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Three Important Fitness Questions – Finally Answered (Part 1 of 3)

Fitness should never be a complex string of timed workouts, counting reps, and worrying if what you’re doing is working. Women of all ages should use weights to help sculpt and tone their muscles as well as to help build and maintain bone mass. Cardiovascular activity should also be a part of everyone’s fitness regimen in order to burn fat and strengthen the heart muscle…and it shouldn’t ever be confusing!

Here’s what the experts say about exercise routines and fundamentals:

SHOULD YOU DO WEIGHTS OR CARDIO FIRST?
According to researchers at the University of Victoria in BC, subjects who strength trained within 24 hours of a rigorous cardio session were able to do more reps than their counterparts who waited for less time (about 408 hours). Further, a study done by Bringham Young University in 2005 showed that starting with cardio will get you better results when you pump iron. Lead study researcher, Pat Vehrs, Ph.D., found that subjects burned more calories after their workout when doing cardio, then weights (in that order). The other thing to consider is that when your muscles are fatigued after a weight lifting session, your cardio performance will lack. Get the cardio done first and then tackle the weights for maximum results!

IS IT BEST TO WORKOUT IN THE MORNING OR IN THE EVENING?

The Mollen Clinic out of Phoenix, AZ found in 2005 that 75% of morning workout buffs stuck with it after 12 months versus only 25% of evening and 50% of afternoon exercisers. Chief Exercise Physiologist, Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., found that study participants who stopped working out in the afternoons and evenings did so because life got in the way. Everyone can relate, I’m sure: errands, late hours at the office, homework with the kids, etc. gets in the way at the end of the day. Fitness Magazine reported in their October 2005 issue that studies done by Dr. Michael Smolensky have consistently shown that between the hours of 4 pm and 6 pm, our bodies’ core is at its warmest temperature. They go on to say that our muscle strength, reaction time, flexibility, and heart and lung functions are at their optimum. The verdict: if you can exercise in the afternoon/early evening, you’ll perform better. However, for a more consistent result, time your workouts for the mornings.

SHOULD YOU INVEST IN A GYM MEMBERSHIP OR A HOME GYM SYSTEM?
The University of Florida at Gainesville has found that women who exercise at home actually lose more pounds than those who go to the gym. It’s not that your home gym is a better-quality piece of machinery; it’s more likely that slashing the inconvenience factor of driving out to the gym has a more positive impact on whether or not we actually follow through with our workouts. Michael Perri, Ph.D., the study author, goes on to explain that having to be at the gym for a class at a certain time can simply become an obstacle to being there. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who likes to socialize at the gym, needs different types of machines to stay out of a “boredom rut”, or would like to have more classes, machines, and options…a gym membership is probably best. The other plus to going to the gym, says Dr. Cedric Bryant, is that there are less family-related distractions at the gym and therefore, there is less of a chance of walking away in the middle of the workout to do something else. Bottom line: workout at home if you need the convenience, but join the gym if you are likely to get burned out or distracted by a home workout.

These three tips will help get you on the path to better fitness and health. As women, we have lots of different people and “things” pulling at us from all sides. When we take some quality time out to focus on ourselves, our fitness and health, we receive stress relief, health benefits, and our loved ones will have us around for much longer! To better health and fitness…you go girls!

Parts 2 and 3 will be published this week…

Emotional Healing After a Miscarriage

My personal experience with miscarriage is not because I, myself,
have lost a baby. It happened about 10 years ago in the hospital
where I worked as a surgical assistant. Being on the “other side” of
the experience was not only incredibly sad, but it was life-changing.
Hospitals do their best to provide a clinical environment where both
mother and baby are safe and healthy. But when things happen that are
out of our control and a baby is lost to miscarriage, the hospital’s “best” ends there.
Ill-equipped with any type of burial, memorial, or services that can provide
families with a way to honor their lost child, they fall far short of the emotional
needs of their patients during that particular time.

I remember helping the nurses with putting the deceased baby on a
clean blanket, covering its body to the neck, and placing a
miniature knitted cap on its head. When the families requested, the
nurses would take a memorial photo of the baby along with any
special items, such as a crucifix, blanket, or rattle. When the
families did not opt for a photo, the body was disposed of along
with the other biological waste discarded from surgeries and
procedures. I was not supposed to get attached to any patient, but
I couldn’t help feeling like my guts had been wrenched out. I
was angry that a baby who hadn’t even begun to live had passed
away. I was sad for the families who lost that hope for a new life
as my ears were filled with their muffled cries.I was horrified at
what happens after a miscarriage.

Though I have never personally lost a child to miscarriage,
one of my family members lost three babies in four years and a
friend has just recently lost her pregnancy. Though I cannot truly
grasp the extent of the emptiness and grief that they’ve gone
through after a miscarriage, its effects are undeniable. Questions
flood the mother’s mind like: “Did I do something wrong to
cause this?”, “What do I do now?”, “How will I
cope with this sadness?”, and “Is anyone out there who
understands and can help?” Hearing from well-meaning friends
and family who say “you can have another child later” and
things of that nature are not helpful at all. Sometimes it’s
best to quietly listen to someone’s pain or simply hold them in
reverent silence than saying something insensitive.

Last weekend, I met a couple at church who run a Christian ministry
called Cradle of Love. They are a branch of the Corona Life Services and they
are out there helping people right now. Mothers and families who
have just lost a baby to miscarriage can count on them to provide a
burial space and a Christian Pastor and a soloist at no charge. A
granite headstone, engraved with anything the parent(s) want is
provided for free as well.The family only has to pay for the
funeral costs, flowers, and the upkeep of the grave site. I was so
touched by the work they are doing that I helped them create a
Facebook page that will allow anyone from every walk of life to come together to
support each other through their difficult time and to seek help
from the ministry if they need it.

If you’ve gone through the tragedy of a miscarriage and need a
place where you can talk with others who are there to comfort you,
listen to you, and share where you can share your experience, visit the new Cradle of Love Facebook page and become a part of this loving miscarriage support group. There are lots of people out there who really do care!