There is nothing like summer. Who are your favorite summer artists? There are no wrong answers, if it’s something that keeps your feet moving, you’re listening to the right songs!
It’s well-known that music can be a highly important motivator for exercise. Music can be a key ingredient to wellness. There are many reasons for this. Research consistently finds that listening to music provides a healthy distraction from the pain of a workout. One study even suggests that music can benefit athletic performance by up to 15 percent. The rhythm of your workout music is shown to stimulate the motor area of your brain, thereby aiding self-paced exercises such as running or weight-lifting. By paying attention to these signals, it helps us use our energy more efficiently, since keeping a steady pace is easier on our bodies than fluctuating through a workout.
To help you get your groove on, we’ve made our summer Spotify playlist. We’re hoping that these songs will help you in your workouts. But by all means, make your own playlist. It’s the time of year for good vibrations so get out there and enjoy yourself!
We all know that some workouts feel better than others. But when rough ones stack up it can affect your motivation. Next thing you know you’re hardly going at all. It’s important to break that pattern and get back into a healthy routine. Here are five ways to keep you smiling as you head to the gym.
1. Take a Class. We’re all social creatures and there is often valuable energy to be gathered by exercising with other people. And it’s a fun way to make friends! On the days you may not be feeling your peppiest, it can be motivating to look forward to seeing friendly faces.
2. Don’t Worry About Being Perfect. It can be easy to beat yourself up about not hitting your exact time or getting your reps done to your complete satisfaction. Or you see someone next to you burning it up and you suddenly don’t feel great about your performance. Don’t let those things get you down. Remember to enjoy the process and revel in how it feels to work your body. Let that be its own reward.
3. Do What You Enjoy. This may sound like advice from Captain Obvious but it’s so true. If you always enjoy hitting the Stairmaster, but are hit and miss on the Elliptical, then focus on the stairs. Yoga may be your thing, so bring your mat and water bottle. Weights are rewarding. Put on those gloves. Do what energizes you love and build from there.
4. Timing Is Key. The time of day can be a big factor in whether you consistently look forward to working out. Some love to start the day with a burn. But if you’re not a morning person, that can be a slog. Maybe you’re a noon-hour person? Or you enjoy working off the stress of the day after work? Find out what works with you and stick with it. Not everyone’s clock works the same.
5. A Little Is Better Than Nothing. Some days you have a million things going on. It happens. But do keep your commitment to hitting the gym. You may need to scale back your workout on a given day— maybe do 30 minutes instead of 45 — but there are still so many health benefits to even brief appearances. On days when your phone is blowing up, give yourself that break in the day. By the time you’re done you’ll be ready to walk out the door with newfound calm and clarity.
Everyone loves having a toned back and sculpted shoulders! Feel the burn with this great upper-body workout. Do 15 reps of each move, repeating the circuit three times through.
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
Swiss Ball Back Extension
My relationship with Snap Fitness started with NO relationship. A few years ago, I won a free three-month pass to Snap Fitness as a door prize, and I was convinced the drawing was rigged because I was heavier than I’d ever been and I thought the people doing the drawing were trying to tell me to do something about my weight. I put the certificate in my junk drawer and stewed about it for several months, refusing to give in and go. Then an annual physical revealed that my cholesterol and blood pressure and fasting blood sugar were all at dangerously high levels.
So, I took a deep breath and redeemed my certificate. I weighed in at 228. The manager and club personal trainer at that time helped me come up with a work-out plan, and even gave me a few nutrition tips. I stuck with it – on and off. I had a series of serious physical problems (plantar fasciitis, broken ankle, concussion, back surgeries, etc.) that discouraged and sidelined me more than once...and always caused a bit of a weight gain. But I kept coming back to Snap.
That persistence paid off. All my “lab numbers” are now in a healthy range, and I weighed in this morning at 154 pounds, a 74-pound weight loss! I can’t say I feel better than ever, because now I’m only six weeks past a major back surgery and I’m sore, but I can always find things to do at Snap. When my foot was in a boot, I found I could pedal the recumbent bike. When I was walking with a walker after surgery, I came and walked slowly on the treadmill. I now use a cane, but I’m concentrating on my core and legs so I can ditch that thing. I’m not quite to my goal weight (based on a “normal” BMI), but I now have confidence I’ll get there! So, whether that drawing was rigged or not I’ll never know, but thanks for being a part of my journey to better health, Snap Fitness!
Running Safety: How to Be Prepared for Anything
Running is empowerment. Running is strength. Running is freedom. Running is not always safe—for women, in particular. According to Women’s Running, an estimated one-third of Americans feel uneasy when exercising alone outside, and Runner’s World reports that 43 percent of females experience some type of harassment or assault when running outside.
Despite the disconcerting numbers, it is possible to run outside and feel safe at the same time. Thanks to the following five strategies, you can maximize safety without compromising your workout.
Maintain Awareness of Your Surroundings
Stay alert to prevent an attacker from catching you off-guard. Allow yourself space to find an escape route. Limit distractions like music, podcasts or audiobooks, if possible. If you can’t forego your favorite playlist, keep the volume soft enough to hear your own breathing and footfalls. Better yet, wear just one earbud so you can still hear noises around you.
Know Basic Self-Defense Maneuvers
You don’t need martial arts training to ward off physical advances. You just need to inflict enough pain to assume the upper hand. Simply use your fingers, palms, knees, elbows or feet to make contact with the face, genitals and other sensitive areas, which will cause injury to an attacker and give you time to run away.
Practice these three basic self-defense techniques and don’t hesitate to use them if someone threatens your well-being:
- Wrist hold
- Front and back choke
- Bear hug
You can find explanations for each one in Self Defense Techniques: Be Responsible for Your Safety.
Note Safety Landmarks
Choose familiar running routes and areas that are also visible and populated. Ahead of time, or along the way, take time to identify locations in close proximity and that are easily accessible, should you need to veer off-course and reach out for help. Think: convenience stores, police stations, neighbor’s houses, and restaurants. Tell a staff member about what’s going on so they can help as needed, use the phone, or find a safe place to take cover.
Don’t Leave Home Without Protective Gear
Get into a habit of carrying mace (or pepper spray), specifically when running alone or at night. While this may sound extreme, pepper spray is one of the most effective self-defense products because it’s easy to use and gives you ample time to run away.
The best part: Many brands make running specific pepper spray that’s easy to carry. “Most pepper spray comes in a two-ounce size or smaller, which makes it ideal to have clipped to your running gear. There’s even specific ‘jogger pepper spray’ with a built-in sling that secures onto your hand,” explains Dave Artman, CEO of The Home Security Superstore.
Change Your Running Route Consistently
Would-be attackers look for victims who stick to predictable routines, so avoid running in the same location at the same time each day. If you can’t change your running time due to work or other scheduling conflicts, make a point to choose new routes near your home on a consistent basis. Runner’s Connect suggests rotating between clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
Striking a balance of preparedness without sacrificing your own independence will boost both your peace-of-mind and overall enjoyment on a run. Be smart. Be careful. And use basic self-defense moves or your pepper spray to fight back if necessary.
- Start a hobby that you’ve always wanted to learn. Whether it be a new fitness class, or something non-fitness related, starting a new hobby is proven to help increase your self-esteem.
- Laugh. Laughing speeds up your metabolism, and lifts your mood!
- Spend time with like-minded individuals. It's great to surround yourself with people who have common interests. This will make you feel supported in things that you're interested in.
- Remind yourself what you’re thankful for. It's sometimes easier to think of what is wrong in life instead of what you're grateful for. Remind yourself what makes you thankful every single day.
- Practice being grateful for your body. Your body can do amazing things, even if you’re not where you want to be when it comes to your fitness goals, be thankful for where you are and what your body can do.
- Let go of your inner perfectionist. Being too hard on yourself will get you nowhere. Work hard towards your goals, but if you accidentally take a step backwards it'll be okay.
- Make time for yourself. Treat yourself to some time doing what you love each and every week.
- Be kind to yourself. Along with being kind to others, be kind to yourself.
- Let go of judgement. Judging others, especially at the gym when they're working on themselves doesn't help anyone. Live a judgement-free life.
- Meditate. Relax, and focus on your breath.