Using a Heart Rate Monitor For Improved Fitness

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Do you feel like some exercises make your heart race while others make you feel as though you’re not exercising at all? Your heart is trying to speak to you and it’s important that you understand what it’s trying to say!

Heart rate is measured in beats per minute. During rest, a low beats per minute count is a signal of a healthy heart. This is because a stronger heart pumps more blood out to your body per beat than a weaker heart does, lowering the beats needed per minute. When we exercise, our heart has to work harder to get oxygen out to the demanding muscles that are being worked. The more frequently you exercise, the stronger your heart will become. Using a heart rate monitor can not only help you gauge how effective your workouts are, but can also be used to tell you if your body is working too hard, or not hard enough.

How to Find Your Target Heart Rate

To start, determine your Resting Heart Rate, which is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it is at rest. This number is best found first thing in the morning before getting out of bed after having a good night of sleep.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average resting heart rate:

  • for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 – 100 beats per minute
  • for well-trained athletes is 40 – 60 beats per minute

After you know your resting heart rate, determine your Maximum Heart Rate, which is around 220 – Age for a simple calculation.

According to the American Heart Association, target heart rates for moderate activities and exercises are about 50-69% of your max heart rate. More intense activities range from 70-90% of your maximum heart rate. It is recommended that you exercise within 55 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 to 30 minutes to get the best results from exercise.

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How to Use a Heart Rate Monitor During Exercise

Using a heart rate monitor during physical activity can help you to determine if you’re working moderately or if you’re exercising more intensely. As you continue to exercise more frequently, your heart starts to work more efficiently. Over time, you may notice you need to increase the intensity of your workouts in order to stay in your target heart rate zone. The harder you have to work to reach your target heart rate zone, the healthier and stronger your heart is! The heart rate monitor will allow you to track this progress over time and can help to eliminate some errors of taking your heart rate yourself during exercise which can be difficult.

Resources:

http://www.active.com/fitness/articles/how-to-use-a-heart-rate-monitor-to-improve-fitness

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Target-Heart-Rates_UCM_434341_Article.jsp

6 Ways To Stay Healthy This Summer

The sun is shining, the days are longer and everything is turning green – summer is finally here! Here are six ways to stay happy and healthy this summer.

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1. Eat Fresh

Fresh produce is bountiful this time of year. Visit a farmer’s market and stock up. Remember to fill half your plate with vegetables at meal time.

2. Drink Up

Drinking water is a healthy habit to maintain, especially during the summer. Take your body weight, divide it in half and that’s roughly how many ounces you should drink a day. Try a refreshing fruit infused water for a treat!

3. Cover Up

Stay covered up when outdoors. Always use sunscreen or wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt to stay covered. Keep your shades on to protect your eyes!

4. Move Out

Enjoy the beautiful sunny days and take your indoor workouts outside. Go for a hike instead of using the elliptical machine or add some lunges to your daily walk.

5. Disconnect

According to a study, 20 percent of smart phone users check their phone every 10 minutes! Stop instragramming your lunch and disconnect for a while. Take that extra time away from technology to do something active!

6. Stress Less

Summer is the perfect time to relax and rejuvenate. Take a vacation, treat yourself to a spa day, or read a book in the shade. Do what makes you happy!

 

Why You Should Consider Biking to Work

Would you rather be sitting in your car in stop and go traffic (along with everyone else) or cruising down a path on your bicycle? Seems like a no brainer, right? Celebrate Colorado Bike to Work Day, the fourth Wednesday in June, and get off the road and on your bike.

Colorado Bike to Work Day was created to encourage people to try their bikes for transportation, in hopes of getting people to consider other modes of transportation and reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.

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Why should you consider biking to work?

The average American spends 600 hours a year in a car. That’s five years of the average lifespan or roughly 7% of our lives. If that doesn’t depress you enough to get you out of your car and onto your bike, here are five more reasons.

1. Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Day

With busy work schedules, some days it can be difficult to fit in a trip to the gym. Incorporating activity into your day is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough physical activity in each day and biking to work is a great way to accomplish that!

2. Biking is Easy on Joints

Riding bike is a great cardiovascular exercise that is easy on the joints. For someone that is overweight and just beginning an exercise program, exercises like running can be hard on the joints, making bike riding a great alternative.

3. Avoid Traffic

Nobody enjoys sitting in traffic. Skip the stress of people cutting you off and traffic accidents causing delays. In fact, biking to work may be quicker than driving when you take into account accidents and construction closures.

4. Fight Pollution

Forty percent of all trips in the United States are to destinations within two miles of home! Moreover, 60% of pollution created by cars happens in the first few minutes of operation. Biking can reduce your carbon footprint and improve the air quality in your community.

5. Start Your Day Right

Start your day energized, refreshed and awake. Biking can help your mental focus too. According to a study, people scored higher on tests of memory, reasoning and planning after 30 minutes of biking than they did before they rode.

For more information on Bike to Work day and to find safe alternative modes of transportation visit: http://biketoworkday.us/.

Sources:
http://bikesmakelifebetter.com/bike-commuting-the-fastest-route-to-employee-health/

http://www.bicycling.com/training/fitness/your-brain-bicycling

Incentivized Health and Wellness Program Brought to Consulate General of Mexico in Denver

Mexican_Consulate_Logo_HeaderMEDIA CONTACTS: Kaytee Long | Health Promotion Manager| O: 303-694-8012 |C: 30­­3-619-8571 | klong@weighandwin.com

Ulises Lopez | General Consulate of Mexico in Denver| O: 303-331-1110 ext. 105| ulopezr@sre.gob.mx

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MC Install 2wandw1Consul General Carlos J. Bello speaking to Mexican Consulate users about the benefits of Weigh and Win

Participants Receive Free Text Message Health Coaching in Spanish and Opportunity to Earn Cash Rewards for Weight Loss

DENVER, June 10, 2015 ­­– In partnership with CREA Results, Weigh and Win has installed its first Spanish language kiosk in Denver at the Ventanilla de Salud located within the Consulate General of Mexico (5350 Leetsdale Dr., #100). In addition, the free, incentivized weight loss platform has added daily Spanish text message coaching to their programming. Topics include fitness, nutrition and motivation. An email address is not required to join the text-to-enroll portion of the program and participants can still qualify for cash incentives. Directions on how to ‘text-to-enroll’ are below.

“The well-being of our community is a never ending mission for the Consulate General of Mexico,” said Consul General Carlos J. Bello. “Prevention is the key aspect in order to avoid health problems, especially among the Hispanic community where diabetes and cardiovascular disease have become common issues. The Consulate General of Mexico in Denver and the Ventanilla de Salud program thank our associates at CREA Results, Servicios de La Raza and Weigh and Win for providing this service to our public.”

How to Text-to-Enroll:

  1. Text ‘unirse’ to (303) 500-1702. Respond with ‘sí’ to confirm.
  2. Complete a weigh-in at any Weigh and Win kiosk location throughout Colorado.
  3. Visit www.weighandwin.com/complete to complete enrollment.

Note: Participants must complete the enrollment process through the link listed above and weigh-in at least once every 90 days to qualify for cash incentives.

Weigh and Win is primarily funded by Kaiser Permanente and offered for free to all Colorado residents 18 and older, providing tailored health coaching via text message and email. Cash incentives are provided for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or greater. Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at community kiosks. The kiosk measures weight, BMI and takes a full-length photograph – providing a visual progress report of weight improvement. Email coaching is currently only available in English.

“This new Spanish-language kiosk marks an important milestone for Weigh and Win,” said Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, vice president of government, external relations and research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “Weigh and Win has helped tens of thousands of Coloradans achieve healthier lifestyles. We are proud to be part of this program as it continues to expand and becomes more accessible for the community.”

Weigh and Win has 68 community kiosk locations statewide. A Spanish kiosk experience is also available at the Southeast & Armed Services YMCA in Colorado Springs, with hopes to extend the Spanish platform to additional locations in 2015. A map of all partners and locations can be found here.

For questions, contact Weigh and Win at personal.trainer@weighandwin.com.

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About the Consulate General of Mexico in Denver: The Consulate General of Mexico in Denver has a wide agenda of programs and events that aim to foster and grow the relationship between Colorado and Mexico through the collaboration with its partners while maintaining the closeness with its community. The Consulate General provides documentary, protection, community affair, birth certificates, visa and notarial services. It is located at 5350 Leetsdale Drive, Denver CO 80246. For more information call to 303-331-1110 or visit the website consulmex.sre.gob.mx/denver. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Healthy Lunch Do’s and Don’ts

Do'sRemember to measure out proper portions ahead of time. A well-balanced plate includes:

  • Quality Carbohydrate (the size of your fist) i.e. whole grain breads, rice, quinoa, etc.
  • Lean Protein (the side of your palm) i.e. turkey, chicken, seafood, lean beef, tofu, etc.
  • Fruits and Vegetables – fill up the rest of your plate with your favorite fruits and veggies!
More Tips:
  • Pack your lunches ahead of time or plan to make enough at dinner for healthy leftovers the next day.
  • Use condiments like hummus, mustard, balsamic dressings, pesto, and salsa to flavor your dishes.
  • Purchase some compartmentalized Tupperware containers for easy lunch storage.
  • Pack additional small snacks to eat throughout the day i.e. nuts, fruit, veggies, protein bar, cheese stick, Greek yogurt etc.
  • Put some thought into packing your lunch. If you throw something together as you are running out the door in the morning chances are you may not be too excited about it when lunch time comes around and you may be tempted to make a trip to your cafeteria instead.
  • Take a break to eat your lunch. Remove yourself from your desk and invite a co-worker to join you for lunch outside or in another common area to remove yourself from your work for a few minutes and to allow your brain time to recharge.
  • Make sure you are properly storing and heating your lunches brought from home.
  • Always have back-up staples on hand so on the days when you wake up and realize you don’t have a lunch planned you will always have something easy to fall back on. i.e. a bag of spinach and cooked chicken for a salad.
  • If your schedule allows, go on a walk after lunch!

lunch-don'ts

  • Avoid using excess creamy sauces and condiments – i.e. cheese sauces, creamy dressings, mayonnaise, etc.
  • Avoid including sugary sweets/desserts in your lunch.
  • Try to avoid purchasing your lunch every day since you cannot be 100% positive of what is going into your meal if it is made by someone else. You will save money too!
  • Don’t make it a habit to eat your lunch at your desk every day. This can lead to mindless eating.

HEALTHY-IDEAS

  • Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with hummus and veggies
  • Tuna and whole wheat crackers with a side of fruit
  • Spinach salad topped with chicken, craisins, feta cheese and balsamic dressing
  • Whole wheat crackers, sliced turkey, cheese and a side of your favorite fruit or veggie
  • Combine turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato in a whole wheat tortilla to make a BLT wrap
  • Rice bowl with brown rice, chicken and chopped peppers and onions

Check out the Nutrition section of your daily coaching emails for more healthy lunch ideas!

 

Want to win a bike?

Want to win a bike? Earn 300+ HEALTHpoints in June and be entered to win (1) of (3) bikes we’re giving away! Not sure how HEALTHpoints work? Log into your Weigh and Win account and click on the ‘HEALTHpoints’ tab to find out how to earn HEALTHpoints.

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Congratulations to our May winners of Heart Rate Monitor Watches!

  • Brighton – Colorado Springs, CO
  • Ellen – Denver, CO
  • David – Arvada, CO
  • Shirley – Hygiene, CO
  • Julie – Colorado Springs, CO

Define Your Why for Increased Motivation and Long-Term Success

define-your-why

Many have goals to lose weight and improve their health to start the New Year, but after a few months of obstacles they have already “fallen off the bandwagon.” On the other hand, others are able to almost effortlessly change their unhealthy lifestyle habits for continued weight improvement success. When push comes to shove and obstacles are present, are you staying on track?

If you are having trouble staying motivated towards your health improvements, then you might need to redefine why you want to make these changes.  You are battling against the ugly forces of habit, so your why for change needs be resilient. It needs to fight the little voice in your head telling you to quit and give up or give in to unhealthy temptations. It might help to think back to a behavior change you have made in the past to help you succeed now. What was the driving force towards that behavior change and how can it help you today? Finding your why is a matter of looking inward rather than outward. Dig deep and ask yourself, why do you want to be healthier? It’s probably going to be more than to look good in a bathing suit or because somebody else told you to lose weight.

Write Down Your Why

notepadTake a few minutes today and really explore why you want to be a healthier version of yourself.  Once you have identified your why, write it down into an actual sentence on a notecard. On days when you just don’t feel like being active or choosing nutritious foods, that notecard can give you the motivation and drive you need for long-term success. Only by being completely dedicated to your why will you have the motivation you will need to achieve your goals. If you have a strong enough reason for wanting to change your body, then you can!  Just make sure to keep reminding yourself of your reason, especially when times get tough or when you start finding excuses to justify unhealthy actions.

My why that drives me to stay healthy is so I can be physically fit enough to do the things I love as I get older, like hiking in Colorado. Weigh and Win encourages you to share your why on our Facebook page! By sharing your motivation, you can help others stay motivated. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact a Health Coach at personal.trainer@weighandwin.com.

Written by: Mallory McCormick, Weigh and Win Health Coach