Tag Archive | walking

A New Approach to Being Active

by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA



When you embrace a style of activity with free flowing movements, you just might experience benefits that go beyond the physical.

People have been engaging in free flowing movements for centuries, but as a former athlete and a trainer who is often helping people to achieve a very specific goal, the idea of movement without structure is a new concept for me. In our purpose driven lives we are often caught up in following a specific plan with structure and goals, but on a recent trip to China I got to enjoy being outside and simply moving in a way that felt good.

Related Article: Need fitness motivation? 6 tips to get and stay on track

I was running through a park in Xi’an, China, and people of all ages were congregating in small groups, doing what looked to me like a combination of stress relief therapy, family bonding time and friendship building. It was amazing to see a variety of fun activities taking place so early in the morning.

I’m used to seeing people doing traditional exercises, such as running and cycling, but the activities were different and I enjoyed trying a number of them out for myself. The outdoor activity trend throughout china takes place in local squares and parks. It’s a movement that is supported by the government to encourage people to avoid living a sedentary lifestyle.

The physical gains that you get from doing simple activity, in terms of building cardiovascular fitness level and muscular strength, is minimal. However the mental benefits of movement can sometimes far outweigh the physical. Being active is a great way to the relieve stress and anxiety that comes hand in hand with living a busy life.

If you are someone who has a negative association with exercise, simply getting active may be a perfect starting point for you. The joint and bone health benefits of getting active makes the effort of getting started worthwhile. I believe that some movement is always better than doing nothing at all.

Here are some ways that you can become more active at home or outside.

Dancing: All you need is some music. Let your body move to the beat in a way that feels good to you. Some of the groups had traditional flowing style movements while others were just making it up as they danced. The aim is to move and be present in the moment, enjoying the music and surroundings.

Tai Chi: Tai chi is an art that needs instruction and practice, but once you know the basics you can do it at any time. I was surprised at just how much patience and muscle control it takes to move your body so slowly. It is very low impact and perfect for seniors.

Simple stretches: Find an area and start to stretch. You don’t have to do a specific stretch routine, just stretch the areas of your body that feel tight in a way that feels natural to you.

Waist hoop: This playground classic is great for loosening up tight muscles and it’s very fun.

Footbag and simple ball games: Working on your co-ordination with simple games is a great way to get your body moving.

Hiking and walking: Enjoying your surroundings while walking is a great way to get active in a gentle way. Walking is an activity that you can make easy by taking a stroll or increase the intensity by adding in a variety of terrains.

Following a structured exercise routine in order to achieve specific gains is wonderful, but every now and then taking a break from the competitive and progressive style of exercise is a great way to jump start a passion for a new activity or stop yourself from getting burnt out. Children on the playground have got the art of free flowing activity mastered, but as we get older we tend to be a little more self conscious about what activities we do especially in public, so I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new.

Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.


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SASA’S “From the Doctors”: Dr. Louis Ignarro- 3 Exercises to Try at Herbalife24 Fit Club

3 Exercises to Try at Herbalife24 Fit Club

Next time you’re at Herbalife24 Fit Club, or even just with a few motivated friends, why not add a few heart-healthy exercises into your routine?


There’s a movement sweeping Herbalife. It’s motivating people to get active and fit, inspiring distributors to work exercise into their daily lives. It provides camaraderie and inspires friendships. What is it? It’s Herbalife24 Fit Clubs.

From the parks of Manhattan to Papeete on the Island of Tahiti, Fit Club members are regularly working together to get or stay fit. Studies show that people who exercise together are more likely to achieve their fitness goals; sweating it out together is motivating in itself, but group exercisers also benefit from social support and varied exercise.

Next time you’re at Herbalife24 Fit Club, or even just with a few motivated friends, why not add a few heart-healthy exercises into your routine? Aerobic activity—also called “cardio”—involves repeatedly moving large muscles in your body. While other types of exercise are important for total wellness, too, it’s important to work aerobic exercise into your workout routine. This type of movement gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing, and helps support the health of the endothelium, among other benefits.

If you’re not sure what exercises to do, here are three you can try at your next Herbalife24 Fit Club:

Exercise: Walking/jogging

How to do it: Pick a scenic greenbelt or trail, and move your body! If you live in a city, you can go to a large local park and do laps. For those new to exercise, a brisk walk is a great way to start. Each time you engage in walking or jogging, push yourself to go a little harder and longer. A good rule of thumb is that you should be able to carry on a conversation while engaging in this activity; if you’re having trouble breathing or have to breathe between words, you might want to slow down.

Exercise: Step aerobics

How to do it: I’ll admit step aerobics make me think of ’80s fitness videos, but there’s a reason they were so popular during that decade: They’re a fun way to get the heart pumping. To do this activity, simply find a step in a public place like a park, or purchase one for around $30 to use outdoors or at home, and get stepping. During colder months, people in your group can also take turns hosting in-home workouts to aerobics videos. You can find a variety of instructional videos online; I like the “Fat Burning Circuit” video by Samantha Clayton, which includes some step exercises.

Exercise: Jumping rope

How to do it: This childhood classic makes for a great heart-healthy exercise for adults. To select a jump rope that fits your body, place one foot in the center of the rope, and pull the handles upwards; they should come to about your armpits (but not past). While turning the rope, keep your elbows in, and turn the rope with just your forearms and wrists, keeping the shoulders steady. As you jump, don’t overdo it; you only need about 1 to 2 inches of space for the rope to clear under your feet. If you get tired of turning the rope, or if you don’t have a jump rope available, you can just do the motion of turning the rope and jumping. Jumping without a rope is not the same workout, but it’s still good movement.

Whether you’re part of a Fit Club, or just meeting with a few motivated friends, try working these heart-healthy exercises into your routine. Remember that aerobic exercise targets the heart and cardiovascular system, but you need all types of activity to maintain total wellness. What activities do you do with your fitness group? Share in the comments



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SASA’S NUTRITION INFO: The truth about sugar in fruit

The truth about sugar in fruit

 10 Feb 2011   Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND 

The truth about sugar in fruit | Susan Bowerman | Discover Good Nutrition

I was teaching a class, and a student dismissed the health benefits of fruit because, as she put it, “it’s full of sugar”.  You won’t be surprised to hear this wasn’t the first time I’d heard this ‘sugar in fruit = bad’ idea.

This thought that fruit is somehow a bad thing to eat came into full swing with the low carb diet craze a few years ago. But the myth persists. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear someone tell me that they avoid fruit because it’s “all sugar” or “loaded with carbs”. So, I’m here to set the record straight and come to the defense of some of the world’s healthiest foods – fresh, whole fruits.

Sugar in fruit – what are the facts?

I’ll tackle the “fruit is all sugar” statement first – because it’s just plain wrong. Fresh fruit offers so much more than the natural sugar it contains – including water, vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients (those naturally-occurring plant compounds that have wide ranging beneficial effects on the body). Where else can you get a package like that for about 75 calories per serving?

The idea that fruit is “loaded with carbs” or is “full of sugar” needs to be put into perspective, too. It’s true that when you eat fruit, the overwhelming majority of the calories you consume are supplied by carbohydrate – mostly in the form of fructose, which is the natural sugar in fruit.

But that’s the nature not just of fruit, but of all plant foods – they’re predominantly carbohydrate (and that means not just natural sugars, but healthy starches as well as structural elements, like cellulose, that provide fiber). When you eat vegetables, the majority of the calories you’re eating come from carbohydrate, too. But you don’t hear people complaining that vegetables are “loaded with carbs”.

Before dismissing foods as being loaded with sugar, or too high in carbs, consider not only the amount of sugar or carbs you’re eating, but the form of the carbohydrate, too. There’s a big difference between the nutritional value of the natural carbohydrates found in fruits and other plant foods – the sugars, starches and fibers – and what’s found (or, more accurately, what’s not found) in all the empty calories we eat from added sugars that find their way into everything from brownies to barbecue sauce.

Faced with a serving of fruit, how much sugar are we talking about, anyway? An average orange has only about 12 grams of natural sugar (about 3 teaspoons) and a cup of strawberries has only about 7 grams – that’s less than two teaspoons. And either way, you’re also getting 3 grams of fiber, about a full day’s worth of vitamin C, healthy antioxidants and some folic acid and potassium to boot – and it’ll only cost you about 50 or 60 calories. “All sugar”? I think not.

By contrast, a 20-ounce cola will set you back about 225 calories and, needless to say, won’t be supplying any antioxidants, vitamins, minerals or fiber. You’ll just be chugging down some carbonated water, maybe some artificial color and flavor, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 grams of added sugar – about 1/3 of a cup.

Now that’s what I call “full of sugar”.

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


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SASA’S HEALTHY LIVING TIPS: The secret to avoiding ‘empty calories’ now and forever

The secret to avoiding ‘empty calories’ now and forever

27 Jan 2014   Posted by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, FAND 

Why you MUST avoid the tempting trap of 'empty calories'

Want one piece of advice? Don’t fill up on empty calories.

The term “empty calories” almost sounds like a conflict in terms…kind of like “cold sweat”.  After all, something can’t be “empty” and “full”… or can it?  It sure can – if you’re talking about “empty calories.

Simply put, empty calories are calories in your foods that are – for the most part – empty of significant nutritional value.  But these empty calories can rack up very quickly.  Most fats and added sugars are considered “empty” because they don’t offer your body much – if anything – in the way of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients or fiber.  What they do offer is a fast track to a bigger belly, hips and thighs.  So don’t let the expression fool you – empty calories are anything but.

To make matters even more confusing, foods containing a lot of “empty calories” are sometimes dubbed “energy dense” – which sounds a lot better than it actually is…. as if an “energy dense” food might give you lots of “get-up-and-go”.  But when you’re talking about “energy” in food, it’s  simply a gentler way of saying “calories” – the calories in the foods you eat are converted into energy that fuels the body.

So, an energy dense food is one that contains a lot of calories (okay, “energy”) in a relatively small volume – like the 250 calories of “energy” you get from a tiny frosted doughnut, or the more than 300 calories you get from a handful of potato chips.

Common Sources of Empty Calories

Sometimes you know when you’re taking in empty calories – sugar is hardly hidden in a carbonated soda or a candy bar. But empty calories aren’t always quite so obvious… like the 5 teaspoons of fat hiding in your blueberry muffin – and the 8 teaspoons of sugar lurking in the fancy coffee drink you use to wash it down.

Sugary drinks are a big contributor to empty calories in the diet – not just sodas and coffee drinks, but also heavily sweetened teas and fruit drinks like lemonade.  Same goes for sugary candy, pancake syrup, honey and preserves.  And fatty foods like chips, French fries and salad dressings are mostly empty calories, too.  Desserts can deliver a lot of extra “energy” into your system – most cakes, cookies and pastries pack a one-two punch of sugar and fat.

Swap Empty Calorie Foods for Nutrient Dense Foods

Taking in extra calories that you don’t need is only one problem with empty calorie foods – there’s another equally important issue.  When you fill up on fatty, sugary foods, they take up space in your stomach – squeezing out room for all those good-for-you foods that provide the healthy nutrients your body needs.

So here’s the solution in a nutshell:  since empty calorie foods have lots of calories and very little nutrition, you want to shift your focus towards foods that are exactly the opposite.  You want to eat more foods with an abundance of nutrients with a relatively low calorie cost.  These “nutrient dense” foods – like vegetables, fruits and lean proteins – offer up plenty of nutrition and they’re filling, but they won’t break your calorie bank.

Nutrient dense foods are pretty easy to spot.  Since fats are so calorie dense (there’s about 40 calories in a teensy pat of butter), swapping high fat items for low fat ones is an easy way to increase your nutrient density and cut out some empty calories.  Simple swaps – like replacing whole milk with nonfat, or cooking with ground turkey breast instead of beef – are a great way to start.

Another clue to nutrient dense foods is their water content.  Water adds volume – but no calories – to foods like fruits and vegetables, which makes them relatively low in calories and filling.  And, they also happen to have an abundance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.  So, you might want to start your meal off with a leafy green salad or a vegetable soup – and begin to fill up on low calorie items.  Snack on whole fruits and vegetables, and add vegetables to as many foods as you can when you cook – like soups, stews, casseroles and pasta sauces – to pump up the volume and the nutrition.

Why Nutrient Density is So Important

I certainly encourage everyone to use their calories wisely and to spend them on the most nutritious foods they can – but this is particularly important for those who have relatively low calorie needs.  A woman who maintains her weight on 1400 calories a day will have to choose her foods carefully if she’s going to try to pack in all her nutrient needs in without gaining.  But even those with high calorie requirements shouldn’t assume they’ve got plenty of calories to spare.  Even if you’ve got calories to spare, it’s still wise to eat as many nutrient dense foods as you can.

That said, there’s nothing wrong with a calorie dense treat – once in a while.  What really matters is the quality of your diet overall.  As long as most of the foods you eat are nutrient dense, an occasional high-calorie indulgence shouldn’t be a big deal.  So, tell me how do you balance empty calories and nutrition dense foods in your everyday diet?

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.


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SASA’S THINK AND GROW RICH TIPPS: Why emotional intelligence is key to success

SASA'S THINK AND GROW RICH TIPPS: Why emotional intelligence is key to success

Why emotional intelligence is key to success

A big part of being human is being human. And, being human means having emotions. We all feel fear, sadness, anger, love, hate, disappointment, joy, and more. What makes us each unique is how we respond to those emotions.

When it comes to risking money, we all experience fear, even the most successful of us. The difference is how each of us handles that fear. For many people, that emotion of fear generates the thought: “Play it safe. Don’t take risks.” For others the fear of losing money makes them think: “Play it smart. Learn to manage risk.”

Same emotions, different thought: different being—different doing—different having.



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