Fit For Life
Fit for Life is the new home for EHW’s recommended digital fitness resources. If you can’t make it to a class or schedule a session with a personal trainer, check out some of our recommended tools, tips, and motivation to support you in kicking off your fitness journey at home! The weekly blog will be updated on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back every Monday!
Mental Health Month
For the month of May, Employee Health and Wellbeing is joining the national movement to raise awareness on mental health. Fit for life is focusing on mental health and the importance of reducing the stigma around mental health challenges, because oftentimes that stigma prevents individuals from seeking help. Spend some time this month focusing on your mental health and how you can enhance it. Follow along with our monthly calendar to find programs, tools and resources to support your mental wellbeing. Keep in mind that it is important to focus on your mental health on a daily basis, not just during the month of May and that resources are available all year.
Mental Wellbeing & Exercise:
One way to enhance your mental health is through regular exercise and movement. People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of wellbeing. They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives. This change in the body is due to the release of endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good when you are exercising. It is also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges, as it can serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression. Finding and maintaining this sense of wellbeing became Jenn Palacio’s motivation to exercise daily. Jenn, one of our very own Zumba, Pilates Tone, and Barre instructors, exudes a contagious vivacity and a genuine concern for the wellbeing of every single one of her students. But Jenn’s enthusiasm for teaching comes from a more somber time in her life. Not many people know of the struggles she has had to overcome to gain the bubbling confidence she has today. Check out Jenn Palacio’s full story on The Connection Between Mental Wellbeing and Exercise.
Here are a few examples of movement that you can do on a daily basis to improve your mental health:
Go Outside: The benefits of outdoor fitness are endless! Taking your regular workout outside is a natural mood booster that also challenges your body. Sunlight can help reduce depression and anxiety by naturally increasing serotonin, a hormone that influences your mood. Exercise also releases endorphins, another feel-good hormone that improves mood and alleviates pain. For more outdoor fitness benefits, check out Employee Health and Wellbeing Going-Green Outdoor Fitness Blog.
Take an Active Break: Get up and get moving throughout the day! A relaxing break will help you reset your mood, thereby encouraging positive wellbeing and stress reduction. Instead of browsing the internet, take a five-minute walk outside. If you have time in between zoom meetings, take a walk around the block or around the house. Are you feeling particularly optimistic? Take one of your scheduled meetings while walking around.
Group Fitness: Joining group fitness classes can provide you with mental health benefits in addition to physical health benefits. It allows us to reap the benefits of exercise while still connecting with others. It also fosters social support, which is important for good mental health. Check out the various group fitness classes that EHW offers live and on-demand recordings of.
May 3: Mental Health Month
April 26: Take an Active Break
April 19: The Group Exercise Effect
April 12: Go Outside!
April 5: Charge Your Battery Through Exercise
March 22: Investing in Your Health
March 15: Going Green-Outdoor Fitness
March 8: Low-Cost Alternatives to Fitness
March 1: Making Exercise a Financial Priority
February 22: Developing a Positive Body-Image
February 15: Positive Self-Talk
February 8: Listening to Your Body
February 1: Self-Compassion and Self-Care
January 25: What if You Fail
January 18: Social Support
January 11: What’s Your Why?
January 4: Habit Tracking and SMART Goals
December 14: Exercise and Immunity
December 7: Financial Fitness
November 30: Commit to Fitness through Accountability
November 16: Motivate Your Movement- Gratitude
November 9: Giving Yourself Grace
November 2: Post-Workout Self-Care Routine
October 26: Let’s Get Scary Strong!
October 19: Blue Hens Homecoming Virtual 5K- Tips for Success
October 12: Better Together: Mindfulness & Exercise
October 5: Breast Cancer and Exercise
September 28: Biking Towards Sustainability at UD
September 21: The Connection Between Mental Wellbeing and Exercise
September 14: Fall 2020 Fitness Programs
September 8: Fitting in Fitness
August 31: Fall into Fitness
August 24: Protect the Flock- Face Masks and the Gym
August 17: 5 Ways Laughter Can Enhance Your Workouts
August 10: It’s a 5k, Not a Sprint!
August 3: Getting Creative with your At-Home Workouts
July 27: Preventative Health & Physical Activity
July 20: Rest & Recovery
My name is Chelsea Finch and I work as Fitness Coordinator for the department of Employee Health and Wellbeing at UD. I have an education background in Athletic Training and Strength and Conditioning, and am a nationally certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. I have a passion for teaching group fitness classes and empowering others through movement, music, and community.
Kelsey Ladics, Graduate Assistant
My name is Kelsey Ladics, and I work as a Health Promotion Graduate Assistant for the Department of Employee Health and Wellbeing at UD. In the Spring, I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Health Behavior Science. During my time as an undergraduate student, I was fortunate enough to gain insights and knowledge on ways to promote health through program development, educational awareness, and campus outreach.
With so much of the world in lockdown, anxiety is a natural response. This feature highlights how regular exercise can go a long way towards helping ease any stress and anxiety. It addresses the benefits of meditation, the importance of sleep, how to look after brain health and top tips for indoor and outdoor exercise. Read more here./
This article provides a timely reminder that exercise is key to boosting your immunological fitness. Highlighting a collection of studies, it explains that, aside from getting stronger and fitter, there are three big reasons to keep exercising – or to start if you aren’t already. Read more here.
As life in isolation is forcing us to do without daily gym excursions it’s a great opportunity to make exercise at home really work for you. Here are five simple secrets that will set you up for success. Read more here.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to roll across the planet, almost everyone is seeing their daily routine go out the window. So what are the best ways to stick to a routine that will keep us fit and healthy? We spoke to three busy fitness pros to find out how they prioritize exercise during times of change. Read more here.
Home Exercise Hacks
If you’re new to home exercise it can be tough to establish a solid routine. But you can learn from the millions who’ve made it work. We recently reached out to some of the most prolific home exercisers to learn their tips for training success. Read more here.
In an effort to take down sitting, the World Health Organization (WHO) has changed the way it describes sitting’s nemesis: physical activity. And anyone wary of hours on a treadmill might be glad to see a few key changes to what WHO considers exercise. Read more here.
Sometimes, it is hard to stay motivated with your step count, workouts, or activity unless there is a challenge! Your body responds well to challenges because there’s a finish line, there’s structure, it’s new and different, and your fellow colleagues can tag along for the ride. Check out these challenges below to help you stay on track towards your goals using this monthly exercise tracker.
New to fitness? This 6-week start up fitness challenge is the perfect place to start! Build a foundation of fitness with 2-4 workouts each week that include aspects of cardio, strength, and flexibility training that will help build lean muscle and burn more body fat. Download plan.
New to strength training? This 8-week Blue Hen Strong plan drives lean muscle development with high repetition full body and core strength workouts, and some heart pumping cardio mixed in with less than 4 workouts a week. Download Equipment plan. Download No Equipment plan.
If you’re up for a real challenge, prepare to bring it! Over the next 6 weeks, you will be challenged to build your strength, power, and endurance through different workouts that include a powerful combination of high intensity interval training, cardio, strength, and flexibility. Various intensity options are provided to help you push your limits. Combine this with healthy eating and you will build lean muscle and burn more body fat in 6 weeks! There is both an equipment and no equipment version. Download plan.
New to yoga? This 4-week Beginner Yoga plan allows your body time to get used to the yoga movement patterns and build strength, balance, and flexibility. Taking it slowly also gives you an opportunity to learn specific “skills” yoga builds—such as moving with grace and fluidity. Each week gives you around 2-3 sessions of flexibility, approximately 30 minutes each session. Yoga mat and yoga blocks are recommended. Download plan.
Getting back into a Yoga routine regularly? This 4-week Intermediate Yoga plan allows your body time to get used to the yoga movement patterns and continue to build strength, balance, and flexibility. Taking it slowly also gives you an opportunity to improve specific “skills” yoga builds—such as moving with grace and fluidity. Each week gives you around 3-4 sessions of flexibility, approximately 30-60 minutes each session. Yoga mat and yoga blocks are recommended. Download plan.
Do you want to take your yoga fitness to the next level? After crushing the Beginner Yoga and Intermediate Yoga Fitness Challenges, Yoga Fit will help you master the movement patterns while also continuing to build strength, balance, and flexibility with additional training. Each week gives you around 3-4 sessions of flexibility and 2 sessions of strength, approximately 30-60 minutes each session. Yoga mat and yoga blocks are recommended. Download plan.
New to meditation? This 4-week daily meditation plan allows you to adjust to incorporating meditation into your daily routine to train awareness and achieve emotional stability through 15 minute guided sessions. Find a comfortable and quiet space indoor or outdoors where you can use these meditations to start your mornings and center your focus and awareness or use them as a way to unwind and de-stress after the workday. Download plan.
Track Your Exercise & Reach Your Fitness Goals
A habit tracker is a tool that helps you track specific behaviors to help you reach your goals. It provides a visual representation of all the small steps that have been taken to reach your overall goal. Seeing your accomplishments on paper can give you the motivation to keep going and instill a sense of pride for what you have achieved. This tool can help you achieve your fitness goals by providing a space to track your workouts.
Download and print the exercise habit tracker for 2021 below as a space for you to plan your workouts and exercise each month to reach your fitness goals.
UD Employee Virtual Group Fitness
Break a sweat from the comfort of your own home by participating in one of our free virtual fitness classes led by your favorite instructors! All classes are free to current employees, retirees, and their families. Register opens 24 hours in advance of class by accessing the Registration Portal. Check our Fitness page for the most updated schedule.
UD has joined NIRSA’s 2020 #RecMovement to help our Blue Hens stay active! This collaborative of over 40 colleges and universities allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to participate in live online fitness classes. There is also opportunity to access pre-recorded workouts. Let’s represent and reflect our Blue Hen Spirit on the #RecMovement Leaderboard! Join the 2020 #RecMovement now and create your account using your UD email address.
Unable to attend a live fitness class on our timetable? No worries! Check out our library of on-demand fitness classes that you can do any time, anywhere, and any place!
To help you stay active, we’ve teamed up with LES MILLS™ On Demand to give you free online workouts for 60 days. LES MILLS On Demand offers over 800 of your favorite workouts across 13 categories that range from 15 to 55 minutes at all fitness levels.
When you sign up you’ll be asked to enter your payment details, but you won’t be charged for the 60-day trial. If you want to continue beyond that, you’ll automatically become a paying subscriber at this special discounted rate of $9.99 (Retails at $14.99). Please note this trial is valid for new subscribers only. Simply click here to get started.
Virtual cycling classes, along with stationary bike rentals, are now available through Oh-So Cycle Studio! Oh-So Cycle has expanded their offerings to University of Delaware current and retired staff, faculty, and their families by offering discounted pricing on their virtual on-demand cycling memberships and top of the line at-home bike rentals. Learn more here.
Couch to 5k is a training plan to get new runners from having no running experience to being able to complete 3.1 miles, or a 5k. It is an 8-week plan that includes three workouts per week for 20 to 30 minutes. This schedule gets beginners used working out on a consistent basis, while also allows their bodies (and minds) to “get used” to running. Download the C25k 5k Trainer App to start tracking your running workouts for the next 8 weeks! Make sure to follow these safety tips for running in Newark, at night, or on the road. Follow these COVID-19 safety tips as well to avoid getting sick.
For other virtual on-demand fitness programs, please review this guide for some other varieties of workouts that can be done using your mobile device, tablet, or computer.
View class recordings for Recess! Through the art of play, this fun kids fitness class includes circuit training and games to develop skills to increase strength, balance, and cardio all while at home. Equipment may vary per class.
View class recordings for Family Yoga! The activities of this class are for children and parents to do together. Family Yoga helps children and parents: become stronger, more flexible, develop coordination, balance, and motor skills. Relaxation techniques, deeper focus, and concentration will be experienced by all and aid with becoming more grounded and peaceful together. All are welcome to Family Yoga!
BORN TO MOVE
Try BORN TO MOVE by signing up for a 60 day free trial with Les Mills On Demand! Designed to nurture a life-long love of physical activity, BORN TO MOVE™ helps children experience the joy and vitality of moving to music. Each virtual session feeds young people’s natural appetite for action, movement and play. Optimized for core developmental stages, BORN TO MOVE features programming for children aged 2-5 and for those aged 6-16.
Movement is the solution to living with less pain, more vitality, and more life. Even if you haven’t been active throughout your life, it’s not too late to start now. Moving is for everyone, and the best part is, you can start wherever you are and whatever level you are on. Utilize some of the video sources below to exercise pain-free and increase mobility, flexibility, balance, and strength.
How much exercise should I be doing?
According to the World Health Organization, adults are advised to do between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week — that’s 30 to 60 minutes per day, 5 days per week. Moderate exercise feels like a five or six out of ten effort level. If time is a factor, the guidelines suggest upping the intensity. In that case, adults should aim for 75 to 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise — effort you might rate a five or higher out of ten.
This year in 2020, the World Health Organization updated their recommendations and reaffirm messages that some physical activity is better than none, that more physical activity is better for optimal health outcomes and provide a new recommendation on reducing sedentary behaviors. These guidelines highlight the importance of regularly undertaking both aerobic and muscle strengthening activities and for the first time, there are specific recommendations for specific populations including for pregnant and postpartum women and people living with chronic conditions or disability.
They acknowledge a wider range of exercises, from muscle strengthening to balance workouts at least 2x a week for adults. Studies on resistance training suggest it can increase bone density and muscle quality (a measure of strength to muscle mass), which can prevent injuries from falling once people age. Furthermore, the guidelines suggest that a strength routine should be carried into old age. This is especially true for adults over the age of 65 and older: Combining different types of exercise, including muscle and balance workouts, three days per week could help prevent devastating falls, WHO states.
The guidelines also suggest limiting time spent sedentary is in itself a tool that can combat sitting’s dangers, in addition to exercising. Higher levels of physical activity can ‘offset’ the detriments to health of too much sedentary behavior in adults. Breaking up long bouts of sitting even with just 1 minute of stretching or of an exercise can decrease the health effects of being sedentary. Use these 1 minute exercises and stretches as a guide to move more at home or at work. Schedule reminders using calendar alerts or your phone alarm.
Are you thinking about starting a fitness program? Good for you! Review these 5 steps to help guide you to a healthier lifestyle:
- Assess your fitness level. Assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. Knowing the specifics can help you set realistic fitness goals, monitor your progress and maintain your motivation. Check out these tests and re-evaluate your progress every 1-3 months.
2. Consider your SMART Goals. Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated. Follow these guidelines to help you start setting SMART goals.
3. Create a balanced routine. Incorporate a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise into your week. Plan to include different activities such as walking, balance activities, strength training, swimming, etc. Allow enough time to recover.
4. Start low, and progress slowly. As your stamina improves, gradually increase the amount of time or intensity you exercise. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
5. Put your plan on paper. Schedule time out of your calendar to exercise. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track. Download this Monthly Exercise Tracker Template to get started!
For more information, visit here.
Exercise counseling is beneficial for anyone looking to start or improve their current physical activity routine. Our clinical exercise physiologists, can help you prevent or manage:
- High blood pressure, cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors
- Diabetes, kidney disease and other metabolic disorders
- Age- and disease-related muscle weakness
- Weight control
- Osteoporosis, arthritis and other orthopaedic disorders
- Stress and anxiety
Exercise counseling is beneficial for anyone starting or maintaining a physical activity routine. It’s available right here, through STAR Health at the University of Delaware. For more information, visit https://sites.udel.edu/nmhc/our-services/exercise-counseling/
GuidanceResources Online is an award-winning, comprehensive, interactive service that provides expert content and unique tools to assist you in every aspect of your life, all in a secure, easy-to-use, personalized environment. All UD employees and their family members have free access to the website at www.guidanceresources.com, mobile app to consult articles, podcasts, videos, webinars, and other helpful tools. Register to receive this free access (WebID: State of Delaware).
- The Benefits of Exercise
- Are You Getting Enough Exercise?
- Exercise for Special Conditions
- Pregnancy and Exercise
- Benefits of Strength Training
- Evaluating Home Exercise Equipment
- Exercises You Can Do While Sitting At Your Desk
- Weight Management
- Diet and Exercise Tips for Busy People
- Diet and Exercise for Seniors
- An Introduction to Mindfulness
Visit www.guidanceresources.com for more information!