Posts Tagged ‘work out’

Tai Chi – Low Impact Exercises

Tai Chi is a popular mind and body exercise that traces its roots to Ancient China. It is a low impact activity that is aimed at promoting a person’s well being regardless of age and general health condition.

Tai Chi includes a variety of slow, gentle movements. It improves breathing, promotes better circulation and is a great way of relieving stress. Practitioners believe that Tai Chi improves the flow of energy in the body, restoring the body’s natural equilibrium and providing relief to many ailments.

Opening Position

  • Stand erect, maintaining proper posture and spine alignment
  • Spread your feet apart, and point both feet at 12 o’clock
  • Relax, drop your shoulders and let your fingers hang loose
  • Curve your hands and palms facing the sides of your body
  • Bent your knees slightly

Awaken the Chi: Warm-up Exercise

Benefits: breathing exercise, stress reduction

  • Opening position
  • Bring your hands in front of your body, with your hands slightly touching and palms facing outward, about two inches below your belly
  • Breathe in, and raise your hands upward to your breast level with the palms of your hands still facing skyward all in one continuous motion
  • Breathe out; lower your hands in a pushing movement. Synchronize releasing the air and lowering your hands with the palm of your hands facing downward.
  • Repeat the cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Balancing the Chi

Benefits: relieves anxiety, strengthens back muscles

  • Opening position
  • Bring hands in front with palms facing skyward, with the tips of your hands around two inches apart. Position your arms at the hip levels.
  • Breathe in, raise your heels and bring arms to chest level
  • Breathe out, lower hands in a gentle pushing movement. Turn your palms facing to the ground and plant heels on the ground
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Beautiful Woman Turns the Waist

Benefits: Loosens tight muscles, strengthens back, improves kidney function

  • Opening position
  • Clockwise
  • Position your hands at the back, with the palm of your hands pressing at your kidney area
  • Straighten knees
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat movements 6 to 8 times and return to opening position
  • Counterclockwise
  • Push right hip out to right and bend body slightly left
  • Push hips forward and allow upper body to bend backwards slightly
  • Push left hip out to left bend upper torso slightly right
  • Push bottom backwards and allow body to bend forward slightly
  • Repeat cycle 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Cloud Hands

Benefits: Improves coordination, strengthens back muscles, relieves neck tension, stress relief and enhances mind functioning

  • Breathe in, turn your left arm towards the center chest area at shoulder level with the palm of your hands facing your body
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Transfer your weight to your left leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn left
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop left arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your right arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from left
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Transfer your weight to your right leg
  • Lock legs and turn body from your waist
  • Turn right
  • Let your arm follow the body’s side movement
  • Drop right arm in line with your body and palm facing the side of your body
  • Position your left arm over the center chest area at shoulder level with right  palm facing your chest
  • Return to center from right
  • Breathe out
  • Transfer weight to center
  • Repeat exercise 6 to 8 times and return to opening position

Yoga – For a Healthier You

Yoga is fast becoming one of the most popular relaxation exercises. Yoga techniques include physical postures, body and mind discipline, breathing control and meditation. Allowing cancer patients to do simple yoga meditation exercises can help reduce stress and condition their minds for cancer treatments. Below are some of the benefits of practicing Yoga:

  • Promotes sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves breathing
  • Gives patient a sense of well-being
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Enhances blood circulation
  • Strengthens muscles

Basic Yoga Techniques

Pranayamas are yoga breathing exercises designed to eliminate impurities in the body and improve the mind. All exercises must be performed while sitting with eyes closed. All breathing must be done with the tongue’s tip touching the mouth’s roof.

Deerga Swasam: Complete Breath

This is a type of breathing exercise which promotes proper breathing technique. Breathe slowly and deep thru the nose with the tongue’s tip touching the mouth’s roof. Direct the air to your diaphragm and slowly fill your stomach with air. Inhale until chest area is completely filled with air. Gently lift your shoulders as you slowly feel the air filling your lungs. Exhaling, pull your stomach in as deeply as possible while releasing the air. Relax all chest, shoulder and chest muscles as you expel air thru your nose. Total duration for each exercise should take 1 minute, 30 seconds to inhale and 30 seconds for exhaling.

Brahmari: Humming Bee

This breathing exercise teaches how to properly control exhaling and reduce stress. Students are instructed to enter a meditative state before each exercise and instructed to reduce their pace of breathing.  Perform complete breath exercise and produce a humming sound as you exhale slowly. Listen carefully to the pitch and tone of the hum produced and continue to perform the exercise until a pleasant sound is produced.

Kapalabhati: Skull Shining
Kapalabhati is a relatively simple breathing exercise. It is based on the lungs natural property to fill itself with air when open. This breathing exercise doesn’t focus on breathing but on moving your diaphragm. Abdominal muscles are used to move the diaphragm while you concentrate on keeping your lungs open. The diaphragm controls the movement of air in the lungs. Pushing the diaphragm up forces the air in the lungs to be expelled (exhalation), relaxing the diaphragm increases lung volume forcing air to be pushed in back to the lungs (inhalation). This breathing exercise is required prior to performing Bastrika.

Bastrika: Bellows

Practice rapid breathing movements similar to those in Kapalahati. Perform these movements as fast as possible with emphasis on more forceful exhalation. Perform inhalation slowly and hold breath for a few seconds. While holding your breath, lean forward to press your chin to your chest as far as possible. Gently raise your head as you exhale thru the nose.

Anuloma Viloma: Opposite Nostril Breathing
Anuloma Viloma is a breathing exercise that aims to improve air movement thru nasal passages. It also promotes a smoother and slower movement of air while both nasal passages are equally trained. The breathing exercise also increases the amount of air that could pass thru to the lungs. Anuloma Viloma decreases and eliminates snoring and prevents sinus clogging.

First perform Kapalabhati or Bastrika to prepare body for a lesser oxygen supplies. Mild oxygen levels maybe experienced as covering one nostril constricts the flow of oxygen to the body. Perform the Vishnu mudra. Fold the first and middle fingers into the palm, taking note to keep the pinky, thumb, ring fingers straight. Perform complete breath technique thru both nostrils. Cover one nostril by using the pinky and ring fingers and exhale using the other nostril.

Still covering the other nostril, inhale thru the nostril which you just exhaled thru. Cover this nostril and exhale thru the nostril which was previously covered. Alternate nostrils and perform the exercise for about 10 minutes.

Five Minute Fixes to Boost Health and Wellness

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 spread germs. Always wipe down gym equipment before and after using them to protect yourself and others from germs and bacteria that can be passed from unclean gym equipment.

• 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.

Spring Cleaning Workout: Tidy Up and Get a Workout All at Once!

It’s that time of year again! The sun is starting to shine….and shedding light on your dirty house. Spring cleaning season is in full swing. Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find a woman or a man who says that they actually enjoy the thoughts of spring cleaning. But, if you just take into consideration how many calories are burned while you are doing your spring cleaning, then you may be a little more excited when spring rolls around this year.

As with any physical activity, cleaning up around the house and garden can actually burn calories as well as stretch and tone muscles. Some sort of moderate activity for at least 30 minutes a day can bring tremendous health benefits, even if it’s just using a little elbow grease around the house.

However, when it comes to losing weigh while cleaning, intensity and speed are vital so here are some tips from WebMD for making your next cleaning session a workout session:

• Listen to fast music in order to pick up speed and enjoy yourself while you’re at it.

• Tighten your abs during chores to make it more of a workout, plus it prevents you from slouching.

• Strive for large up and down movements like when cleaning the shower door. Make big pronounced movements and move those arms!

• Carry heavy baskets of laundry up and down some stairs to get your heart pumping.

• Climb on a stepladder to reach high dusty spots, keep it up and it’s almost like being in a step class.

• Do lunges while vacuuming, just remember to keep toes pointed ahead and to not bend your knees further than 90 degrees. You’ll feel these burning your thighs in no time.

The actual amount of calories burned while cleaning will depend on your weight, gender and age, but there calculators that you can find online (FitDay or NutriStrategy) that will help you to calculate your actual calories burned. But here’s a general idea of how many calories you can burn by just taking care of a few things around the house.

Gardening: 226 calories

Window washing: 226 calories

Scrubbing floors (on hands and knees): 291 calories

Laundry, ironing: 84 calories

Sewing repairs: 36 calories

Dusting: 97 calories

Scrubbing toilets, tub: 246 calories

Vacuuming: 317 calories

Cleaning gutters: 258 calories

Moving furniture, household items: 387 calories

Painting, papering, plastering: 317 calories

Sweeping: 194 calories

Mopping: 153 calories

Mowing the lawn: 148 calories

Washing dishes: 77 calories

So dust off your mops, break out the cleaner and begin to sweat off the weight!

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

Feel the Burn Even When it’s Cold: Cold Weather Exercise Tips

winter exercise
Let’s admit something to ourselves, shall we? Mustering up the motivation to exercise is tough anytime, let alone once the weather has turned cold for the winter. Winter can discourage even the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not particularly motivated in the first place then cold weather can spell disaster for your fitness regimen. Nevertheless, our bodies’ need for proper exercise remains the same year-round. Just because it’s 20 below doesn’t mean that we can put our fitness and well-being on hold.

One way to cope with the colder temperatures is to move your outdoors fitness regimen indoors by going to a gym or working out at home. While this is a valid way of accommodating for the weather while still fitting in your workouts there is also a lot to be said for getting your blood moving while outdoors. Outdoor exercise is a sure-fire cure for cabin fever and the winter blues. It also increases energy that can be sapped by gloomy weather. Exercising outdoors can also bolster your immune system- studies shows that moderate exercisers get 20 to 30 percent fewer colds than non-exercisers. With the right clothing and a little planning, cold-weather exercise is guaranteed to be safe, effective and fun.

Here are a few tips from the mayo clinic website on how to get the most of your cold weather workout:

• Check with your doctor. Experts say that almost everyone can exercise safely in the cold, including people with asthma and heart problems. But if you have health concerns, it’s best to get your doctor’s approval.

• Layer it on. One of the biggest mistakes cold-weather exercisers make is dressing too warmly. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat — enough to make you feel like its 30 degrees warmer than it really is. At the same time, once you start to tire and the sweat dries, you can get chilled. The solution? Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, try fleece for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer. A heavy down jacket or vest will cause most people to overheat. If you’re naturally lean, though, you’ll need more insulation than someone who is heavier. If it’s very cold (about 0 F or -17.8 C) or you have asthma, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth.

• Protect your extremities. When it’s cold, blood is pushed to your body’s core, leaving your hands and feet vulnerable to frostbite. Try wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. You might want to buy exercise shoes a half-size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat or headband — 30 to 40 percent of your body heat is lost through your head.

• Choose appropriate gear. If it’s dark, wear reflective clothing. To stay steady on your feet, choose footwear with enough traction to prevent falls. Wear a helmet for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.

• Remember sunscreen. It’s as easy to get sunburned in winter as in summer — even more so if you’re exercising in the snow or at high altitudes. Wear a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 15 or higher. Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen, and protect your eyes from snow and ice glare with dark glasses or goggles.

• Head into the wind. You’ll be less likely to get chilled on the way back if you end your workout with the wind at your back.

• Drink plenty of fluids. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout — even if you’re not thirsty. You can become just as dehydrated in the cold as in the heat from sweating, breathing and increased urine production.

• Pay attention to wind chill. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body. Fast motion — such as skiing, running, cycling or skating — also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. When the temperature is 10 F (-12.2 C) and the air is calm, skiing at 20 miles an hour creates a wind chill of minus 9 (-22.8 C). If the temperature dips well below zero (-17.8 C), choose an indoor activity instead.

• Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is most common on your face, fingers and toes. Early warning signs include paleness, numbness and loss of feeling or a stinging sensation. If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area without rubbing. If numbness continues, seek emergency care. If you suspect hypothermia — characterized by intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue — get emergency help right away. To help prevent problems, warm your hands and feet every 20 to 30 minutes, and know when to head for home.

• Stay motivated. When it’s cold outdoors, there’s no need to hit the couch. With a little knowledge and fortitude, you can meet the challenges — and reap the rewards — of winter exercise. For many people, the solitude and quiet alone are reason enough to brave the elements.

By following these simple guidelines you will be able to enjoy a time of solace, appreciate the beauty of winter and get in a good workout all at the same time.