Fitness Apps That Give Back

You know that working out is good for you – but did you know that you working out can be good for others as well?

Today, mobile apps have made it so that you can get a workout and give back at the same time. Whether you run, workout in a group fitness class, or get in shape in the weight room, these apps allow you to achieve your fitness goals while raising money for charity.

So now you can not only feel good from working out, but feel good about it too.

Download one, or all, of these apps today and start raising money for your favorite cause while raising your heartbeat.

stickK

Developed by a team of economists from Yale, stickK makes you put your money where your mouth is. You pick your goal –  whether it’s to work out more, lose weight, eat healthier or anything else you want to achieve – set a time frame, select a charity or cause, and then lay your money on the line (the app takes your credit card information upfront). To keep you honest, you also choose a referee who will keep track of your progress and keep you in check along the way. If you falter or miss your goal – your money goes to charity. However, if you succeed, you keep your cash (of course you could still donate it).

Charity Miles

Make those miles you walk, run, or bike count for more than just calories! This ingenious app tracks your distance and turns it into dollar bills for a charity of your choice (and yes, you can choose a different one each time).  Simply start the app when you head out for a run or ride and begin earning - 10 cents per mile when you bike, or 25 cents per mile when you “hoof it.” Charity Miles supports a variety of charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Feeding America, Autism Speaks and Wounded Warriors. Best part about this app? It costs you nothing… except your sweat!

Plus 3 Network

Turn your fitness activities into a fundraiser with Plus 3 Network. When you join this interactive network you get a sponsor who will donate money to a charity of your choice – on your behalf – every time you get your sweat on. Whether you take a Zumba class, stretch out in yoga, lift weights or simply take the dog for a walk – just log your time and watch the dollars and cents add up. And with Plus 3 Network miles are even more valuable than time. Runners and cyclists who track miles earn double the points.

Repz for Charity

Repz challenges you to perform different exercises for just 15-30 seconds. You choose a challenge, they show you the exercise, then you record yourself doing it and log the number of repetitions you did. For every challenge you do, they will make a nominal donation to a health-related charity. Start with easier exercises and progress to more difficult ones. As long as you’re moving it counts! . Repz allows you to do as many challenges a day as you would like – the more you move your body the more charities will receive. Plus, you can share your videos on social media for a chance to challenge your own friends and win prizes.

Budge

Dare your friends (or yourself) to different feats of fitness. The Budge app allows you to have fun making healthy wagers with your friends. Who can run the farthest? Who can stick to their diet the longest? Who will work out more each week? You set the stakes and the winnings go to straight to a charity linked to the app. You could say it’s a win-win for everyone. (Currently available for ios operating systems 0nly).

Donate a Photo

Keep accountable of your healthy living goals by taking photos. Most of us already take photos of our meals, our activities, and events. Why not donate that photo for charity? Studies show that people who broadcast their progress and achievements are more apt to stay on track. So take a picture of your nutritious lunch, or a sweaty selfie after a challenging workout, and share it on this app. For each photo you share, Johnson & Johnson will give $1 to the charity of your choice.

Pay to Snooze

Having trouble waking for those early morning workouts? There are a number of apps that give you a little extra incentive to get out of bed and to the gym. Simply download the alarm clock, set it, and get some quality sleep. For every time you hit snooze the next morning, you’ll end up making a small donation to the charity of your choice. Who knew sleeping in could be so selfless. (Pay to Snooze and Charity Alarm available for android devices. Snooze available on ios devices).

 

The Difference Between Women and Men When it Comes to Matters of the Heart

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women, although many women still think of it as primarily as a man’s disease.

Fact is, heart disease is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While 1 in 31 American women will die from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 women will die from heart disease (that’s approximately one woman every minute).

And the scary truth is that since 1984, more women than men have died from heart disease, partly because the symptoms in women are often misunderstood. With an estimated 43 million women in the U.S. affected by heart disease, 35,000 of which are under the age of 65, it’s important for women to know the differences between men’s and women’s symptoms.

The most known form of heart disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), in which plaque builds up in the large arteries around the heart – ultimately causing a heart attack. Angiographic studies can serve as an early detection for potential heart attacks, but unfortunately, this method often fails for women. In men, plaque distributes in clumps and is easier to identify via angiogram. In women plaque distributes more evenly throughout artery walls, which makes it more difficult to identify. Angiographic study results are therefore misinterpreted as “normal”.

Likewise, women tend to wait longer than men to go to an emergency room when having a heart attack because they don’t realize it. Chest pain, the most classic symptoms of cardiac problems, does not always manifest in women as it does in men. In fact, some women may feel no chest pain at all. Instead, women experience milder symptoms such as neck pain, nausea, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue and weakness that they might mistake for the flu.

While 71% of women experience an extreme onset of these early warning signs of heart attack, physicians too are slower to recognize the presence of heart attacks in women because “characteristic” patterns of chest pain and EKG changes are less frequently present – so women aren’t treated appropriately or as quickly, which contributes to a greater number of heart attacks.

Sadly, heart attacks in women have proven to be more fatal than in men. 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year, compared to 24% of men. And for women under the age of 50, a heart attack is twice as likely as men’s to be fatal.

The statistics regarding women’s fatalities versus men’s are paralyzing:

  • 435,000 American women have heart attacks annually, and the average age is 70.4 (83,000 are under age 65, 35,000 are under 550).
  • 267,000 women die each year from heart attacks; 6 times as many women as breast cancer.
  • 31, 837 women die each year of congestive heart failure. This represents 62.6% of all heart failure deaths.
  • Women are twice as likely as men to die within the first few weeks after suffering a heart attack.
  • 46% of female and 22% of male heart attack survivors will be disabled with heart failure within six years.
  • Women are two to three times as likely to die following heart bypass surgery. Younger aged women between the ages of 40-59 are up to 4 times more likely to die from heart bypass surgery than men the same age.
  • Stroke accounts for more deaths among women than men (11% vs 8.4%)

While studies into the differences between heart disease in women and men have increased, there are significant holes in the research when it comes to women’s heart health. Currently, 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, yet women comprise only 24% of participants in all heart-related studies and the best course of treatment for a woman with heart disease has yet to be established.

But there is some good news. Women's hearts have been shown to respond better than men's to healthy lifestyle changes. So, exercise, eating right and reducing stress are all things that women can do to reduce their risk for heart disease.

Body Positivity

When you’re on a quest to lose weight and take control of your physical health, it’s way too easy to get caught up in what the scale says and lose sight of the most important reasons to get healthy in the first place—to feel better, have more energy, and live longer.

And women are particularly susceptible to this trap as we’re constantly faced with shifting cultural ideals of what constitutes a “beautiful body”.

One decade, full and voluptuous is “in” a la Marilyn Monroe; another decade it’s all about “heroin chic” with emaciated models gracing magazine covers. And these days, women are taught that we should have blown-up lips and a naturally unattainable waist-to-hip ratio.

 

Unfortunately, cultural standards of beauty aren’t likely to go anywhere soon, so attempting to chase them is a never-ending road to low self-esteem.

That’s why it's critically important to get the reins on what we DO have control over and that’s how we view our own bodies.

Once you accept and appreciate your body, your whole world opens up. You feel more confident, more motivated, and your workouts go from daunting to empowering.

 

But getting there isn’t easy.

 

In fact, it’s likely the most difficult part of your whole journey. But it’s entirely possible and worth every effort! Once you learn to love your body regardless of its shape and size, nothing can hold you back.

Here are some action steps you can take each day to improve your body image. Some might feel silly or uncomfortable at first, but the more you practice ‘em, the more deeply-ingrained in your nature they become. For real.

 

      Rather than look to the scale to measure progress, look at your body’s abilities. Measure how much farther you can run, how much more you can lift, and how many more daily tasks you can do with more grace and ease.

 

      Interrupt your negative thoughts with positive ones, even if you don’t believe them. The moment you notice yourself thinking “I hate the way I look,” find one thing you truly LOVE about yourself or your appearance, and say it out loud. “I love my makeup today,” or “I’m a great friend.” Over time, if you stick with it, this will feel less like a silly exercise and more and more true. And don’t be surprised when you say, “I love how great my butt looks in these jeans!”

 

      Let your body know you appreciate it. Soak in a bubble bath, create time for a nap, or find a cozy nook in your home to curl up and relax.

 

      Create a top ten list of things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your body. Keep it in your pocket or purse and refer to it whenever you feel discouraged.

 

      Surround yourself with positive people. If you have a friend or partner who brings you down with their comments or discourages your journey in any way, move on from them.

 

Have questions about learning to love that beautiful body of yours and all that it can do? Come in and talk to one of our staff members so we can point you toward more self-lovin’. 

 

Essential Post-Workout Stretches

Stretching after a workout is important for a number of reasons: it will help your muscles recover more quickly, it’ll improve your range of motion, and it will reduce post-workout soreness.

That said, with all of the information overflowing in the online fitness space and seemingly infinite recommendations being thrown your way, it’s difficult to know what stretches you should focus on and which you can skip.

And that’s where we come in!

If you’re pressed for time but want to make sure you’re covering all of your body’s bases, these are the stretches you never want to miss.

 

Gently warm your body, then move into each stretch as deeply as you can before experiencing pain. Be sure to breathe, and hold for 20-30 seconds. 

 

Hamstring Stretch

Sitting tall with your legs stretched in front of you, slowly reach toward your toes with both hands while making sure to keep your back as straight as possible. This move will stretch your hamstrings and minimize lower back pain.

 

Shoulder Stretch

Raise one arm and bend it at the elbow behind your head, then grab the bent elbow with your other hand and hold. Doing this stretch will open up your shoulders and loosen your back muscles, helping to improve your posture.

 

Quadriceps Stretch

Stand near a wall or chair for support and grab your right ankle with your right hand, pulling your heel toward your buttocks, and hold while keeping your knees close together. This will stretch out the big muscles in the front of your thighs and reduce soreness considerably.

 

Groin Stretch

Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet touching one another. Gently grab onto your toes with both hands and slowly lean forward, keeping your back straight and bending from the hips. This move will open your hips and improve your legs’ range of motion.

 

Abdominal Stretch

Lie flat on your stomach with your hands directly below your shoulders and your elbows tucked into your side. Slowly push your upper body away from the ground without lifting your pelvis and hold. This will loosen your entire core, helping to prevent future injuries.

 

Chest Stretch

Lightly grab a pole or door frame at shoulder height keeping your arm straight. While gripping the frame with your straight arm, slowly turn your torso in the opposite direction until you feel a stretch in your chest. This will open up your shoulders and chest, and help to prevent your shoulders from rolling forward into poor posture. 

 

Once you’ve tackled each of these, you’ll have stretched all of the major areas of your body and can look forward to a faster, less painful recovery after all of your hard work. Of course, if you have anymore questions regarding stretching, or fitness in general, we’re here to help! Come visit Total Woman Gym + Spa so that we can help you be a happier, healthier you. 

Your 2017 Fitness Plan

If you’ve decided that 2017 is the year you go for your fitness and self-care goals, Total Woman Gym + Spa is the place to go. We offer a space that helps women improve their wellbeing, inside and out. From our group class offerings where you can Zumba your way to our spa that allows you to relax and recover from your workout, we’ve got you covered from head to toe for your 2017 fitness goals.

And now that you know where to go, it’s time to figure out your fitness plan. Here are a few goals you can keep in mind to discover what works best for you.

Build Strength

Building strength is critical to a balanced fitness plan, but we’re not just talking about muscular strength. Reaching your fitness goals, or any goal for that matter, requires strong resolve and consistent action. Commit to yourself, and prioritize exercise to strengthen, tone, and renew your body and mind in the New Year. The easiest way to do this? Grab a friend, a.k.a your accountability partner, and hit the gym for a pilates, yoga, or Total Body class. Or, engage the help of a seasoned professional. Let one of our NCCA-Accredited personal trainers design a fitness plan that meets your specific goals.

Increase Endurance

Endurance requires patience and perseverance, but as your endurance improves, you’ll feel stronger inside and out. If you’re leading your own workout in the gym, and want to begin with working on your cardio, begin at a moderate pace. Whether it’s walking going into jogging or running, look at your speed and give yourself goals for how long you will keep that pace up. For example, you can begin with a 3.0/mile pace, go for a few minutes, then increase the speed to 4.5/mile for a jog/run for a set amount of minutes. Continue to increase how long you continue at that pace via time or distance, and make sure to have a goal in mind.

Create Healthy Habits

When you’re trying to reach a fitness goal, your healthy habits extend beyond the walls of the gym. 80% of most fitness goals begin in the kitchen. Feed your body with whole foods as much as possible. Balance each meal with a healthy selection of vegetables, proteins and fats, and minimize sugars and starches. Proper hydration is also essential. The body often thinks it needs food, when what it’s really asking for is water. The best way to stay on track with your nutrition is to plan – shop for the week and prep all your healthy foods on Sunday so they are available and ready to fuel up for the day.

Schedule Your Time

For any busy woman, time can be particularly hard to come by. Carve out time in your calendar for working out and self-care, just as you would any other appointment. Total Woman Gym + Spa supports you by offering a flexible schedule and, if you’re a mother, childcare that allows you to come work out even when you have the kids. Whether you run alone on the treadmill or take a Zumba class with a friend, make your health and fitness a priority so you have the energy to do everything else you need to do.

Build in Self-Care

Self-care is rejuvenating. It gives you the energy and strength to take on life’s responsibilities. Whether you find respite taking a yoga class, relaxing in the sauna or getting a massage, make the time to take care of yourself so that you can manage work, your partner, the kids, your parents, and anything else that might be on your plate. You matter, and Total Woman Gym + Spa is here for you, every step of the way.