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Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Debunking spring health myths

    Spring is here, and that means warmer weather, budding flowers and a whole slew of seasonal health problems. While winter is generally considered prime cold-battling season, spring brings new health concerns with it: Is there such a thing as too much sunblock? Can I develop allergies? Is it OK to jump back into my outdoor running routine? Don't panic! Here are five spring health myths, debunked:

    Myth: You should never go outside without sunscreen Years of having the importance of sunblock drilled into our heads has caused Americans to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to skin cancer prevention. In fact, many people are becoming vitamin D deficient because they refuse to go outside without sunscreen! Head outside sunblock-free in the morning or late afternoon for the safest (and most effective) way to absorb some vitamin D.

    Myth: Now that it's nice outside you can jump back into your running routine If you've neglected your running routine during the winter, don't take spring as a sign to pick up where you left off last fall. To avoid unnecessary injuries, ease yourself back into your regular exercise regimine by running on a home treadmill to increase your endurance. The TRUE M50 treadmill is designed to even further reduce the stress on your back, knees, ankles and hips.

    Myth: The change in temperature is what's making you sick This is absolutely, 100 percent not true. If you tend to get sick as the season changes from winter to spring, it's not due to the fluctuation in temperature: it's because allergens are reappearing in your environment. Pollen, trees and grass can aggravate allergies, which is likely what is making you feel under the weather.

    Myth: You shouldn't swim for an hour after eating Once it's warm enough to hit the pool, don't be fooled by this myth. Although it was previously thought that swimming too soon after ingesting food would cause you to cramp up and drown, this has been proven to be false. You may have less energy to swim right after you eat a big meal, but nothing terrible will happen to you.

    Myth: You're too old to develop allergies Notice that you're getting sick as the seasons change? Even if you didn't have allergies as a child, you may have developed them in adulthood. If you're dealing with symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes or excessive sneezing, take a trip to the doctor to see if you're suffering from seasonal allergies.

  • How to stick to your workout plan

    Sometimes the biggest battle when it comes to getting fit isn't the workout itself, it's sticking to your fitness plan. New Year's resolutions and warm spring weather may inspire you to take on a new workout routine, but what happens when it's no longer new and exciting? Follow these tips to get up the motivation to stick with your exercise plan and reach your fitness goals:

    1. Treat yourself Investing in a quality fitness treadmill or elliptical machine for your home gym will help you stay motivated to follow your fitness regimen. The TRUE Fitness PS100 treadmill is built with extremely durable materials, so you know it will withstand years of running. This treadmill also comes equipped with an LCD screen that makes it easier for you to monitor your progress towards achieving your fitness or weight loss goals.

    2. Make it a natural part of your day You brush your teeth and change your clothes every day, so why not make exercise a can't-miss part of your daily routine? Carve out a time in your schedule that you can devote to exercise each day, even if it's only half an hour - pretty soon it will become second nature.

    3. Make a bet To make sure you stick with your fitness plan, try making a bet with friends (or enemies, if you really want to get motivated). You're more likely to follow your workout plan and achieve your goals if you have someone holding you accountable.

    4. Find a workout partner Speaking of accountability, exercising with someone can be another key factor in successfully sticking to your workout routine. It may be easy to cancel on yourself if you're "not in the mood," but the prospect of explaining your laziness to someone else may just be enough to get you to the gym.

    5. It's OK to be selfish Exercise tends to come second to other aspects of life, especially when unexpected plans come up. Don't be afraid to get selfish about your workout time. After you've set a schedule, make your workout a priority - your friends will understand.

    6. Don't get too comfortable Once you've gotten used to exercising regularly, switch up your workout to keep things exciting. If you start to go through the motions without thinking you may become bored with your workout. Don't let that happen! You'll be in danger of ditching your exercise routine altogether.

  • Don't overdo it if you're a running beginner

    New Years resolutions to get into a running routine may have fallen by the wayside, but spring is in the air and the budding leaves may just inspire beginner runners to once again give it a try. Many beginners may give up on their goal of becoming a runner too quickly because they don't have the proper information to get them into the right routine, but with the right know-how, they can position themselves for success.

    Equipment To begin with, it is especially important that running newbies have the right equipment. Using a fitness treadmill can make the transition easier because when exercising indoors, runners do not meet wind resistance.

    In addition, to avoid becoming injury-prone as they look to shed pounds or get in the habit of running regularly, it's a good idea for beginners to choose a treadmill that has orthopedically correct shock absorption, such as the TRUE Soft Systemâ„¢, available on several TRUE Fitness treadmills.

    This innovative feature not only allows runners to set the firmness of the deck, but also provides a soft surface on impact while transitioning to a firmer surface for push off, making it ideal for both beginners and those who are more well-trained.

    Strategy In addition to ensuring that they are running on the proper surface, beginners should increase their running routine gradually to avoid becoming overly tired or triggering an injury. Runner's World recommends that beginners increase their mileage by 10 percent per week.

    Rather than overdoing it and losing confidence, Fitness magazine recommends that beginners start running three days a week for 20 minutes at a time. If 20 minutes is initially too much, it's ok to take walking breaks. Getting into a running routine should be a gradual process so beginners feel comfortable and are inspired to continue their training.

    Obstacles Running beginners may become discouraged if they experience symptoms of soreness or fatigue. However, it's important that they understand that many of the obstacles that they encounter, such as side stitches, will go away over time as they ease into a regular routine.

    If beginners find they are getting out of breath, they should concentrate on breathing deeply and take walking breaks when necessary. In the end, it's possible for running newbies to someday become running veterans if they have the tools to help them be successful.

  • Seven tips to help you wake up in the morning

    If you're not a "morning person," getting out of bed when the alarm goes off each day can feel like torture. Everyone has their tricks for waking up and greeting the day - from turning on the lights to pounding cups of coffee - but if you're looking for a way to start your morning that won't have you cursing whomever decided that it was unacceptable for the work day to begin later than 9 a.m., try out these helpful tips:

    1. Go to bed when you're tired
    Listen to your body, and go to bed when you begin to feel tired each night. This way you'll get a good night's sleep instead of lying awake and tossing and turning for hours. The better you sleep, the more refreshed you'll feel when you wake up.

    2. Mentally prepare
    Make the decision to get up early before you go to bed, and hold yourself to it. In order to mentally prepare for rising early, give yourself a good reason to wake up on time, whether it's making pancakes or seeing your kids off to school.

    3. Avoid technology
    Surfing the web or watching television before bed can be stimulating and make it difficult to fall asleep. To rid yourself of the temptation, remove the TV from your bedroom and use an alarm clock to help you wake up instead of your cell phone.

    4. Use your body clock
    If you're having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, you may not be getting the natural amount of sleep that your body needs.Try using the Sleep Cycle alarm clock app to make sure you wake up during your lightest sleep cycle.

    5. Move your alarm
    Take your alarm clock and plug it in across the room. Forcing yourself to get out of bed to turn it off each morning will make it more likely that you actually stay out of bed and begin your day. Don't hit snooze, either.

    6. Be active
    Exercise is a great way to get an energy boost in the morning. Home fitness treadmills like the TRUE Fitness M30 treadmill that come with pre-programmed workouts make it easy to get up and go without putting too much thought into your exercise routine as you wake up.

    7. Stick to a schedule
    To program your body to stop resenting the mornings, you'll need to stick to a consistent sleep schedule, both during the week and on weekends. If you train your body to wake up at a certain time each day, eventually it won't be so painful.

  • Should you run with a cold?

    If you are an avid runner, it is likely that you don't want a little cold to spoil your workout routine. With all the different remedies available, and conflicting advice from your peers, it's difficult to know where to draw the line. Not surprisingly, whether or not you should run with a cold is a question that's still being debated among physicians.

    According to Active.com, the simple answer to this controversial question is no. This advice is mostly due to the fact that you may risk having to take off more days from your exercise routine in the long run if you exacerbate your cold.

    However, Dr. David Nieman, an avid marathoner and head of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, says he abides by the "neck rule" when determining if he should take time off from running, Runner's World reported.

    If you plan to abide by the "neck rule," take a few days off from your running routine if you have symptoms below the neck, such as a chest cold or body ache. If your symptoms are occurring above the neck, such as a stuffy or running nose, then continuing to pursue your workout routine shouldn't cause any problems.

    Other experts, such as Dr. Bill Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University, are staunch advocates of exercising with a cold.

    "I think exercise pushes me along a route to recovery," Schaffner told The New York Times. "Of course, I recognize that I might have been on a route to recovery anyway, but I can't think of a reason why exercise would affect you adversely."

    Overall, experts generally agree that runners should proceed with caution when exercising with anything more severe than a minor cold to avoid the risk of it evolving into something more serious.

    If you do plan to exercise with a cold, make sure that you are not running in an environment that is too warm. If you normally run outdoors, you may want to consider switching your routine and jogging on a home fitness treadmill until you have fully recovered.

    TRUE Fitness treadmills come equipped with a wireless heart rate monitoring system so you can easily maintain your optimal heart rate throughout your workout - just be sure that you listen to your body and don't overdo it.

  • Intensify your treadmill workout with hill interval training

    Many may think of a treadmill as a boring alternative to other exercise options. However, home treadmills have proven to be a great way to shed pounds, improve endurance and even enhance your overall fitness. The only way treadmill workouts are boring is if you make them that way. There are plenty of ways to incorporate interesting workouts on your treadmill without becoming disinterested. One of the best ways to do this is with hill workouts.

    TRUE's fitness treadmills offer users preset programs that make working out simple. The varied intervals and speeds ensure that exercise remains both interesting and effective. The PS800 Treadmill comes with eight preset workouts to try out every time you want to go for a walk or run. This piece of fitness equipment can also ensure that you're working out at a safe level by monitoring your heart rate with cruise control. Once your target heart rate is entered, the speed and incline will adjust automatically to maintain that heart rate.

    Advantages of a hill workout on a treadmill
    Although you could go outdoors for hill intervals, training inside on a treadmill offers you a safer and more controlled environment in which to do so. You can easily decide how steep you want the incline and for how long you run at that level. Active.com explained that instead of running outdoors and getting overwhelmed by large or long hills, treadmills offer the chance to tackle certain grades or slopes when you are ready and feel you have progressed enough.

    Running hills means that the incline of the treadmill is being raised up and down. By utilizing this incline option, users are actually using more muscle in their calves, quads and glutes than they would be on flat surfaces. According to Melissa Cox, RRCA-certified running coach, running uphill improves aerobic capacity, which allows for enhanced oxygen intake and improved running.

    Maintain proper form
    During these hill intervals, it's crucial to keep proper form in order to get the most effective workout possible and to prevent injury. Runner's World suggested maintaining the correct form by looking ahead rather than looking down. This will help align your back and neck. It's also important to keep your shoulders low and loose. When you're intensely exercising, it can be easy to tighten and raise up your shoulders, which can cause tension. As far as your arms go, they should be swinging forward and back, rather than across your body, to help you drive forward. If they're going across your chest, this may slow you down.

  • Barefoot running trend linked to foot injuries

    If you've joined the barefoot running craze and are hopping on your TRUE Fitness treadmill in minimalist shoes, you may want to rethink your strategy. According to a study from Brigham Young University, frequent running in minimalist "barefoot" shoes can increase the chance of bone injuries in your feet.

    Barefoot running has become popular as of late because proponents argue that it is a natural state for humans and should reverse injuries from modern running shoes, The New York Times reported.

    However, researchers found that barefoot running puts added stress on the bones, and according to the Associated Press, doctors have seen an increase in injuries related to barefoot running, especially when it is not taken up gradually.

    "Transitioning to minimalist shoes is definitely stressful to the bones," Sarah Ridge, the study's lead author and an assistant professor of exercise science at BYU, said in a statement. "You have to be careful in how you transition and most people don't think about that; they just want to put the shoes on and go."

    To conduct her study, Ridge recruited 36 experienced adult runners, both male and female, who wore normal running shoes while generally running 15 to 30 miles per week. She instructed half of the participants to add mileage to their routine in small increments while wearing minimalist "barefoot" shoes for 10 weeks.

    After conducting MRI scans of the runners' feet, Ridge found that more than 50 percent of the participants who wore minimalist shoes showed signs of bone injuries in their feet.

    This figure could be alarming to devout users of minimalist shoes, of which there are many: According to BYU, 15 percent of the $6.5 billion running shoes market is made up of minimalist shoes. However, Ridge said her findings are no cause for alarm, so long as runners make sure their transition from traditional running shoes is gradual.

    To begin the transition to barefoot running, it may be a good idea to invest in a TRUE Fitness treadmill like the M50, which has an orthopedic belt and provides a softer cushioning in the front where foot impact takes place. You can also monitor your progress with its large LCD screen.

    Overall, the lesson from BYU's findings is that if you want to give barefoot-style running a try and don't want to risk an injury that may disrupt your running routine, take it slow.

  • Nine ways to save time at the gym

    If your excuse for not exercising nearly as much as you should is that you don't have time to go to the gym, we have a few time-saving strategies for you. We get it, you're busy! But don't let your crazy schedule get in the way of that swimsuit body you're working towards. Here's how to minimize the time that you spend at the gym without sacrificing your workout:

    1. Stop talking You may be surprised by how much time you waste socializing at the gym. Talk to your friends before or after workout rather than between intervals so you can concentrate on your exercise plan and be efficient.

    2. Avoid peak hours If you can make it work with your schedule, go to the gym when you know it will be the least busy so you don't waste valuable time waiting for your favorite TRUE Fitness treadmill to be available.

    3. Exercise at home If you have gym-quality equipment at home, such as a TRUE Fitness elliptical, you can stick to your workout routine without clamoring for the best machine along with the masses at your local gym.

    4. Be prepared Before leaving for the gym, make sure you are organized and ready to get to work right away. Fill up your water bottle, untangle your headphones and put on your running shoes at home.

    5. Make a plan Make sure that you head to the gym with a set plan of what your workout will consist of. You may want to ask a trainer to develop and write an exercise plan down for you so you can stick with it on your own.

    6. Multitask Get more done in less time by forcing your muscles to multitask during your workout (for example, crunches on a stability ball). The harder you can work your muscles all at once, the less time you'll need to spend at the gym.

    7. Alternate intensity You can increase the effectiveness of your workout by doing intervals of intensity variation. Experiment with the incline on your treadmill, or try out some short sprints in between steady-paced running.

    8. Time yourself Include the amount of time you plan to spend on each exercise in your workout plan, and stick to it! Try to limit your distractions.

    9. Do something you enjoy The time you spend at the gym will go faster and be more effective if you enjoy your workout, so include something you like to do in your exercise routine, whether that be yoga, weight training or using the elliptical.

  • The best ways to boost your metabolism

    Every time you eat something, the cells in your body have to work to break down that food and turn it into the energy that keeps your heart pumping and fuels you to take on the day. Having a fast metabolism translates to more calories burned, but in many cases, the speed may be largely genetic. However, there are a variety of ways to speed up your metabolism and be on your way to trimming your waist. According to John Berardi, author of "The Metabolism Advantage," you actually have a large amount of control over your metabolic rate. Check out a few ways you can amp up your metabolism and burn more calories:

    Eat the right foods Keeping up a healthy diet is going to help you torch the calories. However, what you're putting into your body makes a difference. Prevention stated that foods like lean meats, nuts, whole fruits and vegetables take more time to chew and longer to leave your stomach. When eating takes longer, your stomach has more time to register that it's full, which can prevent you from mindlessly consuming extra calories. In fact, just the simple act of chewing these foods can increase your calorie burn by up to 30 percent.

    Think spicy You may want to add a little spice to your next meal after hearing about the advantages that come with it. According to FitDay, indulging in a spicy meal can provide a temporary, 8 percent increase over an individual's typical metabolic rate. Capsaicin, the compound that gives a kick to red chili peppers, creates the largest rise in body temperature, which helps burn more calories immediately after a meal. The New York Times also stated that black pepper and ginger have similar effects.

    Get a blast of cardio Health Magazine suggested amping up the intensity on fitness treadmills for about 30 seconds, then returning to your normal speed afterward. Using this interval strategy will help you take in more oxygen and you'll work harder to burn energy. Keep an eye on your heart rate to ensure an intense workout with TRUE's cardio fitness equipment. Many of the bikes, treadmills and ellipticals are equipped with wireless heart rate monitoring systems so you can lock into your target heart rate. Your speed and incline will automatically adjust throughout the duration of your workout to maintain your target heart rate and ensure you that you're getting the proper amount of exercise for your fitness level.

  • How to speed up your post-workout recovery

    Whether you occasionally hop on your home elliptical machine or are a marathon runner, in order to get the most out of your workouts it's important to give your body an appropriate amount of time to recover. The general rule of thumb is to allow yourself one day of rest between workouts, but if you're itching to get back on your TRUE Fitness treadmill, follow these tips to minimize your post-workout recovery time:

    1. Get plenty of sleep Not only does sleep deprivation reduce your energy levels and cause you to be sluggish, making it difficult to even complete your workout in the first place, it can also have a negative effect on your recovery. Try to get a full six to eight hours of sleep each night to give your body plenty of time to re-energize so you're ready to tackle your next workout. If that's not possible, take a quick power nap approximately two hours after exercising.

    2. Rehydrate Drinking plenty of water is an essential component of a faster post-workout recovery. If you exercise while dehydrated you could damage your muscles, so replenish your fluids with water or sports drinks. Drinking cherry juice can also reduce the swelling from damaged muscles, and the protein in chocolate milk can help kick-start your recovery.

    3. Eat the right food Within a half-hour after you've completed your workout, reach for a high-protein snack to make sure your body has the fuel it needs to recover. Carbohydrates like nuts and avocados also make a great post-workout snack. Whatever you eat, make sure it's easy to digest - avoid heavy, solid foods like pizza.

    4. Workout regularly If you really want to reduce the amount of time it takes you to recover after a workout, you're going to have to exercise more regularly. Aim for spending time on your TRUE Fitness treadmill at least three times per week and your body will respond to the conditioning.

    5. Take a cold bath After your workout, hop in a cold bath to reduce the soreness and inflammation that can come with exercise. Icing your muscles can also speed your recovery time, especially if there are areas of your body that you chronically injure: Try placing the ice pack on sore muscles for 10 minutes at a time, giving them a 10 minute break in between.

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