Functional Fitness

April 29th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Fitness - (0 Comments)

Remember the word “calisthenics”? The set of exercises you did in PE class to get warmed up? Well, it’s time to bring them back into your life!

These “functional” exercises served an important purpose in your physical skill growth and development as a youth. They provided strength, endurance, flexibility, range of motion, coordination, and much more. With regular training, these exercises became easier and you became more proficient in your physical skills.

However, if you don’t use it you lose it. As we age, our range of motion and physical skills start to decline, which can later lead to a poor quality of life. The key is stay active and in-tune with some simple “functional” exercises that include total body involvement and coordination.

Here is a list of exercises to get you started. Simply pick at least five exercises and perform 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each selected exercise. You can perform the exercises back-to-back with minimal rest between sets. Or you can perform them as a circuit, moving through each exercise once and then starting back at the top and repeat them through again.

  • Arm Circles (both directions; large and small circles)
  • Toe Touches (standing)
  • Trunk Rotations (both directions)
  • Leg Raises (lying on your side on the floor; alternate sides)
  • Squat and Reach Overhead (arms start in middle at bottom of squat and extend to straight overhead)
  • Push-ups (from knees or toes)
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Jump Rope

Graduation is upon you and you’re one of the hundreds of individuals who will be out in the world seeking a career. Congratulations, you did it! The idea of being on your own is exciting, yet overwhelming. The possibilities are endless. Finding your career path may have its challenges and take some time. However, you may also find yourself without health insurance. As you are updating your resume and planning for interviews, you may also want to consider purchasing a health insurance plan that is right for you.

Here are some tips for you to consider:

  1. Check your parent’s plan. The Affordable Care Act allows adult children to retain coverage under your parents’ health insurance plan until you reach age 26. (If you plan to continue as a student, be sure to check your plan to see how long you can stay on). This might be a very appealing option; however, you may want to do some calculations and compare the cost of staying on your parents’ plan or if it would be more economical to purchase coverage on your own.
  2. Know your special enrollment events. A Special Enrollment Event is a time outside of the Open Enrollment period (November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016) during which you have the right to sign up for health coverage if you have a qualifying life event. Qualifying life event examples include, but are not limited to, loss of coverage, moving to a new state, marriage, divorce, having a baby, or becoming a US Citizen.
  3. Do your research. Understand that the cost of a health insurance plan is more than just the monthly premium. Several things you want to consider include your annual deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. Additionally, if you accept a new job that offers employee health insurance, be sure to compare this group coverage cost along with an individual plan cost.

For more information regarding health insurance and options in your area visit or

This week…try some 15 minute recipes


Black Bean and Brown Rice Salad

1 10-ounce package frozen brown rice

1 15-ounce can of no-salt-added black beans

1 medium avocado

4 medium green onions

1 medium tomato

6 to 7 sprigs of fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons olive oil (extra-virgin preferred)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare the rice using the package directions. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet to cool quickly (about 10 minutes).

Meanwhile, rinse and drain the beans. Pour into a medium bowl.

Chop the avocado and green onions. Dice the tomato. Snip the cilantro. Stir into the beans. Stir in the lime juice, oil, hot sauce, and salt.

Stir in the cooled rice. Serve immediately for peak flavor and texture or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Tip: Frozen brown rice is already cooked and has no added sodium or fat. After just a few minutes in the microwave or on top of the stove, it is ready to use. When you want a change of flavor, substitute barley, bulgur, whole-grain pasta, or any other whole grain for the brown rice in this very versatile salad.

Serves: Serves 4 (1 1/2 cups per serving)

-Source: American Heart Association Patient Education Program



Lemon Green Beans with Parsley and Almonds

8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, dry-roasted

1 tablespoon finely snipped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large saucepan, steam the beans for 10 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients. Stir gently to coat. Serve immediately for the best texture.

Tip: Dry-roasting nuts brings out their flavor. Put the nuts in a single layer in an ungreased skillet. Dry-roast over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until just fragrant, stirring frequently and watching carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the skillet from the burner so the nuts don’t continue to cook.

Serves: Serves 4 (1/2 cup per serving)

-Source: American Heart Association Patient Education Program


Go Bananas Pudding Parfait

8-10 ginger snap cookies, crushed (option: use low-fat vanilla wafer cookies)

7 medium ripe bananas, sliced thin

1 cup nonfat milk

1 (1-oz) box instant sugar-free, fat-free vanilla pudding

1¼ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

10 8-oz parfait cups or drinking glasses

¼ tsp cinnamon for garnish (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and pudding mix; blend well (about 2 minutes). Add yogurt and vanilla extract; blend until smooth. Stir the thawed whipped topping into the mixture.

Line the bottom of the parfait cups with a teaspoon of crumbled cookies. Layer 6 banana slices on top of the cookies, then 2 Tablespoons of the yogurt mixture on top. Repeat with another layer of the crushed cookies, bananas, and yogurt mixture. Top with cinnamon, crushed cookie, teaspoon or fat-free whipped topping or small cookie for garnish. Cover and chill in refrigerator.



4 Tips to Going to the Gym at Lunch

April 10th, 2015 | Posted by admin in Fitness - (0 Comments)

Many of my male coworkers enjoy working out over the lunch hour. Outside the obvious health benefits, this mid-day workout can leave you re-energized and ready to tackle the rest of the workday. While this is great in theory, for us females, the process of showering, redoing our hair or makeup, and whatever else is needed is daunting. At the same time, many of us with hectic schedules may not have the ability for an extra hour before or after work to fit in a workout, so what better time to maximize your day!

Here are a few tips to help you make a noon workout, work for you.

  1. Plan Ahead!
    Add the event to your schedule. Better yet, invite a few coworkers so you feel obligated to go and don’t end up making an excuse mid-morning. Planning ahead can also means coming to work with your gym bag ready to go and lunch packed or choosing to wear your hair up on a ‘gym day’.
  2. Take it easy!
    Just because you are going to the gym, does not mean you need to run a marathon. If you are worried about time to shower and get ready, choose lighter activities that would tend to mess up your hair or makeup, or require you to take a heavy shower. Yoga is a favorite of mine at lunchtime. Relaxing, calming, but still full of health benefits and does not require too much perspiration.
  3. Primp Wisely
    Showering doesn’t have to mean a full head to toe wash. A quick rinse can be all you need to feel fresh again. Perhaps a body spray is all you need to get refreshed. As for hair and makeup, wearing my hair up and a good pressed powder is all I need to fix that situation.
  4. Make it work for you.
    Going to a fitness center may not always be an option for you. Make the best with what you have. Schedule lunchtime walks or stretches for those days.

15 Health & Well Being Apps and Websites

 Week 14:  This week we challenge you to check out one or more of these apps or websites. 

Statistically speaking, that New Year’s resolution you made to get healthier in 2015 has long been forgotten. Most people only stick to their new health/fitness regimes for a few weeks. But you’re different. You’ve managed to follow us through the 15 in 15 challenge…and here we are almost to the end. To help keep you going after this challenge ends, we would like to share some of our favorite resources with you. This week spend 15 minutes exploring our apps and/or online resources.



Designed to educate about the foods we eat. The barcode scanner makes it easy to really learn about the food you are eating.

Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout: (iPhone and iPad)

Don’t have time to exercise? Sorry, no longer an excuse. This app is great for those short on time and/or when you are traveling.


Helps track your diet. Also, syncs with third-party apps and devices such as Fitbit activity trackers.

Zombies, Run!: ($3.99 cost)

This app helps gamify your workout. The app is part “zombie apocalypse” game, part fitness app, in which the undead motivate you to run for your life—and health.

Hot5 Fitness:

Hot5 Fitness offers quick workout videos designed by top Personal Trainers to supercharge your metabolism for an optimal calorie burn. App is free with limited workouts, premium edition available.


Web Pages:

Health Education:


Education and Interactive:


Do you have a favorite healthy and wellness website and/or app that you like best? Please feel free to share it in the comments below. Together we will build a Healthier South Dakota!