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Indoor Activities That Keep Exercise Fun and Effective During Winter Months

Friday, September 30, 2011

Winter is on its way and as you know, there are countless excuses for laziness that can be found among the dropping temperatures and dark mornings of these months. In previous years, you may have used every excuse in the book until January 1st crept up and you realized that the extra 10 pounds on your waist could use a resolution. This year, it is time to turn your chocolate-indulging, couch-sitting winter into a season of exercise and fun and save that resolution for something less cliché. Try some of these great indoor exercises, perfect for fall and winter, and watch the excuses melt away. Whether you want to venture from the warmth of your own home or not, these exercises will help keep you in shape all winter long.

Video Games

Yes, video games can get you in shape! However, pay careful attention to the disclaimer. You must let go of the games that require nothing more than a reclining chair and some button-pushing. There are many game consoles that promote exercise, even while you are in front of the TV. Wii Fit, for example, is a great means for playing competitive games while improving strength, balance, coordination, and even cardio fitness.

Dance Dance Revolution is another great video game option you can play to dance off the pounds. DDR not only works on your foot-eye coordination, but it keeps your body in constant, vigorous motion. The better you get, the more you sweat!

For a more traditional family game, play a few rounds of Twister to improve your flexibility and balance.

In-Home, Equipment-Free Exercise

The best part about staying in shape is that it can be done for free. If you must watch your favorite primetime show, switch from push-ups to jumping jacks to crunches on every commercial break. When you are doing a little work around the house or cooking dinner, jog in place.

There is no better place to let loose and dance than in the privacy of your own home. Turn on some music and pull out your best moves. Dancing is great for a full body workout, reducing stress, and increasing energy levels!

Multi-level homes provide a built-in cardio and strength training machine: the stairs. Running, or walking, up and down the stairs will be a guaranteed heart-pumper. You can also use the steps for calf raises and arm dips.

Of course, you can always bring the fitness classes from your gym into your home through the convenience of DVDs and videos. Pilates and yoga are great forms of exercise to take up during winter months. There are thousands of DVDs and online videos that will get your heart pumping, and help you make sure that you are using the correct form for your strength-training moves.

Home Gym Equipment

When you have the conveniences of your gym in your own home, there can be no more excuses. Fancy equipment such as treadmills, elliptical, and stationary bikes are a plus, but are not necessary. If machines like these do not fit into your budget, a simple mat, ball, jump rope, dumbbell set, or resistance band will do the trick. Strength and flexibility training will be easier with these accessories, not to mention more effective. For smaller budgets or space capacities, there are mini versions of stationary bikes that allow you to maintain a cardio workout while reading, watching TV, or working at your desk. They are easily portable too.

A case of the winter blues is no longer an acceptable excuse to sit on the couch all day. Take advantage of these simple exercises that will maintain your summer tone from the comfort of your own home. Of course, you can always head to your local gym to workout, take fitness classes, shoot hoops, or swim laps. The key for every exercise is to maximize use of your entire body, and lifting chocolates from the bag to your mouth doesn't count!

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A Guide to Reaching a Fitness Goal That Seems Out of Reach

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Achieving a fitness goal, especially one that is beyond anything you've ever done before, takes willpower, motivation, and persistence. These three characteristics are usually ones you have to dig deep for, and as you know, there are many obstacles that try to block them from surfacing. However, there would be no such things as 5K's, marathons, Iron Man races, or even the Olympics if everyday people didn't set and accomplish their fitness goals. No matter how impossible it may seem, you are capable of achieving what you set your mind to. We hope these tips will give you an extra push toward reaching your goal.

If you don't already have a goal, the first step is, obviously, to make one. When thinking of a goal or analyzing your current goal, you must evaluate its purpose. Whether the point is to lose weight, accomplish your first 5K, or give back by biking 100 miles in a charity event, knowing that there is a purpose to be fulfilled will keep your motivation on a higher level.

Make a plan and keep track of your progress. Maintaining a long-term goal is important, but breaking it up into smaller goals is even more important. When training for a half-marathon, you can't go out and run 13 miles on the first day. You must start with one or two miles and gradually build your way up. Keep a calendar or a chart of your daily goals and cross off the days as you go on. You will be able to visually keep track of your progress and what comes next, as well as feel the satisfaction of crossing off each accomplished goal.

Stare your goal in the face! Post your goal right next to your bed, or somewhere where you are bound to see it multiple times a day. This constant reminder will keep you on the right track, and keep you motivated.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether you think you need help getting started or help getting over failures or slumps along the way, there is always someone you can count on. Setting the same goal with a friend or simply finding a workout buddy is a great way to stay on top of things. Also, a personal trainer will give you professional approval of your goal and can help you find the best way to achieve it.

Most importantly, make reaching your goal fun! There are going to be rough patches, times you want to quit, but making it through those times will boost your confidence more than anything. If you are experiencing a slump, find a new way to motivate yourself. Create a new route. Buy a new pair of shoes. Change the music on your iPod or MP3 player. Find something that will make you look forward to your next workout!

Even if you are starting from square one, as long as you never give up, you will get there. You will reach your goal. Find a way to defeat the nagging voice in your head telling you to take a nap instead, or that it is too hard for you to do. As the late Audrey Hepburn once said, "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says "I’m possible!'"


Amplified Success Through Positive Thinking

Friday, September 9, 2011
Optimistic thinking promotes high achievement both at work, as well as in your personal life. According to Dr. Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, success is the product of a "combination of reasonable talent [with] the ability to keep going in the face of defeat."

MetLife, a leading provider of insurance services, enlisted the aid of Seligman to help them prove this philosophy through a two-year case study. In addition to their regular screening exam, MetLife required that applicants complete Seligman's assessment, which measured applicants' level of optimism. Over two years, MetLife employees who scored above the 50th percentile for optimism boasted 37 percent more successful sales than that of their pessimistic counterparts. Even more impressive, Seligman recommended that MetLife also hire a group of applicants who flunked the initial screening test, yet scored extremely high points on the optimism assessment. After two years, these "super optimists" outsold the pessimists by 57%.

The results of the MetLife case study raise a strong argument that optimism leads to success. So, put on some rose colored glasses and start thinking positively.

Make positivity a conscious decision: Resolving to think and act more positively isn't a goal achieved by the flip of a switch. To make a long-lasting behavior change, set a goal then write down the steps you're going to follow to achieve it.

Guard yourself against negative thoughts: If everything you see, hear and read has negative connotations, you're likely to adopt some of this negativity into your own thought processes. A few times each day, take a short break and read something humorous or inspiring. Not only will you get a mood boost, but your brain will thank you for the much-needed break.

Disprove negative assumptions: If you find that you’re continually chastising yourself for making a mistake, shift your thoughts to positive self-talk. Ask yourself:

• Is this negative thought really true?
• What have I done successfully in the past that disproves these thoughts?
• If someone else did this, would I be as hard on them as I am being on myself?
• Am I thinking the worst? Could there be an alternative explanation?

Put your past behind you: While you should learn from your mistakes, it's important not to dwell. After making an error, first take break from the situation - clear your head. Upon returning, examine the circumstances, determine what you could have done or not done to avoid an unsatisfactory outcome, and then let it go. Dwelling on a past failure will have a negative effect on future endeavors, so resist the urge to wallow. Instead, ask yourself: "will anyone remember this mistake in a year?"

Past mistakes don't dictate future behaviors: You may have made a mistake, but remember that just because you made a poor choice one day, does not mean all future choices will result in similar outcomes.

If you're already thinking, "boy, this optimism thing is going to be a breeze," congratulations! You're on the right track already. And if you want to get some positive quotes or “shots of positivity” check out the 5-hour ENERGY ® Facebook Page for inspiration.