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MUSC Wellness Center

Fit Family Challenge Blog

Fit Family Challenge Blog

Here are the Benefits of INTERVAL TRAINING…
Is it better to walk for 30 minutes or interval train for 15 minutes?
Alright team…TIME is always the biggest reason to not exercise.  Its crazy the amount of time looking at screens consumes our day or work, kids, friends and so much more distract us from making the time to exercise. So the question I ask you is…Is it better to walk for 30 minutes at the same speed or interval train for 15 minutes? Interval training means allowing your heart rate to get in a safe zone with  high intensity movements for a short amount of time then allowing your body and heart rate to get back to a resting state or simply a lower state than your training zone.
 My FINAL answer is INTERVAL TRAIN and here is why!!
1. You feel amazing for the rest of the day. With interval training, endorphin production is ramped to the max. Interval training is short bursts of intense activity – this will make your heart rate spike up and you will drip sweat!
2. You save wear and tear on your heart. Because interval training increases your heart's stroke volume, your heart beats less during the course of the day to provide the amount of blood you need flowing to your tissues.  A happy heart is a great thing!
3. Helps lower cholesterol levels. Again, cardiovascular exercise has consistently been shown to reduce blood cholesterol. Lower cholesterol has many medical benefits, including lowered risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory disorders. ”Who could say “no thanks” to that?
4. You will strengthen your immune system. Your immune system responds positively to regular strenuous exercise. Interval training - due to its intense qualities - yields a heightened immune response. If you exercise regularly, your body builds a “shield” against colds and flu.
So with all that being said – let’s get to moving! Do not let time be your reason to not exercise! I cannot wait to train everyone and work on creative ways to interval train! 
I’m so excited to work as the nutrition expert for the 3rd annual Fit Family Challenge! The Hawes and Palmer families have shared their food and nutrition goals with me and I’m confident we’ll move toward them together. In fact, the things these families want to work on are things we all struggle with - meal planning, snacking, easy meals for home and fighting the cookie monster! As a working mom of two young girls I know I can relate! In preparing for the challenge, I’ve asked the families to just start paying attention to their routine. Eating healthy does take time – you have to have time to shop, cook, pack food – even find the time think and talk about it. We need to find some time – or several slivers of time – in their current routine to add these new habits. In addition to the timing of things, it’s important to pay attention to other cues that influence what we eat. For example, where meals are consumed (on the couch, at the table, in the bed), what the general moods are before and during meal time (cranky, tired, hyper) and what types of triggers get the family off track. Often, just raising awareness around our eating habits helps them to improve. The tips and tricks we come up with I’ll share not just with these families but with all of you too. So stayed tuned to our blog and use our many resources and most importantly – have fun!
Hello Lowcountry and welcome to the 2016 Fit Family Challenge! It is an honor for me to serve as one of the health experts for the third year in a row and also new this year, represent the Lowcountry as the national Fit Family Challenge spokesperson! For the first time, the Fit Family Challenge will be happening simultaneously in 13 cities across 5 states! I’ll be featured in video blogs each week to share great information to families from North Carolina to Kentucky, South Carolina to Tennessee and Virginia, families to help everyone participating in the Challenge find new ways to be healthier and happier together.
As I said, this is our third year participating in this statewide challenge and we are gearing up to make this the year that the Lowcountry takes home the title of regional winner of the Fit Family Challenge in South Carolina! But we can’t do it without your help. Register today at and share with your friends and family. Then get ready to start tracking your progress and get moving on May 1st!  We've got opt-in daily/weekly text reminders, steps to minutes conversion charts, more prizes, and expert blogs and videos to help you along your way. Plus we're adding a collection of 'mini-challenges' and videos to keep you going. Stay tuned to this blog in the weeks to come to read what's happening with experts and families and connect to FREE resources to help you on your journey to a healthier family and a happier life. MAY 1 is the DAY - JOIN THE FIT FAMILY CHALLENGE!
Fit Family Challenge 2015 Blog #2
Debbie Petitpain, MS, RDN
We have a lot of it in our lives – from pressures at work, to the challenges of parenting , stress is something that never seems to let up. Kelly’s reaction to eating when she feels stressed is a common coping skill many of us rely on. 
The drive to “stress eat” or give into extreme cravings for sweet, salty or fatty foods, comes from the hormones that run rampant in our bodies when we’re stressed. Often, giving into those cravings end up making us feel worse, not better. 
You can break the habit of stress eating with just a few easy steps.
  1. Stop and count to three. Just like we teach our children to stop and count to 3 before throwing a fit, taking a “time-out” before making a food decision allows your body to process your stress hormones so you can make a decision in a calmer state. This could be as simple as taking 3 big breathes while you sit in the drive through line, to going for a quick walk before entering the cafeteria. In fact, taking a few breaks to get some fresh air or do a quick stretch can help you stay calm, creative and productive all day.
  2. Have food readily available. This may seem counter intuitive but if you have healthy choices in your fridge or cabinet or lunch bag, you can still have a choice of what’s for lunch but you can be guaranteed it’s between the choices you felt good about before you got stressed out. If that’s still too tempting, bring just one thing. Pack it the night or in the morning – whenever you feel more relaxed – so no matter how you’re feeling when you take your break, you already know “what’s for lunch”. This trick also works for dinner by either committing to a meal and doing the prep work for it before you get home at night or even preparing it all the day ahead of time so all you have to do is re-heat when you walk in the door. 
  3. Let it go. One bad meal will not undo all your efforts but try to learn from the experience. What was the trigger? How could you avoid it next time? What other food could you have had on hand? It’s not just kids who can learn from there mistakes!
Healthy foods to have in the office:
  • Keep in the fridge a bag of prewashed lettuce, grape tomatoes and carrot chips and some low fat dressing for a quick and easy salad.
  • Bring in a bag of apples or oranges or a bunch of bananas at the beginning of the week for a quick snack.
  • Microwavable containers of vegetable, tomato and lentil soup, pouches of tuna and canned fruit (canned in juice, not syrup) will store infinitely in your desk drawer. 
  • Keep a reusable cup full of water on your desk or have some extra bottled water, flavored seltzer water or unsweet tea on hand.
Welcome to the Fit Family Challenge!

My name is Dr. Susan Johnson and along with my colleagues Debbie Petitpain and Janis Newton, will be providing weekly blogs along with our spotlight families, the Kelleys and Goodwins to support all our efforts to become a more physically active, healthy community. As partners in the second annual South Carolina Fit Family Challenge, MUSC is providing resources to support families across our state create heathier habits together. We are excited about working with everyone over the next few months as we begin our journey towards a healthier life, as individuals and as a family. We have asked our spotlight families to start a family journal to help us with our coaching and to help them set some goals, track their progress and see successes. We encourage all Fit Family Challenge participants to do the same!
Good health is something that we all value - for ourselves, for our families, and for our communities. But we all know that it doesn’t come easy. My job as director of health promotion at MUSC is to create a healthy environment for over 12,000 employees, 3000 students, and the hundreds if not thousands of people who visit our campus each day.
To create a culture of wellness that helps people make better choices while they are at MUSC requires commitment and connection to what we value, collaboration and connection to our community, and leading by example.
Our role is similar in the Fit Family Challenge –
Our mission is to improve health and maximize quality of life for the people of SC and by partnering and supporting programs like this, we are demonstrating our commitment to what we value.
Our relationships with community partners will help us engage families to participate.
And finally, we know that as a healthcare institution and our state’s academic medical center, we need to lead by example when it comes to healthy lifestyles. As parents we also need to lead by example and help our children by being active and making healthy food choices as a family.
MUSC is proud to be a partner in the SC Fit Family Challenge and is ready to assist families across the Lowcountry create healthier lives. Together, we can create a healthier SC! 

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