Thursday, May 30, 2013

Video - Peak Fitness Workout "A"

This short workout demonstration shows how you can target each area of your body for a great workout in less than 10 minutes. If you don't have weights or a step bench, he gives you some good ideas for other common items around the house you can use instead. Work your arms, legs, back, abs, and everything else in just a few minutes, and work towards achieving peak fitness this summer!

Peak Fitness Workout A

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peak Fitness: Reaching Your Body’s Full Potential

Being fit may bring to mind the idea of bulging muscles, superman strength and a to-die-for athletic build. But fitness more importantly means the body’s resistance level and stamina for physical activities. And peak fitness is the point wherein your physical ability and faculties are functioning at optimum level. Peak fitness means achieving the fullest and the optimum potential of your strength and stamina in your activities - whatever they may be.

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
And contrary to what most people think - that peak fitness is only for the young - almost any middle-aged individual can still achieve peak fitness given the right circumstances and dedication. Achieving peak fitness does not only mean working on a good body build and having the energy and the muscles to do hard, manual, physical labor. It also means following good health habits designed not only to build and develop your muscles, but to sustain your body with the energy and other requirements needed for the performance of your tasks to your fullest potential. Here are some tips for reaching that potential:

1. Maintain a balanced intake of calories. Don’t stop eating calorie-rich food just because you’re trying to cut back on your calories and lose weight. Calories are used in the performance of simple, ordinary tasks, and are important for your body to maintain its energy metabolism. And be sure to eat plenty of fiber. It is important for good digestion and bowel movement. Fiber-rich food like wheatbread, unpolished rice, vegetables and fruits give you a feeling of fullness, which reduces the tendency to overeat. Of course, don’t forget your greens. Maintaining a daily vegetable and fruit intake provides you with the necessary vitamins and minerals to beef up your stamina and resistance to disease, ultimately leading to your body’s peak fitness.

English: A senior citizen while practicing his...
A senior citizen practicing his fitness exercise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
2. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Be mobile. Exercise and be active. Keeping your body used to physical activity and an active lifestyle develops the muscles and strengthens your body’s capacity to do certain tasks - as well as raising your resting metabolism. Sedentary individuals not only gain more flab in their middle, they are also more prone to injuries and illness. At least ten minutes of routine exercise everyday – from something as simple as taking the stairs to stretching and working on the treadmill can help your body maintain its peak fitness level. But of course, remember not to abuse your body. You need to have time to relax and let your muscles rest as well in between hard physical activity. Moderation is key - too much or too little of anything can be harmful.

3. Give yourself enough sleep. Sleep is important as it allows your body to rejuvenate, the tissues to heal, the brain and other organs to slow down in their function. A good night’s sleep spells more energy the next day, and a more enthusiastic, active YOU, and also reduces the risk of strain and injury. Enough sleep allows you and your body to function optimally, repair and renew itself, and perform to your fullest potential. It is the body’s means to recharge itself.

The easiest measure to check your peak fitness level is your body’s ability to respond to stress. More so, peak fitness is your body’s ability to respond to emergencies. A well-oiled machine should be able to function without the ‘clicks’ and ‘thuds’ - let alone without grinding to a halt. Our body should be able to do its work in much the same way. Regular exercise as part of a balanced lifestyle is the way to achieve this.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Aquasize For A Flatter Stomach This Summer

When the weather is warm, there is nothing quite like going for a refreshing swim at the local pool. To add to the benefits, you can use it as an opportunity to work on those stomach muscles. The water provides natural resistance, making the pool a great place to do stomach exercises to flatten out that tummy. Despite the greater resistance water has than air, aquasizing is low-impact, meaning less strain on joints. Try out these exercises next time you take a trip down to your pool. Remember, consult your doctor before beginning a new workout routine, and always warm up properly to prevent injury.

The first set of exercises to try is called the jump and dig. There are two moves in this set, one for the upper body and one for the lower body. The former is great for your obliques, and the latter works on your abdominals. To start, stand in water that is between your belly button and chest. To work the lower body (including your abdominals), put your feet a wide distance apart, then jump so your knees come up to the surface of the water and back down. Picture a frog as you do it; this will help you get the form right. Next, to work the upper body, begin by making a scoop with both hands at the surface of the water. Bring your hand scoop below the surface, then scoop up and to one side. Alternate sides to work the obliques on both sides. Start by doing the two moves separately for three minutes each. Once you have mastered the form, do them at the same time to exercise both sets of stomach muscles at once.

Aqua Aerobics Category:Water Aerobics Category...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As you build strength and endurance, you can add water gloves to increase resistance. You can also do the exercises faster, packing more reps into each three minute period. Form is key, though. Do not sacrifice form for the sake of speed. It is better to do it properly than quickly. Also remember to set fitness goals and work toward them at a gradual pace. Do not push yourself too hard, too fast. You may want to see results fast, but an injury will seriously delay your workout goals. Start small, know your limits, and build gradually.

As long as you are working on your midsection, here are a few additional tips.

First, proper diet is essential to any fitness routine. A great, hard workout can be completely negated by improper eating habits.

Second, stay hydrated both while working out and in everyday life. A good rule of thumb is to take your body weight in pounds, divide it by 2, and drink that number of ounces of water each day. This helps to keep the body functioning at it's highest level.

Third, rest up. This means not only getting plenty of sleep, but also getting the right kind of sleep. Spend all night sleeping on your stomach, and you will wake up with a sore back or neck, making it difficult to do your stomach exercises.

Also be sure to schedule off days into your routine to give your muscles a chance to rest up and rebuild. Now you have a great start on a toned, flat stomach to show off this summer!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fun Summer Workouts for the Whole Family

These days, after what seemed an endless winter, it finally feels like summer! Summertime is all about feeling the sun on your face and getting some fresh air. But, many people stay inside and miss out on what nature has to offer. Here are some fun ways that you and the family can get out there and get healthy.

Even better than enjoying a summer day is enjoying it with someone else. As parents we try to send the kids outside but may not go out ourselves. But the sun is good for everyone and you can have even more fun outdoors.

Getting Outdoors

English: Enjoying in Papuk riding bike
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Create a family activity day at least once a week. This is the time when all of the family spends time together sharing a fun activity outdoors. The name of the game is injecting some physical activity into your day.

Let everyone choose a fun activity that they like. Place them on a list. Each time you have an activity day, take one suggestion from the list. But, what activities can you do as a family that will be rewarding physically and mentally?

Here are some fun summer workouts to start with:

* Bicycling – If everyone doesn’t know how to ride a bike, this is the perfect time to learn. Bike riding builds up the leg muscles and also your cardiovascular fitness. You can ride and talk about your day. Go to the park and have a leisurely ride, enjoying the summer breezes and blossoms along the way.

* Basketball – All you need for this is a hoop and a ball. Have a family pick-up game after dinner or after work. You can divide into teams and play for points. Even better, play games to see who has to do the most chores that week!

* Hiking – Explore your local area with your family. Even though you are having fun and exploring, you are burning tons of calories on a hike. And, you get to learn about nature. Combine it with a camping trip for a fun weekend getaway the kids will love.

* Swimming – You don’t even have to have your own pool. If there is a neighborhood pool or one at the gym, use it. Doing laps is an easy way to gain muscle tone all over your body while you have fun. Take a water aerobics class as a family. There is no shock to your joints so it benefits both young and old alike.

* Backyard games – One of the often neglected parts of the house is the back yard. Act like a kid again. Play kickball, volleyball, soccer, flag football and many other games that will make you sweat and give you great memories to hold on to.

There are lots of activities that the family can do this summer to gain fitness and have some fun. Start with those above and add to the list with your own fun ideas!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Video - Couch Potato Quickie Workout

This short video demonstrates a number of exercises you can do while watching your favorite TV show. Incorporating both strength and cardio, this total body workout can be done during commercial breaks, or while watching the show. And you don't HAVE to stay on the couch the whole time -  you can certainly do regular jumping jacks for the length of one commercial (or a whole commercial break if you're gung-ho), but the versions shown here are all low-impact, which is easier if you have joint problems or are out of shape.

Keep in mind that if you have a softer couch, you may need to move to the floor for some of the exercises. Doing some of these without the proper support (for example the leg lifts) can be difficult or even cause injury, so be aware of this, and if you don't have as firm a couch as shown in the video, just scoot onto the floor to do these.

Have fun, and get fit!

Couch Potato Total-Body Quickie Workout w/ Laurel House
Don't just sit there watching TV... workout! Yes you can multitasking your favorite shows by moving your body, burning massive amounts of calories and gettin...

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Functional Fitness: A Workout For People Who Don't Want To Work Out

If you're one of those people who feels too busy to find the time to work out, functional fitness could be the answer. Functional fitness incorporates exercise into daily activities, strengthening muscles needed to perform common tasks, and helping prevent injury.

With time at a premium, many Americans are turning to creative forms of exercise. In a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the North American Spine Society, three out of four people said they used the stairs rather than the elevator at work, 58 percent said they started parking their cars far away in parking lots and almost half reported walking while on the phone.

English: A child watching TV.
Watching TV. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At the same time, however, 46 percent of people described themselves as couch potatoes--a major contributing factor to being overweight. Many adults say they have put off or skipped working out in order to do other activities, such as watching television, sleeping in, doing household chores or working.

Approximately three in four adults say they would exercise more if they could fit it into their daily routines, however, and a majority of adults say they would exercise more often if they could do it at home. Among non-couch potatoes, 80 percent would like to get more exercise, but say they don't have the time.

Meanwhile, more than 4 million Americans suffer disc problems. One out of four Americans over 30 will have recurring back pain, and one in 14 will seek medical care for back or neck pain this year, totaling almost 14 million visits per year. Back pain is the second most common reason that people visit a physician. Back and neck pain result in more lost workdays than any other condition. Due to absenteeism, medical and other related expenses, the cost of back injuries exceeds $80 billion each year in the United States. Exercise is one of the best ways to avoid back problems.

That's why it's important to find time to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. In addition to things such as climbing stairs and parking farther away, there are a number of fun ways to make your daily tasks or even leisure time into opportunities for exercise:

1. Feet Alphabet. This exercise can be done anywhere you are sitting, except while driving. It should not be hard to find a place. Simply write the alphabet in the air with each of your feet and ankles. You can do the letters in capitals or small letters and, for that matter, in any language you would like. Doing this two or three times daily on each ankle will begin to strengthen the ankle and maintain or improve motion. Strong ankles can help avoid or prevent many different types of pain and dysfunction - from shin splits to knee and hip problems.

2. Doing the Dishes Neck Circles. This exercise is easily done while doing the always fun task of washing the dishes. As you are standing there at the sink, slowly rotate your neck in a clockwise position, trying to extend the tip of your head out as far as possible. After three or four rotations, repeat the exercise in a counter-clockwise position. Remember, these rotations should be done slowly and in a pain-free range of motion. Besides increasing the flexibility of the neck, these exercises can pass the time of doing dishes.

3. Overhead Laundry Toss. Put the laundry basket directly in front of you and have the washer or dryer directly behind you. Grab a piece or two of dirty clothes, reach over your head slowly and drop the laundry into the washer. Again, start with dry clothes, then progress to wet clothes from the washer into the dryer.

4. Remote Wrist Lifts. This can be done on any Sunday afternoon watching multiple football games. Simply take the remote control (use the biggest one you have from the pile of remotes) and, while sitting watching your favorite team or movie and with your arm pointing toward the TV, aim the remote at the ceiling, moving your wrist only. Hold it there for 10 seconds, then aim it at the floor, again only moving the wrist. Repeat this three to four times during every commercial. Be careful not to accidentally change the channel when doing this exercise or it may irritate people who are watching TV with you! :-)

These are just a few ideas from "The Couch Potato Workout: 101 Exercises You Can Do At Home!" by Joel M. Press, M.D., president of the North American Spine Society and medical director of the Spine and Sports Institute at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "The Couch Potato Workout" describes numerous practical and functional exercises people can do to build strength, balance and flexibility as part of their normal daily routine.

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