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Kristen Diederich

This Just In: Richard Simmons is Still Awesome

Written on March 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm , by

Air New Zealand looks like a fun time.

In an effort to get passengers to put down the SkyMall catalog and pay attention to the in-case-of-emergency instructions, Air New Zealand tapped fitness icon Richard Simmons to star in their awesomely retro new “Fit to Fly” in-flight safety video. The results? Fabulous. My favorite moments:

  • “Stretch and slide! Yeah, you’re a giraffe!”
  • Yellow shirt guy at the 1:58 mark.
  • The Pony!
  • THE OUTFITS.

I Tried It: Aqua Zumba

Written on March 21, 2011 at 10:38 am , by

While on a recent trip to Hawaii, I got the chance to visit the beautiful Hilton Kings’ Land resort for an early morning Aqua Zumba class!

Aqua Zumba at the Kings' Land resort!

Aqua Zumba at the Kings' Land resort!

What it is: All the latin-inspired, dance-fitness moves of regular Zumba but with added resistance from the water.  Our instructor guided us through the moves on dry land so we could see all of her movements. Just like in a regular Zumba class, we jumped, stretched and moved to the beat of the music — all while pushing our arms and legs through the water. (One neat trick: You can adjust the level of difficulty by closing or spreading your fingers when pushing through the water. Open fingers provide less resistance, while a flat, closed palm makes things a little harder.)

water zumba 3Who should try it: Everyone! This workout is completely beginner-friendly, but it even got my heart rate up. Plus: Being in the water makes even the fast-paced Zumba moves nice and easy on your joints.

My favorite move: The exercises didn’t have names, but I’d call this one the “Walk Like An Egyptian.”  Extend one arm out to the side, bent at a 90-degree angle with your fingers pointing down (like the back half of the famous pose). Keeping the top half of your arm lifted up away from your body, swing your hand toward your torso and then away, pushing the water away from you with a flat palm. You’ll feel it in your triceps — it gets right to that hard-to-tone “bat wings” zone.

Read more to find out how to find an Aqua Zumba class near you! Read more

Fit Links: Spring Clean Your Way Slim

Written on March 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm , by

Image via Veer

Image via Veer

This week’s fit links from around the web:

My New Favorite Workout: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Written on March 16, 2011 at 11:38 am , by

Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right)

Paddleboarding off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island (That's me, third from the right!)

Alright, so living in New York City doesn’t exactly permit me to paddleboard any old day of the week. However, I recently got the chance to tour Hawaii’s Big Island courtesy of the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, where I took the opportunity to learn how to paddleboard in their gorgeous, ocean-fed lagoon.

If you’re not familiar with stand-up paddleboarding, it’s exactly how it sounds: standing up on a surfboard while using a paddle to propel you through the water. Our guides from Hawaii Ocean Sports started our group off in the resort’s protected lagoon, which allowed us to get the hang of balancing on the board without the added challenge of the ocean waves. I was surprised to find myself engaging muscles I hadn’t used in awhile (hey there, lower calves!) and getting a pretty great ab workout as I used my core to stay upright.

When standing up on the board, your upper body does most of the work to pull you through the water. But once we started to make our way toward the open ocean, our guide instructed us to drop to our knees (first to duck under a low bridge, second to avoid falling into shallow, rocky water). On my knees it was a whole new workout — though I no longer needed to work as hard to stay on the board, being low to the water required lots of ab strength to pull my big paddle through the water.

This was, by far, the most fun workout I had in Hawaii (and I tried Aqua Zumba! More on that later…). It was amazing to be so mobile in the water, as opposed to simply riding waves back to shore on a traditional surfboard.  And, as you can see in the photo above, the scenery was unstoppable. I paddled past sea turtles and got up close to fish of every color imaginable — which sure beats my usual view from the treadmill!

Fit Links: This Fit Feline Has a Personal Trainer

Written on March 4, 2011 at 11:56 am , by

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Links: The Sportiest Cities in America — Do You Live in One?

Written on February 25, 2011 at 11:30 am , by

Photo by Denise Crew

Photo by Denise Crew

A few fit links from around the web:

Fit Links: The Science Behind the Runner’s High

Written on February 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm , by

Photo by A. Green/Corbis

Photo by A. Green/Corbis

A few fit links from around the web:

A Friendly Reminder to Laugh Today

Written on February 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm , by

Photo by Laura Doss

Photo by Laura Doss

Studies have found that, in addition to being good for your mood, laughter is great for your heart. Have you laughed today?

Simple Smoothies for a Healthy Heart

Written on February 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm , by

In honor of Heart Health Month, let’s talk about taking care of our tickers! We spoke to Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic (and cocreator of the Real Age test with Dr. Oz), who shared a few of his Heart Smart Smoothie recipes that make it easy to whip up a healthy breakfast on even your busiest mornings.

“The ingredients [in these smoothies], including psyllium husks and fruit, help lower lousy (LDL) cholesterol while tasting great,” says Dr. Roizen. “Most Americans are only getting about half the fiber they should, and these smoothies, enjoyed every day, are a good start to help you reach the goal of 20-35mg of fiber a day.”

Dr. Roizen's Heart Healthy Smoothie

Dr. Roizen’s Heart Smart Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup soy protein powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 large ripe banana (or berries of your choice)
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium fiber (sugar-free Metamucil)

Directions
Peel banana; break into chunks. Put all ingredients in a blender. Add 16 ounces of water with ice. Cover, blend until fairly smooth. Enjoy! Read more

The Ultimate Valentine’s Playlist (Whether You Love or Hate This Holiday)

Written on February 14, 2011 at 10:35 am , by

Photo by Sarah Kehoe

Photo by Sarah Kehoe

Happy Valentine’s Day! Put a little extra love into your workout with these heartfelt (and made-for-cardio) songs:

Marry You,” Bruno Mars
We like it for: Running/Spinning

Teenage Dream,” Katy Perry
We like it for: Walking

Your Love is My Drug,” Ke$ha
We like it for: Elliptical

I Do,” Colbie Caillat
We like it for: Running

Not in such a loving mood this Valentine’s Day?  Try these tracks: Read more