Express Workout Video

The latest Montana Moves video is featured this month in our online Incentive Program, but we also wanted to post it here in case anyone missed it!

Lack of time is often used as an excuse for missing exercise.

“Just too busy today.” “I meant to get to the gym, but I just ran out of time.” “The day just got away from me.”

Sound familiar? We’ve all said things like this, and your Exercise Specialist is no exception. In fact, the time in my life when I probably missed workouts most often due to a hectic schedule is when I actually worked in a gym! Ironic.

I won’t steal too much thunder from the video, but researchers have shown that with high intensity circuits, you can actually get a pretty good workout in a very short amount of time—in our case, just nine minutes! So next time you’re short on time, just remember that “Something is better than nothing!”

The format goes something like this:

  • 8-12 Exercises. Mostly body weight.
  • 30 seconds of high quality (intense) work
  • 15 seconds of rest (take more if you’re a beginner)
  • After the circuit is complete, cool down, or take a short break and repeat the circuit if time allows.

The advantages of this style of workout include:

  • Minimal equipment necessary.
  • It can be done pretty much anywhere. No gym required.
  • There is a cardio and strength component.
  • It’s a full-body, balanced workout.
  • It’s adaptable—choose exercises & intervals that fit your fitness level.
  • You don’t need big time commitment to do it.
  • In a research study, the experimental group performing this workout showed improvements in body fat, insulin sensitivity, aerobic capacity, and muscular fitness.

Enjoy!

Neal

P.S. As a final disclaimer, I’m not suggesting you ditch your existing routine in favor of doing only 9 or 10 minutes of exercise per day! But it is nice to know that when we’re short on time, we can still get in an effective workout.

Creating Healthy Space

Our environment plays a critical role in influencing so many of the choices we make daily. Given the choice between easy and difficult, we most often choose easy. More complicated, or simple? We’ll take simple please. When it comes to exercise, I’ve heard a fitness expert say, “The best gym is the one that’s closest to your house.” My gym at MSU is steps from my office, and even on the coldest, iciest winter days I know I can make there. Having a convenient healthy space at home or at the office also makes it easy to take a few minutes to stretch, meditate, or break a sweat when we need to.

Our first Montana Moves challenge this year was to create (or upgrade) a healthy space at home or work, so we thought we’d check in to see some of the great ideas you guys came up with! Here is a sampling of what you shared:

  • I used my Amazon gift card to bring kettlebells to work where a group of us meets every morning at 9:30 for a 10-15 minute session As a group we are going to #commit to meeting daily!
  • I created space in my bedroom, complete with weights, roller, resistance bands, yoga mat and fitness ball. I am using the space for quick morning workouts.
  • I moved furniture in guest bedroom to make yoga studio.
  • Yesterday I finished up creating my workout space. Balance ball, TRX, yoga mat with a streaming TV to follow along with my favorite YouTube workouts!
  • Fitness space is in the bonus room above the garage. It’s a life saver during the week in the winter. Has a dip bar, weights, agility ladder, fitness step, fitness bands, balance board, and exercise ball.
  • Cleaning out our old family room in basement that became our junk room. Almost have a calm and relaxing meditation room.
  • I put all my equipment in an easy to access corner — yoga mat/blocks, hand weights, foam roller. Small spaces make it hard, but seeing them and having them all together should make planning easier.
  • I now have a designated stretching/PT while watching Netflix space at home.
  • We have turned one of our extra bedrooms into a workout space with TV, mirrors, weights, treadmill.
  • Donated all extra furniture in basement rec room, then cleaned, greased, and replaced drive belt on the elliptical. Less clutter makes a much better exercise space.

A few theme’s emerged from reading through people’s comments. First, you don’t need a lot of equipment or a huge space. Most of you kept it simple: yoga mat, roller, maybe a few free weights or resistance bands. Second, many of you mentioned your workout entertainment to go along with the space, whether it was music or a television. For me personally, I gotta have my music going during a workout! Finally, it seemed like a lot of people already had the equipment they needed, it was just a matter of getting it all together and organized. It’s possible there may be a life lesson somewhere in that last observation. ūüôā

As usual, super job MUS! Keep making the healthy choices the easiest ones to do, and enjoy all your new spaces!

Neal

Hitting 10,000. Every Day.

Today’s success story comes from Trudy Carey. Trudy is the director of Disability Support Services at MSU Billings, and has been a Wellness Champion on that campus for several years. Trudy has also been a very active and competitive participant in all our wellness challenges. She especially loves a good step challenge, as her story will attest to. Thanks for sharing Trudy! Keep up the awesome work!

I love the Limeade program, especially the step/mile challenges.  I have walked 10,000+ steps every day since the 10,000 step-a-day challenge a couple of years ago.  Thanks to that, and the fact that I can see how many calories I burn on my Fitbit, I lost 35 pounds and have kept it off for more than two years.  I never thought of myself as a competitive person, but I discovered that I am very competitive about staying on the leader board for walking challenges.  In fact, the most recent team challenge in which I participated named the team ‚ÄúWe follow Trudy‚ÄĚ! 

Trudy Carey, MSUB

Here’s some good news for Trudy—we’re thinking about bringing back that 10,000-step-a-day challenge [Million Step Club] in 2019. Who’s up for starting your own streak?

Very Healthy Competition

Kudos to our Bozeman and Missoula communities, who set more records this year in their annual Can the Griz/Can the Cats Food drive competition.  Over 850,000 lbs of food and funds were collected this year between the two communities, with each receiving record donations to their local food banks. Amazing!

MUS Wellness was able to contribute a small portion, as Montana State put together a team for the annual Huffing for Stuffing Thanksgiving Day run. We had 102 members on our team, which turned out to be the largest team in Huffing for Stuffing history! MUS Wellness donated $500 to the Gallatin Valley Food Bank on behalf of our Wellness team. 

Members of the MSU Huffing for Stuffing Wellness team, ready to smoke the turkey!

This is another reminder of how outstanding our Montana communities are! It feels great to live in a place where everyone pulls together to make where we live and work healthier and happier!

Thanks to all who gave, ran, and volunteered!

MUS Wellness

New Semester=New Fitness Opportunities

The summer flew by quickly, as it always does in Montana, and many of us are settling in, anticipating the arrival of students, and trying to get organized and ready to launch into the new fall semester.

For those of us who work in education, have kids returning to school, or both, fall has a New Year’s-like feel, as we get back into set routines, whether they are familiar or fresh.

And much like New Year’s, if you’re feeling like you need a little freshness in your exercise routine, this time of year often offers a great opportunity to try out new things. One of the best ways to branch out and get fit, especially if you need a little coaching, is to try out a new group fitness class or two.

I wanted to highlight some of the opportunities happening next week on a few of our largest MUS campuses.

  • The Hosaeus Fitness Center at MSU Bozeman gets their fall GX schedule underway Monday, August 27th. MSU Faculty/Staff can attend GX classes at no extra charge, as they are a part of your Fitness Center membership.
    • Check out the Hosaeus Fitness Center Fall schedule here.
  • UM Campus Recreation is also is hosting a Free week August 27-31, which includes all group fitness classes, body composition measures, and fitness consultations with a personal trainer. What a great opportunity!
  • The Montana Tech Wellness Champions wrote a Wellness Grant to bring Wellness classes to Tech, and those classes will be restarting on Monday, August 27th.
    • Yoga is offered on Mondays, and Pilates on Wednesdays and Fridays. Both classes are in the HRER Dance Studio from 12-1pm.
  • Great Falls College recently made some improvements to their Wellness Room, so if you’re a GFC-MSU employee, be sure to check that out!

If you belong to a private gym or fitness club, chances are they are running some special classes this time of year as well–so be on the lookout!

Be sure to take advantage of new opportunities for health and wellness as we begin this new semester together!

Be Well,

Neal

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Spicy Planks (Video)

This one is for all of you participating in our current “Get to the Core” challenge as part of the MUS Wellness Incentive Program. If you’ve been cranking out those planks and increasing your core strength over the past few weeks, our latest Montana Moves video gives you some ideas about how to kick it up to the next level of fitness and fun. Happy Friday! Enjoy!

https://vimeo.com/284390661

 

The Dreaded DOMS

Your Exercise Specialist is human.

Like many of my fellow Montanans, I was beginning to feel like I was living somewhere more like Seattle or Portland, after weeks upon weeks of rain and gloom. To make matters worse, it seemed the cycles of rainy stationary fronts would always arrive right around the beginning of the weekend and then park it.

So finally, on a mid-June weekend, when my phone’s weather app called for clearing skies on a Sunday afternoon, I bolted toward the Bridgers for some alpine hiking. I ended up going to one of my favorite trails, Middle Cottonwood, and on up to the summit of Saddle Peak. I did a bit of mixed hiking and trail running on the way up, and after a delicious PB&J on the summit, decided that I would run down.

It was a fun, lovely run through wildflower meadows and riparian forest, but I knew with a couple of miles to go my legs were going to be smoked. A couple of days afterward, I was barely getting down stairs, and my quads remained angry with me for a couple of days after that as well.

I exercise regularly, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape right now, especially aerobically, but the truth is that my legs were not accustomed to nearly five miles of descending trail.

The result? The dreaded Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. Most of us have experienced DOMS at one time or another. It usually occurs after a particularly heavy bout of exercise¬†that we are not accustomed to. That’s the key—even highly trained athletes are not immune if they do something intense and out of the realm of their usual routine.¬†Typically, the delay in delayed-onset-muscle-soreness is 24-48 hours after the exercise bout that causes the damage.

Another detail associated with DOMS, and why my case was particularly rough, is¬†eccentric muscle contractions. Eccentric contractions happen when your muscles lengthen under load—think of putting down a heavy load, or in my case, hitting the brakes a bit each step while running down a mountain. Eccentric muscle contractions are a natural element of muscle function and movement, but an excess amount of them can easily lead to a painful case of DOMS.

Traditional thought blamed microscopic tears in the muscle fibers for the pain and soreness associated with DOMS, but lately, science is not so sure. In fact, the latest research is inconclusive about the mechanism that causes DOMS pain. Worse, there isn’t much solid evidence that any recovery modalities actually speed up the process. In other words, once the muscle soreness has set-in, there’s not much to do except hurry up and wait.

Sorry I don’t have better news, but a little knowledge can help you better cope with DOMS, or perhaps prevent it in the first place. So, to wrap up, here are a few key takeaways:

  • Although science hasn’t agreed on what happens on the cellular level that causes the DOMS response, we do know that DOMS is incurred after intense exercise that an individual isn’t used to, and eccentric muscle contractions tend to lead to DOMS faster. So, if you’re doing something you haven’t done in a while (or ever), take it easy. Or, in my case, if it’s your first alpine hike of the season, perhaps walking down would been wiser.
  • Know that in most instances, the peak of pain occurs around 24-48 hours after the bout of exercise. This too shall pass.
  • Here’s that good news we were looking for—if you repeat similar exercise after your muscles have healed, you should not be as sore the next time, or the next, and so on. Therefore,¬†don’t let a bout of DOMS deter you from consistently exercising, or convince you to give up an new exercise program you have just started!
  • Some studies have suggested a link between Vitamin D and/or sleep deficiencies and occurrence/severity of DOMS. [Cristin, feel free to drop some Vitamin D knowledge and enlighten us.]
  • Although there really haven’t been any scientifically validated studies that link certain recovery methods to relieving DOMS, that shouldn’t necessarily deter you from utilizing some of your favorites. After all, the brain is a powerful thing, and we’re all different and respond differently to certain recovery modalities. That being said, if you’re going through DOMS, or any muscular soreness or stiffness for that matter, things like stretching, massage, foam rolling, compression, elevation, a warm bath, and staying hydrated never hurt.

Be well!

Neal

New Exercise Library

For our latest MUS Wellness online resource, we’ve added a new Exercise Library. You can access the library by clicking the link above or by navigating there via the drop-down on the Events & Media tab located at the top-right of these pages. Currently, the library contains 40 exercises grouped into the following categories:

  • Dynamic Warmups
  • Lower Body Bilateral (Both legs)
  • Lower Body Unilateral (Single leg)
  • Upper Body Push
  • Upper Body Pull
  • Core (Movement)
  • Core (Anti-Movement)
  • Agility/Finisher

This resource is intended to be a reference-type tool to:

  1. Help you select some basic exercises to incorporate into a resistance training routine.
  2. Learn/reinforce correct technique for these exercises.
  3. If you’re comfortable, build your own workout by selecting one to two exercises from each category, which would give you a full-body workout utilizing your major muscle groups and joint actions.

This is the first draft of this library, so we’d love to hear any feedback you have so that we can constantly update and improve it.

This library is not comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of movements and exercises you can do at the gym or at home. This library includes some basics and some of our favorites. Please select exercises to match your current fitness ability and health status. Consult a personal trainer for more help, or to customize a personalized fitness program.

For further resistance training resources from MUS Wellness/Montana Moves, check out the following webinar:

…or browse our Montana Moves¬†video library¬†to find more detailed descriptions on certain exercises and movements.

Be Well (and strong)!

Neal

The Amazing Foot & Ankle Complex

In case you missed our recent webinar on foot & ankle health, here’s a few highlights, plus a short video featuring some exercises and stretches to keep your ankles and feet healthy and happy.

Top Ten Things we learned about our amazing feet.

  1. About a quarter of the bones in your body are located in your feet (26 bones per foot).
  2. Ligaments and tendons are very strong connective tissues. Ligaments connect bones to bones. Tendons connect bones to muscles.
  3. The longitudinal and transverse arches provide strength and support so our feet can support the load of our bodies in addition to whatever we carry with us.
  4. The average person will take between 3 and 4 million steps per year.
  5. Force plate studies show that the foot absorbs at least 3 times body weight per step at slow running speeds.
  6. An elite triple jumper may produce forces of 14 to 16 times body weight during his or her jump!
  7. Sixty percent (60%) of our MUS population who responded to a pre-webinar survey (n=191) reported currently dealing with foot/ankle pain, injury or dysfunction.
  8. Plantar fasciitis was the most common foot/ankle ailment reported by our population.
  9. RICE, or rest/ice/compression/elevation can be a primary therapy for most ailments of the foot and ankle.
  10. For chronic conditions that are not improving, health professionals such as a podiatrist (PDM), orthopedic physician, physical therapist, or licensed massage therapist can help diagnose and treat the condition, so that you can “get back on your feet again”, so to speak.

If your feet are healthy, keeping your ankles mobile and feet strong with some simple stretching and strengthening exercises can be a great form of prevention. You can learn some of these exercises in the following video. Enjoy!

If you want to watch the entire MUS Wellness foot/ankle webinar, just click here.

Be well!

Neal

June Commuter Challenges!

June’s just getting started, the weather is awesome, and if you commute to work via bike, foot, or even public transportation, there’s a couple of local commuter challenges going on this month you may be interested in!

The Montana Commuter Challenge is an annual statewide challenge sponsored by Bike Walk Montana, and the Bozeman Commuter Challenge is a local challenge put together by the Bozeman Commuter Project for all you Bozemanites.

Both challenges offer an opportunity to log your commutes this month, join a local team and see how you fare against other teams, communities and peers; plus offer a chance to win some great prizes! In the meantime, you get to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air, boost your fitness, save gas money and reduce CO2 emissions. Beautiful.

So click on the links above to learn more about the challenge that you’re most interested in, and get started logging those miles!

P.S. MSU Riders:¬†Just a reminder that tomorrow, Friday June 8th is the final day of Bozeman Bike to Work Week, and we’re having a special tent for MSU commuters on the MSU Centennial Mall in front of Montana Hall. There will be snacks, swag, coffee, and you get to hang out with Neal & Cristin. Can you think of a better start to your weekend?