Pool Reopening Details & Precautions

May 22nd, 2020

Pool Reopening Details & Precautions

In compliance with the State of North Carolina Executive Order No. 141 the following mandates have been implemented…

• Limited capacity on the pool deck to thirty-three (33) people per one thousand (1000) square feet.

• Maximum occupancy in the pools limited to (10) people per one thousand (1000) square feet.

• Entrance to the facility is first come, first serve (this may be revaluated at a future date based on pool demand).

• If / when capacity is reached members will be directed to enter the facility from the back entrance at the lower parking lot.

• The indoor pool will be available for free / recreational swimming beginning at 9 am. In addition, a lifeguard will be present from 11 am – 6 pm. 4 lanes will also be dedicated to lap swimming.

• Locker Rooms will be available for use with social distancing requirements in place.

• We encourage all members to wear a mask to keep yourself and others safe.

• Social distancing is in effect (stay at least six (6) feet away from others) outside of your family unit.

• Seating has been arranged in a way to comply with state mandated executive orders. We ask that you do not alter these arrangements.

• We request that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter the facility.

• All employees will undergo a health screening prior to beginning their shift as per the state mandated executive order.

• All employees (excluding lifeguards actively guarding) will be required to wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be practiced.

• We have taken enhanced precautions and safety measures please follow all posted instructions while enjoying the club.

• Increased / frequent environmental cleaning and disinfection of all areas.

• Limited food, beverages and alcohol will be available for purchase.

• Parking on the club side of Granite Falls Blvd is permitted. Parking on the opposite side of the street is prohibited.

• Traditional pool rules and regulations will continue to be enforced.

COVID-19 Warning

 
We have taken enhanced health and safety measures for all of our members. You must follow all posted instructions while enjoying Granite Falls Swim & Athletic Club.
 
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and members with underlying health conditions are especially vulnerable.
 
By visiting Granite Falls Swim & Athletic Club you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.
 
Help keep each other healthy.

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Fitness Stimulus Plan – Trigger Workouts

May 11th, 2020

Fitness Stimulus Plan – Trigger Workouts

Building your own Trigger Workout

Try this method to get in a lot of exercise on days when you don’t have time for a full workout

Whether you are short on time or want to try something new, “trigger workouts (aka. Intermittent workouts) might be just what you’re looking for.

What are Trigger Workouts?

Trigger workouts are simple, effective and made for people working from home. It will make you move more frequently throughout the day for better overall health. You will be doing lots of exercise without needing an hour of uninterrupted time. It will make you take short work breaks that will invigorate your mind. It may even make working out seem easier.

Typically, in a normal workout you will do 3 sets of 12 repetitions of exercises for each major muscle group (10 normally.) The large muscles of the lower body are normally trained before the smaller muscles of the upper body, because these exercises require more mental and physical energy. The stabilizing muscles in the waist should be trained last. These exercises will consist of five basic moves: squat, hinge, push, pull and core work. Overall, you are looking at a total training volume of about 300 repetitions in a single hour’s workout.

But what happens after this hour of hard work while you are working from home? Chances are, you will be sitting in chairs for the rest of the day. That being said, before quarantine you probably sat in even more chairs, like the one you commuted to work in. In other words, that one hour is a brief intermission in a day that is often defined by stillness. Modern workers can spend as much as 15 hours per day in a chair and this can take a toll on our bodies and minds.

What would happen if we reversed this? What if we spend more of the day physically moving, with an hour or two of stillness? This may sound ludicrous but think of construction workers, furniture movers, military personnel and agricultural workers who regularly put in long days of almost continuous movement. Physical activity produces a lot of changes in the body, even after a relatively short time. Muscles contract, circulation increases, nutrients are shuttled into cells, and energy expenditure climbs. The body’s management of insulin improves, and we also see changes in hormonal function and energy metabolism. Our bodies are always adapting to what we are doing in a given moment. If we are sitting still for hours, our bodies are getting better at sitting still for hours. If we are moving around a lot, then recovering from the movement then we will get better at that instead. Fatigue is essentially a complex emotion derived from our body’s past experience and current data. During activity, our brain takes into account things like our hydration status, ambient temperature, humidity, blood glucose levels, body temperature etc. Then it compares these factors against our previous experiences under similar circumstances. The brain uses this information to regulate how much effort we can produce and how tired we feel. For example, runners on a hot humid day will begin their race at a slower pace than they would on a cool, dry day—even though they haven’t yet accumulated mechanical fatigue. Our minds are constantly referring to what we did in the past to decide what we can do today. Most exercise is done using fixed, known quantities, and there’s generally an element of “chasing” pain or fatigue involved. In the case of three sets of twelve squats, completing 36 total reps is known and safe territory. Doing anything more than that is unknown territory and therefore potentially threatening. But when physical activity is shifted away from fixed quantities—and into open-ended performance (that is, it goes on for as long as it has to)—these associations change. Your brain no longer sees your effort level as “this is the most I can do for X time or Y reps.” It sees your effort level as being set at “sustainable for as long as necessary.” This altered association changes your stress response. Not just in the moment, but also in the future—when your brain reflects on past experience to decide how hard an activity should feel.

Distress v. Eustress

The stress response that you’re producing when you exercise—and that you’re teaching your brain to associate with exercise in the future—is an important piece of the training process. We can think of that stress response as being either distress or eustress. Distress, as you’re no doubt aware, is thought of as negative stress. It can feel overwhelming. This can break you down. Eustress is considered positive—it’s usually short lasting and in a “dose” that feels manageable. This can build your resilience.

The division between distress and eustress is driven largely by our perception of two variables: predictability and control. Predictability is essentially our brain’s answer to the question, “Do I know what’s happening, and do I have the resources to cope with it?” Control is our perception of how much influence we can exert over a situation. In a distress state, our sense of predictability and control is low, and the situation is seen as threatening. Our brain is sufficiently uncertain of our ability to handle it. As a result, it ramps up a strong epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline) and cortisol-heavy response. In a eustress state, we have a strong sense of predictability and control. Our brain reads the scenario as challenging rather than threatening. Our physiological response is also different. Rather than epinephrine, we produce predominantly more norepinephrine, and less cortisol. The response is more accurately matched to the “mere physiological demand” of the situation, rather than the “better safe than sorry” adrenaline response we feel in a threatening situation. Once the event has passed, we return more quickly back to baseline.

The vastly underrated benefit of intermittent activity

Pavel Tsatsouline, founder and chairman of StrongFirst, made some aspects of this training approach famous when he coined the term greasing the groove. Greasing the groove is as much about motor learning and skill acquisition as it is about stress responses and physiological adaptations. It’s a way to strengthen a motor pattern by practicing it more frequently. Pavel has people practice a strength skill such as a kettlebell swing or a pushup in regular intervals spaced throughout the day. An important piece of this is that you’re not trying to beat yourself up. You’re deliberately staying relaxed and not training to failure. You simply mix in sets of technically crisp, high-quality reps throughout your day.

How to build your own intermittent workout

We call this idea of doing a set (for example 5 repetitions) of an exercise every time you walk past a certain object or are reminded by a timer a ‘Trigger workout’. (It’s way easier to say than “intermittent.”). It’s a great way to improve fitness and motor skills. It may even be more beneficial for certain aspects of health than a one-hour workout done once per day (if you’re otherwise sedentary). It’s also a sneaky way to get in a lot of exercise on days when you otherwise wouldn’t have time for a full workout.

Here’s What You Do

Step 1: Establish your trigger.

This can be anything from a timer to an object in your house. Ex. A dumbbell/kettlebell beside your bathroom door. Every time I walk by it I do a few sets of swings, snatches, or ab movements. Whatever you choose, make it somewhat frequent. Ideally, you’ll be moving around about once per hour. If you’re working from home (like millions of others right now), this gives you enough time to do focused work, while still keeping your body from fusing with your chair. It also gives you a brief, regular break from the mental demands of work. Have several triggers around the house.

Step 2: Pick an exercise.

Generally, choose a movement that works a lot of big muscle groups and that can be done safely without a warmup. Goblet squats, Bodyweight squats, Lunge variations, Pushups, Dumbbell rows, Overhead presses, ab movements like planks or dolphins. You can also mix in some favorite stretches or mobility drills. Come up with a handful of movements, and try to get about an equal mix of upper and lower body movements. For the sake of your shoulders, it’s often helpful to do about twice as many reps of pulling movements—such as rows—as you do pushing movements like pushups.

Step 3: Decide how many reps and sets to do.

The specific number here isn’t critical. You’re just trying to make physical work feel easy. Stay at a level where you don’t feel a significant “burn,” and you’re nowhere near failure. As a general rule, it’s better to do multiple sets of lower reps than one long set of a bunch of reps. For most exercises, try starting with 5 reps at a time.

Step 4: Start your workout.

Here is an example trigger workout that uses exercise at particular times of the day, say every hour.

8 am: 5 pushups, 5 bicycle crunches, repeated for 4 total rounds.

9 am: 5 goblet squats, 10 kettlebell swings, 5 lunges (per side), repeated for 4 total rounds.

10:30 am: 10 dumbbell reverse flies, 5 pushups, repeated for 4 total rounds.

11:30 am: 5 goblet squats, 5 dumbbell rows (per side), repeated for 4 total rounds.

1 pm: 5 dumbbell bicep curls,5 dumbbell tricep kickbacks (per side),5 crunches, repeated for 4 total rounds

2:30 pm: 10-second side plank (per side), 5 dumbbell lunges (per side), repeated for 4 total rounds

3:30 pm: 5 dumbbell rows (per side), 5 single-leg dumbbell deadlifts (per side), repeated for 4 total rounds

4 pm: 5 dumbbell bicep curls,5 dumbbell tricep kickbacks (per side),5 crunches, repeated for 4 total rounds

5 pm: 5 dumbbell overhead presses ,5 bicycle crunches, 30-second plank, repeated for 2 total rounds

Every time you pass by your ‘trigger’ object complete a set or two of your chosen exercises, and repeat this over the course of the day.

Of course, you can also just pick one or two exercises, or a single circuit, and repeat that over the course of the day. Where possible, use trigger workouts with some conventional training, and go play outside. This training method works best when it’s done in combination with the type of maximal strength training and periodic high-intensity work that’s done in a gym (even if that’s your home gym).

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Fitness Stimulus Plan – Sleep It Off – 10 Mandates for Better Sleep

May 5th, 2020

Fitness Stimulus Plan – Sleep It Off – 10 Mandates for Better Sleep

The quantity and quality of sleep is one of the best predictors of how long you’re going to live. Skimping on shut-eye lowers immunity and increases the risk of a host of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, and early-onset Alzheimer’s. In America 70% of adults report they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month. It is estimated a third of adults do not get enough sleep regularly. The National Sleep Foundation recommends Teenagers should get 8-10 hours a night, adults 7-9 hours and 7-8 hours for over 65 years.

Here are 10 ways to aid a better rest.

Keep Cool

Turn down the heat before heading to bed. Our circadian rhythm works best with night temperatures between 60 – 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures signal the brain to produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin. Recent findings suggest that chilling out at night also encourages the body to expand “brown fat,” a type of tissue that boosts metabolism. Thick pajamas or an overly toasty bed can sabotage your sleep. Moisture-wicking sleepwear or thermal-regulating mattress pads help control body temperature. New mattresses often have cooling technology, and the bed of the future may well look like Sleep Number’s Climate360, due out sometime in 2021. This “smart bed” adjusts the temperature on each side of the mattress throughout the night, warming you when you first tuck in and then cooling down to keep your sleep going strong until morning.

Do the Light Right

In terms of light exposure, it’s not just what you do at night that matters. It’s also what you do in the daytime. Make sure you get bright light in the morning and avoid it in the evening. As bedtime approaches, dim the lights to tell your brain that you’re getting ready to sleep.

Blue light, which is emitted by phones, tablets, and other screens, has the largest effect on melatonin suppression. Try and put your phone or tablet away at least an hour before bed which let’s face it is easier said than done. Use blue-light-blocking glasses and screen covers in the hours before bedtime, as well as putting warm-light bulbs in your bedside lamp.

Wake Up Smart

If you’re starting your day groggy, foggy, and irritable, forget about the “wrong side of the bed.” You likely woke up in the wrong phase of your sleep cycle. Our brains are designed to be roused from light sleep, not the more active REM stage, which occurs throughout the night and, for most people, becomes longer and deeper toward morning. Cutting-edge sleep headbands use electrodes to read your brain waves and wake you at the optimal moment of your sleep cycle, but come at a price. A more affordable option: So-called “sunrise” alarms gently return you to consciousness with a combination of pleasant sounds (think birdsong and classical music) and light that mimics the morning sun.

The Mattress

Most people would agree that the mattress is the most important component for a good night’s sleep. The right mattress depends on your weight, your preferred sleep position, and even your age. As we get older, the layer of fat just below our skin diminishes, so we have less natural cushioning, so we need a softer bed. The ideal mattress provides enough support to prevent sinking at the hips and to let your muscles (especially the ones in your back) relax. Look for something that is medium-firm. It should contour to your body while still providing adequate support.

The Pillows

Try the pillow fold test. Fold it in half. If it doesn’t spring back then it is no longer offering you good support. Most pillows have a life span of about 18 months, while memory-foam options may last up to three years. There are endless options for pillow models. L-shaped models let you wrap your arms around one side and rest your head on the other, which is meant to improve spinal alignment. Pillows with arm tunnels are for people who like to sleep with an arm under their head and are tired of waking up with numb fingers. Some manufacturers make options for back and stomach sleepers (designed to reduce snoring by positioning the head so the airway remains open) and an option for side sleepers. The key for side sleepers is that a pillow needs to fill the area between the outer ear and the outer shoulder to help maintain alignment in the neck and spine.

Time of Year

Your bedroom is like your wardrobe, it needs to change with the weather. Trade your comforter for a linen blanket in the summer. During spring and fall, when temperatures vary, use a cozy comforter that’s one size smaller than your bed. It sits on top, and when you sleep, it’s easy to poke out an arm or a leg.

Cut Your Stress

 An evening drop in cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, is part of the body’s natural progression toward sleep. Unfortunately, anxiety can interfere with the drop, making it difficult to fall and stay asleep. One simple antidote to middle-of-the-night mind games is a weighted blanket, which provides what scientists call deep pressure stimulation (DPS). Research shows that DPS can decrease activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which promotes alertness in the face of stress, while increasing activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and blood pressure, These changes result in decreased cortisol. A 12-pound blanket works best for most people. Consistent mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve sleep. If you’ve tried and failed at the “sit and watch your thoughts” approach, you might want to check out the new high-tech headbands that gives feedback on your brain activity, breathing, and heart rate to encourage effective meditation. The band also offers guided meditations to help you drift off to sleep.

Volume Down

Anyone who’s had a baby in recent years is probably familiar with white noise, a fanlike whirring sound that can block out barking dogs, siblings’ tantrums, and other baby-waking household noise. But there is also pink noise. In a 2017 study, researchers found that this combination of frequencies—which sounds flatter than the more staticky white noise—increased deep sleep and improved memory in older adults. Many companies are thinking pink when designing their noise machines. A number of studies have revealed that listening to relaxing music before bed can improve sleep quality. Soothing music can slow the heart rate and breathing and lower blood pressure. All these physiological changes can help us fall asleep.

Aromas

Lavender has long been a sleep-inducing staple, and for good reason: Studies have shown that using lavender oil for aromatherapy can enhance sleep quality, even for people with insomnia, depression, and anxiety. The scent interacts with the neuro-transmitter GABA to help quiet the brain and nervous system, reducing agitation, anger, aggression, and restlessness Sleep is a ritual behavior, many habits you perform before bed—diffusing essential oil, taking a bath—can cue your brain to start winding down.

Bedroom Colors

When painting your bedroom, or even replacing your pillowcases, select tones that are relaxing. Choose cool and neutral color palettes. Choose something that makes you happy but isn’t too stimulating. High gloss reflects light, which can make it much more difficult to sleep. Stick with matte or eggshell and save that shiny wallpaper for the living room

Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep sleeping.

Love,

~Uncle Sam

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Fitness Stimulus Plan – Firming Up Your Assets A 30 Day Challenge

April 23rd, 2020

Fitness Stimulus Plan – Firming Up Your Assets A 30 Day Challenge

ATTENTION! All good citizens are required to participate in this challenge. There is no rest day, you soldier on for 30 days strengthening your quads, hamstrings, gluts and more to tone and tighten these specific areas of your body.

Below are the 5 exercises you will be doing during the challenge. Also, be sure to print out the 30 day workout plan and put it on your fridge or on the top of the cookie jar.     

Comply or Die!    

Love,

Uncle Sam

Squats

Pointed Butt Lifts (Repeat both legs)

Fire Hydrants (Repeat both legs)

Heel Kicks (Repeat both legs)

Bridges

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Couch to 5K – A Progressive 7 Week Run Training Program You Can Do at Home

April 16th, 2020

Couch to 5K – A Progressive 7 Week Run Training Program You Can Do at Home

Granite Falls is committed to helping our members (and future members!) remain active, fit and engaged in a healthy lifestyle while we endure these “interesting” times. That being said, we are excited to introduce the next phase of our Fitness Stimulus Plan. Couch to 5K!

Couch to 5K is a progressive 7-week run training program geared towards new runners and anyone interested in incorporating running into their fitness regimen. 

Establishing a running routine doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a willingness to move, a comfortable pair of running shoes and a training plan to keep you on track. Check out the videos below as our run coach, Geraldine introduces you to the program and gives all the details. 

Are you up for the challenge? Give our 7-week Couch to 5K program a shot. You got this!

Click Images to Expand

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