Time to Chill

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Push your stress away

We all know January is the “time to chill” in Rochester. But in this post, we’re going to discuss chilling as a means of reducing stress, tension, anxiety and negativity in your life. To that end, here are some key facts about stress:

  1. Your body can’t discriminate between a BIG stress or a little one. Whether it’s a traffic jam or a computer virus, the stress reaction triggers a cascade of 1,400 biochemical events in your body, taking over a critical part of our brain. Which brings us to…
  2. Stress can make smart people do stupid things: clouding our thinking, draining our energy, undercutting our productivity, and even aging us prematurely if left unchecked. We’ve all “lost it” in a stressful situation, likely surprising even ourselves. That’s because stress causes what researchers call “cortical inhibition,” bottle-necking our brain function. And the shallow breathing of stress raises heart rate and blood pressure, even changing blood chemistry in a way that makes your platelets stickier. Sadly, that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. No wonder there’s an expression about taking “a chill pill”!
  3. People can become numb to stress. If we’re exposed to anything long enough, we become acclimated to it. Sometimes the daily pressures and irritations of life begin to seem like “the new normal” and cease to faze us. But we may not realize how much they’re undermining our mental, emotional, and physical health until it manifests as a rash decision, an impulsive outburst, or even an unwanted medical diagnosis.
  4. We are fully in control of how we react to stress! We can rewire our stress response to override it with calm, cool and collected “coherence” — bringing the brain, heart and nervous system in harmony, and fostering peak performance.
  5. Handling stress in the moment is the best strategy. Millions of us use the “binge and purge” approach to stress: letting it build up all day, burying it inside, and waiting for an evening yoga class or the weekend. This doesn’t work — the stress response has already activated.

How to stop the stress response in its tracks? It’s different for everyone; but we’d recommend a combination of deep breathing and positive emotion, perhaps grounded in gratitude for the joyful things in our lives. One exercise to elicit positive emotion is to place your hand on your heart, visualize your breath moving in and out through your heart, and thinking of a person or place that brings you joy. You can use this practice before you fall asleep, when you wake up in the middle of the night, to prepare for an important communication (from a meeting to a mingle), and to recoup or recover from a stressful situation. It may not be a treadmill or StairMaster, but it’s still a healthy dose of cardio! Studies show it leads to improved relationships, improved sleep, improved performance at work and at play, and a greater sense of balance and ease.

As Florence Nightingale said: “Health is not only to be well but to use well all the powers that you have.”

Melt your stress away by chilling out and keeping warm!

 

 

Starting on the Right Foot

We’d like to thank everyone who joined us for Saturday’s “New Year, New You” MOSSA launch. We think this was a great way to start the New Year on the right (and left) foot.

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Getting grounded in the PSF gym.

If high fashion and shopping sprees make you more likely to stick to your resolutions, more power to you! Incentives can work like magic to influence your behavior and, ultimately, change your habits. We’d like your opinion on Rhiannon’s Fenty for Puma collection, described by the singer as “Marie Antoinette at the gym.” Would you wear these ensembles to PSF?

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Whether you’re lacing up your corset or your Converse, the year is so young, we’re just “warming up”…and that means both moving safely and keeping cozy. In that spirit, we’d like to end this blog post with a few tips on how to keep your house comfortable. Cranking up the heat gets expensive quickly. Foregoing heat is not an option, either. And it’s inefficient to lower the heat drastically when you’re out – you’ll just expend energy ratcheting it up when you return. Here are ten ways to lower the thermostat and lower your bills:

  1. Look up — check your roof for missing shingles, cracked shingles, and leaks. The typical asphalt shingle roof lasts around 25 years. If you can see sunlight from your attic, then cold air and precipitation can find their way into your home.
  2. Seal all cracks in your window frame. The Good Housekeeping Institute recommends shinning a flashlight or candle on the frame – with a partner outside. If they can see light, it’s time to caulk and seal!
  3. Reverse your ceiling fan’s motor to clockwise. This will create an updraft that pushes the rising warm air back down to where it benefits you.
  4. Splurge on blankets. Layering multiple blankets is key to keeping warm, and down comforters with high thread counts are known for their toasty-toes factor.
  5. Throw open the shades when the sun comes out; draw them shut at night. This will harness solar energy for a mild warming effect.
  6. Invest in blackout shades with a thermal lining to help save energy.
  7. Stop the chill from sneaking under doors and around outlets with doorstoppers and outlet insulators.
  8. Throw rugs everywhere! Wool feels cozier than floorboards on the feet, and offers insulation “to boot.”
  9. Don’t heat rooms that you don’t use! If no one plans to occupy the guest room for a while, close the vents and door.
  10. Get a “smart” thermostat for your home. You can program these devices to lower the temperature slightly when you’re not there, then adjust when you return.

Resolutions…and Running Starts

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Cheers! This week you’ve got Christmas leftovers, Hanukah latkes, family dinners, New Year’s toasts, lazy afternoons, and access to enough food to send you into hibernation. Next week you’ve got clean breaks, fresh starts, work obligations, time crunches, goals to meet, and resolutions to uphold.

Let’s get these two weeks working together, rather than locking horns. Here’s our guide to getting a “running start” toward successful resolutions, without skimping on fun this week.

  1. Drink water, eat fiber. Both water and fiber-rich foods can battle holiday bloat. To accomplish both at once, try water-rich vegetables such as zucchini and cucumber. And to warm up with stomach-soothing hydration, try peppermint tea.
  2. Linger over meals. You read that right! Take advantage of the more relaxed pace of holiday week by eating socially, and slowly. Help yourself to cookies — and enjoy each bite. When you savor each bite as much as you savor the people around you, you will feel fuller much faster…so much so, that three cookies (instead of seven) will do the trick.
  3. Freeze some grapes. They’re the perfect (water-filled) snack to pop while you’re cuddling on the couch, watching TV. (Other ideas: plain popcorn, sliced strawberries, hummus and black-bean chips.)
  4. Get enough sleep. Even when you’re out to dinner or a party, block off eight hours (or as close as possible) for shut-eye. You’ll have less incentive to nosh late at night, sharper focus in the morning, and more time to squeeze in a daytime workout here! Which brings us to our fifth suggestion:
  5. Get moving every day. Power through the food coma; you’ll feel better almost instantly. From a 15-minute walk after a big meal to an hour of Zumba in the morning to a family swim in our heated pool, staying active helps body, mind, and soul feel satisfied, not sluggish.
  6. Don’t skip meals! It messes with your metabolism and sets you up for more overeating. If you indulged to much at lunch or dinner, it’s okay. Make the next meal “green and clean”: lean protein, fish, vegetables, fruits, to keep your energy up and your willpower strong.
  7. Eat with your non-dominant hand. Strange, but true! Check out this article from Dr. Oz.

 

7 Ways to Warm Up to Winter

“We don’t fight winter; we take advantage of it.” – The Book of Hygge

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“Rochester in Winter” photo by montanusphotography.com

Rochester winters are rough; Nordic ones are rougher. That may explain why countries such as Norway and Denmark invest in the concept of hygge (hoo-guh), which is “a full-on embrace of all things toasty, cozy, and restorative,” according to this post by Rodale.

It’s the concept of warming your body and soul in the winter with hot food and hot cocoa; plush comforts like slippers and robes; and lots of time with family and friends — plus blissful solitude at home, out of the chill , perhaps in a bubble bath. Most of us winterize our car (here’s a little how-to from our friends at Vesa’s), but fail to winterize ourselves by tending to the flame that burns in each one of us — the one kindled by passion, fueled by kindness, and sustained by warmth to and from those around us. Sometimes that means hibernating; other times it means getting out, seeing friends, doing something good for your health, releasing endorphins, and working up a sweat!

Here at PSF, we took this concept and ran with it — are you surprised? Here are ways you can cultivate that hygge feeling with us, this winter:

  1. 15542083_1211079142261083_6786721933553098416_nGiving the gift of membership to a loved one or good friend. Unlike a sweater or fruitcake, this gifts renews itself and pays dividends throughout the year…and beyond.
  2. Heading to the one spot in Rochester where it’s always 89 degrees and salty. Guess where? Our pool!
  3. Enjoying our member ski package with Swain Resort.
  4. Racquetball, basketball, pickleball, volleyball — all the court sports you can imagine, all under one roof.
  5. Supporting the Veterans Outreach Center and the House of Mercy — sure to warm your heart. Just ask at the desk for details.
  6. Trying a group fitness class you know you love; then trying a new one the next day. We’ve got 80 a week!
  7. Joining up with a trainer who’s dedicated to your success.

From our fitness family to yours, we wish you the happiest and healthiest holiday season.

We Can Work It Out

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“Mom, what should I do now?”

“Mom, can you buy that for me?”

Let’s face it, weekends and school vacations bring measures of boredom and plenty of screen time — prompting each of the questions above. This blogger was asked the second question with every commercial that aired.

As holiday time approaches, we parents may begin to anxiously crunch the numbers in our budgets for gifts.  Do we have enough money to spring for the latest Shopkins, video games, fashion boots, and robot toys?

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Our Halloween Parade was a hoot!

Family investments, such as KidFit memberships here, are well-worth the investment; because research shows that shared experiences (such as pool time and parades) are remembered more vividly than even the most lavish gifts. Years from now, your children may not remember that you splurged on a sofa or even that hatching animal toy;  but they may well remember marching through the health club in their Halloween costumes. (We sure will!)

Even so, how can families channel their kids’ energy and appetite for “the latest”, the must-haves, the little luxuries that stuff stockings and lift spirits?

The solution might be simple, for the season and for a New Year’s resolution. Have kids work. In many cases, allow kids to work.

Kids have a natural industriousness and a craving for responsibility. The money and finance columnist for the New York Times, Ron Lieber, recently spoke in Rochester as part of a book festival to promote his book, The Opposite of Spoiled. Lieber has heard countless stories about kids redeeming cans and bottles for refunds. And yet many families refuse to entertain the thought of a child performing chores around the house, or a teenager holding a part-time job after school.

“No one wants to return to the days when children worked full-time on the farm or in factories at the age of 12,” he writes. “But many parents have swung to the opposite extreme in the past decade or two, shielding even their oldest children …from paid work altogether.” For the latter half of the 20th century, 45 percent of American kids ages 16-19 had jobs; by 2013, it’s at the all-time low of 20 percent. Part of this flows from the anxiety of the college admissions game.

But the skills imparted by a job –including work ethic and “grit” to persevere, not to mention entrepreneurial muscle – can boost life skills as much as any drama club or soccer captainship. A recent study shows that high “grit” scores are more predictive than IQ tests on academic performance, including at West Point.

In one of his most fascinating chapters, Lieber visits a farm family in Utah where seven boys (ranging from 6 to 19 years old) raise 1,800 cows. The youngest started working at age 5, steering tractors through cowpens while his older brothers supervise the feedings or stack bales of straw and hay. They fit in workloads at dawn or after school, between Boy Scout meetings and wrestling practices; and each receive a paycheck for their efforts.

For kids who are too young to hold a job, at-home chores can lay the groundwork for “grit,” particularly meal preparation. Your little ones can become sous chefs at virtually any age– from stirring batter and cracking eggs to peeling fruit and setting the table. Why not bring teamwork into the kitchen, especially in the hectic hours of holiday time?

You’ll be easing your task burden, carving out more time for relaxed eating around the table (not to mention family swims and other fun). You’ll show kids how to build confidence, life skills and work ethic – not to mention an appreciation for food.

View More: http://vesnasanders.pass.us/penfield-fitness

“All hands on deck!”

Combine industrious can-do attitude with generous holiday spirit, and you just might find the solution to stretching your budgets (and your patience) this year.

 

 

 

Staff in the Spotlight: Julie Pumputis

Julie Pumputis

Julie, and her warm welcomes, are valuable asset of our club!

For 25 years, Julie Pumputis has been on the front lines of fitness here at PSF: greeting regulars, extending warm welcomes to newcomers, and encouraging both groups on their wellness journeys by remarking on their milestones. Here, in her own words, is why she loves her job (and it’s pretty clear why we love her back):

“I’m blessed to work here — not only because of the friendships I’ve built with co-workers, but also for the encouragement and excitement I share with members. Every day, I see my oldest and closest friends; and I meet new ones. We are a huge family. Everyone truly cares about everyone else: the trainers, the staff. I love welcoming people into the Club and knowing they’re crossing over into a positive atmosphere. I feel happy for people who decide to take that first step and come through our door. That first impression is key.img_6511
Some are scared or nervous, thinking, ‘Will I feel comfortable’? My job is to welcome and encourage them, put them at ease, and make them feel excited about the positive changes that await them. I’ve seen people needing rehab and needing to lose weight, and I’ve seen them achieve their goals. They come to us because they need help; and we give them help, support and strength – always in a positive way. Even when people come through the door saying, ‘I’m so tired,’ I’m able to say, ‘You know you’ll feel better once you’ve worked out’ – and they do. Our older members in their eighties and nineties are an inspiration to me.  My two boys grew up here at Miss Mary’s and in the pool for swimming lessons. Working out when they were young gave me the energy to get through the day. Now I have a four-month-old granddaughter that everyone here knows about!”

Thank you, Julie – for the first impression you give and the parting wisdom you share…and everything in between. We’re honored to have you in our Fitness Family.

We’re Going (F)all-In!

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We rise and “fall” together.

Check out this view from the gym floor…fall is here to stay! It even brought a dusting of the white stuff this week. To us, the message is clear: it’s time to come in from the cold! Runners, bikers, walkers, swimmers…join us here, where it’s warm and dry! Not only can you keep up your fitness regimen all winter; you can also take it to the next level, work with committed fitness trainers, and even try something new. Take a peek again at the value of a membership here. And remember, as the holidays approach and New Year’s Resolutions loom, now is the perfect time to get a jump-start on staying healthy. Starting next month we’ll all be eating, drinking and making merry a little more — and why not? We deserve it!

 

Working out here in our close-knit community will give you an outlet for stress and a place to “check in” and blow off steam when festivities reach a high pitch. Our trainers will help keep you on track. Plus, spending time here is just about the best way to create wiggle room for (extra) helpings of stuffing, sides, and sweet-potato pie.

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Our “house of cards”

So what’s in the cards for November? Lots! First of all, FREE guest passes for every other Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Bring a guest, then pop a balloon to win a prize. We promise not to embarrass you in front of your friends…everyone is a winner! Second, a 21-day VIP pass with insider access to all club amenities…including childcare, swimming and a fitness consultation. Last but not least, Casino Night on November 19th. With over $3,000 in prizes…you’ll want to take advantage of ALL the ways to earn extra chips, from buying shakes to bringing friends to taking designated specialty classes. For details and to register, stop by the front desk.

We’d wish you luck — but you’re pretty much guaranteed a happy, healthy season! Come in from the cold…the water’s warm, and our club is, too.

Mind, Body, Soul

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Anna Higgins Designs

On World Mental Health Day earlier this week, Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls” organization shared this image to remind everyone, women and men, that “health” isn’t just measured by the distance you can run or the weight you can lift. From anxiety to postpartum depression to post-traumatic stress, nearly 44 million American adults struggle with mental health conditions each year. Yet these conditions often carry a stigma that physical illness doesn’t. We hesitate to ask for help. We try to “get over it.” We often suffer in silence. As Rochester fall turns to winter, it may be a struggle to bundle up and leave the house.

We understand that a gym membership isn’t an automatic cure for mental health. But we can say that belonging to a caring community — one that’s supportive, non-judgmental, and focused on holistic health — can help ease burdens, encourage friendships, and nurture body, mind andunspecified-300x209 soul.

Exercise, personal training, yoga, meditation, nutrition, court sports and a safe, fun space for childcare are more than perks of your gym membership here. They are all ways that we create a thriving community, all year long.

If it’s been a while since you’ve stopped in, we’d love to see you. New fall class times, exciting member events (like Casino Night), and pumpkin shakes (of course) along with our regular roster of Shake Bar treats are waiting for you! You are important to us, and we value your membership. Let’s enjoy a healthy and happy fall…together.

 

High-Octane October

Saying farewell to summer is bittersweet. But honestly, we’re really looking forward to October! There’s so much to see, do, try, enjoy and experience…especially here at PSF and in Rochester! Here’s a round-up of the octane that’s powering our October:

Image courtesy mossa.net

Image courtesy mossa.net

  1. Our MOSSA launch. Talk about starting next month on the right foot! This Saturday, Cassie is launching all NEW Group Active, Group Power, Group Centergy, Group Ride and R30. Each class supports a different fitness goal, from strengthening muscles to building stamina to finding balance. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy smoked BBQ, beer tasting and hard cider tasting (yet another reason to love fall) from Stoneyard Brewing Company.
  2. Foliage! Can you imagine how beautiful our “enchanted forest” will be, when viewed from the soaring windows in our gym? Let the rich, deep hues of fall inspire you to turn over a new leaf, renew your commitment to fitness, and try something new!
  3. Our hot tub…paradise on brisk, chilly days! Keep warm and cozy while the kids have a blast in our 89-degree, Salt Pure pool.
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Photo by Vesna Sanders.

4. Giving back. Fall is the perfect time to count our blessings, enjoy our families and re-invest in our community, because each of us truly has the chance to make a difference. One blessing that we’re especially grateful for, in colder months, is simply a warm, cozy bed. Now an organization that’s close to our hearts, the House of Mercy, has created an opportunity for you to give a bed to those who need it most. And for those of you seeking to enjoy gourmet cuisine before gorging on Halloween candy (working it off with us, of course!),  the Dish It Out gala to support the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children presents a memorable evening of chef-celebrity duos, competing “Top Chef” style for your vote.

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Photo by Vesna Sanders.

5. Getting to know you (better). We’re so happy to see you evolving into better, stronger, fitter and tougher versions of yourselves! Whether you’re partying with pizza, grabbing a shake, giving your friends a run for their money in racquetball, working with a trainer or just spending well-deserved time on the treadmill, we’re grateful that you entrust your well-being to PSF. As the weather moves us all indoors, we look forward to seeing your faces this fall.

If Kids Ruled The World…

Today is National “Kids Take Over the Kitchen” Day…and we, as adults, can celebrate by sitting back, relaxing and letting children make a mess–we mean, a meal–by tackling their favorite recipes, with adult supervision. (We love the round-up featured here.) Just in case things get sticky, a beverage from our Shake Bar should tide you over nicely.

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Source: www.DaysOfTheYear.com

This national day got us thinking how else we can help kids grow more adventurous, confident and independent this fall, especially to smooth down back-to-school bumps into a workable daily routine. Here’s what we came up with:

  1. Pool time! As the weather grows colder and the days shorter, our SaltPure pool continues to be a warm, safe, inviting place to take Red Cross certified lessons, enjoy family swim time, celebrate birthdays, and remain comfortable in the water. It’s the pride of our club and the envy of others.
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    Photo by Vesna Sanders

    2. The great outdoors. On the days when brilliant foliage combines with mild temperatures, explore Penfield and its surrounding parks. For young kids, the Tot Trail (behind Penfield Town Hall)  has a butterfly garden and “play stations” with monkey bars, curved balance beams, pod toad stools,  and a rock bluff — sounds like fun outdoor fitness to us! For older kids, make time to explore gems like Abraham Lincoln Park, Ellison Park and the Channing H. Philbrick Park Trail. Here’s a great read about the benefits of being outdoors, especially as a needed break from homework and screen time. 

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    Grapevines and greenery at Abraham Lincoln Park.

    3. Chill time at PSF! We are experts at entertaining children of all ages, from infants to your tween-ager. Miss Mary’s Place features interactive games, toys, crafts, movies and more, supervised by our expert child-care providers. You can work out (or check in anytime) with complete peace of mind…and it’s free with membership! Check out what our PSF moms love about this perk. And kids love it too. Here’s to a happy, healthy fall season!

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