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Ski Ergs

For those of you looking for a great way to improve your fitness or stay in shape for ski-season year –round, we have exciting news. The Wellness Center just recently added two new Concept 2 SkiErg machines. The Concept 2 SkiErg simulates the sport of Nordic skiing, which is recognized as one of the most challenging workouts around. Nordic skiing, a sport that that requires a combination of both strength and endurance, provides an amazing full-body workout. Not only does it effectively work the core, but also requires you to utilize all the major muscles in your arms and legs. The SkiErg also accommodates those dealing with lower body injuries by offering a low-impact workout that’s easy on the joints. The exercise can even be modified and performed kneeling or in a wheelchair, offering another way for adaptive athletes to challenge themselves. In addition, our members already utilizing the Concept 2 rowers will find that the SkiErg is a means to add variety and compliment your workouts. Below is a breakdown of the movement with diagrams demonstrating what muscles are used during each phase of the exercise:


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Aging is accompanied by many physiological changes. One of the most predominant physiological changes is sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass and strength with age. It is estimated that after your fourth decade, you lose about 1% of your muscle mass each year. This depletion of muscle mass contributes to increased disability, frailty, and risk of falls and injuries as you age. Strength training helps combat sarcopenia by increasing muscle mass and strength. Strength training also reduces the risk of falling because it causes improved balance and coordination. Adapting a strength-training program can help elderly people maintain independence in performing tasks of daily life.

Download the flyer here or scroll down to see it below.


resistance benefits


changes with age





Why you should get in the WATER

For many people, aquatic exercise is a little taboo or not even an option. The thought of putting on a bathing suits and smelling like chlorine is the last thing on their To-Do list. For the individual who comes to the wellness center and participants in weight training or our land base classes, adding one more mode of exercise might be hard to incorporate. The fact of the matter is, our members have access to one of the best pools in Watauga County and can benefit from all it has to offer.

"It's recommended to have 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week)" (New Recommendations on Quantity and Quality of Exercise, ACSM, 2017). For many people, this type of impact is not tolerated well and leads to fatigue, tight muscles and burnout. We here at the wellness center have the ability to cross train all fitness levels to tolerate their exercise programs and function in their activities of daily living. A well rounded aerobic and strength training program in the pool can provide low to high intensity workouts with deep water exercises, lap swimming or shallow water aerobics. Participants of all levels have the tools to increase their resistance with water buoys, noodles, and weights. The addition of 1-2 aquatic workouts weekly could possible help detour injury and increase the benefits of land exercise.

For many people with chronic pain, arthritis, balance limitations and/or mobility challenges, the aquatic environment is ideal for exercise. Water exercise takes away the impact of gravity and allows joints optimal flexing, which can improve range of motion. The water's natural compression encourages improved blood flow for people with poor circulation. "Water also has greater resistance than air, which means walking in water requires more effort and ultimately burns more calories than walking on land" (Water Walking 101, Camille Noe Pagán and Sean Kelley,

For more information on The Wellness Center's aquatic options, please follow this link to our aquatic page. We offer several types of aquatic classes, swimming clinics and aquatic personal training.

Rowvember 2


RowFit is a 30 minute class that meets on Tuesday's and Thursday's in the multipurpose gym. This high intensity, functional fitness class combines rowing, running, kettlebells, medicine balls, bodyweight exercise and more to provide a great full body workout. Even though each workout is different, each one includes the Concept 2 row machine. Come join us on Tuesday and Thursday at 5:45am or 12:00pm for this great full body workout. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up at the front desk. 

Author: Madison Burris

Hypertension is a condition of abnormally high blood pressure which exists when there is a force of blood against the artery walls, that when high enough, results in elevated health risks and may lead to eventual health problems, such as heart disease. Hypertension is the most common primary diagnosis in the United States, with an approximate 31% prevalence rate, which is still on the rise. In 2005 there were an estimated 35.3 million hypertensive men, and 38.3 million hypertensive women, with hypertension being more prevalent in African-Americans than Hispanic and non-Hispanic white people (Riaz).

One is diagnosed as hypertensive when the systolic blood pressure (SBP) is greater or equal to 140 mmHg, the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is greater or equal to 90 mmHg, or when one is on antihypertensive medication. Systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure that is within the arteries when the heart contracts and diastolic blood pressure is the minimum pressure within the arteries between each of the heart's contractions ("Hypertension"). There are several stages of hypertension as defined by the Seventh report of the Joint National Committee (JNC-7) on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, in 2003. One is said to be pre-hypertensive if the SBP is between 120-139 mmHg, or the DBP is between 80-89 mmHg. Stage one hypertension is described when one has a SBP between 140-159 mmHg or a DBP between 90-99 mmHg, while stage two hypertension is anything with a SBP of 160 mmHg or a DBP of 100 mmHg or greater (Iliades).

The risk of cardiovascular disease increases progressively with incremental increases in blood pressure. Studies have shown that beginning with a blood pressure of 115/75 mmHg, the risk for cardiovascular disease doubles with each 20 mmHg increment in SBP and with each 10 mmHg increment in DBP. High blood pressure can quietly damage an individual's body for years before any symptoms develop or are detected. Uncontrolled and prolonged elevations of blood pressure can result in a variety of changes in the "myocardial structure, coronary vasculature, and conduction system of the heart" (Riaz). These mal-adaptations can lead to the development of more serious complications and increase the risk for a variety of cardiovascular diseases including: stroke, atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease, left coronary artery disease, coronary artery disease, various conduction system diseases, and systolic and diastolic dysfunction of the myocardium. These various cardiovascular diseases can manifest into angina (chest pain) or myocardial infarctions, cardiac arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure (Kaplan, Riaz). For all inclusive purposes, hypertensive heart disease is a term that is applied generally to heart diseases that are caused directly or indirectly by the consequences of hypertension.

However, there is no proof of exact causation since "increasing blood pressure could be a marker for other risk factors such as increasing body weight, which is associated with dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, and the metabolic syndrome" (Kaplan). The etiology of hypertensive heart disease is a complex "interplay of various hemodynamic, structural, neuroendocrine, cellular, and molecular factors" (Riaz). All of these factors play important roles in the development of hypertension and its related complications, but an elevated blood pressure can, in itself, modulate these factors. Recently is has been emphasized that the absolute risk of cardiovascular events are from a combination of different things. Blood pressure is only one part, as the likelihood of an event is also influenced by age, gender, race, and the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors. For example, obesity has been linked to hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy. Various epidemiological studies have reported that as many as 50% of obese patients also suffer from some degree of hypertension and as many as 60-70% of hypertensive patients are obese (Riaz).

For treatment, JNC-7 recommends lifestyle modifications for all pre-hypertensive and hypertensive individuals. Major lifestyle modifications that have proven to effectively reduce blood pressure include: weight reduction in those that are said to be overweight or obese, adoption of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, reduction of dietary sodium, an increase in physical activity, and moderation of alcohol consumption (Chobanian). Documented systolic and diastolic blood pressure reductions with lifestyle modifications vary among individuals and are dose and time dependent. However, if a person adopts all five of the recommended lifestyle modifications, they can theoretically lower their blood pressure by 21-55 mmHg and ultimately get down to their target blood pressure goal. Emerging data supports a target blood pressure goal of less than 140/90 mmHg for most people, 150/80 mmHg in patients over the age of 80, and less than 130/80 mmHg for those with established cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, or renal disease (Chobanian, Riaz). Over the years the most effective forms of hypertension reduction have been found through the use of diet modification, exercise, and antihypertensive drug therapy.

For hypertension, as with many other chronic conditions that are asymptomatic in early stages, failure to adhere to drug or lifestyle modification recommendations is common and should be taken carefully into consideration by the medical care providers. The most effective therapy prescribed will control blood pressure and reduce hypertension only if the patients remain motivated. Levels of motivation improve when patients have positive experiences with and trust their medical provider. All diagnoses of hypertension are different and are case specific to each patient. As the symptoms vary, each treatment plan must be altered accordingly and ultimately the responsible medical care provider's judgment remains paramount.


Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, comp. "JNC 7 Express." The Seventh Report on the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (2003): 1-27. National Institutes of Health, Dec. 2003. Web. 14 Sept. 2017.

"Hypertension." Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors. World Heart Federation, 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2017.

Iliades, Chris, and Pat F. Bass. "The Stages of Hypertension." Everyday Health Media, 2014. Web. 14 Sept. 2017.

Kaplan, Norman. "Cardiovascular Risks of Hypertension." Cardiovascular Risks of Hypertension. UpToDate, 4 June 2017. Web. 14 Sept. 2017.

Riaz, Kamran, and Yasmine Ali. "Hypertensive Heart Disease ." Hypertensive Heart Disease. MedScape, 5 Dec. 2013. Web. 15 Sept. 2017.

Indoor cycling is a highly effective, low impact cardio workout that's suitable for all fitness levels. Check out some of the benefits:

1. Improved Cardiovascular Fitness
ACSM recommends that healthy adults participate in aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days per week or vigorous intensity, aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days per week.
Our indoor cycling classes will keep your heart rate up for the entire class. Done consistently this can lower your blood pressure, LDL cholesterol and reduce your resting heart rate.

2. It's a Major Calorie Burner
If your health and fitness goals include weight and/or fat loss indoor cycling is for you. According to, a person can burn between 400-600 calories in a 45 minute indoor cycling class. Combine a few classes per week with a healthy diet and watch the scale move.

3. It's Low Impact
Even though indoor cycling is a high intensity workout, it's very low impact. If your bike is set-up properly you won't leave class with aching knees, hips or ankles. In fact, many people recovering from orthopedic injuries use indoor cycling to help get them back on track.

If you've never tried indoor cycling I challenge you to give it a try. Come to your first class a few minutes early and ask the instructor to help set up your bike. If you have any injuries or limitations let the instructor know and they'll help you modify when necessary.

Spin Bikes


Everyone needs a rest day to let their muscles recover, rebuild, and become stronger. A rest day does not mean lying in bed and watching your favorite Netflix series, though. There is still a way to get a workout in and let it aid in the recovery process without imposing undue stress on the “injured” body parts. That is known as an active rest day, otherwise known as active recovery.

An active rest day involves performing lighter exercises with less intensity than on your normal workout day. You may still be working out but the demands placed on your body have been severely decreased, this will help aid in recovery and decreases delayed onset muscle soreness.  There are many more benefits to an active rest day, such as reducing injury due to over-use and repetitive strain injuries. These injuries are very common in those that do “too much”. Repetitive strain on your muscles and joints will end up being more harmful than beneficial. The workload you are placing on your body will not give your muscles the time they need to recover, rebuild, and grow. This is why an active rest day may be great for you. You are still able to work out - just at a lower intensity of training. You may think doing more is better; in fact, it is true that sometimes doing less means more. Too many people are obsessed with the amount of time they spend in the gym. For those that do not see a great increase in their overall fitness, it may be better to rethink your workouts and focus on quality over quantity.

Active rest days are catered towards more elite lifters, athletes, and those who tend to work out more than the average individual. A few example workouts for an active rest day include:

  1. Yoga
  2. Cycling
  3. Swimming
  4. “Lighter weightlifting”
  5. Playing a sport you enjoy


Written by Dustin Oliver, Personal Trainer at Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.

For more information about active recovery, check out this article on Built Lean