Getting fit… . Are you ready to take it up a notch? In my last article, Fitness — Moving to the Next Level, I shared a little bit about my background and these wonderful ladies who took me on as their project (yes, in this case, instead of completing the project, I am the project). With Physical Therapist, Diane Foley, I will share two paths — one for the newbie (that’s me), and the other for the more advanced. As a reminder, please talk to your physician before making any changes to your regular health care routine. If anything you do hurts, please STOP immediately! The purpose of this series is to move our fitness to the next level and improve our health, not detract from it.

physical therapist, Diane Foley
Diane Foley, Physical Therapist
Rules of the workout:
  • Frequency: 2-3 times a week. Take 2 days off between workouts to give your muscles time to recover.
  • Time: one minute on each station (unless otherwise noted)
  • Intensity: Pick a weight that you can lift for the entire minute and is moderately difficult on the last repetition. The weight may be very light for some of the exercises. This is okay!
First Set of Stations:
fitness, exercise, aerobic exercise, weights, body beautiful, weight control, weight loss
Getting Fit – Karen on the Elliptical
  1. Ride a stationary bike or elliptical (for advanced and newbies). If you do not have access to either, march in place at a quick pace making sure you bring your legs up high enough to hit your hands as you hold your arms at the elbow straight out at a 90 degree angle.
fitness, exercise, aerobic exercise, weights, body beautiful, weight control, weight loss
Getting Fit: Diane – Wall Squat with Overhead Lift

2. Wall Squat:

  • Newbie: Using a large exercise ball, place the ball between your lower back and the wall while move your feet comfortably away from the wall. Slide into a squat moving up and down, keeping the knees behind the toes. Hold each squat for 5 seconds and return to beginning position.
  • Advanced: Do the Wall Squat as noted above, however, add weights and lift overhead on the way up.
    fitness, exercise, aerobic exercise, weights, body beautiful, weight control, weight loss
    Getting Fit: Karen – Wall Squat with Overhead Lift

    The first exercise is more like a warm up to get things going. What is your favorite exercise to get that heart rate up?

Stay tuned for next week’s article with the second set. Because this series makes up an entire workout routine, these articles will be published weekly rather than biweekly.

Body Beautiful – Weight Control & Exercise

With summer upon us, there’s new incentive to reach that ideal body weight and get fit. Anyone can achieve their body beautiful with weight control and exercise. Does it take work? Absolutely! Is it worth it? That’s up to you. I’ve posted a number of articles to help you achieve your goals, but instead of searching to find your answer, this post provides the links with a brief description for your convenience. Then, we’ll take it to the next level… Remember, always speak to your physician before making any changes to your health care regimen.

weight control, energy balance, take charge, motivation, exercise, portion control, maintenance
5 lb Human Fat Model

Provides an overview of energy balance and how it relates to weight control.
Tip #1 – Write it down.
Tip #2 – Use an app.


energy balance, take charge, motivation, portion control, maintenance
On the Road to Healthy Living

Learn how to set your goals and create a realistic plan.
Tip #3 – Find an accountability partner.
Tip #4 – Cut out distractions.




Fish, healthy,
Trout the Healthy Way
                   The Key to Successful Weight Loss

The key is in portion control. Learn the difference between a portion and a serving size.

Tip #5 – Add water.
Tip #6 – Fill with fiber.



exercise, weight control, energy balance, take charge, motivation, portion control, serving size, maintenance
Body Type: Apple or Pear

Although we’re each born with a certain body type, excess fat around the middle is dangerous.

Tip #7 – Chew longer with smaller bites.
Tip #8 – Consume protein.

exercise, weight control, energy balance, take charge, motivation, portion control, serving size, maintenance, food choice, low calorie alternatives
Supermarket – Low Calorie Alternatives

Replace high calorie foods with low calorie alternatives. Check out the recommendations.

Tip #9 – Think smaller.
Tip #10 – Eat protein after exercising.

exercise, weight control, energy balance, take charge, motivation, portion control, serving size, maintenance, food choice, low calorie alternatives, stretching
My Dad: Christian Van Den Heuvel  Exercise is Key: A Tribute to Our Military



Exercise is critical to your health. Take a step in the right direction — the benefits of walking.




exercise, weight control, energy balance, take charge, motivation, portion control, serving size, maintenance, food choice, low calorie alternatives, stretching
Motivated? Tips for Calorie Control

When you’re ready to take the weight off and keep it off, you are motivated. Check out the tips for success in the following areas:

  • Plan
  • Activities
  • Eating Behavior
  • Parties & Holidays
  • Your Reward
  • How to Monitor Yourself
  • Shopping
physical therapist, Diane Foley
Diane Foley, Physical Therapist


Meet Physical Therapist, Diane Foley, and learn a few simple moves to decrease some of the health risks associated with sitting. In this article, Diane provides a stretch for the first of five common muscle groups affected by sitting — the neck.



Chest Stretch, Pectoral Stretch, Stretches
Diane Foley, Physical Therapist
                           Pectoral Stretch

This article is the second in the series with Diane and focuses on the next muscle group — the chest (pectoral) muscles.




side stretch, lower back muscles
Side Stretch for the Lower Back

The title says it all.


Stretch, hip flexor, hip muscle
Hip Flexor Stretch

Sitting causes the front of the hips to stiffen and tighten. Stretching these front hip muscles (hip flexors) is important. Diane shows you how.



stretches, stretches for the back of the legs, calf stretch lunge
Stretches for the Back of the Legs — Calf Stretch Lunge

Hamstrings and calves are the last muscle group in this series affected by prolonged sitting. Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch and make a difference in your life.




With the review complete, we are ready to take it to the next level. Follow me in this next series as I personally bump it up a notch with Diane and her exercise partner Karen. Although Karen and I share the same first name, she is way ahead of me on the fitness scale.

Are you ready? What’s your incentive?

Your Health — A Few Simple Moves

stretches, simple moves, exercises
A Few Simple Moves

Most people sit more than 8 or 9 hours a day. A few simple moves are required to help decrease the risk associated with sitting. It’s common knowledge that cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and a multitude of other life-threatening illnesses. According to the American Diabetes Association, sitting is the next “cigarette.” However, sitting is to a writer and a myriad of other professions, as running is to an athlete. It’s essential, and most of us experience pain as a result.

Solutions are few and far between and include things like standing desks (with different health issues) and expensive treadmill desks which contain inherent risks. Aside from the obvious of multitasking 2 different types of activities, one of which is on a moving machine — I know I’d fall flat on my face, and if I didn’t fall, I’d be trying not to fall instead of working.

Diane Foley — Physical Therapist
physical therapist, Diane Foley
Diane Foley, Physical Therapist

We are going to have a guest for this next series. Diane Foley is a physical therapist who is going to share a few simple moves that you may have done or heard of before, but always check with your physician before you make any changes to your health regimen and if something hurts when you do it, immediately stop.

First, a little background on Diane:

  • She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Sports Science at the University of New Mexico in 1986 and her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy at Stockton State College in 1992.
  • Diane worked as an inpatient and outpatient Physical Therapist for McKee hospital for 11 years and has been actively setting up exercise programs for individuals for the last 8 years.
  • She is passionate about motivating people to become healthy so they can enjoy life to the fullest!

According to Diane, “Sitting for prolonged periods of time can put your body at risk for pain syndromes and injury due to muscle tightness. The good news is everyone has the ability to avoid and even reverse painful and tight muscles by taking short breaks during the day and actively stretching.”

Diane will identify the 5 most common muscle groups that tighten up with prolonged sitting and follow each muscle group with a stretch that can loosen up tight muscles. Each stretch should be performed for 20-30 seconds 2-3 times.

The first involves the neck muscles.
Neck Stretch, stretches
Neck Stretch

“Most people strain their neck forward when looking down or at a computer screen for prolonged periods of time.” To help alleviate this problem, Diane suggests the Side Bend Stretch.

Side Bend Stretch:

Sit or stand with your arms at your side. Keeping your shoulders down, move your head to the right trying to touch your ear to your shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch of the neck muscles on the left side. Optional: to further stretch, take your right hand and very gently put a small pressure on your head and try to stretch the ear to the shoulder a little further.

stretches, neck stretch
Stretches – Neck Stretch – Optional

Hold for 20-30 seconds and return to starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.


This is the first in a series of helpful stretches from Diane. Stay tuned for more.

If your job requires extensive sitting, do you have any recommendations for alleviating the pain?

Exercise Is Key: A Tribute to Our Military!

My Dad: Christian Van Den Heuvel
My Dad: Christian Van Den Heuvel

The health benefits of exercise is a well known fact including its importance in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It is also critical for our military who is tasked with maintaining the safety of our country as well as others. This article is a tribute to our military — THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Army Medicine
Army Medicine

With the time constraints we are all faced with in our busy lives, more than one looming question remains: 1) What type of exercise do I need to do to make a difference? and 2) How much time do I need to spend exercising?

In the United States, the average adult takes 5,117 steps per day. While that may sound significant, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, that number must be doubled to be considered physically active.

Taking a hike
Taking a hike

Walking has been found to decrease your risk of heart disease, raise the “good” HDL cholesterol levels, balance stress hormones, and help improve both blood sugar and blood pressure. Moreover, research in the journal of Neurology (Oct. 19, 2010 issue) found that walking can improve brain function and decrease a person’s risk in developing memory problems. According to the study’s lead author, Kirk I. Ericsson, Ph.D., “It appears there are some fairly rapid cognitive benefits, so starting to exercise in late age isn’t futile.”

On a Hike
On a Hike

Try to add 20 to 25 minutes of walking to your daily routine for an initial goal. Even if you are already active, that’s a good plan. You’ll add approximately 2000 steps per day which is about a mile, and burn typically 100 calories. This is enough exercise to prevent the average yearly weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds. If this seems too taxing, start with just 10 minutes of daily walking and build from there. Even that amount can be a life-saver. According to David R. Bassett, Jr., Ph.D., a director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research has found that women who walk just an hour a week are more likely to live longer when they are compared with their less-active peers.

Exercise Is Key
Exercise Is Key

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that the injury rates for overweight and obese people in walking programs were comparable to the rates for overweight and obese people who were sedentary. Just make sure that you see your doctor before you increase your activity. Also, invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

I watched a neighbor take control of her life, and her weight. She walked. She started her day walking her dogs, took her break walking, and ended her day walking. Less than one year later, she walked off 100 pounds. That is dedication. That is the power of walking.

How about you? What has walking done for you? Do you know someone in the military that you would like to pay tribute to?

TIP: Use an app. Research has shown they make a difference.

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

Lean Bellies and Body Type

There are 2 main body types: the apple shaped or pear. Which are you? Research shows that the apple is the more dangerous of the two because the fat is centered on your middle, where your heart, lungs, and various other organs are situated. Now we can’t control our body type — we’re born with it, but we can control how lean our bellies are.
There are a myriad of studies (check out the CDC) which show the dangers of excess fat around our middle. Here is the bottom line:

Women  with lean bellies are:
Women: Lean Bellies
Women: Lean Bellies
  • 57% less likely to die of heart disease
  • 69% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • 40% less likely to develop arthritis of the hips or knees
  • 12% less likely to have a stroke
  • 40% less likely to die of cancer
  • 21% less likely to experience arousal dysfunction
Men with lean bellies are:
Lean Bellies: Father (82) & Son (52)
Lean Bellies: Father (82) & Son (52)
  • 32% less likely to die of heart disease
  • 83% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
  • 63% less likely to develop arthritis
  • 32% less likely to develop sleep apnea
  • 45% less likely to develop cancer
  • 61% less likely to have erectile dysfunction

Measure your waistline. A woman’s waist circumference should be no greater than 35 inches (88 centimeters). Men should have a waist circumference no more than 40 inches (102 centimeters). In the United States, approximately $90 billion dollars annually is attributable to weight-related disease. Tax payers pay half of this cost through Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t be one of the statistics!

(Check out the previous tips: Tip #1 & Tip #2 in week one, Tip #3 & Tip #4 in week 2, and Tip #5 & Tip #6 in week 3).

Lean Bellies
Lean Bellies

TIP #7: CHEW. Take smaller bites and chew your food longer. According to a study published in the scientific journal Physiology and Behavior, it may help you eat less at meals. If you slow down and enjoy your food, your brain has more time to register the eating process. In short: Don’t take the term “slider” literally.TIP #8: EAT PROTEIN. This nutrient has the ability to raise the level of peptides in your stomach. These little peptides relay messages telling your brain that your stomach is full. Your body also expends more energy trying to digest it.

Do you have a tip to share?

(c) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer