Month: December 2021

Fitness Basics

Fitness basics

Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. After all, physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight, and even boost your self-esteem. And you can reap these benefits regardless of your age, sex or physical ability.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy adults include aerobic activity and strength training in their fitness plans, specifically:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity
  • Strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups at least twice a week

Regular exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But if you haven’t exercised for some time and you have health concerns, you may want to talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.

When you’re designing your personal fitness program, consider your fitness goals. Think about your fitness likes and dislikes, and note your personal barriers to fitness. Then consider practical strategies for keeping your fitness program on track.

Starting a fitness program is an important decision, but it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can make fitness a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.

Stretching and flexibility

Stretching is an important component of any exercise program. Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and tighten.

Stretching after you exercise helps optimize the range of motion about your joints and boosts circulation.

As a general rule, stretch your major muscle groups after you exercise. In some studies, stretching right before an athletic event has been shown to decrease athletic performance, especially before activities requiring ballistic movements, jumping or running.

Overall, however, stretching after exercise can help you to optimize your joint range of motion. If you don’t exercise regularly, you may want to stretch a few times a week after a brief warmup to maintain flexibility.

When you’re stretching, keep it gentle. Breathe freely as you hold each stretch for around 30 seconds. Try not to hold your breath. Don’t bounce or hold a painful stretch. Expect to feel tension while you’re stretching. If you feel pain, you’ve gone too far.

Moving in sport- or activity-specific motion planes in gradually progressive speed (dynamic stretching) may be a helpful complement to static stretching and may help improve athletic performance.

Aerobic exercise

Regular aerobic exercise can help you live longer and healthier. After all, aerobic exercise can reduce health risks, keep excess pounds at bay, strengthen your heart and boost your mood. It can also reduce your risk of death from all causes.

Healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity. That doesn’t have to be all at one time, though. For example, brisk walking for 30 minutes, five days a week meets the guidelines. Aerobic exercise can even be done in short blocks of time, such as several walk breaks spread throughout the day. Any activity is better than none at all.

Aim to reduce your time spent sitting, too. The more hours you sit each day, the higher your risk of dying of any cause, even if you achieve the recommended amount of daily physical activity.

Recent studies report significant health benefits from interval training, which means exercising at your near-maximal intensity for short periods. For example, you can sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds, and repeat this several times.

For many people, walking is a great choice for aerobic exercise. In fact, walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise. It’s safe, it’s simple, and all it takes to get started is a good pair of walking shoes and a commitment to include aerobic exercise in your daily routine.

Of course, there’s more to aerobic exercise than walking. Other popular choices include swimming, bicycling and jogging. Activities such as dancing and jumping rope count, too. Get creative.

Strength training

Strength training can help you tone your muscles and improve your appearance. With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase bone strength, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently.

Better yet, strength training doesn’t have to take as long as you might think. For most people, one set of strength exercises for all the major muscle groups performed to fatigue at the 12th to 15th repetition and performed at least two times a week is sufficient.

Strength training can be done at home or in the gym. Free weights and weight machines are popular strength training tools, but they’re not the only options.

You can do strength training with inexpensive resistance tubing or even your own body weight. With proper technique, you may enjoy noticeable improvements in your strength and stamina over time.

Sports nutrition

How much do you know about sports nutrition? What and when you eat can affect your performance and how you feel while you’re exercising. Brushing up on sports nutrition basics can help you make the most of your exercise routine.

Sports nutrition focuses on good eating habits all the time, but also may focus on carbohydrates. For example, athletes training for endurance events may eat more carbohydrates in their diets in the days before the event to boost their energy and performance. Protein for muscle repair and growth is another important aspect of sports nutrition.

Of course, sports nutrition goes beyond simply what you eat. When you eat is important, too. To maximize your workouts, coordinate your meals, snacks and drinks. Drink fluids such as water during and between meals.

Oct. 11, 2019


The March of Time

I remember when we brought each of our boys home from the hospital. We’d sit and stare at them, mesmerized, unable to look away. Watching them was better than anything on television. I could just stare at them for hours on end. They didn’t need to be doing anything. I was completely transfixed with their being-ness.

My intense observation didn’t stop when they were babies. It lasted for many, many years. I just loved watching our boys explore new foods, figure out a puzzle, play with toys and navigate new friends.

Then life got busy and they weren’t around as much. School or activities, lots of distractions. I just didn’t find myself focused on observing them so much anymore.

Until recently.

I’d just brought our younger son home after getting braces. He was sitting on the couch, in his usual position- phone in hand. And I caught myself. I just couldn’t stop looking at him. (Luckily he was oblivious because finding me staring at him may have freaked him out.) I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of him. And then the thought hit me like a sack of potatoes: I was witnessing him change right before my very eyes! 

It’s not that I hadn’t been noticing the changes along the way.

Yes, he was growing taller and filling out. But there was something about the ‘braces rite of passage thing’ that caught me off guard. He was never scrawny, but now his toned body seemed bigger and his face seemed more mature. I became aware of how the pitch of his voice was lowering. Suddenly he appeared (clearing my throat) more manly.

Beyond the physical changes, it was also hard not to notice the shift in his personality. He was articulating his thoughts and feelings in a much clearer and concise manner. He was louder, funnier, and much more sarcastic, but in a fun way.

I’ve heard that your life flashes before your eyes right before you die.

It’s strange, but I’ve been having so many moments of reflection, appearing like videos in my mind, of moments in my life. They appear in no particular order. The boys as babies, graduating with my Master’s degree, the boys as toddlers, getting married, performing on stage, being a gymnast, playing outside with friends as a young child. The list could go on and on.

Maybe this is happening now because so much around me is shifting. I’m keenly aware that not only are my boys growing and changing, but so are my parents, my husband, and….me. I’m changing. Several months ago someone said to me, “Sarah, you’ve changed.” Inside myself,  I experienced her remark as an accusation, that somehow I’d betrayed our relationship. But then I realized, we’re all supposed to change. Everyone. And I was lucky enough to have someone reflect the growth happening within myself back to me.

Sometimes change is dramatic and obvious- like witnessing our boys grow from babies to mini adults, getting their driver’s license, applying to college…(allow me a moment to shed a tear, please.) And some are more subtle. Like a change in the foods I enjoy or my taste in clothes. And we’re all constantly having to adapt and adjust to these changes happening. All. Of. The. Time. And of course that’s going to affect our relationships. Some will grow and change with us and some will sever. Some may do both, separating for a while and finding the way back into our lives later.

But as I deepen in my learning, I’m experiencing myself as much more authentic and attuned to my truth.

I’m also aware of when my stealthy little ego shows up as a way to separate me from that truth. So I keep check of the things that pop up and upset me. They’re markers, reminding me of places I may need to pay attention and course correct.

And instead of mourning the boys that I’ve had to say goodbye to, I’m choosing to focus on the ones right in front of me. It’s a glorious time, full of firsts for us all. And I’ve been given this wonderful gift, an extension of time. Time to sit and observe, appreciate, soak in and indulge in the magnificent life I’ve had up until now. Time to stop and witness the miracles happening right before my very eyes.

Today my younger son came out dressed in pants, a sweatshirt and his Vans sneakers. His hair was styled perfectly messy, the way he likes. I had to do a double-take. He looked so grown up. Just a blink of an eye ago, he was a couple inches shorter, but now his eye line meets mine. With no time to take a picture, I froze the moment and etched it into my mind. I took a deep breath, kissed him good bye, and watched him leave for school.

I’d worried about those moments in the past, fearful that I wouldn’t find my way through the sadness of losing the boys they used to be. Instead, I sat down, opened my computer and continued my writing project. And I took a moment to allow myself the joy I’m feeling for the changes I’m experiencing in my life.

What a gift to be able to witness our children grow AND have my own joy. I think I may finally be finding that balance that had eluded me for so long. A gift of time and change that I welcome with joy.

In loving,


Sarah Altman worked in the entertainment industry before becoming a career mom. With a curiosity in the human inner experience, Sarah earned a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology and her writing has evolved as a way to share her learnings. When she’s not busy with her mom duties, you can find Sarah nestled up, writing on her computer or indulging in a British period piece on television. Sarah lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys, who bring her love, joy and laughter every day. Her book, My Breast Life, One Woman’s Journey Through Cancer Blog by Blog, is available on Amazon.

Image courtesy of Kindel Media.

December Downshift: 4 Ways to Complete Your Year Feeling Clear

I have a question for you: “Would you like to start the new year feeling clear – mentally & emotionally? Like your physical space to feel clear and coherent? Like to be free of some of the relationship drama or distress in your personal or professional relationships?”

Imagine how you would feel if you had more space in the last few weeks of this year and the first few weeks of next year.

Are you exhaling yet?

Of course our answers to this possibility are YES! Starting the new year clear is not just a nice to have – it’s what any wise person would do.

But how do you ‘do’ that? Especially in the intense year(s) we’ve been through?

My council has been the same for a decade, and it’s even more essential in the times we are living in. The wisdom is clear:

You put into place simple but mighty practices that empower to you make choices that lead to you working and living and feeling in the f.l.o.w. (Focusing Lifeforce On What matters)

The practice is called a Power Pause. Power Pauses use the wisdom tool of ‘intuitive thinking inquiries’ that reveal insights you miss if you only operate from your mental mind vs your higher and heart mind.

What follows below are 4 inquiries I slow down to ask myself every December. Ask and answer these for yourself so you can end the year feeling good about what you’ve done, clear in mind and heart, ready to step into the new year reset.

  1. What do I desire to complete to set me up to step into 2022 replenished, reset and open to receive in my:
    Professional life: projects and goals
    Personal foundation: health, finances and home
  2. What would I love to let go, release or clean up before year end? These are emotional judgements or baggage, relational realities or mental patterns that are calling for attention to bring into coherency or leave behind.
  3. What connections do I desire to make (new ones or reconnecting to old ones) now, and will reach out to before we complete 2021?
  4. What would feel good and aligned to re-flow– move this into next year, and by doing so release self-induced pressure? Knowing that I can re-engage with this in the new year.

It helps a lot to write these out and then take simple but mighty action. Share with a friend for extra accountability.

For an extra resource, tune into episode 171 POWER PAUSE: Inquiries that Will Support You to Complete the Year Feeling Clear on my podcast, Feminine Power Time. And then join me for the annual year end Reflection Ritual

Christine Arylo, MBA, is the author of Overwhelmed and Over It. As a transformational leadership advisor, three-time bestselling author, and host of the popular Feminine Power Time podcast, she is recognized worldwide for her work helping women to make shift happen — in the lives they lead, the work they do, and the world they wish to create. Arylo offers trainings, retreats and workshops globally. Visit her online at or tune into her podcast Connect more with Christine and her community at

Image courtesy of Ryanniel Masucol.