6 creative ways to transform your workouts | Health and Fitness | journalstar.com – Lincoln Journal Star

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We’ve got the goss on the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to your skin and exercise. Buzz60’s Chloe Hurst has the story!
Most people know working out is good for your health, both physical and mental. But staying motivated — especially for the long haul — can be a struggle. Sure, you may get excited about training for a 5K or 10K, but once the race is over, your interest in running may quickly wane. Or you may be crazy about your new spin class, only to become tired of it after a few weeks.
Getting bored with exercise is normal. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health found boredom with sports activities is a prevalent emotion among amateur, college and even professional athletes.
People grow tired of their exercise routines because the body-mind unit is like a Jack Russell terrier, said Dr. Dan O’Neill, a sports psychologist and orthopaedic surgeon based in Plymouth, New Hampshire. “You need to always give it new challenges, new input, new ideas, new toys, new workout clothes — new, new, new.”
This means varying your workouts is vital to staying motivated, O’Neill said. And now that the calendar has flipped to a brand-new year, it’s the perfect time to inject some creativity into your exercise regimen. Here are six ways to get started.
Important note: Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your doctor. Stop immediately if you experience pain.
Use a GPS device to “draw” a word or image as you run.
Runners often map routes through city streets that create a word or image, then use a GPS device to “draw” it as they run. You can do the same, whether your favored exercise is running, walking or biking.
First, download a fitness app onto your mobile phone, smartwatch or fitness tracker. A few options are Nike+ Run Club, Strava Training and Runtastic. Then sketch out your message (HOPE!) or favored image (e.g., a heart or dog) online, using a mapping tool such as Map My Run. This way you’ll know exactly where to go. When you’re ready to head out, don’t forget to start your device’s GPS tracker. Afterward, make sure to stop your tracker and save your artwork so you can share it with others.
Not sure what image or message to create? You can always follow artistic routes others have created and shared in the apps. Some are impressively complex and may take several excursions to complete. But that’s part of the fun.
Exercising can be more fun with others, so look for group fitness opportunities.
Numerous communities offer free exercise opportunities. Fitness in the Park is a summer-long activity that has been operating in New York state for a decade. Everyone is welcome to head to one of 18 different parks and partake in Pilates, Zumba, kickboxing and more. In Washington, DC, the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District hosts TriFit during the warmer months, a series of free evening workouts held in Farragut Square. And in 53 locales around the globe, an average of 4,200 people per week join in the year-round November Project workouts.
November Project workouts incorporate running, stair-climbing, jumping, bodyweight exercises and circuits, along with zany antics. A Halloween workout with the November Project group in Madison, Wisconsin, involved tossing pumpkins back and forth with a partner; another linked specific exercises with the Uno cards you selected. Participants have ranged in age from about 10 to over 70, said co-leader Aaron Cahn, with 40 to 100 people regularly showing up for the group’s Wednesday and Friday morning sessions.
The group’s camaraderie has kept Austin Frion, 38, coming for about seven years now. “The best part is grabbing a partner that you don’t know, or getting together with one that you do,” Frion said. “It’s always inclusive and so much fun.”
Whether you take a class or practice at home, dancing is a great way to get your body moving.
Dancing doesn’t seem like exercise to a lot of people, which is why it’s always a popular option. It’s also something you can do anywhere, to any kind of music. Salsa, jazz, hip-hop — it all works.
Monica Monfre, a certified yoga teacher based in Scantlebury, Massachusetts, studied dance in college. To keep her yoga students engaged, she created Dance to Flow, a class that begins with 25 minutes of choreographed dance, transitioning to 25 minutes of a hip-opening yoga flow.
“The workout allows for a creative aspect and meditation at the same time,” she said. “Many people come because it is an opportunity to try something different, as well as to dance in a nonjudgmental space.”
Look for unique events that incorporate exercise, such as adventure racing.
Sure, you can run a 5K. But why not try orienteering? This timed navigational sport requires you to use detailed maps to find orange-and-white flags that are hidden in parks or remote terrain. The event is timed, so people often jog or power walk from flag to flag. Races such as Tough Mudder involve obstacle-studded running routes, where teamwork is encouraged so everyone finishes victorious. And adventure racing combines orienteering with several sports — generally trekking, cycling and paddling — and sometimes a surprise obstacle, such as a ropes course or climbing wall.
Parkour takes some practice, but with time you’ll be jumping over benches and balancing on top of walls.
Parkour is part noncompetitve sport, part art and part training discipline. Created in France in the 1980s, its purpose is to help people conquer obstacles found in an urban or natural environment through jumping, vaulting, balancing and other movements. Think walking atop a low retaining wall, or crossing a stream by hopping from rock to rock. Moves like these are often intuitive. But add a little speed and creativity, and your next walk may find you vaulting over a bench, hopping down steps two at a time and racing along the curb’s edge. While flashier parkour moves are best attempted after instruction and a lot of practice, there are plenty of easy moves most people can master.
Try relocating your workouts to a new spot for a change of pace.
If travel motivates you, book a retreat or training camp in an intriguing locale. Nike operates a high-altitude cross-country camp in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while a luxury hiking and wellness retreat awaits in Canada’s scenic British Columbia province. You can also scout out interesting classes whenever you’re out of town, like goat yoga and lessons on the flying trapeze.
No matter what you choose to do, O’Neill said it’s important to remember these four sport psychology basics: No negative talk; just showing up is important; you’ll feel better after exercising; and get outside.
“Any time with Mother Nature is well spent,” O’Neill said. “And she is easily the greatest motivator ever.”
There are lots of great reasons to decide to go “dry” in January and give up alcohol. Perhaps you imbibed a bit too much over the holidays, or want to start a diet or exercise routine and can’t afford the calories or the zap in energy and motivation that drinking can bring.
“Or it may be someone who truly is starting to wonder or question their relationship with alcohol, and this is an opportunity to really explore that,” said Dr. Sarah Wakeman, medical director of the Substance Use Disorders Initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“For some people saying ‘I’m not going to drink this entire month,’ might be really hard, so trying to do so may show you how easy or difficult it is for you,” said neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez, who conducts classes at Columbia University’s Teachers College.
What are expert advice on how to have a successful “dry January”? Read on.
It helps to be clear about your goal to make it a habit, said Wakeman, who is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“The research we have on goal setting says goals are more likely to be achieved if they’re really relevant to you as an individual and not abstract like ‘I should stop drinking because drinking is bad,’ ” she said.
Concrete goals such as embracing new sleep habits or an exercise routine will help make giving up drinking easier, she said.
“I really want to stop drinking because I know when I drink heavily I don’t get up the next morning and I don’t work out is a very specific goal,” Wakeman said.
Additional motivation can come from the health gains you can make from reducing or eliminating alcohol, experts say.
“Drinking less over time can have really measurable benefits in your health in terms of your blood pressure, your risk of cancer, your risk of liver disease and other conditions, Wakeman said.
“Over the course of a month, you may notice some short term benefits like better sleep, a better complexion due to improvements in your skin, feeling more clear headed and having more energy,” she added.
Many of us may be familiar with SMART goals from work or school settings, which are used to help people set attainable goals. It stands for:
“If you set a bar too high, you may fail, so it’s better to set smaller goals to achieve it,” Hafeez said. “Nothing starts without an honest conversation with yourself.”
Informing a few friends or family members of your goal can help you reach it, experts say. For some people it may work to announce their plan on social media — and even invite others to join in and report back on their progress..
“That’s where I think ‘dry January’ has kind of caught on,” Wakeman said. “If you publicly state you’re going to do something, you’re more likely to stick with it than if you keep it to yourself.”
Drinking is often associated with social gatherings or fun, festive times. That can train your brain to see alcohol as a positive. You can combat those urges by replacing your drink of choice with something equally festive or flavorful, experts say.
“For some people it can be just sparkling water, and for other people it’s actually having a ‘mocktail’ or some sort of (non-alcoholic) drink that feels fun and celebratory,” Wakeman said.
“Substituting one behavior for another can work because you’re tricking your brain,” Hafeez said. “That can absolutely help you avoid temptation.”
There is an entire industry devoted to making non-alcoholic drinks that taste (at least a bit) like the real thing. Some even claim to have added ingredients that are “calming” or “healthy.”
“I’m skeptical of anything that claims to relax you or have amazing health benefits that comes in a glass regardless of what it is,” Wakeman said. “But if it’s an alternative that allows you to feel like you’re not missing out on a social situation, and helps you make the changes that you want to your alcohol consumption, I don’t think there’s any downside to that.”
Even if you don’t end up cutting out all alcohol, tracking your emotions and urges to discover your triggers can be very helpful information, Wakeman said.
“Even just measuring your behavior, whether it’s alcohol or exercise or your diet can be an intervention inand of itself,” she said.
“Even if someone’s not yet ready to make changes, just keeping a diary of when you’re drinking, what situations you’re drinking more and how you’re feeling at those times, can really help you identify sort of trigger situations where you may be more likely to drink,” Wakeman added.
There’s an additional piece that’s important in successfully accomplishing a “dry January,” experts say. It’s important to notice if you — or a loved one — are showing any negative symptoms from cutting back or eliminating alcohol. It could be a sign that you need professional help to reach your goal.
“The first thing to be mindful of is whether or not you actually have an alcohol use disorder,” Wakeman said. “If someone’s been drinking very heavily every single day and is at risk for withdrawal symptoms, then it can actually be dangerous to stop abruptly.”
A person with a true alcohol use disorder, who has gotten used to having a certain level of alcohol in their body every single day, can go into withdrawal and experience severe physical symptoms like shakiness, sweating, rapid heart rate and seizures.
“That would be a real indication that you need to talk to a medical professional about getting medical treatment for withdrawal and not stopping on your own,” Wakeman said.
Melanie Radzicki McManus is a freelance writer who specializes in hiking, travel and fitness.

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The county had more than 1,600 cases last week as the omicron variant shows up more and more in test results.

The uptick is likely due to the omicron variant, which the most recent sequencing at the Nebraska Public Health Lab showed was responsible for 77% of cases in the state.

Because of that demand, Nomi Health has brought in additional staff and is planning to expand its free parking lot testing site in Lincoln.

Previously, people could drop in at the site unregistered, but in recent weeks delays for the free tests have stretched to several hours and have led to people getting turned away at the end of the day.
OMAHA — In the past few weeks, some people have scrambled to find rapid at-home tests to screen for COVID-19.

On Friday, Lancaster County reported 307 new cases and two deaths, men in their 70s and 80s who had been vaccinated.

With sub-zero wind chills in the Thursday forecast, Nomi Health officials said there will be no COVID-19 testing at its outdoor site at Gateway Mall.

Kearney Regional Medical Center opened eight years ago and has grown to 93 beds and about 850 employees, all of which will join Bryan. 

The governor encouraged Nebraska residents to enroll in the WellPower Movement, a free program organized by the nonprofit Nebraska Sports Council. The program offers an activity tracker, group challenges and other features.

Long lines of cars have been common at the Nomi testing site in the Gateway Mall parking lot. Officials said the testing site is expected to be open on Saturday.
Exercising can be more fun with others, so look for group fitness opportunities.
Whether you take a class or practice at home, dancing is a great way to get your body moving.
Use a GPS device to “draw” a word or image as you run.
Parkour takes some practice, but with time you’ll be jumping over benches and balancing on top of walls.
Look for unique events that incorporate exercise, such as adventure racing.
Try relocating your workouts to a new spot for a change of pace.
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