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FitLink Newsletter: April 2, 2009 - Spring has sprung! Get outside!

It's time to shed our extra layers of clothes...and bodyfat. Now that the weather is warmer, we can get outside more for fresh air and exercise. Being more active means that you are going to rev up your metabolism which makes it easier to lose extraneous bodyfat. We tend to be more sedentary in the winter as we hide indoors which helps us to pack on extra weight that we don't need. Now, it's time to hang up your puffy parka and grab your sunglasses and sunscreen. April 8 is National Start Walking Day, thanks to the American Heart Association; so, join the movement and remember to wear your sneakers and walk for 30 minutes every day. If you don't have 30 minutes all at once, you can do 3 ten-minute walks. Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that will increase your energy, burn fat, build muscle and lower your risk for heart disease, America's #1 killer. If you work full-time and have to balance family life and dinner at home, walk during your lunch break. Just take an extra shirt with you and keep your sneakers under your desk. You'll probably have co-workers joining you by the end of the week and even make new friends which will make going to work that much more enjoyable.

When you do have extra time to spend outside, head to the park or somewhere away from traffic for extra space. In the midst of your walk or run, stop for 5 minutes and do some strength training exercises. These can include walking lunges, arm circles, push-ups (find a tree trunk if the ground is muddy) and heel raises. If you have a stroller or wear a backpack, take a jumprope with you and jump to your heart's content for a few minutes. That will give you a great heart workout in a short amount of time. If you are a mom of young children, look into joining or starting a stroller walking group. It will give you some adult company and get your kids used to the idea living an active life.

April showers DO bring May flowers, so on those rainy days when it is raining cats and dogs, take extra trips up and down your stairs at home or work to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise. Or lay on your floor and do a "lift everything" workout: 'lift' your legs while laying on your side, back, and front, then 'lift' your head and shoulders while laying on your back and front, then 'lift' your arms and legs while laying on your back and front. Stand up and do 2 sets of 2 minute squats or lunges, and you'll be on your way to having a trimmer figure without splashing your way to the gym.

Special Welcome to: Salt Lake City Marathon and Events

FitLink co-founders proctor, cecharlier, and jcborro are running in the Salt Lake City marathon and half-marathon on April 18, 2009. Keep track of their training by clicking on their name to view their profiles and watch for the results! The SLC Race Organization expects 14,000 runners and cyclists in their marathon, half-marathon, 5k, and Bike tour, and over 250,000 spectators. Sign up and join them.

Did You Know?

You can create your own group on FitLink to keep you motivated this Spring and beyond. National Start Walking Day is April 8, so join a group or start a group and invite your friends to join you in living a healthier life.

Focus Muscle: Arms

This edition of the FitLink newsletter is featuring arms. The arms are made up of many muscles, including biceps, triceps and forearms. Listed below is a ten minute workout that you can do with very little equipment to strengthen these muscles.

New FitLink Workout: Arms of Steel

Use a resistance tube with handles for this workout, or a stretchy resistance band of any sort. It is a great workout for travelers or for people who don't have a lot of time to spend at the gym training their arms. Do two sets of each exercise to fatigue. Try to do it at least twice a week, or up to four times if you want to accelerate your progress.

Bicep Curls Tricep Extension Forearm Curls Arm Circles

Arm strength comes in handy for anyone trying to carry groceries home or lift a suitcase, and is aesthetically pleasing which we remember as we start to put away turtlenecks and bring tank tops out of the attic. You can train your arms easily at home with an exercise tube or Thera-band, or train them at them gym while doing chest and back exercises. Even if you don't have a lot of time to spend on your arms, you can always find 2 minutes: stand with your feet hip width apart and lift your arms to shoulder height with straight elbows and circle them forwards and backwards, pulse them up, down, front and back, then hold them out to your side until they become exhausted. You'll be stunned at how quickly this gets tough, and at how effective it is at toning your arms.

Shapely Tip: Use your shoes!

Put your sneakers next to the door so that you are reminded each morning to make time to wear them and walk, run, hop, skip or jump your way through a workout.

Heart-Healthy Mushroom Quesadillas

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 8-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas
  • 6 tablespoons shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers or low-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tomato (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large skillet with vegetable oil spray. Cook mushrooms, onion, and garlic in skillet over medium heat until onion is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in cilantro and remove from heat. Put 1/3 of the mushroom mixture on half of one tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp of cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla over cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 quesadillas total. Bake 5 minutes or until filling is hot and cheese melts. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges.

Make the most of your meal time so that you enjoy your food, savor each bite, and listen to your appetite. When you are no longer hungry, put your fork down and save the rest for later. Also, put your newspaper down, turn off the tv and turn on some music, and talk to your family during mealtime. If you are distracted by external sights and sounds, you may not even know that you've cleaned your plate and may still be interested in eating, even though you have eaten enough food. Additionally, in today's fast-paced world, we may not slow down enough to really talk with family members, and it is key to staying close with them and supporting each other.

-- Thanks to www.AmericanHeart.org for this heart-healthy recipe.