This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 3 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Category Archives: Fitness

About Walking for Wellness

Now validated, as a vigorous fitness activity walking has become America’s most popular physical activity with over 20-million people stepping out regularly. Studies abound touting the benefits of walking: including weight loss, lowered risk of stroke or heart disease and improved mental well-being. While it may sound trite, 30-minutes of walking a day will keep the doctor away.

Be sure to record your walking activity beginning on the very first day. Find a notebook, a journal, or a computer program where you can record your time and distance each day. This may sound silly the first week when you are taking 5-minute walks, but very soon you will rejoice at your progress if you have a record of where you began.

To achieve maximum benefit from this walking program, you will need a good pair of soft athletic walking shoes, preferably with ankle support. I suggest you get these prior to surgery so you don’t have the “no shoes” excuse to put-off your walking program. Give them to yourself as a gift acknowledging your bravery and courage to make this positive change in your life.

Next, plan where you will walk. Raise your hand if you already own a treadmill! Mine was stored in a forgotten corner of the basement, bought with the best intention, but abandoned for a number of excuses. Get that old friend out and put it where you’ll use it. most treadmills for home use are rated at a 250-pound weight limit. Fresh out of gastric bypass surgery, most of us exceed that limit. Fitness equipment manufacturers say that if the weight limit is exceeded, but at a slow pace for short duration, the treadmill should not be damaged. I say, take your chances and walk on the treadmill. It won’t take long before you drop below the weight limit and in the meantime you are becoming stronger and fitter by taking short walks on the machine.

If your climate and neighborhood are equitable plan a walking route out-of-doors. Prior to surgery measure your route by the quarter mile. One determined patient I know walked one driveway further each day until she made it all the way around the block. Counting driveways is how she marked her progress. Good for her!

Do you prefer to walk in the climate-controlled mall? Plan a walking route there – just be sure to swiftly step past the bakery and candy store. Many malls have early hours when people can gather and fitness walk without having to navigate around shoppers.

For best success sip water throughout your walk. Wear comfortable clothing for easy movement. Avoid exercising in extreme weather – too hot or very cold.

Be Fun with Exercise Equals

Biking

Biking is another excellent way to get a child to exercise. From first learning on a tricycle to the celebrated arrival of the two-wheeler, biking is something that can be viewed as an achievement, as well as an easy way to increase a child’s physical activity. Biking helps children develop coordination, balance, work the back muscle groups that aid good posture, and build up leg muscles. Moreover, biking gives children an easy way to travel to their friends’ houses and assert independence–an added incentive that will get those legs, and lungs, pumping! As nine-year old Michelle Yuen says, “I love riding my bike. It’s so much fun. I ask my mom, and then I can bike down to my friend’s house.”

Rollerblading

Bikes aren’t the only wheels that kids can use to rev up their heart rate. Rollerblading is an activity that can be done indoors, and out, and an activity the whole family can join in. Whether in an indoor skating rink, or just playing by the sidewalk, rollerblading is an activity that is fun for the children and healthy as well.

A Walk with Fido

Another exercise that can be performed daily by a child is none other than the traditional walk with the dog. Jogging, or even walking at a brisk pace, with the dog, floods the body with endorphins and a slew of other health benefits related to exercise. Bring along a stick to throw to Fido, and the workout has becomes even more intense. What’s more: walking the dog everyday is a sure-fire way to maintain regular exercise, which is much more advantageous, in the long run, than intermittent exercising.

Yoga for Kids

Yoga has taken America by storm in recent years. From celebrity yogis like Madonna to stay-at-home moms, yoga has proven to be a way to tone and “center” the mind and body. Yoga is beginning to creep into the school gym programs, too. Just as many high schools throughout the nation have begun offering yoga as a gym option, many “yoga for kids” programs have sprung up as well. Yoga aims to tone the muscle groups, aid coordination, and improve flexibility through stretching. In addition, it has been said that a key principle in yoga, correct breathing, seems to alleviate stress in children.

Spoiled Rotten

CARDIOVASCULAR TRAINING

You either don’t watch TV or you don’t read magazines if you’ve never seen an advertisement that shows some buff young girl or guy pounding out miles while running on a beach, or happily sweating profusely while cruising on an elliptical or enduring an intense Spinning class.

These young models always look extremely satisfied to be working their bodies so hard, and they also share one other common characteristic: they are already in shape! Have you ever seen a commercial for a gym or exercise device that showed a 5-foot, 300 lb person grinning from ear to ear?

This is a common example of how the media and fitness industry retailers promote the mass-confusion over cardio. The ads scream messages like, “Buy our pill, put on some sexy clothes while running on the beach, and you’ll look just as good as our models do!”

Gym owners do it, too. “Join our gym now and we’ll give you one month free! Just by joining and then attending our Award-Winning Spinning Class, you will look just like Cindy, the Supermodel we hired to do our commercial!”

It’s ridiculous how the “powers that be” portray cardiovascular exercise as some effortless activity that you can easily use to gain the body of your dreams just by purchasing their product or joining their facility.

The truth of the matter is that cardiovascular training works. The additional truth of the matter is that it can range from moderately to intensely difficult, and that it will take you weeks, months, or maybe even years of combining cardio with resistance training and proper nutrition to attain the body of your dreams.

Is that what you wanted to hear about cardio? Probably not, but it’s the truth. If you think there is some shortcut to being buff, young, tan, and in complete control of your life, then you should go turn on the TV. There is a commercial on right now that is just waiting for you to call in your credit card number!

RESISTANCE TRAINING

The hype surrounding resistance training isn’t quite as appalling as the myths about cardiovascular training, but it still exists. Regardless of what you have seen, heard, or been taught, the truth is this: everyone needs resistance training.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is to be a bodybuilder or a 90-year old who can tie your own shoelaces, you need resistance training. Listing the many reasons for engaging in a consistent resistance training routine is beyond the scope of this article, but there are some myths about weight training that need to be brought to light.

1. Weight Training makes you big and bulky. Actually, the size of your muscles is determined primarily by your gender, the type and intensity of your training program, and your nutrition. If you think you will just “magically” turn into a muscle-bound athlete because you picked up a couple of dumbbells, just ask any bodybuilder how much time, energy, and raw will power goes into building his or her incredible physique. It does NOT happen by accident.

2. Using any given device or exercise will “sculpt” your abs, biceps, butt, or any other muscle. There is one thing and exactly one thing that determines the shape of your muscles, and that is your DNA. It is quite impossible to “sculpt” any part of your body – that job belongs to your chosen deity. You can control the size of your muscles, but you cannot control the shape. Anyone who says otherwise is straight up lying.

3. Resistance training is just for men. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to be healthy, strong, and have a great metabolism and energy level? Then weight training is for you. Period.

Programming Brief

Multi-joint Exercises

As a general rule you should perform complex multi-joint exercises first in your exercise routine while you are fresh. Typically, multi-joint movements require more skill and energy to perform. Such exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups. Nothing annoys me more than seeing someone perform bicep curls until their head explodes, then go right into lat pulldowns (notice, lat pulldowns, not pull-ups…anyone who does pull-ups knows better than to work their biceps beforehand).

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Such is the case when using the pre- exhaustion technique. For example, perform a set of dumbbell flys to exhaust the pectorals then going directly to a set of bench press. In this case, however, you are pre-exhausting the larger muscle group, not the smaller muscle group.

Single-joint Exercises

Since single-joint movements typically require less skill to perform and are not as taxing on the body, perform them after multi-joint exercises. Performing single- joint movements at the end of a workout session will ensure a more efficient and effective routine. Of course, there will be exceptions, which should be addressed on an individual basis.

L-Glutamine in Building Muscle

It is widespread throughout the body and plays an important role in protein metabolism. From a bodybuilder’s perspective, glutamine’s strength is its ability to reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs as a result of intense physical workouts. It is therefore beneficial to those wishing to maintain existing muscle as well as bodybuilders attempting to increase lean bulk.

Failure to replace the high levels of glutamine consumed during intense exercise could result in greater susceptibility to illness due to a weakening of the immune system. In addition, glutamine stolen from the muscles to maintain the immune system must be replaced to keep those muscles building.

Glutamine’s positive impact on the immune system, liver functioning and gastro-intestinal integrity suggests that it offers much in the way of general health benefits and is not simply a supplement of value only to the bodybuilding fraternity.

Bodybuilders can benefit from taking 10 grams of l-glutamine each day, preferably taken post-workout to enhance its recuperative effects. As a nutrient that occurs naturally in the body glutamine is safe to take although ingesting excessive amounts could cause an upset stomach.

Must know about Dangerous Shoulder Exercises

Bench Press – This is a popular exercise chosen to build the chest, along with the anterior deltoid and triceps. Most teach taking the bar down until it lightly touches the chest. However, I believe this is unsafe because it exposes the anterior shoulder capsule to excessive load, in addition to compressing the soft tissue of the rotator cuff between the humerus and the acromion. Over time, with repeated bouts and heavy loads, the rotator cuff becomes inflamed.

Individuals with any anterior shoulder laxity (loose joints) or history of subluxation/dislocation are also at increase risk for rotator cuff injury or labral (shoulder cartilage) damage. Furthermore, you also have the potential to rupture the pectoralis tendon with full range pressing during heavy loads. The safe answer is to lower the bar until the upper arm is parallel to the floor (elbow bent to 90 degrees). This prevents the shoulder joint from moving into the unsafe range. The same advice applies to push-ups.

Lat Pull Downs – This is a good exercise to strengthen the back, but when done behind the head it can cause problems. Like the bench press, pulling the bar down behind the head positions the humerus in such a way that the rotator cuff can be pinched. This may depend on other factors, including the shape of a person’s acromion and degree of any present arthritis, but I still believe the risk outweighs any benefit. Not to mention that keeping the bar in front of the head still accomplishes the same movement for the target muscle, while eliminating the risk of shoulder injury. Remember not to sway during the movement, and position the body in a slightly reclined position, pulling the bar toward the sternum. Another unrelated reason not to do behind the neck pull downs is that it places undue stress on the cervical spine.

Military Press – This exercise when performed behind the neck with a bar, positions the shoulder in the aforementioned unfavorable position. Done repeatedly, the rotator cuff can become inflamed. Similar to behind the neck pull downs, you also expose your neck to unnecessary stress. It is safer to perform the exercise in front of the head or utilize dumbbells and work in the scapular plane. You must watch to avoid arching the low back and it is best to use a bench with back support to prevent this.

Dips/Upright Row – As before, the key mistake made with these exercises is allowing the shoulder to move beyond 90 degrees relative to a position parallel to the floor or perpendicular to the body. I always recommend stopping at 90 degrees to protect the shoulder capsule and the rotator cuff.

All about Beach Body Abs

Diet

The first thing you’re going to have to change will be your diet. It goes without saying that even if you had the best abs in the world, it will still look pretty ordinary if a layer of bodyfat covers it. Diet plays a crucial role in defining your midsection so some modifications will be required in order for your body to look it’s best. To begin with, get into the habit of using a diet log to keep track of your meals. Everyone is less likely to cheat when they know they have to write down everything they’ve eaten each day. An elaborate journal isn’t necessary either; a simple notepad can work just fine. Also, begin switching to six small meals a day now instead of three larger ones to help rev up your metabolism as well as prevent the stretching of the stomach and the abdominal walls which occurs when one gorges themselves in food.

Next, you’ll want to start creating a slight caloric deficit each day to help burn away the bodyfat. It is recommended that you work on losing only a pound or two, a week, of bodyfat. The weekly loss of any more weight than this, for the typical person, probably includes substantial amounts of water weight and muscle tissue and can wreck havoc on your metabolism. Remember, it’s the bodyfat that’s covering your abs that you’ll want to lose so a good rule of thumb is to cut back your daily energy requirements by only around 500 calories a day.

Now if you’re not sure what your daily energy requirements are for your current bodyweight (or the amount of calories you will have to consume each day to stay at your current weight), you can use this easy-to-remember formula as a guide. To estimate your daily total caloric needs, multiply 24 times 1.0 (if you’re a man) or 0.9 (if you’re a woman) by each kilogram of bodyweight you weigh. Then multiply that result by 1.7 (for a moderately active man) or 1.6 (for a moderately active woman).

(Men) 1.7 x 24 x 1.0 x bodyweight (in kg)

(Women) 1.6 x 24 x 0.9 x bodyweight (in kg)

To determine how many kilograms you weigh, divide your bodyweight in pounds by 2.2. Remember though that this formula is only a guide. It is highly recommended that you use the formula as a starting point, and then pay close attention to your body in order to fine-tune your calories according to how your body responds to your efforts. Look at your body in a mirror, if it doesn’t appear (or feel) as if your body is losing any weight after a week or two, then reduce the amount of calories you ingest even more.

Cardio

You’ll next want to start including cardio (aerobic exercises) into your weekly routine. There are few short-term options that can burn calories and strip away the bodyfat better than sessions of aerobic activities. It is no coincidence that even top-level bodybuilders will steadily increase their cardio workouts as a contest approaches to help really bring out their muscle definition. Begin by working out 3-4 times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a time on a treadmill or a stationary exercise bike. Then work your way up to more intense sessions of at least moderate intensity for 45 minutes or longer by weeks 3 and 4. The last few weeks before you hit the beach, you’ll want to include interval training into your routine to really help blast away the last few pounds of bodyfat.

Exercise

Spot-reducing your way to abdominal definition is a myth. It is impossible to localize fat loss over any one specific area of your body and is the reason why it is important for you to also watch your diet and include aerobic training if you truly wish to showcase some beach-body abs. But the inclusion of some solid abdominal training is still important for great abs. Strengthening the abdominal wall will tone and help reduce, if not prevent, any unnecessary sagging of the belly. Also, abdominal workouts will certainly develop the muscles of the ab (particularly the rectus abdominus and the external obliques) and enable them to easily become more visible, sharper and tight.

While there are literally hundreds of abdominal exercises to choose from, it is important that several considerations are first kept in mind before performing any of them. First, it is strongly recommended that you learn how to focus on feeling the contraction of your abs when exercising and really squeeze the muscle at the top of any rep. There are many individuals out there who lay claim to performing several hundred sit-ups per day, but it is the quality that counts here and not necessarily the quantity. Become more efficient when performing your abdominal exercises and allow the muscle do the work and do not use the mechanical involvement of other bodyparts or even momentum to help swing the body in order to complete any reps. Additionally, make sure that you maintain continuous tension while performing your reps and never allow your body to rest at the bottom of a movement. Finally, be sure to breathe in during the relaxation phase of your movements and exhale during the contraction phase of the reps.

Yoga Make Stronger

Muscle Strength
Unlike traditional weight building exercises, in yoga your body provides the resistance. While you are not likely going to produce the bulked up muscles of some weight lifters, you will certainly increase your muscle strength.

Many poses in yoga are done very slowly or you stay in the posture for several breaths. It is much more challenging to your muscles to hold a pose or do it slowly than it is to allow momentum to move you through an action. I have been working out with weights for many years so my muscles are used to being strengthened. Yet, I have practiced certain yoga routines during which my muscles screamed for mercy and I actually had to get out of the pose and then resume it because my muscles were so challenged. I don’t often experience this during weight training sessions.

In addition, some balance postures such as Tree Pose and Shoulderstand require enormous muscle control in order to prevent you from falling over. This helps to build and strengthen your muscles.

Muscle Balance

In weight training, you isolate a specific muscle as you perform an exercise and this leads to a short, tightened muscle. The muscles you develop during yoga are more likely to be elongated, because while you are strengthening them, you are simultaneously lengthening them. You also do not focus on an isolated muscle, but actively recruit the smaller muscle groups as well. You truly work your entire body when you practice yoga.

Practicing yoga can help realign your muscles, so they are more balanced. Since you are not overworking any specific muscle group, you are less likely to get injured.

Double Calories Burned

There is no need for people to run five miles before breakfast. A healthier more focused you is within five minutes reach! Also there are other benefits of doing something physical upon rising in the morning. Breathing deeply and moving your body first thing not only allows you to burn more calories throughout the day but it also puts you in a better mood as well as obviously going a long way to providing yourself with better health.

In short, you will be more inclined to take the day by the “scruff of the neck”, so to speak, and to want to pursue goals and objectives if you are fully awake and energised for the day.

Below are listed some of the major benefits of doing something active each morning. Remember them when you think it is “too much effort!”.

1.Increased calorie burn throughout the day.

2.Higher energy levels.

3.Better health and fitness.

4.Due to point number three, a higher chance of living a longer more abundant life.

5.An increased likelihood that you will want to reach and achieve targets and ambitions in your life due to feeling positive and energised through exercise.

Fitness Focus

So in my quest for the last word on overcoming barriers in fitness, Tom sat down with me and together we came up with 3 basic principles that will help break-down fears and intimidations in reaching fitness goals.

(After all, if he can exercise on a regular basis, shouldn’t that be encouragement enough for anyone to give it a shot?)

Principle #1 Move into the Fear.

“Train you mind to believe no mountain is too high or any goal is too difficult to attain,” Tom tells me. Basically, it’s all about meeting your fears and facing them head-on.

In this principle, aim to recognize your fears, acknowledge them and then move through them. Ask yourself what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Have you let yourself get out of shape and are afraid you’ll never get back? Do you have an injury that’s caused you to be afraid of your body?

If you can visualize creatively, then you can put your fears in check. See your self as you’d like to be. Remember: your body loves you and has the potential to heal itself to perfection. Your only job is to trust it and listen.

Q: What is your body saying to you?

Principle #2 Trust Your Intuition.

It is important when overcoming obstacles and learning to break through barriers that you begin to listen to the still small voice of your body. In most cases, we all want the comfort of having someone telling us what we can and cannot do. However, our highest truth lies within us. This is not to say that the good opinion of others is not important, but ultimately the decision making comes from within.

When facing a challenge or an obstacle look to how you feel. What are your instincts telling you? Often it is simply your instinct that will move you into a new mindset and raise your consciousness.

“I wasn’t about to let the wheelchair stand in my way,” Tom tells me. In fact, he says he had to merely change his perspective about it. He says he first had to learn about what his restrictions were then, create a boundary for himself. “We all have boundaries,” he tells me. “Regardless if a person can walk or not, obstacles are as unique as people themselves. Therefore, it’s first best to know your boundaries.”

Next, Tom tells me he aims to meet those boundaries.

“I first reach as high as I can within the confines of what I am able to do. Whether it be more sets, reps, or greater endurance, I allow myself as much time as necessary to accomplish my small goals. It always surprises me, with small steps, how quickly I can reach a Big goal.”

Principle #3 Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.

What then, about fear? I wanted to know. If we move into the fear and meet it eye to eye what if fear meets us there? “So,” I asked Tom: “are you ever afraid?

“After 19 operations in my life, I’ve really come to terms with fear,” he says. “It really comes down to our most primal fear; fear of death. Once you realize that death is all part of the divine plan, it’s liberating, you can let it go and, instead, choose how to live. So instead of being afraid of death I decided to choose how to live.”

So what’s the take away message? Talking to Tom, I’m reminded of the poem by Dylan Thomas who said: “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It seems appropriate here. The bottom line: Staying afraid often keeps us from truly living.

Tom reminds me that a positive attitude is key, “Life is all about attitude.” He also says he could let fear beat him down, yet he doesn’t. “I wouldn’t want to miss being part of tomorrow,” he concludes.

That said, what fears are getting in your way? Make today the right time to face them.

In conclusion: Life Beyond The Boundaries.

When you’ve faced your fears and pushed your boundaries to the edges, what then? I wanted to know.

Tom smiles. “Find a new mountain to climb,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s what makes life fun. I know I have considerations. I know that there will be days that I’ll need to stay in bed and rest while my braces are getting tuned up. It’s those times when I am with my thoughts that I decide what I am going to set my sights on.”

Author’s Note: In my personal quest to live beyond the boundaries I’ve chosen Tom as my role model (lucky for me, he’s my brother). We so often look to the media for these sources and so often they are illusory. There are “real” people everywhere doing great things…look around you; angels are everywhere! Learn from them. Choose someone you look up to, admire or of whom you appreciate their values. Set goals, climb mountains! Set intention in motion and enjoy the healthy process.