The SparkPeople Blog

Step Into Shape with the 30-Day Walkabout Challenge!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/1/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  19 comments   :  6,017 views

Here at SparkPeople, it's no secret that we're big fans of walking. Almost anyone can start walking right away regardless of his or her fitness level, and it's a fantastic exercise for weight control and keeping the heart, bones and brain in tip-top shape. When it comes to starting a walking routine, the biggest hurdle for many people is simply starting. We've seen time and again that one of the easiest ways to step into walking (hah!) is to follow a structured plan to help maintain consistency while improving fitness at a safe and consistent pace. That's where the 30-Day Walkabout Challenge comes in! SparkPeople has partnered up with Vionic® with Orthaheel Technology footwear to create a doable, progressive walking program that's suitable for everyone. By joining the challenge, you'll receive a 30-day walking plan, a strength-training routine to help you become a stronger walker, plus daily challenges and smart injury-prevention tips to tie it all together. 

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The 9 Best Exercises for Neck Pain

By: , – Dr. Thomas J. Kleeman, MD
1/31/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  4 comments   :  10,022 views

Neck pain is one of the most common problems that many of us experience. Studies show that 30% of people experience neck pain, with women affected more often than men. The neck includes seven segments (or vertebrae) with discs acting as shock-absorbers between the segments. The vertebrae are supported by 18 groups of muscles that maintain support and allow function. Why so many muscles? Well, the head weighs about 10 pounds and sits about 10 inches above the shoulders with only the neck to support it. No wonder it gets sore from time to time!

So, how do we keep our neck healthy and strong? The answer is maintaining motion and strength exercises. So let’s look at both. And remember, if you experience pain, stop the exercise and consult your doctor. And don’t feel you have to do all of the exercises. Pick the ones that help the most and don’t cause increased pain.

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6 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Best Body Ever

By: , – Tina and Terry Shorter, R.I.P.P.E.D. Founders
1/30/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  3 comments   :  9,075 views

My husband Terry, once a top collegiate division one athlete, martial artist and dancer, recently realized that he'd added six inches onto his waist since our three-year-old daughter was born. When we first met, he had a lean six pack, but just a few months ago, he was grabbing a sizeable spare tire with both hands in front of the mirror. ''What happened? How did I get here, Tina?'' he asked me almost helplessly.

Terry knew he had to make a change, but not just for vanity's sake. He knew that if he wanted to see his daughter grow up into a beautiful woman someday and be there for all of the milestones in between, he needed to do something differently right away. So, he started the process of getting healthier immediately. How? By planning for sustainable results. 

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The Biggest New Year's Resolution Fails (and How to Learn from Them)

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  5,227 views

Each January, people all over the world pledge to eat healthier, get fit, lose weight and become better people in general. Full of hope and ambition, they think: This is the year! Nothing will stop me from reaching my goals this time! But despite that initial resolve to change, we all know what eventually happens—the enthusiasm dies down, life takes over and all of those good intentions eventually get tossed out with the final remains of the New Year's confetti. According to the University of Scranton, just 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually succeed at keeping them.

But don't let those odds make you throw up your hands and resolve to not make any changes this year! It's all about the approach, not the resolution itself. Many people simply bite off more than they can chew, setting themselves up for failure from the get-go. However, if you make the right resolutions, you truly can be successful at keeping them—and you could even do more than what you'd initially intended. Here are some lessons real people like you have learned from their past failed resolutions. Take notes—these tips are going to help you become one of the 8% this year! 

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15-Minute Beginner Barre Workout

By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  6 comments   :  42,081 views

This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Barre (or ballet-inspired) workouts are typically low-impact and help develop total-body flexibility, strength and coordination, making them a fantastic way to get fit! If you've been wanting to try a barre workout, this is the perfect place to start! 

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9 Tips to Stick to Your Goals in 2015

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/21/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  9,362 views

By now, the novelty of New Year’s resolutions has faded, and you might not be as motivated as you were on January 1st. How do you make this year different, so that you don’t have to set the same goals again next year? Here are some simple things you can do to make it easier to stick to your goals this year and beyond.  
  • Set the right kind of goals. It’s great to set a goal to lose 20 pounds this year, but how are you going to do it? Create SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. “I am going to lose the first 5 pounds by March 1st. I will achieve this by eating in my recommended calorie range daily and walking for 20 minutes, 4 times a week.” This system gives you a clear plan for how and when you’re going to accomplish what you’ve set out to do. 
  • Tell someone. Those around you (family, friends, co-workers, etc.) can be a great source of support as you make changes in your life. Ask your husband to keep your favorite junk food out of the house, or ask a friend to go for a walk instead of meeting for drinks. The people around you can help with accountability when motivation is lacking or you have doubts that you will succeed. 
  • Be prepared for ups and downs. You’ll have good days when things are going smoothly and you’re totally on track. But you’ll also have those days when things aren’t going so well. What are you going to do in those moments when you feel like giving up? Changing habits and behaviors isn’t easy, so make a plan for the days when you need to dig deep and find the drive to continue moving forward. 
  • Put reminders in visible places. Your goals should be top-of-mind so that you can stay focused and continue making progress. Write them down on sticky notes and put them in your car, on your refrigerator, on the bathroom mirror, or anywhere else you will see them multiple times a day to remind you of the commitment you’ve made. 
  • Discover snacks that are good for you and healthy. Yes, it’s possible for healthy foods to taste good! Yogurt with fruit (instead of ice cream) can satisfy your sweet tooth and carrots with hummus (instead of chips and dip) can give you the crunch you’re craving. Baked sweet potato fries can taste just as good as French fries for a fraction of the calories and fat. Don’t be afraid to try something new, because you might be surprised at how good it tastes and how many calories it saves.  
  • Reward yourself. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well-done.  Don’t wait until you reach your ultimate goal to pat yourself on the back. Rewards don’t have to be fancy and expensive. Celebrate small milestones (like lifting more weight or losing a pant size) by doing something nice for yourself. 
  • Make your goals a priority. It’s easier to hit the snooze button than get up early for a workout. It’s tempting to get dessert when everyone else is ordering it. But if you know those things are going to hurt instead of help your progress, it’s time to make some tough choices. Sometimes you have to put your goals ahead of other wants and needs in order to be successful.
  • Have fun! If you hate eating broccoli, then don’t. If you hate walking on the treadmill, then don’t. Discover the foods and activities you enjoy, because it’s more likely you’ll stick with those long-term. Exercise and healthy eating shouldn’t be a chore you dread. They should be positive changes you feel you can live with for the rest of your life. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t kick back and relax or eat your favorite ice cream as a special treat. Everyone needs to live a little now and then! 
  • Believe in yourself. Maybe you’ve set goals like these before and not succeeded. You can’t change the mistakes of the past, but you can learn from them and move forward. You have complete control over what happens from this moment on, so make the most of it! If you have confidence that you can do it, anything is possible!


This blog is made possible by Yoplait, a SparkPeople sponsor.

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