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The popularity of walking as a fitness activity is growing by leaps and bounds. Low risk and easy to start, walking has proved its health benefits in numerous studies. An eight-year study of 13,000 people found that those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised.
A regular walking program can help:
   Reduce blood cholesterol
   Lower blood pressure
   Increase cardiovascular endurance
   Boost bone strength
   Burn calories and keep weight down

Get Ready
A walking program is simple to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that exercise elevates the body's temperature. Shoes specifically designed for walking are best.
Every workout should begin with a brief warm-up and a few simple stretches. Walk around the house or in place for a few minutes to get the blood flowing to the muscles before you attempt to stretch them. Although walking primarily works the major muscles of the legs, don't forget to stretch your back, shoulders and arms. This will help to loosen up any tension you may be carrying and make your walk more enjoyable as well as more effective.
Get Moving
Beginning walkers can make their workouts less strenuous by limiting how fast and far they walk. Keep in mind the following:
1. Walk short distances. Begin with a five-minute stroll and gradually increase your distance.
2. Forget about speed. Walk at a comfortable pace. Focus on good posture, keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.
3. Swing your arms naturally, and breathe deeply. If you can't catch your breath, slow down or avoid hills.
4. Be sure you can talk while walking. If you can't converse, you are walking too fast.
Get Fit!
Walking is one fitness activity that allows you numerous options. Once you have reached a point where you can walk a few miles with relative ease, you can start to vary the intensity. Walking hills, in addition to increasing your cardiovascular endurance, is a great way to tone the legs. Concentrate on lengthening your stride or increasing your speed. And don't forget to reward yourself after each workout with a few minutes of relaxing stretches to help prevent sore muscles.
Listening to lively music while you walk is also a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear.
Keep track of your progress. Many experts recommend that you walk a minimum of 20 minutes a day. But there are no hard and fast rules. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean two 10-minute walks each day, or even hour-long walks two to three times a week. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!
Ready to Run?  

You see them pounding the pavement at lunch or after work, sweating away the cares of the world. They make it look so easy, as if nothing could be more natural than running for miles or minutes on end. But the last time you tried it, all you received were blisters and shin splints for your troubles.

Sound familiar? Running (or jogging, which some see as simply a slower form of running) is one of the most effective, time-efficient workouts around, but if you, well, get off on the wrong foot, it’s hard to stay motivated and easy to get discouraged. But starting — and sticking with — a running program doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s simply a matter of doing the right things at the right time.

Step by Step

First things first: check with your doctor to be sure that running is the right activity for you. Individuals who should probably bypass running in favor of walking include those with orthopedic or heart problems, or those who are more than 20 percent overweight.

Nothing can derail a running program faster than sore feet. Though they often carry a hefty price tag, good-fitting running shoes can help prevent shin splints, blisters and sore muscles. Aside from comfortable clothing, little else is required. Once you’re suited up, simply head out your front door or take a drive to a nearby park. Asphalt or dirt surfaces are preferable to concrete; be sure that where you run is safe and well lit.

Jog Your Memory

As a child, you probably didn’t think about how you ran. You just did it. Your muscles took over while your brain concentrated on more important things, like hopscotch or baseball cards. But as you’ve grown older, your muscles may have forgotten how to run effortlessly. To help jog both your and your muscles’ memories, here are a few tips:

• Keep your head level, avoid bouncing and lean forward slightly from the ankles, not the waist.

• Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.

• Strike the ground first with your heel, then roll to the ball of the foot, pushing off from the toes.

F.I.T. Tip

Frequency, Intensity and Time (FIT) are the elements you need to put together an effective beginning running program. The accompanying table offers a program for those who are less fit, but may be adapted for those who have been exercising aerobically for some time. The best way to halt a running program in its tracks is to do too much too soon. A minimum of 20 to 30 minutes, three days per week (with days off in between) at an intensity of 50 percent to 85 percent of maximum heart rate is the standard recommendation, but may be manipulated to suit individual speed or endurance goals. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

• Take time to warm up before, and cool down after, a run.

• Never increase mileage more than 10 percent per week.

• If anything hurts, take time off until it feels better.

• Follow a strength-training program on alternate days to help reduce upper-body fatigue.

Like any activity, running isn’t for everybody: If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. But if you do, take your time, progress slowly and allow your muscles to adapt to the rigors of running.

Training Basics*

Week Time Intensity

1 20 Walk

2 22 Walk

3 22 30-60 sec jog 5 min walk

4 24 Same as #3

5 24 30-60 sec jog 4 min walk

6 26 Same as #5

7 26 30-60 sec jog 3 min walk

8 28 Same as #7

9 28 30-60 sec jog 2 min walk

10 30 Same as #8

11 30 Jog 2 min walk 1 minute

12+ 30 Gradually progress

to continuous jogging.

*Individuals who are in good shape may progress at a faster rate by increasing time and intensity simultaneously, while those who are less fit may opt to progress more gradually.

By the time they reach high school, 63 percent of children are no longer physically active. Why? Try TV, video games and personal computers, compounded by too much munching of high-calorie foods that add unwanted and unneeded pounds.

If your kids fall within this group, you don't have to shake your head sadly. You can set a good example, be a role model and do the right things so your kids will, too.

Get off the couch and on a bike with your kids. Introduce them to exercise that's fun. Eat healthy. Instead of high-calorie foods and snacks, turn to fruits and low- or non-fat foods. And once you get kids moving in the direction of fitness, chances are they'll keep going for the rest of their lives.

Start 'Em Young
Did you know that physically active children have fewer chronic health problems than kids who are sedentary? Children who are fit have other statistics in their favor, too. They're better able to meet the demands of daily physical activity. They do better in physical-performance tests. They have a stronger self-image and more self-confidence, and they demonstrate greater improvement in skill- and health-related fitness.

When you consider the facts, it makes good sense to encourage physical activity when your children are young. Parents, teachers and fitness professionals all have a role to play. Each can help kids think positively about exercise and motivate them to make regular physical activity a lifetime pursuit.

Mom And Dad Are The Best Motivators
As a parent, it's up to you to play the biggest part - bigger than a teacher, more important than a fitness professional. Your child looks to you for examples on how to talk, dress, act and lead a physically active - or a non-physically active - life.

Set a good example for your kids. Instead of spending the evening in front of the television, find some activity that will keep you moving. In warm weather, bike outdoors; if it's too cold, get a stationary bike, a treadmill or a trampoline.

And it's never too late or too early to help your kids build strength and endurance. Push-ups and pull-ups are an excellent way to build upper-body strength. Jungle gyms and monkey bars are great for kids because they utilize their own body weight. And they're loads of fun.

Keep in mind that kids are not always naturally limber and that their muscles may be tight and vulnerable to injury during the growth spurts that occur during the elementary years. Be sure to include stretching as a part of your fitness activities.

Make sure that you concentrate on the positive aspects of exercise. It's a chance for a family to be together, to share good times and fun. Avoid competition, discipline and embarrassment - things that can turn good times into moments of dread. And praise your children for trying. Praise them for doing.

It's Really Up To You
You can't tell kids that being active is fun. You have to show them. So take your kids hiking, biking, dancing, sledding, swimming and in-line skating. Skip rope or shoot baskets with them.

Plan outings and activities that involve walking, like a trip to the zoo or

Resistance Tubing Workout  

For those times when you just can’t make it to the gym, resistance tubing offers an inexpensive and portable way to get a full-body strength-training workout at home or on the road.

As with all exercise, it is important to warm up for five to 10 minutes and gently stretch the muscles you will be working. For beginners, it is best to do one set of 12 to 15 repetitions. Intermediate exercisers (i.e., those that have been lifting weights for up to three months) can perform one to two sets of each exercise. More advanced strength trainers (i.e., those who have been lifting weights or using tubing for more than three months) should try to complete two or three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Stretch each muscle group after each set and at the end of the entire workout to improve flexibility.

Perform the following exercises for a quick full-body workout:

Seated row (back): Sit on the floor and grasp one handle. Wrap the tubing around a bedpost or some type of anchor close to the ground and grab the other handle. Sit back so that there is tension on the elastic when your arms are extended forward. Extend your legs in front of you with your knees slightly bent. Pull the handles so that your elbows form right angles as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Bring your elbows back as far as you can, keeping your spine neutral. Slowly let your arms extend back to the starting position and begin your second repetition. Be sure not to slouch.

Bench press (chest): Secure the center of the tubing at chest level and face away from the anchor, grabbing the handles in each hand. Begin with your thumbs at your armpits and step far enough away from the anchor that at this starting position the tube is not gapping. Fully extend your arms in front of your body. Slowly release to the starting position and repeat.

Military press (shoulders): Stand on the center of the band with feet shoulder-width apart. With your palms facing forward and hands by your shoulders, extend your arms straight up while keeping your back straight (do not arch your back) and abdominal muscles tight. Slowly lower and repeat. Tubing Safety Tips
Pulling on exercise tubing isn’t exactly a risky activity. Still, to keep the tube from snapping into your face—and to give your muscles the best challenge—follow these important guidelines.

Check for holes or worn spots in the tubing. Replace the tube if you see any tears.
Do your workout on carpeting, wood floors or grass—anywhere but asphalt or cement. Abrasive surfaces can tear your tube.
Wear comfortable, supportive athletic shoes, not sandals or dress shoes.
Make sure the tubing is secured underfoot or on an anchor before you begin each exercise.
Maintain good posture throughout each exercise: Keep your knees slightly bent, your abdominal muscles pulled in and your chest expanded.
Perform the exercises in a slow and controlled manner, to work against resistance both when you pull on the tube and when your return to the starting position.
Excerpted from Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road, by Suzanne Schlosberg (Houghton Mifflin, 2002), available at

Triceps extension (triceps): Step on the tubing and pull one handle up behind your head. Bring your elbow up close to your ear and, beginning with your arm bent behind you, extend straight up until your arm is straight. You may use your other arm to hold your elbow in close to your head. Slowly lower back to the starting position and switch arms.

Biceps curl (biceps): Step on one end of the exercise band and grab the handle with the same hand. Be sure that when your arm is extended down by your side, there is some tension on the tubing. With your palm facing forward, bend your elbow, bringing your hand up toward your shoulder. Keep your wrist straight and bend only at the elbow. Slowly release and repeat. If you are using light resistance you may be able to stand on the center of the tube and work both arms simultaneously.

Squats (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes): Stand on the tubing so that you are centered. Grab the handles with both hands and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold the handles up by your shoulders and bend as if you are going to sit in a chair. Return to standing and repeat. Be sure to keep a flat back and contract your abdominal muscles.

Kneeling crunches (abdominals): Anchor the tubing above your head and let the handles drop down. Kneel on the floor with the anchor behind you. Hold the handles with your hands up by your ears and elbows in. Bending from the waist, curl down, bringing your head toward your knees and keeping the handles locked by your ears. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.


Jumping Rope: Not Just For Kids Anymore  
Remember the song, 'not last night but the night before, twenty-four robbers came knockin' on my door?'

Those were the days when playing hopscotch, jumping rope and hanging on the monkey bars were our primary occupations.

While hopscotch and swinging from the jungle gym may no longer be a part of our leisure time, jumping rope could be. Not only is it a great cardiovascular alternative to your usual aerobic workout, jumping rope can increase body awareness and develop better hand and foot coordination.

Roping Essentials
One of the greatest things about jumping rope is how little it takes to get started. All you really need are some comfortable shoes and a good rope. The best shoes for jumping rope are either aerobic shoes or cross-trainers. Be sure your shoes have a reinforced toe and provide a lot of cushioning for the ball of the foot.

Jump ropes have come a long way since most of us were skipping around the playground. Today, they are made from a variety of materials and feature various grip styles. Some ropes are weighted or have heavy handles. These ropes are usually too cumbersome and are not recommended. Instead, choose a light-weight rope with foam grips so it won't slip away from you even if your palms get sweaty.

Here's how to choose the right length rope for you: step one foot on the center of the rope and bring both handles up to the chest. The handles should reach about chest-high.

Learning The Basics
Here is a breakdown of the do's and don'ts of jumping rope:

Lightly grip the handles near the end closest to the rope.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body.
Your knees should be bent slightly.
Turn the rope from the wrist and aim to keep a smooth arc in the rope as it passes over your head.
Never hunch over. Keep your back straight and head up.
Jump low to keep the impact on your knees and ankles to a minimum.
Jumping Rope - '90s Style
If it's been a while since you've swung a rope, you can rest easy - the essentials are still the same. And the essentials are all you really need to know to get a good workout. But if you want to create a fun and exciting workout, you'll have to add an extra element: a little pizzazz.

The easiest way to do this is to turn on some upbeat music to get you motivated. Fun, exciting music is the best way to keep your energy up during your workout.

Once you have mastered basic jumping, try getting a little creative. Jump backwards or vary your foot patterns. Try bringing your knees up or scissoring your legs. If you find yourself needing a break but you don't want to stop completely, twirl the rope from side to side.

If you're finding it difficult to come up with new moves, head to the video or bookstore. There are several new tapes and books on the market to help you add some variety to your workout. The point is to stick with it. You're sure to notice a marked improvement in your endurance level, which will help any other sports or activities you may do. And who knows? Jumping rope might even make you feel like a kid again.
You know it’s important to help your kids develop the exercise habit so they can grow to be healthy, active adults. So, if your children have expressed an interest in running or a desire to participate in a race or two, don’t discourage them! Running is a great natural sport that requires very little equipment. The important thing is to let them determine their own pace and to run only if it’s fun and enjoyable.
A Few Precautions Before Getting Started
Check with a physician to rule out any physical limitations that may prevent your child from participating in a running program. Keep in mind that children’s bodies, although young and energetic, are not capable of performing at the same level as an adult’s. For example, kids are more sensitive to heat, so it is essential that they drink plenty of water and avoid running in the heat of the day. “Children have a higher body mass to skin surface ratio and may not be able to dissipate heat as well as adults,” says Dr. Gabe Mirkin, a board-certified specialist in sports medicine and pediatrics.

Although children’s bodies are more flexible than most adults, always have them begin a walk or run slowly to get the muscles warm and ready to run. Once the muscles begin to heat up, it is OK to begin running. Also, show them how to stretch their calves, hip flexors and hamstrings after cooling down at the end of each run.
Finding Their Form
Since running is a natural action, most children will develop their own form. Encourage your child to relax his or her hands and face while running. A scrunched face and clenched fists indicate tension, which usually means the intensity is too high and the child is straining rather than having fun. Like adults, kids should be able to carry on a conversation while running and should be able to smile. Urge them to slow down if necessary and keep their shoulders relaxed while steadily and smoothly swinging their arms.
To avoid slapping their feet on the ground, have children imagine running on light feet. For example, rather than pounding like a herd of elephants, tell them to run as if they are angels running on clouds or tigers running very lightly so they don’t scare their prey.
How Far Should They Go?
Children will gauge their own limitations, so always listen when they say it’s time to stop. Children should run only as far as they are comfortable. Lyle Mitcheli, M.D., director of the Division of Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital in Boston, recommends that children under the age of 14 run no farther than 3 miles at a time. The reason, he says, is that bones are still growing and the growth cartilage at the ends of the bones is softer than adult cartilage and more vulnerable to injury.
Don’t put pressure on your child to run. Encourage kids to come with you on short runs, but keep the pace slow enough that they can talk to you, and stop when they are tired. Kids should not begin running races above 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) until they are at least of high school age. Most marathons will not allow athletes under the age of 18 to enter due to possible skeletal injuries. Although running requires minimal equipment, it is important to invest in some supportive running shoes for your children. Look for a high-quality shoe that is made for running, with proper cushioning in the forefoot and heel as well as arch support. Depending on how often your child runs, replace running shoes as soon as they show signs of breakdown, which usually occurs after about three months.
Set Attainable Goals
For children, the goal of running is to stay in shape and have fun, with a greater emphasis on the fun. Running fast or winning races is less important and may cause children to dislike exercise or abandon it altogether. Focus instead on improving your children’s self-esteem by praising their efforts and helping them reach their goals. Chances are that if they enjoy running and feel a sense of pride when they are finished, they will remain active for life.
America Needs An Attitude Adjustment
To say that most Americans are concerned about their weight is an understatement. Obsessed is more like it, and we spend more than $50 billion per year feeding that obsession. And for what? To achieve an impossible ideal of thinness and beauty that is virtually unattainable to the vast majority of people? Instead of being thinner, we're no better off than we were 10, even 20, years ago. In fact, the situation is worse: One out of every three American adults is now considered overweight. Not surprisingly, this corresponds roughly to the number of Americans (65 million) who are dieting at any one time.

It seems that all those devices and diets, potions and powders, supplements and artificial sweeteners have done little to nourish what's really important - one's self-esteem. This factor has been largely ignored by traditional approaches to weight loss. Fortunately, a new generation of researchers, physicians and health-promotion specialists are diligently working to change this by promoting what they call the new weight paradigm.
Be Careful What You Assume
At the foundation of this new approach to weight loss is a change in assumptions. For most of the twentieth century, people have simply assumed that thinness is essential for both good health and happiness. And those who are not thin, it also is assumed, must lack willpower and either eat too much or not exercise enough. The solution to being overweight, then, is to simply eat less and exercise more.
Clearly, as statistics bear out, it's not that simple. Diets rarely work. Those who have tried them - and failed - know this, and now physicians and weight researchers are acknowledging it as well. Factors such as genetics and physiological mechanisms are finally receiving due credit for their roles in determining body shape and size.
It's All About Lifestyle
The new weight paradigm focuses on things other than weight loss: healthy eating, regular exercise, positive self-esteem and, perhaps most importantly, self-acceptance. Being healthy has less to do with a number on a scale than the ability to balance and nurture all aspects of one's life: the emotional, mental and spiritual, as well as the physical. Here's a breakdown of the old assumptions and alternative solutions according to the new weight paradigm: Old: Restricting calories is the best way to lose weight. New: Healthy, relaxed eating in response to hunger and satiety cues is the key to developing a comfortable relationship with food and avoiding eating disorders. Old: Exercise is necessary to lose and keep weight off. New: Exercise is an excellent way to improve one's health and enhance quality of life. Old: People need to be thin in order to be healthy and happy. New: People naturally have different body shapes and sizes, and need to accept themselves for what they are.
The key to making positive changes - which may or may not include weight loss - is to consider all the different facets of one's life. Dropping a dress or pants size will mean little if constant fatigue from restricting calories leaves you unable to play with your kids. Disordered eating patterns caused by pressures to be thin can result in zero self-esteem. And constantly rating yourself against some 'ideal' standard offers little more than a lifetime of dissatisfaction and frustration.
This new weight paradigm is not likely to gain speedy acceptance in a culture that values thinness and willpower so highly. However, the choice to be healthy and happy by selecting self-acceptance rather than an enforced ideal is yours and yours alone.
The 10 WORST Ab Exercises!

The 10 WORST Ab Exercises!

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Wayne Westcott, PhD., Fitness Research Director at the South Shore YMCA in Boston, has two primary concerns when considering the design of an abdominal exercise routine. According to Westcott, “in a routine where any abdominal exercise movement places stress on the back, the risks outweigh the potential benefits. In a nation where 80 percent of the population has back problems, caution is required. Secondly, anything that doesn't involve a range of movement of the abdominal muscles against a reasonable resistance is not going to be effective.”

In constructing your abdominal program, you want to make certain you limit the exercise movements to those that are safe as well as effective. Peter Francis, Ph.D., of the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University, conducted a valuable study sanctioned by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in order to measure the effectiveness of some of the ab promises. Francis compared 13 common abdominal exercise alternatives. Ab crunches on a stability ball proved to be the most effective and safe. This article, however, is not about “the best,” but rather to provide you enough information so you avoid making mistakes.
The study by Francis ranked the exercises in order, and some of the best-selling infomercial products, those that make the boldest claims, landed at the bottom of the list. It’s clear that the solution lies not so much in a piece of equipment or machinery as it does in knowledge and application of a sound technology. So, in order to help you veer away from ineffective ab routines, here are the “10 Worst!”
1. Electronic Ab Stimulation
2. Bent Over Twist
3. Straight-Legged Sit-Ups
4. Roman Chair Sit-Ups
5. Two-Dumbbell Side Bend
6. Straight Leg Double Leg Raises
7. Ab Rocker
8. The Ab Wheel
9. Improper Use Of The Nautilus Abdominal Machines
10. Seated Spinal Twist Machine
Free Exercise of the Month - September - 2003

Each month ACE offers a free exercise technique. From basic workouts to advanced, proper form is essential. Use these tips to aid in a safe and effective workout for you.
Reverse Crunch
Lie on your back with your thighs perpendicular to the floor and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Grasp the loop in both hands and place it on the front of your thighs just above the knees. Position hands against the outside of your thighs, palms facing the floor as they hold the band. Rest your head, neck, shoulders and lower back on the floor. This is your starting position. Contract your abdominals, roll you hips up, and bring knees toward your face as you lift the upper body slightly off the floor. With each crunch, press your hands toward the feet, pushing against the resistance of the loop. Try to relax your shoulders and neck, and don't lock out your elbows. Return to starting position and repeat.
See exercise below:


Here are some examples of the fitness calendar I have used to take home and share with family members.  Please be advised that for total effectiveness include family involvement and homemade equipment. In this way , the activities will become more creative and challenging.
Please note that the calendar can be changed according to seasonal activities that is inherent with the part of the country. Also, it is best to arrange the activities on a daily basis but it is still imporatant to do all of them. After completion , the parents sign the fitness calendar and their child's calendar goes on the bulletin board and is considered as a lottery ticket for possession of the FITNESS BAG ,which is  a duffle bag with equipment from school that can be used for one week and returned .
NOTE : If the calendar isn't clear enough click on the red calendar link (below)for the same calendar( original is shown). Next ,  click on the referee on the right and left until  November to January is designated.
I have inserted all three months just in case you aren't able to view the calendar link with the hope they come out clearly.
NOTE: By clicking on the referee at a previous month , you will be able
to access all the months from 2003-2004 . Then , repeat the process
with the referee for the next month so all months will be shown
from January 2003 to September , 2004. November , December
and January are already shown as examples below.