Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge

Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge

Whether you’re an experienced exerciser or a fitness newbie, walking is a fun, easy and low impact exercise that can fit into almost anyone’s routine. Here at Nutrisystem, walking is one of our favorite exercises because it helps many of our members stay fit and healthy –;even with a busy schedule. It provides many health benefits, requires no special equipment and can even help you lose weight. Plus, you can do it virtually anywhere! Add more walks to your calendar by joining in on our Step It Up Walking Challenge.

On July 13th, our registered dietitian, Mandi, is going LIVE on our Facebook page to kick off our four-week Step It Up Walking Challenge. She will continue to go live every Monday at 5:30 PM EST to check in, provide a little motivation and some helpful tips to keep you stepping.

The challenges will get a bit more difficult week to week so that you can ease into a regular walking routine. Despite your current experience, you can join in and adjust the length and pace of your walks to match your skill level. At the end of the fourth week, we will be randomly selecting two lucky winners, who will each receive a $100 gift card.

In order to participate and be entered for a chance win, you must download and log each task into our FREE online tracking app, NuMi! To be eligible, make sure to opt-in to the challenge by tapping on the in-app message or News Feed card within the NuMi app to join in.

NuMi is our easy-to-use online food journal that provides a great place to stay organized and keep track of your daily exercise. You can find it on Google Play or the App Store. If you don”;t have an iPhone or Android, you can still access NuMi by visiting numi.com.

New to NuMi? Follow these simple instructions for logging activity:

Open the NuMi app on your phone.
Click on the plus sign in the orange circle at the bottom of your screen.
Select “;Activity.”;
You can then click on “;Walking”; and enter your information.
Tap “Log it.”
If you”;re using a desktop, you”;ll find the “Activity” section to the right of your Journal.

Ready to get moving? Check out the four-week schedule below for each Facebook live date and weekly task. Then give us a follow on Facebook to tune in! >

Step It Up Walking Challenge Schedule:

July 13th: Walk 3 times this week.

July 20th: Walk 4 times this week.

July 27th: Walk 5 times this week.

August 3rd: Walk 6 times this week.

Join our Nutrisystem community and improve your health this month with the power of walking! Before you get started, make sure to check out the link below for some must-follow safety rules for walking. Then head on over to our Facebook page for more fun and fresh content! > We’re always coming up with new fun challenges and live events to help you become the healthiest and happiest version of you.

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The post Step It Up! Join Our 4-Week Walking Challenge appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Cardio vs. Strength Training: What’s Better?

Cardio vs. Strength Training: What’s Better?

If you could only choose one, should you strength train or do cardio? Trick question! You don”;t have to choose, and you shouldn”;t. Both types of exercise are important not just for maintaining a healthy weight, but for your overall health. That”;s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week, plus two strength-training sessions.

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Here”;s a rundown of why both strength training and cardio work benefit your health and your weight loss goals, with easy ways to fit both into your busy life.
Why you need cardio:

cardioAlmost 80 percent of Americans don”;t achieve the CDC”;s 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, meaning they miss out on a ton of benefits: Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, of course, but also decreased risks for diabetes, osetoporosis and premature death.

If you vary the pace of your cardio work, it can be supercharged: Interval training, where short bursts of harder work are alternated with easier work or total rest have been found in multiple studies, according to Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, to burn more fat and increase cardiovascular function better than steady-state, medium-paced work.

Why cardio alone isn”;t good enough:

Some studies seem to suggest that cardiovascular exercise, by itself, is better for weight loss than combining it with strength training. In an eight-month study of 234 overweight people conducted by Duke University Medical Center, researchers found that those who did cardio alone lost 1.76 kilograms, while those who did a combination of cardio and strength lost slightly less, 1.63 kilograms. Members of a third group, who did just strength training, actually gained about 2 pounds during the study.

strength trainingBut if you look a little deeper, the cardio-only group lost weight, but they didn”;t lose lean body mass–;meaning they lost muscle, not fat. The combo group gained .81 kilograms of muscle, and the strength-only group tacked on more than two pounds of muscle–;meaning they lost fat overall. And a body with less fat and more muscle not only looks good, but burns more calories at rest and can help protect against disease, reduce fall risk and lower your overall risk of death.

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An easy way to do it:

Walk! You may think you have to sprint or jog to get all these benefits, but walking does a lot of good. While your watch may be telling you that 10,000 steps is somehow magical, you don”;t need that many to get benefits: For every 1,000 steps you take each day, you can reduce your risk of “;functional limitation”; in the future due to arthritis by 16 to 18 percent (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085120.htm).

And walking can help keep weight off: One study conducted by Hopkins Medicine found that “;moderately active”; people lowered their levels of dangerous visceral fat by 7.4 percent compared with inactive subjects . And you can even get the fat-burning benefits of interval training while walking: Try changing your pace by as little as five inches per second for bursts of one minute, followed by one minute of slower walking. According to Biology Letters, when study participants did this, they burned 20 percent more calories than when they walked the same pace throughout their walk.

Why you need strength:

Having muscular strength means you can do more than just pick up a barbell. The American Heart Association recommends strength training because it improves cardiovascular function, lowers your heart disease risk, Walkingincreases resting metabolism and improves your “;psychosocial well-being.”; But that”;s not all! Strength training improves cognitive function, according to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and even works productivity.

And, of course, it can help stave off weight gain: In a Harvard study, researchers found that men who did 20 minutes of daily weight training had less age-related belly fat gains than those who did the same amount of cardio work.

Why strength training alone isn”;t enough:

It”;s possible to increase your heart rate while performing strength work so that you”;re “;doing cardio”; while lifting weights, but for many of us, it”;s unlikely that we”;ll elevate our heart rate enough during strength training to match the 150 cumulative weekly minutes needed to realize the cardio benefits described above. And if you do, it”;s possible you”;re sacrificing strength work–;that is, your strength training isn”;t challenging your strength enough, and has “;turned into”; cardio. You need both!

An easy way to do it:

People using dumbbellsIf you”;re going to the gym, lift light weights. Studies have found that lifting weights to failure–;continuing the movement until you can”;t do another repetition–;is the most important factor in building muscle strength and size, whether the load is heavy or light. One study of this kind showed that men who lifted 30 to 50 percent of their maximum weight for sets of 20 to 25 repetitions gained as much strength and size as others who lifted 75 to 80 percent of their maximum for eight repetitions per set. So if big, heavy weights make you nervous, stick to the smaller stuff. And if training to failure, be safe: Consider using a machine or a really light dumbbell so that if you truly fail, the weight isn”;t putting you in danger.

No gym membership? No problem! Your body weight provides plenty of resistance. The act of getting in and out of a chair without using your hands for assistance is a strength training exercise–;and it helps build muscle power, which can increase your ability to avoid a fall as you age. Try these five simple power-building exercises to start.

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OK, which should I do first?:

If you”;re going to perform cardio and strength work in the same day, studies vary on which you should do first. One study published by Ace Fitness found that if you perform weight training first, your cardio workout can be harder than it would normally–;resulting in an increase in pulse of 12 beats per minute compared to when the cardio”;s done first. In that case, it would seem that the answer is cardio first is better.

But other studies have shown the opposite: Performing cardio first can use up the fuel you”;ll need for strength training so you won”;t get the same benefits. Doing weight training first can also mean you burn more fat while doing cardio, since weight training can use up the carbohydrates in your body in advance of your aerobic work.

So the real answer is: It depends on your goals, and more importantly, your preferences. If you find you prefer cardio work first and it”;s the only way you have enough energy to also do your strength work–;stick with that. If when you do strength traninig first, you feel like you have more zip to finish your aerobic session, do that. If all things are equal and weight loss is your goal, do your strength work first.

The post Cardio vs. Strength Training: What”;s Better? appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today

Walking is one of the easiest ways to achieve your 30 minutes of daily activity. Hiking might as well be called “;next level”; walking–;it”;s more enjoyable, more engaging and a bit more challenging (but still not too hard). That”;s probably why hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities, with more than 47 million Americans reporting that they hiked at least once in 2018, says Statista.com. If you haven’t added hiking to your weight loss exercise routine, we”;re here to tell you why you should start today.

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Get outside and take a hike! Here are 10 reasons to start hiking today:
1. Hiking is easy.

easy workout

You don”;t need to learn special skills, be super fit or have any prior experience. Hiking is simply walking on an outdoor trail. Even the challenges, such as going up and down hills or navigating uneven terrain, are manageable for beginners. If you can walk, you can most likely hike.

2. It burns more calories than walking.

burn calories

At a brisk walking pace of 17 minutes per mile, a 155-pound person burns about 149 calories in 30 minutes, says Harvard Health Publishing. Add a few hills on a hike and the calories burned jumps to 223 calories in 30 minutes–;that”;s about 50 percent more calories burned in the same amount of time.

3. It lifts your mood.

hiking

According to Stanford News, walking in natural areas rather than in man-made environments reduces “activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.” The 2015 study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Other research has found that spending time in nature may help to reduce stress, says Harvard Health Publishing.

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4. Hiking strengthens your heart.

stress

Stress is said to be contributor to heart disease and hypertension (high blood pressure), so reducing stress might also lower your risk of suffering from these cardiac conditions, says Harvard Health Publishing. Hiking also gives your heart–;a powerful muscle–;a steady workout, helping it to grow strong and pump more efficiently even when you”;re at rest. “Like brisk walking, hiking is a good way to improve your cardiovascular fitness, particularly if your route includes some hills, which will force your heart to work harder,” explains Harvard Health Publishing.

5. Hiking flattens your belly.

flat belly

Going up and down inclines and traversing uneven terrain engages your core muscles–;the big muscles between your rib cage and knees, says Harvard Health Publishing. These include your abdominals, glutes (backside) and thighs. Hiking helps strengthen and tone those muscles as you shed excess pounds, so you become visibly leaner and firmer. Don’t forget to bring some flat belly snacks along on your hike! Check out these four easy ideas. >

6. It improves your balance.

hiking

Our sense of balance is essential to many everyday activities, such as climbing stairs, getting in and out of the shower or reaching up to high shelves. According to Time Magazine, the uneven terrain experienced while hiking can help to build up muscles that you don’t normally use. “Pumping up those oft-neglected muscles may improve your balance and stability, which helps protect you from falls,” they explain. For most people, the sense of balance deteriorates with age. Hiking keeps it working effectively.

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7. It expands your mind.

hiking

Most of us spend our time looking at lit screens and the same views day in and day out. When we get out in nature, we get better at focusing our attention, solving problems and developing creative ideas, according to the scientific journal, PLoS One. So, get outside, take a hike and get inspired!

8. Hiking is inexpensive.

easy workout

Unlike nearly every other fitness activity, hiking costs you almost nothing. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes with a good tread. Yes, you can buy hiking shoes that will make your hikes easier and more comfortable. However, feel free to start out wearing ordinary sneakers before committing to purchasing footwear designed for this purpose.

9. Hiking happens anywhere.

hiking

Every state in the U.S. has national parks, historic trails and protected wilderness areas that you can visit. The National Park Service website allows you to search by state to find those closest to you. Many state and county parks also feature marked trails with signs that tell you how long and how challenging the trails are. With a little observation and investigation, you can often find unofficial trails to hike and undeveloped areas around your home. (Just be sure you”;re not trespassing on private property.) For more trail ideas, check out the American Trails Website.

10. Hiking is for everyone.

hiking

Wherever you are on your weight loss journey, you can enjoy the pleasures of hiking. You don”;t need to train, set goals or measure results. You can just take a walk in nature and feel good while you”;re doing it and for hours after you”;re back.

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New to hiking? Check out these four helpful tips for beginners:
1. Start slow.

hiking

For your first few hikes, choose routes that are shorter than you would normally walk–;hiking is more challenging than walking and you don”;t want to overdo it and find yourself sore or too exhausted when you are finished.

2. Bring water.

drink water

This will ensure you don”;t dehydrate along the way. Adequate water helps you stay alert and energized and keeps your metabolism working. Looking for the perfect water bottle to take on your hiking adventures? Click here for our water bottle shopping tips! >

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3. Go with a buddy.

hiking

Almost everything is more fun when you do it together. Hiking with a partner also ensures that in the unlikely event something goes wrong–;whether you get lost or twist an ankle–;help is right by your side. If you do choose to go on your own for a little solitude, be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

4. Keep your eyes and ears open.

hiking

We”;re accustomed to listening to our inner dialogues all day long. Take time while you”;re hiking to tune in to the sights and sounds around you. There are so many delights in nature, from birds chirping and flowers blooming to the rustle of tree leaves in a gentle breeze. Focusing on them can chase away your everyday cares and worries for a little while and make your life feel a little bit better, no matter what else is happening in the world.

Looking for a healthy meal delivery service to pair with your fitness routine? Learn more about Nutrisystem! >

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The post Hike Your Way to Weight Loss: 10 Reasons to Go for a Hike Today appeared first on The Leaf.

Read more: leaf.nutrisystem.com