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Category Archives: Fitness

About Exercise For Any Size

If you are a very large person, you can still be physically active.
Very large people face special challenges in trying to be active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.

Facing these challenges is hard–but it can be done!
The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier–no matter what your size!

Why should I be active?

Being physically active may help you live longer and protect you from:

* diabetes

* heart disease and stroke

* high blood pressure

* osteoporosis (a disease leading to weak bones that may break easily)

If you have any of these health problems, being physically active may help control or improve your symptoms.

Regular physical activity helps you feel better because it:

* lowers your stress and boosts your mood

* increases your strength

* helps control blood pressure and blood sugar

* helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints

* helps your heart and lungs work better

* improves your self-esteem.

Being physically active can be big fun!

How do I get started?

To start being more active and keep at it:

* Start slowly. Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.

* Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity–even walking. Walk more slowly for the first few minutes.

* Cool down. Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.

* Set goals. Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 minutes on at least 3 days for 1 week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal may be to walk 30 minutes on most days of the week by the end of 6 months.

* Get support. Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on.

* Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised!

o Have fun! Try different activities to find the ones you really enjoy..

What physical activities can a very large person do?

Most very large people can do some or all of the physical activities in this article. You do not need special skills or a lot of equipment.

You can do:
* Weight-bearing activities, like walking and golfing, which involve lifting or pushing your own body weight.

* Non-weight-bearing activities, like swimming and water workouts, which put less stress on your joints because you do not have to lift or push your own weight. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, non-weight-bearing activities may be best for you.

* Lifestyle activities, like gardening, which do not have to be planned.

Physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around–even for only a few minutes a day–is a healthy start to getting more fit.

Chances are your health care provider will be pleased with your decision to start an activity program. It is unlikely that you will need a complete medical exam before you go out for a short walk!

Gentle physical activity is healthy.

You do not have to push yourself to benefit from physical activity. Thirty minutes of gentle physical activity (like walking) can be just as healthy as 15 minutes of intense physical activity (like fast dancing).

Walking (weightbearing)

The walking that you do during the day (like doing chores around the house or in the yard) can help you be more fit. But regular, steady walking that makes you breathe heavier can help you to be healthier. It will give your heart and lungs–as well as your leg muscles–a good workout.

If you are not active now, start slowly. Try to walk 5 minutes a day for the first week. Walk 8 minutes the next week. Stay at 8-minute walks until you feel comfortable. Then increase your walks to 11 minutes. Slowly lengthen each walk by 3 minutes–or walk faster.

Tips for walking:
* Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support. If you walk often, you may need to buy new shoes every 6 to 8 months.

* Wear garments that prevent inner thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts.

* Make walking fun. Walk with a friend or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.

Dancing (weight-bearing or non-weight-bearing)

Dancing may help:

* tone your muscles

* improve your flexibility

* make your heart stronger

* make your lungs work better.

You can dance in a health club, in a nightclub, or at home. To dance at home, just move your body to some lively music!

Dancing on your feet is a weight-bearing activity. Dancing while seated lets you move your arms and legs to music while taking the weight off your feet. This may be a good choice if you can’t stand on your feet very long.

Water Workouts (non-weight-bearing)

Get A Flat Toned Stomach

Getting those highly sought after, toned abs requires more work than just abdominal exercises. Plus, as far as stomach exercises go, sit-ups or crunches alone are not the solution.

We won’t go into detail about the muscles that make up the abdominal wall, but it’s good to know the basic information. At a high-level the abdominal/trunk area consists of 5 major muscles. It’s necessary that all of these muscles be exercised. It’s also important to utilize different types of training techniques like concentric, eccentric and isometric.

In addition to training those muscles, it is imperative that you also reduce the fat in your stomach area. If you don’t decrease the fat in this area, then you’ll never see well-defined abdominal muscles not matter how long and hard you train them.

The key to reducing body fat is a comprehensive workout program that consists of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. Plus, don’t forget a healthy diet. Good examples of cardio exercises are: walking, swimming, aerobics, and jogging. Strength training can be done with dumbbells, resistance bands and even just your own body weight. Flexibility can be as simple as a few stretches held in place for about 20 seconds.

Now, back to the specifics of abdominal training. Traditional crunches can be a part of your abdominal training, but should be limited and certainly shouldn’t be the only part. To most effectively work your stomach area, it’s necessary to include about 80% rotational work. Rotational exercises are those that include twisting-type methods. Simple crunches do not fall into the rotational category because you simply lift your body straight up and down.

To most effectively train your abs, incorporate a lot of variety, including different positions and equipment. This will allow your muscles to continually be challenged, which is what will help make them stronger and more defined. Remember that you don’t have to lie on your back in the supine position to work your stomach area. There are hundreds of different ways to work them, including exercises in a standing position, on your side, raised on a ball, hanging from a bar, etc.

Don’t forget the importance of form. If you don’t use correct form when performing abdominal exercises, you’ll severely limit the effectiveness not to mention possibly cause an injury. Tips for correct form include:

  • Don’t ever pull on your neck or head
  • Don’t allow your legs to move, they should remain still — let your abs do all the work
  • Try to keep your belly button pulled in toward the floor throughout the entire move.

To get you started, below are a few sample exercises* with instructions. Start working out today, and you can show-off your toned abs in time for summer.

Basic Crunch: Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands lightly behind your head for support. Using your abdominal muscles lift your shoulders a few inches off the ground, pause briefly and return to start position. Complete at least one set of 10-12 reps.

Standing Towel Circle: Stand tall and hold a small towel (or resistance band) taut overhead. Contract abs and slowly draw a large, wide circle over your head and around your torso with your hands. Keep towel pulled taut throughout. Return to beginning position and reverse the circular direction. Complete at least one set of 8-10 reps in each direction.

Anabolic Steroids

The main active ingredient in steroids is testosterone which is well known as the major male hormone. Testosterone affects the body in two ways, either as an anabolic or an androgenic influence. The anabolic action helps build body tissue by increasing lean muscle mass and bone density. The androgenic actions are those that affect secondary sex characteristics in men.
In recent years research has provided some interesting information in relation to testosterone:
1. It affects muscle size through muscle fiber hypertrophy with an increase in the cross-sectional area of muscle fiber.
2. It takes a dose of at least 300 milligrams of testosterone to raise the body’s level above normal.
3. It acts directly on the muscle itself.
4. It stimulates the release of growth hormone.
5. It has an anti-catabolic effect.
From these facts we can deduce that testosterone is an effective aid to muscle building and that it must be taken in significant quantities to have this effect. As far as bodybuilding is concerned the science beyond this is somewhat limited as most users base their steroid regimes on little more than trial and error or the advice of ‘veterans’. Due to the illegal nature of steroid use little scientific data exists to confirm the effectiveness of the many steroid supplements in use.
It is perhaps the tendency of some bodybuilders to use a combination of powerful steroids and other drugs that presents the very real dangers that have sometimes led to tragic conquences.

Barbell Exercises

Obviously successful bodybuilding involves bringing together disparate elements such as nutrition and rest but choosing the right exercises is crucial. In this article we’ll outline the barbell exercises that will enable new bodybuilders to develop the general strength and body conditioning needed.
Initially beginners should aim to complete two sets of ten to twelve reps but after a few weeks, when you have developed sufficient control and basic strength, experiment with one set of six to eight reps to failure. This will maximize your muscle growth and give you the impetus to move on to the next stage of development. Before long you’ll find the use of this single piece of equipment restricting, so later in this series of articles we’ll pull together a muscle boosting program that utilizes other equipment to take you to the intermediate level. In the meantime, get to work with these exercises in order to get used to working your muscles.
Start off training four days per week and work body parts on the following basis not forgetting to incorporate rest days:
Day 1 – Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2- Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3 – Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4 – Triceps, Chest, Abs
The exercises recommended for beginners are as follows:
CHEST: Bench press
SHOULDERS: Upright row, military press, front shrug
TRICEPS: Lying triceps extension, lying triceps extension with EZ curl bar
BICEPS: Standing curl, EZ standing curl
LOWER BODY: Squat, reverse lunge, calf raise

Useful Flattening Your Stomach

1. Fat Intake

How much fat is in your diet? The American Food Pyramid says that a healthy diet is one that “Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

Following the food pyramid will help you find the fats you need in good foods like nuts and plant oils as opposed to potato chips and ice cream. You should be taking in less than 30% of your caloric intake from fat so check your labels when you’re purchasing packaged products. Many products now have the trans fats listed as well, so you can see which percentage of fat belongs to which group; saturated, non-saturated, trans, etc.

2. Carbohydrate Intake

Maybe your friends were on lo-carb diets and were amazed at the weight they lost. Maybe you tried one too? Carbohydrates are amazing in that each molecule attracts four water molecules to it and they hang out together inside your muscles. When you start decreasing the amount of carbohydrates you take in, you start to see weight loss in the form of fat loss. Oops, I mean WATER loss. No more carbs means no more four molecules of water hanging on, means lower numbers on the scale. Carbohydrate intake is essential for brain activity as well as muscle function. Our bodies feed off of glucose and glycogen which is supplied directly by carbohydrates. Eating whole wheat and whole grain is the way to go- stay away from white products; rice, pasta, bread, etc. Brown is best. Carbohydrate intake should be no more than 65% of your diet.

3. Cardiovascular Exercise

Running, cycling, swimming, aerobics; they are all using oxygen and so the prime energy source comes from muscle glycogen and fatty acids. The furnace is on and it’s burning fat. You may have heard that cardio is good for burning fat, and that is true. Cardio exercise should be done for a minimum of 20 minutes and hopefully for longer and should be done at least three times per week, hopefully more. According to the American Council of Sport Medicine, “If weight loss is your major goal, participate in your aerobic activity at least 30 minutes, for five days each week.”

You can’t melt fat off of one area specifically, but it will come off over the whole body in time. We all lose fat from different places first. Just remember that cardio is a complement to the diet and the floor work that will also do.

Information of Tight Hip Flexsors

Indicative hip flexor pain is most noticeable in activities that require power from the back, upper legs, and core. Athletes notice tip hip flexors most often when performing weighted lifts like squats and deadlifts. When flexor muscle are tight, they prevent the spine, pelvis, and hip complex from aligning properly. Tightness creates a type of body movement conservation that is contrary to having a proper full range of motion. The result is the sense of having less strength to perform movements, along with lasting, aching pain deep within the core areas of the body.

Relieving tight hip flexors and tension is not easy. It requires the application of specific stretching exercises that target the deep tissues of the body’s core. These exercises also require a bit of “nerve gliding” that can seem uncomfortable to some people.

Exercises that can unlock your hip flexors include:

Piriform Stretches

While seated on the floor, stretch one leg forward and keep one leg in a hurdler’s position. The forward leg should elongate the gluteal muscles. Gently rock forward and back, and side-to-side on the outstretched hip. This rocking motion will alleviate nerve tension and prompt the muscles of the hip to release.

Lunge Stretches

In a standing position, take a wide step so that one leg is stretched backward and the other is at a 90 degree position to the floor. This should look like an extremely long step. With an upright torso, gently push down on the elongated hip side. Try to create a “pulling” feeling in the muscles of the straight leg from the knee to belly button. Hold this position until the body begins to sink downward, then carefully switch leg positions.

Iliopsoas Palpation

Much of the tension that creates tight hips is caused by contraction of the muscles that line the pelvic bones. In order to relieve tension, palpation is necessary. This can require the assistance of another person.

Lie on a bench facing upward. Extend the body to its maximum length by outstretching the arms, and slightly twisting to one side. The person assisting the stretch should gently and carefully place a rigid hand along the abdominal muscles. Glide the touch down the midsection until the ridge of the iliac (pelvic) crest is felt. As the lying person exhales, the massage hand should gravitate inward until it reaches the underside of the iliac crest. If performed properly, the massaging hand will encounter a layer of extremely tense tissue. These are the exact muscles causing hip flexor tension and pain. Once found, the massaging hand should palpate the muscles in the same line as the length of the body. Several minutes of this deep tissue massage should cause the legs to feel freer, and the lower back to feel less curvature pressure.

Lateral Movement Drills

Lateral sled – For Those Who Need The Extra Punch

Lateral sled drag is a fantastic workout for those who need the extra punch. This workout focuses on increasing muscular strength of lower body muscles. Some treat it as a variant of the lateral lunges. However, the results delivered by the drill are promising. It is also suitable for folks that are unable to deal with deceleration stress due to hip or knee issue. Steps for correct workout are

• Stand straight
• Stretch one leg to one side
• Keep toes straight
• Pull the weight by walking sideways without changing the bending angle or body position
• Repeat with other leg / other side

Asterisks Lunges – Beat The Fear For Once And For All

Asterisks lunges upscale the benefits of regular lunges to the next level. You need two dumbbells for the workout. This drill is ideal for toning glutes and hams muscles. In addition, this workout is highly recommended for improving lateral speed. Well, footballers are you listening; beat the fear for the last time. Hit the Asterisks lunges and be the difference you deserve. Steps for correct workout are

• Stand straight
• Carry two dumbbells
• Lung as usual bending forward, 45° forward, lateral, 45° backward, and backward

Lateral Crossover Step Drill – Agility Matters When You Are Out There On The Ground

Lateral crossover step drill improves agility, stamina, and ability to turn quickly. It is a strength training drill with complete focus on improving the speed of the movements. This workout focuses on enhancing the strength, stamina, and ability to change direction with the typical side-to-side moves. You need a marker or cones for the drill. Steps for correct workout are

• Stand straight
• Take a crossover step
• Keep left foot in front of the right one
• Step right with right foot in front of the left in a crossover
• Complete the repetitions as directed
• Take a break of a minute between two sets of repetitions

Physical Fitness

Agility is what let my friend run rings around us, leaping from rock to rock along the Pedernales River in Texas. Agility is what you see in top athletes who make great skill look effortless. Agility is what helps a ballet dancer make it look effortless. Agility is how Jackie Chan can still do martial arts even while he is rolling over tables, bouncing off walls, leaping between the rungs of ladders.

I didn’t understand that until years after the hike along the Pedernales River. Now, after doing martial arts for almost 30 years, I understand. When you watch someone who moves with grace and skill, you’re seeing agility.

Have you ever had an experience where you felt clumsy?

Have you ever fumbled the ball, or tripped over your own two feet?

Or have you ever seen someone who is in great shape, but they just can’t coordinate, they can’t move?

The missing component of physical fitness is agility.

If you just do weights or cardio, you’re not going to develop agility. If you want agility, you have to move, and you have to adapt on the fly to changing (and often intense) situations.

Some sports and fitness activities promote agility more than others. For me, martial arts gave me agility. I’ve been dong WingTsun Kung Fu(TM) for 25 years, and martial arts in general for almost 30. I have to be able to adapt to what an opponent is doing quickly and perfectly. I have to seize the advantage, gain and maintain dynamic control. I have to stay balanced and graceful even while moving rapidly and adjusting to the changing dynamics of sparring.

Many other sports really develop agility as well. Basketball, tennis, soccer, hockey, skiing, snowboarding… they all develop and require agility.

If you’re not doing something to develop agility, today is a good day to start. You’ll be amazed at the difference increased agility will make in feeling physically fit. Before long you’ll move with the grace of a cat, you’ll bound like a gazelle.

Don’t just lift weights and do cardio – get out there and do something to increase your agility as well. Get together with some buddies for basketball. Go play some tennis. Take up martial arts. Agility will give you the ability to actually DO something with all of the physical fitness you’ve been developing. You will feel better and move better, and you will probably have a lot more fun than just running on a treadmill or lifting weights!

Conquering Stress with Fitness

There are a number of reasons we have for not exercising. Maybe you are turned off from your prior experience with a fitness routine. Perhaps you became sore from working out too hard, didn’t know the correct technique and ended up hurting yourself, or felt intimidated by the hard bodies at the gym. The main reason may simple by time; with your busy schedules you may feel that you cant devote the proper amount of time to see and feel the benefits of exercise and that this will take away from your clients. In truth the psychological benefits that you will feel will actually benefit your work and make you more productive.

If getting in shape, losing weight, and feeling better are your fitness goals, you have to make exercise part of your routine. In order to achieve results, it has to be planned into your day much like your work schedule.

Whether you’re 30 or 90 years old, the time is now to begin an exercise program. Some of you may think that you’re too old to exercise but that’s a fallacy. A study was conducted by Tufts University where participants, ages 87 to 96, went on a strength training program. Much to their amazement, they all showed vast improvement in strength and vitality. Exercise can reduce many of the adverse effects of aging. Exercise will raise your metabolism and increase muscle mass while lowering body fat. Through exercise you’ll also notice an improvement in motor skills and greater flexibility.

While the physical benefits of exercise are well known an even greater value may be the psychological benefits that a sensible fitness routine can bring. You’ll see an increase in self esteem and have a better outlook towards life. It will also help ease depression and relieve stress and anxiety. You’ll notice improved energy, concentration and a more relaxed sleep.

There are two forms of exercise, aerobic and strength training. Aerobic exercise is defined as anything that requires oxygen to move the large muscle groups of the body. Some examples include: indoor and outdoor biking, rowing, walking, jogging, and swimming.

Aerobic exercise gets your heart in better shape. This will help when you are playing with your children, running for the bus, or washing your car. This is called functional fitness. Being functionally fit keeps your heart and lungs healthy, while making every day tasks easier. Being in better aerobic condition is also important for lowering stress. Haven’t you heard the saying, “walk it off,” after an upsetting moment?

While aerobic exercise is important, I certainly don’t want to overwhelm you with the notion of it. You can start off with 5 minutes and work up to 25 or 30 minutes a day. If you like, divide that time into two parts with15 minutes here and 15 minutes there.

When it comes to aerobic exercise, you know that you are exercising at the right level if you can carry on a conversation while doing it. If you are too breathless to talk, then you are exercising too hard. On the other hand, if you can sing during aerobic exercise, the intensity is not hard enough.

Chest And Upper Back

The more familiar you are with the muscles you’re working, the better you’ll be able to judge what’s needed to make improvements. In this article we’ll get to know the muscles that make up the chest and upper back.
Although they are two distinct areas, the chest and the upper back will be considered together because achieving a muscular balance between them is crucial, particularly in relation to maintaining good posture. Creating an imbalance between the two is likely to result in injury.
The main muscles found in the chest and uper back are as follows:
1. Pectoralis major – these are the large chest muscles found to either side of the breastbone. Its main job is to bring the upper arm inwards across the body, a movement that is known as horizontal adduction.
2. Latissimus dorsi – this is the largest back muscle that runs from the lower back to the upper arm bone. It pulls the upper arm towards the body and acts as an internal rotator of the upper arm.
3. Trapezius – this muscle runs from the mid spine to the shoulder and then to the neck. Its main role is to faciltiate movement of the shoulder blades.