What Is Arthritis?

12-18-2015 2-39-54 PMArthritis is a very common joint condition that is not well understood. “Arthritis” is not a single disease, but a common way to refer to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.

Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go, and they can be mild to severe. Arthritis symptoms may stay the same for years or may progress and get worse with age. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to conduct daily activities, and make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can even cause permanent joint changes.

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Listed below are arthritis classifications:

Degenerative Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common. When the cartilage wears away, bone rubs against bone causing pain, swelling and stiffness. Over time, joints can lose strength and pain may become chronic. Risk factors include excess weight, family history, age and a previous injury.
When the joint symptoms of osteoarthritis are mild or moderate, they can often be managed by:
• balancing activity with rest
• using hot and cold therapy
• regular physical activity
• keeping a healthy weight
• strengthening the muscles around the joint
• using a cane or other assistive devices
• taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicine or anti-inflammatory medicines
• avoiding excessive repetitive movements

To prevent osteoarthritis, stay active, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid injury and repetitive movements.
Inflammatory Arthritis

Sometimes our immune system can go awry and mistakenly attack the joints causing uncontrolled inflammation that potentially results in joint damage and may even damage internal organs, eyes and other parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are examples of inflammatory arthritis. Researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environmental factors can trigger these autoimmunity issues. Smoking is an example of an environmental risk factor that can trigger rheumatoid arthritis in people with certain genes.

With inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Remission is the goal and may be achieved through the use of medications known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, improve function and prevent further joint damage.

Infectious Arthritis
A bacterium, virus or fungus can enter the joint and trigger inflammation. Examples of organisms that can infect joints are salmonella and shigella (food poisoning or contamination), chlamydia and gonorrhea (sexually transmitted diseases) and hepatitis C (a blood-to-blood infection). In many cases, treatment with antibiotics may clear the joint infection.

Metabolic Arthritis
Uric acid is formed as the body breaks down purines, a substance found in our cells and in many foods. Some people naturally produce more uric acid than is needed or the body can’t get rid of the uric acid quickly enough. In some people, the uric acid builds up and forms needle-like crystals in the joint, resulting in sudden spikes of extreme joint pain, or a gout attack. Gout can come and go in episodes or, if uric acid levels aren’t reduced, it can become chronic, causing ongoing pain and disability.

Many things can be done to preserve joint function, mobility and quality of life. Learning about arthritis and treatment options, making time for physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential. Arthritis is often a misunderstood disease. The Arthritis Foundation is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to serving all people with arthritis (arthritis.org). For information about physical activity, consult with your physician, then make an appointment with a personal trainer to develop a fitness program designed to address your individual needs.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

Janet Hunt Fitness

12-3-2015 10-51-48 AMAbout 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. I suffer from it periodically as a result of lifting something incorrectly over 30 years ago, and my husband is now suffering. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days.

Men and women are equally affected by lower back pain. Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine and a sedentary lifestyle.

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Most low back pain is acute, lasting a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care. Chronic back pain is defined as back pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer.
The occurrence of low back pain has grown worse in recent years. In 1990, a study ranking the most burdensome health conditions in the U.S put low back pain in sixth place. In 2010, low back pain jumped to third place, with only heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) ranking higher. This is likely a result of an increase in obesity and the lower levels of physical activity.

Below are some recommendations for preventing lower back pain:

• A regimen of low-impact exercises is advised. Speed walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes daily to increase muscle strength and flexibility. Yoga also can help stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture. Talk with a personal trainer for suggestions on a low-impact, age-appropriate exercise program that is specifically targeted to strengthening lower back and abdominal muscles.

• Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. The lower back can support a person’s weight best when the unnatural curvature is reduced. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet with your knees slightly bent (never locked).

• At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height. Unfortunately, most of our homes have bathroom sinks at too low of a height for our backs.

• Sit in chairs with good lumbar support and sit in proper position and height for the task. Keep shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office/house or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a low stool or a stack of books.

• Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.

• Sleeping on your side with your knees drawn up in a fetal position can help open up the joints in the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine; always sleep on a firm surface.

• Do not lift objects that are too heavy. Lift from the knees by bending them, pulling the stomach muscles in, and keeping your head down and in line with a straight back. When lifting, keep objects close to your body. Never twist when lifting.

• Keep your weight within 10 pounds of what is recommended. Do not carry extra weight around your waistline because this extra weight adds more stress to those lower back muscles. My back always begins to bother me when I put on an extra pound or two, and goes away when I take it back off.

• Eat a healthy diet containing a sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.

• Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine, which can contribute to spinal disc degeneration. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis. Coughing due to heavy smoking also may cause back pain.

If you are suffering back pain and are not exercising regularly, I recommend consulting your healthcare provider about beginning an exercise program.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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11-20-2015 3-04-40 PMIt is well documented that regular exercise produces longer, better, and healthier lives, reduces anxiety and depression, increases our energy, and boosts our self-esteem. People who are fit miss less work, and have an increased level of productivity. So, in order for people to experience the health benefits listed above, just how much and how often should they exercise?

First, it needs to be understood that all physical activity is beneficial, not just that which is experienced at the gym or as a weekend warrior. In other words, vigorous activities like cleaning the house or mowing the lawn are as good as playing racquet ball or running. While cleaning the house may not be as much fun, knowing that it does the body good might just make it easier to stick with until it’s finished.

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Adults will experience most of the desired health benefits when engaging in a consistent schedule of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking or raking the leaves on the lawn in the fall. It has also been found that dividing workouts into several 10-minute sessions is just as effective as one long one.

Of interest lately has been the discovery of the benefits of HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training. This means that you go “pedal to the metal” for shorter bursts of exercise with timed rests in between. It puts the heart into an anaerobic state, which makes it work harder, and gets quicker results. For example, using various HIIT modalities can convert running or jogging for a total of 75 minutes a week into a regimen that nets the same benefits as walking at a moderate pace for 150 minutes.
If you are breaking a light sweat while exercising and can still talk, your level is considered moderate. If you are working up a good lather and can only say a few words at a time without pausing, your exercise level is considered vigorous.

There is another test that functions as an indicator of moderate exercise, and it is known as the sing-talk test. You cannot sing at a moderate exercise level, because more muscles are involved in singing than talking but you should be able to continue to talk. Therefore, the intensity is considerate moderate if you are working so hard you cannot sing while moving, but not so hard that you cannot speak.

Children need more exercise, as well as a higher level of intensity when exercising than grown ups: 1 hour of physical activity each day, largely aerobic will do it. Kids also need to include games and activities that will strengthen their bones and muscles. A good exercise schedule for kids would be at least 3 days per week of aerobic activity like bike riding or swimming; 3 days of muscle-strengthening activity like sit ups and push ups; and 3 days of bone-strengthening higher impact activities like running or skipping rope.

Most active kids are able to meet these minimum exercise requirements naturally, and with ease. Popular sports for youth such as soccer or basketball will help to provide the majority of the level of activity needed by children to strengthen the heart muscles and fortify developing bones.

For more information about out moderate or vigorous physical activities, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530, or visit Janet’s Fitness Facebook page.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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11-6-2015 10-29-19 AMMy friends, family, and students are always asking “What is the best exercise?” A really quick answer is– whatever works for you! Consideration should be given to what you enjoy, your available time, and current fitness level. No matter how great others say a particular activity is, if you don’t enjoy yourself, you won’t continue.

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If you are not sure what you enjoy, consider your goal. Are you working on your balance, overcoming an injury, preparing for a sport or competition, losing weight, building muscle, lowering your cholesterol, or working on overall fitness, etc.? Ask yourself if you enjoy groups, outdoor activities, or competitive activities? Do you need individual instruction, or are you confident in your fitness knowledge? Do you need someone to be accountable to or someone who motivates you? What is your budget? What is your schedule?

Now that you have some questions to consider, let’s look at your options in the Athens area. First, let’s look at local gyms and some of their characteristics:

• Athens Limestone Wellness Center
• Lion’s Den
• Riviera
• SportsFit

Not all gyms are the same. Prices vary. Some offer different memberships depending on what you use. Some require contracts, some have a signup fee, some offer a daily visit price. If you are interested in classes, look at what they offer and try a few before joining. Some even have 24-hour access.

Athens Limestone Wellness Center has a lap pool if you swim. SportsFit and the Wellness Center offer water classes. Membership at some gyms give you access to additional facilities in Huntsville, Madison, or Decatur. If you are looking for personal trainers, check prices and their training policies. Finally, check out the facility itself for cleanliness and type of members it serves.
Prefer to stay outdoors? Athens offers several great places to walk, run and bike.Jan Layton has started an outdoor walking group (moonglow@hiwaay.net). Debbie Kulmer offers boot camps (256.777.2519). Elkmont has the Richard Martin Trail that is great for walking or biking.

Want to stay indoors and take classes? There are classes all over town and several places to walk indoors. Below is just a partial list of classes that I know about:

• Silver Sneaker Flex classes at Athens Senior Center 256-614-3530
• Silver Sneaker Flex classes at East Limestone Senior Center 256-614-3530
• Silver Sneaker Flex classes at Round Island Baptist Church 256-614-3530
• Zumba at Rec Center 256-233-8740
• Kettlebell, TRX, or Sandbag classes at Balance Training 256-777-2519
• Yoga with Kerry (256) 975-6820
• Yoga with Donna (andrfun@charter.net)
• Tai Chi, Yoga, and martial arts classes at UpDog 256-206-5488
• Miscellaneous classes offered at Athens Limestone Wellness Center, SportsFit, and Riviera.

All classes are open to all and prices vary to fit your budget. Some classes are drop-in and some classes you need to reserve space. Make some phone calls and do your research.

Indoor walking:

• Walmart, Lowes or Kmart
• Sardis Springs Baptist Church
• Jan Layton’s walking group – moonglow@hiwaay.net

Last, but definitely not least, is personal training. Personal training can be either one-on-one or in a small group. The training is specific to you and your goals. Personal training is motivating and will hold you accountable. You can train indoors or outdoors, at your gym, your home or a trainer’s studio. If you are interested in personal training, do your homework to find the trainer that will best work with you.
For more information regarding fitness opportunities in the Athens Limestone area call Janet at 256-614-3530, email at jhunt1@pclnet.net, or look for Janet’s Fitness on FB.
Note: I apologize if I left some fitness opportunities off this list. Please let me know and I will include them next time.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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Health & Fitness – Fiber

10-17-2015 9-53-33 AMEating healthy may improve your health and lower your need for prescription drugs. Dietary fiber is a component in plant based foods that is linked to a wide range of improved health outcomes, including lower cholesterol, better blood sugar regulation, improved intestinal health, greater satiety (feeling of fullness), and lower rates of certain types of cancer. Fiber is found naturally in plant foods that should comprise the greater part of a healthy diet.

The typical American diet includes only about half of the daily recommended amount of fiber, primarily due to the amount of processed foods we eat. A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 grams of fiber per day in your diet; and here are five great fiber sources.

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Legumes are a class of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. They are some of the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Because they are a good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Canned beans are affordable and a convenient way to get your legumes. Try subbing pinto beans for meat in your next batch of chili (or add less meat and more beans), add black beans to your burritos or canned beans to your salads, or whip up a batch of lentil soup. If you’re concerned about sodium, rinse the beans under running water first. This will eliminate about 30 percent of the sodium. The fiber in legumes ranges from 5 to 8 grams per half-cup serving.

While fruits and vegetables both contain fiber, fruit generally has more fiber per serving than do vegetables. One cup of berries, for example, contains 4 to 10 grams of fiber (about twice that of an apple). Blackberries and raspberries have 8 grams fiber per cup, while elderberries top the chart with 10 grams per 1-cup serving.

There are many different types of grains that contain bran. Oat bran, for example, contains soluble fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol levels. The bran found in corn, wheat and rice is largely insoluble fiber, which can help fight constipation. High-fiber cereals often include bran in their ingredients. Or if you don’t eat cereal, sprinkle bran on fruit and yogurt or add into casseroles or baked goods. One ounce of wheat bran and oat bran yields 12 grams of fiber, whereas raw corn bran packs 22 grams of fiber per ounce.

Many fruits contain 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving, but pears contain two to three times that much. A large pear has 7 grams of fiber, while a large Asian pear contains 10 grams. Stick with fresh pears because canned pears usually have added sugars and less fiber (because fiber degrades over time and is generally lost during the canning process).

Peas are one of the few members of the legume family that are commonly sold and cooked as fresh vegetables. Black-eyed peas pack 6 grams of fiber per half-cup, and even green-pea powder is popping up with 4 grams fiber and 4 grams protein per 1 ½-tablespoon serving.
To check out the fiber content of some of your favorite foods, visit the USDA Nutrient Database website at http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search. For more help with a healthy nutritious diet, talk to a registered dietician or a certified Health Coach.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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10-2-2015 2-41-01 PMThis article is reprinted with permission of the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright © 2011 American College of Sports Medicine.

Any type of activity that places unaccustomed loads on muscle may lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This type of soreness is different from acute soreness, which is pain that develops during the actual activity. Delayed soreness typically begins to develop 12-24 hours after the exercise has been performed and may produce the greatest pain between 24-72 hours after the exercise has been performed.

While origins of the soreness are complex, it is well-established that many types of physical activity can cause delayed soreness. Most believe soreness develops as a result of microscopic damage to muscle fibers involved the exercise. This type of damage likely results from new stresses that were experienced during the exercise. One common misconception about DOMS is that it is due to lactic acid accumulation, but lactic acid is not a component of this process. DOMS appears to be a side effect of the repair process that develops in response to microscopic muscle damage.

Examples of activities that are known to cause DOMS include:
• Strength training exercise
• Walking down hills
• Jogging
• Step aerobics
• Jumping

Activities which cause DOMS all cause muscles to lengthen while force is applied. This is eccentric muscle action. Examples of eccentric muscle actions include the lowering phase of a bicep curl exercise or the lengthening of the thigh muscles while the limb brakes against your body’s momentum as it walks or jogs down a hill. Jogging or running on a flat surface can also elicit DOMS symptoms for those who are unaccustomed to this type of activity. The severity of soreness depends on the types of forces placed on the muscle. Running down a hill will place greater force on the muscle than walking down the same hill. The soreness that develops will likely be greater after running down a hill.

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All people are susceptible to DOMS, even those who have been exercising for years. However, the severity of soreness normally becomes less as your body becomes adapted to work it regularly performs. Just one bout of soreness producing exercise actually develops a partial protective effect that reduces the chance of developing soreness in that same activity for weeks or months into the future.

There are numerous characteristics of DOMS beyond local muscle pain. Some of the most common symptoms include:
• Swelling of the affected limbs;
• Stiffness of the joint accompanied by temporary reduction in a joint’s range of motion;
• Tenderness to the touch;
• Temporary reduction in strength of the affected muscles (lasting days);
• In rare and severe cases, muscle breakdown to the extent that the kidneys may be placed at risk; and
• Elevated creatine kinase (CK) enzyme in the blood, signaling muscle tissue damage.

DOMS symptoms do not typically necessitate the need for medical intervention. If the pain level becomes debilitating, if limbs experience heavy swelling or if urine becomes dark, then medical consultation is advisable.

One of the best ways to reduce the severity of DOMS is to progress slowly in a new program. Allowing the muscle time to adapt to new stress should help to minimize the severity of symptoms, but it is unlikely that soreness can be avoided altogether. It is also important to allow the muscle time to recover from work that produces soreness, and participating in the same exercises on subsequent days should to be done judiciously. Proper warmup is also important in preparing the muscle for the types of forces that may cause damage, but there is little evidence that warm-up will be effective in preventing DOMS symptoms. Stretching is sometimes done before exercise, but it is better to stretch after the body is warmed up and after exercise. Stretching has not been shown to reduce or prevent symptoms of DOMS, but DOMS should last only a few days (usually 3-5 days) and the involved muscles will be better prepared for future bouts of the same type of exercise.
There is little evidence that such treatment strategies will hasten recovery and return to normal function. If the primary goal is to reduce symptoms, then treatments such as ice pack application, massage, tender point acupressure, and oral pain relief agents may be useful in easing pain. It is important to be aware that pain reduction does not represent recovery. Rather, these treatments may only be effective in reducing symptoms of pain, but underlying muscle damage and reduced function may persist.

It is unlikely that you will avoid soreness altogether when beginning a new exercise program. However, pain does not need to be present to achieve gains in fitness status, and pain may indicate a need to reduce or refrain from an activity. While eccentric loading of muscle to achieve gains in muscle size appears to be important, gains in strength will occur without overemphasizing the eccentric component of a weightlifting exercise. Pain that occurs during exercise (i.e., acute) signals a problem with the exercise (too intense, bad form, etc.) and should be halted before muscle or joint damage occurs.

Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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9-18-2015 4-08-14 PMIn almost all of my classes, personal training sessions, and for my own personal workout, I use some sort of elastic resistance tubing or bands. Why? Elastic resistance, as the name states, offers resistance, allows free range of motion, allows variable movement speeds, and allows progressive resistance. These are the same properties you see with free weights (barbells or dumbbells). These are the properties needed for an effective strength-training program.

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Studies show that when comparing the same exercise performed using elastic resistance to free weights, the number of muscle fibers activated is similar as is the amount of force provided by the muscle fibers. Also, elastic tubing or bands increase muscle strength and size while decreasing body fat in a similar way to free weights.

One of the most important benefits (and the main reason I use elastic tubing over free weights for some exercises) is that they not rely on gravity. Because free weights rely on gravity to provide resistance, you always have to work in the direction of gravity. Therefore, to work certain muscles using free weights, you may have to be lying in different positions, kneeling, or placed in various positions that may not be comfortable or easy to maintain.

With elastic tubing, you are not limited to working only in the vertical plane. This means you can perform exercises such as twisting side-to-side and horizontal moves. Also, you can do movements that mimic movements used in sports. For example, a study published in the 1998 issue of American Journal of Sports Medicine reports that college tennis players who trained using elastic resistance increased their shoulder strength and the speed of their serve. For the non-athletes, by performing resistance exercises in different directions you can better prepare yourself for the activities of daily living.

Another benefit of elastic resistance not relying on gravity is that it provides continuous tension to the muscle being trained. When lifting a free weight in any direction other than straight up and down, the tension on the muscle can actually be removed at certain points in the range of motion. For example, during a bicep curl with a dumbbell at the very top of the movement the dumbbell is literally falling towards the shoulder. This means that the tension on the bicep has been removed because the dumbbell is no longer being lifted up against gravity by the bicep. When doing a bicep curl with elastic tubing, the tension is present throughout the entire range of motion.

Other benefits of elastic tubing or bands include being lightweight, storable, relatively inexpensive, and easily transported, especially when teaching a group fitness class. Free weights are heavy, difficult to store, and are expensive for heavier weights because they are usually priced by the pound.

Another unique quality of elastic resistance is that as the range of motion of the exercise increases, the resistance provided by the elastic tubing increases. For example, when doing a bicep curl, as you curl your hand up toward your shoulder, the resistance of the elastic tubing increases. As the range of motion increases and the resistance increases, the number of muscle fibers that are being used in the muscle increases as well.

As an instructor, another benefit that I see is that it prevents you from using momentum. This often takes place when using free weights. Once the weight has built up momentum, the muscle fibers do not need to be maximally activated to continue moving the weight throughout the rest of the range of motion of the exercise. The physical properties of elastic resistance do not allow the user to cheat by using momentum. The only way to continue a movement while performing an exercise with elastic resistance is to utilize more muscle fibers in the exercising muscle to continue stretching the elastic material.

As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I like to use both free weights and elastic resistance when available. Depending on the group or the individual, body weight exercises or weight machines are also good options.

For more information about strength training using elastic tubing or elastic bands, give Janet Hunt a call or visit her on Facebook.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

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9-7-2015 10-17-10 AMTwo of the more popular exercise machines in the gym and my studio are the stationary bike and treadmill. Outside the gym, biking and walking are very popular. Often my students or clients ask which machine or form of exercise is best.

My first answer is to select the one you are most likely to use and continue over time. An unused exercise machine does nothing but take up room. Exercising regularly is important for losing weight, looking and feeling better, and most importantly for your long-term health. If you don’t really have a preference, you might want to consider safety and workout effectiveness.

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Treadmill Pros
• If used correctly, most new models include automatic shut-off safety devices if you should fall.
Treadmill Cons
• You can misstep and fall off a treadmill.
• Treadmills put more stress on your knees and ankles. If you have arthritis, you might find a treadmill painful at times.
Stationary Bike Pros
• A bike is the safest if joint stress is a major concern due to age or injury.
• It is very difficult to fall off an exercise bike.
• If you have an upper body injury, the support of a recumbent bike may allow you to continue exercising.
Stationary Bike Cons
• Reaching for the handle bars on an upright exercise bike may put stress on your back and discourage proper posture.

Workout Effectiveness

Treadmill Pros
• At the same intensity, a treadmill will burn more calories per hour than a stationary bike.
• Walking on a treadmill uses your core muscles to stabilize your body throughout your workout, and allows you to get a more all-over workout, especially if you swing your arms as you walk.
• Walking is a weight bearing exercise, so it helps maintain your bone density.
Treadmill Cons
• If you have joint issues, a treadmill may be too jarring.
Stationary Bike Pros
• If you cannot walk 10 minutes on a treadmill but can easily ride for 20 minutes on an exercise bike, you will burn more calories per session on an exercise bike.
Stationary Bike Cons
• Focuses only on the major muscles of the legs. Riding doesn’t really do much for the rest of the body.


Treadmill Pros
• If you can put your treadmill near your TV, you can watch TV or movies. If you don’t watch TV, listen to music.
• You can change your treadmill incline or speeds.
Treadmill Cons
• The treadmill noise will often compete with the television unless you use earplugs.
Stationary Bike Pros
• Like a treadmill, a bike can be placed in front of a TV, but you can also read, play video games or even talk on the phone safely.
Stationary Bike Cons
• On upright exercise bikes, you probably cannot read because you need handlebars for your balance.
• If you get distracted on a bike, you may decrease you speed without realizing it.

Either piece of equipment will help you in your quest for weight loss and improved health, but sticking with your option is the most important, so choose the piece of equipment you are most likely to continue using. For more information regarding exercise equipment and exercise types, talk to a Personal Trainer.
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.
By: Janet Hunt

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8-23-2015 12-41-55 PMFor this edition of Athens Now, I’ve included a table below from the US Department of Health and Human Services on the health benefits associated with regular physical activity.

Always discuss options with your healthcare provider before beginning an exercise program. It is also beneficial to seek out the advice and assistance of a Certified Professional Trainer who can help you find the best exercises for you on a deep, personal level. They can teach you about exercise safety if you don’t have any experience in this area.

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For more information, contact Janet Hunt at 256-614-3530 or visit Janet’s Fitness Facebook page.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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8-7-2015 2-41-58 PMBack when I was in school and starting a career, many people (myself included) in the U.S. associated professional success with getting as little sleep as possible. Now, after much research has been done, science has come to realize that chronic sleep deprivation isn’t just bad for business, it’s detrimental to our health. Doctors are saying that chronic lack of sleep along with sedentary living can lead to serious health consequences, including weight gain, obesity and all those chronic illnesses associated with obesity, such as heart disease and diabetes.

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Sleep needs and sleep patterns vary significantly from one person to another, but in general, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that healthy adults have a basic sleep requirement of seven to eight hours a night. The National Sleep Foundation, reported that four to five hours of sleep per night typically isn’t enough and can lead to serious physiological and neurobehavioral consequences.

Lack of sleep has been linked to the following adverse consequences:
• Increased risk of driving accidents
• Higher odds of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
• Impaired glucose tolerance leading to an increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
• Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
• Decreased ability to pay attention, read signals or remember new information
When it comes to healthy living, getting enough sleep works hand in hand with eating right and getting exercise.

Lack of sleep can trigger the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, and an increase of insulin production, which then promotes fat storage and is associated with weight gain. Two other important hormones are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat.When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. Leptin, on the other hand, cues your brain to put the fork down. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signaling your brain to eat more food. A study by the University of Chicago in young adults found that restricting sleep to four hours a night for a week brought on the same glucose and insulin level characteristics that are seen in diabetics, which the investigator cautioned can be a pathway to obesity.
Sleep suggestions from the National Sleep Foundation for children and teens differ from those of adults. They suggest that children need much more sleep than adults: Preschoolers aged 3 to 5 need 11 to 13 hours of sleep while school-aged children up to age 12 need about 10 to 11 hours of sleep. Most teenagers typically need nine hours of sleep a night to function well.

Below are some suggestions for good sleep:
• Set regular sleep and wake up schedules, even on weekends
• Create a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music
• Exercise regularly and finish your workouts at least three hours before bed time
• Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows
• Create an environment that is dark, quiet and a comfortable sleeping temperature
• Use your bedroom for sleep and sex (do not watch TV in bed, use a computer or read)
• Eat 2-3 hours (or more) before bedtime
• Stop smoking
• Make sleeping a priority
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol near bedtime
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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