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The Many Benefits of Group Exercise (Plus New Recipe!)

Staying motivated to an exercise program can be difficult. If you are having trouble going to the gym maybe a group exercise program is for you. The benefits of group exercise are many.

First, the workout is designed for you, so no second guessing on what exercises you should be doing. Second, there are others there with the same interests and goals which is great for motivation. Third, there is a professional making sure you are performing the exercises correctly.
Lastly, but maybe one of the most important, is the connection with other participants, forming solidarity of purpose that extends into retention in a fitness program and new friendships that go beyond the fitness class.

A good example of this happened in our Pilates Reformer class. During the cool down and stretch segment, the class was talking about different health recipes. This sparked interest and also dialog that led to this salmon recipe that I will share in this blog (see below). Others in the class have already tried it and were very pleased with the results. I am totally convinced that the combination of exercise with a group develops many social pathways that enhance the continuation of not only the exercise but relationships that continue outside of the class.salmon cinnamon crust

It became evident that I was not immune to this infectious health infused communication as I found myself searching for other recipes concerning salmon. This is where I discovered many articles dealing with the mercury content of salmon.

Although there is a lot of nutritional value in salmon – such as the omega 3 fatty acids and high protein content, it also contains methyl mercury. Methyl mercury starts off as mercury that is emitted from industrial emissions into the air and ends up in our oceans where it then enters the food chain. When the mercury is consumed by fish the bacteria them turns mercury into methyl mercury. Although salmon is considered a low mercury containing fish the EPA and FDA recommend no more than 12 ounces a week. That is usually what I consume until I recently went for my annual physical and the Doctor told me to cut back to 6 ounces a week. This just goes to show how class conversations have branched into many facets of my own personal life.

A question that quickly came to my mind; is there a difference between farm-raised salmon and wild salmon? Actually, there isn’t much difference between the methyl mercury in either choice, but this could fluctuate depending on where the salmon are caught or farmed. If the geographical location is in an area that has high industrial emissions, there is a greater possibility of higher concentrations of mercury. So adhere to the EPA and FDA recommendations for consumption.

A great rule of thumb for consuming fish is the smaller the species the least methyl mercury is present. Sardines are a good example. The lower the fish is on the food chain the better. I actually learned this guideline from a gym member when we discussing this topic. So if you love fish like I do, vary the species to reduce the mercuric toxicity. I can’t wait to see what topics will come up in the next class.

Interested in other recipes? Check out this delicious Steak Stir Fry.

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