Thursday, August 30, 2012

Work Your Abs With Core Fusion – Exhale Body Sculpt

Your core muscles are some of the most important muscles in your body. They are comprised of the muscles in your back and your stomach. When you have strong core muscles everything else you do comes easier.

What Are Your Core Muscles?
Transversus abdominis muscule
Transversus abdominis muscle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You know that your core muscles are the muscles in your back and stomach. However, they extend far beyond the basic “traps” or trapezius muscles and abdominals. Your core muscles include:

* Pelvic floor muscles
* Transversus abdominis
* Multifidus
* Internal and external obliques
* Rectus abdominis
* Longissimus thoracis
* Diaphragm
* Latissimus dorsi
* Gluteus maximus
* Trapezius.

The Importance of Strong Core Muscles
When you have strong core muscles you instantly have better posture. Better posture not only makes you look better, you actually feel better too. Your balance and stability are strengthened which makes it easier for you to perform both basic functions and also more challenging exercises.

Strong core muscles mean you’re less susceptible to injury. You may know that the single most common type of complaint or injury is back pain. The primary reason for this is weak core muscles. Most people sit all day this weakens the core muscles because they’re not engaged. Picture yourself right now sitting on the couch or at your desk. Do you have good posture? Probably not. When you strengthen your core muscles your posture automatically improves. However more importantly you also minimize the chance you’ll injure your back or suffer from back pain.

Strong core muscles also help you burn fat and calories. Your core muscles are a very large muscle group. When you focus on strengthening them you’re building muscle in your body. Muscle burns more fat and calories than fat does - hence, the more muscle you have, the more calories you're burning - even while at rest (sounds great huh?).

Finally, strong core muscles make you look great! You know what a great stomach and back look like, right? And your backside and hips are also part of your core. If you want rock hard abs and a good backside, strengthen your core!

Exhale Spa has a long history of providing top level fitness classes. Their core fusion class has always been one of their most popular classes. They’ve recorded the class so you can experience the results in the comfort and convenience of your own home. The Core Fusion – Exhale Body Sculpt DVD provides five focused workouts. Each workout is only ten minutes long which makes strengthening your core easily accessible and convenient. Even you have ten minutes a day, right?

There’s no special equipment to buy, and the video will cost you no more than a large cappuccino. The trainers, Fred DeVito and Elisabeth Halfpapp, have more than fifty years of combined fitness training experience. If you don’t have an Exhale spa near you or you prefer the convenience and comfort of working out at home, consider the Core Fusion Exhale Body Sculpt DVD. You’ll gain strong muscles and a lean body - and have fun doing it!  And if you like this one, check out some of the other Core Fusion workouts - they are all designed to give you a great workout in a short amount of time that will fit into your schedule easily while giving you fast results.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Exercises to Flatten The Stomach

There are many times in a person's life when they really want to look their best. Perhaps it is for a high school reunion or for a wedding, and probably the most popular time for wanting to look good is during swimsuit season. Whether it's fitting into a slinky evening gown, or baring it all (or most of it) at the beach, gaining a flat stomach is something that many people strive for when trying to look great.

LĂșcia Garcia, Portuguese model
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
People tend to think that a flatter stomach means better looks and most people want to look their best. A flat stomach does go beyond looks however; there are medical reasons why a flatter stomach is generally a healthy way to go. Medical evidence suggests that people that carry extra weight around the stomach tend to be more likely to develop serious medical conditions, including diabetes. The stomach is also the core of the body, this means that the stronger and healthier the core is, the less injury-prone the rest of the body will be. Consider a person with back problems, which is a common problem with many people. These people can benefit greatly from doing exercises to strengthen their abs and core muscles. This will help improve posture and relieve tension in the back as excess weight is removed from the center of the body.

Besides looks and health, another reason why exercises to flatten stomach muscles are popular is because they are easy to do. They can be done practically anywhere, in a gym, at home in front of the television or anywhere else. They also do not require expensive equipment to do. While there are plenty of machines and smaller pieces of equipment all geared for working the stomach muscles, they are not necessarily needed to get the same results. All a person needs is some room to lie down and the desire to improve their stomach. There are a wide variety of exercises that target this area of the body, so a person can choose which moves will work best for him or her.

Personal Trainer Exercise
Personal Trainer Ab Exercise (Photo credit: katieklimek)
Because this type of exercise is so popular, most workout programs, whether on a video watched at home, or in a live class at a health club, will include exercises to tone and flatten stomach muscles. Toning this part of the body can help with the strength and health of the body as a whole.

Obviously there are many reasons why people want to flatten their stomach and spend a lot of time doing exercises to accomplish this goal. Whether the reason is vanity or health, it is important to remember that as with all things, it will take time to get the desired results and a person must stick to whatever program they are comfortable with until they have the stomach they want. The good news is that stomach muscles respond very well to even a little exercise, with some exercise and a good healthy diet, most people can see results, provided there is no medical reason why they probably won't succeed.

Here are some of my favorite ways to have fun while getting great abs!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Video - Stretching Exercises Before Running

These 8 stretches will help loosen up your muscles and joints before running or jogging. Stretching is important to help you avoid injury during your workout. This is a really quick video that just demonstrates the positions of each stretch - remember to hold each stretch for the full recommended length of time.

Now get your shoes on, get stretched, and go!

Stretching Exercises Before Running shows you 8 important stretches that you should use before heading out on a run or jog.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

5 Tips For Running Safely

Running can be a great form of exercise - and a lot of fun! Just be sure you stay safe on your run. When you run there are two primary dangers. These dangers include animals and people. Yes, animals. Every year runners are hit by deer, or even cows (!), and bitten by dogs. However, people are generally a much bigger threat. Here are a few simple running strategies to stay safe when you run.

Morning Jogging Session
 (Photo credit: Ikhlasul Amal)
#1 Run with People

Running by yourself, particularly if you are a woman, can be dangerous. Running with others is much safer. However, if you do run by yourself make sure to carry mace or pepper spray, wear identification, and always tell other people where you are running and when you’ll be back. And if you run by yourself make sure you run in a populated area during the light of day. Running at night or in an isolated area is dangerous.

#2 Stay Out of Traffic

It’s tempting to run in the road. The asphalt may be softer than the cement sidewalk. However, it’s probably not worth your life. Drivers are distracted and it’s easy to get hit. And in the early hours of the morning and at dusk it can be difficult for drivers to see you. If you are running in the road, make sure you’re facing oncoming traffic.

#3 Be Visible

Run in brightly colored clothing when you’re on the trails. Some runners have been mistaken for deer or elk and shot by hunters. When running at night make sure to wear reflective clothing. You may even want to wear a headlamp or carry a flashlight.

We carry our cellphones when we jog
We carry our cellphones when we jog (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)
#4 Be Prepared for Emergencies

If you’re going to be out running for a while consider taking your cell phone and some extra cash. A cell phone makes it easy to call someone if you have an emergency and the extra cash can be used to purchase hydration. Road ID bracelets or identification necklaces or shoe ties are also a good idea. Finally, if you’re going for a long run you may want to take a few first aid items or at least keep a first aid kit in your car.

#5 Limit Your Distractions

Many runners enjoy listening to music when they run. This is fine as long as you can hear what is going on around you. If you cannot hear cyclists or cars it’s easy to find yourself sprawled on the ground.

Finally, trust your instincts. If something or someone doesn’t seem right, avoid it. Running should be a safe and enjoyable form of exercise, not a life risking endeavor. Stay safe and get fit - and have fun!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Choosing The Right Running Gear

There are many things to enjoy about running. Running improves your heart and lung health. It boosts your metabolism and burns calories. It also helps clear your mind and improve your sense of well being. However, having the right gear and attire can definitely improve (and help you make the most of) the experience. Let’s look at the basics and then explore some of the fun and useful extras.

Running Gear Basics
Running shoes
Running shoes (Photo credit: Shopping Diva)
The only item you really need to have to run are a pair of good shoes. Your feet do a lot of work when you run. Wearing good running shoes helps you minimize impact, improve your form, and feel better during and after a run. Consider visiting a running specialty store to get a shoe fit and a gait analysis. They can recommend the best shoes for your foot, running style, and body mechanics.

Support Wear
Women need to run with a sports bra. It reduces friction on the breasts and keeps them in place so gravity doesn’t damage the tissue. Men may want to wear supportive compression briefs as well. These help keep the bits and pieces in place so they don’t bounce around - guys, you know what I'm talking about!

If you’re a barefoot runner or you don’t like running with socks then socks may not be a requirement for you. However, many runners do run with socks and it can be tricky to find the right socks. You want a pair that doesn’t bunch. You want them to wick away moisture and not cause friction and blisters or hot spots. Try different types of socks to find the ones that work best for you.

Women have the benefit of being able to choose between running shorts, skirts, and tights. Running skirts are fun to wear, they’re colorful and comfortable. Regardless of what you choose make sure there are no issues with friction. You want your body to be able to move freely without getting chafed by your clothing. Compression tights and shorts may offer additional support and faster muscle recovery.

Comfort is key here. Look for tops that wick away moisture and fit well without chafing. Sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve options are available. Find a style and fit that works for you. Cotton is usually a poor choice because it gets wet and stays wet. It can be uncomfortable. Women can also find tops that offer built in sports bras.

Team Cycling Kit - Leg Warmers
Leg Warmers (Photo credit: Team Traveller)
Fun Extras

Arm and leg warmers – arm and leg warmers serve a purpose. They keep your arms and legs warm. They’re wonderful on those days when it’s too warm to wear a coat but too cold to have bare skin. When you warm up, you can push the warmers up or down and stay the ideal temperature.

Hats – sun visors, baseball hats and winter hats are all useful and they can be a fun way to add style and personality to your running attire. In the summer look for lightweight hats with a visor and built in sweat band.

Remember you can start small. Buy a few foundation pieces and see how it goes. You may find that you prefer one style or material over another. As you add miles you can add to your running wardrobe too.

A Few Examples of Running Gear:
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Video - Overcome the Weight Loss Plateau with Interval Sequencing

This short video gives you a quick overview of how to use interval sequences in your workouts to avoid (or break through) the weight loss plateau. Remember, we're focused on health here, so the point isn't weight loss - it's FAT loss. When you build muscle, you may feel you are staying the same weight, but in actuality you are just replacing fat with muscle, which is a good thing!  The typical type of cardio exercise doesn't raise your metabolism - if you're only doing endurance exercise it really won't bring you the results you're looking for.  Find out why by watching this video:

Bust Just About Any Weight Loss Plateau with Interval Sequencing
Watch and discover how you can use Advanced Interval Sequencing to overcome just about any fat loss plateau.

Click Here for More Info On Losing Fat With Advanced Interval Sequencing....

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Getting the Most from your Aerobic Exercise Routine

The goal of aerobic activity is to increase cardiovascular health and lose weight. Many believe that to be effective, aerobic exercise needs to be performed within your target heart rate zone for at least thirty minutes. However, recent studies have shown that weight loss is actually better accomplished through intervals of cardio interspersed with muscle-building calisthenics, and by cycling through the levels of intensity in short intervals. This releases fat from the cells faster, improves metabolism, and prepares the heart muscle for the varied intensity needed for everyday activities - much healthier than longer forms of endurance exercise. This is great for you, as it means you can get a better workout in less time! Here are some more tips for optimizing your cardio workouts for faster and healthier results:

English: Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell ...
Exercise work zones (Fox and Haskell formula between 20 and 70-year-old): red zone (VO2Max), anaerobic, aerobic, weight control and warming up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
1. Apply circuit training techniques to your aerobic routine. This can be done one of two ways. First, let’s say that the treadmill is your favorite cardio machine. Create a program that will challenge your muscles and heart at different levels of intensity. Start out with a light walk for the first five minutes to warm-up. A warm-up is important to avoid muscle cramping and muscle injury.

After the first five minute interval, try a brisk walk at a speed you can handle with proper form and breathing. Maintain this pace for no more than 2-3 minutes. Increase the speed even more until you are performing a slow jog, and then crank it up to a full-out run for 1-2 minutes. If you are new to jogging/running, you may wish to stay with the jog for now. Lower the speed back down to a fast walk for the next two-three minutes. Then repeat, 2-3 times. Then be sure to perform a five minute cool down.

Cool downs are just as important as the warm-ups. The cool down gives you a chance to catch your breath again and stretch your legs. There is no need to increase this workout time unless you wish to, but even then, be sure to vary your intensity every 2-3 minutes, and make sure to cool down at the end to allow your heart rate to return to normal. And remember to stretch when finished.

Aerobic In The City
Aerobic In The City (Photo credit: MR MARK BEK)
2. You can also try the circuit training philosophy on different types of equipment in the same session. For example: Start out on the elliptical trainer. If your workout place has an elliptical with poles, you’ll benefit from the upper and lower body working at the same time. Use this machine for no more than 10 minutes, again varying intensity at least every 3 minutes. Then transition to the recumbent bike, and do the same thing. Finish up with a 5-minute cool down on the treadmill.

Working out at home is not a problem when it comes to maximizing aerobic benefits. If you use aerobic videos or DVD’s, choose one that conforms to your time constraints, but also provides a varied upper and lower body workout of different intensities. Workouts which include stretching in them are also great. All aerobic videos include a warm-up and a cool down phase.

By varying your workout intensity and methods, you'll lose weight faster, be healthier, stay motivated, and have more fun!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weight Loss Stalled? Don’t Give Up

For most Americans, their New Year’s resolution list includes “lose weight”. Whether you have a little or a lot to shed, it’s important to stay motivated. Some people give up a few months into the year, but for those die-hard fans of a better body, you keep at it day after day waiting for the first glimpse of change.

Funny Smile You Are Losing Weight Fitness Cent...
(Photo credits:
When it happens, not only do you notice, but so do family, friends, and co-workers. This reinforcement along with the dropping numbers on the scale, spur you on to victory.

Then, one day, the numbers stop falling. You are still thirty pounds from your goal and the scale refuses to budge. What should you do?

One thing you definitely should NOT do is give up. Look at it this way: You aren’t losing weight, but you aren’t gaining weight either. Plateaus are experienced several times over the course of a weight loss program. In the beginning, weight loss is steady because it’s new to the body. Your increased metabolism and decreased caloric intake work to shed those pounds. Water loss accounts for at least the first ten pounds of weight loss. As your body works to adjust to your physical activity, more calories are burned which translated into more weight lost. Plateaus come when the body has become accustomed to the routine. Don’t stress. Giving up will put you right back at square one.

First of all, throw out the scale (if it was expensive, just pack it away in the back of the garage). You may have heard this before, but it’s true: Muscle weighs more than fat. If weight training has been a component of your weight loss program, then as the muscle mass increases so will your weight. You may still be losing fat, but the weight of the increased muscle balances everything out. But you're still getting healthier. Increased muscle mass also means an increase in metabolism, which keeps you burning fat longer and on a more consistent basis, even when you're not working out.

weight training
weight training (Photo credit: midwestnerd)
To jump off of your current plateau, examine your diet and exercise program. If your fitness routine hasn’t changed since the beginning, consider making a few changes. Try a new activity. If you’re used to aerobics five times a week, switch to the treadmill or an elliptical trainer, try Yoga, Pilates, or weight lifting. Muscles need to be challenged on a regular basis in order to grow, and switching up your routine is one of the best ways to shake your body out of that rut - plus it's more fun when you have a wider variety of activities to choose from anyway!

Also consider what you are eating. If you’ve been having a free day more than once a week you could be taking in too many calories. Go back to what you were doing at the start of the program. Keep journals for a couple of weeks to track what works for you and gets the scale moving again.

Remember, change one thing at a time. When you change something, give the change a full thirty days, and then check the results. Weight loss isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding to reach your goal, and will give you a healthier body and a healthier life.

For some tips for staying motivated and having fun with your workouts, be sure to visit this blog regularly, and also check out this website for some helpful resources:

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Video - 10-Minute Beginners Yoga Workout

Here is a 10-minute yoga workout for beginners. This video walks you through a few basic yoga poses at a fairly quick pace designed to challenge your muscles and raise your heart rate to burn some calories. Although yoga is not a cardio workout, it actually can really help with weight loss due to the fact that it works and strengthens all your muscles, thus raising your metabolism, so you're actually burning fat for quite a while after your workout. Plus it leaves you feeling relaxed and energized, rather than exhausted, so it can be easier to motivate yourself to work out using yoga rather than a faster-paced aerobic workout.

Enjoy this one, and see below the video for some other short and fun yoga workouts:

Weight Loss Yoga for Beginners
This routine is designed for beginners and anyone looking for a simple practice to build strength, flexibility, and promote weight loss.

A Few Quick & Fun Yoga Workouts:

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: 10-Minute Solution Yoga (DVD)

I'm always excited when I get a new workout DVD - sometimes I don't do anything but the new one for a few months! I'm trying to keep myself on a more varied rotation these days, but this new one I just got just lends itself so perfectly to the short workout time I usually have available.... I had this one on my Amazon wishlist for a while, but I wasn't sure it would provide me with a good enough workout, so it took me a while to actually order it. I've had it for a few weeks now, and am extremely happy with it.

10 Minute Solution Yoga is part of the 10-Minute Solution series of workout DVDs, and is one of the most highly rated in the series by users.

It consists of 5 different 10-minute yoga sessions, which can be combined in any order for a longer workout, or done individually as a stand-alone workout if you only have 10 minutes.

The 5 sessions on the DVD are:

Yoga Basics - Designed as the "first" session, this workout takes you through several basic yoga poses at a nice pace and flow. I thought this one would be too easy, but it really wasn't. The rather quick pace was a little unexpected the first time through, but even now that I'm used to it, it's still challenging enough and a lot of fun. So far I'm liking this session the best.

Yoga for Buns & Thighs - This session works the larger muscles in the lower half of the body, with poses such as Chair and some of the Warrior poses challenging your thighs and butt, but without ignoring the rest of the body.

Yoga postures Navasana
Yoga postures Navasana (Boat pose) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yoga for Abs - This session is all about the abs, and boy does it ever work them! As someone who has done Pilates for over 10 years, and yoga for two, plus lots of other ab-focused workouts over the years, I didn't expect this one to be so challenging for me. By the end of the 10 minutes, my entire mid-section was totally burning! This session features Boat pose, and other core-focused poses.

Yoga Burn - I've only done this session once so far, and I wasn't as impressed with it as I had expected to be. It seemed slower than I thought it would be, although it did have a few more challenging poses. I may come to like it better as I get used to it though - maybe I just was distracted by concentrating on the instructions the first time through.

Yoga postures Shavasana
Yoga postures Shavasana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yoga for Flexibility and Relaxation - Flexibility is something I really struggle with, with all the back problems I've had in the past. I could really do this session every day. It really stretches all of my tight areas like hips and butt, and it's a nice, relaxing pace to end the workout with. I do wish it included a longer Shavasana pose at the end though - I know they were trying to fit it all into 10 minutes, but it would have been nice to have like a "Bonus" optional 3-5 minute Shavasana at the end (I usually just do one anyway).

Overall, this is a really nice beginner-to-intermediate yoga DVD. It could stand to have better music - the music seems a little canned and boring - but it doesn't really bother me.

My favorite thing (and I love this and think ALL workout DVDs should have this feature) is the "Create Your Own Workout" feature. This allows you to choose which sessions you want to do, and in what order, before beginning the workout. This makes it easy to pick two or 3 sessions and play them all, without having to stop in the middle of your workout time and find the next session you want to do. It's really cool!

Since a lot of times I only have 10-20 minutes to work out, this DVD fits really well into my schedule. I do have several other yoga DVDs I really like, but sometimes I don't have enough time to do the whole workout, so now, rather than skipping a workout that day, I can just pull out this one and play a session or two. I've found myself getting a workout in a lot more often lately, which was my goal in purchasing this DVD - and I'm really enjoying it!

Whether you're pressed for time, like me, or you just want to add another good yoga DVD to your rotation, this is a great one to grab - and you can find it for less than $10 on

This & Other 10-Minute Solution Workouts:
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Three Steps of A Yoga Session

The benefits of yoga are well know to anyone who has ever tried the discipline, but if you are new to yoga let me recap.  Yoga is a fantastically popular and effective way of strengthening you physically as well as mentally and spiritually.  This last 'spiritual' aspect may turn some people off, but it's not something that needs to be associated with religion.  Really the best alternate word for the spiritual strength of yoga is contentment or happiness.  It allows you to be a calmer person and more happy with yourself.  Put like that it sounds pretty great doesn't it?

So you've probably heard a little about yoga and wondered what it's all about.  You probably have a few preconceptions and maybe an image of an old man with a long beard sitting in the lotus position springs into your head in automatic association with the word.  While old men (and women) certainly can benefit from a regular yoga practice, there's a lot more to it than that! So let's go through step by step what you can expect in a typical yoga session.

Step One:  The
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria d...
Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice (1485-90) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Introduction and Preparation.

Most Yoga classes begin in a standing position.  There are both mental and physical reasons for this and they are closely connected.  The standing position is the most natural Human position there is.  Leonardo Da Vinci produced a famous scientific picture of the symmetry of the human body when it is in it's natural standing position.  The outstretched arms and legs can have a perfect circle drawn around them and this is true of everyone regardless of their height or weight.  What this means is that a standing pose comes naturally to us - we are not worried about getting it wrong and we can concentrate of the state of the body.  Breathing exercises will be a key part of the warm up stage for your routine.  This is the only time in your life you will be 'taught' to breath and it's a skill which allows people to restore calm to their bodies and thoughts.

Step Two:  The Main Routine

This is the heart of your Yoga session which will vary the greatest depending on what forms of Yoga you are learning.  While the individual exercises you will be doing are going to be quite different, the nature of them will be very similar.  This will mean moving into certain poses and positions and holding those poses to allow the body to stretch out muscles and muscle groups that in many cases haven't been given much attention during the week.  Some yoga teachers will talk to you about energy points or chakras.  These are important junctions in your body where congestion occurs and stretching them out allows energy to flow freely around your body.

English: Siddhasana, Yoga Asana, adept's or pe...
Siddhasana, Yoga Asana, adept's or perfect pose. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Step Three:  Ending the Session

While the main session is about releasing pent up energies, this stage of your yoga workout is all about allowing that energy to flow around your body.  Many people have trouble with thinking about some strange mystic force that is flowing through you and driving it to certain parts of your body.  If you are one of them just mentally substitute the word 'energy' with the word 'blood'.  We know that the job of blood is to carry nutrients and oxygen around our body, and we know that if any part of our body is lacking in this supply that we will become ill, so it's not a huge stretch to think of blood as the mystic energy force that brings health around our body, and exercises such as yoga as being the method of ensuring the smooth and successful flow of that blood.

There are many different branches of yoga, but most yoga workouts will consist of these three steps. The poses and style of what is contained in these steps may vary, but all of them provide great benefits for your whole body. Check back later this week for some examples and a fun yoga workout!

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

4 Tips For A Good Run

Let’s face it; some runs are better than others. Often, the key to a good run is a good attitude and the right equipment. The good attitude is up to you. One way to ensure you have a good mental running attitude is to relax. Remember why you are running and focus on enjoying the experience. Every run doesn’t need to have a purpose.

To make the most of it, here are a few tips to help you make sure you’re ready for your run:

1. Weather Conditions

Is it sunny out? Wear sunscreen. Sunglasses and/or a sun visor are helpful too. If it’s cold out, make sure you have a hat and gloves. A jacket and tights aren’t always necessary. However, if you get chilled easily, consider taking along a light jacket.

Is it raining? Consider bringing a pair of dry socks. Wet socks can cause blisters. If you need to stop and change your socks, a dry pair in your pocket is nice.

2. Personal Comfort

An example of an ankle sock
Running socks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sweat dripping into your eyes is distracting, painful, and easily prevented. Wear a hat with an absorbent rim; they make baseball hats and visors for runners with an absorbent band. Sunglasses that slide down your nose are uncomfortable too. A hat can keep the sun out of your eyes.

Find socks that don’t cause blisters. Every runner has their favorite brand or material. Thin wool running socks are great for wicking away moisture.

3. Gear and Gadgets

Many people enjoy running to music. If you carry an MP3 player make sure it is charged and positioned comfortably on your body. If you run with a water bottle make sure it suits your running style. Hand held bottles can get sweaty and your hand can cramp. Waist holders can restrict your digestion and breathing.

4. Safety

Make sure someone knows where you’re going and how long you’ll be gone. Additionally, make sure you have emergency contact information with you. A Road ID or other identification works well. If you’re running in the dark or at dawn or dusk, make sure you have reflective clothing on and are running in a low traffic area.

If you’re running on trails or by yourself consider taking a small pepper spray or mace with you. You never know when you’ll need it.

When you return from each run, jot the information down in your running journal. Track mileage and pace as well as any issues you had with gear or fitness. Tracking this information can help you continue to have successful runs.
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Choosing the Right Running Shoes

The right shoes can make the difference between running joy and running pain. Your feet bear the brunt of the impact when you run. The right shoes help ensure your foot hits or strikes the ground in the most optimal way. If your foot rolls to the inside or outside then you may feel stress in your shins, ankles, knees, hips and even your back and neck. Keep an eye out for these issues to make sure you choose the right shoes for your feet and gait.

English: Grown male right foot (angle 1)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are You Over Or Underpronating?

When you run, there are three things that commonly happen when your foot hits the ground. It may hit directly on track. It may roll to the outside, also called overpronating. Or it may roll to the inside, also called underpronating.

It’s important to know how your foot strikes the ground when you run. This information will help you choose the right shoes. There are a few ways you can tell.

1. Look at the bottom of your running shoes. Where are your running shoes most worn? Are they thinning on the outside or inside of the shoe? If so, then your foot may be rolling in that direction when you run.

2. Take the wet foot test. Wet your bare foot and stand on a piece of paper. Look at the shape of your foot. Flat feet tend to overpronate. High arches tend to underpronate.

3. Get a gait analysis. Many specialty running shoe stores offer what’s called a gait analysis or a running analysis. They videotape your feet as you run on a treadmill for a minute or two. They then look at your foot strike and running motion and can make instant recommendations about the best shoes for your mechanics. This is often the best way to find the right shoe right away and may eliminate the trial and error shoe buying process, which can get expensive.

Three Types of Shoes
There are essentially three different types of running shoes (we’re not talking about minimalist or barefoot shoes in this article - we'll cover those in a future post). They include:

* Cushioning
* Stability
* Motion Control

Generally, certain foot types and foot striking motions will fall into a specific shoe type. Let’s start with Motion Control

Motion Control shoes are rigid and prevent a person’s foot from rolling around. These shoes are generally recommended for people with low arches, flat feet, or overpronation.

A pair of ASICS stability running shoes, model...
A pair of ASICS stability running shoes, model GEL-Kinsei (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Stability shoes have some motion control elements and some cushioning elements. They’re generally lighter shoes and are designed to support a person’s existing running motion without altering it. They’re generally recommended for people with normal arches and an even foot strike.

Cushioning shoes as you might suspect offer an abundance of cushioning. They’re recommended for people with high arches in their feet. If you have a high arch then you’re likely running a bit on the outside of your foot. This impact can cause problems up your leg. The extra cushioning in this type of shoe can reduce or eliminate those problems.

Finding the right shoes makes a big difference in your running success. They can help you run further and faster without the pain. Take the time to shop around. You’ll be glad you did.

Examples of the 3 Types of Running Shoes:
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