High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This type of work out has become increasingly popular because of its benefits and ability to be modified for all fitness levels. HIIT workouts typically burn more calories due to the high intensity and can even be completed without equipment. They can provide the same benefits as a long cardiovascular endurance workout, but in a much shorter period of time.

HIIT has been shown to improve:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Blood pressure and Cardiovascular health
  • Body’s ability to use glucose for fuel to convert to energy while exercising
  • Abdominal fat and body weight

Developing a HIIT workout:

When choosing to develop a HIIT program it is important to always be aware of safety and the individual’s current fitness level. The foundation for developing a dynamic HIIT program will be determining your high intensity and recovery intervals. Referring to your estimated target heart zones is the best method for choosing these work loads.

Moderate to high intensity interval – this bout of exercise should feel “hard” to “very hard” and should be at 80-95% of an individual’s maximal heart rate

Recovery interval– this bout of exercise should be a very comfortable activity that allows you to “rest” for your next interval of high intensity exercise

Popular HIIT interval ratios:

  • 1:1 intervals – high intensity intervals are equal to recovery intervals

For example: 3 min of running followed by 3 minutes of walking with the combo repeated several times depending on desired total workout time

  • Spring training interval method– 30 seconds of near max effort followed by 4-4.5 minutes of recovery interval

For example: 30 seconds of max effort sprint followed by a 4 minute walk with the combo repeated 3-5 times

Examples of aerobic exercises used for a HIIT program could include walking, running, rowing, swimming, and stair climbing


Choosing to start an exercise program is a great way to feel better and gain health benefits.  However, knowing how hard to exercise can be challenging.  How can you tell if you are working too hard or not hard enough? Your target heart rate helps you determine a safe and healthy range for exercise intensity.

Before determining your target heart zone you must first calculate your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).

  • Estimated using the formula: 220-age = MHR
  • MHR represents the number of beats per minute your heart should not exceed during exercise.

Target Heart Rate zone (THR)

  • Estimated using the following formula:

Moderate intensity (50-69%):  MHR x .50 = _____ to MHR x .69 = ______

High intensity (70-90%):  MHR x .70 = _____ to MHR x .90 = ______

40 90-153 bpm 180 bpm
45 88-149 175
50 85-145 170
55 83-140 165
60 80-136 160
65 78-132 155
70 75-128 150
75 72-123 145
80 70-119 140


The chart above is estimated moderate and high intensity target heart zones for a variety of age ranges.

It’s important to remember that these are estimated values.  Stop exercising immediately if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness.

While exercising regularly check to see if you are working with in your recommended target heart zone.

  • Find your pulse on  your wrist by using your first two fingers
  • Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute. This number represents your current heart rate in beats per minute.
  • Check to see if you are within your recommended target heart rate zone

If you are taking medication that affects your heart rate or you are new to exercise, always consult your doctor to find out what your target heart rate should be or if you should be using another method for determining the intensity of your workouts. 


Is there any way to slow down the aging process?

Is there any way to slow down the aging process?


The Center for Disease Control cites three main things you can do to live a longer, healthier life. The first is to stop smoking, which is associated with cell aging at three times the normal rate.  The second is to eat healthy foods, and the third is to exercise moderately most days of the week. Can these longevity factors be measured?

In 2009 Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn won a Nobel Prize for her discovery of telomerase, an enzyme that may protect and rebuild our DNA. All of our 46 chromosomes which look similar to a big “X” are sealed at the ends by something called telomeres. As we age, these sealed ends of the chromosomes unravel much like a fraying rope. When the seals completely disappear, we’ve reached our life’s end. If we can keep them from fraying or even lengthen them, we “reverse” the aging process. Science now has the ability to actually measure your chromosomal age. It is also possible to see improvement in the telomere unraveling after lifestyle changes. Many micronutrients support healthy telomeres and these too can be measured at the cellular level. These tests are now available and no longer just in an experimental lab.

Inflammation seems to be the common denominator in all chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune problems. Risk factors like stress, exposure to environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, lack of exercise and poor diet all contribute to inflammation. Improving your diet with specific foods that decrease inflammation is the single most important step in the anti-aging process. In general, eat a colorful variety of foods, preferably fresh.  Try to eliminate pre-packaged or processed foods that have preservatives or artificial coloring. Sugar and white flour need to be greatly reduced. Make vegetables and fruits your main source of calories. Limit the amount of animal protein you eat except wild-caught fish. Always avoid margarine and shortening, and instead substitute nuts, avocados and olive oil. Don’t forget to drink plenty of filtered water.

Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are highly anti-inflammatory. These are found in nuts and seeds as well as in wild, cold water-caught fish, and are key micronutrients which may increase our lifespan.  Studies have reinforced DHA supplementation in pregnant and nursing women to promote fetal brain and nervous system development. Not only are Omega-3s anti-inflammatory, but they improve lipids, decrease blood clots, and inhibit hardening of the arteries. DHA may also have an important role in brain health and guard against disorders like ADHD. Fish oil may help artery elasticity and reduce heart rate and abnormal heart rhythms. Supplementing with a high quality Omega-3 fatty acid may also reduce oxidative stress and prevent telomere shortening.

Take the challenge – have your genetic age measured by an Integrative specialty lab . Then adopt a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, stress reduction and a non-processed, mainly plant-based diet. According  to Dr. Leonard Hayflick  our lifespan may be extended to 125 years. Recheck your chromosomes in six months and see if you aren’t “aging in reverse.”



Contributed by Dr. Heather Auld, Integrative Medicine







The Effects of Exercise on the Brain and Alzheimer’s Disease


Research has told us for decades that exercise lowers the risk of heart disease, strengthens bones and muscles, reduces stress, and helps manage weight. However, it offers far more benefits that are not quite as obvious.  Studies have shown that exercise can improve cognitive function. This evidence leads researchers to believe that exercise may be beneficial for individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer’s or for those that already have the disease.  Brain functions such as memory loss, reasoning, and judgment all decline as the disease progresses.  For the longest time many would suggest medication was the best treatment for Alzheimer’s, but now research shows behavior intervention can be used in adjunction to medication to slow down brain aging associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s.  Exercise can lead the way in behavior intervention for individuals suffering with Alzheimer’s.

How does exercise benefit the brain?

Research suggests that 30-60 min of daily exercise, several times a week, could delay the start or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Human studies show that the probability that someone will lose cognitive function in the short term is reduced by exercise. Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping your blood flowing, but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain.  Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging (Mayo Clinic).

Neuroscientists have known for many years that a normal protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), is released during aerobic exercise and stimulates the growth of new neurons. Recently, Dr. Carl W. Cotman of the University of California performed a study using animal subjects.  His findings suggest that exercise may be the most ideal and beneficial behavior change to preserve the brain.

Dr. Cotman’s study consisted of two groups. One group had access to a running wheel at night and the other group that was forced to be sedentary with no access to a wheel.  Animal subjects that exercised in the running wheel at night had better problem solving and reasoning skills when put in a Morris Water Maze. Subjects that had been exercising were consistently able to locate the platform, just underneath the surface of the water, significantly faster than sedentary subjects.   The studies showed that exercised subjects were able to learn faster and better than sedentary subjects. Cotman stated, “BDNF was increased in the part of the brain that controls thinking and learning.  The same part of the brain that is vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease. The brain showed a self preservation mechanism that also made it smarter” (Alzheimer’s Project).

Based on these animal model studies, Cotman stated in his conclusion, “Exercise increases the BDNF and acts as a nutrient or “fertilizer” for neurons.  Exercise can induce growth factors, help build neurons, synapses, and improve learning” (Alzheimer’s Project). These findings show that a simple behavior change such as exercise can help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and improve cognitive function.


Mayo Clinic

“The Alzheimer’s Project”, a presentation of HBO Documentary Films & the National Institute on Aging at the National Institute of Health in association with Alzheimer’s Association

To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, Join Mental Health Therapist, Angel Duncan from the Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida for “Understanding Alzheimer’s:  Facts, Figures, and Future Outlook” on Monday, February 6th at 11:15am.  This is a complimentary lecture, but we ask that you call the Fitness Center at 495-1937 or stop by the Fitness Center to register as space is limited.

Improving Golf Performance with Med Ball Training

Improving Golf Performance with Med Ball Training


The benefits of medicine ball training go far beyond the gym and can be added to anyone’s fitness routine, especially someone looking for improved golf performance.

Through various exercises, medicine balls can elicit a response of increased strength, stamina, and coordination similar to that of lifting weights; however, unlike weights they can also benefit the user with increased power rarely achieved from weights alone. When throwing a medicine ball, the corresponding muscles contract and accelerate through the finish until the ball is released. That is contrasted with typical weight training where the muscles decelerate at the end of the lift. The acceleration carries over to the golf swing where it doesn’t ultimately matter how much force you have in your swing; it matters how well you convert that force into speed.

Titleist Performance Institute founder, Greg Rose, created a formula that predicts anyone’s maximum potential club head speed. His formula is calculated with the results of three exercises, two of which are medicine ball throws! The basic idea is that while strength and mobility are essential, it is only when you add the power component that you increase your ability to swing faster.

Power is precisely defined as (force x distance)/time. As your strength increases, your force increases. As you apply that force over a longer distance and/or more quickly, your power increases. Medicine ball training is perhaps the most effective and safest way to train for that power.

Improving Golf Performance with Med Ball Training, a two-session workshop that will be offered on February 6 and 13 at 4:00pm, will include many exercises to do just that: increase your power and ability to hit the ball farther. We will cover the basics of how and why to use medicine balls, technique, and hands-on practice in a challenging and interesting environment giving you all you need to include medicine ball training in your routine. The cost of the workshop is $30, and we ask those who are interested to call the Fitness Center at 495-1937 or stop by the Fitness Center to register for this event.Steve-squat


Rock Steady Boxing Packs a Powerful Punch

Rock Steady Boxing Packs a Powerful Punch

For Those With Parkinson’s 


Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living for those with Parkinson’s Disease. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression.

Why Boxing?

Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, balance, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At Rock Steady the opponent is Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s causes a loss in many of the same elements that boxers condition to improve. And published medical research has shown that forced, intense exercise can reduce, reverse and delay Parkinson’s symptoms. We also know that a diversity of symptoms needs to be addressed simultaneously.

In comparison with other sports, boxing is the most physically demanding styles of training, according to a study conducted by ESPN and by people who have done it! But in addition to being an intense, diverse form of training, boxing is also an incredible stress reliever, confidence booster and FUN!

Source: www.rocksteadyboxing.org/parkinsons-boxing-classes/

Rock Steady Is Here!

We are now offering Rock Steady Boxing classes for club members on Tuesdays at 11:00am , Thursdays at 11:00am, and Saturdays at 1:00pm. For more information on the program including pricing and how to get started or to speak to one of our Rock Steady Boxing coaches, please call 495-1937 or stop by the Fitness Center.

IMG_1570 IMG_1571 IMG_1536 IMG_1526 IMG_1547 IMG_1575 IMG_1559



Why am I addicted to Junk Food


Losing weight and staying fit are usually in the top five for New Year’s resolutions.  Year after year, people make these resolutions and year after year, only about 8% of those who make resolutions actually are successful.  Some experts believe that this is because we don’t have a plan for achieving our goals and others believe that it because our goals are too lofty and we get frustrated.  This year, have a plan and hold yourself accountable, but be forgiving.  And, make lifestyle changes that will help you maintain the healthy weight that you are striving for.

Losing weight is a journey… a lifestyle change.  Don’t think of it as another diet that you will start over again on Monday.

Why am I addicted to junk food? 

auld-heatherContributed by Dr. Heather Auld

Integrative Medicine, Lee Health

It seems clever food manufacturers know just how to tantalize our taste buds.  For a long time sugar was considered the number one “addictive” food additive.  Along come fat and salt whose cravings may be just as bad, if not more habit-forming than sugar.

According to Salt, Sugar, Fat by Michael Moss, simply spotting French fries in a fast food commercial can send dopamine surging into our brains.  Dopamine is a natural chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

You can retrain your brain by cooking whole foods with a variety of spices.  Be creative.  At first the food may seem bland compared to what you are used to, but eventually (in roughly four to twelve weeks) the subtlety of flavors will reawake your taste buds.

Two programs that will help you with your healthy transformation:

Learn about the 10 Day Detox by Metagenics

January 23

11:15 a.m.

Lecture:  complimentary

Cost of 10 day detox: $320 payable to LeeHealth Integrative Medicine

The 10 Day Detox is not a colon cleanse.  It is a scientifically-based eating program that will enhance the body’s natural metabolic detoxification process whole providing fuel to your body for not only cleansing but other daily activities.  This is a great way to jump start your weight loss and Healthy Transformation.

Healthy Transformation

Kickoff Meeting, Wednesday, February 8

11:15 a.m.

Lecture:  complimentary

Cost of the Healthy Transformation: $1200 payable to Integrative Medicine, LeeHealth

Look and feel better with this medically-supervised program headed by Dr. Heather Auld and Naturopath, Teresa Spano from LeeHealth’s Integrative Medicine.  The Healthy Transformation program includes three convenient kits, each with a 30-day supply of targeted nutritional products, five BIA’s (body comp analysis), five interpretations, and a series of group classes.  The Healthy Transformation is a great way to follow up the jump start from the 10-day detox.

Stress, the Holidays, and Your Blood Pressure


Stress, the Holidays, and Your Blood Pressure

For the 80 million Americans with high blood pressure, the hectic holiday crunch is cause for a little extra caution.


Things to watch out for:

  • Salty snacks: There’s no shortage of salty snacks around the holidays, but we aware that increased sodium intake has been shown to increase blood pressure and causes the body to retain fluids that place an increased burden on your heart.
  • Holiday Stress: For some, the holidays bring great joy, but for others, the crowds, the quest to find the perfect gift, the economic uncertainty, the back to back parties, missing loved ones, and the lack of sleep that goes with the hustle and bustle of the season can be overwhelming. And while not all stress is bad, chronic stress can cause your body to go into high gear for days and weeks at a time which may not directly cause an increase in blood pressure but can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices as a coping mechanism to combat the stresses of the holiday season.
  • Take Your Medication: It is quite literally sabotaging yourself if you don’t take the medications that your doctor has prescribed. The holidays can be stressful and hectic, but don’t forget or skip taking them as is can literally increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
  • Beware of over the counter medications: Colds and the flu run rampant this time of the year. Many of the over the counter medications that combat colds and the flu can increase your blood pressure. Always check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before mixing your medications.



This holiday season, take time to relax and remember what’s important. Go for a walk or a run. Volunteer your time to help others; it will help you keep perspective and helping others in need can help you feel less isolated.  



Understanding Blood Pressure

How do I read my blood pressure?

Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers:

  • Systolic (top number) measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats or contracts.
  • Diastolic (bottom number) measures the pressure in the arteries during the rest period while the chambers are refilling with blood.

Which number is more important, top (systolic) or bottom (diastolic)?

Typically more attention is given to the top number (the systolic blood pressure) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50 years old. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque, and increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

When is an individual considered to be at risk for hypertension?


The chart above shows the ranges of blood pressure readings that are considered normal or could be cause for concern.

Why is managing blood pressure important?

Possible health consequences that can happen over time when high blood pressure is left untreated include:

Damage to the heart and coronary arteries, including heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection and atherosclerosis (fatty buildups in the arteries that cause them to harden), stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, erectile dysfunction, memory loss, fluid in the lungs, Angina, Peripheral artery disease

When should I take my blood pressure?

It is important to remember that blood pressure can fluctuate so taking readings at home is beneficial for monitoring blood pressure. Remember to take readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening, or as your healthcare professional recommends.



What do I do if I am diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension)?

When your blood pressure is 140 or higher for your systolic pressure (top number) OR 90 or higher for your diastolic pressure (bottom number), a healthcare provider may prescribe a medication to help you maintain a healthy blood pressure. In addition to medication your healthcare provider will recommend following these guidelines:



Sources: American Heart Association


Should I exercise when I’m sick?

Should I exercise when I’m sick?

You wake up Monday morning with a runny nose and a scratchy throat, but you had every intention of doing a full-blown work out today. Should you still work out even though you are in the midst of a cold? Many of us dedicated to our daily exercise routines go back and forth with this dilemma. The simplest answer is to allow a few days of rest. However, for most individuals dedicated to their fitness routines that isn’t an option. If you choose to continue to exercise use the suggested guidelines for exercising when dealing with an illness.


  • When you feel a cold or flu coming on it is okay to continue to exercise. However, if your symptoms worsen after a workout then consider cutting back to 50% of your effort /intensity. For example, try walking for your desired workout time instead of running. Cutting back on the number of sets during strength training sessions is another way to reduce intensity when dealing with illness.


  • Use the above -the-neck rule: If your symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough, or sneezing, you should be fine to exercise. But if your symptoms are below the neck, such a chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc., make sure to rest. If you have a fever you are contagious for the first five to seven days.


  • It is important to drink plenty of water and get extra sleep to help with the recovery process. Also refrain from consuming alcohol. When you decide to return to your normal exercise routine remember to do it gradually. Starting at 75% will help you ease back into exercising, while reducing the risk of increasing your recovery time. Always listen to your own body.


Source:  Raul Seballos, M.D., vice-chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic