Health Tips

A Spring Break Tip

Starting around the age of 18, the elasticity and resilience of your skin starts to decline. You can slow the process by not smoking, eating well, and using titanium or zinc sunscreen every day!


Lung function begins dropping 1% a year at age 30 and declines more in people who are sedentary than in those who stay active. The antidote? Exercise!

Build Strong Bones!

Bone mass tends to go downhill at about 1% per year after age 35. Weight-bearing exercises make a big difference in bone density. A recent study found that simply jumping 20 times a day significantly improved hip-bone mineral density.

Get your bone-maintaining weight training fix at JCC Total Fitness TODAY!

Eye for an eye?

By the age of 40, the range of sight in your eyes begins to decline.

To prevent eye disease, wear sunglasses to keep out UV radiation and don't smoke. Both sun exposure and smoking accelerate cataract formation.

A fun run!

If you are starting a running program, or looking to add distance to your runs, make sure you include a day with extra time on your feet.

Long, slow runs build your endurance and strengthen your musculoskeletal and cardio systems.

Buddy Up!

Exercising with someone who’s a little stronger or faster can motivate you to work three times longer or harder than when going it alone, according to a new study from Kansas State University.

People who get moving with a partner usually put in more effort because they don’t want to let others down. So, if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em!

Winter Exercise!

Few things for exercisers are more invigorating than an outdoor workout in winter weather. Remember these quick tips:

  1. Run out into the wind, and home with the wind at your back.
  2. Dress in moisture wicking layers.
  3. Make sure your footwear has the best traction possible. Trails are better than roads or sidewalks. Micro-spikes slip over regular running shoes. Careful on shiny-icy surfaces.

Plot your plate wisely!

To lower your cancer risk, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends filling 2/3 or more of your plate with plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans and 1/3 or less with animal proteins, such as lean meat or dairy foods.

Healthy Holiday Shopping Tips

Decrease your stress in the stores!

  • Tune out the noise: headphones and calming music will help drown out the screaming kids and Christmas muzak.
  • Skip the stylish footwear and put on your work-out shoes.
  • Keep hand sanitizer on you for when you can’t conveniently wash your hands.
  • Watch your back! Take multiple trips to the car with packages, or see if the mall has locker storage while you pillage store-to-store.

Green Tea Refresher Course

  1. Weight loss: Drinking green tea helps you feel full, so it can curb your appetite. It may also help you burn more calories according to a study published in November, 1999, by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  2. Anti-Aging properties: Green tea is rich in the antioxidants vitamin E and C. Antioxidants destroy free radicals that damage cell membranes. Damaged cell membranes lead to diseases such as cancer, heart attacks and diabetes.
  3. Asthma relief: Green tea contains a substance called theophylline. It’s a muscle relaxant, so it can cause the muscles supporting the bronchial tubes to relax -- thus reducing asthma’s ability to restrict normal breathing.
  4. Lowers blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure, you will be more susceptible to a heart attack or stroke. Green tea may prevent the formation of blood clots which lead to heart disease and stroke.
  5. Fights cancer: According to the American Cancer Society, “Green tea contains chemicals known as polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. Catechins are the major group of polyphenols in green tea…and may cause cancer cells to die like normal cells. It may also work by stopping new blood vessels from forming, a process called angiogenesis, thereby cutting off the supply of blood to cancer cells.” 
  6. May lower cholesterol: Studies have shown that this drink may help lower cholesterol with no side effects. By lowering cholesterol, the body receives help in fighting heart disease and stroke as well.
  7. Guards against infections: In April of 2003 the New York Times reported that its extract has the ability to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Microbiologist Milton Schiffenbauer, professor at Pace University (New York) stated, “Our research shows tea extracts can destroy the organism that causes disease. If we can stimulate the immune system and at the same time we are destroying the organisms then it makes sense to drink more tea.”

Green tea also treats sunburn, strained eyes, blemishes, rashes and minor cuts because of its antiseptic properties.

Healthy Eating Tips

Toss the Turkey Skin

As soon as you grab a slice of turkey, trim off the skin. Though delicious, the skin is very high in fat — and not the good kind. Toss the skin before you even start eating. If you leave it on your plate, you may eventually be tempted to nibble.

Eat Before Dinner

Don’t deprive yourself before your Thanksgiving dinner. Eat a hearty breakfast and lunch complete with in-between snacks throughout the day. If you show up at dinner starving, you'll be more likely to overeat and your body will have a harder time digesting the heavy meal.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables

Before reaching for turkey and potatoes, fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables of all colors. Healthy veggies will fill you up and keep you from indulging in unhealthy food.

Drink Lots of Water

Drink plenty of water before and during your meal. Not only does your mind often interpret thirst as hunger, but water will help your stomach stay full and keep you from overeating.  Plus, you won’t pack on any of the additional calories soft drinks and other beverages can add to your meal.

Leave the Dinner Table After Eating

Once you’re done eating, leave the table. The entire dinner party should move to another room to chat and spend time together. Hanging out around the table may tempt you to snack on some leftovers.

Coffee Craze

The latest research shows that drinking coffee is a healthy habit! People who drink coffee are happier, less stressed, and lessen their risk of disease. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, and Arabica beans can help lower oxidative DNA damage in cells.

All things in moderation…Too much Java has been known to damage bones, disrupt sleep and cause the jitters! Three cups a day are plenty.

Take a Walk (or Run)

Going for a run or jog can make it easier to solve a tough problem. Lynden Miles, Ph.D. says, “As you move forward, your thoughts about the future can become more fluid and clear making it more likely you’ll come up with your next big idea.” 

Get your body moving, and your mind will follow!

Protein Power

A great way to speed recovery includes taking in protein within an hour of your work-out. Find a snack with at least 15 to 25 grams of whey protein. This type contains more nutrients and amino acids than other proteins and digests quickly to jump-start your recovery.

Treadmill Tips

When the weather changes (for the worse), the treadmills at JCC Total Fitness are a great option for maintaining your fitness.

  • Spend a few minutes getting used to the machine.  Change speeds, while keeping track of where you are on the belt.
  • Always know where the emergency-off button is to stop the belt.
  • Start with an easy walk (about 3 mph) for one to three minutes.
  • Gradually pick up the pace for another one to three minutes.
  • Then increase to a run.
  • If you struggle to keep up, slow the belt down.

Stretch! It's good for you!

Before you go to work, make sure you stretch! Always stretch warm muscles gently.

Never force or hold a stretched muscle to the point of pain or discomfort. Tight hip flexor muscles are often the cause of tightness in the back and hamstrings.

If training leaves you especially hungry, reach for almonds!

Studies show that the monounsaturated fat, protein, and fiber in almonds help you feel fuller longer since they take longer to digest than food packed with carbohydrates.

Treadmill Training

The weather is still good for your outside walks and runs, but soon you’ll want to hit the new JCC Total Fitness treads. When you do, here’s some advice to make your work-out as efficient as possible:

  1. Let go: Holding on to the tread handrails can cause excessive rotation in the lower body.
  2. Look straight ahead: The tendency is to look down at the tread display, or sideways at a TV.
  3. Keep your toes under your nose: Don’t over-stride!
  4. Watch your stance: As your feet strike the tread, the inside edge of each shoe should approach the centerline of your body but not cross.
  5. Swing arms front to back: Keep your hands in line with your lower rib-cage…don’t swing them across your body.

Check your bags, not your goals.

Traveling these days will definitely get your heart rate up, but not in a good way.

Take your gym clothes on your next trip and take advantage of hotel gyms and swimming pools. The equipment might not be state of the art, but there's never a shortage of towels.

Hotel with no gym? Try push-ups and lunges in your room. Leave the magazine on the coffee table.

Feel the burn!

As hard as it may be to believe, that achy feeling the day after a workout is actually a great sign. It means that your muscles are activated and responding to your activity.

So, don't mistake a little soreness as a cue to stop. Instead, use it as proof that your body is already changing.

Adapt your routine to your schedule.

If you're crunched for time, then crunch your routine. Simply decrease the frequency or duration to accommodate your schedule. You'll feel better knowing you did something rather than nothing.

Exercise before you eat.

Instead of heading to the kitchen when you get home from work, set aside a half hour to an hour to get your workout in. Not only will it help you let off steam from your job, but you'll be less likely to overdo it with extra helpings and desserts at dinnertime.

Dress for Success

Before you start any kind of exercise routine, make sure that your body is well supported. This means comfortable shoes, breathable fabrics, and appropriate clothing. The less you have to fuss with during your workout (i.e. tugging at your shorts, pushing hair out of your eyes), the more you can focus on achieving better results.

Take a Break

According to The Journal of Applied Physiology, you can burn more fat by taking short breaks in the middle of a work-out, than by continuously exercising.

Researchers found that subjects who took a break during a pedaling exercise (pedaling for 30 minutes, break for 20 minutes and then pedaling again for 30 minutes) had more fatty acids (compounds released when stored fats are used), than those who pedaled for 60 straight minutes.

They believe that the body redirects excess energy to burn fat.

Motivation and Training Logs 

You may like the way you feel while you work-out and after you’re done, but if you just can’t seem to get out the door to your work-out, keeping a log might be the answer for you.

A training log can help you figure out what to change and what to keep the same. You may find out that you are trying to squeeze in a work-out at your busiest time of the day and rush through it, or that exercising after lunch makes you sluggish. Sometimes just a small tweak will help you out the door and to the gym, and with all the exercise options in JCC Total Fitness there’s always a way to figure out a new way to exercise.

Fish for Thought

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that polyunsaturated fats found in fish (especially cold-water fish such as Bluefin, tuna and mackerel) can increase bone density and stave off osteoporosis.

The Power of Zzz's

Getting less than 8 hours of sleep can greatly affect your immune system…in a bad way.

Researchers at UCLA studied blood samples from 30 individuals before and after sleep deprivation, and found that losing just a few hours of sleep is enough to increase inflammation, causing an overreaction of the immune system that has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and diabetes.

Hop to it.

Boxers aren't born lean and mean. It takes dedication and a little help from an 8-foot piece of rope.

Jumping rope provides such a great full body workout that an average sized woman (5'4", 140 lbs.) can burn more than 100 calories in just 10 minutes.

Move it!

Something is ALWAYS better than nothing. Missed your workout? Get in at least 10 minutes. 

Turn up your favorite tunes and dance around!

Recreate something from your favorite exercise class, climb the stairs or take a quick trip around the block.

Squat your way to a better you!

The squat is one of the best lower-body exercises to hit your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

Try using a stability ball the next time you're at the gym for an extra burn.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and put the stability ball between your lower back and the wall. Bend your knees 90 degrees--making sure your knees don't go past your toes. Put your hands on your hips or hold hand weights if you really want to work.

What's missing in "dressed-up" juices?

Some fruit juices are now fortified with fiber (it's added in the form of a thickening agent called maltodextrin).

But, you're still missing out on all of the beneficial compounds whole fruits provide.

If it's fiber you're seeking, why opt for processed and bottled when you can enjoy fresh and whole?

Every minute counts.

Don't eliminate your exercise for the day just because you have a full schedule.

If you're crunched for time, then crunch your routine. Simply decrease the frequency or duration to accommodate your workout. You'll feel better knowing you did something rather than nothing.

Hate doing abs?

Break up the monotony by putting a set of abs in between each set of your weight-training routine.

Since you never have a chance to sit still and cool off, you’ll keep your heart rate up and burn more calories and body fat!

Give me Ten!

Ten minutes are better than ZERO. Can’t stand the idea of working out? We all have those low energy days.

When you’re feeling ho-hum, head to the gym or workout anyway and promise yourself you can quit after 10 minutes!! (…bet you’ll stay longer and be glad you did!)

Exercise Before You Eat

Instead of heading to the kitchen when you get home from work, set aside a half hour or an hour to get your workout in.

Not only will it help you let off steam from your job, but you'll be less likely to overdo it with extra helpings and desserts at dinnertime.


According to Dr. Oz from Time Magazine, frozen and canned vegetables hold fiber and nutrients as well as fresh.

Some research indicates that the heating process in canning foods makes carotenes (cancer fighting agents) more available to the body.

Be Fear Free!

One of the main reasons people avoid the gym is that they're afraid of being judged by other people. The truth is, the majority of people at the gym are there to focus on their own bodies, not yours.

The sooner you overcome that insecurity, the sooner you can focus on your fitness performance.

Buddy Up!

Working out with a friend is a great way to stick with a fitness routine. Meet each other for a run in the morning or take an aerobics class after work. Just make sure you partner up with a pal you can count on to push you and help you reach your goals. 

Get a Good Base...

When doing a standing exercise, make sure that your legs are a good width apart. Having stronger balance will help you perform more easily, is safer, and will help you get better results.

Get in the grains.

Eating plenty of whole grains is important to maintaining healthy immunity. Nutrition experts agree that at least half of the recommended 6 to 9 servings of grains you should eat every day should be whole grains.

Look for the term "whole grain" as the first ingredient when shopping for breads

Use your weight. YOU are all you need!

Your own body weight can provide a great workout and build strong muscles. Try sets of lunges, crunches, squats, and push-ups to get yourself going when you can’t make it to the gym.

Burn big calories. Work the big stuff STAT!

You burn more calories when you work many large muscle groups simultaneously. The next time you hit the gym, try running, jumping rope, skipping, even jumping jacks!

Skip the gym.

You heard that right. It’s good to give yourself a change of pace…shock those muscles and make the most out of your workouts. Head to a hill with a friend and take turns running up (and down) it—see who’s “king of the hill”, take a dance class, play tennis, play tag. Find a workout that reenergizes you and gets you excited about exercising again.

Defy your Desk Job!

More and more occupations require workers to sit in front of a computer for 6 or more hours. And that lack of movement can take a toll on your body. Make a point to move every hour, whether it's to physically deliver a message or just to circle the office. It will break up the monotony of your workday, help you get to know your coworkers and restore some fitness to your 9-to-5.

Change it up. Get that Metabolism Going!

Change up your workouts with a little high-intensity strength training. Increase the weight, reps and/or sets you lift (and decrease the amount you rest in between). You’ll start to see some sculpted, lean muscles (and you’ll keep your metabolism humming post-workout!)

Eat the Colors of the Rainbow

It’s easy to identify foods with the highest levels of antioxidants—they’re often the most colorful.

• Carrots and sweet potatoes have plenty of beta carotene
• Bell peppers, strawberries and tomatoes contain vitamin C
• Tomatoes and watermelon have lycopene
• Dark leafy greens like spinach contain lutein. Blueberries have anthocyanins
• Red grapes have resveratrol
• And the list goes on—so banish the beige!

Pump that Iron

Use weights in your daily work-out! Muscle burns fat, so the better your weight training sessions, the less cardio you’ll actually have to do. A well-rounded session of exercise includes weights, cardio, and flexibility training. Try to work in all three!

Optimize your Playlist

Music has an amazing power to pump us up and get us going. Rather than relying on shuffle to get you through a workout, organize your songs carefully. Put your favorite songs at the beginning, middle and toward the end of the time you'll be working out to motivate you. Change it up every week by adding new songs or switching music with a friend.