Mermaiding is trendy. I hit the water in monofin and tail to see if it’s also a workout.

The Washington Post, August 2019

Elizabeth Kiefer

(Excerpt from the article)

Once merfolk-in-training have that down, McCartney puts them through circuits including Russian twists and “mermaid push-ups ” on the pool deck, barrel rolls through underwater hula hoops and, of course, plain old swimming. She recommends newbies begin with a smaller-size monofin, as bigger, heavier tails require more work. “Once you start doing it, you forget you’re working out,” she adds.

Standing in the four-foot end of the pool, Mermaid Cookie reiterates the point about the movement emanating from your abdomen, not your knees, demonstrating what she means with a splashy flourish of her tail. The kids erupt in happy screams. Then it’s my turn. I dive toward the bottom, propelling myself forward with a butterfly kick; seconds later, when I come for air, I’m already halfway across the pool. Immediately, I want to keep going. McCartney was right: This feels less like fitness than plain old fun.

That’s not to say I wasn’t getting good exercise. Bianca Beldini , a doctor of physical therapy who is also a USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 Coach, often uses butterfly kick drills in her own training and with her clients. “Swimming is good for strength and flexibility, helps improve your cardiopulmonary functions, yet you’re not dealing with gravitational issues,” she says, adding that it can also be an excellent calorie burn. 

Though there is plenty of first-person anecdotal evidence about the fitness value of mermaiding, the practice seems too new to have prompted in-depth research. One study of professional mermaids does show a few potential health risks. Some are similar to the risks of swimming in general — ear infections, waterborne diseases, unwanted confrontations with sea life — while others are mermaiding-specific, including back pain related to wearing a fin and tail. Though I did in fact get water up my nose while I was swimming, that’s been happening all my life, and it has yet to deter me.

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Researchers Find Jogging May Be the Best Workout to Avoid Weight Gain

Researchers Find Jogging May Be the Best Workout to Avoid Weight Gain 

Healthline, August 2019

Kimberly Holland

What the Study Found…

Unlike previous exercise-related weight-loss studies, these researchers used five different measures for obesity, including body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip-ratio to determine which exercises are the most effective at managing and preventing weight gain. The majority of earlier research looked solely at BMI, which is a measure for obesity that’s falling out of favor with many healthcare providers.

The four exercises that proved to be the least effective for weight loss? Cycling, stretching, swimming, and Dance Dance Revolution, the cult classic video game that encourages people to move to choreographed steps.

Previous researchTrusted Source has shown that frequent physical activity can have beneficial effects on weight, including risks for weight-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, for people of all body sizes. What’s more, the research suggests inactivity, even for people within normal weight ranges, can have negative health consequences.

What’s So Great About Jogging…

“Jogging keeps the heart rate in a low-end heart rate zone, which is considered the ‘fat burning’ zone,” said Bianca Beldini, a doctor of physical therapy and USA Triathlon Certified Level 1 coach. “This means that the body uses fat for its primary fuel source to maintain the heart rate at this zone.”

Beldini continued, “As one increases their rate of exertion, increases resistance or speed, they move into higher heart rate zones, which utilize glycogen or sugar for fuel. I often tell patients that low zone work is like ‘burning the midnight oil,’ so one can go long periods of time at a low intensity because they use their fat stores for energy.”

A person with obesity “has a much higher fat to muscle ratio, therefore making it easier to utilize this for fuel,” Beldini explained.

The other exercises highlighted by the researchers “require large amounts of effort to maintain a paced workout. The athleticism needed is far greater than the alternatives,” said Eric P. Fleishman, a personal trainer and host of “Celebrity Sweat” on Amazon Prime.

Beldini added, “What is good about these other exercises is the higher caloric expenditure, which means that they will burn more calories to do them because they are harder to perform. The more calories burned, the faster the weight comes off.”

The exercises that weren’t found to be as effective seem to have something in common, too, Fleishman says: They don’t require you to use your body mass for exercise. That, Beldini says, may explain the lack of results.

In cycling, “The body is a bit unweighted because you are sitting, in comparison to jogging, and it doesn’t require as much total body energy as jogging does,” she said. “Thus not putting the same amount of strain on the cardiovascular and biomechanical system.”

She added, “Stretching is a passive activity which is great for myofascial pliability but does not raise the heart rate enough to improve fat metabolism.”

Dance Dance Revolution “is a great activity to fluctuate between low and high heart rate zones so they are quite possibly getting an aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. However, this fluctuation isn’t typically sustainable for longer periods of time.”

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The Worst and Best Exercises for Bad Hips

The Worst and Best Exercises for Bad Hips


Sara Lindberg

Causes of Hip Pain

There are several reasons why your hips might be causing you problems. One of the more common culprits of chronic pain is trochanteric or hip bursitis, which is inflammation of the bursa. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when this bursa, or fluid-filled sac, becomes inflamed, you can experience pain and irritation in your hips.


Dr. Bianca Beldini, DPT, MSOM, LAc, SFMA, tells that a telltale symptom of bursitis is the inability to lie on the affected side, which is due to pain when compressing the bursa against the bed with body weight. As to the cause of this inflammation, it can be a number of things from an injury or overuse of the joint areas to incorrect posture, bone spurs, or other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

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Hip Alignment Exercises

Hip Alignment Exercises 

Livestrong, July 2019 

Sara Lindberg

Hips Out of Alignment


It’s not uncommon for your pelvis to feel off balance or out of alignment, which can lead to low back, hip, knee and ankle problems. When this happens, the first thing you want to do is determine why your hips are misaligned.

“This disparity can happen because of a leg length discrepancy, which is when one leg appears longer or shorter than the other, causing the hip above to compensate and either raise or lower,” Dr. Bianca Beldini, DPT, MSOM, LAc, SFMA, tells She also points out that it can happen because of overuse of one side and overdeveloped musculature, or it can be an actual bony pelvis anomaly where one half of the pelvic bone is larger or smaller than the other.

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Walking For Fitness

What is the Average Walking Speed and Can You Improve it for Better Health...

OPEN FIT, July 2019 

Meagan Francis

For people who are very overweight or elderly, walking is a great way to start losing fat and improving fitness. And walking speed is “a predictor of important outcomes” especially as we get older, according to a meta-analysis published in the British journal Physiotherapy. Researchers have even referred to it as the “6th vital sign.”

But while it may be gratifying to clock your speed and find that you’re trucking along faster than average, there’s no one-size-fits-all benchmark for walking speed. “It’s very much dependent on age, heart rate, and level of fitness,” explains Dr. Bianca Beldini, DPT and founder of Sundala Wellness in New York City.

“Technically, if one walks to lose fat, they would be in heart rate zones 1 and 2,” she says, which is 50 to 70 percent of max heart rate. “The Karvonen formula (220 – age = max heart rate) is a common, easy way to determine heart rate zones, and the fat-burning zone is considered 60 to 70 percent of max heart rate.”

(It’s important to note that, while it’s called the “fat-burning zone,” it’s not actually the ideal zone for losing fat; rather it’s the zone in which fat is most used as an energy source during exercise. So while you might see results from walking initially, you’ll need to quickly increase the intensity of your workouts to continue losing fat and improving your fitness.)

Using the Karvonen formula, says Beldini, a 30-year-old’s max heart rate is 190 beats per minute (bpm). So he or she would want to stay between 114 and 133 bpm (60 to 70 percent) in order to build an aerobic base, improve cardiovascular function, and burn fat. A 55-year-old’s ideal zone, on the other hand, would fall somewhere between 99 and 116 bpm.

That’s not to say that slightly slower speeds are a waste of your time. Aerobic conditioning is important for cardiac function, circulation, and lymphatic movement. And you can still build an aerobic base between zone 1 and low zone 3, which is a bit slower than your “optimal” walking speed for weight loss and fat burning.

For a more accurate measurement of your ideal zone, Beldini suggests wearing a heart rate monitor or a watch-based heart rate tracker to chart bpm, rather than relying on your treadmill’s readout.

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