The BOSU Balance Trainer is an incredibly effective piece of equipment to use in your workouts. The BOSU (which stands for “Both Sides Utilized”) can be used to target almost every major muscle group of the body for strength training, to get a cardio intensive workout, and as a tool for a killer core workout. Exercises performed using a BOSU focus on balance and can be performed on a stable (round side up) or unstable (flat side up) surface.
BOSU has recently launched a new product called Powerstax that will (literally) take your workout to the next level.
What is the Powerstax System?
BOSU Powerstax were created to be used in conjunction with a BOSU Balance Trainer. Powerstax are risers that can be stacked below the BOSU Trainer to add elevation and intensify your workout. The risers are four inches tall and can be purchased separately or as a set of three. The BOSU trainer itself is 10 inches tall, so adding all three risers will elevate your BOSU trainer to be 22 inches in height.
The Powerstax will securely hold the BOSU trainer with the flat side facing up or down, allowing for more diversity in your training. Placing the round side up results in higher total elevation of the combined unit. When the flat side is facing up, it creates a slightly more stable surface (as compared to round side up) and is great for advanced dynamic movement.
One other innovation with the Powerstax is its ability to be used for strength training. Each riser weighs 5 pounds and can be filled with up to 12 quarts of water (which will result in a total weight of 30 pounds). Each quart of water adds an additional four pounds to the five pound riser, making it easy to adjust to your needs. (more…)
If someone told you how much their body ached after a day of skiing, you’d probably never want to click into a pair of bindings and hit the slopes. Do not fret. Pain and agony are not the only words you need to describe the first day of your ski vacation. With a little bit of preparation and maintenance, freedom from post-ski day soreness can be yours.
The following are a few yoga-inspired tips and techniques that will help sharpen your fitness edge and get your body tuned up for some downhill fun.
Just say no to quivering quads
At least six weeks before a ski vacation, take every opportunity you can to strengthen your quadriceps. Perform wall sits, yoga chair pose, warrior lunges, and horse stance squats as often as you can, intermittently throughout the day. There is no need to try and fit a full yoga class into your already busy schedule. A little bit of time spent here and there will suffice. Just be sure and do it, or you will suffer the consequences of tired legs too early in the ski day. (more…)
Having a strong core is more important than you realize!
Your core includes your abs, upper legs and back. The main muscles are the obliques, abdominals, lower back and the gluteus. Having strong core muscles will help with more than giving you sizzling-looking abs. They are responsible for your posture and movement. Here is a list of some other benefits:
- It will prevent lower back pain and injury. Most lower back injuries are from weak core muscles.
- It will help improve your overall physical performance. So the stronger these babies are the easier everything else will be.
- Improves balance
- Helps you maintain your independence later in life.
I have included some simple and VERY effective exercises that you can do in less than 15 minutes right in your living room! (more…)
During this hectic time of year your yoga practice is especially helpful in reducing anxiety, but if you cannot fit in a full yoga class, practicing on your own is second best. Restorative poses like forward bends top the list to release stress and refresh the mind and body, but it is important that they are done correctly.
The following principles are categorized by body part and action to help you practice safe and effective restorative forward bending yoga poses.
Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water and your spine as the stream of water that spills from the bowl. By placing both hands on your hips and tipping your hips forward first as if to pour the water onto your feet, you set the forward bend up from your hips rather than from your lower back. This prevents the action of lumbar lordosis (rounding out) from your lumbar spine, which can stress the discs of the lower back.
If your hamstrings are tight, simply bend your knees. This will allow your pelvis to tip forward with ease without rounding your lower back. Also, you can bend your knees if you feel tension behind them and if you feel a tugging sensation on your sitting bones. It is best to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle, rather than at the attachment points (sit bones and backs of knees). This helps to protect your tendons and ligaments from excess strain.
Michael Gonzalez-Wallace is the author of Super Body, Super Brain. You can read more from him at www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.
Use it or lose it.
If we don’t use our muscles, they will wither in atrophy and if we don’t use our brain, our brain will shrink. If the brain is not used, different brain areas will slow down leading to a faster decline in cognitive abilities such as multitasking, learning, memory or movement. A study from Harvard University concluded that lack of brain activity between different areas of the brain means faster aging.
However, what if I told you that is possible to be faster mentally or in better physical shape now than you were 5 or 10 years ago? For the last 10 years, we have being seeing a brilliant phenomena called brain plasticity. Brain plasticity is the brain’s capacity to rewire or regenerate itself, and the key is stimulation. Anytime you stimulate the brain, you are strengthening existing connections and creating new powerful networks. In other words, you are strengthening your brain like a muscle.
According to Dr John Ratey Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, exercise is the ultimate way to improve brain plasticity. Nice! But plasticity doesn’t only affect our brains- but affects our muscles as well. Muscle fiber plasticity refers to the capacity of our muscles to change shape, form and structure and there is no age limit, you just need to be consistent with a resistance training program.
Benjamin Goode is a Senior Fitness Consultant, medical writer and educator. Ben publishes a website called GoSeniorFitness.com and a blogs at bengoode.blog.com. The website provides older adults with practical health and fitness information. In 1972, Mr. Goode founded and published the American Journal of Sports Medicine – the first professional American journal dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries. This journal is now the official journal of The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about the infirmities of old age. The sad result is that the oldsters themselves start to believe them. Then, they use these fallacies as excuses for not exercising and not following a sensible diet.
“I’m just too old and out of shape for that sort of thing” says a 65 year-old, retired accountant. He’s gained more than twenty-five pounds in the last few years and finds it difficult to get around. He takes medication for hypertension and he’s been told by his doctor to reduce his dietary intake of sugar, salt and fats. He complains of being tired all the time and has lapsed into a sedentary lifestyle. He’s a victim of That Ol’ Rockin’ Chair’s Got Me syndrome.
Well, it’s here at last. Wii Fit has released the new game Zumba Fitness. Zumba is an extremely popular Brazilian dance program that incorporates international dance techniques with aerobic exercise. With over 30 songs, including motivating Latin dance music, Zumba Fitness will help you tone your muscles, build your endurance levels, and have fun all at the same time.
The game is comprised of several different difficulty levels and dance venues to challenge every bit of your fitness level and dance technique. A few of the exciting dance venues include a gym, a nightclub, and a penthouse roof of a high-rise skyscraper.
Back exercises are often over-looked due to the popularity of abdominal exercises. Below is a list of back exercises that can be performed at home or anywhere that you feel inclined to exercise. The exercises mainly target the lower back, but also help improve core stability, balance, and coordination.
Core stability is defined as the ability of the muscles of the trunk to stabilize the spine during movement. Dozens of muscles help stabilize the core and most are isolated in the exercises below. Balance is defined as the state of equilibrium and the following exercises help improve the strength and endurance levels of your muscles that help make balance possible. Coordination is defined as the skillful and effective interaction of movements. In order to maximize coordination, you must challenge the body by performing coordination based exercises and movements that allow the body to work and move more efficiently. Each exercise below targets a slightly different part of the back and helps improve coordination.
It’s never too late to start exercising. While it’s perfectly safe for most seniors to stay active, there are some challenges, including coordination and balance. Music may be all it takes to remedy that. Not just any music, however – piano music.
According to new research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, combining piano-based music with exercise may help improve balance in the elderly.
“Each year, one-third of the population 65 years and older experiences at least one fall, and half of those fall repeatedly,” says Andrea Trombetti, MD, lead researcher of University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine of Geneva, Switzerland. “Exercise can counteract key risk factors for falls, such as poor balance, and consequently reduce risk of falling in elderly community-dwelling individuals.” (more…)
Vibram Five Fingers
There are twenty-six bones, twenty muscles and thirty-three joints in the human foot. The human foot is truly a work of art and we need to treat it with respect! By wearing proper foot wear, you provide your feet and your body with the advantages they need during exercise and normal daily activity.
The Vibram FiveFingers are shoes that are exploding in popularity, as barefoot running is recieving more and more attention. FiveFingers provide you with all the benefits of going barefoot while protecting your foot from cuts or surface injuries. These shoes can be worn while exercising or during normal everyday activities. By wearing these shoes, you will not only improve your strength, but they will help improve your balance, agility, and proprioception. Proprioception is defined as one of the human senses that targets reception of stimuli produced and the awareness of the position of one’s body. Check below to see the benefits of exercising barefoot as well as with the FiveFingers! (more…)
Are you thinking about purchasing a new stability ball or having trouble finding the right size?
Stability balls come in all sizes and you need to find one that meets your exercise goals. Most stability balls provide you with a list of height and weight recommendations for each size so make sure to check the box or package for that, but if you can’t find the information laid out for you, here’s how to find the right size on your own. (more…)