The Sarah Fit Show – Fitness: Ski Season Lower Body Exercises

October 31, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Get in shape this ski season with Sarah! These lower body exercises are perfect to prepare for skiing and snowboarding this winter. The Sarah Fit Show features videos of Sarah Dussault and includes her tips on healthy living. Topics range from an easy ab workout in the gym to which foods are healthier than others. In these videos Sarah explains, and shows, easy ways to stay fit, thin, and healthy. New episodes every Monday on the Click Fitness Network. Sarah’s Channel Sarah’s Website: Sarah’s Twitter Eat like me. Try my diet plan – Sarah’s iPhone App: Facebook: Click Fitness Channel:

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

The Sarah Fit Show – Fitness: Ski Season Lower Body Exercises

October 31, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Get in shape this ski season with Sarah! These lower body exercises are perfect to prepare for skiing and snowboarding this winter. The Sarah Fit Show features videos of Sarah Dussault and includes her tips on healthy living. Topics range from an easy ab workout in the gym to which foods are healthier than others. In these videos Sarah explains, and shows, easy ways to stay fit, thin, and healthy. New episodes every Monday on the Click Fitness Network. Sarah’s Channel Sarah’s Website: Sarah’s Twitter Eat like me. Try my diet plan – Sarah’s iPhone App: Facebook: Click Fitness Channel:

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

5 Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

September 11, 2011 by  
Filed under VIDEO

I just found this health related video on YouTube … and thought you might enjoy it! Follow me on twitter! LETS BE FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK ADD ME ON GOOGLE + Follow Me on TUMBLR!

Tell us what you think about this video in the comments below, or in the Battling For Health Community Forum!

Dressing for the winter outdoors

February 23, 2011 by  

We are in the mountains once again to enjoy the snow, the sun and the fresh air. Every year, European families spend at least a week in some winter get away to do winter sports and enjoy nature. I moved in Europe almost 20 years ago but I never went on winter holidays until I had a family of my own. In many parts of North America, winter holidays are kind of a luxury despite the many beautiful ski resorts in the US and Canada. Here is Switzerland, almost everybody does it. You can go to the high-end resorts like St. Moritz or Gstaadt or you can go to simpler, down-to-earth places. You can get there by helicopter, by car or by train or by bus, depending on your budget. You can check-in in a five-star hotel or rent a 1-room apartment. Or you can commute up every morning and come down again every evening. In other words, winter sports and holidays are for everyone, not only the well-off. It is part of the culture of this country to be active, summer or winter.

So here we are, a family of 4 squeezed in a 4-bed hotel room without TV or phone. But the ski lift is just a stone’s throw away and we get free entry to the local indoor pool. The local bus is for free and the apfel strudel is just scrumptious! The kids can ski the whole day and I can go snow shoe walking. What more can I ask?

When I first ventured out into the winter cold, I did not know a thing about winter gear and how to protect myself from the elements. Nowadays I know better how to dress myself and my little boys. Here are the recommendations from the American Heart Association Start! Walking This Winter brochure:

Layer your clothing. Layering provides the best insulation for a workout.

Cover your head, hands and feet. You can lose a lot of body heat if your head is exposed.

Cover your head and ears or use a face mask to protect yourself from cold and wind. Your hands and feet are the farthest points from your heart and are the least insulated. Gloves or mittens and wool socks insulate and wick moisture away.

In addition, sturdy walking shoes are of utmost importance:

These recommendations, by the way, are not only for the mountains in winter time. It applies for winter outdoors in general.

Have a safe and healthy winter

January 4, 2011 by  

January is Cold Weather Safety Month in the US.

Down here in NZ where I am now with my family, it’s actually summer time though it’s been rainy and wet in the west coast of New Zealand, Still, it’s warm rain. On the other hand, an area in Australia the size of France and Germany combined is flooded over.

But we know that it’s freezing up north and many parts of Europe are actually snowed in. So yes, even though I am joining the rather mild temperatures here in Christchurch, I had to bring you this post on winter safety.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives us the following tip for this winter day:

Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other strenuous work in the cold. If you have to do heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly and work slowly.

In addition, the CDC also gives recommendations about avoiding frostbite and hypothermia, preparing for and managing during and after snowstorms and power outages, among others. Check out all these recommendations to help you have a safe and healthy winter!

Being active this winter Part II: There’s more you can do!

December 21, 2010 by  

Hibernating in the winter time is natural. Animals do that all the time. I can understand why we tend to be very slow come winter, why our bed seems to be the coziest place in the world. The bears and the groundhogs would definitely understand. However, there is a big difference between hibernating animals and hibernating humans. The animals don’t eat much during their winter sleep. We do. Lots. The animals put on weight before the cold season in order to have enough reserve fat to last the winter. We put on lots of weight during the winter time, especially during the holiday season. And whatever fat we accumulate lasts for a long, long time. Thus, it is only right to say that we are doing it the wrong.

Today I am bringing you some more tips on how to stay active in the winter time. Okay, so maybe not as active as we are during the warm months. But we can still aim for that 30-minute physical exercise target without going to the gym. These tips from MD Anderson Cancer Center are quite simple and practical. Anybody can do it!


Hosting guests? 

Going to or having a party?


Use these tips to get your heart pumping on the road:

Surrounded by family?

You’re not the only one who needs exercise! Help your entire family exercise by teaming up to:

None of these work for you?

If you can’t work exercise into your holiday activities, try these tips:

Remember, some things can wait until after the holidays, but your health isn’t one of them.

Being active this winter Part I: No freeze mode for your health

December 20, 2010 by  

This weather can turn even the most active among us into couch potatoes. Combine that with lots of holiday partying and by the end of winter, we are a few kilos more. I must confess, I, too have problems to drag myself outside and do my jogging run. Today’s weather is especially miserable: gray and wet, with dirty slushy snow all over the place. However, knowing now that health problems spike up during the winter time, especially during the holiday season, all the better reason for us not to put our health on freeze mode. I know that not all of us would dare to go running in the winter time but there are alternatives. Here are a few tips to get out and be active this holiday season:

Go visit the Christmas markets

Christmas markets are a very popular tradition in Europe. Little stalls selling Christmas crafts and goodies are usually set up in the middle of the town square. Enjoying the holiday atmosphere is a great incentive to get out of bed. Unfortunately, it can be very cold outside. Luckily, some great Christmas markets are housed indoors. In Zurich, most of the stalls are found inside the great hall at the main train station. The main attraction is a huge Christmas tree decorated from top to bottom with Swarovski crystals. Definitely worth the effort of getting out of the house.

Go ice skating and skiing

My kids love ice skating. Most skating rinks in Switzerland are outdoors. This is a great way to move and have some fun and fresh air. In the weekends, we venture further up to the skiing areas which could easily be reached by public transport.  I must confess that I can’t skate not ski. While my husband and the kids ski, I walk. Snow-walking is lovely. Give it a try!

Walking in the mall

Okay, so you can’t ski not skate and Christmas markets are closed down after Christmas. What about the rest of the winter season. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests doing some mall walking. Honestly, I am not the mall-walking type but this is a great alternative for those who can’t stand the cold. The best time to walk is early mornings before the shops open. This way, you’d be walking in a not-so-crowded mall, do window shopping without spending money.


Winter time is Wii Fit time. AHA and Nintendo have joined forces to promote active video games or exergames to get people moving. And if you think Wii Fit is only for young people, think again. The “12 Days of Getting Active” is for everybody of all ages, the whole year round.

The crazy yet healthy things we do in wintertime

December 16, 2010 by  

We are having a real cold spell in Europe this year. But that doesn’t mean we put our health on freeze mode. Sometimes we do seemingly crazy things (at least for others) to keep a healthy lifestyle. For us, it’s just natural.

Run in the cold

It is -8°C outside at 8:30 am this morning. The sky is overcast, promising more snow later in the day. This is on top of the 15 cm we had last night. I just came back from my morning jogging run in the fields behind our house. I know that this may sound crazy to some people. At a school party yesterday, some moms were talking about all those seemingly crazy people walking their dogs in this weather. When I told them about my evening run the day before, they looked at me and said “Now, that is crazy.” (Or is she just bragging?).

Run in darkness

Now, those who know me very well or those who read this blog regularly know that I am an avid runner and I do run even in the wintertime. But running in the dark sounds crazy indeed. Well, I usually don’t like running in the darkness but after working onsite at the client last Tuesday from 8 to 3.30, then spending another 1.5 hours in front of my own computer to take care of other projects, I decided I needed a well-deserved “me” time. So I jogged my way to pick my kids from the after-school care (which is just 5 minutes away on foot) but taking a long detour to get there after 30 minutes. And for those who live down south, it gets dark here at 4 pm in the winter time so that jogging at 5:30 pm is practically night jogging. I did remember to put a green reflector band around my arm though so the motorists could see me.

Run with the baby

Now, back to my jogging run this morning. Here is something even crazier. I saw a lady jogging – pushing a jogger-stroller in front of her. Boy, some people would think she is a lunatic. I think she’s great. I did run pushing a twin jogger in front of me when my kids were little but never in the snow. The funny thing is that I never saw her before and after years of jogging this stretch I know most of the joggers and the dog walkers in the area by sight. Or maybe I’ve seen her before but without the baby. Anyway, whoever you are, hats off to you, jogger mom.

Open the windows wide open

For 10 minutes every morning in the winter time, the windows of the 3 bedrooms of our house are wide open. The bathroom windows are open more often, usually after showers. For many people, this is a crazy practice, not to mention expensive, worse, non-ecofriendly and wasteful in terms of energy. You see, most houses in Switzerland have centralized floor heating so you just can’t turn it off during the airing session. But for health reasons, we do need to air our houses to get some fresh air in and get some toxic air out. Our windows are usually wide open the whole day in summer. Wintertime is another story. 10 minutes is, I believe, the middle ground, where we can air our domicile without wasting too much energy.

`Tis the season for heart attacks?

December 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured, HEART AND STROKE

‘Tis the season for joy and cheers … and cardiac events. Okay, I don’t want to dampen your high spirits during the holidays but it has been shown again and again that there is a distinct spike in the number of heart attacks during December-January, particular around Christmas and New Year. According to WebMD, there has been generally an overall 5% increase heart-related deaths during the holiday season based on mortality statistics from 1973 to 2001. Let us look at the reasons why.

Is it the weather?

The winter season does have some adverse effects on our heart health. The cold weather causes blood vessels to constrict, which in turn elevates blood pressure. Blood clots also occur more easily. Extremely cold temperatures and physical exertion put too much burden on the heart. These are the ingredients for coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

Is it the holiday season?

A study published in circulation reported:

“The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1.”

And this pattern is not only true in the cold northern parts of the US. The same trend has been observed in Los Angeles where winters are not necessarily freezing. Some hypotheses put forward by health experts are:

  • People delay consulting their doctors despite feeling ill until after the holidays, mainly to avoid disrupting holiday festivities and travel plans.

“People just tend to put off seeking medical help during the holidays. They tend to wait till afterwards, which I think is a mistake.”

  • GPs are not easily available whereas hospitals and emergency clinics are short-staffed during the holiday. These can lead again to delay in treatment as well as decrease in the quality of care of those who decide to go to the hospital.
  • The holiday season is simply a very unhealthy season when people eat too much, drink too much, forego on exercise, get too much stress and get too little sleep.

“People tend to gain weight during the holiday season and take in more salt, which can put additional stress on a weakened heart.”

However, all the risk factors that may lead to increased heart attacks at this time of the year are actually modifiable. Dr. Robert A. Kloner, a researcher at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California gives us the following tips:

Mountain walking in the winter time

March 3, 2010 by  

I am no ski bunny. I gave skiing (both downhill and cross country) a try a few years back but gave up after the first lessons. My tropical upbringing and my overall lack of coordination prevented me from conquering snow sports. And if somebody is about to suggest snowboarding, forget it. I’d rather stand on my own two feet. That doesn’t mean to say I can’t get to be active and enjoy winter holidays.

Living in a country like Switzerland, winter holidays are must. Aside from the usual school break between Christmas and New Year, there is what the Swiss call “sports holidays”, a 2-week school break in February/March. And sports refer to winter sports, of course.

Since we moved to Switzerland almost 4 years ago, we go up to the mountains for a week during the sports holidays just as the locals do. My men (husband and twin sons) would ski and I would walk or hike.

And this is what this post is all about – to tell you about winter walking – about being active during your winter holidays even without the skis. The cold and the snow are no excuse for being a couch potato. Besides, tropical upbringing aside, I love the snow and I love the mountains.

 Here are a few tips for you should you consider a walking winter holiday.

Check before you book. Before booking, check what the resort town has to offer in terms of activities for non-skiers. Offerings would range from crafts, wellness to walking tours with or without snow shoes.

Have the right clothes and gear. Do not think about making a fashion statement. Think in terms of comfortable winter clothes which are warm and waterproof. Fleece shirts are especially popular nowadays because they are light yet warm. Lined, flexible trousers are great for walking. Head gear and gloves are also needed. However, the most important gear of all are the shoes. They should be comfortable and waterproof and should have the right soles for walking. You might want to consider MBTs or snow shoes if you aim to walk long.

Start in the morning. Make the most of the short daylight in winter time by starting your walk in the morning so you can be back before dusk.

Keep on the official winter walking trails. Not all trails are navigable in the wintertime for safety reasons as well as for nature protection. Access to some places is forbidden so as not to disturb hibernating animals. In Switzerland, winter trails are clearly marked and distinct from summer trails. In addition, avoid walking on cross-country skiing trails.

Bring water and food but not too much. A small rucksack with a small bottle of water and an apple or a small sandwich would come in handy in case you get thirsty or hungry during the walk. However, a heavy bag with loads of stuff can be very cumbersome when walking.

Walk as your health allows it. Walks can be as short as 1 hour and as long as 6 hours, depending on your level of fitness. You should listen to your body and not try to overdo it.

Watch out for weather and avalanche warnings. Check the weather bulletins before you leave for your walk. Snow storms and avalanche present serious dangers when you are in the mountains so you should take the warnings seriously.

Inform somebody of your destination. You should make sure somebody knows the direction you are taking. Just in case.

Walk with somebody or with a group. Walking tours for groups are usually organized by the local tourist office. However, you might not be happy with a just once-a-week tour. Having a walking partner is a great motivation to get out there. Even four-legged walking mates (dogs) are great company.

Finally, do not rush. Take it easy and enjoy the scenery and the mountain air. Remember, this is not a race or a sports competition. This is vacation.

Your blood pressure and the weather

January 14, 2009 by  

The temperatures are going down, but your blood pressure is going up. Is this logical?

It is, according to a French research study which observed that blood pressure varies with the season. The data of the study is based on measurements on 8,801 French adults older than 65 years and followed up for more than two years.

The study results show “that blood pressure in elderly people varies significantly with the seasons, with rates of high blood pressure readings rising from 23.8% in summer to 33.4% in winter. Blood pressure increases were seen in both the systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom) numbers.” The average systolic blood pressure was 5 mmHg higher in the winter months than in the summer months.

What is more disturbing is that the temperature-related effects on high blood pressure become more pronounced with age, and as observed in this study, in people older than 80 years.

The mechanism behind this seasonal variation is not clear but “possible explanations of the cold weather effect include activation of the sympathetic nervous system (which helps control how the body responds to stress) and release of the hormone catecholamine, which may increase blood pressure by speeding the heart rate and decreasing the responsiveness of blood vessels.

The findings of the study help shed light on the well-documented seasonal variations in illness and death caused by stroke and aneurysms or rupture of the blood vessels. According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the number 3 cause of mortality in the US, after heart disease and cancer.

And now that it is winter time in the northern hemisphere, people, especially the elderly should closely monitor their blood pressure. However, the increase in blood pressure in winter time should not actually discourage people from venturing outdoors. The American Stroke Association and American Heart Association encourage physical activity such as walking – even in winter time through the Start! Heart Walk. Connect with other walkers (sole-mates!) in your area using the My Start! Community. Track your walking progress using the free online tool My Start! Online Tracker. The brochure Start! Walking This Winter can give you some basic tips on how to enjoy the winter outdoors without endangering your health.


Photo credit: stock.xchng

Jogging in winter Part II

January 12, 2009 by  

We are having an extended cold spell here Europe. We had constant subzero temperatures during the past three weeks. This winter is definitely colder than the last one. In a way, I prefer this cold but dry winter rather than the mild winter we had last year which was wet and rainy.

While it is very tempting to simply stay put inside our warm heated house rather than venture out in the cold, it is imperative that I should go and do my 3 times a week jogging run for a number of reasons, namely:

  • My heart and blood vessels need the physical activity.
  • My lungs need the fresh air.
  • My body needs whatever sunlight I can get.
  • I need to get rid of those extra kilos gained during the holidays.

In my last post on winter jogging, Richard cited in his comment a problem he encountered while jogging in winter time – freezing in the inside of the nose. I never had this problem myself but I do have other problems which I want to share with you here.

  • Frozen toes, slippery ground. I am one of those who get frozen toes no matter how many layers of socks I wear. I therefore run now with a pair of climawarm adidas shoes, lined with thinsulate insulation. They are not new, mind you. I bought on sale a couple of years back so the model doesn’t exist anymore. They keep my feet dry and my toes warm. In addition, they have wonderful soles that keep me from slipping on the compacted frozen snow.
  • Runny eyes and nose. While I don’t get frozen nostrils, my nose just couldn’t stop running when I am outside. And when the wind blows strongly, even my glasses are not enugh protection to keep from eyes from getting watery. There is only one thing to do under these circumstances – bring a handkerchief or a couple pieces of tissue paper with you.
  • Fogged up glasses. Speaking about glasses, I run with mine on, despite the hassles. I need them to see where I am going or stepping. I don’t have any problems with them as long as it’s not raining or snowing strongly. Fogging up only occurs after the run once I go indoors.
  • Conked out mp3 player. I wear my mp3 player around my arm when I go jogging. It simply conked out last week because of the cold. I learned my lesson. I should keep my mp3 player inside my jacket where it can be kept warm.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses. Every now and then, the sun shows itself, and when it does, it comes with a vengeance as it is reflected on the crystal snow. In this case, sun protection, silly as it may sound, may actually be necessary.

Now, you may ask, what about other winter sports?

Unfortunately, having grown up in a tropical country, I haven’t really developed the taste nor the skills for skiing, snowboarding or even sledging like my kids have. However, I am planning to try out snowwalking soon and see whether I can get the hang of those snow shoes. And I’ll be sure to tell you about it.

Jogging in wintertime

December 10, 2008 by  

Guess what? I went for a jogging run this morning in subzero temperatures. Am I crazy? Not really. I just don’t see why I should change my exercise routine just because it’s wintertime. My heart needs the exercise and my lungs need the fresh air regardless of the season. And the American Heart Association seems to agree with me. In this brochure, Start Walking this Winter, AHA discourages us from turning into couch potatoes every time Jack Frost comes around as well as gives some tips on winter walking.

Below I give some tips on winter jogging.

Check the weather. Winter time can present some danger in the form of slippery ice, snow storms and avalanches. Make sure that you are jogging in safe weather conditions.

Jog at daytime. In the summer I love to jog early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat. In the winter time I jog at midday to first, take the opportunity to have some sunshine, and second, for safety reasons. In some parts of the world, sunlight, our main source of vitamin D, may only be seen at midday. Jogging when there is enough light is much safer because we can see better and we can better be seen by motorists. It also lessens the risk of being mugged which unfortunately can happen everywhere. If you have to jog in the dark, wear reflector vests and wear head or shoulder-strap lamps.

Wear proper shoes. Forget about making a fashion statement. Your shoes need not be elegant but they have to sturdy and waterproof. There are special winter running shoes with anti-slip soles and warm linings.

Dress up warmly but not too heavily. Heavy clothing makes it difficult to run. Light but warm jogging gear are available is all sports shops. Look at the specs on the label. They usually specify the temperature. A thermal underwear layer under the jogging gear is also advisable.

Keep your head covered. Protecting your head from the elements can save you the colds and the flus. A warm cap can keep the cold winds away. Wear gloves if you have to.

Drink, drink, drink. I mean not the alcoholic type. A warm cup of tea or a bowl of soup after a jogging run warms the hands and the body. But water is also important.

Have some company. Dragging yourself out into the cold, cold world is not an easy task. Make it easier by doing it with somebody. It’s not really a case of misery seeking company. It’s just much more fun (and safer) to run with somebody, be it your friend, your neighbor or your dog.

And finally, soak yourself in a relaxing warm bath.

Hmmm… isn’t winter lovely?

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.