August 18, 2018

Should you skip the warm-up?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Always warm-up for your workout!

A warm-up is an essential component of your workout and should NOT be skipped, or even abbreviated. Prepare your body for exercise with 8-10 minutes of dynamic (moving your body continuously) exercise. You’ll prepare your muscles and your cardiovascular system for the increased work load of exercise. A proper warm-up is any movement of your major muscle groups aerobically. For example:

Walking. Walking outside or on the treadmill makes a great warm up for just about every activity. Start slow and build up speed.

Calisthenics. Jogging, jumping jacks, hopping are all great warm up activities that move many muscles and increase our core temperature.

No load exercises. Perform your weight exercises, without weight. No load exercises are great to develop muscle memory patterns as well.

Range of motion exercises. Move each joint through it’s natural range of motion. For example, wrist circles, ankle circles or knee bending and extending. Do 5-8 reps.

*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

 

 

Get Functional with Your Fitness

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Get Functional with Squats!

If your fitness goal is to complete your activities of daily living with greater ease and less effort, consider adding functional exercises like Squats into your workout routine.

Squats: An effective exercise that strengthens the entire muscle chain of your body. Although you’ll feel the lower body working the most, your internal stabilizing muscles are also working to maintain proper form, posture and control.

Here’s how to get started:

Consult a Fit Pro to learn proper form based on your ability. Every body is different, and therefore approach to a specific exercise may slightly differ as well.

Maintaining posture is paramount. Maintaining proper alignment is a prerequisite to performing an effective squat.

Master form before adding the load of weights. Adding load without controlling the motion increases risk of injury. Technique matters!

Choose free-weights if appropriate. Free weights require stabilization, instead of relying on the tracking of machine.

Progressions are endless. Varying the mode of the load creates an increased challenge for intermediate and advanced exercisers. For example utilize an exercise band, hold one or two dumbbells, incorporate a stability ball, stand on a balance disk, add a simultaneous upper body exercise, vary pace or vary the range of motion.

 

*Consult your doctor before beginning exercise.

 

Short on Time?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Break it down!

If you’re short on time, find a way to adjust or modify your schedule to keep your fitness on track. Here are a few ideas to keep you going:

 

Double up. If time is tight on your scheduled workout day, double up on your cardio the following day if possible.

Impromptu physical activity. Add in fitness everywhere and anywhere. Take the stairs, walk the errands.

Body weight exercise. Revisit the old days of gym class, and perform a circuit of Push-Ups, Planks and Squats to overload your muscles.

Back to basics. Seated stretching and range of motion are exercises that may be performed anywhere without equipment, and both have health benefits.


 

Get Uncomfortable with Your Fitness

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Get Uncomfortable!

Part of your fitness journey may be uncomfortable, unsettling or uncertain. Guess what? Feeling uneasy about your fitness goals is common! Physical fitness gains, and mental personal growth, happens when we overcome an uncomfortable feeling. We learn about our inner-strength and realize we are so much stronger than we think. It is through this principle that we feel empowered and confident, and these qualities carry over into all aspects of our life. Fitness is about so much more than the time we log in a workout!

Here’s how to get uncomfortable with your fitness (and enjoy it):

Take a class. Been interested in learning about the latest workout craze at your gym? Show up and try it!

Register for a race. Athletic competition is not just for kids. Enter a race and enjoy the motivation boost.

Master a new skill. Never learned to golf? Take a lesson. Always interested in stand up paddle boarding? Take a lesson.

Join a team. Check out your local recreation center to learn about local adult teams and leagues.

Revisit a old short-coming. Did you fall short of a goal previously and then abandon the goal entirely? Consider revisiting the goal again. Doing so will allow you to work through all the emotions that accompanied your efforts. The outcome may be different this time around.

 

 

Does Yoga Really Do a Body Good? By Jessica Matthews

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Does Yoga Really Do a Body Good? Writtten by Jessica Matthews

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, so one would assume it must provide some great benefits, right? Well over the last decade as the interest and demand for mind-body programming has continued to increase, so has the number of research studies conducted to examine the specific benefits that yoga has to offer.

Benefits of yoga
Studies have shown that regular yoga practice can improve muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and balance, which are often overlooked aspects of fitness. Yoga has also been shown to decrease the risk factors for chronic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, and also is effective in reducing chronic low-back pain, an issue which will affect nearly 80% of Americans at some point during our lifetimes.

Beyond the physical
In addition to the numerous physiological benefits, yoga also provides an assortment of emotional and psychology benefits. Yoga by definition means “union,” in essence the connection between body, mind and spirit. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, improve mood, and increase subjective well-being. Available research also indicates that stress-related diseases, such as hypertension, pain, cardiovascular disease, and depression are beneficially affected by regular participation in mindful exercise, such as yoga.

Can yoga do it all?
While the research regarding the physical benefits of yoga is in impressive, it is important to note that yoga was traditionally not designed to be a “one-stop shop” in regards to fitness. Research has supported this notion by studying and identifying the lack of aerobic activity that yoga provides. A study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE®), conducted by Poraci and Spilde at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, showed that that a 50-minute Hatha yoga practice provides no substantial aerobic benefit, as the number of calories subjects burned was comparable to that of a slow walk. Vinyasa-style or Asthanga yoga (often referred to as “power yoga”) on the other hand was shown to provide a mild aerobic workout, as a 50-minute practice burned 344 calories on average among participants.

These findings are not intended to deter individuals from integrating yoga into their current fitness program by any means. Instead, these findings help to shift the focus back to the numerous valuable benefits that yoga was intended to and does provide, which often times are the critical components that individual fitness routines are lacking.

 

This article is written by Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYT, is an exercise physiologist, yoga teacher, group fitness instructor, personal trainer, adjunct professor, blogger and fitness personality. Jessica strives to open minds, ignite passion and inspire the world to health and fitness through purposeful movement, quality nutrition and kind words. She has been featured as a fitness expert on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including Shape, Self, Oxygen and Oprah.com. For more health and fitness information, follow Jessica at www.twitter.com/fitexpertjess.