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Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Abdominal Exercises

Straight Legged Toe Touches

Muscles worked – Lower, Middle and Upper Abdominals

Details – Lay on the floor (preferably on an exercise mat) with your legs stretched out and together pointing into the air. Your legs and your abdomen should be at right angles to each other. Your head and neck should be slightly lifted off the ground and your shoulders should also be very slightly elevated. Place your arms together and in front of you with your fingers pointing towards your toes.

Reach for your toes as far as you can. This will contract the abdominals. Also, lift your head, neck and shoulders off the floor and breathe out as you reach up with your arms and contract your abdominals. Crunch up as far as is comfortable and bear in mind that reaching your toes is an unrealistic target.

Gradually lower your body back to its original position. This will relax the abdominals. Breathe out as you lower your body. Relax for a second or two and repeat the process.

Sit up Twists

Muscles Worked – Upper, Middle, Lower Abdominals and the Obliques (sides of the abdominals)
Details – Lay on the floor with feet flat on the floor and legs slightly bent. Place your right hand on your right temple and your left hand on your left temple.
Raise your back up towards your knees and when you reach as far as your feel comfortable. Twist your right elbow to touch your left knee and then your left elbow to touch your right knee.

Relax your torso back to the ground, keeping your hands on your temples. Rest for one or two seconds and repeat the process. Remember to breathe in as you lift your torso and out as you relax it back to its initial position.

The twists you perform in this action help to exercise the obliques which give a more toned overall composition of your abdominal muscles.

Aerobic Activities

Doing aerobic exercises is a great fun for everyone let them be children or adults. Some examples of aerobic activities involves:

· Jogging

· Swimming

· Brisk walking

· Bicycling

· Running

· Ice-skating

· Aerobic dancing

· Rowing

· Walking

And many others are there. From all these walking is considered to be the best aerobic exercise because it is easy, cheap and safe. While walking you don’t require any other equipment except good shoes.

Choosing an exercise:

The best exercise for a person is the one he really enjoys doing. Alternating the new activities with the old activity will keep you more enthusiastic. So here are some suggestions:

Indoor Activities:

here this is one kind of working out in gym. If the treadmill, rowing or stationery cycle does not keep you enthusiastic then you can sample some group activities that strikes your excitement. For that you can participate in group cycling class or stay cool with indoor swimming.

Home activities:

here you don’t require to join a gym. You can just buy some local video and that allow you to workout I the privacy of your home. But some equipments will be required depending on the activity you have selected. Those equipments can be a set of hand weights or aerobic dancing.

Outdoor activities:

outdoor activities you can select according to the season. For example you can learn to cross country ski during winters, you can join swimming during summers and for refreshment of air you can do early morning jogging or sprinting.

How will you get enjoyment in doing the exercise?

It is easy to start doing the exercise but sticking to it is tough. So here are some ways how you can stick to a particular exercise:

· Get a partner along with you so that you enjoy whatever you are doing.

· Vary your routine so that you feel less bore.

· Choose a comfortable and a convenient time in a day.

· Never be discouraged just go on working hard.

· If you have some hurt just stop.

· Make the exercise fun and enjoy doing it.

· Most important is choose something that you are interested to do.

Reduce Body Fat

Water Intake: The optimum amount of water you should drink each day is actually one-half your total body weight in ounces. I know how difficult this is so start out with 8 glasses of eight ounces of water each day. Once you achieve your goal, try to set a higher goal and reach for one-half of your total body weight in ounces each day. Drinking water helps to flush the fat, and toxins out of your body.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise will help your health more that you think. I am not begging you to attend aerobics class, I am just asking you to do a little walking each day, or at the very least three times a week. Aerobic exercise helps with your health maintenance program. Aerobic exercise will increase the amount of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) in your body, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Aerobic exercise will also increase you basal metabolic rate which burns your stored body fat as the fuel source for aerobic training. Keep in mind that aerobic training also serves to maintain cardiovascular fitness which affects the heart and lungs.

Loss of Body Fat: To help facilitate the loss of body fat, regular exercise is geared a little different. You need to exercise for a longer period of time because your body will use blood sugar as well as your stored sugar in the form of glycogen for the first 20 minuets of exercise. At this point your body will switch over and burn body fat as the preferred fuel source. Thus, to accelerate your weight loss, you need to work out a little longer.

Cardio Impact

The first method of cardio that I am going to explain is walking. Walking is the most common form of cardio exercise, and some people don`t even realize that they are doing cardiovascular activity just by walking around the house. Walking is a very low-impact exercise, and is one of the few cardio exercises that can be incorporated into your own lifestyle. Another form of walking that can be used is power walking. Power walking at the gym is easy because you can just hop on a treadmill and take off. You should choose a walking routine that emphasizes incline movements and you should alternate paces to shock your muscles into new growth.

Jogging is the most common exercise known to the public. Most jogging program`s paces are determined on one`s physical conditioning. Beginner joggers should practice speed walking before they progress to a jogging routine. Jogging is not for everyone because it can be hard on your knees and is simply not an option when it is zero degrees outside. Jogging is a very good cardiovascular exercise because it burns twice as many calories per hour than that of walking, and it should be used by individuals wanting fast weight loss results.

Sprinting is running as fast as you can until you cannot run any further. This method of cardio is more suited towards HIIT and should not be used by beginners. Sprinting is the quickest form of cardio that can be performed to burn calories because it only takes five to ten minutes to get an effective workout. However, sprinting can be dangerous to your body if proper warm-up isn`t in place. Make sure that you stretch thoroughly prior to sprinting because the quick movements may shock your muscles into an injury.

Dance is another popular method of cardio and is actually one of the few cardio exercises that are fun. Everywhere you look, it is almost certain that you can find a dance class to join. There are so many different dance styles available that it would be impossible to list all of them. If joining a dance class doesn`t appeal to you, but you still want to learn how to dance, then these DVD videos are the perfect investment:

1)Tae-Bo

2)Carmen Electra’s The Lap Dance & Hip Hop

3)Darrin’s Dance Grooves

4)You Got Served – Take It to the Streets (Dance Instructional)

Indoor cycling, also known as spinning, is a new health club craze. This intense workout targets the lower body, giving the quads, glutes, and hamstrings a good workout. Using stationary bikes that aim at increasing endurance, classes using the spinning exercise is a perfect way of getting a hardcore workout and motivational boost at the same time. Almost every health club has a cycling class that you can join and the application process is easy. Each forty-five minute session that you perform will burn 500-700 calories, who wouldnt want to indoor cycle?

The best part about swimming is that it is not stressful on your body. Water aerobics offer the same support as swimming, but instead of propelling your body from one end of the pool to the other, you use the water as resistance to burn calories and build muscle. Both methods are refreshing alternatives to boring cardio and will give you a good workout without getting sweaty. Another reason swimming is a good exercise is that the water decreases the stress on your joints, and it helps people with joint problems incorporate exercise into their lifestyle.

For people who live in cold areas, ice skating is the preferred method over rollerblading. However both methods serve the same purpose and that is to get you active. These exercises are fun to do and are great for the lower body. If you want a more challenging exercise you can simply rollerblad uphill, but be careful when you are going back down because the excess speed may cause you to crash. Which brings me to the downside of rollerblading. It is a very dangerous exercise and you must wear protective equipment at all times. You also might try to show off when your ability levels are not so great and you could injure yourself if you are not careful.

Personal Fitness

Even a few 10-minute sessions a day can lead to increased stamina as well as a long list of benefits to the mind, body and spirit. Here are some ways exercise can stimulate the energy level of you harried Modern Moms out there:

o Let go of the guilt and schedule your exercise time – Simply put, don’t ignore your personal needs. Exercise is one of the best ways to not only enhance your energy but preserve your sanity. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have energy or patience for anyone else.

o Exercise first thing in the morning to jump start your day – Your chances of sticking to your program increase significantly if you exercise in the morning compared to later in the day when excuses and fatigue take over. Your metabolism will be elevated for more than 7 hours following a one hour morning workout, so you will have more stamina to take you through the day.

o Add activity to your work day – To renew your vigor in the day to day grind, find a better way to commute to work, like walking, biking, parking a mile from the office or getting off a train stop early. You’ll still be high on natural endorphins while everyone else is working on their second cup of coffee. Eliminating some of the modern conveniences can burn up to an additional 800 calories a week.

o Make wholesome and nutritious food choices – You are more likely to eat healthier meals if you exercise. The last thing you will want to do is eat a heavy meal after getting the blood pumping through your veins. Ultimately, eating more nutritious food along with regular exercise will lead to weight loss, which will decrease the demands on your body and increase your energy and self -esteem drastically.

o Drink Plenty of water – Keep hydrated before, during and after exercise. Your body is made up primarily of water, and while water does not have calories to provide energy, it contributes to weight loss and assists your digestive system. Drinking ample amounts of water will keep the toxins flowing right out of your body.

o Find creative ways to integrate family time with exercise – Your entire family will be healthier and more energized as a result of physical activity. Don’t be a bystander at the playground. Get up and join in the activities by pushing a jogging stroller, hitting the hiking trails, running the bases, biking around the neighborhood, climbing the jungle gym or swimming in the lake. As an added perk, your kids will think you’re cool.

o Get your zzz’s – Regular exercise will lead to more quality sleep and require you to sleep less. If you exercise early in the day, you will be naturally tired by bedtime and will have no problem falling into a deep slumber.

o Try Yoga – Raise your energy levels and ability to concentrate with the deep breathing techniques used in yoga. Yoga builds balance, coordination, strength, and it is energizing and wonderfully de-stressing as well. Perfect for decompressing after an ultra hectic day!

o Exercise will help to fortify you against colds and flu – People who participate in a regular exercise program are less likely to come down with a cold or be debilitated by one. Exercisers report less symptoms and quicker recoveries from colds.

Walking Program

1. Put walking on your calendar and think of it as an appointment you must keep.

2. Set a new goal. You may add strength training to your walking program or walk additional steps.

3. Work towards your new goal in increments. If you start to lift weights, for example, lift small ones.

4. Check your walking shoes for wear and replace them, if necessary.

5. Wear socks that wick moisture away from your feet. When your feet are wet walking isn’t fun.

6. Get a walking buddy. You may ask one of your best friends to walk with you, or invite a new neighbor to join you on your morning walk.

7. Start a walking group or join one. Companionship can be the difference between walking and not walking.

8. Bring kids and grandkids along. Your fitness model could have a huge impact on a children’s lives.

9. Cut yourself some slack. Fitness is a goal that takes time and is worth your time.

10. Always have an alternate plan. If the forecast is rain, call your walking buddy or walking group members and agree to walk at the mall.

11. Walk in place while you are waiting for coffee to brew, on the phone, or watching television. You will be amazed at how many steps you accrue.

12. Make walking an event. You may go on a bird walk, historic walk, or fall walk and look at the changing leaves.

13. Vary your time and route. Variety can add spark to an “ordinary” walk.

14. Participate in a charity walk. Check your local newspaper and the American Heart Association for more information.

15. Reward yourself. You started out on the fitness path and you are still on it!

Burning Calories

Here are some fun activities I do and the calories burned out of them. Maybe you’ll want to do the same. Check it out….

1. Gardening – I clean my garden, water the flowers, plant seeds, trim shrubs, watch my blooming flowers, etc. Gardening during these seasons is fun and gives me lots of enjoyment. It is like a workout as I burn about 100-120 calories in 30 minutes gardening.

2. Bicycling -I love doing this activity. I can go anywhere I want as far as I can reach. This is like a low impact workout. But I don’t really go far, most of the time it is just in the neighborhood area. After riding about 30 minutes, I will have burned about 300 calories. This is a great way to stay in shape.

3. Trekking – I like to go trekking at a conservation park. It is fun and I enjoy the nice scenery; I also burn off some calories. For these activities I need more preparation because I have to wear a special outfit and need to do more warming up exercise to avoid cramps while climbing high area. For 30 minutes of trekking I burn about 350 calories.

4. Swimming – This is a fun way to stay cool during hot season. I go to the beach and indoor pools, depending on my schedule. However, I prefer swimming in the sea. It burns off my calories at about 300 in 30 minutes.

5. Water Skiing – This is a more rare activity I do. But, once in a while I go with my friends. It can help me build my upper and lower body muscles. From this activity, I’ll lose about 200 calories in 30 minutes.

Exercise At Desk

You’re a great multi-tasker. Take a moment to get away from it all and take a lift.

Pilates instructor Alisa Wyatt, calls this exercise “The Elevator.” You can do this simple Pilates exercise sitting right at your desk to cinch your waist and keep your belly from hanging over.

Alisa says:

“Sit up tall and let your shoulders relax. Imagine your belly button is the elevator at the top of a ten-floor building. As you exhale, sink the elevator down to the 1st floor. Hold it there as you breathe lightly. Work up to holding to a count of 10. Do this exercise 3 times a day for a stronger waist in a week!”

When you’ve mastered holding your belly button on the 1st floor, try adding this:

“Sink the elevator to the 1st floor and then go from the 1st floor to the basement, quickly for a count of 50. This works the muscles in a different way.”

Be productive while getting your work responsibilities complete. Squeeze in an exercise and benefit those stomach muscles that wrap around your waist like a corset.

Work it and enjoy your work day.

Better Spring Break Body

Problem Areas Solved

To help fine-tune specific body parts, your workouts are going to have to be more frequent. The best way to get this done is to break your day into two halves. In the morning, perform a quick 15-20 minute workout involving weights done in a circuit. By circuit I mean doing one exercise after another without any rest. In the afternoon, get into classes such as kickboxing and spinning, which Campus Activities provide for all students.

Carbohydrates: Friend or Foe

Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but when you are looking to get leaner quickly,they can be. The best suggestions are that all your carbs should come from veggies such as broccoli, celery, spinach, lettuce, and cucumbers. Stay away from juices, candies, breads, and pastries.

Protein is your friend

Make sure every single time you are eating, you have protein on your plate. Protein can be egg whites, peanuts, chicken, fish, turkey, or low salt ham. Whenever you are eating, make sure that you have one of those things in your plate. Also make sure you are consuming five to six small meals as well.

Drinking

If you are not drinking, you are not losing. It is important that you are drinking all day long, and I do not mean liquor. You should be drinking water all the time. A good way to measure if you are is by looking at the color of your urine. If your urine is not crystal clear then get your Poland Spring on!Drinking water helps in shedding weight, which is why if you are not drinking, then you are not losing.

Perform exercises that give you the best bang for your buck

With midterms coming there is no time to waste when you go to the gym. Perform workouts that can be done in a short, quick fashion and give you great results. Perform exercises like squats, pushups, lunges, shoulder presses and deadlifts. Do not waste your time on the hip machines because you will be sitting there forever before you really see the results you want.

Circuit Training

Generally speaking, people have been instructed to perform 3 sets of any given exercise for 8-12 reps. Circuit training offers a radical change from this methodology. Individuals who have been following more of a traditional approach should find that circuit training is a welcome change. Since the body adapts very quickly this change is often exactly what is required to “shock” the body into producing results.

One of the reasons why circuit training is effective is that it involves less rest in between sets which serves to increase the intensity of the workout because you will probably be doing more work in less time. This movement from exercise to exercise also produces an aerobic training effect which can burn more calories. Remember, increasing the intensity means increasing the opportunity for results.

Circuit training takes planning. You have to know what exercises you will perform and in what order and the amount of resistance. This is often difficult in crowded public gyms where the equipment is always in use. It may be better to use machines that only require you to move the pin to change the weight than to use free weights that involve more preparation. You must take these factors into consideration when planning your workouts.

To make this planning easier, keep it simple. Try to progress from larger muscle groups to smaller ones. Using this strategy it would be effective to do legs first, then chest, back, shoulders and arms. Choose one exercise you like for each muscle group and perform 8-12 reps and then immediately move on to the next exercise.

It would be best to stick to compound multi-joint exercises for the major muscle groups when constructing a circuit training regimen. Squats and leg press for the quads, bench and incline press for the chest, chins, pulldowns and rows for back are all examples of excellent choices for your program. Due to the nature of the workout and the fact that you will have little or no rest between sets, keep the poundages light and manageable at first. You can increase them later if you wish as you get the “feel” for this type of training.

You can also split your circuits up into upper and lower body days. On your lower body days you would do quads, hamstrings, calves and abdominals, as an example. Your upper body circuit could consist of chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. These workouts are intense so it is very important to “listen” to your body to ensure that you are not overtraining.

These circuit workouts are intense. They are tough on the body and challenging. Use them for brief periods where you want to burn fat and gain some lean muscle. Circuit training is terrific as a much needed break from your regular routine but, as with any other form of training, it is best to use circuit training in cycles. A 4-6 week cycle of this type of training may be exactly what you need to give your body a “kick”. Then when you return to your usual workouts, you will feel refreshed and motivated.