Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
June, 2015

The 7 minute workout with High Intensity Interval Training Challenge app (called "Seven") is a free workout generating app that provides maximum benefit with minimum time. The moves featured in Seven are based off of scientific research which demonstrates the cardiovascular and metabolic benefits of performing specific moves at a high intensity.

With Seven, you can use your own body weight and a few household items, such as a chair, to workout anywhere, any time. Seven will guide you through your workout with explanations on how to perform the moves. Additionally, the voice over and stop watch will help you stay on track and perform at the intervals which you select.

Seven is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.

Sleep Corner

Physical Activity and Sleep

Sleep is a key requirement for peak physical performance. Without sleep, the body is more prone to injury, fatigue, stress, muscle weakness, and poor focus, and more. Let's take a deeper look at the relationship between sleep and physical performance.

Energy and Endurance
Sleep increases energy stores in the body used to fuel physical activity and exercise. Without enough sleep, there is a decreased production of glycogen and carbohydrates that are stored for energy use during physical activity. This means your body cannot readily utilize fuel for physical activity as efficiently as when you get a full night's sleep.

Muscle Recovery
During sleep, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. When you don't get enough sleep, the amount of growth hormone released by the pituitary gland is drastically reduced, which slows muscles growth.

Memory and Concentration
Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, start to increase in the body when sleep deprived. This can lead to impaired learning, memory, alertness, concentration, judgment, problem solving and reasoning, as well as increase your risk of injury.

In summary, not getting enough sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy, and poor focus. It may also slow muscle recovery growth.

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How to start a fitness plan and stick with it

The hardest part of maintaining a regular fitness routine may be getting started. For some, the difficulty may lie in sticking with it long-term. In either case, it helps to keep some tried and true tips in mind so you are fully prepared to start, and stick with your workout routine for good!

Have an accountability partner
You're less likely to skip the gym if you have a gym buddy that is counting on you being there. You can also get the family involved too. Walking the dog after supper or taking a family hike on the weekend are both great ways to turn physical activity into a group affair.

Make it easy on yourself
Sticking with a new behavior is all about making it easier to do the behavior rather than not do it. In the same way that prepping and presetting your coffee pot the night before work is a convenient way to help you get out the door faster in the morning, joining a gym that is along your drive to work is a convenient way to reduce time traveling to and from the gym. Driving past the gym twice a day will also help serve as a daily reminder for you to go workout.

Plan for it
One of the most common excuses for not going to the gym is time. The solution is simple. Schedule exercise time into your calendar just like you would a doctor's appointment. This allows you to keep time free that is dedicated to working out.


Switch it up
Many people stop working out because they are tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Try taking a group exercises class, joining a community sports team, or switching it up on your own. There are many free apps and websites available if you need some ideas.

Enjoy it
Your mental mindset matters. Research shows that people who view exercise as something enjoyable are more likely to stick with it, when compared to those who feel exercise is more of a burden. One way to help change your negative views on exercise is to think outside of the box. Try a few different gyms before deciding on which one feels best. Take different group classes or workout outside. Try hiking, biking, Zumba, or swimming. The point is to keep searching until you find something that is enjoyable to you.

Be realistic
Ease your way into your new workout routine. Don't expect to go from never exercising to exercising for an hour a day, 7 days/week. Keep in mind that goals, such as losing weight, are year-long objectives that will entail more of a lifestyle change rather than a radical, temporary adjustment. The best way to reach your goals is by setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

Time Specific

Focusing on one SMART goal at a time will allow you to concentrate your efforts on the goal that is most important to you. For more on SMART goals, check out our blog.

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Ask An Expert

I exercise vigorously once per day, but my job requires me to sit at a computer all day. What are some ways I can incorporate more physical activity into my day?

In the modern world which is heavily dependent upon technology, more and more people are required to sit all day in order to perform their job duties. Unfortunately, even if you exercise each day, if you're sitting for the majority of the day, health experts say you're still at risk for certain diseases. The best thing you can do is try to incorporate more activity into your day. It doesn't have to be exercise (but it can be!), but simply adding in more movement to your day, in order to help break up long periods of no activity.

Here are some ideas:

  • Park further out.    Incorporating a few extra    steps on your way in and    out of work, the grocery    store, and other errands can    really add up. Walking or    biking to work is even    better, if an option.

  • Set a timer. It's easy to get    bogged down with work and    the next thing you know,    you haven't moved in 3    hours. Set a timer to    remind yourself to get up at    least once per hour. Even a    1-2 minute walk is better    than nothing.

  • Take the long way around.    Walk the long way around    to the bathroom, kitchen,    mail room, or pretty much    anywhere. Since you're    already up, might as well    make the most of it.

  • Take the stairs. Skip the    elevator and get your heart    rate up.

  • Mindful Moment

    Incorporate mindfulness into physical activity. Yoga and Pilates are two types of physical activity that have mindful components. Give these a try for your physical and your mental health!

    Bottom Line

    Physical activity is an integral part of every day life. Try to incorporate both intense workout sessions and bouts of low intensity movements throughout your day. The more you move, the more you benefit.

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    Featured Recipe:
    5 Ingredient Trail Mix

    This easy, home-made trail mix is just as tasty as the store bought kind, but much lower in sugar. It is also full of heart health saturated fats (from the nuts). Boasting 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and only 11 grams of sugar per serving, this trail mix is a great energy boosting snack.

  • 1 C walnuts
  • 1 C almonds
  • 1 1/2 C sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 C dried fruit*
  • 2 C dark chocolate baking chips (or 1 bar of your favorite dark chocolate)**

  • *No sugar added. If you can't find no sugar added varieties, try dried plums. They are usually available in no sugar added versions and are full of beneficial fiber.

    **Make sure it's at least 70% dark. This kind is lower in sugar and fat and has more antioxidants in it which have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and some cancers.

    Mix all ingredients into a large, zip-top bag. Store in a dark, cool place.

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 12      Calories: 268      Carbs: 21g      Fiber: 5g      Sugar: 11g             
                             Fat: 19g             Protein: 7g      Sodium: 19mg     

    Featured Exercise:
    Elevated Toe Tap Crunch

    Sit on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle, feet resting on the ground, and arms by your chest in fighting position. Lean back slightly so that your core is engaged. Extend your left leg so that it is fully straight and elevated off the ground. Lift you right foot up and over your left leg and tap the floor on the left side of your left leg with your right toe. Return right leg to starting position. Repeat for 1 minute, then switch legs.

    Featured Recipe adapted from Miss Information.