewarding.

Garmin came out with the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  Relying on the fascination that our children have for everything Disney and Marvel characters, Garmin developed this monitor to entice our kids into earning points in order to advance in the chosen role of their choice.

Every day that your kids meet their 60-minute activity goals, they advance in the kid-friendly adventure of their choice! You can choose between Mickey’s Birthday Surprise, Ultron’s Revenge: A Marvel Avengers Mission, or BB-8’s Adventure: A Star Wars Story.

The app experience matches the style of band you choose. Get access to new adventures and more fun by purchasing additional bands and pairing them with the free parent-controlled mobile app.

Parents manage their kid’s activity tracker by using the free app. You can add multiple children, and see their steps, sleep, daily activities, and chore data, yes we said chore data when it syncs to your mobile device.

You can assign tasks and chores for your kids which really starts building the concept of earning what they have worked towards. Not a bad concept, right? You can set schedule alerts, find out how many reward coins each child has, access adventures, and even invite the whole family to compete in daily step challenges together, all from your mobile device.

So, let's look a little deeper in just what this “Kids” geared activity monitor has going for it.

1st. There are a variety of different models of the Vivofit Jr. 2, all of which are tied to specific Disney ‘adventures. Essentially the way it works is a band is linked behind the scenes which unlocks a given software adventure for that particular Disney band. These adventures/themes are:
 Mickey Mouse
 Star Wars
 Captain America
But that aligns to six different bands:
 Stretchy Minnie Mouse
 Adjustable Minnie Mouse
 Stretchy Star Wars BB-8
 Adjustable Star Wars The Resistance
 Stretchy Avengers
 Adjustable Captain America

There are two types of bands. The adjustable bands are aimed at kids 6+, while the stretchy bands are aimed at kids 4-7 years old. Previously there was only a single size band.

When you get the monitor, in the box you'll find the activity monitor, along with a small, easy to use manual, it's not hard at all to set up! And for battery life, you’re not going to have to charge the thing each night in order for it to be ready for your kids next busy day, No. It takes a "Coin" cell battery, easily replaceable, that will provide power to your monitor for about a year. Not bad right? It takes the problem of constantly charging another personal device, like you don't have enough things plugged into a charger all over your home as it is!

Once you have the Vivofit Jr. 1 all you need to do in order to change up the adventures is purchasing a new adventure/themed band, which run about $29.00 each. Once you swap out the old band for a new one, you'll get an unlock code for that particular band's adventure/theme that you can add to the mobile app.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind that you won't get unless you have a Vivofit Jr. 2 unit:
 Toe to Toe challenge is only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Reminder Alerts are only on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Only a single alarm on Vivofit Jr. 1 (versus two alarms on Vivofit Jr. 2)
 Up to 8 reminder alerts on Vivofit Jr. 2
 Color screen on Vivofit Jr. 2, versus not-color on Vivofit Jr. 1
 No color screen means no customizable Disney step icons on Vivofit Jr.

Setting it Up:
The first step in getting the unit set up, as well as your app and instructing your family on the do's and don'ts of using the monitor. The Vivofit Jr. doesn’t use the typical Garmin Connect Mobile app, but rather uses a totally separate app, aptly called ‘Vivofit Jr.’. That said, that app does integrate behind the scenes to your regular Garmin Connect account, if you have one. Note: This app should be installed on the parent's phone/device- NOT something the kids use.

Next, you need to create your family group within the app.
Once this is done, you can invite other people you know or those who's kids also have the Vivofit Jr to manage the children's progress as well as yourself. They can do this from the same app that they install on their own phone or device. This way it doesn't need to be all on you to monitor the progress of your kid's activity levels. you'll have some help.

Then you take the Vivofit Jr. and add it to the app. To do this you just hold down the button for a few seconds and it starts the pairing mode. It’s really just that simple.

Once you've associated the tracker with the app, you can create a child to add to the family. This is simply setting the name, age, gender and sleeping hours for each child. You can also configure either a default icon or an avatar, for each child.

The final step is to specify a steps icon, which is tied to the theme that you purchased (the different type of band). The child will be able to unlock additional steps icons later down the road as they do more steps. Also, you can specify the name that’s displayed on the tracker itself for each child. This can also be used in competition between devices.

Using it:
With everything all set up, it’s time to get your family into the mix. Simply put, the kids will go off and go through their normal daily routine with the band and it’ll track their steps – just like an adult activity tracker would. It’ll also track their sleep if they wear it 24/7.

They can see their steps at any time by just pressing the button on the front. By default, it’ll show the time. Press the button once though and it’ll show the date.

Once the above steps are completed you’re good to go. In the event you have additional kids or devices to set up, you’ll repeat the process. Note that the icons differ between the different Vivofit Jr. 2 packs that are bought. So if you bought a Star Wars band, you’ll get Star Wars icons

Press it again and it shows their selected icon along with the number of steps they’ve achieved this day. Here’s where you see that customizable Disney step icon.

Press it once more and they get a simple icon towards their ‘active minutes’ goal for the day (default is 60 minutes). This is where things differ a bit from an adult in that on the Garmin adult activity trackers you’ve got step goals and intensity minute goals. So this is just simplified as active minutes, without a specific step goal.

Tap it one more time and the child can see how many chores they’ve accomplished for that day:
Pressing again gets the child to their coin/point earnings for the day. This is controlled by you within the app.
Once you’ve gone through those steps, you get to see just how many stars you’ve earned!

And that’s essentially the core screens a kid would use most of the time. However, if they hold the button down for a bit, it gets into a second-tier menu that offers:

The ability to Sync with their parents’ phone: This will trigger the Vivofit Jr. 2 to start a data sync to upload steps

Timed activities: These are pre-configured activities you can create like 15 minutes of homework time or two minutes of brushing their teeth. They can move through the various icons and pick which ones to do, and the unit will count-down the time remaining. This could be for ‘chore’-like activities such as homework, or rewards activities like screen-time.

Stopwatch: Simply put, it’ll count time upwards forever.

Step Challenge: The Toe-to-Toe Step challenge that I cover in a moment with a two-minute timer to get the most steps. This can be done either individually or against others.

It’s really all pretty straightforward and easy to navigate around.

As we mentioned above, there are a couple of new features specific to the Vivofit Jr. 2, one of which is the ‘Toe-to-Toe’ challenge. Within this, kids can challenge each other to a two-minute timed step contest. To kick this off they get to the menu through the two-tier set of menu button presses to begin the challenge. The units then use wireless ANT to communicate between themselves to enroll participants and get ready to start. It’ll show who you’re competing against as well as part of this.
Once complete, they’ll see their total number of steps during the challenge and find out if they triumphed over their friends or beat their own personal best. It’s all controlled right from the wrist. Download the Connect IQ™ app to a compatible device to challenge your kids to a step competition.

And it's not just limited to preloaded contests based on the types of bands you purchase. You can also create “Chores” customized for each child if you wish. How about that, an activity tracker that lets you know when or “IF” a chore given to your child is completed! How great is that, and by using the Garmin Vivofit Jr. your kids start getting excited about doing their chores and getting them done in a timely manner, especially if they're competing against a sibling.

And they can’t “Fudge their scores, marking them as done, so they can move off to another level. It’s up to you to mark the chore as being completed so that you know when to check out their tasks and then YOU mark them as completed.


All in all, this is a pretty great tracker to entice our young ones into getting accustomed to being more active on a daily basis. And from the apps used, it's great that Garmin has built in so much interaction and tracking ability with the device while allowing a parent to customize it so it fits their daily lifestyle.

So are you ready to have the kiddos get active and make their day competitive with some outside adventures, instead of sitting inside watching tv or playing video games? And how about you, are you going to be leading by example so while the kids are out there doing their chores, are you going to be out there with them doing yours? Like mowing the grass, maybe splitting some wood for the stove or just doing the one in a hundred of things any homeowner can do on a weekend?

Go ahead, click on this link Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 - Kid's Interactive Activity Tracker  and get the whole family on a more active, energetic lifestyle. What are you waiting for?

 

Read more

Fitness Building Blocks, Let’s Start With Your Core!

Ok, anyone that is looking to get in better shape has probably heard all kind of fitness conversations about what to do, how to do it, and how you can get results faster. If you’re like most people nowadays, you’re clicking around through the internet, searching on current fitness trends and what would work best for you and how to go about implementing it.

Well, here’s one more for you to contemplate. Work on building up your “Core” So do you really know what people mean when they’re talking about “Core”?
The “core” is a term used to describe just about everything on your body that isn't your legs and arms. This means you can think of your glutes, hips, abdominal muscles, inner abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, and scapula as your core. Your core is where your power is generated in order to carry out any movement. Your core muscles help strengthen and stabilize your spine and pelvis, which is why developing a powerful core is the first step to making your whole body stronger.

But you need to “Own” your commitment to building up your “Core” and its not getting any easier to find the time to do this. Remember, those New Year resolutions you made about 8 weeks back? Well, if you’re like most Americans, about 41% made a New Year resolution after that ball dropped at midnight. Out of that 41 %, 21% of them made the resolution to get fitter for 2018. But as in preceding years, at this time of year, by the end of February, only about 8% of those resolutions made are still being kept. Something we can probably all agree on: It's freakin' tough to stay fit when life's just this busy, and it only seems to get harder every year, especially when it means blocking off time to get in your exercises!

So, what is a "Beginner Fitter", To do?
So maybe you aren’t in good enough shape to get down and give us 50 crunches. But we know you’re not looking to ignore your core either. Well here’s no small truth: A strong midsection isn’t all about six-pack abs. Every time you lug in the groceries, shovel some heavy snow, or get out there (weather permitting) to do some landscaping around your home that involves digging, raking or picking up cut branches, to some extent your relying on your core as a foundation of strength to be able to accomplish these tasks.

Lots of beginners have upper back tension or lower back issues. Your core is located in your posterior chain and strengthening it will help keep your chest up and your spine strong, which can correlate to some back pain relief.

Whether you’re getting back into fitness after a lapse or you’re an exercise newbie, developing a solid core will increase your stability and balance. Translation: You’ll be able to perform more advanced moves with confidence as you regain your strength.

Below are a few exercises you can do, without the need to get to a gym and use their equipment. But to keep you honest and to track your exercise routines to make sure you are accomplishing your goals of working your “Core” and getting the maximum out of your workout routines, you should use an activity tracker. This way it automatically records your activity levels and provides that data to you so you can track just how well you're doing against what you need to attain your weekly or monthly fitness goals. One such tracker is the Garmin Vivofit 3  You can actually set daily goals for yourself in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Vívofit 3 acquires information about your current activity levels and accordingly assigns daily goals. It keeps on refreshing your daily goals as you achieve the previous ones and helps you march towards a better and healthier life. And if you happen to be sitting a little too much throughout the day, it’s going to remind you that its time you moved so that you maintain the proper movement within your daily lifestyle. So, take advantage of what technology has to offer you in helping you to achieve that “Core” that will carry you through any kind of life obstacle!

Bird-Dog Crunch
Targets: Abs, hamstrings, glutes and shoulders
Stronger abs don’t develop overnight, you’ll have to first learn how to activate your core. For this essential True Beginner core exercise, start on the floor on all fours, hands placed directly underneath your shoulders, hips in line with your knees. This is your starting position. Lift your right hand and extend your arm straight out in on you, keeping it shoulder height, while simultaneously lifting your left leg and extending it straight back (a). Your whole body should be in a straight line from right fingertips to left toes. Bring your left leg to touch your right elbow under your stomach. Extend your leg and arm out again. Return to starting position (b). Repeat on the other side (c). Do five reps on each side.

Modification: If you’re unable to maintain form, simplify this movement by forgoing the crunch. Instead, extend your arm and opposite leg out and hold for three seconds, then switch sides.

Standing Bicycle Crunches
Targets: Oblique’s, rotational muscles
Do traditional crunches cause discomfort? Rubin suggests this True Beginner variation instead. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands placed behind your head. With a tight core, straight back and relaxed shoulders lift your right leg and simultaneously raise your right knee and lower your left elbow towards each other (a). Return to the starting position (b). Repeat on the opposite side. Do five reps on each side.

Modification: If rotating your upper body downwards is too difficult, simply lift your knee to your chest while keeping your upper body still, alternating legs.

Seated Leg Lifts
Targets: Abs, hamstrings
Don’t be fooled by this basic-looking leg lift: Beginners to even more advanced folks will start feeling the burn after a few reps. Sit on the floor, legs extended straight out in front of you. Keeping your core engaged, lean back slightly, so you’re able to place your hands on either side of your glutes. Take a deep breath and lift one leg six inches off the ground (a). Hold for five seconds, and then put it down. Repeat with the other leg (b). Continue alternating for one-minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: To make this exercise easier, lift one leg at a time without stopping to hold each one extended for five seconds. Need more of a challenge? After lifting a heel, bring your knee into your chest, then extend your heel back out and lower down. Repeat on the opposite side.

Sit-Ups
Targets: Abs, possibly hip flexors depending on range of motion
If performed incorrectly, sit-ups can cause more pain than they’re worth. Rubin breaks down how to safely and effectively perform the move. To start, sit on the floor with your knees bent, heels touching the floor, hands on either side of your head, shoulders dropped and relaxed to avoid tension in the neck. Keeping your feet on the ground, lay back until your back is flat on the floor, or as far as you’re able (a). Rise back up (b). Continue for one minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: Having trouble keeping your core and back engaged? Slowly lower yourself as far as you can, and work up to lowering completely down to the floor. There’s no need to go all the way back until you can maintain perfect form.

Modified Bicycle Crunch
Targets: Oblique’s, rotational muscles
Start in the same neutral position as the sit-up, sitting with knees bent, heels flat on the floor, hands on either side of your head (a). Bring the right knee and left elbow towards one another, with a simple and gentle twist (b). Return to the start position (c). Complete the movement with the left knee and right elbow. Continue for one minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: This is a major progression from the sit-up, so if this movement is tough for you, keep practicing sit-ups

Spider Plank Crunch
Targets: Lower abs, glutes
Still, have fuel left in the tank? Rubin challenges True Beginners to tap into their Spidey sense. Start in a push-up position, hands on the ground directly underneath your shoulders, legs extended backward with your toes on the ground, so your body is in a straight line. Lift your right leg and bring your knee towards the outside of your right elbow (a). Return to plank position (b). Repeat the movement with the other leg. Do five reps with each leg.

Modification: If this is too challenging, simply hold a plank on your elbows or hands for 30 seconds at a time, for three rounds. (If you have a wrist issue, try doing this movement on your elbows.)

Now, remember, these exercises are geared to help you increase the strength to your overall “Core” if one or two of them seem a little hard when you first try them. Lay back a bit but continue to work your way up to the recommended reps associated with each, and in no time you’re going to be cranking them out on a consistent basis.

You have to think of your body's "Core" as your structural foundation. Like any good contractor knows, your buildings are only as good as the foundation it rests upon. Make the effort to be sure your own "Core" is up to the task of supporting you, and all the fitness routines you want to put it through.

 

Read more

Ok, anyone that is looking to get in better shape has probably heard all kind of fitness conversations about what to do, how to do it, and how you can get results faster. If you’re like most people nowadays, you’re clicking around through the internet, searching on current fitness trends and what would work best for you and how to go about implementing it.

Well, here’s one more for you to contemplate. Work on building up your “Core” So do you really know what people mean when they’re talking about “Core”?
The “core” is a term used to describe just about everything on your body that isn't your legs and arms. This means you can think of your glutes, hips, abdominal muscles, inner abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, and scapula as your core. Your core is where your power is generated in order to carry out any movement. Your core muscles help strengthen and stabilize your spine and pelvis, which is why developing a powerful core is the first step to making your whole body stronger.

But you need to “Own” your commitment to building up your “Core” and its not getting any easier to find the time to do this. Remember, those New Year resolutions you made about 8 weeks back? Well, if you’re like most Americans, about 41% made a New Year resolution after that ball dropped at midnight. Out of that 41 %, 21% of them made the resolution to get fitter for 2018. But as in preceding years, at this time of year, by the end of February, only about 8% of those resolutions made are still being kept. Something we can probably all agree on: It's freakin' tough to stay fit when life's just this busy, and it only seems to get harder every year, especially when it means blocking off time to get in your exercises!

So, what is a "Beginner Fitter", To do?
So maybe you aren’t in good enough shape to get down and give us 50 crunches. But we know you’re not looking to ignore your core either. Well here’s no small truth: A strong midsection isn’t all about six-pack abs. Every time you lug in the groceries, shovel some heavy snow, or get out there (weather permitting) to do some landscaping around your home that involves digging, raking or picking up cut branches, to some extent your relying on your core as a foundation of strength to be able to accomplish these tasks.

Lots of beginners have upper back tension or lower back issues. Your core is located in your posterior chain and strengthening it will help keep your chest up and your spine strong, which can correlate to some back pain relief.

Whether you’re getting back into fitness after a lapse or you’re an exercise newbie, developing a solid core will increase your stability and balance. Translation: You’ll be able to perform more advanced moves with confidence as you regain your strength.

Below are a few exercises you can do, without the need to get to a gym and use their equipment. But to keep you honest and to track your exercise routines to make sure you are accomplishing your goals of working your “Core” and getting the maximum out of your workout routines, you should use an activity tracker. This way it automatically records your activity levels and provides that data to you so you can track just how well you're doing against what you need to attain your weekly or monthly fitness goals. One such tracker is the Garmin Vivofit 3  You can actually set daily goals for yourself in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Vívofit 3 acquires information about your current activity levels and accordingly assigns daily goals. It keeps on refreshing your daily goals as you achieve the previous ones and helps you march towards a better and healthier life. And if you happen to be sitting a little too much throughout the day, it’s going to remind you that its time you moved so that you maintain the proper movement within your daily lifestyle. So, take advantage of what technology has to offer you in helping you to achieve that “Core” that will carry you through any kind of life obstacle!

Bird-Dog Crunch
Targets: Abs, hamstrings, glutes and shoulders
Stronger abs don’t develop overnight, you’ll have to first learn how to activate your core. For this essential True Beginner core exercise, start on the floor on all fours, hands placed directly underneath your shoulders, hips in line with your knees. This is your starting position. Lift your right hand and extend your arm straight out in on you, keeping it shoulder height, while simultaneously lifting your left leg and extending it straight back (a). Your whole body should be in a straight line from right fingertips to left toes. Bring your left leg to touch your right elbow under your stomach. Extend your leg and arm out again. Return to starting position (b). Repeat on the other side (c). Do five reps on each side.

Modification: If you’re unable to maintain form, simplify this movement by forgoing the crunch. Instead, extend your arm and opposite leg out and hold for three seconds, then switch sides.

Standing Bicycle Crunches
Targets: Oblique’s, rotational muscles
Do traditional crunches cause discomfort? Rubin suggests this True Beginner variation instead. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands placed behind your head. With a tight core, straight back and relaxed shoulders lift your right leg and simultaneously raise your right knee and lower your left elbow towards each other (a). Return to the starting position (b). Repeat on the opposite side. Do five reps on each side.

Modification: If rotating your upper body downwards is too difficult, simply lift your knee to your chest while keeping your upper body still, alternating legs.

Seated Leg Lifts
Targets: Abs, hamstrings
Don’t be fooled by this basic-looking leg lift: Beginners to even more advanced folks will start feeling the burn after a few reps. Sit on the floor, legs extended straight out in front of you. Keeping your core engaged, lean back slightly, so you’re able to place your hands on either side of your glutes. Take a deep breath and lift one leg six inches off the ground (a). Hold for five seconds, and then put it down. Repeat with the other leg (b). Continue alternating for one-minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: To make this exercise easier, lift one leg at a time without stopping to hold each one extended for five seconds. Need more of a challenge? After lifting a heel, bring your knee into your chest, then extend your heel back out and lower down. Repeat on the opposite side.

Sit-Ups
Targets: Abs, possibly hip flexors depending on range of motion
If performed incorrectly, sit-ups can cause more pain than they’re worth. Rubin breaks down how to safely and effectively perform the move. To start, sit on the floor with your knees bent, heels touching the floor, hands on either side of your head, shoulders dropped and relaxed to avoid tension in the neck. Keeping your feet on the ground, lay back until your back is flat on the floor, or as far as you’re able (a). Rise back up (b). Continue for one minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: Having trouble keeping your core and back engaged? Slowly lower yourself as far as you can, and work up to lowering completely down to the floor. There’s no need to go all the way back until you can maintain perfect form.

Modified Bicycle Crunch
Targets: Oblique’s, rotational muscles
Start in the same neutral position as the sit-up, sitting with knees bent, heels flat on the floor, hands on either side of your head (a). Bring the right knee and left elbow towards one another, with a simple and gentle twist (b). Return to the start position (c). Complete the movement with the left knee and right elbow. Continue for one minute straight, then take a 20-second break. Repeat for five rounds.

Modification: This is a major progression from the sit-up, so if this movement is tough for you, keep practicing sit-ups

Spider Plank Crunch
Targets: Lower abs, glutes
Still, have fuel left in the tank? Rubin challenges True Beginners to tap into their Spidey sense. Start in a push-up position, hands on the ground directly underneath your shoulders, legs extended backward with your toes on the ground, so your body is in a straight line. Lift your right leg and bring your knee towards the outside of your right elbow (a). Return to plank position (b). Repeat the movement with the other leg. Do five reps with each leg.

Modification: If this is too challenging, simply hold a plank on your elbows or hands for 30 seconds at a time, for three rounds. (If you have a wrist issue, try doing this movement on your elbows.)

Now, remember, these exercises are geared to help you increase the strength to your overall “Core” if one or two of them seem a little hard when you first try them. Lay back a bit but continue to work your way up to the recommended reps associated with each, and in no time you’re going to be cranking them out on a consistent basis.

You have to think of your body's "Core" as your structural foundation. Like any good contractor knows, your buildings are only as good as the foundation it rests upon. Make the effort to be sure your own "Core" is up to the task of supporting you, and all the fitness routines you want to put it through.

 

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When You’re Hitting The Streets, Does A Stop Sign Mean Anymore To YOU Then STOP?

I like to go for a fast walk in the early morning, usually starting out about 5 AM. I find that time of the day is the best for me. For one thing, it’s quiet around where I live. I see the occasional patrol car making its rounds. Usually, the paper-girl, (in my case) and I wave to each other as we pass and I’m on a first-name basis with the other early risers, who drive by on their way to work.

Now, where I walk or jog maybe is a better term. I encounter 6 stop signs. Now everyone has been trained from an early age to know that the “Stop Sign” means just that, come to a complete stop. Usually, this is for vehicles, but it is also a good warning for those that walk, run, or bike around these same roads to make sure they keep a good eye out for anyone that does not abide by the rules of the road.

It’s funny, but early in the morning, you would be surprised at how many drivers simply ease through the stop sign and keep on going or there are some that just drive right on through some of them that have a free line of sight. So much for the rules of the road.

To me, I always make sure I look around prior to coming up to the stop sign, just to make sure I still have the right of way. But along with the main purpose of the sign, for me, it also has another significant purpose. It reminds me of why I wanted to get up early in the morning and do my 6 miles each and every day.

I started this process just about 3 years ago, because, on July 19, 2014, a picture was taken of my family in which I happened to be in it. Now for me, I never liked to have my picture taken. It wasn’t because I was shy, far from that, I’m a people person, but in dealing with people, usually over the phone for my business. I was able to forget just how overweight I actually was. But when this picture was taken, it was then emailed to me, and I keep it on my phone as a reminder of just what I looked like back then.

Seeing that picture was I guess a revelation for me! I came to feel ashamed of what my family and friends have been putting up with over the past 10-15 years. Yes, I have been told many times that I was grossly overweight, but I shrugged it off and plain just didn’t care. But it was something about this picture that hit a nerve and made me fess up to myself that I had to do something, or I wouldn’t be around to see my grandchildren grow up and start their own life. You see, that picture was taken to commemorate the wedding of my son and his wife. So seeing everyone else looking fit and fine and then me looking like,,, well Nuff said.

That picture started me thinking and I finally consulted a nutritionist, about how to go about changing my eating habits and spoke with my new doctor to get a series of tests done so that I was cleared to start an exercise program.

My doctor recommended walking to get me moving and get my body used to exerting itself, in a slow measured pace at first, then to continue to add the miles as my body adapted to the new strain I was putting on it. Since I wanted results, I wanted to be able to track the distance and the calories that I was burning on my first real ambitious goal to gaining a slimmer me. I guess I failed to mention that when I started this journey, I weighed in at 357LBS. And since I’m only 5ft. 7, I looked more like a bowling ball with legs than a 58-year-old man.

But, as I was saying, I wanted to track my progress, so the first thing I acquired, was a good activity monitor. One that I had no problem in reading and one that felt comfortable with, knowing that the data it reported was accurate. Since I was taking this new step in my life seriously, I wanted to hold myself to the actual data that was right in front of my face each and every day. After doing some homework I decided on the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker  One of the best things I like about this tracker, is that it learns my patterns and after a while can set the next attainable goal for me, without me having to do anything. So after walking/jogging, over a period of 2-3 weeks, it lets me know that I have a new goal to push myself to, in order to continue to improve myself.

Now, if you're curious about the title of this blog and what all I have had to say means with such a topic. Well, it’s because at first in seeing a stop sign, early on in my walking program, I was happy to come to a stop, look each way and continue. It basically gave me a breather. But after a couple of months, like most people, I was getting tired of the same-same old thing each and every morning. Then, like seeing myself in that picture. Seeing the stop sign on my walk, it hit me. The word STOP didn’t just have to mean, come to a stop as a rule of the road. But the word STOP for me, meant something to me for each letter.

S-Strive…. Push myself to strive to do better each and every day, so that each day meant something special to me and I could look forward to that daily walk and used that time to plan out my day and what I could do to make not only my life better but to help someone else’s to be better as well.

T-Try… Try to be just a little bit better today and every day, to the people I meet.

O-Overcome… The word says it all. Don’t let anything be an obstacle to keep you from doing what you need or want to do in order to improve yourself.

P-Persevere … Keep going on your chosen path. For me it was to maintain my new way of life. Not just the walking, but also the change in eating habits, that I undertook to lose weight and get myself healthy to be there for my family. The big thing was to just get out of bed each morning and stick to my goal!

So, that is why a Stop Sign means moving forward to me instead of just coming to a stop. And like I said, this July 19th, 2017. 3 years will have passed and in that time, with using the call letters of that stop sign I can say that I have seen a 137LBS drop-off, SO FAR! and I am now a fitter 220LBS. It’s taken a while, but with Perseverance, and keeping to the new eating lifestyle that I have adopted. I feel better and my new goal is to take off another 50 LBS between this July 2017 and July of 2018. Oh, and just to mention it, I am now up to walking 8 miles on weekdays, and I try for 10 miles on the weekends!

Want to come join me??

 

Read more

I like to go for a fast walk in the early morning, usually starting out about 5 AM. I find that time of the day is the best for me. For one thing, it’s quiet around where I live. I see the occasional patrol car making its rounds. Usually, the paper-girl, (in my case) and I wave to each other as we pass and I’m on a first-name basis with the other early risers, who drive by on their way to work.

Now, where I walk or jog maybe is a better term. I encounter 6 stop signs. Now everyone has been trained from an early age to know that the “Stop Sign” means just that, come to a complete stop. Usually, this is for vehicles, but it is also a good warning for those that walk, run, or bike around these same roads to make sure they keep a good eye out for anyone that does not abide by the rules of the road.

It’s funny, but early in the morning, you would be surprised at how many drivers simply ease through the stop sign and keep on going or there are some that just drive right on through some of them that have a free line of sight. So much for the rules of the road.

To me, I always make sure I look around prior to coming up to the stop sign, just to make sure I still have the right of way. But along with the main purpose of the sign, for me, it also has another significant purpose. It reminds me of why I wanted to get up early in the morning and do my 6 miles each and every day.

I started this process just about 3 years ago, because, on July 19, 2014, a picture was taken of my family in which I happened to be in it. Now for me, I never liked to have my picture taken. It wasn’t because I was shy, far from that, I’m a people person, but in dealing with people, usually over the phone for my business. I was able to forget just how overweight I actually was. But when this picture was taken, it was then emailed to me, and I keep it on my phone as a reminder of just what I looked like back then.

Seeing that picture was I guess a revelation for me! I came to feel ashamed of what my family and friends have been putting up with over the past 10-15 years. Yes, I have been told many times that I was grossly overweight, but I shrugged it off and plain just didn’t care. But it was something about this picture that hit a nerve and made me fess up to myself that I had to do something, or I wouldn’t be around to see my grandchildren grow up and start their own life. You see, that picture was taken to commemorate the wedding of my son and his wife. So seeing everyone else looking fit and fine and then me looking like,,, well Nuff said.

That picture started me thinking and I finally consulted a nutritionist, about how to go about changing my eating habits and spoke with my new doctor to get a series of tests done so that I was cleared to start an exercise program.

My doctor recommended walking to get me moving and get my body used to exerting itself, in a slow measured pace at first, then to continue to add the miles as my body adapted to the new strain I was putting on it. Since I wanted results, I wanted to be able to track the distance and the calories that I was burning on my first real ambitious goal to gaining a slimmer me. I guess I failed to mention that when I started this journey, I weighed in at 357LBS. And since I’m only 5ft. 7, I looked more like a bowling ball with legs than a 58-year-old man.

But, as I was saying, I wanted to track my progress, so the first thing I acquired, was a good activity monitor. One that I had no problem in reading and one that felt comfortable with, knowing that the data it reported was accurate. Since I was taking this new step in my life seriously, I wanted to hold myself to the actual data that was right in front of my face each and every day. After doing some homework I decided on the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Activity and Sleep Tracker  One of the best things I like about this tracker, is that it learns my patterns and after a while can set the next attainable goal for me, without me having to do anything. So after walking/jogging, over a period of 2-3 weeks, it lets me know that I have a new goal to push myself to, in order to continue to improve myself.

Now, if you're curious about the title of this blog and what all I have had to say means with such a topic. Well, it’s because at first in seeing a stop sign, early on in my walking program, I was happy to come to a stop, look each way and continue. It basically gave me a breather. But after a couple of months, like most people, I was getting tired of the same-same old thing each and every morning. Then, like seeing myself in that picture. Seeing the stop sign on my walk, it hit me. The word STOP didn’t just have to mean, come to a stop as a rule of the road. But the word STOP for me, meant something to me for each letter.

S-Strive…. Push myself to strive to do better each and every day, so that each day meant something special to me and I could look forward to that daily walk and used that time to plan out my day and what I could do to make not only my life better but to help someone else’s to be better as well.

T-Try… Try to be just a little bit better today and every day, to the people I meet.

O-Overcome… The word says it all. Don’t let anything be an obstacle to keep you from doing what you need or want to do in order to improve yourself.

P-Persevere … Keep going on your chosen path. For me it was to maintain my new way of life. Not just the walking, but also the change in eating habits, that I undertook to lose weight and get myself healthy to be there for my family. The big thing was to just get out of bed each morning and stick to my goal!

So, that is why a Stop Sign means moving forward to me instead of just coming to a stop. And like I said, this July 19th, 2017. 3 years will have passed and in that time, with using the call letters of that stop sign I can say that I have seen a 137LBS drop-off, SO FAR! and I am now a fitter 220LBS. It’s taken a while, but with Perseverance, and keeping to the new eating lifestyle that I have adopted. I feel better and my new goal is to take off another 50 LBS between this July 2017 and July of 2018. Oh, and just to mention it, I am now up to walking 8 miles on weekdays, and I try for 10 miles on the weekends!

Want to come join me??

 

Read more