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Dogs: Your Better Fitness Companion

Dogs: Your Better Fitness Companion

Author: Phil Gawlak, NASM-CPT, CES, GFS, FNS

Walking is one of the best exercise decisions you can make, but sometimes it can become difficult to follow through with your walking plan. Dog ownership can help you stay on course; dogs form a routine quickly and will insist you keep with it. As a dog owner you owe it to your pal to get him outside and spend time together. Your dog is a pack animal, and by default you are pack leader; your dog craves your attention, and they needs time with you in an active environment. Your dog will quickly pick up on a walk schedule and let you know when it’s time to go. They’ll hold you accountable and won’t give you an excuse to forego exercising. Dogs are loyal, hardworking, energetic and enthusiastic; they will never skip an exercise session because of appointments, extra chores or bad weather.

Research shows that dogs are actually nature’s perfect training companions. “Across 9 published studies, almost 2 in 3 dog owners reported walking their dogs, and the walkers are more than 2.5 times more likely to achieve at least MIPA (Moderate-Intensity Physical Activity) defined as at least 150 mins/wk. These findings suggest that dog walking may be a viable strategy for dog owners to help achieve levels of Physical Activity that may enhance their health” (1).

A study of over 41,000 California residents looked at walking among dog owners as well as those who didn’t have pets. Dog owners were about 60 percent more likely to walk for leisure than people who owned a cat or no pet at all, equaling to about an extra 19 minutes a week of walking compared with people without dogs (2).

Dogs expend about 0.8 calories per pound per mile when walking at a pace of 15 to 16 minutes per mile. People tend to use about 0.73 calories per pound per mile, at a similar speed. This means a 150-pound person loses about 100 calories during a 1-mile walk while their 40-pound dog burns about 32 calories.

A study at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that having a pet can encourage owners to get more exercise, resulting in substantial weight loss. “The participants began the program by walking 10 minutes per day, three times each week. Eventually, the participants walked up to 20 minutes per day, five times each week. During rainy days, the participants walked an inside route.” The group averaged a loss of 14 pounds in 50 weeks (3).

It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 pound of weight, so simply walking yourself to significant weight loss is difficult if not impossible. You must make nutritional choices that will help bolster your walking and exercise efforts. That said, the list of benefits you and your four-legged friend get from your daily walks is numerous, including but not limited to bonding time and improvements in cardiovascular health, bone and muscle health, mood, sleep, balance and coordination. Walking is key in prevention or management of various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

How much exercise is enough? According to the World Health Organization (4), adequate exercise to promote good health includes:
*60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity daily for children 5 to 17 years old
*30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week for adults 18 to 65 years old, plus strengthening exercises two days per week
*30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week, with modifications as needed in seniors over 65 years old, plus flexibility and balance exercises
This walk is fitness based, so your pup won’t be stopping to smell bushes and fire hydrants; the goal is to be in constant motion. You will want to keep a good pace for the first part of your walk, allowing time only on the way home for stops to smell. Dogs are very scent based; their world is based off of smells, so it’s important to allow them to interact with their environment but not until after the workout. Get out there and enjoy the outdoors; your body and your dog will be eternally thankful.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18382031
http://www.cvm.missouri.edu/News/dailydogwalks.htm
http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24733365

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Product Review— Foam Roller

Product Review—Foam Roller

Author: Phil Gawlak, NASM-CPT, CES, GFS, FNS

A review of the 6” diameter closed cell foam roller. This roller is a great tool for anyone seeking relief from tight or overactive muscles. This may be a bit firm for some beginners, but with consistent use the body will adapt quickly. The basic closed cell roller is among the most durable available, especially at its low price point. I highly recommend this foam roller as it is an effective way to help inhibit or relax over-active muscles before and after your workout. A qualified Personal picture165trainer can help you identify those over-active muscles and how to use the roller safely and effectively. If you have sore muscles, or feel like you have some tight muscles that need some smoothing out, this is the perfect product. This foam roller is also a good option for a multitude of other exercises as well. Due to its firmness, you can perform balancing exercises, as well as stability and core exercises. Because it is made of high density materials, this closed-cell roller can retain its shape and firmness for longer than many others. This roller is simple, but sometimes the simplest products are the most effective and most durable. I use this foam roller with many of my clients, as well as in my own personal workouts. It is one of my favorites and I recommend it to all of my clients and suggest acquiring one to add to your workout regimen.

 

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Jan’s Wellness Journey

Jan’s Wellness Journey

Author: Jan Frazier, Member

I embarked on my fitness journey at age 67 mostly out of desperation. I needed a program to help me walk, stand and sit without pain. My job required standing (on concrete floors) for several hours at a time. Because of the standing and incorrect posture, I developed sciatica. I started my program at a commercial gym. After about six weeks or so, I knew that what I was doing there was not working for me. I was not seeing the results that I had hoped for and was looking for help in other areas. I heard about Achieve Wellness and decided to see what they had to offer. First, I scheduled a therapeutic massage and then another one. I was amazed at what the massage alone did for the pain. I then scheduled an appointment with a trainer who started me out with stretching and using a foam roller. More progress after those sessions made me realize that this was the place for me.

I was beginning to experience some relief from the sciatic pain because of the stretching and roller use and even more relief when the stretching session was preceded with a 30 minute therapeutic massage. When I began this program, I had never really thought about a fitness goal other than finding a program that would eliminate the pain I was living with. I have since revised that goal to include milestones that I felt I needed to achieve for my personal satisfaction and well-being. During the past six months I have worked diligently at home as well as with the trainers at Achieve Wellness.

I cannot say enough about the caring attitude of the staff and their dedication to the health, well-being and success of their clientele. They also emphasize the importance of proper form and posture as a must to prevent injuries. Not only have I thrived from the individual attention from the trainers, but I have found other benefits at Achieve Wellness which contribute to my own well-being and success. Due to an equilibrium problem caused by partial hearing loss, the beginning Yoga class has helped a great deal in achieving stability and increased flexibility as well.

The nutrition class was an eye opener in that I have never been told that I needed to eat more! My food diary reflected a lack of balance in the protein/carbohydrates/fat percentages in my diet. I have progressed from stretching to more intensive muscle strengthening. The sciatica is now history. And yet another surprise: I have lost ten pounds along the way! Even more recently, I had to go through radiation treatments. My doctors recommended that I stay active and take yoga classes during the course of my treatments to alleviate symptoms of fatigue. I continued with the exercise and yoga routine and both have helped tremendously. I have literally “sailed” through my treatments with no adverse effects.

 

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