Health benefits of swimming!

Hi guys! I have a great post coming to you today from Becky again! She is here to share some awesome tips about swimming for health and fitness!

Heart Health Benefits From Swimming
For many years I have been a runner. It was the quickest way to get in an aerobic workout. I would get dressed, put on my running shoes, and I was off. But then my knees started bothering me, and I have had to shift my exercise routine. I have started swimming a couple of days a week to cross train, and it’s great for heart health.
A great cardiovascular workout. When I work out, I’m basically strengthening my heart muscle, by making it work more. But I’ve read that when you are in the water, your resting heart rate is 10 beats per minute lower, and your maximum rate is 10 to 30 minutes lower. No one is sure why that happens, but they speculate it is because of the lowered effect of gravity and the lower temperature of the water. During the workout, that translates to more quickly being able to pump oxygen to my body, so my heart works less than it did when I was running. I like that. Here are some excellent resources with more details:

Lowering the risk of heart disease. With all of the work I do during a swim, I remind myself that I’m reducing my risk of heart disease. Swimming boosts the metabolism, which helps keep my weight lower, and thereby reduces the risk of obesity and heart disease. Several resources suggested that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week lowers the blood pressure, further reducing that heart disease risk. I don’t have a family history of heart problems, but I don’t want to set a family trend and have heart trouble. When I read that over a million people each year have heart attacks, that only strengthened my resolve to keep exercising. Because swimming strengthens my respiratory system, combined with a calming effect, those results both help keep my heart in good shape.
Talk to the doctor. Even though I had run for years, I checked with my doctor before I launched into my new swimming routine. It’s just good practice to make sure I’m in good shape medically, and he said I was fine to start swimming. He reminded me to stay well hydrated, and told me he was glad I was keeping up with my exercise.
Begin with moderation. I’ve been going to the same doctor for years, and he knows how I am, so he suggested moderation when I began swimming. He knows I used to run marathons, so he recommended I not overdo it when I started out in the water. Swimming is super aerobic and great exercise, but if you haven’t done it much, he said it would take time to build my endurance. I saw that the first time I went to the lap lanes at the pool. My running conditioning didn’t translate to the muscles I was using swimming, and I tired quickly.

What do I feel like afterward? It’s simple – after a great swim session, I feel wonderful. I leave the stresses of my work day in the pool. Getting into a good swim rhythm, my mind just lets go of whatever I was worrying about, and since I can’t hear much surrounded by water, I’m in my own little world in the pool. Even though I have to focus to keep up my momentum, there’s a lightness to the water that is very soothing. With all of that going on, I lose track of time, and the workout passes quickly.

Walking out of the gym after a swim, I’m tired, but super relaxed, and feeling wonderful. I plan to continue that experience, and strengthen my heart along the way.

Becky Flanigan writes for, and her areas of expertise are kids and parenting, exercise and health. She is avid about her workouts, which have ranged from aqua jogging to marathon training. She and her husband Ed also enjoy entertaining, and taking vacations with their 3 kids.


{Guest Post} Water Fitness!

Morning friends! Happy Friday!! I hope you are going to have an amazing weekend I have some fun and relaxing plans in the books and I am excited for both ends of the spectrum!

A few weeks ago reader Becky Flanigan reached out to me about a guest post. Once I knew I was getting my foot surgery and she reached out to me regarding water fitness, it was fate! I knew she had a great thing to share! Below Becky explains 4 different methods of water fitness and I for one can’t wait to test them out when I am in recovery in March!! 🙂

Without any more delay, here is Becky!!

How to Stay In Shape With These 4 Aqua Aerobics Workouts

I admit, for a long time I was an exercise snob. The only way to get a good workout was either on the running trail, or at the weight room at the gym. Then I tried aqua aerobics, and it changed my thinking – I can now stay in shape and have a lot of fun doing it. Here are 4 workouts that I use to stay in shape:

1) Aqua jogging. I first tried this when I injured my leg and couldn’t run for a while. At the suggestion of another runner, I went to the pool when the lap lanes were open, and started jogging in a lane. It felt a little odd at first – I was moving slow relative to my pace on the running trail. But then I began to appreciate the effect of water resistance – I was having to push through the water and exerted substantial effort. I got a great cardio workout, and the water wonderfully soothing.

2) Water weight workout. I was a little hesitant about doing exercises in the water that supposedly were similar to the weight stations at the gym. I was pleasantly surprised – when they had us do flybacks, using only the effect of the water as resistance – I got a really good burn out of it, and could feel my back and shoulders after class. The teacher had us working hard for an hour, and I got all the weight work I wanted. Now that I’ve healed my injury and gone back to running, I’ll add the water weight routine as part of my regular cross training.

3) Aqua Zumba. I had wanted to try Zumba for a while, but in our gym they have the class in a room with windows along one side – everyone in the gym can see you shaking and gyrating. I wasn’t about to try that, but I discovered that in the pool, most of your body is underwater, so that worked for me. I knew it was a dance routine, but I had no idea how substantial Zumba can be as a cardio workout. We danced and swung around for a full hour, and I was exhausted. The plus – I had a blast! We laughed and churned up the water, and the time passed superfast.

4) Aqua yoga. I had tried yoga years ago, and really liked it. I just hadn’t done it for a long time. But years of running had tightened up my body, so I knew I needed something that had stretching involved. Yoga in the water was wonderful for that purpose. We did a balancing pose – one foot on a foam noodle, to stretch out our hamstrings – that felt wonderful. The beauty – in the water I could hold the pose without falling. I loved it!

Although at first I doubted the effectiveness of working out in the water, once I gave it a fair try, aqua aerobics proved to be an excellent choice for workouts. I’ve kept it up, and am well pleased with the results.

After Becky Flanigan writes an article for she heads out to the golf course, where she is either frustrated by a bad hit, or elated at the great shots she made. After that, she has a relaxing dinner with some fine wine, and settles in to read a good book for the evening.

Have you ever done any of these exercises? What exercises have you used in the past to recover from an injury or surgery?

The many styles of healthy living {guest post}

Hi! My name is Mike and I am here to talk about my healthy living style. I am sure you are asking “Who are you, and what have you done with Jackie?”. I can assure you that Jackie is fine, actually she is my girlfriend of almost 5 years. We met in college where we were both NCAA Division 3 athletes.

Some Quick Hits About Me:

– I stared working out and watching what I ate in High school, this was mainly because of sports.

– College is really when I got into seriously working out and watching my diet to better myself on the field.

– After college I found it hard to maintain that healthy lifestyle. When I stopped playing lacrosse it was hard to get motivated to eat healthy, although I still loved lifting weights.

– Which brings us to now, I have set myself up on a very structured plan to maintain that healthy lifestyle. I am going to give you a short summary of my plan below!


First, let’s talk exercise. I enjoy working out in the mornings, which means waking up early. I feel that I perform much better at work when I get a good lift or do cardio in the mornings. This is not for everyone, some people are not morning people and have their worst workouts in the morning, but there are studies to prove that working out in the morning improves work productivity and happiness!!

Below is my weekly workout plan, I try to do a lot of different exercises and vary the reps that I do. This keeps the body guessing, sometimes if I am feeling crazy I will do a workout in reverse of the normal pattern. All of those techniques  will throw your muscles off of their normal routine and you will see better results. In the future (If Jackie Lets Me) I can get more into the different lifts that I  do, but I did not want this post to be a mile long! {Edited to add- duh of course you can come back!! 😉 }








Weights Cardio Weights / Kickboxing Cardio Weights Weights Rest
Chest 1 – Mile Run Shoulders 1 Mile Run Chest Shoulders
Back 4 – 1/4 Mile’s 1 – 1/2 Mile Legs 4 1/4 mile’s Triceps Legs
Biceps 10 min elliptical Kickboxing Class 10 min elliptical Biceps
Abs Abs


Now, onto my diet. I eat the same thing pretty much every day Monday through Friday, unlike Jackie who though some sort of crazy magic is able to come up with a new meal idea every day of the week. I eat this every day because for me, the key is to be structured.

It is important for me to eat throughout the day so I do not get hungry. If I get hungry I will feast on whatever is around, through all caution to the wind and fall completely off the wagon. I tend to let go a little on the weekends because I love food. {Edited to add, and I like him to take me on dates 🙂 }

Don’t get me wrong, it is very hard to eat the same thing every day, I have been doing this meal program for about 3 months now and have just about had enough. Soon I will switch to a new one, which I can share with you (If Jackie Lets Me).

7:00(Breakfast) – Protein Shake (2 scoops of gold standard whey, chocolate mint flavor) This is my breakfast and fills me up pretty good photo (954)

10:00 – Almonds, I eat 1/3 cup of almonds they are roasted and salted

photo (955)11:000 – I have a bag of mini carrots 12:000

photo (956)(Lunch) – Wrap with Grilled Chicken, Hot sauce, and Spinach. Then I have 2 of the Thick hard pretzels

photo (958)2:00 – Time for my Greek Yogurt!!

4:00- Apple for a snack

6:00(Dinner) – 1/2 cup of rice, chicken, and broccoli. photo (957)Thanks for reading, I hope I was able to improve your healthy living plan! If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and Jackie will relay them to me.


Check out my guest post!

Hey guys! Happy Thursday! I’m guest posting here for Becky today! There I share a delicious recipe in the crockpot that is sure to please a crowd! Stop on over and check it out!! Becky is awesome and I loved the opportunity!

Last night Mike and I went to Panera Bread for a quick dinner. Check out my French onion soup. So great!


Yea that’s white bread. #yolo haha just kidding they had just run out if whole grain so I splurged!

We brainstormed Halloween ideas last night and think we have a good one! I can’t wait to make them this weekend! We also watched the new Modern Family episode. Did you guys? That show gets me every time and I have to laugh out loud!! I just love Cam!!

This morning I had a delicious start. Banana and coffee. It’s the simple things. Plus I now only have a 49 cent balance on my gift card. It’s sad but it was fun while it lasted!!


Lunch was a delicious concoction of Carba Nada pasta and some pesto with baby bellas galore!


So delicious! I actually ate my lunch pretty late because I had a killer workout that zapped my appetite over lunch! Thanks for kicking my butt again Gina! (

Tonight, I am off to watch my cousin at in her high school Senior Night field hockey game! I played in high school and all through college! I’m so nostalgic! This brings back such wonderful memories! Good luck Brittany!! Kick some booty!!!

GUEST POST {Olives ‘n’ Wine}

Hey Guys!! Happy Monday!
I always like to start my week on the right foot and with a great attitude! We are both in luck today because Becky (!!!) is doing a guest post for me while I am in the Outer Banks on vacation… again… such a rough life… haha!

When I found the healthy living blogging community, Becky’s blog attracted me initially because she was real! She wasn’t unrealistic with anything she does… and of course…. she loves wine. Great minds think alike!  I became a follower of her posts immediately! She is funny and has an adorable doggy too! I definitely recommend you check her blog out! It is always informative and fun! I am very honored she took the time to stop by!

Becky has just signed up for her first marathon and while I am out of running I am loving seeing her train and succeed! You go girl!

So, without further ado, here is the lady of the hour!!! Thanks again Becky!

Hi! I’m Becky from Olives ‘n’ Wine – a blog where I share my passion for keeping a balanced life through eating well, tasting great wine, staying active, and traveling to new places – and I’m excited to be doing a guest post for Jackie today 🙂

Becky in Cali (1)

About 6 weeks ago, I decided to register for my first marathon – the Long Beach Marathon on October 13th! I have participated in other races, including a half marathon in 2011, but have never run more than 13.1 miles in my life. I’m most definitely anxious and terrified and excited, all at the same time!

Typical marathoner-in-training emotions, right??

7 mile pace (1)

Obviously training for a marathon involves running, lots and lots of running. I run 4x/week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday – which leaves me with 3 “rest” days to experiment with.

According to my training plan, I need to incorporate strength training into one of my rest days but the other two are supposed to be strictly “rest.”


I’m going to be honest here, I’m not great at resting for an entire day! I’m good at napping (like the photo of me below napping while waiting for a bus in Greece!) and lounging on fancy sofas in cocktail bars and kicking my feet up after a long day of work but I am definitely NOT good at being still for an entire day.

sleeping in greece

Good or bad, it is what it is. So, since I don’t want to completely overload my body during my marathon training, how do I go about staying active on my rest days?


I have always LOVED yoga. I find hot yoga classes extremely challenging but so calming at the same time.

Yoga toes

On my strength training day, I hit up CorePower Yoga’s yoga sculpt class. This class incorporates weight training and cardio bursts into a yoga class – it is awesome and tiring and just what I need to get in some muscle work on my strength day!

On my rest days, I typically attend a “normal” yoga class. Yoga is great for stretching out hips and quads – both of which tend to get really tight after a few days of my marathon training runs.


In addition to yoga, I also love to walk. I am fortunate enough to walk to my office during the work week and on my rest days, I try to take Mitchell (my dog!) on a long walk to loosen up my legs.

Thanks again to Jackie for inviting me to guest post – I hope you’ll stop over to Olives ‘n’ Wine and see what I’m all about!

How do you stay active on your “rest” days? What do you do to loosen up your legs after a long run?

Fitness Benefits For Cancer Patients

A few weeks ago I got a wonderful email from reader Melanie. Since I am on vacation, I thought it would be great to introduce you all to Melanie and allow her to share her passions with you. Melanie writes a blog about the benefits of exercise with serious illnesses such as cancer. Personally, cancer has touched the lives of so many loved ones and has unfortunately taken some from me. I know that when the woman I worked for was diagnosed with cancer it sparked a fire in her to get out and enjoy life. She enjoyed more long walks, tai chi, and so much more just to be and seize the day! I think exercise is so important for everyone and I think it adds a special break and rejuvenation for people with serious illnesses.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that  stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and  physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

So, without further ado, here is Melanie! 

Fitness Benefits For Cancer Patients

Recent research has shown regular exercise to be beneficial to those who are being treated for cancer, and those who have completed treatment and are in remission. In the past, doctors would have cancer patients get as much rest as possible, but it has become clear that staying physically active speeds recovery and may extend life expectancy after cancer. Here are some of examples of exercises for each stage of the treatment process.

Light Exercise

Walking is one the easiest and most flexible ways to exercise. It is convenient exercise activity that can be done virtually anywhere. Perfect for those who are still in treatment and without a lot of strength, walking can be beneficial even if it is only to the mailbox or around the block. The patient can go as fast or as slow as they need to, and it is easy to increase the pace and length of time walking as strength returns.

Walking is especially helpful to patients battling a prognosis of mesothelioma or other lung-related cancers, who may struggle with catching their breath during higher activity. Walking not only provides exercise, but also can be soothing to the spirit and help a patient keep up social contact while in treatment. It is a great way to get patients combat a sedentary lifestyle from being bedridden. Walking promotes the slowly building of confidence to move on to other activities when appropriate.

Moderate Exercise

For those who are recovering from treatment and are feeling physically stronger, yoga may be a viable option. Yoga programs are being offered in treatment centers as a complementary therapy, providing the patient with a way to maintain inner serenity that aids in healing and increases vitality. Yoga may also help to reduce pain, tiredness and lack of sleep, which leads to a higher overall quality of life. The stretching and poses can help rebuild and maintain muscle integrity, which is often greatly reduced during cancer treatment.

Yoga provides relief from stress and the physical symptoms of cancer treatment and its aftermath. It also offers the patient a way find support from other people who may be going through the same experience.

Advanced Exercise

Advanced exercise is recommended for those patients who have been recovering for a period of time and have already regained a reasonable level of fitness and strength. This is where running can make a big difference. Much like walking, running allows a lot of flexibility in regard to distance and intensity. A patient can start out with a short run around the block, then gradually go for longer distances as fitness is regained. It requires only a good pair of shoes and a desire to become healthier and stronger. The biggest benefit of running is that it is a great way to combat treatment-related fatigue, one that is not mitigated with rest. Also, running promotes increased stamina, reduces the rate of bone loss, and builds muscle.

While exercise is beneficial to any cancer patient, it is also important to balance out a regimen with proper rest. No two patients are the same and all should always consult with a doctor or care team before adding exercise to a treatment or aftercare program. Cancer is often a surprise, and it is always life changing, but it is never the end. It offers a second chance at life and the chance to do things better.

Thank you so much Melanie, I am grateful for you sharing this information with us and I hope you all check out Melanie’s blog! She has a ton of wonderful information that anyone can benefit from reading!