Ramp Up Your Run By Hitting the Beach

Enjoy miles of brisk walking (even running) on our beautiful beaches in Southwest Florida! Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

Southwest Florida is packed with runners and beaches!

And sometimes, the beaches are packed with runners! But while navigating the streets and sidewalks has its own kind of challenges, running on sand is definitely a step up when it comes to intensity.

With all the beauty and natural resources of the beach surrounding us when we run, we might forget we're working out if it wasn't for the increased effort required.

There are three important aspects of running on the sand:

  • aerobic fitness,
  • muscular endurance, and
  • specific technique.

Obviously, you need to have a good aerobic capacity to run in the sand --

On a basic level, running requires your body to burn a lot of energy or calories, and the body functions best and can go longer when it gets plenty of oxygen into the lungs, blood stream and muscles.

So you need an aerobic fitness base to tackle the...

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Don't Let Leg Cramps Cramp Your Style!

Plumeria (above) and Gardenia's are in bloom in Lakes Park (Fort Myers), right now, for you to enjoy! They're smelling SOOO good!  Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

Most people have suffered the excruciatingly painful experience of a leg cramp at least once in their life, often in bed at night.

A cramp is a painful spasm or contraction (shortening) of the muscle, usually in the calf, but sometimes in the foot or thigh muscles.

Cramps are involuntary – you have no control over the muscle spasm.

Fortunately, cramps usually only last a few seconds or minutes and usually get better when you stretch the affected muscles.

Walking around often helps relieve foot cramps.

After a cramp, the affected muscles may be sore and tender for a few hours.

Sometimes there is even mild swelling afterwards. Although they are extremely painful, ordinary leg cramps are more of a nuisance than anything else and are not usually a sign of anything seriously wrong.

Leg cramps (especially night...

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Balance Training (It's Not Just for Seniors)

Last Friday's Southwest Florida sunset on Naples Beach was gorgeous!  Enjoy exercise wherever and whenever you can, even walking the beach!  Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

How often do you incorporate balance work into your training sessions?

I’m going to hedge a guess at not much. Most people don’t even think about our body’s ability to balance.

After all, that’s just a concern for the elderly, right?

Well, no. 

Balance training is important for everyone.

It is as important a factor in fitness as cardiovascular, resistance and flexibility training.

In fact, without good balance, your ability to perform the other components smoothly and with efficiency is compromised.  

Good balance not only plays a significant role in strengthening and stabilizing joints but it also increases proprioception, or the body’s ability to recognize where it is in space and to help control movements.

With increased proprioception, the body is able...

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Sensible Precautions Required As The Temperatures Start Heating Up

A gorgeous April evening stroll in Lakes Park (in Fort Myers, Florida). Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

Participation in sports have long been recognized as an effective way to stay in shape, and a great start on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

However, organized sports and individual activities can also sometimes result in injury.

The American College of Sports Medicine has identified the most common sporting activities leading to injury, more specifically, heat-injuries.

These included:

  • football
  • basketball
  • soccer, and
  • cycling.

Individual activities, such as running may also lead to a range of injuries while rollerblading and skateboarding spearhead the way in injury-causing culprits among children.

Of additional concern is the research warning that people who experience sports injuries (especially children) are at a higher risk of suffering from re-injury later.

Therefore, it’s important to take some sensible precautions to avoid injury in the first place.

Here are...

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Office Based Exercise - Increase Productivity & Reduce Health Care Costs

If you can't get to the beach to walk or run, here's some ideas for exercising from the office!  Naples Beach - March 18, 2022. Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

It’s never ending...

Clients are referred to exercise physiologists because they either have several risk factors predisposing them to chronic disease and/or conditions (i.e. high blood pressure, high cholesterol), or they have developed a chronic disease and/or condition and their health care provider wants exercise to be a component of their treatment.

Simple, or at least you’d think so right?

Many of these referred patients have very busy lives: work and family (kids and often grandchildren too), so a big part of successful planning is to find ‘potential exercise/physical activity’ time in their day, which is often no easy task.

If the average person sleeps 7.5 hours per night, that leaves potentially 16.5 hours, to complete 30 minutes of exercise (minimum recommended daily amount by the...

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Wants vs. Needs - Aligning Fitness Outcomes

Early March 2022, Queens Wreath (Petrea volubilis) in full bloom in the Botanical Gardens of Lakes Park (Fort Myers).  Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

As a coach and professional for over 30 years now, I have had a wide range of clients with a variety of goals.

Some want fat loss, muscle growth, improvements in performance, more energy, the list goes on.  

While it is important that we recognize and be clear about what we want, it is vital to also establish and align with what we need. 

Even though we may not think we may not need a particular exercise, from an optimal health position, it might be as important to correct posture and improve functional movement patterns as it is to develop specific muscular strength.

How do we integrate what we need seamlessly into our training session so that we still get what we want? 

Educate yourself and seek professional help.

Have an evaluation to find out where your fitness is currently and what you need to improve it....

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Rediscover Your Exercise Routine

A beautiful late February day for running, walking or biking in Lakes Park (Fort Myers). Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

We're two months into 2022, and...

People have been asking how to restart their fitness program!

If your last workout feels like a distant memory, do not despair.

Now is a perfect time to find your way back into a fitness routine.

However, be mindful. You don’t need to rush into it head first.

By doing a little planning and adopting a gradual approach, you will reduce your risk of injury and perhaps even get a little more enjoyment from it.

First, be realistic.

If you’ve ever taken a break from exercise (holiday, injury), you know trying to fit the weeks you have missed into the first two weeks back doesn’t work.

I have an adage I use in these situations:

‘It’s not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going.’

When it comes to the cardio, go easy on yourself here too.

This means being able to...

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How much exercise do you need to reap health benefits?

A georgeous February day in the Botanical Gardens of Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida.  Photo Courtesy of Charly Caldwell II.

People often ask me how much exercise they really need.

The answer depends on several factors, but primarily I tell them to consider their current health status and fitness goals.

A tedious answer, I know, but the amount of exercise someone needs and/or is capable of in order to shed 10 pounds is very different from the amount someone needs who simply wants to keep their cholesterol in check and their heart healthy.

The Institute of Medicine recommends:

“At least 60 minutes each day of moderately intense physical activity to prevent weight gain and achieve the full health benefits of activity,” a recommendation further endorsed by the American Council on Exercise.

An hour of physical activity each day appears to be the magic number to optimize health and reduce the risk of various disease processes including heart disease and cancer.

While an hour...

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15 Benefits of Exercise - Blood Pressure, Brain Health, Immunity and more!

Enjoying a brisk walk on this clear, crisp winter day in Lakes Park in Fort Myers. Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II

People often associate exercise with weight loss as if the two a synonymous.

While it is true that people who exercise regularly tend to maintain a healthier weight, exercise has so many more benefits for the body.  

Here's 15 Benefits of Exercise:

1) Exercise helps your brain.

Exercise has been shown to ease anxiety, improve mood and fight depression. It promotes the release of a mood-lifting brain chemical called serotonin and the release of endorphins, natural feel-good painkilling substances. Exercise also improves cognitive function and decreases the risk of dementia.

2) Good for your skin.

Moderate exercise stimulates circulation and so brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Sweating allows the body to excrete wastes via the surface of the skin.

3) Lungs.

Regular exercise increases lung capacity and strengthens the respiratory muscles. Exercise also...

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Work Smart, Work Safe - When Working from Home

Take time to get up & move throughout your day.  Can you see the two people walking in the park? Photo courtesy of Charly Caldwell II

There is no denying it, since the onset of the pandemic, a lot of things have changed.

For the most part, we're all navigating uncharted waters.

Whether you are home-schooling children, working from home or caring for an elderly family member, we all need to be aware of our actions and how these affect our health and well-being.

Our dependence on technology has been higher than ever.

People reach for portable electronic devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops to remain socially connected and employable.

This increased reliance on technology combined with more extended periods of use can lead to an increased prevalence of postural low back and neck pain.

Such injuries typically occur because, unlike with desktop computers, we usually do not use portable devices within an ergonomic workstation setup.

The size of the screen, distance to...

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