Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

Exercise 101: Spruce Up Your Spring Workout

Now that the seasons are changing, it is the perfect time to change up some of those old worn out items and routines that you have been stuck with for so long in your exercise routine. This is a handy list of “what to ditch” to make the exercise switch:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ditch the old running shoes.  Instead opt for a new pair and keep track of how much “mileage” you get out of them.  Typically if you run/walk 10 miles per week then shoes can last for 12 months (15 miles – 8 months, 20 miles – 6 months, 30 miles – 4 months).

Throw out the old cotton workout t-shirt.  Instead invest in some shirts that are made of wicking fabrics.  Wicking fabrics (like synthetics) do a better job of keeping you drier and cooler when you are exercising.

Toss the lightweight dumbbells.  Instead try heavier dumbbells that are more challenging in your workout.

Fitness for All: Switch up Your Workout!

If you are getting tired of the same old gym workout day after day, then luckily there are plenty of other options out there to shake things up a little bit.  Here are some fun and interesting ways to add a little something different to your daily gym routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mixed martial arts training and conditioning – If you have even seen a mixed martial artist then you know that they are in top physical shape.  Not only are they lean, but are also very strong.  Some gyms offer MMA circuit training, but if they don’t you can perform all of your exercises in one big superset, rest and then repeat.

Resistance training – Many gyms now offer plenty of different options when it comes to resistance training and you can spot chains and bands virtually anywhere in most gyms.  You can begin using these bands and chains by putting them on the ends of barbells and dumbbells.  As you lift, the weight will get heavier.  While this is an often-overlooked technique, it is an excellent way to increase strength and size quickly.

Non-traditional implements – Not all gyms will have tractor tires, sleds and sledgehammers lying around, but if they do, then you should be using them!  Implementing these non-traditional items into your workout is a great way to increase strength, improve conditioning and increase power.

Train unilaterally – By training unilaterally, or one side at a time, you can quickly point out weak spots while eliminating the need to do other parts of your workout that you used to do to make up for these weak spots.

Rest actively – If you find that you are spending lots of time at the gym and not seeing results, you may be spending too much time resting. If you rest for two minutes in between sets, either shorten that to one minute or do another quick exercise, such as jumping rope, during one of those two minutes.

Spring Cleaning 101: Burn Calories While You Clean

With spring comes the ever popular, “Spring Cleaning.” While everyone loves to have a clean house, it’s also good to know that you can burn some decent amounts of calories (thereby losing some weight) while you are doing your Spring Cleaning this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some calorie breakdowns:

  • Window washing – 226 calories
  • Scrubbing floors – 291 calories
  • Dusting – 97 calories
  • Scrubbing toilets and tub – 246 calories
  • Vacuuming – 317 calories
  • Cleaning gutters – 258 calories
  • Sweeping – 194 calories
  • Mopping – 153 calories
  • Washing dishes – 77 calories 

Editor’s Note: The calories burned estimates listed here are based on one hour of cleaning for a 155- pound woman.

Fitness for All: Recreational Workouts… and the Calories They Burn

Tired of your typical gym routine? Day in and day out you are hitting the gym and getting bored. If you still want to be active and burn calories, without the hum drum of being indoors at the gym every day, you can try one of these recreational activities that are not only fun and exciting but great calorie burners!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Cycling is one of the best non-weight bearing exercises and depending upon your speed you can be burning around 300 to 400 calories in just a half hour.  Cycling provides a great cardio workout and builds your calf and leg muscles.
  • Swimming is an excellent overall body workout burning up to 360 calories in a half hour time depending upon what swimming stroke you are using.  The best swim workout is interval training – swim two lengths, take a breather, and then repeat.
  • Because rock climbing relies on quick bursts of energy to get from one rock to the next, your strength, endurance and flexibility will significantly improve, plus you will be burning about 370 calories every half hour.
  • Running is a great cardio-respiratory workout, burning about 450 calories every 30 minutes – based on an 8-minute mile.  Your leg strength and endurance will also benefit greatly from a good run.
  • Racquetball is a great recreational workout burning 300 calories in simply 30 minutes along with building your lower body strength, endurance, and back and abs flexibility.  Just be sure to warm up first to avoid twisting an ankle!
  • Because of the non-stop action of basketball, you will burn more than 285 calories every half hour that you play.  Basketball also helps to develop flexibility, cardio-respiratory health and endurance. You also need to warm up properly before an intense game of hoops, so you don’t get injured.
  • Rowing burns about 280 calories every half hour and is a great way to burn extra energy. It also builds up endurance, strength and muscle in your shoulders, thighs and biceps.  In the same vein as rowing, but not as high in calorie burning are kayaking and canoeing, which each burn about 170 calories in a half hour.

Fitness for All: Spinning Basics

Been to a gym lately that offers spinning/cycling classes and wonder what it’s all about?  Spinning classes are rising in popularity as they provide an excellent alternative to the “same old” exercise routines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to www.aboutaerobics.com, indoor cycling began in 1989 and has endured as a popular exercise routine.  Classes are usually held in the aerobics section of gyms and last between 30 and 60 minutes.

Spinning can burn 500 calories or more in a short amount of time and, believe it or not, is actually a low impact activity for all ages.

Many assume that the class is just like riding a bike – without actually going anywhere.  But spinning actually involves jumps, hills, jogs, runs and other moves that are performed on the bike by either moving your body position and/or adjusting the resistance – or tension – of the bike.

Spinning does take some getting used to. Experts and instructors will warn you that, as beginners, you will encounter soreness in various places on your body.

Many serious spinners purchase padded seats and special shoes to eliminate any discomfort that might come from the bike.

Take it easy at first – try a beginner’s class or incorporate it once or twice a week into your workout routine.  Mix in other forms of exercise such as yoga, weight training and swimming with your spinning routine.

Remember, the first few classes will be uncomfortable, but the benefits of this unique exercise are worth the adjustment!

Fitness for All: How Fit Are You?

If you are looking to “get fit” in 2018, take these three self-tests to find out how fit you are first!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are your muscles?  Do some push-ups.  A 30-year old man should be able to 35 push-ups while a 30-year old woman should be able to do 45, while her knees are on the floor.  For every decade after 30, the number of push-ups decreases by 5 for each gender.

How is your flexibility?  Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, slightly apart.  Extend your arms placing your one hand on top of your other hand, fingertips forward and reach for the space in between your feet.

Women under the age of 46 should be able to reach at least two to four inches past your feet.  Older women should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Men under the age of 46 should be able to reach the soles of their feet.  Older men should aim to be within three to four inches of their soles.

What’s your heart rate?  Begin by exercising for 18 minutes at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate – for men, 220 minus your age; for women, 208 minus .82 times your age.  Then exercise all out for three minutes.  Check your pulse.  Rest for two minutes and then check it again.  Your heart rate should have dropped by at least 66 beats.  The faster it drops the more fit you are.

Little Known Health Benefits of Exercise

We all know how exercise helps improve overall strength and heart health. But aside from strengthening those muscles and giving you stronger bones, it also provides little known benefits such as improved hearing and fewer cold episodes.

Exercising is a great way to keep us healthy and there’s no contesting that. But if you’re still searching for a little push then this little known health benefits is certainly a welcome. It can give that extra motivation the next time you find yourself too lazy to workout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to Colds

Okay that is certainly an overstatement but people who exercise swear that they’re immune from colds or so they say. Exercises generally strengthen the body and in this case the immunity system. People who regularly exercise have good health habits and are more conscious of what they eat.

There is no direct link between fewer colds and exercise. However, studies have shown that between people who regularly exercise and those who don’t, the percentage of inactive participants suffering from colds are higher.

Prolonged, intense exercises however increase our risk for colds. This is because strenuous exercises increase the body’s levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Which can suppress the immune system thus increase the chances for cold.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Exercises do not directly improve eyesight but it does lower your risk for developing eye problems such as cataracts. Exercising decreases inflammation which is a known cause for cataracts. Exercising regularly normalizes blood sugar levels. The eyes contain very fine blood vessels and abnormally high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels. This is why people with diabetes are at high risk for developing eye problems.

Better Hearing

No muscles to build here. Just like keeping your eyes healthy, exercise improve overall blood flow in the body. Better blood flow to the cochlea, the ear structure that converts sound into nerve signals that are sent to the brain can explain this. Overall, the body needs a healthy supply of all blood in order to function properly.

Listening to music during a workout or a quick run through the park is a good way to keep ourselves upbeat and in pace with our routine. But some go overboard and blast their ears with music which can have a damaging effect on hearing health. So keep those beats at a minimum and give your ears a break.

Sleep Better, Easier

Exercising is a great way to release stress and you don’t have to hit the gym to get this benefit. The home is an excellent place to workout. Simple home appliances and furniture can be excellent exercise equipment.

Sleep is never overrated. The body does not showdown instead goes into the process of repairing and recuperating after a hard day at work or a gruelling exercise routine. People who sleep better are more likely to perform better the following day.

Break a Sweat with this Office Workouts

The office is probably one of the most unlikely places to get healthy. Spending hours lurking in that office chair doesn’t do anybody any good except build those love handles. Taking care of our careers is one thing but keeping our body healthy is equally important.

Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can have a damaging effect on our health. Sitting in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. can be likened to a couch potato minus the TV. Some studies even showed that sitting for long periods of time can increase a person’s risk for cancer by 60%.

Starting your journey to a healthier life can be done with a few simple changes. Switching to a healthy snack or deciding to take a little more veggies during lunch is just one of those little things that all up to being healthy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking a sweat in the office is possible and it doesn’t involve bringing in gym equipment. So the next time you find yourself hitting a wall and just need to release stress why don’t you make this an opportunity to get those sleeping muscles working. Below is a few simple exercises that you can do in your downtime.

Stretching

  1. Back and Legs

Lean forward from a standing or sitting position bringing the chest towards the thighs. Try to straighten the legs slowly stretching the hamstrings.

  1. Arms and Shoulders

Pull the arms across the chest and hook the other arm around it to pull the tension out of the upper back and rear shoulders.

  1. Neck

Tilt the head slowly towards the shoulder and hold it for ten seconds on each side. Do this on a slow and easy pace.

  1. Calves

Stand and lean into the desk with the heels on the floor. Bend the knees slightly to stretch the Achilles tendons.

  1. Thighs

Sit on the left edge of the chair. Grab the left ankle and pull it upward towards the buttocks. Do it also on the other side.

10-Minute Office Cardio Workout

  • Push-Ups

Get into a plank position with feet firmly on the ground and hands on a chair. Bend the arms to go down and bring the body back up. Go as low as your body can reach and press the back up to a tall position. The core should be tight and the routine should continue for at least one minute.

  • Broad Jumps

From squat position, bend down and jump forward landing again in a squat. Turn around and hop the other way. Continue hopping back and forth for one minute focusing on the distance instead of the height.

  • Tricep Dips

Facing away from the chair with the hands gripping the edge, place the feet out in front of you with knees bent at ninety degrees. You should feel the effect on the shoulders and triceps as you dip down and back up. Do the routine for one minute.

  • Squats

From wide stance, squat down and tap the butt to the chair, then come up. The pace should be fast to get the heart rate up. Extend the body as you rise up and squeeze at the top to engage the muscles.

  • Walk Lunges

Bend the knees in an alternate pace as you lunge-walk through the hallway. Do it in a nice and low position so that the quads with feel it by the end.

Five Minute Fixes

Tired of feeling like the path to health and wellness is a long, drawn out path?  Then start small!  Use these quick five minute fixes to boost your health and to reach your goals one step at a time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wear a pedometer to determine the distance you walk each day.  Shoot for 10,000 steps per day.  If you aren’t reaching that goal, add an extra mile to your routine or take the steps instead of the escalator whenever possible.
  • Add jumping to your exercise routine – also known as plyometric moves – to build muscle and improve your bone density.  Try jump squats or scissor lunges in your next routine.
  • Spend the extra money to purchase good work out necessities – clothing, shoes, bras, supports, etc.  Purchasing the better brands versus going the cheaper route will ensure that you use them and that they are the best for your workout.
  • Don’t be a creature of habit.  Switch up your routines, walking routes, gym machines and even what days you do specific workouts. Change is good when it comes to exercise and fitness.
  • Consider the other ways that you can lose weight without really trying – clean the house and burn 200 calories or work in the garden and burn 272 calories.
  • Even if you have to travel or spend all day in a car or on a plane, still try to fit in physical activity. Take advantage of bathroom breaks by stretching and doing some light exercise.  Walk briskly through the airport in between flights if traveling by plane.
  • Build better bones and as much bone density as you can by doing weight-bearing activities like running or jumping as much as you can in your twenties and thirties.
  • Yoga has many healthy benefits for your body and your mind.  Even if you are a novice, take a class and try something different.
  • Work out with your significant other or a friend or family member.  This allows you to be a spotting partner for one another or just spend some quality time together working out.

It’s Swimming Season

With the warm weather comes the opening up of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming. For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun!

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Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes.

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don’t get bored with any one workout.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin. Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout.

Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.  Experts suggest starting out swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes for women and 30 minutes for men.  You can begin to increase your time as necessary and as you continue your workout over the course of weeks or months.

Again, this will prevent you from getting too tired, too sore, wore out or disappointed in your swimming workout. Try out different strokes when you are swimming, too.  Do some laps using the breaststroke, then switch up and do the backstroke, or even the doggy paddle.  Each swimming stroke using a different variety of muscles and therefore will give you the best overall workout.