Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s AfterGlo

How to score double the benefits from your workout

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

We’re all busy, right? Between hefty work schedules, schlepping the kids from A to B, a never-ending pile of laundry, putting dinner on the table and everything in between, it can be tough to carve out time for exercise.

But what if we all just learned to work out smarter? I would like to say this theory is based on the age-old concept of “killing two birds with one stone,” but that just sounds so harsh, huh? Instead, I’m going to call this a “double-time workout,” a sweat session where you not only score calorie-torching benefits, but another necessary life bonus, like quality time with people you love.

Ready to learn more about it? Here we go!

Double-Time Workout No. 1: Yoga and zen

Add a little “om” to your life and not only will you earn flexibility and lean muscles, but you can also score some peace of mind and a more positive outlook on life. In fact, according to a 2007 study from Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital, people who commit to a one-hour practice may raise their levels of the brain chemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – low levels are associated with depression and anxiety disorders – by 27 percent, compared with a group who reads for the duration of that hour. Plus, yoga has been shown to help provide more restful sleep, as well as ease body aches, like lower back pain.

Double-Time Workout No. 2: Burn calories with your furry friend

Guess what? Exercising with Fido can keep you and your pet healthy. Get your pooch outdoors for a walk or game of fetch and not only will you reap the fitness benefits of getting him moving, but exercise will also improve his heart health and joint mobility. A dual workout is a little tougher with cats, but take it from this girl (I have four!) – it can happen. Our youngest and largest cat is a 17-pound Maine coon who likes to stay buff by chasing around ribbons from packages and presents we’ve saved for him. The bonus is I end up running around like a fool for 10 minutes, getting my heart pumping and his!

Double-Time Workout No. 3: Lovebird sweat sesh

Love spending time with your honey? Me too. So, why not pencil in workout dates and stick to them like you do your outings for triple chocolate fro-yo? I’ve found when I make a commitment to bust a move at the gym with my husband, Dan, I am much less likely to bail on the date. Knowing I will let him down – or vice versa – is sometimes just the motivation I need to stick with it! Plus, some of my favorite conversations with Dan have happened during a scenic trail walk or endorphin-boosting run. And when time is slim, a short walk after dinner or preparing a healthy lunch together for the upcoming workday can also make all the difference.

Double-Time Workout No. 4: Breaking bad and booty burn

Sometimes after a long day at work, it’s a necessity we indulge in a few of our favorite shows. (Hey, I’ve muttered the phrase “just one more” during a “House of Cards” binge-watch, too.) But this is also a fantastic time to fit in a few toning and cardiovascular moves, like push-ups, lunges, jumping jacks and crunches. One of my favorite things to do is to challenge myself to as many rounds of two moves – typically a cardio burst paired with a strength move – as I can during commercial breaks. Creating a circuit can also be fun, like this one: 30 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups (regular or modified), 20 squats and a 30-second plank. Do it as many times as you can before the show returns!

Double-Time Workout No. 5: Fitness fun with kids

Ask any mom or dad and they will tell you their kids are one of the best workout tools they’ve ever had! Whether it’s buff arms from lifting a toddler or chasing after a busy little one at the park, kids know how to keep parents on the move. When weather permits, outdoor activities, like kickball or a game of tag, are ideal activities for spending time with kids while giving you both a heart-healthy workout. Fitness DVDs geared toward families are also a fun option. Try the Gaiam Family Yoga with Rodney Yee DVD (gaiam.com) or Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club workout program (beachbody.com).

I’m curious: What are your favorite ways to score double-time benefits from making time for fitness? Send me an email!

No-Bake
Chocolate Peanut Butter & Banana Bites
(gluten-free & vegan)

Makes 18 bites

 

These no-bake bites are a tasty post-workout treat! Whip ‘em up in less than ten minutes and enjoy. 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 cup dairy-free milk (coconut, flax, almond, etc.)
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free oats

 

Directions

(1) Place a sheet of wax or parchment paper on a flat surface, like a countertop or baking sheet.
(2) Add peanut butter, banana, milk, sugar, cacao powder and vanilla to a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, constantly whisking for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool for five minutes.
(3) Add oats to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined.
(4) Drop mixture by the rounded tablespoonful onto prepared wax paper. Allow bites to cool completely before serving.

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About Caroline Shannon-Karasik

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