CUPID, CHOCOLATE & CHOLESTEROL

In recognition of American Heart Month, we will be sponsoring a presentation by Susan Stein, Registered Dietitian, which will explore how to take control of your heart health and the health of loved ones as well.  The presentation will explore the role that relationships, anti-oxidants (found in dark chocolate and other foods), low-fat diets and exercise can play in supporting heart health.

The presentation will be on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:30pm at our studio.  Cost is $10. Refreshments will be served. Please call to register so we know how many to expect.

We will also have a drawing for a 2-hour comprehensive fitness assessment (like the one we do for all new clients before their first training session). The winner may give the assessment to a friend or relative, if they have already had the assessment.

SOMETHING NEW – QIGONG

We would like to offer a new class, Qigong (pronounced chee-gong) that is a form of mind/body/spirit integration through specific physical movement, breathing and awareness.  I met with the instructor, Regina Wolgel, and was very impressed with her energy and enthusiasm for this type of exercise.  She explained that Qigong is similar to Tai Chi, but much easier to learn and practice. It can be done standing, sitting or lying down. She claims Qigong can increase vitality, improve balance, coordination and flexibility among other benefits.

Regina Wolgel  is a registered and licensed occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience, and is certified by the International Fitness Professionals Association as a Qigong instructor.  Regina has integrated Qigong into her hospital-based OT practice. She also teaches Qigong group classes and one-on-one sessions.

Regina lectures and has published articles about the health benefits of Qigong. She recently presented “Qigong: The Ultimate Anti-Aging Exercise” for the 16th Annual World Congress of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.

Regina would be available on Wednesdays at 3pm to teach a 6-week Qigong class at our studio (classes will be 45 minutes).  If there is enough interest, we will schedule a class to begin as soon as we have at least 5 participants.  The cost would be $120 for the 6-weeks.  Regina is also available to teach one-on-one, at the studio rate of $90/session and in-home at $100/session.

Please let us know as soon as possible if you have interest in attending a Qigong class on Wednesdays at 3pm.

REMINDER:  YOGA CLASSES MEET MONDAYS AT 4PM

Our yoga class, taught by Jenny Klein, has room for a few more participants.  Drop-ins are welcome ($20/class) but we need to know in advance who is coming.  If you have never experienced Jenny’s kind of yoga, you are in for a pleasant surprise.  Beginners and intermediates will find the class challenging.

PREPARE FOR WINTER’S PERILS  (modified from Chicagotribune.com Jan. 12, 2012)

Winter can be a scary time for those who have poor balance and coordination.  Fall-related injuries account for about 20,000 fatalities per year.  Strength and balance training should be a part of everyone’s exercise program, and this becomes even more important in the winter months.  Some tips to prepare for winter’s challenges and avoid winter falls were listed in an article by J. Weigel of the Chicago Tribune (submitted by client, A. Orschel).

  1. Check your footwear – Wear boots with good traction whenever you go outside.  If shoes have poor traction, slips are a certainty on ice.
  2. Wear gloves or mittens so you do not need to put your hands in your pockets – If you fall, your hands can break your fall, but not if they are in pockets.
  3. Check railings – ask yourself, “If I were to actually fall, can this thing hold me up?”
  4. Bring a cell phone with you (even to get the paper) – this ensures that you can call for help if you fall and cannot get up.
  5. Keep exercising – don’t let your muscles get weaker or your balance become compromised.

THE SCIENCE OF SELF-MONITORING (from IDEAFit)

Did you know that over two centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin used detailed grids to measure his progress toward the 13 goals he had set for himself? He believed this logging process deepened his self-understanding and enhanced his efforts to modify his behavior.

Today, many accomplished people use the same technique in their efforts to achieve more and perform better. Research confirms that recording aspects of behavior and progress toward goals—a process psychologists call self-monitoring—enhances success in making a variety of life changes. When combined with goal setting and other behavioral change techniques, self-monitoring is a simple but powerful tool.

How can you use self-monitoring techniques to accomplish your exercise and healthy-living goals? Use these tips below from Stephen J. Kraus, PhD, a success scientist and author of Psychological Foundations of Success.

Why Self-Monitoring Works – Self-monitoring helps you avoid the “all-or-nothing” thinking that can often lead to the “snow-ball effect” (suffering a minor setback, considering yourself a “failure” and letting that small lapse snowball into a major relapse and a total collapse). Furthermore, self-monitoring tends to counteract people’s natural tendency to overlook progress, as when dieters focus on times they broke their diets, while minimizing all their successes.

Self-monitoring also facilitates “course corrections.” For example, if you record progress toward eating and exercise goals, you may learn that you are suffering from “weekend snowballs”—making solid progress during the week, but letting minor slips snowball into periods of inactivity and overeating on weekends. Armed with this knowledge, you can then make “course corrections”: On weekends, you can redouble your efforts to exercise and perhaps decide to cook healthy meals at home rather than eat out.

Tips For Success – You will be more motivated and comply better with an exercise regimen if you begin by tracking progress on controllable behaviors, such as workout length and intensity, rather than physiological “outcome measures,” such as changes in weight, blood pressure, body fat or medication needs. You can’t wake up in the morning and say, “I will lose weight today.” But you can say, “I will go to the gym today” or “I will eat vegetables four times today.”

Another way to make self-monitoring successful is to use a spreadsheet to create visually compelling charts and graphs of your data. Put the data in front of you in a comprehensible, inspiring format. Most people find steadily increasing lines that reflect improved strength and conditioning or minutes exercised far more motivating and understandable than rows of numbers.

Motivation To Improve – When you are performing well, self-monitoring gives you the small, satisfying reward of recording progress and giving yourself a “good grade.” When you are struggling, giving yourself a “bad grade” is a gentle but thought-provoking reminder that encourages you to evaluate alternative strategies. If you do give yourself a “bad grade,” however, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, develop a strategy to help meet your goal. For example, if you skip your workout one day because of obligations at work or home, you can develop a strategy that will help you stick to the regime. That strategy might be waking up an hour earlier in the morning to do the exercise or writing the workout in your appointment book and honoring it as you would a business meeting.