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All Dressed Up for Sitting Down
By: Sherri L. Dodd

There is a saying that you should dress for success. Most usually, this phrase implies fine suits, designer shoes and any extra accessory that you can add to the ensemble. This is because when you hear the word success, most people visualize wealth and its preceding occupation. In the fitness world, dress for success means something different. Not necessarily success from a different type of job, but instead fitness success through your method of dress. This is due to that fact that studies have linked casual dress at work to more calories burned while doing normal day to day activities.

For many women with jobs such as those in the media, management positions, bank tellers and even the glamorous gals behind the counters at your favorite department store, tight skirts, constrictive collared blouses and high heels are common thread. In the past, I have also shared in the cruel wardrobe during the many years while I worked for a large corporation and various other professional jobs. As the day progresses and your time-efficient tootsies have begun to swell, sometimes you prefer the sanctity of your stabilized desk rather than the crushing sensation of body weight in heels against the earth. Sometimes even a much-needed trip to the restroom is postponed for the sake of avoiding the walk of what seems like burning coals.

In addition to sore feet, there is also the social lunch hour. A welcomed colleague luncheon may bring plenty of laughter, but the resulting swollen tummy in your form-fitted skirt may beg for shelter beneath the edge of your desk. Pair the two together and it is a recipe for activity avoidance. This lack of interest in, literally, going the extra mile may contribute to sedentary tendencies while in the workplace, which can indeed lead to weight gain.

American Council on Exercise decided to study the activities of employees and their activity levels based on daily attire. The findings were relevant to expectation – an eight percent increase in caloric expenditure in the subjects that wore casual and comfortable clothing. These casually-dressed participants took more steps throughout the day, including stairs over elevators, and subsequently, more calories were burned. This was solely based on time in the office and does not include a visit to the gym. In addition, this study was conducted in the colder seasons. The researchers agree that there could be as much as a 15-20% increase in steps taken in the warmer months, which would equal a total of 23-28% increase in activity of those that dress casually to work.

While the studied percentage may seem insignificant, it does offsets the nation’s average annual weight gain of .4 to 1.8 pounds. If this does not encourage you to seek out better means of your professional presentation, you may want to also consider less foot trauma and the decline of irregular inner thigh contractions from putting off that lingering urge to visit the ladies room.

About the Author

Sherri Dodd is the creator and author of Mom Looks Great - The Fitness Program for Moms. She is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She is dedicated to a life of fitness as well as encouraging others to establish healthy habits and a better quality of life.


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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