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12 Healthy Hacks from Fitbit’s Spring Clean

2014 April 15

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Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing our own “healthy hacks” from our experts and Fitbit employees to help you jumpstart new spring routines. How much progress have you made in your own spring cleaning? Have you used the change of season as inspiration to make positive changes in your health, activity or general well-being? If so, we want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below or use #FitbitSpringClean on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Instagram.

And just in case you missed any of our 12 hacks, here they are in one handy place.

 

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Reduce Stress by Getting Active Outside

2014 April 14

It’s time to hang up your winter coat! This is the last post in our series of 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts, to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is our second from Lauren Slayton, the author of The Little Book of Thin.

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Forget therapy (OK maybe not) have you heard of ecotherapy?

I always joke that my workouts are medicinal. They help me de-stress. It seems that “mean mommy” makes an appearance on the days when there isn’t time for a run. I had previously chalked this up to the endorphins from exercise, the power of a good sweat and the boost I get from listening to my favorite music. I may have missed that where I do my workout is just as important as whether or not I did it.

There is a burgeoning area of research on “ecotherapy” or the effects time spent outside has on us. A study conducted in the UK compared a group walking in a shopping mall to another group walking in the park. After walking in the park, 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem, 88% improved mood and 71% felt less tense. For comparison, these numbers were under 50% in all criteria for the mall walkers.

Time outside provides an escape from our homes and our desks. It’s a time to reflect and may evoke good memories. Outside time also stimulates our senses with color, sounds and fresh air.

After walking in the park 90% of participants claimed increased self esteem… read more…

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack Your Post-Workout Routine

2014 April 8

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We’ve already talked about hacking your workout, but what comes next? Do you have good habits in place to cool down afterwards?

Having a good post-workout routine is extremely important, especially if you’ve just done a strenuous workout. A proper cool-down will help your body return gradually to a period of rest, prevent dizziness, and prepare you for your next workout.

Cool down: Rather than abruptly head to the showers as soon as your workout is over, take the time to cool down your muscles.

TIP: Do this by continuing your workout at an easy pace for 5-10% of your workout time. This helps flush out lactic acid and brings your heart rate down, keeping you feeling great.

Stretch: Stretching helps prevent your muscles from contracting and reduces muscle soreness. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t over-do it – stretching too much, to the point where it’s painful, does more harm than good – and keep a routine that you can jump right into after each workout. With a routine, you ensure you won’t skip out on stretching certain muscles.

TIP: Stretch out essential muscles you used during your workout, or better yet, use a muscle roller to help break up tightness.

Re-fuel: The average person mostly just needs to make sure they drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. But for more extreme athletes who participate in intense, lengthy workouts, it’s important for muscle recovery to refuel to replace glycogen levels. For tips on how to best re-fuel, we turned to Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes for his routine:

My post-workout routine consists of rehydrating, either with water or with electrolyte replacement fluid by adding a capsule of Nuun. Then I look to replace depleted glycogen stores by consuming carbohydrates, typically with fruits like bananas, berries and oranges. I might add some Greek-style yogurt to boost protein levels if the workout has been particularly strenuous.

And lastly, don’t forget to warm up: Take some time before your workout to warm up your muscles. We asked Fitbit employee and triathlete Mike to share his warm up routine:

No matter what sport or exercise I’m doing, I start at an easy pace and incorporate small segments of varying intensity to get things warmed up. I have a pretty standard routine for each sport I do that I just come back to each time, which makes it pretty efficient. The length depends on the length of the workout. This ensures your muscles are ready to go and helps prevent injury.

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack an Efficient Outdoor Workout without Equipment

2014 April 7

It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. SF instructor Erica Stenz from Barry’s Bootcamp is back, this time taking the 30-minute workout routine to the outdoors.

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Planning a solid outdoor workout with cardio and strength training without equipment can be challenging. But before you get discouraged, just follow these simple tips from Barry’s Bootcamp San Francisco fitness industry expert Erica Stenz.

4 Tips for an Effective Outdoor Workout

1. Tabatas, Tabatas, and yes more Tabatas

Can’t say this enough – perform Tabata drills throughout the entire workout. Tabata drills are performed through high-intensity training intervals and alternated with sets of 30-second intervals (one 20-second set and one 10-second set), repeating the 30-second set 4 to 8 times.

To keep the highest level of intensity throughout each set, alternate 20 seconds/10 seconds with 2 different exercises.

Set 1 – 30 Seconds (Repeat 4 to 8 x)

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: 9 Tips to Adjust to a Time Change with Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron

2014 April 4

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It’s already April, but the spring time change and drastic weather shifts can throw off even the best of us. And if you’re a frequent jetsetter, adjusting to a new time zone can feel like a boxing match that goes the distance. If you’re already tracking your sleep with a Fitbit device, that’s a great start. To take it a step further, our bodies crave routine via circadian rhythms, and there are specific things you can do to help get your body and mind back on track. So we asked clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Dr. Kelly Glazer Baron how to set things right.

  1. Start living on the new time zone as soon as you can — It’s the first thing you should do when adjusting to daylight savings time or a time change. The natural tendency is to sleep in and hit the snooze button as a result of the late sunrise in the morning. But that’s only going to keep your clock shifted forward making it more difficult to get to bed and wake up at your desired time.
  2. Ease the transition by a gradual adjustment — If you wake up 15 min earlier for 4 days, you give yourself an achievable shift each day. At the same time, make sure to adjust your bedtime as well so you don’t short change your sleep. Start getting to bed a little bit earlier each night until you’re back on track. But be careful with this one. The last thing you want to do is lie in bed tossing and turning because your body isn’t ready to fall asleep.
  3. Set a defined routine – Our bodies crave regularity and keeping our circadian clock dialed in is extremely important in upholding quality sleep. So start setting a routine. In addition to defining your wake-up and bed times, eat meals at the same time every day, dial in your exercise calendar, and start to manage your light exposure. read more…

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack Your Daylight Saving’s Bonus Hour with Tips from Fitbit Employees

2014 April 3

It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” and articles to help jumpstart new spring routines.

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Once that lingering winter weather finally dissipates throughout the country, the extra hour of daylight is prime time for activity and exercise. But here at Fitbit HQ in San Francisco, we’ve been lucky enough to have mild weather throughout March. Many Fitbit employees are already making the most of the daylight saving’s bonus hour.

So we asked a few active Fitbit employees to chime on on how they use the daylight after a day at the office. What did we find? Everything from walking home from work, to disc golf and horse-back riding!

shaun IGShaun, Sales

10K steps per day

At Fitbit, we’re all about finding new and fun ways to reach our step goal. Last year I picked up disc golf as a hobby and have been hooked ever since.  If you’re not familiar, disc golf adopts the rules of regular golf, but instead of a hole, uses a basket with hanging chains to catch a thrown disc. Disc golf courses tend to be more rugged than golf courses, so it’s kind of like playing a game while hiking. Now that daylight savings is upon us, I’m able to leave the office and get in a quick round at the amazing course at Golden Gate Park. On the days that I’m able to hit the course, you can bet that I’m hitting my step goal!

katie IGKatie, QA

14K steps per day

Now that we have an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings, I’ve been taking the opportunity to walk home from the subway station instead of taking the bus.  I know my team appreciates my contribution to our progress in our March company step challenge! The extra daylight also makes it easier to do two of my favorite things after work – horseback riding and running.  I don’t have to hurry to ride before sunset and I can take my running into to the hills and trails while it’s still light out. read more…

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: National Walking Day 2014

2014 April 1

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If you’re using a Fitbit tracker, you know exactly how much you walk. But with busy lives and demanding jobs, more and more adults are spending most of their time sedentary. That’s why the American Heart Association declared today as National Walking Day.

The AHA describes National Walking Day as, “Employees are encouraged to wear sneakers to work and take at least 30 minutes out of their day to get up and walk.” Sounds simple, right? Or maybe it doesn’t, between your meetings or errands or busy schedule. But your health should never take second-place to your job.

So today we’re giving you tips to hack your workday, by getting you away from the desk and taking more steps each day.

1. Take a break. Your emails will still be there when you get back. Taking two fifteen-minute breaks throughout your day and using them to take a walk. Not only will you easily get in your recommended 30 minutes of activity, but you’ll pass your friends on the leaderboard who are still at their desks!

2. Turn your meeting into a walking meeting. Unless you’re giving a presentation or need to take notes, there’s no reason to always take your meetings sitting down. With the weather getting nicer, suggest you spend your next one-on-one meeting by enjoying the fresh air and going for a short walk. You’ll both get exercise, and you’ll still be getting work done.

3. Buddy Up. One easy way to make sure you’re actually getting out, rather than getting bogged down with work, is to find a buddy and plan your walking breaks together. Plus, Fitbit users with one or more Fitbit friends tend to be 27% more active anyway, so your work buddy could help boost your overall fitness, even apart!

4. Do things face-to-face. Why send an email when a conversation will work just as well, if not better? In our email-centric offices, it’s easy to forget that sometimes walking over and having a conversation with someone can be much more efficient.

5. Take the longer route. Even on days when you’re too busy to take a real break, we all need some breaks throughout the day. Next time you use the restroom or head to the kitchen, go the long way there, or to one further away than your desk. All those small amounts of extra steps can add up over the course of a day.

6. Use the stairs. If it’s possible to take stairs instead of an elevator, take the stairs every time. Walking up stairs is 10x as efficient as walking on a flat surface when it comes to burning calories, and it’s sometimes even faster than an elevator!

Are you willing to give one – or all – of the above a shot? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter!

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack the Farmer’s Market for the Best Spring Produce

2014 March 30

A trip to your weekly farmer’s market – it sounds so easy breezy.  Fresh produce at direct-to-shopper prices? There’s nothing wrong with that.

But in reality, navigating a farmer’s market isn’t always a piece of cake…er…ripe fruit.  Unlike a supermarket where everything is well thought out and categorized, a farmer’s market can be rather unorganized. Vendors compete for visibility and sell similar products. There’s both organic and conventional produce. Much is in season, while other fruits and veggies may be coming in or out of season.

Why shop in season? When buying local produce, there’s usually an abundance of crop when produce is in-season. And more crop means lower cost. Produce usually has a better taste during it’s season/peak season, and when harvested at its peak, has the maximum amount of available nutrients.

Going in prepared can be the difference between getting tasty, in-season produce and going home underwhelmed. So here’s our handy guide to shopping in-season this spring, as well as helpful tips on when it’s OK to go conventional and when to splurge on organic. Lastly, shopping in season gives you and nice variety of fruits and vegetables year-long. Because let’s be honest — in most places, you simply can’t get berries in winter!

Spring Produce: What’s in Season?

  • Artichokes – In season from March to December. Peak season from March to May. Artichokes are best when the leaves are tightly clung together, as open leaves will have a more bland taste. Avoid brown spots as much as possible and definitely choose the heavier, meatier artichokes for the best quality.
  • Apricots – May to August, peaking from May through July. Choose fruits that are darker yellow and orange in color and avoid bruises. You want plump yet slightly firm, especially if you’re eating them whole and not using them for pies or jams. read more…

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Toss Out 3 Weight Loss Myths and Get Fit the Right Way

2014 March 29

It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is from certified trainer Samantha Schramm.

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Have ysamantha aria post bio picou ever set a goal to get healthy by losing a specific amount of weight? If so, you know how easy it is to get fixated on the numbers on the scale. But the key to healthy, successful weight loss is much more than just dropping pounds.

That’s why we’ve brought on certified trainer Samantha Schramm to debunk three common weight loss myths and help you lose weight the healthy way.

Myth #1: “Getting fit” means “Losing weight.”

Truth: Getting fit means lowering your body fat percentage.

99% of the people who walk into my office tell me they want to lose weight – but what they really mean is they want to lose fat.  When trying to get fit, dropping numbers on the scale is only part of the picture. Your body weight is made up of things like muscle tissue and water in addition to fat. When you lose muscle or water it can show up as “weight loss” on your scale, but can actually be bad for your body.

ace-body-fat-chart-bmiTip: To make sustainable changes in your body health and appearance, it’s important to make sure to burn fat and build muscle. So in addition to tracking weight, be sure to track both body fat percentage and lean mass percentage with a tool like the Aria Smart Scale. Body fat percentage is the portion of your body made up of fat cells. Lean mass percentage is everything else: muscle, organs, bones, water, etc. Together, they add up to 100% of your body composition.

The ideal body fat percentage is different for everyone, but I recommend that my clients target the “Athlete” or “Fitness” ranges developed by the American Council on Exercise. For women this is 14 – 24% body fat and for men it is 6 – 17%.

 

Myth #2: All weight loss is good. read more…

Fitbit’s Spring Clean: The 7-Day Clutter Cleanse Part 2

2014 March 28

It’s time to hang up your winter coat! To kick off spring, we’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is part two of Jenny Blake‘s 7-Day Clutter Cleanse. Here’s part one in case you missed it!

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Friday: Fridge Purge

Before your weekend grocery trip, set a timer for 20 minutes and go to town. Expired? Toss! Didn’t like it? Toss! About to go bad? Cook!

  • Bonus points: grab a sponge and do a quick clean once you’ve cleared up some refrigerator real estate. Super bonus: do the same with a pantry or other food cabinet.

  • Tool: Check out time-saver services like Blue Apron, which deliver food ingredients and recipe cards each week for easy preparation and added variety.

  • Reward: Find a new recipe online and make a new dish. Want to make a recipe from the food that’s about to go bad? Try Super Cook which allows you to search recipes based on ingredients you already have at home.

Saturday: Closet Clean-up read more…