Wednesday, 15 January 2014 01:07

February is American Heart Month

Tip of the Week

February: National Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month. While heart problems have always been associated with men’s health, cardiovascular disease is actually the number #1 killer of women age 18 and above. Women have a responsibility to take care of their heart health and make lifestyle decisions that can help them reduce their risk for heart disease. Many initiatives have blossomed throughout the month of February to raise awareness and provide information to improve women’s heart health. To learn more about such initiatives just visit:  HeartTruth.gov

Fitness funIf you are not already physically active starting a new exercise program can be intimidating. In truth you don’t have to become an ironman competitor or an ultra-runner to keep your ticker in shape.  Walking your 10,000 steps daily can help you save your life. Choose what you love to do, challenge yourself gradually and try one new exercise, class or fitness DVD once a month. Mix it up and have fun with it.

Fitness fun  2With a busy work schedule, family obligations, and intense weekend activities, it can be challenging to get the recommended amount of physical activity. Every woman should reach the daily goal of 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, combining both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. With a renewed sense of commitment, a few adjustments to your schedule and a little bit of creativity, let’s see how it can be possible to reach such healthy goals:

Do not try to do it all at once: short bouts work just as well. Scientific research shows that moderate-intensity physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day in 10-minute intervals, and it can be just as effective as exercising for 30 minutes uninterrupted. 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and ten minutes in the evening will get the job done. You can also increase the segments to 15-20 minutes, whenever your busy schedule will allow it, and reach a new goal. Small exercise segments are ALWAYS better than no exercise at all!

Be creative! Alternate moderate- and high-intensity physical activity to meet your daily fitness goals. For instance, you can speed-walk for 30 minutes twice per week and jog or run at a faster pace on two other days, one day you can bike, one day you can jump-rope, and one day you can enjoy a relaxing swim. You can also have a mixed session of 5 minutes walk, 5 minutes jog, and a 100 yard sprint at a higher intensity, add 10 push-ups and 20 sit-ups, then repeat each segment again 3 times. Time will go by faster, it will feel like you are playing a game, and it will do wonders to your body!

Daily fitness-time. Set aside specific days and times for exercise, and just make it as much a regular part of your daily schedule as everything else you do. Whether it is easier for you to work-out early in the morning before everyone else wakes up, or right after the kids go to bed, or during your lunch break, just carve out your own special time to take care of your heart: think of it as of the most important thing you do for yourself during the day!

Fitness fun  3You do not need a gym membership! In order to get your daily dose of side-effect-free, mood-enhancing, overall-just-good-for-you physical activity you do not need to join an expensive gym, wear sophisticated sport attire, or waste time and gas commuting to an indoor facility. A pair of athletic shoes, comfortable clothes, a little motivation, a park, a quiet road, a set of stairs, or your living room is all you need to be more active. Keep it simple!   Check out our articles on great routines you can do at home or at the park.

The power of walkingGood for the heartThe family that works out together... Recruit friends, family, and children in your mission to health. Think of it as showing them how much you love them by motivating them to be active and healthy. It will be a great group activity and a lot of fun too!!! Volleyball games, backyard baseball, tackle football, strolling down the beach, family tug-of-war, bike rides, hopscotch tournament…your imagination is the limit. Recruit, recruit, recruit!  It is a great way to encourage your kids to be physically active and get them committed early to a healthy lifestyle.

Remember also to cultivate healthy, loving, genuine, supportive and inspiring human relationships…they are so good for your heart!

Published in Tip of the Week
Tuesday, 06 July 2010 23:03

It's Soccer TIme...

It's Soccer Time!Tip of the Week

From June 11 through July 11, the world's eyes have been fixed on the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the most important international soccer tournament, taking place in South Africa.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is the final competitive tournament of a qualification process that began in August 2007 and involved 204 of the 208 FIFA national teams. As such, it matches the 2008 Summer Olympics as the sports event with the most competing nations.

Whether you are a soccer fan yourself, or whether you are married to one, or whether your kids are involved in youth soccer, chances are that between June 11 and July 11, 2010 you will be exposed to a whole lot of soccer!

Let’s just make your July workout more fun and in tune with the sport of soccer, and let’s celebrate one of the most exciting and most widely played sports in the world.

Soccer Conditioning Strength Circuit:

It covers all the important elements of fitness: strength, power, speed & agility, endurance, but designed specifically with soccer in mind.

Jumping JacksStart by warming up: 5minutes of jogging in place, high knees, heel-flicks back or jumping.  Then repeat the following circuit 3 times:

  • 20 Push ups
  • 30 Squats
  • 30 Lateral raises (using dumbbells/resistance bands)
  • 50 Abs Crunches
  • 30 Jumping jacks: is performed by jumping to a position with the legs spread wide and the hands touching overhead and then returning to a position with the feet together and the arms at the sides.
  • 30 Triceps Dips on a chair
  • 20 Burpees/up-downs: Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you. Kick your feet back to a pushup position. Immediately return your feet to the squat position. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position. Repeat, moving at a fast pace.Burpees

Note: Please refer to my previous articles (below) for exercise description for triceps-dips, push-ups, squats, lateral raises, and abs crunches.

Running

Rather than running at a continuous pace, let’s make it much more soccer specific. Soccer conditioning should involve running, jogging and sprinting in no specific order, like in the real game.

Run for 20-30 minutes at varying paces. The idea is to keep it as random as possible. For example start by jogging lightly for 5 minutes (to recover from the strength circuit you just completed).

Then sprint for 20yards--Then slow jog for 100yards--Cruise for 200yards--Run backwards for 20 yards--Turn and sprint for 30yards--Walk for 50yards--Jog for 300yards--And keep alternating your pace for 20-30 minutes.

Use your perceived level of exhaustion (fatigue) to determine when to sprint or when you need to jog or walk. So, on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being a walk in the park, 10 being an all-out, heart-pounding effort) try to keep your running session at about a level 7 throughout. However, if you need to jog most of the way that's absolutely fine as well. Build your endurance up over a period of weeks to more intense sessions as you become fitter.

Stretching

At the end of your training session, stretch your hamstrings, groins, quads, calves and lower back. Hold each stretch for about 20-30 seconds without bouncing.

After all this hard work…you may not be able to play in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa yet…but your arms, legs, butt and abs will definitely be world class…!

Published in Tip of the Week

Squat ExerciseTip of the Week

Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle. Just like osteoporosis and arthritis, sarcopenia is a serious degenerative condition that increases one’s risks for falls and makes one more vulnerable to injury. Also, metabolic effects result when muscle—the body’s most metabolically active 
tissue---diminishes.

Metabolism is altered when there is less muscle, and many other consequences result, such as obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and changes in the ability to regulate body temperature. In addition, since muscular contractions help keep bones strong, muscle loss can also weaken bones. Sarcopenia generally starts to set in around age 45, when muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of about 1 percent per year.

As muscle mass begins to decline, so does muscle strength and physically inactive adults will see a faster and greater loss of muscle mass than physically active adults. Women, face a greater risk than men, because women have less muscle than men, and those who have less muscle to begin with, generally have a greater loss.

Nutrition can also be a factor in the development of sarcopenia if one is not consuming adequate energy intake. Along with proper nutrition, a powerful intervention in the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia is resistance training (weight-lifting or strength training). Resistance training, when the intensity is high enough, works to build muscle by forcing the body to heal the damage to muscle cells that occur with use.

If you would only do one strength training exercise, do the Squat. No exercise works your body as one unit like squats.

Squat exercise

Squat exerciseStand up tall with feet shoulder width apart, toes turned out at about 30 degrees and make sure that your kneecap is aligned with your first two toes. Chest is up to prevent rounding of your back.

Look forward at eye level. Hold a bar (it could be a weighted bar or just a broomstick) behind your back on the muscles of your back shoulders below the bone at the top of your shoulder-blades. Bend through your knees with the bar on your back until your hips come slightly lower than parallel. That is until your hip joint comes slightly lower than your knee joint when looking from the side. Keep your hips back as when sitting on something low like your toilet.

Keep your weight on your heels and curl your toes up if needed. Never get on your toes. Push from your heels. Always make sure that your knees do not bend forward going over your toes. Never allow your knees to buckle in. Push your knees out. Pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes, come back up to the beginning position.

That is a complete Squat. Squats, like many other resistance training exercises will help you keep your muscle mass and  your muscular strength, and will carry you with energy and good health throughout your whole life.

Published in Tip of the Week
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 21:34

A Strong, Sculpted Upper Body

Exercise Tip: Upper Body StrengthTip of the Week

Entering the warmer season we would all love to bare our beautiful, strong shoulders and trimmed arms. Make this upper body routine part of your daily lifestyle and in a few weeks of consistent work…you’ll see results!

Arnold pressOverhead Press for your shoulders

Equipment needed: two 2lbs dumbbells—increase the weight as you get stronger.

Overhead pressYou can begin in a seated position on a chair or a ball, or by standing up with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold the weights in your hands, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and the weights next to your shoulders.  Straighten your elbows and push the weights above your head, palms facing forward. Do not lock your elbows. Lower your arms to the beginning position. Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions each.

Kickbacks for tricepsKickbacks for your triceps (the back of your arms)

Equipment needed: two 2lbs dumbbells—increase the weight as you get stronger.

Kickbacks for tricepsBegin by bending your torso forward until you're at 90 degrees with your legs or parallel to the floor, elbows are bent, next to your ribcage and slightly higher than your torso. Straighten your arms by contracting your triceps, bringing the weights up slightly above your hips. Keep your abs tight pushing your belly button towards your spine, making sure to keep your back flat throughout the exercise. Your neck is neutral and you are facing down looking at the floor. Bend your arms at the elbow back to the beginning position. Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions each.

Dips for tricepsDips for your triceps (the back of your arms)

Equipment needed: a step or a chair

Begin by sitting on a step or a chair with your hands right next to your thighs. Carefully, balance on your hands, while moving your hips away from the chair. Keep your legs straight (intermediate to advanced) or slightly bent (beginners). By bending your elbows lower your body a few inches, keeping your shoulders down and your elbows parallel to one another and at 90 degrees angle. Push yourself back up to starting position. Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions each.

Published in Tip of the Week
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 23:24

Arms and Legs of a Ballerina

Exercise Tip: Arms and Legs of a BallerinaPlie Squat with Biceps Curl

This exercise will tone both lower body and upper body muscle groups and, together with a healthy nutrition and consistent exercise, will give your arms and legs a strong and sculpted sexy look...it will also save you time, because you are working upper body and lower body simultaneously.

Targeted muscles: Core (abdominal muscles), Quadriceps (thighs), Hamstrings, Outer and Inner Thighs, Lower Back, Biceps

Equipment: two 2lbs dumbbells

Exercise:

  • Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward, feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and toes pointed outwards. Keeping your elbows tucked into rib cage, lift both your hands at the same time and curl weights toward your shoulders.
  • At the same time, bend your knees at 90 degrees, or as far as you can without losing your balance or compromising form. Hold your abdominal muscles tight, thinking of pushing your belly button inward towards your spine. Please, make sure that your knees never bend over your toes, and always align your knee-cap with the first two toes of each corresponding foot. Keep your pelvis tucked under and your back slightly arched.
  • Straighten your legs while squeezing your glutes. At the same time, lower your weights back to the starting position.

If you are a beginner do 3 sets of 20 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds between sets.

If you are more advanced do 3 sets of 35 repetitions. Rest 20 seconds between set.

Published in Tip of the Week
Monday, 15 March 2010 17:58

Exercise Tip: Cardio Is A Must

The Importance of Consistent Cardiovascular Exercise

The importance of consistent cardiovascular exerciseGetting lean, strong and losing weight are all beneficial effects of a consistent cardiovascular workout program. You should do 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks before you start to see the physical benefits of your diet and exercise program. However, you will see almost immediate results in your energy level and overall mental alertness when exercising daily.

Please, start off gradually if you have not trained with much intensity in the past several years. A good way to get started is to walk or run following a six weeks program similar to the one listed below:

Week #1 - Walk/run - 1 mile a day for 5 days a week
Week #2
- Walk/run - 2 miles a day for 5 days a week
Week #3 - Non-impact week - bike or swim for 20-30 minutes a day
Week #4 - Walk/run - 2 miles a day for 5 days a week
Week #5 - Walk/run - 3 miles a day for 4-5 days a week
Week #6 - Walk/run - 4 miles a day for 4-5 days a week

To prevent back soreness and injuries,
please do 3 sets of 30 repetitions of your favorite core strengthening exercise daily. You can also try the following;

Plank Exercise: Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor. Push off the floor, raising up onto your toes and resting on your elbows. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3 repetitions

Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to keep your torso in balance. Try the following exercise to strengthen your lower back:

Lower Back Exercise: Lie on your stomach with your arms extended over your head. Lift your right arm and your left leg off the ground at the same time and repeat for 20 of repetitions. Switch arms/legs and repeat the exercise for 20 repetitions on the other side. Alternating sides, repeat for 3 complete sets.

Lower Back Exercise – Flutter kicks: Lie on your stomach, arms stretched out in front of you, head looking down, neck in a straight, natural position in alignment with your spine, lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter-kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle. Keep kicking for 30 seconds without stopping. Repeat the exercise for 3 sets of 30 seconds each.

Always finish with a good Stretch

Quadriceps Stretch: The quadriceps is the muscle in the front of the thigh, important for lifting your knees and increasing your speed. To do this exercise while standing, simply hold onto a chair with one hand and use the opposite hand to grasp the leg around your ankle, lifting your foot toward your buttocks. Keep your back straight and keep the bent knee, pointing downwards, right next to the knee of the standing leg. Do not slouch forward. Hold for 20 seconds and switch leg. Repeat 3 times.

 

Published in Tip of the Week