In my five years as a group fitness instructor I’ve noticed something over and over again: most people don’t know how to warm-up properly. Let’s face it – we’re short on time. We want to get in the gym, get our workout over with, and go home. Rather than properly warming up, many of us tend to jump right into our workout full force.
The ultimate purpose of “warming up” is to reduce the risk of injury while exercising, as it will prepare the body for exercise by increasing blood flow and warming up various muscle groups. A great way to warm up is by taking a few minutes to perform various dynamic stretching exercises.
When you think of “stretching,” you probably think of holding a stretch in place for a specific number of seconds; this would be static stretching, and should only be done after a workout because it actually relaxes the muscles. Performing static stretching exercises prior to exercise can actually cause injury to the muscles because it prevents them from preparing for a workout!
Dynamic stretching means performing a constant, controlled motion through a full range of motion. This stimulates blood flow and warms up the desired muscle group. I like to warm up for 5-10 minutes before a workout and target various major muscle groups throughout the body. Here is a good example of an effective dynamic stretching warm-up:
Fully extend one arm up with fingers pointed towards the sky and the other arm down (with fingers pointed to the ground). Circle the arms forward, as if you were doing a freestyle swimming motion. Make the movement big and keep the movement of your hips to a minimum. Keep this forward motion for about 30 seconds and then move in the opposite direction (as if you were doing the backstroke) for another 30 seconds.
Warms up: shoulders, back and abdominal muscles (more…)
By Bob Greene of TheBestLife.com
Did you hit up a Spin class, get in a run, or head out on a hike today? Good job!
Now, did you take some time to warm up, stretch and cool down? These three elements, which would set you back only about 20 minutes, are nearly as important as the workout itself. That’s because they can prepare you for your workout and may also help prevent injuries.
I know what you’re thinking: I just don’t have the time. I’m lucky enough to squeeze in a quick workout let alone all these extras. But I urge you to find time. Doing so will help you get a better workout and burn more calories. In other words, it’s worth the effort. Still not convinced? Take a look at how little time each element will cost and how big the rewards are.
What it is: Light cardio aerobic activity done before a workout
Why you need it: It helps get your muscles ready for exercise. A warm up can be anything from a quick walk or slow jog to jumping jacks or jumping rope.
Time Investment: 5 minutes (more…)
In the new book, Fit & Healthy Pregnancy: How To Stay Strong and In Shape for You and Your Baby, authors Kristina Pinto, EdD, along with Rachel Kramer, MD have created a fitness and wellness guide based on the notion that a fit mama is a happy mama. Laid out in easy-to-read chapters based on each trimester of pregnancy and beyond, the book takes a comprehensive look at a woman’s changing body, the nutrients it needs and a multitude of exercise tips to keep it strong and healthy.
In the not-so-distant past, once a woman found out she was pregnant, she was relegated to nine months of sedentary activity. Even doctors believed that a woman with-child was a delicate flower who needed constant rest. Thankfully, health professionals are now encouraging mothers to walk, run and move, as long as they listen to their body’s cues for adjusting activity. This is the “guiding principle” of Fit & Healthy. The authors provide a wealth of information, but each woman is different and may need to tweak their individual routine accordingly.
Spending time in the garden is always a welcome activity, as the sunshine feels good and the fresh air brings hope for many enjoyable summer days to come. However, gardening can be exhausting, and if we are not careful, it might even be injurious.
The following are a few tips to keep your back in top shape as you spend long hours pulling weeds, hauling mulch, and performing other yard-centered activities.
Stand up often
Although it might seem like wasted time when you have a full day of yard work planned, standing up every five minutes will give your back a much needed break. When you spend too many hours slumped over your garden bed, it can be as bad for your spine as sitting slumped over in your recliner. So do yourself a favor and periodically stand up and stretch. (more…)
Rounded shoulders, neck pain, and an aching low back are just a few of the side effects of having a desk job. Sitting for hours in front of a computer not only shortens your life expectancy; it can permanently affect your posture.
The following tips will help you maintain a healthy desk posture for increased energy, better health, and a reduction in bodily aches and pains.
Sit on your sit bones
The ischial tuberosities, otherwise known as the “sit bones,” comprise the base of the pelvis and set the foundation for proper sitting posture. Most of us tend to rock behind our sit bones, placing the low back in a stressful C-curve position. This constant misalignment negatively affects not just the low back, but also the shoulders and neck. (more…)