FITDIVER® Blogging Above and Below http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog FITDIVER® Blogging Above and Below en Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:27:34 GMT Sun, 21 Dec 2014 12:08:06 GMT 60 Scuba Fitness Featured Exercise: Strong Abs for Scuba Diving http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/scuba-fitness-featured-exercise-strong-abs-for <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="410" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_24c9593d1f2b46f1b2fc083a85798618.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 410px;" /></div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <em><strong>All scuba divers have “wash board abs” - some just have a</strong></em></div> <div style="text-align: center;"> <em><strong>load or two of laundry resting on top.</strong></em></div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Whether they are visible or not, abdominal muscles are essential in supporting the back and stabilizing the body through complex movements associated with scuba diving. Without question a balanced abdominal strengthening program is an important component of scuba fitness and should be developed in conjunction with back strengthening and flexibility early in an exercise program. The challenge is finding the best method for individual divers to strengthen the abdominal muscles without creating or aggravating certain back conditions. While the basic crunch is considered the most effective abdominal exercise, it is not necessarily an option for divers with upper back, neck and shoulder conditions or weakness. Divers with bulging discs and/or low back complications may also find ball exercises difficult or contraindicated to their condition. Contrary to popular belief, it is never appropriate to place an unstable torso on an unstable apparatus. Numerous studies demonstrate, with the exception of the Oblique Abdominal Muscles, all muscles of the abdominal walls are engaged at a greater intensity performing exercises on benches or solid surfaces rather than an on exercise balls. Maladies of the back include misalignment from accident or injury, skeletal deviations such as scoliosis, degeneration and disease such as arthritis, and pain from tight hamstrings, lack of physical activity, and/or muscle imbalances. With a few modifications to the basic crunch and a variety of efficient abdominal exercises that also strengthen the back, divers can protect and work around maladies of the spine improving the overall condition of the back while safely advancing abdominal training to a more intense level.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Remember, strengthening the abdominal muscles and reducing body fat around the torso are distinctly different types of training. Aerobic exercise is the key to leaning out the waistline while resistance training strengthens the abdominal muscles.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Performing the basic crunch in this fashion reduces recruitment of the hip flexors and allows more focus on the anterior abdominals. Begin with a natural position of the spine. If needed a small folded towel or pad may be placed under the low back for added support. Contract the abdominals (pull the belly button toward the spine), place hands behind the head for gentle support, lift the chin upward and inhale deeply through the nose. Exhale while continuing to pull the belly button toward the spine and lifting the upper body as shown until the curve of the low back flattens against the floor or pad. Increasing the lift of the upper body any further would involve enough other muscles to become less efficient and increase risk of injury. Inhale while maintaining the abdominal contraction and lowering the upper body to the starting position and repeat.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Modification: Divers with precluding conditions of the upper spine, neck and shoulders may perform the abdominal contraction portion of this exercise for repetitions without raising the upper body and with a pad under the neck.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For a complete torso strengthening workout for scuba diving purchase FitDiver&reg; Abs Mobile App at <strong><a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.phroggerinteractive.fitdiver.getscubastrong">Google Play</a></strong> and <strong><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fitdiver-abs/id894362867?mt=8">App Store on iTunes</a></strong>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> For more information about fitness for scuba divers and the ScubaFit&reg; Diver Course visit <strong> <a href="http://www.scubafit.com">www.scubafit.com</a></strong>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Follow <strong><a href="https://www.facebook.com/ScubaFit?ref=hl">ScubaFit&reg; on Facebook</a></strong>.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:12:26 GMT a00f6dcb-8dbf-40b7-8ac4-2bb4bdb0da79 Sweet Potato stuffed Portobello Mushrooms http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/sweet-potato-stuffed-portobello-mushrooms <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px;"> <img original-height="453" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_d16418695118465e8d876fd6747de3b4.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 453px;" /></div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%"> <p> Sweet Potato stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are a delicious meal for scuba divers focused on eating healthy this holiday season. As the main course or a side dish all divers will enjoy the earthy fall flavors and aromas. Vegetarian divers rely on the portobello mushroom as a meat substitute. The mushroom has small amounts of macronutrients; is naturally low in calories, fat, and sugar, with nearly equal amounts of protein and carbohydrates, and a good amount of potassium. The portobello mushroom has a neutral mild flavor that is a blank canvas for seasonings that satisfy a wide range of taste preferences. This version of stuffed portobello mushrooms is prepared on a cedar plank to add smokiness.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Sweet potatoes have less calories than yams and are a good source of potassium and vitamin A. &nbsp;One cup is about 120 calories, with zero fat, six grams of sugar, 27 carbohydrates, four grams of fiber, and more than two grams of protein. The serving portion of sweet potato in this recipe in a large portobello mushroom cap is about one-half cup.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em><strong>Sweet potato stuffed portobello mushrooms make a great warm and </strong></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em><strong>hearty meal before or after scuba diving.</strong></em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Ingredients:</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 3 large portobello mushrooms for main course or six medium for side dish.</p> <p> 2 medium to large sweet potatoes.</p> <p> 1 medium Italian squash.</p> <p> 1 onion - optional.</p> <p> 3 Medjool dates.</p> <p> 1/2 cup &nbsp;of roasted and salted Pepitas.</p> <p> 1 teaspoon of each: Garlic (fresh, powder or juice), sage, cinnamon, salt and pepper</p> <p> 1/2 cup olive oil.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Preparations:</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Preheat the grill or oven to 375 degrees. The oven may already be hot from baking the sweet potatoes. (see below). If using a plank, soak in water for 20 to 60 minutes. Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes then peel and mash ahead of time. This is also great way to use up left overs. To keep calories, sugar and fat low, butter and brown sugar are not added to the sweet potatoes for this recipe. Grate the uncooked Italian squash into thin strips. If adding the optional onion, grate it into thin strips and mix with squash. Wash and remove the stem from the mushrooms then gently pat dry. Mix olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and all of the salt, pepper, sage and garlic for basting the mushroom. Remove the pits from the dates and dice into small pieces.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Stuff the Mushroom:</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Place the mushroom caps on a cedar plank or nonstick tray. Brush them with the seasoned olive oil. Place a layer of grated Italian squash (and optional onion) in the mushroom cap. Add several tablespoons of mashed sweet potatoes forming a mound rising from the mushroom cap. &nbsp;Sprinkle the stuffed mushroom and filling with dry cinnamon and chopped dates. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Grill or Bake:</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Grill or bake large mushroom caps at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. &nbsp;Smaller caps will take less time. Baste the mushroom cap with the seasoned olive oil about half way through the grilling or baking time. When juice begins to run from the bottom of the mushrooms cooking is usually complete. &nbsp;Removing the mushrooms now keeps them from getting soggy or soft. &nbsp;If you wish, the broiler may be used for a couple minutes to brown the tops. &nbsp;The dates are delicious when a bit crispy.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Serve:</strong></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Place the cooked sweet potato stuffed portobello mushrooms on a serving tray and sprinkle the tops with the roasted and salted Pepitas.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Enjoy!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For more fitness for diving information and healthy eating recipes for scuba divers visit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scubafit.com/blog/"><strong>ScubaFit</strong></a>.</p> <p> Follow ScubaFit on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/ScubaFit"><strong>Facebook</strong></a>.</p> <p> Subscribe to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.joomag.com/en/newsstand/fitdiver-magazine-october-2014/0120853001409840819"><strong>FitDiver Magazine</strong></a>.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 20:31:00 GMT 02a6b94f-3fe2-4547-9e0a-240c22214708 Sand Beneath My Feet http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/sand-beneath-my-feet <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <a href="http://www.scubafit.com" target="_blank"><img original-height="410" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_bad18877e64b42a3bdb0611895d15c59.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 410px;" /></a></div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%"> <p> <em>Photo credit: istockphoto.com/<a href="http://www.istockphoto.com/profile/kokouu" id="username-after-avatar" itemprop="author copyrightHolder" style="font-family: 'iStock Maquette', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17.6000003814697px; text-rendering: auto; margin: 0px 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; cursor: pointer; color: rgb(2, 147, 122); text-decoration: none; background: transparent;">kokouu&nbsp;</a></em></p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> During my years as a competitive power lifter I utilized cross training to enhance my performance.&nbsp; Each summer I selected a completely different activity from my usual training to stimulate mind, body and spirit. One of my most memorable experiences was the season when I took instruction in Goju Ryu, an Okinawan style of Karate.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Goju Ryu is a close contact encounter with hard and soft techniques. Although Goju Ryu includes kicks, takedowns and throws, most of my training was centered on grappling, circular hand motions, breathing and concentration.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> My favorite workouts were at the beach practicing Katas. Katas are prearranged sequenced movements for exercise and training used widely among the martial arts. Other exercises included the low and very wide stance generally referred to as a &quot;sumo stance&quot; which was incredibly effective leg training for the big lifts of the squat and dead lift. My Sensei seemed to float across the sand and my task was to simply stay face-to-face with him while in this sumo stance position.&nbsp; At the time it seemed impossible but I did my best and experienced improvement.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> The breathing technique was amazing! Beginning with an inhale through the nose I was told to imagine the air flowing down into my abdomen curling around in a constant flow.&nbsp; The inhale, and the exhale which was a reversal of the process, was practiced with a goal of lasting as long as possible and timed with specific body movements.&nbsp; I continue to practice and benefit from this breathing technique, especially for exercise and scuba diving.&nbsp; My Sensei also taught me to listen to the breathing of others; valuable awareness when presented with an opponent, but for me especially helpful when training fitness clients.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> While walking at the beach I sometimes stop and try to perform the Sanchin Kata as I did that Summer; standing in knee-deep surf, focusing on the horizon, with the sand gradually washing away beneath my feet. Arigato Goju Master.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: 48px; font-weight: lighter; line-height: 72px; white-space: pre-wrap; color: rgb(33, 33, 33); background-color: transparent;">ありがとう </span></p> <div class="tw-compact-ta-container tw-lfl" id="tw-target-text-container" style="position: relative; padding-top: 20px; color: rgb(33, 33, 33); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0px; line-height: 0px;"> <pre class="tw-data-text vk_txt tw-ta tw-text-large" style="border: none; padding: 0px 0.14em 0px 0px; position: absolute; margin-top: 0px; resize: none; font-family: inherit; overflow: hidden; text-align: initial; width: 237.5px; white-space: pre-wrap; word-wrap: break-word; visibility: hidden; font-weight: lighter !important; font-size: 48px !important; margin-bottom: -10px !important; line-height: 72px !important; background-color: transparent;"></pre> </div> <p> <span style="color: rgb(37, 37, 37); font-family: sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22.3999996185303px;">&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:15:47 GMT 63824e15-0b3d-4393-bfc6-92c9cf4bc00a Chicken Soup for the FitDiver's Soul http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/chicken-soup-for-the-fitdivers-soul <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="462" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_ba49cef503ed43e881c74f5752cc961c.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 462px;" /></div> <p> This recipe can be made with almost any ingredients you enjoy eating, but I recommend sticking with a healthy version with lots of vegetables. &nbsp;Use a large pot and freeze portions for later use.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> 1 Whole Organic Chicken</p> <p> 3 Organic Zucchini Squash</p> <p> 3 Organic Yellow Crook Neck Squash</p> <p> 2 Cups of Organic Baby Carrots</p> <p> 1 Head of Organic Napa Cabbage</p> <p> 1 Can of White Beans</p> <p> ! Can of Garbanzo Beans</p> <p> 1 Can of Butter Beans</p> <p> 1 Can of Diced Green Chilies</p> <p> 1 Bunch of Organic Cilantro</p> <p> 1 Diced Organic Onion</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Begin by roasting the chicken in the oven for one hour at 425 degrees. &nbsp;Use a chicken stand that allows most of the fat dripping from the skin to drain into the bottom. Discard these drippings to reduce the fat in the soup. After roasting the chicken, place it in a soup pot and cover it with water. &nbsp;Add diced onion, cilantro, diced green chilies and season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Cook the chicken until the meat falls off the bones. &nbsp;Remove chicken from water, discard the bones and skin, chop the meat and return it to the broth in the soup pot. &nbsp;Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Chop and add the vegetables. &nbsp;Simmer for about one hour. &nbsp;Enjoy!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> As an option, brown rice is a nice alternative for the beans.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> Sun, 23 Feb 2014 00:42:52 GMT 420b8d7e-2fdc-4a9c-be21-49e2a82168c9 Winter Warm Up for Scuba Divers http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/winter-warm-up-for-scuba-divers <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="282" original-width="425" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_b174aa28da214879b416baa177904114.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 425px; height: 282px;" /></div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>It is bracing cold outside and time for a zero dark thirty workout.&nbsp; Like most mornings my training buddy and I are the first to arrive. We converge at the fitness center entrance without words, grab a half cup of black coffee from the courtesy table and bolt for the sauna.&nbsp; Still bundled up in coats, hats and gloves we defrost for a few minutes on the inside and outside before peeling off layers and making our way to the gym floor.&nbsp; Although we are now acclimated to moderate indoor temperatures, the sauna is an unconventional first stop, not recommended for everyone, and definitely not a complete warm up.&nbsp; We move on to the treadmills where this winter warm up for divers begins with aerobic exercise focusing on the areas of the body to be trained.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> All warm ups should begin low and slow gradually working up to increases in breathing and heart rate over a period of 10 to 15 minutes.&nbsp; The easiest way to accomplish this is to walk beginning at a pace of 1.5 miles per hour and increasing to 3.0 miles per hour.&nbsp; Warming up prepares the body (including the heart, blood vessels, lungs and muscles) for the more intense exercise of the workout session, helps to prevent injury during exercise, and reduce soreness that some divers may experience after exercise.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> More specifically, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, moving the body through a gradual progression utilizing large muscles increases blood flow to muscles, increases the speed of nerve impulses, enhances the flow of oxygen to muscles and removal of waste products.&nbsp; This preparation of the body enhances performance during the workout. Also during this warm up synovial fluid (an oily substance in the joints) changes in response to exercise lubricating the joints. Divers with respiratory conditions or allergies may find a longer warm up helps prevent exercise induced asthma.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Divers who participate in group exercise may be accustomed to warm ups consisting of a low intensity sampling of the same movements that will be performed during the class. During strength training workouts, even after a pre-workout warm up, it is recommended that the first set of each exercise be performed with less weight before performing working sets at higher intensity.&nbsp; Stretching by itself is not a warm up, but may be performed afterward.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> A cool down period of gradually decreasing exercise is just as important as the warm up.&nbsp; Again, aerobic exercise at a low intensity works well.&nbsp; This is also a great time to stretch, mediate and then perhaps enjoy a short sauna. Remember to bundle up if it is cold outside.&nbsp; Leaving the gym sweaty makes the body work harder to maintain its normal temperature.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Exercising Outdoors in Cold Temperatures.&nbsp;</strong>It is even more important to warm up before exercising outdoors in cold temperatures. Begin with a walk or gentle calisthenics before running, cross country skiing or other winter sports activities.&nbsp; <em>Never</em> stretch when the body is cold. Divers who enjoy snowboarding and downhill skiing may have the option of warming up in a resort fitness facility before hitting the slopes. Stay as warm as possible without overheating before, during and after these activities.&nbsp; Stay well hydrated before, during and after exercise and recreational activities in cold weather. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Dress in layers with a quick dry base close to the body.&nbsp; Protect hands, head, feet and face from the extreme temperatures.&nbsp; Exercising in cold temperatures may not be recommended for divers with heart and respiratory conditions.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong><em>Remember diving is not a workout.</em>&nbsp; </strong>Ice diving (as shown in this cool photograph) requires special protection from the elements and unique safety protocols.&nbsp;&nbsp; It is highly recommended that divers who enjoy diving in extreme environments achieve and maintain a high level of physical fitness.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>Calories Burned in Cold Temperatures.&nbsp;</strong>The body utilizes slightly more energy to regulate normal body temperature in cold environments such as diving in cold water.&nbsp; However the additional calories from temperature are negligible. Exercise exertion, which <em>during diving is to be avoided as much as possible,</em> is what produces higher calorie burn.&nbsp; Generically speaking, a diver utilizes approximately 300 calories during a typical dive – about the same as going for a moderate to fast walk for an hour.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 20:13:24 GMT 5b13e62a-645c-4a30-9659-5e697ee87ee8 Is blowing raspberries good for scuba divers? http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/is-blowing-raspberries-good-for-scuba-divers <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="411" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_326c7ebdddad466bb2e9bdf942dd468a.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 411px;" /></div> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 1.5rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 16.363636016845703px; line-height: 1.625rem; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"> Blowing raspberries is very different than blowing bubbles while scuba diving&nbsp;but can still be a lot of fun. Most of us probably don't remember the first time we blew a raspberry as part of discovering our mouth at the age of just four to five months old. We most often blow raspberries to make others laugh because of the sound and the tickling sensation. It is usually an intimate gesture as it involves using the lips and tongue on another person's belly to make a &quot;pbbbt&quot; sound. Although it originated in cockney slang, blowing a raspberry is widely and cross-culturally understood and practiced.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 1.5rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 16.363636016845703px; line-height: 1.625rem; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"> <span style="color: rgb(102, 102, 102);">Similar breathing techniques are practiced during childbirth, by woodwind and brass musicians, yoga enthusiasts, and to help relieve shortness of breath. It is sometimes referred to as circular breathing. It requires breathing in through the nose and controlling the breath that is stored in the cheeks as it passes through pursed lips. In fact, this technique is used when playing the Digeridoo</span><font color="#666666">&nbsp;which might come in handy for divers visiting Australia.</font><font color="#666666">&nbsp;Blowing raspberries is often used to warm up for vocal performances such as singing and public speaking.</font></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 1.5rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 16.363636016845703px; line-height: 1.625rem; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"> During SCUBA activities when divers are mouth breathing, circular breathing by inhaling through the nose is not possible and blowing raspberries into a regulator isn't necessary. However, on dry land the technique may be one more way divers can develop breath control for relaxation underwater and optimizing use of air while diving.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 1.5rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 16.363636016845703px; line-height: 1.625rem; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"> The term blowing raspberries also references a raspberry tart and a sound of derision. But there is nothing condescending about the raspberry. It is an excellent source of good nutrition. Although a leaner belly may diminish the sound of blowing raspberries, eating raspberries may help divers maintain a trim waistline. One cup of raspberries has only 65 calories, 5 grams of sugar, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of protein, 0.8 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, 186 grams of potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, Iron and Vitamin C. Nutritional properties of raspberries are also thought to help prevent cardiovascular diseases and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.</p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 1.5rem; padding: 0px; font-size: 16.363636016845703px; line-height: 1.625rem; color: rgb(102, 102, 102); font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;"> Divers can stay healthy and have fun eating and blowing raspberries.</p> Thu, 30 Jan 2014 23:18:13 GMT 442ded91-555c-4233-a7dd-38760c78325a 10-Minute Sand Dollar http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/10-minute-sand-dollar <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="506" original-width="617" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_cc51510de9c749999950e42336fb9a7b.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 617px; height: 506px;" /></div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%"> <p> <em>Tiny sand dollar found during my beach walk.</em></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </div> <p> Years ago, during one of my open water certification dives in La Jolla, California, I remember seeing my first field of sand dollars.&nbsp; Hundreds of dives later, I still enjoy seeing them underwater or on the beach.&nbsp; I affectionately call them glory dollars and think of them as gifts from the sea.&nbsp; Imagine my surprise when during a recent beach walk I found this tiny sand dollar.&nbsp; Amazing!</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> On this particular day I did not have time for my usual long beach walk. &nbsp;This tiny sand dollar reminded me that every little bit counts.&nbsp; Studies show that exercise bouts of just 10 minutes in duration are beneficial for overall health and reducing the risk of illness and disease. Ideal short-term exercise sessions for example include walking a mile in 12 to 20-minutes. For weight loss, longer exercise sessions at slightly higher intensity are recommended.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Even if divers cannot get outdoors for a walk, opportunities to increase physical activity can be incorporated into a daily routine by taking the stairs instead of an elevator or parking as far from entrances as possible.&nbsp; One of my fitness clients has just started to ride his bike to work.&nbsp; It is only 15-minutes each way, but this increases his physical activity by 30-minutes five days a week in addition to our training sessions together.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> And there is even better news.&nbsp; The more divers exercise the greater the benefits.&nbsp; Health is no small matter, exercise is the great equalizer and the results are Amazing!&nbsp;</p> Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:16:33 GMT cb0084cb-42a7-41aa-9678-8c2a2ed81733 Fitness Tips for Staying On Track During the Holidays http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/fitness-tips-for-staying-on-track-during <blockquote style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: medium;"> <p> <em><strong>It can sometimes be challenging to stick to a fitness and nutrition program, but it is not impossible.&nbsp;&nbsp; Getting on track NOW helps prevent the ‘anything goes damage’ of the holidays and keeps you in your fitness lifestyle well in advance of the short-lived resolutions of the New Year.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</strong></em></p> <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="282" original-width="425" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_127ca717ada544f3bd85b5893680c36a.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 425px; height: 282px;" /> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> •&nbsp;<strong>Start Fresh Daily:&nbsp;</strong>Recommit to your exercise and nutrition plan daily by reviewing your goals. Focusing on fitness and nutrition one-day-at-a time works especially well during the holidays when your schedule is invaded with shopping, decorating and parties, and you are exposed to holiday meals above and beyond your usual nutrition plan.&nbsp; Exercise every day, even if it is a short session.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Eat in Increments:</strong>&nbsp; Schedule small meals every three hours in proportion to your activity level.&nbsp; If you are sitting at as desk for the next three hours you will obviously burn fewer calories and require less nutrition to fuel the activity than if you are lifting weights or going for a walk.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Plan for Parties:</strong>&nbsp; On party days, low-calorie meal replacement shakes are a great option allowing you to reserve a few extra calories for the special event.&nbsp; This doesn’t mean when you arrive at the party you can eat with abandon or bust-a-gut on unhealthy foods. However, your overall daily consumption of calories will hopefully be reduced from what you might have consumed with full meals throughout the day.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Enjoy Foods in Sequence:&nbsp;</strong>&nbsp;Eat a protein food first before eating carbohydrates.&nbsp;&nbsp; Protein is a low-glycemic food source that gives carbs a place to land and allows the body to digest food slowly helping to prevent many of the metabolic processes that lead to stored fat.&nbsp; Proteins usually contain some amount of fat, which is also more satisfying so you may be likely to eat less.&nbsp; For example, if the party begins with cocktails, be sure to have a protein-based hors d’oeuvre with the first sip.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Look Ahead:</strong>&nbsp;Setting short-term goals now creates success for long-term goals after the holidays. As soon as the clock strikes the New Year, your target goals transition from daily to weekly.&nbsp; Reward yourself each time you reach a weekly goal. Be specific about your goals and set a date for completion.</p> <p> <br /> •<strong>&nbsp;Make Time:</strong>&nbsp;Allow ample time in your schedule for your workouts – don’t intentionally get too busy.&nbsp; If you need to, make an appointment with yourself to exercise.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Plan and Prepare Meals:</strong>&nbsp;Make healthy entrees in advance to take with you for lunch and for easy dinners at the end of the day. Freeze the entrees if you need to.&nbsp; Most food items will last for up to 30 days in the freezer.&nbsp; It takes about two-to-four hours to prepare two-to-four weeks of meals.&nbsp;</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Setup Social Support:</strong>&nbsp;Find a friend or family member to partner with you in your fitness program.&nbsp; Join a group exercise class and/or participate in a pre-planned meal and support program.&nbsp;</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Track Progress:</strong>&nbsp; Don’t weigh on the scale every day, but instead select the same day each week to check your body weight.&nbsp; On the same day each month also measure body composition and take measurements.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Perform Your Best:</strong>&nbsp; Walk, run or bike ride further and faster.&nbsp; Use training progressions to work toward lifting more weight than when you first started exercising.</p> <p> <br /> •&nbsp;<strong>Keep a Journal:</strong>&nbsp;Track your goals, workouts, meals, measurements and results in a daily journal.&nbsp; It is a great feeling to go back and review the progress you’ve made.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: medium;"> Read more by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scubafit.com/about-scubafit/#AboutGretchen">Gretchen M. Ashton</a>:&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.scubafit.com/news/#Newsletters">Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Divers</a></strong><br /> <a href="http://www.scubafit.com">www.scubafit.com</a><br /> <a href="http://www.fit-diver.com">www.fit-diver.com</a></p> Tue, 26 Nov 2013 16:31:15 GMT 0676b54f-3e52-4ad2-9cf7-e07ce193b86d Fitness Confidentiality for Divers http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/fitness-confidentiality-for-divers <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="346" original-width="347" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_40c82072700547d6905c7b8b410689df.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 347px; height: 346px;" /></div> <div content-type="media" style="width: 100%; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</div> <div content-type="media-description" style="width:100%"> <p> It is always a pleasure to present at dive shows and dive centers. &nbsp;I usually open my presentations with an invitation to divers to ask questions. &nbsp;This helps me get to know individual divers and provide meaningful information. &nbsp;To get the conversation started I often remind divers that we are all in this together. Diving is one of my personal motivations for maintaining and improving health and fitness.&nbsp;</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> <em>Although we are all in this together, this doesn't mean that divers want everybody to know every detail of their personal health.</em> Beyond their personal physician who can divers trust with questions about health and physical fitness for diving? &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> I receive calls and emails from divers around the world asking fitness, nutrition and related health questions. My policy of <em><strong>confidentiality</strong></em>&nbsp;allows divers to gain trusted information on many topics. &nbsp;I offer advice within my scope of professional expertise for all ages relating to more than 30 medical conditions including fitness therapy, nutrition, sports performance, general fitness and fitness for diving, surfing, paddling and golf. My one-on-one training portfolio includes over 50,000 hours of private and small group training.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Confidential consultations are fee-based in 30, 60 and 90-minute increments. Complete fitness and nutrition programs include health and fitness assessments, nutrition recommendations and individualized workouts with exercise illustrations for independent programming. &nbsp;Private personal training sessions range from 30 minutes to 75 minutes. &nbsp;Divers may contact me directly by telephone at (760) 271-6069 or by email at gretchen@scubafit.com.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> In confidence,</p> <p> Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> For more information about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.scubafit.com/about-scubafit/#AboutGretchen">ScubaFit</a>.</p> <p> Find us on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/ScubaFit">Facebook&nbsp;</a>.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 21:30:49 GMT cf9ddd7b-f1a4-4422-a7bb-3c69eec99787 Aerobic Exercise Improves Mental Performance for Divers http://www.fit-diver.com/apps/blog/aerobic-exercise-and-improved-mental-performance-for <div content-type="media" style="width:100%;margin-top:10px;margin-bottom:10px"> <img original-height="282" original-width="425" src="http://static.wix.com/media/30de11_a809ffd6035e47088bc98d8460d67894.jpg" style="display: inline; border: 0px; width: 425px; height: 282px;" /></div> <p> The &quot;runner's high,&quot; a &quot;feel better&quot; sensation often experienced by long-distance runners, is generally attributed to high levels of endorphins in the the brain. &nbsp;Researchers have known for some time that exercise increases endorphin production. In addition to improving the efficiency of&nbsp;the&nbsp;heart, lungs and vascular system, aerobic training can actually produce an anti-depressant type of effect including&nbsp;improvements in emotional and intellectual health.&nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Aerobic exercise improves mood stability often allowing those under a doctor's care to reduce anti-depressant and anxiety medications. &nbsp;Improvements in self-esteem, increased confidence, and a more positive outlook for the future are also benefits of the effects of physical activity on brain chemistry.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Studies indicate that aerobic exercise improves mental acuity resulting in better concentration, enhanced ability to direct thoughts, and improved memory, all important mental performance activities for divers. Further neurophysicological advantages include a reduction in the symptoms of diseases such as Parkinson's, improved sleep patterns, and diminishing the craving responses during smoking cessation.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Cardiorespiratory fitness is essential for scuba diving. &nbsp;Incorporating aerobic exercise in the diver's daily routine is definitely not a &quot;no-brainer&quot; but it isn't difficult to achieve. &nbsp;The results of the above-mentioned studies were accomplished in only five weeks with 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three times a week. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, jogging, running, swimming, rowing, cycling, jumping rope, aerobics classes, and dancing. &nbsp;Fitness centers and home gyms provide equipment such as treadmills, stairclimbers, ellipiticals and exercise bikes. Aerobic exercise may also be performed outdoors almost anywhere and can be a family activity, social time for moms while children are at school, or tranquil time alone. &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> Sat, 09 Nov 2013 00:53:13 GMT 9cbfcf50-3d0b-40be-a9fe-e5d27cdae5b6