Yep, it is almost Mother’s Day! We know you all are always-ahead-of-the-game kind of people, so we are certain you have not waited this long to do, make or buy something for the mothers in your lives! But just in case we were wrong… (or, you know, to plan ahead for next Mother’s Day, because you are just that awesome)… we have compiled a list of 10 things to do, make or buy to honor all the wonderful things the mothers we know do everyday.

 

1. Time with the family is one of the things mom’s say they most want for Mother’s Day. Get your mother a trip to do something fun that will also allow her to be active. Try a trip to Calloway Gardens to walk or bike around and enjoy nature. Other options include canoeing or kayaking with the family, a picnic and a day at a local state park or a fun-filled day on a zip line tour right here in Georgia.
2. If one activity just isn’t enough, do a twist on this “Date Night Jar” by giving mom a “Mom’s Night Jar.” Stuff the jar full of activities or treats to do with (or for) mom on the weekends – breakfast in bed, free babysitting so she can go out with friends, a trip to a local museum or a scheduled family game night at home.
3. If your mom is a fitness buff (or even just a beginner looking to stay fit and healthy), avoid too many chocolates and load her up with gear that will encourage her fitness goals instead. A pedometer is great to help mom’s who are on-the-go keep track of their steps. An Ipod or an iTunes gift card is great for mom’s who love to listen to music while they workout. A new set of sneakers or a heart rate monitor would be perfect for true running fanatics.
4. For the mom that is always busy and needs to slow down, consider a spa certificate for a facial or a massage. Managing stress is an important part of a healthy life, and nothing says stress-free like an afternoon at the spa. Scarlet’s Retreat Day Spa (off the McDonough square) is the favorite of Jeanie Thomas, a special mom and the co-owner of Innovations Fitness.
5. Bringing Mom breakfast in bed is a classic, but be sure to bring the mom in your life something healthy. For ideas and recipes check out this link (and this one too)!
6. If you have a mom who loves to sip on healthy hot tea in the morning or afternoon, make her a “tea wreath.” Not only is it cute and healthy, it is also handmade. Handmade gifts are one of the other things that research shows mothers most want for Mother’s Day.
7. If your mother likes to garden, consider giving her a set of herbs to put in the garden or window box. They are easy to care for and a great healthy addition to meals! If she is a true gardening pro, give her vegetable plants and gardening gear.
8. Is there something your mom has always wanted to do, but keeps putting off? Maybe it is as radical as skydiving. Maybe she has always dreamed of running a 5K or taking a self-defense class. Whatever it is, get her something that will help her achieve her goal.
9. Don’t forget about the soon-to-be mom’s in your life. This cute idea for a hospital survival kit is a nice gift to help moms-to-be have a healthy and comfortable (well, as comfortable as these things can be) delivery.
10. This last gift has little to do with health, but it is so darn fun that we can’t help but share it! Compile photos and mementos from all the years of great memories you have had with your mom and package them in cute envelopes by year. This blogger compiled 60 years worth of memories for her father’s birthday!  But the idea can be easily adjusted for Mother’s Day. (And did you see those envelopes the blogger put the memories in? They are so perfect that they make us want to jump for joy!)

 

To the loving mom’s who raise us, to the surrogate mom’s who care for us when our mothers are absent or have passed-away and to the mother’s to be, THANK YOU for all you do! You are strong, intelligent and beautiful, and we love working with you and alongside you everyday!

 

Liquid Disaster

Liquid diets can be disastrous! These diets work better for people who are morbidly obese and, for health reasons, have limited options. And even then, they should only be used under close medical supervision.

Some facts to consider prior to beginning a liquid diet:

If you choose a liquid diet, what will happen when you resume eating whole foods? The liquid diet is not helping you learn good eating habits, good nutrition, or how to control portions. You may be leaving your body short of vitamins, minerals and nutrients – possibly creating serious health hazards.

Some liquid protein diets have been associated with cardiac arrythmias, and many contain high amounts of sodium which can be especially detrimental to those with high blood pressure. They can also cause too much fluctuation in blood sugar levels for diabetics and cause loss of lean body mass in people who are mildly obese.

Beware of the claims that liquid diet programs make. They are rarely backed by scientific evidence and often fail to provide important information such as how much weight people tyically regain after completion of the liquid diet. They can also cause muscle cramps, dizziness, and other negative side effects.

Liquid diets leave you longing for the pleasure of eating. We were designed to eat – just not excessively and not in conjunction with a sedentary lifestyle. Liquid diets may also lead to binge eating later.

It is much safer to set up a regular diet and exercise plan that will be better for your body and provide longterm success.

Frank Thomas is the owner of Innovations Fitness in McDonough, GA. He & his staff at Innovations are available to help you find a healthy, longterm eating and exercise plan. www.innovationsfitness.com

Treading Onward

The most popular cardio piece in any gym is the treadmill.  Treadmills are also top sellers for home gyms.  They allow you to take a walk or run in any weather, at any time of the day or night.

Walking is great for calorie burning and workout for your cardiovascular system.  Leg strength and endurance is increased as well.  For optimal use of the treadmill, consider these recommendations:

1. Wear good shoes.  Walking or running shoes have broader heels and help with pronation control.

2. Familiarize yourself with the safety features of the treadmill first.  Be sure that you know how to stop it in case of an emergency.

3.  Be careful in getting on and off a treadmill.  Don’t step on a treadmill that is already in motion.  Start the treadmill slowly, and pay attention as you build up speed.

4. Be sure that your treadmill workout includes a warm up and a cool down time.

5. Hold onto the hand rails until you get steady, but then swing your arms naturally.

6. Keep your head up, shoulders back, chest slightly out, and hips aligned with the rest of your body.

7. Change the incline to work different muscles and decrease boredom.

8. Never run backwards.  It puts the lower back at risk because of poor alignment and increases your risk of falling.

9. Vary your speed.  If the speed of your walk into the gym is faster than your speed on the treadmill, you are not likely to see any benefit from your treadmill time.  Varying your speed provides a better cardiovascular workout and works different muscle groups.

10. Set the timer to a reasonable goal for you and stick to it until you reach your goal.

If you are new to using a treadmill or any other piece of gym equipment, we have personal trainers who can help you get comfortable and get the most out of your workouts.  Come by or call us at 770-898-9691 to schedule an appointment.

Frank Thomas, Owner, Innovations Fitness

www.innovationsfitness.com

 

Oh, My Aching Joints!

Many people (including me) suffer from a variety of joint problems from stiffness and inflexibility to minor and major pain. If this is true for you, you may need to consult a doctor before starting an exercise program. However, if you want to gain movement in your limbs, exercise may be the best remedy.

The muscles that surround the joints actually protect the joints. Improving the joint muscles can help alleviate pain and stiffness.

Some tips from the Arthritis Foundation:

1) Before you exercise, apply heat or ice treatments to the area you will work.

2) Spend fifteen minutes warming up before you exercise.

3) Stop if you feel chest tightness or shortness of breath. Stop if you feel sick or faint.

4) If you have a muscle cramp or pain, gently rub and stretch the muscle.

5) After exercising, cool down for five minutes.

Check out other suggestions on the Arthritis Foundation website at www.arthritis.org, and get started today to improve your flexibility and decrease your pain.

Frank Thomas, Owner of Innovations Fitness

770-898-9691

www.innovationsfitness.com

Lies…Lies…All Lies!

Gym members and personal training clients often allow common misconceptions to get in the way of reaching their fitness goals. Following are just a few of those:

Aerobic (cardio) exercise is all I need to lose weight. Wrong! Good exercise programs for weight loss should include strength training and stretching as well.

Exercise makes you hungry. False. Intense exercise usually suppresses your appetite for a short time.

Exercise has to be hard. No - just think physical activity and add more to your daily routine. Walk the steps instead of using the elevator. Walk three times a day for ten minutes instead of one long 30-minute session. Get a partner to work out with you to make it fun and to hold you accountable.

Ab work will flatten your stomach. No! It strengthens muscles and improves posture. Fat is fat though, and you won’t see your abs by only doing a few ab exercises. You’ve got to go something to burn the fat.

No pain no gain! It has to hurt to workout. No. Exercise shouldn’t be painful. Yes, there will be a little muscle soreness when you do something new, but if it is pain then you should stop!  Soreness isn’t the same as pain.

Come see us at Innovations Fitness today to dispel those fitness myths! We will get you started on a plan toward better health. www.innovationsfitness.com 770-898-9691

The $85 Billion Big Hurt

Back pain is the second leading cause of disability for those ages 19-45. Over 85 billion dollars is spent annually due to back pain. Often it is a chronic pain that has been brought on by years of degenerative changes.

Factors which increase your risk for low back pain include obesity, smoking, advanced age, being female, physically strenous or sedentary work, a stressful job, anxiety and depression.

Exercise is a great way to prevent back pain and to alleviate minor pain.  More serious pain may require medical treatment or physical therapy.

Some back care tips:

1) When sitting, position your hips and knees at a 90-degree angle.

2) Choose a properly designed chair to support your lower back.

3) Place your feet shoulder width apart and use the buttock and thigh muscles to push yourself up from sitting to standing.

4) Keep your back in its natural alignment when walking.  The legs and arms should swing naturally during forward motion.

5) When lifting, place the feet a minimum of shoulder width apart, keep the load close, maintain a straight spinal position, and lift with the large muscles of the legs.

6)  Avoid twisting and bending of the lower back.

Using common sense, exercising regularly, and implementing these tips should decrease your chances of suffering from chronic back pain.

Let us help you get started today on an exercise program that will decrease your risks of chronic back pain.  Check us out at www.innovationsfitness.com.

Rev Up!

Getting fit doesn’t have to be a major production. Try these simple ideas to rev up your lifestyle:

1) Walk the dog 2-3 times daily.

2) Walk the mall. It can be fun in all types of weather. Some malls even give incentive to walkers.

3) Walk during your lunch hour.

4) Jump rope.  It is one of the top fat burners.

5) Get outside and ride a bike.

6) Use a fitness professional for a couple of sessions to teach you routines that are right for you.

7) Try simple exercise equipment like a body bar, mini trampoline, tubes and bands.

8) Lift weights 3 times per week. It can increase your metabolism as much as 20%.

9) Don’t get stuck in the same workout rut. For fun, do that favorite routine in backwards order.

10) Exercise during TV commercials at a high intensity. Try to do 8-10 commercial sessions in a day’s TV viewing.

Need some other ideas or some accountability to get you going?  Come see us!  www.innovationsfitness.com

Seniors Need Fitness Too

Nearly 60% of adults are not regularly physically active, and 25% are not active at all. Aerobic capacity often falls by half by the age of 65 creating a need for senior adults to focus on a quality diet and exercise program.

Regular walking and low impact aerobic activities can improve aerobic capacity. Exercise assists in transporting nutrients throughout the body helping you to feel stronger and better.

Senior adults who combine strength training with some aerobic activity often regain lost muscle, burn more calories, increase energy levels, ward off osteoporosis, and may see positive effects with blood pressure, cholesterol levels, joints, and balance.

Although you can’t change your chronological age, you can affect your biological age.  In addition to the many cardiovascular and strength benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet, you can benefit from social and emotional effects that will improve your total well-being.

We are proud of the senior adults who improve their health by being members of Innovations Fitness. Come join them! We are here to help you get started! www.innovationsfitness.com

Women:  Lift Weights

Regularly when I stop and talk with our female members about their fitness goals, I hear that they wish to firm and tone, lose body fat, and lose inches in certain areas of the body. Ladies often tell me that they have concerns that strength training will bulk them up and that they don’t want big muscles.

However, I would like to put to rest this notion that lifting weights will make women bulkier and bigger. Women that you may have seen on TV or in a magazine who achieve such results from strength training are typically taking supplements and lifting at a professional level far beyond what is recommended for the average woman.

Strength training done properly will help you lose inches, gain muscle that burns more calories, and will help you maintain a healthier body for living life. One pound of muscle burns ten times more calories than one pound of fat but occupies only one tenth of the space on your body.

By age 60, the average woman has lost 60% of the natural muscles she had at age 25. This process begins in the age 30-35 range so if you are at that age or above you are already experiencing natural muscle loss.

Ladies, don’t resist weight training. It will help you achieve your goals for fitness and for firming and toning your body. Stop by Innovations Fitness so we can help you get on a program of cardio and strength training that will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and combat the natural loss of muscle.

- Frank Thomas