SparkPeople Guest Blogger

5 Dance Moves Anyone Can Do

Dancing is one the most enjoyable exercises you can do to be healthy and ecstatically happy while getting fit and losing weight! Dance is fun and exciting, and you’re always learning something new and interesting. All you need is your two feet and your favorite music. The best part is that there is no prior experience necessary! The more you dance and the longer you do it, the better it feels and the more skillful you become. Not only can dance workouts can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour, but dance also builds stamina, strength, agility and flexibility. Dance also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes a healthy immune system, and can even help you sleep better and reduce the symptoms of depression. Try it and see for yourself how good you feel after! Here are some simple and fun dance moves for everyone to try at home. 

Posted 3/3/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   219 views

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5 Ways to Find Your Perfect Workout Routine

I hate working out! There, I said it. We all have reasons for exercising, but for many of us, it’s not because we genuinely love it. Working out has a slew of health benefits, makes us feel and look better, and can even slow down the aging process and help boost our immune systems. But sometimes, those reasons alone aren't motivating enough to get us up off the couch if exercise isn't already an established part of our routines. So, how do we go from being sedentary to making fitness a regular part of our daily lives? Honestly, the hardest part is getting started—and these five steps will help give you the motivation you need to make that first step (literally and figuratively). 

Posted 2/19/2015  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   11,173 views

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5 Veggies You Didn't Know You Could Cook in the Microwave

Microwaves are obviously the speediest (and therefore easiest) way to cook. But it turns out that shorter cook times can also help to preserve more of your veggies' natural nutrients. In fact, other cooking methods may deplete the nutritional value so much that your green beans basically lose all their green... metaphorically speaking, of course.

Some people believe microwaving vegetables zaps them of their vitamins and minerals. However, the main culprit of nutrient drain is actually water.

Posted 2/18/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   17,702 views

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How One Couple Worked Together to Lose 267 Pounds

A couple facing diabetes and other health issues joined together to start a weight loss journey that took them from sedentary and lifeless to vigorous and healthy. They now have many Valentine's Day celebrations ahead of them as a couple thanks to careful food tracking and daily walking!


Names: Steve and Debbie Cartwright
Usernames: Sac-6582 and Debarizona
Amount of weight lost: Steve lost 180 pounds and Debbie lost 87 pounds
Hometown: Peoria, AZ                 
Occupations: Steve is in ministry and Debbie is a facility director for a camp/retreat
Ages: Steve is 54 and Debbie is 52

Posted 2/10/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 74 comments   32,190 views

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The 9 Best Exercises for Neck Pain

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.

Posted 1/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   29,624 views

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6 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Best Body Ever

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. 

Posted 1/30/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   20,279 views

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15-Minute Beginner Barre Workout

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! 
 

Posted 1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   54,455 views

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Finally: A Yoga Routine for Bad Wrists!

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!

Yoga is a wonderful way to build flexibility, range of motion and relieve stress. But if you are just starting out, some traditional yoga poses and postures can be a little overwhelming and/or too tough on the wrists. This gentle, yoga-inspired routine uses a chair to help safely support your body into a deeper stretch.

Posted 1/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 16 comments   21,876 views

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4 Things Nobody Tells You about Your Post-Partum Body

About seven years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, I was on a plane visibly embarrassing my husband as I laughed my head off (loudly). The reason that I was laughing was because I was reading Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs, in which she tells new moms about all of the amazing changes that come with pregnancy and the time right after. Now that I am the mom of two handsome boys, I can definitely relate to Jenny--and I love to share my own stories with new mommies in my pre and post-natal fitness classes in Los Angeles. Here are some things nobody tells you about your post-natal body that I've learned from personal experience. My intention is to bring laughter and levity to some crazy changes that the gift of motherhood brings. 

Posted 1/16/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 2 comments   10,547 views

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15-Minute Bodyweight Basics Workout

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!

Whether you are just starting to exercise, or have been working out for years, there is nothing more effective for building strength, alignment and body awareness than basic, bodyweight only exercises. This 15-minute full-length home workout routine helps keeps your heart rate elevated while developing strength and stamina from head to toe. Refresh your form and perfect your body alignment with these traditional moves to safely get more out of every workout. 

Posted 1/12/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   23,032 views

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A Zero-Equipment Cardio Jump-Start

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!

Forget slogging through countless miles on the boring treadmill or running outdoors in the bitter cold--a good cardio session can be quick and effective, and done from the comfort of your home with zero equipment! Join me for this short and sweaty cardio workout any time you need a fun way to spark up your calorie burn FAST. 

Posted 1/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 14 comments   28,937 views

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How to Start Exercising: A 20-Minute Routine

Ready to start exercising, but not sure where to begin? I’ve created this workout just for you! Everybody has to start his or her own personal exercise journey somewhere, so if you are ready to start moving, join me for this efficient and effective workout that uses just your body weight, a chair and a wall. This 20-minute routine will help you develop strength and stamina and will teach you proper form for basic exercises like squats, planks and push-ups.
 

Posted 12/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   57,124 views

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7 Reasons Parents Should Feel GOOD--Not Guilty--about Exercising

Whether you're a parent who works full time, part time, or stays at home, working out can be a challenge.  Finding the time amid cooking, cleaning, laundry, homework, sports, lessons, and bill-paying; finding the energy when you're short on sleep; and finding someone to watch the kids so you can get to the gym or go for a jog is no small feat!  And then there's the guilt.  Maybe you feel guilty because working out means even more time away from your kids, so you choose to skip the gym.  Maybe they're with you all day but they cry when you drop them off at the gym child-care, so you opt to stay home instead.  Whatever the reason, if you're missing your workouts because you're feeling guilty, read on to shake off the guilt and get fit—because as it turns out, your workouts are actually good for your kids, too!

Posted 11/17/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   9,061 views

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The 12-Minute Better Posture Workout

Your mom was right--standing up straight really is good for you! Better posture can also help you look taller and slimmer instantly (no Spanx required). With all the sitting and slouching we do while typing, texting and driving, maintaining good posture can require a little extra work. Join me for this equipment-free, full-length workout video designed to develop strength, flexibility and proper alignment in the postural muscles of the neck, shoulders, back and core. A mat is recommended for the floor work (though a carpeted surface should work fine). 

Posted 11/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   33,069 views

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The Best Abs Exercises (that Won't Hurt Your Back)

If traditional abs moves like crunches and twists bother your back, don't suffer! There are plenty of ways to work your abs without straining your back that are just as (and sometimes more!) effective. Join me (and my puppy Peanut) for this full-length workout routine that is designed for those who experience back pain during floor abdominal exercises.
 
All you’ll need for this workout is a sturdy chair and a single light dumbbell (or similar weighted object). 

Posted 11/3/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   88,823 views

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