Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

sleep deprivation causes and effects

One of the biggest factors that contributes to how well we perform at the gym is sleep. Sleep quality plays such a vital role in maintaining a healthy and active life. This is why when we lose sleep on a consistent basis, it can really impact on our gym performance and in our day-to-day lives in general. This post is going to cover sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym so you can learn just how much sleep impacts on our performance and what we can do about it.

Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

Lifestyle Sleep Deprivation Causes

While there may be many possible underlying causes of why people are sleep deprived, most of the time, it is our bad sleeping habits that are affecting our shut-eye.

In this on-the-go lifestyle that we lead, we tend to stay up later, finishing work, watching television or staying connected to others via our social media.

It may not seem like it but this can really affect our sleep quality, which may be one of the many reasons why you are unable to get a good night’s sleep.

Maybe you have a demanding job so you find yourself working quite late all the time, checking emails. Maybe you have lots of things to do around the house that keeps you up. Whatever there is, there are many sleep deprivation causes that are based on our lifestyle choices.

The Many Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Just as there are many possible causes, there are also many effects of lack of sleep.

You Feel Lazy

Hands up if you have ever had a bad sleep and felt like skipping your gym workout because of it?

I know I have.

Feeling lazy because you have missed out on hours of sleep can cause you to skip your workout, meaning you will fall behind in your training. This lack of motivation can cause you to be unwilling to move or be active all day, and we all know how important it is to move daily.

You’re Moodier

Not only will you be feeling lazier and less motivated but you will also moodier.

This is not a great situation for you or the people around you.

You may find that you will be moodier, more irritable and grumpier because you will have less serotonin in the body.

And if you skip your training session because you are feeling lazy (i.e. see point above), you will not be active which can actually help improve your mood by releasing endorphins.

You Can’t Concentrate

Just say that you do somehow manage to make it to the gym. Is your workout as efficient as it could be? Are you able to make it through your regime like you typically can or are you finding it harder to concentrate?

Another one of the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym include trouble focusing. You will find yourself becoming more easily distracted which means that while you managed to make it to the gym, the quality of your training will be compromised.

Your Energy Levels are Low

Not only will you have decreased concentration but you will also have less energy. This may make your usual workout seem a lot harder than it usually is.

You may find that you will be unable to hit the same weights, sets or reps as last time – all because you are feeling drained from lack of sleep.

Your Body Can’t Recover Properly

Sleep is such an important factor in your body’s rest and recovery. Without proper sleep, your muscles and bones cannot grow or repair themselves. This can perpetuate DOMS, make it harder for you to feel 100 percent again and back to normal. This is especially bad if you do weight training or strength training.

If you are deprived of sleep, you are depriving your body of the time that it needs to relieve muscle tension and soreness. And you will definitely feel it the next day.

Your Metabolism Slows Down

Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism and decreasing leptin – the hormone that helps keep you feeling full. In turn, this causes, your appetite to increase so you feel much hungrier than usual.

If you are trying to keep a healthy diet, then this can definitely derail your good intentions and you may find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack.

While you should treat yourself every once in a while without feeling guilty, you may find that you feel the sleep deprivation causes and effects all day. This means that you may find that the unhealthy snack has turned into an unhealthy day.

Without consuming the adequate nutrition your body needs, especially to help your workouts, then you may see your gym performance fall.

5 Tips on How to Get Better Quality Sleep

Here are some easy steps that you can take to get longer and better sleep:

  1. Choose a time that will give you adequate hours of sleep for you to wake up feeling refreshed the next day. Make sure that you consistently go to bed at this hour. This may take some time getting used to but eventually, your body will learn your earlier bedtime. To help get you started, try going to bed half an hour/an hour earlier each night until you reach your desired time.
  2. Set an alarm an hour before that time to begin the winding down process for sleep. This includes turning off all electronics so that the blue light it emits doesn’t disrupt the body clock. This also means stop doing work and checking emails.
  3. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark.
  4. Try meditating for better sleep. Meditation can help you unclutter your mind and prepare your head and body for sleep.
  5. Exercising daily is also a great way to help get better sleep. Just make sure you don’t engage in vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime. Otherwise, you will be too worked up to sleep.

As you can see, the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym are plentiful. Sleep really does make such a big impact – good and bad – in your training and health in general. To get the best out of your workout each day, have better and longer sleep.

Jefit App

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

How have you found your sleep affects your training? What sleep deprivation causes and effects have you seen on your fitness journey? Let us know in the comments below!

sleep deprivation causes and effects

Activities to Bring Your Exercise Routine to the Next Level

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There are many activities to choose from when trying to get in or stay in shape. Some activities are better than others and may be more beneficial when added as part of a weekly exercise routine.

The following three activities are some of the best based on their high energy expenditure. Each is ideal in their own right because they offer multiple options. The following activities also fit well as part of a warm-up or for circuit training.

Add Jumping Rope to Your Exercise Routine

There is a great deal of research on the benefits of jumping rope. One such study, was led by John Baker of Arizona State University. He divided 92 male students into two groups. One half of the group skipped rope for 10-minutes a day while the other half jogged for 30-minutes a day. After six-weeks, the men were administered the Harvard Step Test to measure changes in cardiovascular fitness. Each group showed an equal level of improvement.

Baker concluded that 10-minutes a day of jumping rope was as efficient as 30-minutes a day of jogging. He meant meant more specifically, when looking to improve cardiovascular efficiency. He recommends jumping rope, which is less time-consuming than jogging, as a valuable component for any physical education program; especially when the goal is to improve endurance. A 2013 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found 10-minute “bursts” of exercise, like rope jumping, added to your daily quota of exercise, improves fitness.  It concluded that ‘some exercise is better than nothing’ and that by adding small bouts of exercise you can lead to a big impact.

Jumping rope will expend about a 750 calories an hour depending on bodyweight (at 120-140 turns per minute). This is equivalent to running close to a six-minute mile pace. When the intensity is increased, the caloric expenditure can increase to 1000 calories or more per hour. A boxer can hit 300 RPM in a minute of jumping rope. You can also experiment with a weighted jump rope or wear a weight vest to challenge yourself more.

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Rowing is a Great Addition to any Exercise Routine

There is a reason why facilities like Crossfit, have ergs or Concept 2 rowing machines lined up. It is a complete, full body workout that uses about 85 percent of the muscles on the body. Rowing alone is a great exercise. It is ideal for a WOD or placed in a circuit. Finally, it can be a beneficial warm-up prior to hitting the weight. Try a 500 meter row prior to your next strength workout. If you want a great aerobic test, try to row 500 meters in about a minute thirty! For a great full body workout try the following routine:

30-20-10 Rowing Protocol – Start with an easy row for 3 to 5 minutes to warm-up. Then row 30-seconds at a low intensity, followed by 20-seconds using a moderate intensity and finally, row all out, high intensity, for 10-seconds. Repeat x 5 and cool-down. Progress to doing this x 10 rounds.

Try HIIT for Maximal Gains in Minimal Time

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise topic that arguably been studied more in the past decade than any other. It is highly likely, that every aspect of HIIT has been looked at. Research from Petrofsky and colleagues (2011) in the Journal of Applied Physiology is one such example. In that study, a 6-minute HIIT protocol elevated metabolism in test subjects for 36 hours. A second study, published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning, showed similar results. Subjects in this study performed just 27 minutes a week of interval-based exercise. The study showed VO2 max and work output increased 11 and 4.3 percent respectively in just 6 weeks.

The Jefit app offers many HIIT options for all training abilities, with equipment or just bodyweight. In addition, cardio intervals are great for burning some calories on the days you don’t do strength training. Add some of these activities into your weekly training routines to take your program to the next level.

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Most Popular Jefit Exercise for Major Muscle Groups

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The following list includes the top 12 most popular exercises for each muscle group currently used on the Jefit app. The list was put together based on exercise popularity which equates to the most downloads. The ranking (1-12) in each column, shows the number of times each exercise has been downloaded over the past decade. This list includes only barbell, dumbbell and machine exercises, not bodyweight, kettlebell or exercise band.

The list was generated to help anyone who uses the award-winning Jefit app build their strength programs more easily. The Jefit app currently includes about 1300 exercises.

*Each column below includes the following format: Barbell (left), Dumbbell (middle), and Machine-based exercises (right).*

Most Downloaded Leg Exercises

  • Barbell Squat
  • Barbell Lunge
  • Barbell Full Squat
  • Barbell Front Squat
  • Barbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Barbell Hack Squat
  • Barbell Clean Deadlift
  • Barbell Clean
  • Barbell Front Squat
  • Barbell Wide Stance Squat
  • Barbell Step Up
  • Barbell Single Leg Squat
  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Dumbbell Squat
  • Dumbbell Step Up
  • Dumbbell Walking Lunge
  • Dumbbell Rear Lunge
  • Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Pile Squat
  • Dumbbell Bench Squat
  • Dumbbell Iron Cross
  • Dumbbell Lateral Lunge w/ Bicep Curl
  • Dumbbell Jump Squat
  • Dumbbell Single Leg Squat
  • Prone Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Leg Press
  • Seated Leg Curl
  • Smith Machine Squat
  • Hack Squat
  • Thigh (Hip) Abduction
  • Thigh (Hip) Adduction
  • Cable Standing Leg Curl
  • Smith Machine Stiff-Leg Deadlift
  • Machine Squat
  • Leg Press (Narrow Stance)

Best Back Exercise

  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Bent Over Row
  • T-Bar Row
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Barbell Good Morning
  • Reverse Grip Bent Over Row
  • Barbell Pullover
  • Barbell Bent Over One-Arm Row
  • Barbell Inverted RowRack Pulls
  • Incline Bench Row
  • Lying Cambered Row
  • Reverse Grip Incline Row
  • Dumbbell One-Arm Row
  • Dumbbell Bent Over Row
  • Deadlift
  • Back Shrug
  • Palms In Bent Over Row
  • Pullover on Stability Ball
  • Lying Rear Deltoid Row
  • Palm rotational Row
  • One-Arm Pullover
  • Reverse Grip Incline Row
  • One-Arm Lying Rear Row
  • One-Arm Row on Stability Ball
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Cable Seated Row
  • Back Hyperextension
  • Close Grip Front Lat Pulldown
  • Wide Grip Behind Head Pulldown
  • Cable V Bar Pulldown
  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdown
  • Cable Underhand Pulldown
  • Smith Machine Deadlift
  • Seated Machine Row
  • T Bar Lying Row
  • Smith Machine Bent Over Row

Top Chest Exercise

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Wide Grip Bench Press
  • Front Raise and Pullover
  • Wide Grip Decline Press
  • Barbell Neck Press
  • Decline Pullover
  • Wide Grip Decline Pullover
  • Pullover and Press
  • One Arm Floor Press
  • Reverse Grip Incline Bench
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Incline Press
  • Dumbbell Fly
  • Incline Fly
  • Straight Arm Pullover
  • Dumbbell Deep Push Up
  • Bent Arm Pullover
  • Hammer Grip Incline Bench
  • Decline Press
  • Incline Fly w/ Twist
  • Around the World
  • One Arm Bench Press
  • Machine Fly
  • Cable Crossover
  • Machine Bench Press
  • Incline Chest Press
  • Smith Machine Bench Press
  • Cable Lower Chest Raise
  • Machine Butterfly
  • Smith Machine Incline Bench
  • Cable Incline Fly
  • Inner Chest Press
  • Decline Chest Press
  • Leverage Incline Chest Press
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Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • Barbell Shrug
  • Upright Row
  • Standing Military Press
  • Front Raise
  • Shrug Behind the Back
  • Push Press
  • Clean and Jerk
  • Seated Military Press
  • Bradford Rocky Press
  • Rear Deltoid Row
  • Standing Front Raise Overhead
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Shoulder Press Shoulder Shrug
  • Front Raise
  • Arnold Press
  • Standing Press
  • Bent Over Deltoid Raise
  • Upright Row
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Seated Side Lateral Raise
  • Lying Rear Lateral Raise
  • Standing Alternating Front Raise
  • Cuban Press
  • Machine Shoulder Press
  • Machine Shrug
  • Overhead Shoulder Press
  • Machine Upright Row
  • Cable Upright Row
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • Cable Front Raise
  • Reverse Flyes
  • Cable Sgrug
  • Cable Standing Deltoid Raise
  • Cable Internal Rotation
  • Cable Rope Rear Deltoid Row

Most Often Used Arm Exercises (top 6 Bicep/Tricep exercises)

  • Barbell Curl
  • Preacher Curl
  • Drag Curl
  • Standing Wide Grip Bicep Curl
  • Standing Close Grip Bicep Curl
  • Bicep Curl Lying Against an Incline
  • ———————————
  • Barbell Lying Tricep Extension
  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Barbell Lying Tricep Press
  • Seated Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Reverse Tricep Bench Press
  • Close Grip Behind Neck Press
  • Dumbbell Alternating Hammer Curl
  • Alternating Bicep Curl
  • Bicep Curl
  • Hammer Curl
  • Alternating Incline Curl
  • Dumbbell Zottman Curl
  • ————————
  • Standing Tricep Extension
  • Tricep Kickback
  • Lying Tricep Extension
  • One Arm Tricep Extension
  • Alternating Kickback
  • Dumbbell Tate Press
  • Machine Bicep Curl
  • Cable Close Grip Curl
  • Preacher Curl
  • Cable Standing Bicep Curl
  • Cable One Arm Bicep Curl
  • Cable Reverse Curl
  • ———————-
  • Machine Dip
  • Cable Rope Tricep Extension
  • Cable Tricep Pushdown
  • Cable Rope Overhead Tricep Extension
  • Pushdown V Bar
  • Weighted Tricep Dip

Core Exercises

  • Barbell Ab Rollout on Knees
  • Barbell Seated Twist
  • Barbell Standing Rollout
  • Barbell Side Bend
  • Barbell Press Sit Up
  • Dumbbell Side Bend
  • Two Arm Side Bend
  • Wood Chop
  • Alternating Prone Cobra (Stability Ball)
  • Standing One Leg Cobra
  • Machine Decline Crunch
  • Cable Crunch
  • Ab Crunch Machine
  • Knee Hip Raise on Parallel Bars
  • Cable Wood Chops
  • Cable Side Bends
  • Cable Kneeling Pulldown
  • Cable Russian Twist
  • Cable Seated Crunch
  • Parallel Bar Leg Raise
  • Cable One Arm High Pulley Side Bend
  • Cable Pallof Press with Rotation

Final Thoughts

As a Jefit member, look to use some of these great exercises in your future strength workouts. There are many hidden gems making up this list that should be rated even higher, like cable pallof press with rotation. This is considered an excellent anti-rotational core exercise. Another key exercise to use is cable internal rotation. Not making the list is cable internal rotation. Perform both of these rotator cuff exercises in your next workout using a lighter weight and higher repetition count. A great exercise that is also low on the list is barbell step up – try this great compound leg movement in a future strength program as well. Stay Strong with Jefit!

Use Jefit to Record & Track All Your Exercises

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your sustainable fitness lifestyle.

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6 Outdoor Exercise Ideas to Add to Your Cardio Routine

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Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Hitting the gym for strength training is one thing but sweating on a treadmill doesn’t sound too appealing and it can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel at times. Now that the weather is warm, you can spice up your cardio routine with various outdoor activities that will not only help you sculpt your body, but also allow you to spend some time in nature, which is extremely beneficial for your overall health. Here’s a list of outdoor exercise ideas to bust out of your fitness rut.

Trampoline Workouts

Yes, we are serious. Trampolining is usually perceived as an activity suitable for kids’ playdates, but this is just a common misconception. It’s true that jumping and bouncing on a trampoline is exhilarating and it helps kids’ channel their energy while having a lot of fun, but it’s also an amazing way for adults to burn fat and get some outdoor exercise. A research study by NASA has shown that it’s even more effective than jogging when it comes to staying fit, so a 10-minute trampolining session makes for better cardio than 30 minutes of jogging. In other words, if you want to train hard without even realizing it, find the nearest outdoor trampoline or you can purchase a small one for your backyard online.

Rock Climbing

This one might seem too extreme, but what’s actually extreme about it is how many calories you can burn in just one hour: 800. Rock climbing will perfectly tone and shape your arms and legs, while strengthening your core in the process, too. The fitness benefits of this exercise are obvious, but what many people don’t take into consideration are its psychological and social implications. Namely, there’s no better way to face your inner fears and obstacles, learn how to overcome them, and boost your self-confidence than rock climbing. This is a team sport, which means you’ll also develop a sense of belonging and connect with your teammates on a deeper level. During the colder months you can hit an indoor climbing wall. If this is too difficult for some, try getting outdoor exercise via hiking.

Rowing

Why spend your time at the stuffy gym on a rowing machine when you can have the real McCoy? Rowing is a perfect cardio workout and it engages 9 major muscle groups. An hour of moderate-effort rowing or canoeing can burn up to 400 calories. What’s also great about this low-impact activity is that although it practically melts fat, you can stay injure-free as there’s no pressure on your joints and knees. It’s equally effective for upper and lower body muscles, as well as for strengthening the core. Last but not least, rowing is a fun, exciting, and invigorating way of shaping up.

Long Boarding

Long boarding has become increasingly popular over the past few years and for good reason. This isn’t your traditional sport but, believe it or not, it can be even more beneficial than running, even though it’s significantly less physically demanding. With 4 to 7 calories burned per minute, long boarding qualifies as effective cardio training. A list of its positive effects is long, and it’s topped by the fact that your balance will be greatly improved. Even when you’re too busy to fully dedicate your time to exercising, you can use your longboard as a means of transportation. What better way to get some outdoor exercise. Of course, it can’t be denied that proper equipment is crucial if you want to stay safe when you hit the road, but luckily, finding a well-stocked, specialized skate shop in the US isn’t a problem.

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Stair-climbing Workout

Regular stair-climbing workouts can do wonders for all those who aren’t exactly adrenaline junkies, and who like to keep it simple. If you’re strapped for time, but still want to do something for your body and health, all you have to do is put on your sneakers and go to a nearby tall building. It’s effective, affordable, and it only takes half an hour or so. When it comes to caloric expenditure, an average 140-lb person can burn more than 80 calories by running up seven flights of stairs in 5 minutes. The effect is even better if you carry a heavier object or a weighted vest. Personally, I like walking/running stadium stairs at a nearby high school and university. Check out running stadium stairs at Harvard University, which I’ve been doing since the late 1980’s and talk about a fantastic outdoor exercise.

Trail Running

No workout list is complete without running, but it would be a good idea to change your urban scenery for a more beautiful natural setting and enjoy some fresh air. Many people find track running boring and monotonous, and trail running can provide them with much-needed excitement. It is a great outdoor exercise too. Due to the uneven terrain, you’ll have to adjust your pace and put even more effort into covering steep slopes. All this will result in a 10% increase in your calorie burn, not to mention that this kind of cardio puts less strain on your joints and bones compared to running on the sidewalk.

As you can see, there are many interesting cardio workouts that will not only help you stay fit, but also improve your mental health, and overall well-being. If you’re looking to take the last two activities to the next level, try using trekking poles for both added calorie burn and more of a complete workout.

Use Jefit to Record & Track Your Cardio Workout

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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Five Tips to Keep You Healthy Inside and Out

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There’s so much more to looking good and feeling fit than building up muscles. Fitness starts within the body and is a combination of fitness of the mind and body. The western culture has lost the connection between the mind and body, so we embark on the latest fitness craze and fad diet, only to fail a few weeks down the line. Reconnecting the mind with your fitness goals will help you to achieve a lifelong regiment of good health.

To really focus on fitness goals you need to feel fit on the inside. You also need to feel good about yourself. If there is anything you can change do it! For example, perhaps you’re feeling stressed at work, which is causing you to choose unhealthy foods or alcohol as a quick fix?

Here are five tips to help you develop a healthy mindset in order to meet your fitness goals and most importantly, stick to them!

Regular Health Checkups

Make sure to attend all of your regular health checkups to check on your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. This will ensure you have a clean bill of health for starting any exercise regime and will flag any potential health concerns. Make sure you raise any concerns that you have with your physician.

Eat Healthy

The old adage of “you are what you eat” is true and not just an old wives tale. If you eat foods that are considered healthy, you will automatically feel healthier. Try to avoid processed foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and unhealthy fats. Include in your diet fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain foods, protein and keep hydrated with plenty of water.

Sleep

Sleep is our bodies opportunity to regenerate. Getting too little or too much sleep can affect our physical and mental health massively. A lack of sleep can affect the whole body, causing lack of concentration, reduced motor skills, impaired immune system and even our cardiovascular health. Feeling exhausted will tempt you to eat unhealthy foods as your body will crave carbohydrates and sugar to give you energy.

Try to get into natural daylight during the day. Artificial lights and darkness doesn’t provide us with a clear definition between night and day. Avoid looking at your smartphone before bed and don’t drink any caffeine after 2 pm. If all else fails visit your medical practitioner.

Exercise

The combination of exercise and a healthy diet are what ultimately enables you to reach optimal health. Have clear goals and start gradually. Mix up your routines, for variety so that you don’t become bored. Seek expert advice from personal trainers as to how to develop the best routine for you. Most importantly, use Jefit app to help track and stick to your goals.

Be consistent and make small changes to your life. Once you have formed the habit of keeping yourself healthy – you are on your way. Exercise helps decrease stress in your life, in addition to keeping you healthier, both mentally and physically.

Work on Your Mobility

Mobility refers to the ability to move freely around a specific joint. When you have healthy range of motion (ROM) in all the joints, your body is free to move and adjust to its position in the most efficient way. As a result, activities and movement are more natural and less restrictive. When you have sufficient joint mobility you also get more out of your workouts at the gym. As a result of inactivity, chronic stress, and aging, your ROM and mobility begin to decrease. It is important that a regular mobility routine is incorporated into your exercise program. Specific areas should be addressed to improve joint mobility such as the hips, shoulders and lumbar and thoracic spine as a start.

Use the Jefit App to Keep You Healthy

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep track of their fitness goals. Not only does it give you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

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5 Tips to Be More Consistent with Exercise

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When it comes to exercise, it’s safe to say that it’s not always easy to stay consistent with your exercise routine. Sometimes, when you first get started, you can be incredibly passionate about your journey. You’ll enjoy the process and be really keen to keep things up. But before long, you’ll find that work, life, or relationships tend to throw you off track. Some days, you just won’t feel up to it and so you slack off. And you know that when you fall down once, it’s always a slippery slope from there. But when it comes to working out, if you want to see results, you have to be consistent with what you’re doing. Yet it’s not always that easy to do. So let’s take a look at five things that can help you to stay consistent.

GOALS

First up, you’re going to want to think about setting a few goals for yourself. Because when you’re just working out with no real intentions or plan, it can be so much harder to stay motivated and consistent. But when you know that you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or feel in shape for your vacation, you’ll find that your mind stays motivated and you can keep up with your schedule. So think about what your fitness goals are, set yourself a deadline, and stay on track. Write them down and post it so you see it…remember, you don’t own it until you write it down.

GET A WORKOUT PARTNER

Maybe you’re the kind of person that just can’t stay motivated on their own? When that’s the case, you might like to think about getting yourself a workout partner. Lots of people work better in a pair or a team. So if you know a friend, family member, or even your other half, wants to workout, why not do it together? You can be each other’s support systems and keep each other on track. You will probably become more consistent with your exercise routine at the gym or home too.

HIRE A TRAINER TO GET MORE CONSISTENT WITH EXERCISE

If you think that you need some direction, then a trainer or coach might be just what the doctor ordered. Whether it’s a full-service personal trainer and nutritionist from your gym, or a coach or trainer that you use virtually, this can often be the trick to keeping you consistent. Because when you have structure and someone there guiding you, you have no choice but to stay consistent. There is something known as the Hawthorne Effect that can also help you. It basically states that people will do better with an activity when they know they are being observed rather than trying it on their own.

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FIND THE PASSION

From here, you’re also going to want to check in with yourself and be real. Because if you’re trying to force yourself to workout when you really don’t want to, it’s always going to be hard for you to stay consistent. You need to be passionate about your goals, the results that you’re looking to achieve, and the kind of workout that you’re doing. When you can truly fall in love with the process, consistency will come easily to you.

PROGRESS PHOTOS

Finally, you’ll want to think about documenting your progress. The Jefit app allows you to upload before and after photos of yourself. Doing this can often be the motivation needed to stay consistent with what you’re doing in the gym or at home.

USE JEFIT APP TO BECOME MORE CONSISTENT WITH EXERCISE

Download the Jefit app, named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit as you live your fitness lifestyle.

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Jefit Improves Workout Efficiency in the Gym

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An important component of an exercise session is workout efficiency, and this is often the missing link to strength gains in the gym or home. There are four components that go into this: Training, Actual, Rest and Waste. The last term, waste, is defined as simply “wasted time” during a given workout. We are all guilty of this at times. The more you focus on the time spent working out, the better off you will be. This is because you’ll be less likely to lose motivation to exercise and your muscles get more overall work.

Jefit App Improves Workout Efficiency

We all know the deal when we exercise at the gym or in our home. Time is spent on the duration of each exercise performed. Then there is time utilized on rest or recovery between each set of exercises. After that, it’s all up to you how long each workout will take. If you’re into the social scene at the gym, you know it can take an hour or two before you hit the shower. The key is reducing “wasted” time. This is time beyond exercise duration and rest time. Why? Because you can get more bang for your buck if you do. Who wouldn’t want to squeeze in more sets of a favorite exercise or work a body part longer? You can, when you eliminate what Jefit refers to as “Waste” on their app (see photos below).

What is Considered Waste Time in the Gym?

Here is an easy way to think about workout “waste” time moving forward. It will also help to improve your workout efficiency if interested. Keep the following formula in mind during each workout.

Waste Time = Training – Actual – Rest

Many of us carve out time each week dedicated to working out. In order to get better at what ever you do in the gym, quality time is paramount to develop movement skills and lifting technique. When someone improves workout efficiency, more time is dedicated to their “actual” exercise. Meaning, their wasted time is reduced to a few minutes or better yet, to zero. Waste time is any left over time after your exercise and rest are subtracted from the time spent “training” at a location (gym or home). The important question is, what are you doing with that extra time? Talking with friends, stretching etc.

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As you can see from the three examples above, the workout on the left has a waste time that is too high (note: the app may have been left on post workout). The second, or middle picture is better while the last photo has a workout efficiency that is spot on (“0”). This person wasted no time in their workout session.

Use Jefit App to Improve & Monitor Workout Efficiency

Jefit app, was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Back to the Gym: 7 Important Factors to Reconsider

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Good health and longevity are possible through daily activity. With this in mind, working out is not only a necessity, it’s imperative for a healthy mind and body. With that said, it’s probably wise for most people to join a nearby gym to get the most out of their workouts. I addition, you’ll have access to professional guidance (staff & trainers) and equipment.

With the unending list of gyms near you, choosing the right facility that meets your needs may take some work. To ensure that you pick the best gym and get the most benefit, here are some factors to reconsider as gyms begin to open up once again around the country.

1. Location

Although you want to engage in an activity, going to the gym should not turn into an exercise by itself. As such, proximity to the gym ranks top of the factors to consider. Ensure that the gym you choose is close to your home or apartment thus making it easy for you to go to the gym in the evening and morning. Next, consider the safety of the location of your gym to avoid getting mugged. If your gym is armed with amenities; however, you can pick one that is a bit far as you can exercise and prepare for sessions. If possible, a gym within a 15-20 minute drive works best or something along the way home from work.

2. Purpose

Before choosing a gym, you should come up with a workout routine that addresses your needs. A coach or personal trainer typically calls this a needs assessment or analysis. After designing your workout routine, check to make sure the gym is equipped for your exercise needs.

3. Exercise Equipment

Ensure that your gym has all the equipment to meet your needs and goals so your results won’t be limited. Also, make sure your gym has a qualified group of trainers (degree & certification) who have experience working working with a possible client like yourself. Make sure when you get your tour the workout area is up to par, thus assuring your safety when performing any type of strength or cardio exercise. While at this, categorize your exercises into cardio workouts, mobility/flexibility work, bodybuilding workouts and strength training. Make sure each of these areas in the gym are well equipped to meet your need.

4. Hours of Operation

With several things to compete with, trying to always squeeze a workout into your busy schedule is inadvisable. When choosing a gym, make sure that it ‘s open in your free time thus allowing you to workout at your convenience. Also, some gyms shut down seasonally. If these seasons are during your “free time”, it will prove a pain in changing to another gym. Ensure that your gym is open for the more significant part of the year to get the most benefits.

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5. Check Reviews Online

Nothing hurts as much as getting high expectations and services that don’t even meet the bare minimum standards. When choosing a facility, go through the reviews customers left online thus rating the quality of service you expect. Finally, see what customers say about the cleanliness of the facility especially with a pandemic still lingering.

6. Price

A significant factor to consider when choosing a gym is the price. Although you want to get strong, it does not necessarily mean you have to blow your savings. With the numerous options available, choose a gym that falls within your budget thus saving money for other purposes like maintaining a bodybuilding budget. While at this, keep it in mind that you get what you pay for. A cheap gym service usually means less equipment and trainers.

7. Services

In the case you want to exercise as a family, accessibility is a factor to consider. Choose a studio or facility with amenities that cover each member of your circle thus avoiding any struggle with regrouping. Also, inquire about personal training or coaching services in case you choose to hire a personal trainer at some point for yourself or a family member.

Use the Jefit App at the Gym

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Performing a Side Bridge Exercise Has its Advantages

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The side bridge exercise is a stellar movement targeting the oblique muscles, commonly referred to as the “outer abs”. The various layers of oblique muscles are just one of the 29 muscles that make up your “core”. The muscle group plays a vital role in posture, core stabilization, activities of daily living and athletic performance. The exercise reveals its true potential, though, by the many secondary muscles it activates while “holding” the position. In addition to the obliques, other muscles like the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus, are engaged to help stabilize the hips. Finally, your shoulder stabilizers work in concert to keep you aligned as well. 

What are the Benefits of the Side Bridge Exercise?

Aside from all the benefits it provides for your body, the side bridge also brings plenty of convenience to the table. It is a terrific bodyweight exercise, all you need to do a side bridge is a mat and a few minutes. The power of the side bridge extends well beyond just your obliques. The side bridge influences every muscle that the obliques touch or are related to. Here are just a few of the benefits of performing the exercise:

  • Side bridge activates as much as 40 percent of the upper and lower back muscles. This is more than many common back exercises.
  • Not only does it work your obliques exceptionally well (about 50 percent of their maximum), it recruits your rectus abdominals too (about 34 percent of its maximum). This amount of muscle activation is similar to performing a crunch or front bridge exercise (aka plank).
  • The side bridge is an ideal exercise to train the back muscles, especially the deep muscle, known as the quadratus lumborum. The QL is an important muscle for providing spine stability.
  • Performing the side bridge exercise is one of the best ways to work your hip abductor and glute muscles. The hip abductor muscles work at about 74 percent of their maximum capacity during the side bridge. That number, by the way, doubles the work of the muscle often prescribed for hip muscle weakness, the side-lying leg raise (aka hip abduction).

How to Modify a Side Bridge Exercise

You can do a traditional side bridge or change things up to make the movement easier or harder.

Lift Your Top Leg Up – This increases the stress on the side of the body closest to the ground.

Flex the Hip of the Bottom Leg – This puts all of the weight on your top leg and is the excellent way to train your inner thighs (e.g. your hip adductor muscles). This is a great exercise for any hockey players.

Change Your Point of Support – Rather than supporting yourself from your forearms or feet, you can support yourself from your knees (easier) or from your extended arm (easier on the muscles but harder to balance).

Why is This So Important?

Developing core strength is important for not only posture but every day activities as well. In addition, if you are a runner, triathlete, cyclist or swimmer, then the side bridge should be part of your conditioning program. The side bridge exercise is typically done three times per week, holding the position for 3-10 seconds. Hold the position for a desired time and then roll back. Keep repeating this until you can’t maintain your form. You can also try doing straight sets on one side before switching sides.

The simplest rationale for the side bridge exercise is it builds your muscle capacity providing better hip and trunk stability. The muscles that get strengthened over time, help keep your pelvis level (neutral). This is not only important to prevent back and hip pain but is also very important in preventing knee injuries. One important aspect of knee pain is hip stability and hip abductor and glute medius weakness. The side bridge is ideal for improving stability about the hips and thus preventing or treating knee pain that has been known to cause hip dysfunction.

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Trunk Muscles

In addition to providing a great workout for the obliques, transversus abdominis, and rectus abdominis, side bridges work many muscles of the core or trunk. This exercise engages the glutes as synergists, or muscles that help other muscles complete a movement. Side bridges focus on the hips, engaging other synergists such as the quadratus lumborum, psoas major and hip adductors. In addition, additional back muscles such as the iliocostalis and the latissimus dorsi are also activated with side bridges.

Additional Muscles

Side bridges don’t stop at the abs and trunk. Upper-thigh muscles, including the tensor fasciae late, gracious and pectineus act as synergists, as do the deltoids, supraspinatus, and trapezius of the shoulders and upper back. Likewise, the pectoralis muscles of the chest and levator scapulae of the upper shoulders serve as stabilizers, or muscles that help other muscles maintain a certain position during exercise.

Muscle Activation

The side bridge not only excels in the quantity of muscles it engages, it also offers quality activation. Physiotherapist and chiropractor Greg Lehman notes that this exercise engages your upper and lower back muscles at 40 percent of their maximum, a figure far greater than typical back exercises. Lehman also says that the obliques and rectus abdominal experience engagement of 50 percent and 34 percent respectively, making for abdominal engagement roughly on par with crunches. The hips get the biggest benefit, however, at about 74 percent engagement. That’s twice the engagement of the common side-lying leg raise.

Low Back Pain

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by the University of Virginia, reveals further benefits of the side bridge exercise for those who suffer from recurrent low-back pain (LBP). The study found that those with recurrent low-back pain experience the same level of muscle activation, or efficient muscle contraction, as those who did not suffer from LBP when performing side bridges. The news is doubly good, as the same study notes that a weak transverse abdominous may actually be part of the cause of LBP.

Use Jefit to Plan & Track Your Workouts

The Jefit app was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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What Are The Differences Between Stiff-Leg & Romanian Deadlifts?

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There are various forms of the deadlift exercise that one can do to help build overall strength and power. The stiff leg deadlift (SLD) and Romanian deadlift (RDL), are two such examples. Both exercises can be done using either a barbell, dumbbell or kettlebells. This article will look at the barbell version of each. The two movements look pretty much similar if you were to see them performed side-by-side. Both exercises stress the hamstring group more than a traditional deadlift exercise. There are, however, key differences. 

Differences Between Deadlifts (RDL & SDL)

The SDL and RDL are often considered the same exercise, but you need to understand some of the nuances between them. The main difference between both exercises is the amount of flexion that occurs in the knees. For example, in the SDL, the knees start fully extended before unlocking slightly as part of the forward hinge. In the case of the RDL, the knees remain bent while executing the movement. When you perform an RDL, your hips are pushed back to the rear, providing greater hip joint rotation. When your hips flex more, the glutes end up working more.

Both exercises work basically the same muscles (glutes, hamstrings and back). However, the SLD, using a more neutral spine ends up getting more lower back activation. A few areas where some people may run into trouble are with exericise technique and if they lack strength and mobility. Let’s take a look at each type of deadlift and discuss each of them.

Romanian Deadlift

With the RDL, the knees are bent more, as mentioned above, compared to a SLD. This in turn, provides greater hip activation and flexion. Keep in mind, many experts believe that locking the knees out completely can increase the chance of injury when performing any type of deadlift.

In terms of technique, position the feet shoulder-width apart while holding the bar with an overhand grip (aka a clean grip). Next, set your back tightly in a complete arch. We’re talking about lumbar extension here. This is real important. I would first suggest to practice the movement near a wall. Stand about a foot away from the wall as a starting position using only bodyweight. Perform a (partial) RDL movement until the glutes come in contact with the wall. Work on maintaining that slight lumbar extension I mentioned above. Then move a few more inches away from the wall and repeat. Continue to move forward, going deeper into the exercise, each time, until you find your end limit. When you feel comfortable with the technique, try the same thing with a broom stick or dowel. Eventually progress to an Olympic bar with no weight, followed by a loaded bar.

To perform an RDL properly means lowering the weight to a comfortable position just below the knee, that ends up fully engaging the hamstring. Keep the knees “relaxed” and slightly bent (about 20-30 degrees). Move the hips back to execute the movement before driving the hips forward and standing back up with the weight. 

The goal is to hinge at the hips as far as you can without losing the arch in your back. Strength and mobility dictates the range of motion someone ends up typically using. Unlock the knees as you hinge, allowing the knees to remain slightly bent until you return to standing vertically, straightening them as you straighten the hips. Keep the bar as close to the legs as possible throughout the motion. The RDL is a great exercise for developing strength through the posterior chain.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The SLD is similar to a regular deadlift but differs because you keep your legs “almost” straight throughout the workout. The SLD is considered more of a low back exercise and is typically done last in most leg routines.

In terms of SLD technique, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Take hold of the bar with an overhand grip, positioning the hands about shoulder width apart. As you stand up, retract your shoulder blades, pulling the bar back into an upright posture. Next, lower the bar until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and glutes, and then slowly straighten back up. Remember, though, as you feel this in your hamstrings, drive your heels into the ground engaging your hamstrings and glutes as you pull the bar back to the starting position. Keep the bar close to your body. Remain tight in the core with a neutral spine during each repetition.

Keep the initial weight light in both exercises until you feel the targeted muscles really starting to work. It may take some time to get it all in sync because your mind is trying to focus on others things like form and technique.

Try the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Did You Know Exercise Offers These 12 Health Benefits?

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Some pass judgement on their diet and exercise plan by what the bathroom scale reads. But that should not be the case. With regular exercise, we improve many aspects of our health and fitness. Sometimes the benefits are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of exercise that you receive from lifelong exercise.

Health Benefits of Exercise (Strength & Cardio)

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Health Benefits of Strength Training

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. This in turn can rev up a sluggish metabolism and improve functional ability. All by performing strength training at least two to three times a week for the rest of your life.
  • Strength training slows or prevents sarcopenia – which literally means the “loss of flesh.” We all lose muscle mass as we age – and you can begin to lose muscle around 30 years old. You can also expect to lose muscle at a rate of 10 percent each decade starting at age 50.
  • It plays a role in disease prevention – like preventing or managing type 2 diabetes, as an example.
  • Helps improve the way you move your body resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • An additional health benefit of exercise is – it spares the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age – women can expect to lose 1 percent of their bone mass after age 35 and this can increase following menopause.
  • According to research, individuals who did not strength train lost about 5 to 8 pounds of muscle every ten years, with a by-product being a reduction in metabolism of about 50 calories a day.

Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Regular aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels – read Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD.
  • Cardio exercise like jogging, hiking, jump roping, etc. will “load” your bones and in turn make them stronger.
  • Regular aerobic-type exercise improves heart function, lowers your resting heart rate, and enables your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • Speaking of a lower heart rate, here is a health benefit of exercise many people don’t realize. Decreasing your resting heart rate a small amount can he beneficial. Lowering heart rate from 70 to 60 beats per minute, the heart beats 14,400 less times over the course of a day. by the end of a year, that equates to more than five million less beats!
  • The American College of Sports Medicine reports that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in disease risk.

Build Strength with the Jefit App

The award-winning Jefit app, was named best app for 2021 by PC Magazine and Men’s Health. It comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong and recover well using Jefit.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management? Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

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Do Benefits of Exercise Get Lost Sitting Too Much?

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Research has demonstrated often that sitting too much is bad for us. Individuals who sit ten or more hours a day are at greater risk of premature death. Too much sitting can cause a host of health problems especially if exercise is absent.

We have all heard that sitting for extended periods of time can take years away from our lives. New scientific research has backed this up and now sitting for long periods of time has been linked to various forms of cancer.

A large meta-analysis was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute looking at 43 observational studies with approximately 69,000 cancer cases. The study reported the lowest and highest “sedentary time” in subjects and concluded higher sedentary times were associated with an “increased risks of certain types of cancer.” The researchers found “sitting is associated with a 24 percent increased risk of colon cancer, a 32 percent increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21 percent increased risk of lung cancer.” The good new, however, is only 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a day “substantially weakens this risk”. Time to start standing and moving more!

“Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”

Edward Stanley, 1873.

Four Tips if You are Sitting Too Much

Assuming the above statement is true, then how can we add more activity into our daily routine to help us add more years to our lives rather than the other way around? Here are four easy ways to get you started.

1. Use a Pedometer. Research has shown repeatedly that people who walk more during the day are thinner than those who don’t walk as much. Pedometer users take approximately 40 percent more steps throughout the day than non-pedometer wearers. Build up to a goal of 10,000 steps a day. Keep in mind there is no magic number here. The research shows anywhere between 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day is optimal for health and keeping your bodyweight in check.

2. Increase Office Activity. When you need to make or take a call, do it standing preferably while walking outside; make it a walking conference call. Always take the stairs rather than use an elevator. Hard to imagine but the worldwide average for using the stairs is only 5 percent. Get out for a 15-minute walk at lunch time. If possible, get a walking treadmill desk, standing desk etc. You get the idea.

3. Turn Sunday into a Funday. This of course could be any weekend day. Have a predetermined plan and schedule an activity that is done with family or friends. Get together for a hike, a long bike ride, walk/run, stadium stair climb, run a road race together, kayak/SUP trip, etc.

4. Take a Short Walk After Dinner. This can be a big one for paying back strong health dividends. Research shows, a short 15-20 minute walk following dinner can improve digestion, decrease stress level, regulate blood sugar (great after a high carb meal), and improve sleep.

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Additional Research on Sitting Too Much

A great reference for me lately has been the new book, “Exercised” by Harvard University researcher, Dr. Daniel Lieberman. He has a ton of health and fitness information in the book that is heavily referenced with some great longitudinal studies. According to Lieberman there is a lot of hyperbole out there with respect to research on sitting. He goes on to say, however, that there also well-publicized studies that have determined “sitting more than three hours a day is responsible for nearly 4 percent of death worldwide.” In addition, “replacing an hour or two of daily sitting with light activities like walking can lower death rates by 20 to 40 percent”.

Dr. Lieberman looks at three main concerns with too much sitting. First, when we spend 9-12 hours a day sitting, we could be using more of that time standing and adding more physical activity into our day. Second, long periods of “uninterrupted inactivity elevate levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream”. Finally, his third concern is the most alarming, hours of too much sitting could “trigger our immune systems to attack our bodies through a process known as inflammation”. Keep in mind this is one of the more important reasons for strength training beyond building and maintaining muscle mass as we age. Muscle makes up about a third of of the body and lean muscle mass “has potent anti-inflammatory effects”. Just one more reason why EVERYONE should be committed to regular strength training.

Hopefully, reading a few of these statistics will help to change your mindset and get you moving a little bit more. I’m going to stand up now, how about you? Stay active and be safe.

Try the Jefit App to Increase Your Activity

The award-winning Jefit app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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