Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Is Running Right For You? 10 Questions to Ask First

Running is a wonderful way to get in shape, lose weight, and improve your fitness. However, it’s not right for everyone. If you’re on the fence or just unsure if running is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do You Have a Medical Reason Why You Shouldn’t Run?

There are very few medical conditions that rule out running. However, there are some people who shouldn’t run. For example, if you suffer from a bone or joint disorder then running may exacerbate the condition and cause pain.

Heart and lung conditions may also limit your ability to run. Speak with your doctor if you’re unsure about a current medical condition and your ability to run. In most cases, a running program can help reduce or alleviate health conditions.

Running Shoes from Asics
Running Shoes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Do You Have the Right Equipment?

Actually, all you really need to get started on a running program is a pair of well fitting running shoes. If you don’t have running shoes, spend some time trying on running shoes or visit a running store and talk with a specialist. Different types of shoes can compensate for any foot type, body mechanics or foot style.

3. Do You Have 10-30 Minutes a Day?

You don’t have to run for hours to reap the benefits. In fact, just running for ten minutes can provide you with better health and fitness. If you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you start slowly. You can build up your endurance and distance over time.

4. Do You Have a Safe Place to Run?

The great thing about running is that you can do it in your living room on a treadmill, on the local track or around your neighborhood.

5. Do You Need/Want To Reduce Stress?

One of the surprising benefits of running is that it reduces stress. If you are looking for a way to relax and unwind, running may be the perfect solution.

6. Do You Want to Prevent Disease?

Running has been shown to reduce the risk of many killer diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you have a genetic tendency toward any of these diseases or you want to stay healthy and live a long life, running can help.

JOG SHOT (Photo credit: whologwhy)
7. Do You Want to Feel Happier?

Running, even for just a few minutes, releases endorphins. These lovely hormones, aka “Feel good” hormones, make you feel relaxed and joyful and the feelings can last for several hours. Couple that with the fact that running boosts metabolism and reduces stress and it’s a surefire way to have a more positive outlook.

Running isn’t for everyone but for most people, it can be a valuable addition to your lifestyle. Whether you want to become a competitive runner or simply run for pleasure, running can help you improve your health and fitness.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Video - Total Body Isometric Workout

This is an example of a workout which uses isometric (static) positions, combined with some dynamic movement as well, to put your muscles and joints through their full range of motion. This type of workout is very effective at strengthening your muscles quickly. (Please note: If you have any back problems at all, skip the sit-up portion - sit-ups are very hard on your back, and not that effective anyway - I don't even know why they were included here. The isometric version is fine though, so feel free to throw that one in a couple of times - just don't pull yourself all the way up from the ground - start out in the half-way position as he demonstrates first. You can also keep your knees bent to put less stress on the lower back.)

Total Body Isometric Workout
Total Body Isometric Workout We're doing Isometric training this week because we want to build up your resistence strength. Isometric training could also be described as endurance or resistence but it is basically strength tr...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Isometric Exercises for The Abs

When exercising, or thinking about getting involved in an exercise program, there may be some words that are thrown around that are new to you. This can cause confusion and may frustrate a person who is trying to understand and apply different aspects of exercising. For instance, what are isometric exercises? To make it simple, isometric exercises are simply flexing, or applying force to a particular group of muscles, and holding the position for a specified amount of time without moving. The reason many people enjoy this type of exercise is that it can be done anywhere because no special equipment is needed.

English: an exercise of abs
Holding an Isometric Crunch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crunches is a popular form of isometric exercise specifically for stomach muscles. Besides being able to perform them anywhere, crunches are also a convenient form of exercise because they can be fit into practically anyone's schedule. The range of movement with isometric exercises is very limited and the amount of time to complete one set is such a short amount of time, usually between 6-8 seconds per repetition, it does not take too much time. However, these movements only work isolated parts of the body and therefore more than one exercise is needed to work out different muscle groups even within the stomach.

Breathing also seems to be a factor in isometric exercises for stomach muscles. As a person breathes slowly in and out, they are contracting the stomach muscles, which is the point of isometric exercises.
Besides crunches there are also other forms of isometric exercises for stomach muscles - a quick search on the internet can turn up some helpful and instructive information. Again, keep in mind that a well-balanced exercise plan combines several different types of moves that work different muscle groups within the stomach.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Isometric Exercise

Before bodybuilding became popular, a different muscle building routine, called isometric exercises, were all the rage.  These exercises are static, meaning you apply pressure and the hold it.  For instance, you could push your arms up against the wall and hold it.  While these exercises aren’t as popular as they used to be, they do provide several benefits:

* It works.  Isometric exercises are great at building the specific sections of muscle groups that you're focused on, actually providing more muscle contraction than weight lifting and strength training that involves movement.

Isometric calf stretch
Isometric calf stretch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* It’s cheap.  Traditional isometric exercises require no gym membership and no expensive machines.  They use walls and body weight to provide adequate resistance.

* It’s fast and easy.  Isometric exercises can be done in your spare time almost anywhere.  Even if you can’t fit in a full workout, you can take a couple minutes out of your day to do a few exercises and still benefit.

This type of exercise used to be so popular, so why don’t we hear much about it anymore?  One big reason is that it was replaced by traditional body building - partly because there are a few drawbacks to this type of workout.

* Raises blood pressure.  During isometric exercises, people tend to hold their breath.  This causes a jump in blood pressure that could cause serious problems. However, this is an incorrect use of the method. If you perform these exercises, make sure to monitor your breathing, and breathe steadily and evenly.

* Too specific.  While bodybuilding works your muscles through the entire range of motion, isometric exercises only work a specific part of the muscle group at one time.  To achieve the effects of weight lifting, you need to perform the exercises at many different angles and positions.

Despite these drawbacks, isometrics are still being used and can be beneficial when incorporated properly into your workout instead of simply replacing it.  Here are a few ways to add isometric exercises into your workout routine and get the benefits without the drawbacks.

* Do them at work.  Don’t have time to go to the gym and lift weights?  There are many simple isometric exercises you can do while at work using the wall, your desk, or your own body as resistance.  Why not skip getting an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon and do a quick workout instead?

Isometric exercise: one armed pull-ups
Isometric exercise: one armed pull-ups (Photo credit: Claudio Brisighello)
* Add modern equipment.  Isometric exercise was the precursor to traditional body building, so it didn’t have the benefits of all the equipment we have available now.  Modern isometric workouts include training tools like free weights and resistance bands.  Isometric exercise simply uses these tools while staying still instead of in motion.

* Mix it up.  Instead of doing an extra workout to add in isometric exercises, add them to your current routine.  For instance, if you lift weights, hold the weight in a steady position for several breaths after you’re done with your reps. 

While you shouldn’t use it as your only strength-building routine, isometric exercise can be a great addition to improve any body. Check back later this week for some more info on isometrics and how to perform them properly.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Video - 10-Minute Post-Pregnancy Workout

Here is a helpful video demonstrating a quick post-pregnancy workout that can help you start getting back in shape once you are ready. This incorporates cardio, strength, and flexibility into one 10-minute workout. Be sure to consult your doctor before doing this or any other workout after having a baby - pay attention to her instruction on this at the start of the video. See below video for some more after-baby workouts.

Remember to start slow and easy, and gradually advance as your body recovers. In terms of this workout, you can modify the exercises by taking smaller steps, not squatting as deep, etc. Don't overdo it, but this simple workout can help you start getting fit again and drop those extra post-pregnancy pounds.

Post Pregnancy Workout - Get Back In Shape After Childbirth
www.Fitappy.com ♦ Post Pregnancy exercises

More Post-Pregnancy Workout Ideas:
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fun Exercises for Mom & Baby

If you’re a new mom, you probably know that getting exercise can be tough.  Taking care of a baby can take up a lot of your energy.  It’s often difficult to find someone to watch the baby while you go to the gym or you may not want to leave baby with someone yet. So to stay healthy and take off those extra pounds, try incorporating your baby into your workout routine.  This way, your baby can be entertained and you can work up a sweat at the same time.  Plus, once you’re used to it, exercise can give you a great energy boost to get through your long, stressful day.  Here are some great exercises to try.

Deutsch: Ein Kind auf dem Rücken der Mutter in...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Walking.  There are some great multi-terrain strollers which you can use for walks with your baby.  You can also buy a sling and go for walks with baby.  This will make your baby easier to tote around with you.  Plus a walk can be a great way to stimulate your baby with new sights, sounds and smells.

* Running and biking.  Instead of buying expensive workout equipment, why not check out the specialized strollers the next time you’re at a sport supply store?  They make devices specifically for running and biking safely with your child.  And like walking, this also exposes your baby to new stimuli. 

* Move, wiggle, and dance with your baby.  Next time your baby is crying, instead of jiggling and rocking them, try putting them in a sling and dancing with them.  If this doesn’t work to quiet them, you can still do it when they’re happy. 

Happy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
* Take a class.  Take a look on the internet or at a local gym.  You can probably find a class in your area designed to give you and your baby a workout at the same time.  If you’re serious about getting in shape with your baby, find a personal trainer who’s also a mom.  She’ll be able to give you exercises you can not only do with your baby, but ones that are also specifically tailored to you.

Working out with your baby can not only get you back into shape, it can also give your baby the stimulation they need to lead an active, healthy life as they grow.  Just remember to be safe and always make sure your baby is secure.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

4 Tips For Getting Back In Shape After Baby

During pregnancy, it’s normal and even necessary to gain a certain amount of weight.  This is used to support your growing child and to provide the extra calories needed when you start breastfeeding.  New mothers naturally lose weight after the birth, and breastfeeding can help a lot; however, if you don’t lose all the weight because of gaining too much weight, or other reasons, it can be hard to take the rest off. 

Here are some tips to help you get on track with your exercise plan, and back to your normal size in a healthy manner:
Cover of "Getting Back in Shape"
Cover of Getting Back in Shape

1. Involve your baby.  Don’t wait until your child is asleep to try to get a decent workout.  Get a baby sling so you can go for a walk with your baby. This can be great bonding time for you and your baby, and is a good way for him or her to get some fresh air at the same time that you get your exercise in. The simplicity of this solution is often overlooked.

2. Don’t start too soon.  Whether you've had a vaginal delivery or a C-section, your body has gone through quite a bit.  If you start a workout routine too soon, it can be damaging to your health.  It’s usually recommended to wait 6 weeks before you start trying to work out vigorously; however, if you had a vaginal delivery, you can use those first 6 weeks to strengthen your vaginal muscles and start stretching exercises.  Just be sure to check with your doctor before you start any exercise program.

3. Don’t work too hard.  It’s pretty likely that you haven’t been able to do a normal workout for at least a few months, maybe more.  Just like starting any exercise program, you should not start full-force right away.  Trying to do too much is likely to do more harm than help.  Before you start working out, ask your doctor for recommended exercises and how often you should do them.  Remember, if you hurt yourself, you’re not going to be able to take as good care of your baby, and it will also delay your getting fit even further.

English: Heavenly Bundle pouch sling
Heavenly Bundle pouch sling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4.  Fit exercise into your schedule.  While having a regular routine is helpful, it’s almost impossible to get a baby to conform to your schedule.  This means you have to change your schedule to fit your baby’s.  You’ll probably have to squeeze in workouts where you can.  Choose exercises that you can do in different places at different times.  Get an exercise DVD or something else you can do at home.  You should also remember that two 15 minute workouts or three 10 minute workouts can be just as helpful as a half-hour work out.  If you can set a rigid workout schedule, that’s great.  If you can’t, set a looser schedule (e.g. I will work out for thirty minutes before I go to bed) and be sure to stick with it.

Getting back in shape after a baby can be difficult, but with time, patience, and planning, you can get back to your healthy and fit self - and maybe even fit back into your favorite jeans before too long!
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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Video - Zumba Gold for Seniors

Here is an example of a Zumba "Gold" class - for seniors. Zumba Gold utilizes the same fun Latin music and some of the same moves as a regular Zumba class, but lower intensity and low impact. They also tend to go a little slower, and the classes are shorter and/or have more breaks.

Check out these sassy ladies and how much fun they are having! Remember seniors can have fun exercising too! (Seniors especially should talk with their physician before starting any new exercise routine.)

#5- ZUMBA GOLD with Grandma Shellie-
(grandmashellieteacheszumba.com) Zumba Gold, latin inspired dance aerobics for seniors and those new to Zumba. We dance at a slower pace, use the same Zumba music, more instructions and more breaks.Check out my blogsite for more information. (http

More Fitness Videos for Seniors:
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fitness Programs for Special Groups

A new trend in fitness is the targeting of fitness programs for different groups of people. Rather than a “one size fits all” approach that simply looks to provide general fitness benefits without taking into account the particular needs of the participants (such as an indoor cycling class), these new fitness classes are being offered with particular goals and needs in mind. Here are a few examples of specialty fitness classes you may want to look for in your area, depending on your needs.

English: A senior citizen at legs exercise
A senior citizen at legs exercise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Senior Adult Programs: 
As the U.S. population continues to age and more of us are living longer, there are more older people who would like to take part in structured fitness activities in order to keep themselves healthier. But the average senior citizen probably isn’t going to be interested in participating in a high impact aerobics or pole dancing class, so more classes are being designed to meet their fitness goals, as well as their tastes. Even popular mainstream classes such as Zumba (a dance-based class featuring salsa and merengue music) are adapting themselves to provide a version for senior citizens. (The senior version is known as “Zumba Gold.”)

Pregnant Women:
For years doctors have recommended that pregnant women continue to get some type of physical exercise throughout almost the entire term of pregnancy. But pregnancy requires that certain motions and exercises be avoided, and that the intensity of the workout not be too great. Traditional fitness classes simply aren’t structured in a way to be safe or effective for pregnant women. Fortunately, there are classes that take the particular needs of pregnant women into account. These classes are commonly offered at local community centers and YMCAs - and occasionally at some gyms and fitness centers.

Children’s and Teen’s Fitness Programs:
Obesity rates among children and teenagers are at historically high levels. Kids don’t play the way they did in years past (with groups of kids from the neighborhood getting together after school and on the weekends), and due to budget cuts, many children no longer have physical fitness classes available to them at school. An increasing number of fitness professionals have taken note of this trend and have created programs tailored to overweight and obese children.

English: CORONADO, Calif. (Jan. 14, 2009) Fitn...
Fitness instructor Linda Walker leads Department of Defense civilian employees during an aerobathon. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Damien Horvath/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Workplace Fitness Programs:
As health care insurance costs continue to increase, employers are constantly on the lookout for ways to save on their premiums and to help their employees pay less on their own shares of the premiums. These programs can take many different forms. For example, an employer might wish to offer a group fitness class in a conference room within the office, or perhaps organize a few coordinated times during the day when employees get up from their desks and do some light stretching or movement exercises. Even sponsoring a group walk over the lunch hour is a great way for employees to slowly and easily get themselves in better shape. Introducing workplace fitness programs can also help to improve overall employee wellness, which can reduce costly employee absentee days due to illness.

Specialty fitness programs are a great way for people with specific needs to find a class that they can feel comfortable participating in, and which can help improve their health.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

10 Things You Should Know About Stretching

Before fitness training of any kind, it is very important to do warm-up or stretching exercises to prevent accidents or injury, and enhance the benefits you will gain from your exercise session.  There are also a number of precautionary measures and tips that may serve as guidelines when getting ready to work out.

Here are 10 helpful tips:

English: An elderly at stretching exercises in gym
English: An elderly man performs stretching exercises in gym (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1.  To increase your flexibility and to avoid injuries, stretch before and after a workout.  Almost everyone knows that stretching before workouts prevents injuries during the exercises, but stretching after a workout, when muscles are still warm, can also increase flexibility and reduce soreness.

2.  Hold your stretching position for at least 60 seconds to increase flexibility.  While holding your position for 20 seconds might be enough for warm ups, holding each position for at least 60 seconds will improve the body's flexibility a lot more. Also don't bounce while holding stretches (see next tip).

3.  Do not repeatedly go into a stretching position then immediately return to the relaxed position.  This is more appropriately termed as bouncing. When stretching, hold that position for several seconds (see #2 above), and then slowly relax.  You may do this exercise repeatedly this way.  Bouncing or forcing yourself into a position during stretching can strain or damage some joints or muscles.

4.  Work slowly in increments instead of immediately proceeding to doing the hardest exercise or position.

5.  Make sure that you have stretched or warmed up all muscle groups.  For some people, even if they have strong bodies, they tend to neglect the neck when working out of stretching.  Stretching the neck muscles can be as simple as placing the palm of one's hand against the front of the head and pushing it as far as it will comfortably go.  Then, do the same to the sides and the back of the head.

6.  Stretch regularly to continually increase your range of movements and your level of flexibility and strength.

7.  Work out considering only your capabilities and not of others.  Do not force yourself to do exercises that you are not yet capable of just because there are people who can do it.  Increase your limits slowly.  Listen to your body.  There are days when your body may be too tired and you may have to consider reducing your range of motion. This is fine, and it's better to take it easy for a day or two than to injure yourself.

8.  Learn to rest.  Rest in between sets and stations to make sure that the body has enough time to recover its energy.  Also, it is advisable that you don't work the same muscle groups consecutively for two days.  The muscles actually grow in strength during the period when you rest and not when you are working out.

9.  Do aerobic exercises in intervals to strengthen your heart.  Aerobic exercises are those physical activities that use oxygen for fuel.  This includes cardiovascular exercises such as skipping rope, running or swimming.

10.  Music may help you when you want to train for longer periods or to increase your intensity.  You can use mp3 players, CD players or lightweight am radio receivers for this.  Just make sure that you brought your headset with you if working out in public so you wouldn't disturb people who don't prefer music while exercising.

Apart from preventing injuries and increasing one's flexibility, many people also find that stretching feels good for a tired body and helps relax your mind as well.
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