Friday, January 10, 2014

Setting SMART goals for 2014

Goals related to weight loss, health, and fitness are some of the most commonly made and broken New Year's resolutions.

Anytime goals or resolutions are made, not just during the new year, making them SMART increases the chances of successfully completing those goals.

“By smart I don’t mean intelligent, though that is a part of the process. By smart I mean an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-stamped,” said Kristin Obert, UIS Rec Sports assistant director for fitness & wellness.

For this addition of Staying on TRAC, Rec Sports wants to help you make SMART goals happen by explaining how to create them.

Specific: Means giving detailed aspects to your goal. Saying “I want to lose weight, or I want to get healthier, or even fitter” isn’t specific, but is instead general. By asking a few questions you can make your goals more specific. Asking what you want to accomplish and when establishes a time frame. Asking where identifies a location. Asking why gives you a specific reason or benefit of the goal.

Measurable: Make sure your goal is measurable. Ask how much, how many, and determine how you will know your goal is accomplished.

Action-Oriented: Involves details of exactly how you will go about completing your goal.

Realistic: Make goals that are attainable and possible for you to accomplish. Saying that you are going to workout every single day, no excuses, is unrealistic. Things pop up and limit this from being possible. Knowing what is realistic to you is an important part of goal setting.

Time-stamped: This means setting a time limit for completing the goal. Just saying you want to lose weight or body fat percentage doesn’t set a deadline.

Setting fitness and health related resolutions for the New Year are great goals to have but make sure that you set SMART goals to avoid being one of the many who break their resolutions.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Deskercise at work!

Some days making it to the gym just isn’t in the cards whether there’s not enough time or you just don’t want to brave the cold weather. University of Illinois Springfield Recreational Sports wants to give you the opportunity to workout without leaving your office or cubicle. With little to no equipment required, deskercise is the perfect opportunity to burn a few calories while you work.

  1. Toe taps: tap toes & moving feet - fidgeting is shown to be correlated with lower weight 
  2. Ab vacuums: contract core and hold for 10-30 seconds before relaxing
  3. Seated leg raises/alphabet leg raises: pulling knees in and out or spelling out the alphabet
  4. Namaste arm contractions: pushing hands together by contracting the arm muscles
  5. Shoulder circles: arms straight out make circles, switching directions every so often
  6. Desk chair swivel: rotating side to side to work the oblique muscles
  7. Desk chair pulls: keeping core tight, lift feet off the floor and pull body towards desk and the push back to start
  8. Sitting on a physioball forces better posture and works the core 
  1. Jog in place for 1 minute to give a postural to your body from sitting
  2. Wall sits: lower body to where knees form a 90 degree angle and hold contraction
  3. Chair squats: use the chair for support or do the squats without desk support
  4. Ham curls holding chair: focus on pulling the heel towards the glutes
  5. Desk dips: keeping arms close to sides, bend at the elbow then extend back to a straightened arm
  6. Desk push-ups: drop chest towards desk and push back to extended position
  7. Calf raises while on the phone: lift up on your toes and lower the heels back to the ground
  8. Walk to converse with co-workers: take postural breaks from sitting as often as you can throughout the day
  9. Take the stairs 
These exercises may not be as demanding as taking your workout to the gym, but on those days where that gym-based session isn’t a possibility deskercise can leave you feeling accomplished and refreshed. Try out a few or all of these exercises the next time you’re at the desk, which may be right now. There is no excuse for inactivity with these simple exercises and Rec Sports hopes you utilize them for improved overall health.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tips for warm weather outdoor training

As temperatures warm up, there are health risks involved without outdoor training in the heat and humidity.

Some of the health risks include: 
  • Heat Cramps: Severe & painful cramping of large skeletal muscles due to sodium losses associated with dehydration & increased sweat production.
  • Heat exhaustion: Extreme fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fainting, and a weak, rapid pulse are all symptoms caused by the Cardiovascular systems inability to work properly due to dehydration. Treatment includes resting with feet elevated in a cooler environment.
  • Heat Stroke: Life-threatening risk that requires immediate medical attention. Signs & symptoms include: cessation of sweating (though sweat may remain on the body), body temperature greater than 104 F, confusion, disorientation or unconsciousness, and rapid pulse/breathing rate. 
Ways to prevent warm environment induced threatening conditions: 
  • Hydrate: It is important to prevent dehydration especially when exercising in higher temperatures and humidity levels that come in increased temp here in the Midwest. Try to intake 16oz of water 30 minutes before beginning the activity and continue to hydrate every 15 minutes or so during the exercise bout if water is available. Be sure to consume plenty of water following the workout. Ice cold water is the best choice because it cools your body temperature from the inside out.
  • Wear sunscreen: Because choosing to wear less clothing to decrease heat more of the body is exposed to the suns ultra violet radiation. Skin damage from the skin is imperative to avoid. Choose a sunscreen with a high SPF, nothing less than 30 and find a waterproof/sweat proof version. Many brands now have a sport version available.
  • Exercise during the cooler times of day (morning or evening). Avoid exercise during the peak temperature times (10am-3pm) if possible. Also choosing trails that provide more shade is advantageous.
  • Wear loose fitting, light colored clothing. If possible dry wick material is the best. Dark colors absorb the sunlight and thus create increased body temperature.
  • Lastly, & most importantly, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. When you do not feel right it is because something is wrong. Be smart and stop exercising if you experience any of the symptoms associated with heat cramps, exhaustion, and stroke. It is better to take it easy on your workout and live to workout another day!
Get outside & enjoy the beautiful weather before winter comes & indoor fitness is more appealing. Just be smart & follow these fitness tips from the UIS Fitness & Wellness Team!