The Benefits of Living an Active Lifestyle

The Benefits of Living an Active Lifestyle

May 1st marks the start of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

Are you game enough to join in on the fun?

Leading an active lifestyle can help inspire those around you to become more active as well. Encourage the family to take a walk together after dinner or get in some pre-work pushups in the AM (read How Early Morning Workouts Can Impact Your Day here). The more your body moves the less likely you are to develop health issues further down the line. And the great thing about choosing to live an active lifestyle is that you can start at any age!

Let’s Get Physical 

For adults, physical activity can help lower the risk of many diseases such as type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and heart disease.1 And for the more seasoned adults out there, engaging in physical activities like balance and muscle-strengthening activities can help lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive function.2

But aside from the benefits explained above, exercising – even in short increments – helps provide our bodies with energy! We’ve all experienced that mid-afternoon drop in energy level, but a quick little walk around the office could help with that tired feeling.

Where to Start 

So, how can you celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? Well, a few quick tricks can be as simple as organizing an afternoon lunch walk with colleagues, choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from your work location in order to get a few extra steps in.

One of the main things to remember is that staying in shape doesn’t have to be a chore – remember childhood days full of play?  If sports are your passion why not consider joining an LA Fitness Club Leagues team? It’s a great way to keep fit while having fun! With basketball, volleyball, and racquetball leagues offered, there are plenty of options to choose from (not to mention, LA Fitness is the largest provider of racquetball courts in North America!).

 

Did You Know? 

According to the American Heart Association, moderate activity can help reduce the risk of stroke by about 20 percent, and that number jumps to about 27 percent in individuals who are highly active.3 Exercise also helps promote better sleep (just be careful not to exercise too close to bedtime or you may have a hard time settling down).

However you choose to stay active is up to you! Try out different activities until you find one you enjoy. Oftentimes that will trick our minds into shifting focus from working out to simply having fun, all while burning calories.

So, what are some of YOUR fitness goals for National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? We would love to hear them!

Have an inspirational fitness success story? Share it with us by sending an email to blog@fitnessintl.com.

Sources:

  1. “Benefits of Physical Activity.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 22 June 2016. Web. 05 Apr. 2017. <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/phys/benefits>.
  2. “Physical Activity and Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 04 June 2015. Web. 05 Apr. 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm>.
  3. “Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life.” Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life. American Heart Association, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2017. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/Physical-activity-improves-quality-of-life_UCM_307977_Article.jsp#.WNwCL4WcGUl>.

Recommended Reading

Member Spotlight | It’s Never Too Late

Member Spotlight | It’s Never Too Late

On November 8th, 2014, Max L. of Maplewood, MN made a decision that would alter the state of his life forever.

Having struggled the previous three years with a series of health-related challenges, including emergency surgery for a kidney stone too large to pass, Max knew something had to be done, and soon. At the encouragement of his wife, Max decided to join LA Fitness with the hope of becoming physically active again. This was the first step back to reclaiming his quickly deteriorating health.

While Max had been very active in sports as a boy and young man, time seemed to have taken its toll. A worsening knee problem had deprived him of even the most basic of physical activities – walking. In June of 2014, Max was approved for arthroscopic surgery (a minimally invasive surgical procedure to help treat joint problems). At the same time, he found himself suffering from migraine headaches, a weight of over 200 lbs., and a waist that had expanded to 43 inches.

Max’s original goal was to lose excess belly fat. He hoped that by increasing muscle tone, combined with mild cardio, it would help shed the weight. He also knew from the start that he wanted a trainer to help guide and encourage him along the way to achieving his desired fitness goal. And even though Max had done some weight training in his youth, he had never been properly trained on technique, or, on how to build a properly balanced exercise regime. This is where the training came in; it offered both encouragement and accountability.

In April 2015, Max was partnered with personal trainer, Alex B. He originally started training once a week before increasing his sessions to double that. With the help of Alex, Max was able to achieve incredible results. In roughly a six-month period, Max went from benching around 140 lbs. to a maximum bench press of 265 lbs.! Not only did he start feeling better, but his waist had begun to shrink too. However, like so many others, Max had a hard time making the commitment to a total life change and found himself not noticing a difference in his overall weight.

“Get off of sugar. After a few weeks, your palate comes alive; the veggies you didn’t like become very tasty.”

Max L.

LA Fitness Pro Results® Client

January 2016

August 2016

Over the years, Max tried countless diets that failed to produce any long-lasting results. But in January 2016, Max found himself so disgusted with the way his clothes fit, that he made the commitment to radically change his nutrition. It was with that determination and focus that he noticed the weight and fat start falling off. Between January and August of 2016 Max lost roughly 30 lbs., his waist went from 41” to 36” and his total body fat fell from 29% to 20%! He also began developing noticeable muscle definition in his arms and shoulders. But what he found best of all was the fact that he could fit back into size 32 pants for the first time since his 20’s!

Max shared that his transformation has done wonders for his self-image. His dramatic change has also influenced members at his club who feel inspired to make positive changes themselves after seeing what he’s accomplished. Because of Max’s perseverance and drive, he is now off two of his blood pressure medications, his good cholesterol is up, and the bad cholesterol is down!

Where Is He Now?

Max continues to train twice weekly with Alex.  His current fitness goal is to get his waist down to 34” and his body fat to 15%. Max thanks his trainer Alex for the progress he’s made and says, “I know I could not have done this transformation on my own.”

A Word From His Trainer

“I have trained Max for nearly three years. He’s had to overcome some obstacles along the way. At the start he was battling migraine headaches and vertigo and still hobbling from arthroscopic knee surgery. He could barely do pull-ups and only managed 140lbs on the bench press. But in time he started getting great results. In addition to losing nearly 30lbs his strength has increased, reaching 260lbs in the bench press and 25 pull-ups. I don’t recall ever seeing a 67 year old do that. He’s a great example that age is not a barrier or an excuse. Of all of Max’s successes I think the biggest is that he enjoys coming to the gym, and I believe he’ll stay at it for the rest of his life. As trainers our job isn’t just to take people through workouts but also to create a positive experience for the member in the gym so they will continue to train and develop. Max has been that guy and he is a great inspiration to other members who’ve watched his transformation.” – Alex B.

 

If you have any questions on how you can get started in Pro Results® Personal Training please click here.

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at blog@lafitness.com for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post!


Recommended Reading

Ready, Set, Spike!

Ready, Set, Spike!

Volleyball Championship Recap: Can You Dig It?

 

The clock struck 7PM, on an otherwise typical Monday night, yet the air of the LA Fitness Irvine-Jamboree volleyball court was dense with anticipation for the night’s Club Leagues championship game. The sounds of sneakers squeaked against the polished court floor, as teammates started revving one another up with words of encouragement. Everyone was all smiles, undoubtedly excited for the big game that lay ahead.

After a quick warmup, suddenly, it was the moment everyone had been waiting for: Game time.

 

The teams took their places and got into formation – the blow of the whistle signaled the start of play. It was down to the top two teams: The Sea Otters vs. Polar Bear Sunshine. Both teams were hungry for the win.

The game seemed to be going favorably for The Sea Otters, as they led with a comfortable 2-0, but by the third set Team Polar Bear Sunshine brought their A-game and the game was suddenly 2-1, with good effort coming from both sides. As each team competed to be better than the other, the game heated up and took the players into the fifth set.

While both teams were still having fun, there was suddenly a more competitive dynamic to the game. An excited nervousness seemed to fill the room, as each team battled for victory. It was down to the final points – who would become this season’s volleyball champion?

With a strong serve from Team Sea Otters, they managed to win the championship! However, this result came despite solid efforts from Team Polar Bear Sunshine.

 

If you’re interested in joining an LA Fitness Club League, click here for more information.

We offer volleyball*, basketball and racquetball leagues and would like to welcome YOU on the court!

Our Club Leagues, both competitive & recreational, are open to members of all skill levels who are 18+.

*The average volleyball season is roughly 8-10 weeks long, including playoffs. Winners receive championship shirts and their team picture displayed on club TVs.

 

 


Recommended Reading

Member Spotlight | Health and Happiness Are Possible

Member Spotlight | Health and Happiness Are Possible

“I’m a firm believer in [that] you can only make yourself better if you try; I just had to try.”

Rebecca G.

LA Fitness Member

Have you ever had a photo taken of yourself, and not recognized the person staring back at you? Rebecca Guy of Hamburg, NY, knows that feeling all too well. The picture to the right was taken at a friend’s Easter party in 2015 and Rebecca could not believe how much she had changed since she had started her office job in 2013. A retail job she held prior, kept her naturally fit by constantly staying active on her feet. Once her new office position started, she began noticing that she was sitting 8.5 hours a day, 5 days a week. When the extra weight started accruing, Rebecca invested in a step tracker, only to realize she was barely averaging around 3,000 steps a day. Depressed at how inactive she seemed to be, Rebecca threw out the step tracker, but made no further attempt at changing her sedentary ways.

The months progressed and life carried on, until Rebecca found herself at an office outing where another photo was snapped and caused Rebecca to no longer want to wear tight shirts – too embarrassed of who she had let herself become. (Photo shown to the right) Shortly after, in October 2015, Rebecca took a trip to Los Angeles, CA to visit her sister where they hiked, went to the beach, visited Hollywood Blvd., and various parks. But instead of enjoying the experiences and beautiful sights, Rebecca recalls feeling miserable. It was after this trip that Rebecca knew something had to be done, and soon.

“My journey began when I realized if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would spend the rest of my life unhappy, uncomfortable, and with preventable health problems. I knew nothing about working out, though, and I was terrified of the gym!  When I joined LA Fitness, the staff was amazing and understood my goals – to get happy, comfortable and healthy.”

Rebecca G.

LA Fitness Member

Step 1

In December 2015, Rebecca joined LA Fitness. Her only goal was to show up. She kept telling herself just to get there and she would figure out the rest later. What Rebecca didn’t know is that a complimentary fitness assessment is included with new member enrollment. When LA Fitness staff offered to schedule her assessment Rebecca shared with us, “Honestly, I had no interest in knowing how out of shape I was, but I stopped myself- if I’m going to do this I have to do this right, maybe this would encourage me to show up.” As Rebecca was given a tour of the club she was asked what she wished to accomplished. She just wanted to be happy, comfortable, and healthy. Those became her goals. And on December 26th, 2015 Rebecca had her first training session with Master Trainer, Sarah O.

Change Is Scary

For most people new to working out, gym equipment can be somewhat intimidating, and the free weight zone is oftentimes looked at as the no go zone. When Rebecca first began her membership, she only knew how to use the treadmill. She didn’t know what either a rep nor a set was. But, with the help of her personal trainer Sarah, she became knowledgeable of the gym and began to feel relaxed, rather than intimidated and stressed. Rebecca explained her goals to Sarah, and was told that her goals would be met if she kept showing up for training, working out, and made some healthy lifestyle changes. And that she did – but it didn’t come easy. Rebecca shared that, “at first this was really hard, I mean really hard- but [Sarah] was always there for me […] guiding, coaching and encouraging me to be a better me.”

Within just a few sessions Rebecca’s fear of the gym was reduced, she knew what reps and sets were, which muscle groups to train together, and was surprised to find that she was working out with free weights, just like Sarah had taught her, all on her own! Rebecca started finding herself looking forward to going to the gym. She knew if she worked hard, her goals would be met. She was beginning to feel happier and healthier, and knew that the feeling of being more comfortable in her own skin would come in due time, with the more weight she lost.

Hard Work Pays Off

While Rebecca’s initial goal was to simply become a version of herself, Sarah introduced her to the idea of fitness competitions. At first, Rebecca laughed off the idea, with the assumption that fitness competitions were simply about fit individuals showing off muscles on top of muscles; she soon came to know that there were a lot more to fitness shows. Rebecca had never competed in anything before – even as a child – and therefore, had never known the feeling of winning a trophy. Sarah began inspiring her daily, and training her to lose weight, gain muscle, and tone. There were times Rebecca questioned if all the “extra” work was really worth it… until the big Natural Muscle Association Can/Am Competition arrived (March 2017), and Rebecca placed in the top three!

So where is Rebecca now?

Today Rebecca is 130 lbs., happy, comfortable, healthy, and a natural muscle figure competitor. She continues to train with Sarah and has plans to compete in yet another fitness competition in the upcoming months.

Words of Wisdom 

“My words of advice would be: don’t wait- just try it. I waited, I knew I had to do something to make myself better, but I waited; ignoring the problem and thinking it would go away. If I hadn’t waited, I would have been a lot happier a lot sooner. Just try- get there and try. Some days trying is easier than others- I have my days. Getting there is more than half the battle and when you get there, give it an honest effort you will thank yourself later when you feel and see the results.“

Rebecca G.

LA Fitness Member

A Little About Her Trainer 

“Be a story worth telling.” – Sarah O. MS; MBA; PhD

Sarah O. is a championship bodybuilder and figure champion, who placed as the 2009 USA winner. She been inducted into the Buffalo Bodybuilding and Weightlifting Hall of Fame, and featured in the National Fitness Hall of Fame, for both her accomplishments and efforts to revive the sport. She has been featured in several magazines, and owns a non-profit company which rescues cats from abuse and neglect. Sarah serves as a role model to those who look to become more.

 


Recommended Reading

What Is World Health Day?

What Is World Health Day?

Let’s talk health.

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” – World Health Organization, 1948

The World Health Organization hosts World Health Day each April 7th, which brings to global focus a key issue relating to health that many feel needs to be addressed. The efforts to bring attention to the subject chosen continue for a full calendar year, until a new topic is chosen. This year their theme is ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’. Other themes in the past have included ‘Beat Diabetes’ (2016), Food Safety (2015), and Vector-borne Diseases (2014), to name a few. Currently, there are 35 countries participating in 65 varying events. To find an event happening near you, click here.

If You’re Unhappy And You Know It, Run A Lap

This year the World Health Organization’s one-year campaign is centered on depression. It’s a topic that many are familiar with, but one that often gets overlooked. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression.1 But, there are some natural ways that may help combat some of depression’s effects. A 2005 study referenced by Harvard Health showed that simply “walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms.”2 It’s amazing what a difference something so seemingly small can make.

In yet another study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 156 men and women with depression were split into three groups. One of the groups partook in an aerobic exercise program, the second group were given an antidepressant, and the final group participated in both. At the end of the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. In fact, “about 60%–70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classed as having major depression.”3

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

Leo Buscaglia

American author and motivational speaker

But why does exercising help mental health?

There are a few different hypotheses to consider:

I. Thermogenic Hypothesis

II. Endorphin Hypothesis

III. Monoamine Hypothesis

IV. Distraction Hypothesis

V. Self-Efficacy Hypothesis

 

“We can’t escape pain; we can’t escape the essential nature of our lives. But we do have a choice. We can give in and relent, or we can fight, persevere, and create a life worth living, a noble life. Pain is a fact; our evaluation of it is a choice.”

Jacob Held

Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Central Arkansas

i. The Thermogenic Hypothesis suggests that the natural rise in core body temperature caused from working out can help facilitate symptoms of depression. Specifically, the study explained that “increases in temperature of specific brain regions, such as the brain stem, can lead to an overall feeling of relaxation and reduction in muscular tension.”4

ii. The Endorphin Hypothesis is probably the most commonly referenced theory when it comes to talking about the benefits of exercising and the effects it has on mental health. According to this hypothesis, exercise helps release endorphins naturally. Endorphins are known as “feel-good” hormones and are directly “related to a positive mood and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.”5

iii. The Monoamine Hypothesis is similar to the Endorphin Hypothesis. It suggests that “exercise leads to an increase in the availability of brain neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine) that are diminished with depression.”6 Serotonin has an effect on one’s mood. Dopamine “helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers [and] also helps regulate movement and emotional responses.”7 Norepinephrine is a chemical that mobilizes the body and brain for action.

iv. The Distraction Hypothesis is probably the most self-explanatory of these theories. This hypothesis suggests that physical activity helps distract from worries and depressing thoughts. Generally speaking, engaging in a distracting activity has shown more positive results than “self-focused or introspective activities such as journal keeping or identifying positive and negative adjectives that describe one’s current mood.”8

v. Lastly, there is the Self-Efficacy Hypothesis. In order to better understand what this hypothesis suggests, first let’s define self-efficacy. It “refers to the belief that one possesses the necessary skills to complete a task as well as the confidence that the task can actually be completed with the desired outcome obtained.”9 Those suffering from depression can sometimes experience negative thought processes, and feelings, towards themselves. However, a study showed “that involvement in an exercise program was associated with enhanced feelings of coping self-efficacy, which, in turn, were inversely related to feelings of depression.”10

If exercising is something you want to try to help become a physically, mentally, and emotionally better you, there are tons of different options available. At LA Fitness, Group Fitness classes are offered if you are the type of individual who thrives with the motivation of an instructor and the energy of others working out with you. If you prefer getting your workouts done solo, there is plenty of cardio and weight equipment to available to you. And if you’re new to working out, and unsure where to begin, booking a session with one of LA Fitness’ Pro Results® Master Trainers may be the best option for you.

This article is not meant as medical advice and should not replace any medical recommendations from your physician or other healthcare professional. Before starting a new exercise program, consult with your physician. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, please reach out to a healthcare professional.

*Photos show a typical club. Amenities may vary.

 

Sources:

  1. “Depression.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Feb. 2017. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. <http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/>. Publications, Harvard
  2. Health. “Exercise and Depression.” Harvard Health. Harvard Health Publications, June 2009. Web. 28 Mar. 2017
  3. Ibid
  4. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid
  7. Jr., Robert Evans Wilson, Samantha Smithstein Psy.D., Loretta G. Breuning Ph.D., and Susan Weinschenk Ph.D. “Dopamine.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  8. Craft, Lynette L., and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 2004. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.
  9. Ibid
  10. Ibid

Recommended Reading

SUBSCRIBE TO

LIVING HEALTHY

Be the first to know about exclusive

content, deals and promotions

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest