Aerobic Workout Music – Do Not Get Stuck in Boredom, Pump Up Your Emotions and Your Heart

 Exercises, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Aerobic Workout Music – Do Not Get Stuck in Boredom, Pump Up Your Emotions and Your Heart
May 252010
 

Aerobic workout music is a crucial part of your workout time. Doing an aerobic workout in silence or with the wrong music drags you down. Instead of being an invigorating, challenging, fun time of the day, it becomes a time to be dreaded.

Music is the part of our workout which brings our mind and soul along for the workout. It helps us focus on tempo, and helps keep our body moving. Have you purchased aerobic workout songs, or compiled your own special playlist of songs? Have you actually planned out the music to go along with the goals of your workout. This is one of the special talents of the finest aerobic teachers.

At the beginning of your aerobic workout you need a time of gradually climbing. You need to start off slow to give your body time to warm up, your joints to get loosened, and your heart to expect what is coming. This is the time for medium tempo songs and workout music. It helps you get started without pushing you over the limits on a cold body. Once your body starts to warm up, and the first traces of perspiration start, it is time to take the workout up a notch. Your music needs to move up in tempo and intensity along with your workout. This helps you to pickup your pace without even really thinking about it. Your body flows with the music.

The hard beating, fast tempo music will have you moving quickly and with power to match the songs. If you like to push extremely hard for a few minutes, then cycle through levels of intensity, you need your aerobic workout music to follow your plan. Then instead of watching a clock to time your segments of exercise you just move with the tempo and intensity of the music. This is one of the key reasons buying CD’s filled with aerobic music is a great idea. They are already laid out with a workout plan in mind and help to drive your workout in the proper direction.

Never forget the importance of the end of your workout. You need to plan a gradual decrease in your intensity to bring your body back down to normal. The cool down period should be planned in your aerobic workout music, too. Step down from your intense music into a medium intensity song, and then take one more step into a slow tempo song. This allows you follow the music through two steps of cool down. During the slowest tempo you can be closing out the workout with a series of great cool down stretches as you prepare to hit the shower. Your emotions, mind, and body are all satisfied with the high quality workout they just completed. Music is not just a nice addition to your workout, but can be the engine which drives it. Plan your workout and music together for the best workouts.

Aerobics Workout – Creating Greater Energy and Losing Weight Can Be Easy

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May 252010
 

If you want to lose weight, create more energy, and have the highest levels of fitness possible, you must use an aerobics workout. Aerobics is the only kind of exercise guaranteed to burn off the calories and the fat.

An aerobics workout is not necessarily what you would expect. You may have visions of a room full of women dancing. This is a form of aerobics exercise but is only one single kind. Let us define aerobics so you can get a more complete picture. Aerobics exercise is any form of exercise which increases your need for oxygen. Running, swimming, and even fast walking are all forms of aerobics exercise. A structured aerobics class or workout can take many forms, also.

If you walk into a local gym you may see many different types of classes being advertised. It could be a Jazz Exercise Class, Water Aerobics, Circuit Training with weights, or a class like Tae Bo. Any of these kinds of Aerobics workout can increase your overall health, improve your strength, and fitness. The best way to choose a class is to watch a few of the different styles of classes. Most gyms and exercise centers will allow you to audit a class, or even take a free lesson or two. Take advantage of these offers to discover what class is a good match for you.

Make sure when you go to your first aerobics workout to dress in comfortable, easy to breathe clothes. One of the big side effects of aerobics exercise is sweat. Learn to embrace perspiration as a good thing. It is one of the finest indicators you are improving your health. The other indicator of your aerobic exercise is working is your increased rate of breathing. You do not want to be gasping for air, but you do want to be pushing yourself hard enough that talking is a little difficult. This is one of the core components of aerobic exercise and improving your cardiovascular fitness. When you feel yourself breathing harder and your breathing becoming more difficult you will know your efforts are paying off.

One way to monitor your exercise intensity if by checking your pulse rate. You can do it either on your own by checking your pulse with your fingers, or with an electronic pulse meter. Your target pulse rate can be figured by taking 220 (The maximum heart speed.) minus your age, then multiplying by a factor of your level at training. An example, a healthy 35 year old man who is at an intermediate level of fitness would be 220 -35, which gives you a maximum heart rate of 185. An intermediate would then multiply by 75% resulting in a target heart rate of 139. You want to ideally try to have your heart rate near this target rate to get the highest level of fitness. A beginning exerciser would multiply by 65%, an advanced person by 85%.

During your aerobics workout monitor your intensity by either taking your pulse, or by using the talk test. If you can talk comfortably with some effort, then you are hitting the right target. If you cannot talk, you are going too hard. Talking easily shows you are working out too easily. When you learn to train properly you will discover aerobics training will make you leaner, stronger, and more fit faster than any other method.

May 252010
 

When you see an aerobics class full of men and women intensely working out you see them all dressed in aerobics wear. Do you know why they are paying such close attention to what they wear? It does not have to do with looking great, it has to do with having a superior workout.

What is the first outfit many exercisers place on their bodies? They grab some sweat pants and a t-shirt and head out to exercise. They head into an aerobics class and start working out intensely. Their body is suddenly trapped in clothes drenched in sweat, the clothes are becoming heavy. Their body cannot breathe. They may even start believing aerobics are not for them. Changing clothes can make a tremendous difference.

Those tight aerobics clothes are not worn to show off the bodies, they are worn because they allow the sweat to wick quickly away from the body. When the sweat gets out into the open air quickly it dries off the body and actually helps to cool the body. Aerobics wear is often made of blended materials to allow the clothes to stay tightly against your body while still having enough natural fibers to let the body breathe.

One additional item many exercisers like to add to their aerobics outfit is the loose fitting aerobics leggings. You probably think these leggings look a little odd loosely draped around the calf muscles until you experience your first cramp. The leggings help to get the calf muscles warmed up, and keep them warm throughout the workout. This helps to reduce the cramps you might experience not only during a workout. The increased circulation helps to remove the waste and toxins from your calf muscles so you do not experience those terrible night time cramps.

All of these articles of clothing are important but without a doubt the most critical piece of aerobics wear is your shoes. Whether it is a low-impact or high-impact aerobics workout you are going to be working your feet hard. They are going to take a beating. You want to have shoes which are comfortable, and give you proper support. This is one part of your aerobics outfit you must not cut corners on. Getting high quality shoes which are light, breathe well, and give you great support are going to protect your feet and make your workouts more enjoyable.

You may be starting to worry you are going to break the bank outfitting yourself for your aerobics classes. If you do a little comparison shopping you can buy entire outfits for very low cost. You can potentially have a couple great sets of aerobic wear and your shoes for under $100. As you learn how much you love your aerobics training you can start adding more outfits and possibly a second set of shoes. It is always nice to have two pairs of shoes to allow them an extra day of drying between workouts. With the right gear your workouts are going to be fabulous.

Aerobics for Kids – Kids Need Fun and Exercise, Get Them Started Now

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May 252010
 

Do you love an aerobics class? Whether you answered yes or no, your children will love aerobics. Aerobics for kids is filled with everything they love. It includes music, dancing, play, and other kids.

One of the biggest tragedies today is the overweight, unfit children we are raising. They are becoming fat due to sitting in front of the television watching their favorite shows and playing their video games. Their idea of activity is their fast flying fingers on their Nintendo, cell phone, or computer. If we do not start getting these children up and moving they are going to turn into fat, unhealthy adults.

The crazy thing about all of this, our kids love to play, dance, scream, and have fun. If you enrol them in an aerobics for kids class, or rent some great videos for them to share with other neighborhood kids they will have a lot of fun. Imagine a room full of kids their age, with a stereo blasting out music they love, and someone showing them fun ways to move. Your child will start moving with the other kids and having more fun than they have enjoyed in weeks.

Aerobics for kids does not only improve your child’s body and give them fun, it increases their confidence. They are learning coordination, dance moves, and cooperation with others. Their improved health combined with learning important life lessons will give them added confidence in school, going to school dances, and in athletics. It gives them a head start over other children who are not used to physical activities in a group setting.

Even though you child will enjoy an aerobics class do not expect them to go willingly on the first trip. Some children will think it is the greatest idea ever, and some will think you have lost your mind. It is your job as a parent to break their habit of playing with electronics and get them started. Once they have an opportunity to experience the fun of exercising with other children they will become addicted. It will become the times in their weekly schedule they look forward to. Instead of being stuck in the house, they will be out having fun with all of their new friends. Even shy quiet children make the transition well. They may not become outgoing over night, but the little smile you see on their face tells you how much they enjoy being around other kids.

A good instructor is one of the most critical elements in aerobics for kids. They need to know how to make the class fun for the children. Visit a couple different locations and watch the children in the class. If they cannot seem to wipe the smiles off their faces, you will know you found the right teacher. Your children will thank you for this new opportunity, if not today, in the future. This simple change in their life can change them from being a lifetime couch potato into a vibrant active child and adult.

Aerobics for Beginners – Getting the Proper Start is Critical

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May 252010
 

If you are just starting out in your workout plans it is very important to an aerobics for beginners class. Often people jump into a class just because it matches their schedule and they find themselves matched up with a class full of experienced aerobics exercisers. The class is moving fast, everyone appears to be able to keep up, except you. Even the people who are a little overweight are moving faster and easier than you. Your motivation starts to drop off. You become discouraged and feel defeated. This is one of the key reasons you need to start out in a beginners class.

Aerobics for beginners is going to move a little slower, and cover the basic movements for all of the new students. You are going to learn the terminology, and build your confidence instead of having it crushed. This slower start gives your body an opportunity to learn and adjust to this new form of exercise. Instead of feeling embarrassed making a mistake in class, you will laugh about it along with the other beginners. They are all making their share of mistakes, too.

As you start evaluating which class to join do not only look at the class for the word beginners. Make sure you check into the style of aerobics they will be training. Maybe your body needs a low impact workout because of aching joints. You might want to have a high impact workout to build greater strength and faster improvement in your body. One of the best ways to choose the proper class is to discuss your goals and your current fitness level with one of the aerobics teachers and ask for their advice. They will be happy to steer you to the right class. They may give their own class a little extra emphasis, but they will be honest with you if they know you are not ready for their training. They do not want their classes slowed down. They know the tempo and camaraderie in their classes are what makes them really click and become enjoyable for everyone.

Even in aerobics for beginners courses expect yourself to feel challenged. This is the goal of the trainers, whether in a class or on video, they want to push you to improve and to become healthier. It is exactly the reason you chose to undertake an exercise class in the first place.

Another great source for finding out about aerobic classes is from your friends who are already attending classes. Ask them which trainers were their favorites when they first started out. They may be excited about you joining their group, but will understand your desire to start with an aerobics for beginners group. They know you will quickly improve and be joining them in their fun and exiting aerobics classes. Their advice could help you get started on the right foot, instead of dropping out in just a couple weeks filled with frustration. Expect a challenge and enjoy your new class. It has the potential to change your life.

Aerobic Lesson – Choosing A Lesson To Match Your Personality

 Exercises, Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Aerobic Lesson – Choosing A Lesson To Match Your Personality
May 252010
 

There seems to be a million different kinds of aerobic lessons, plans, and techniques for you to choose from. You need to not only consider the health benefits of an aerobic lesson, but how well it is going to match your personality if you want the maximum level of success.

Consider a man who enjoys power, intense music, and building muscle. This guy is not going to enjoy an aerobic workout filled with feminine looking moves and pop music. He wants an aerobics class built around martial arts movements, punching, kicking, and which has some hard thumping rock music to engage his spirit. Getting noisy with grunts, shouts, and yells are going to be inspiring and drive him to a better workout. A ripped t-shirt, sweat shorts, and workout shoes are all that is required.

For some women this kind of aerobic lesson would drive them crazy. They love the more dance like movements, the dance music, and the synchronous look of the class working together. The exercise class is almost a fun time of dance and pleasure for her. The thought of yelling and grunting during a workout sounds disgusting. Dressing for the aerobics class is important. She wants to look just as stylish as all the other women in the class.

This separation in types of aerobic programs needed is not split on gender alone. There are many women who enjoy the same intense workout as the man in our first example. They are building a strong, powerful, but feminine body. They love the idea of learning moves which can help protect themselves in a crisis. Their heart and spirit is filled with Rock and Roll. They would go crazy in a feminine class. They love being around people who are intense, and having a room filled with testosterone drives them to workout intensely. They love being around men, and cannot imagine working out in a class filled with only women.

Of course, you find men who love to be in dance aerobics classes filled with women. They find working out with beautiful women inspiring, and it helps to push them harder. They are not worried about the pounding music, punching, and battle of the other guys.

Which kind of aerobic lesson is right for you? You know your personality and the kinds of music you love. Let those be guides to what classes you wish to try, but do not let it limit you. You may want to drop by a video rental store and grab an aerobic lesson showing other styles. You might discover another style energizes and inspires you. When you feel your spirit take a leap up, and your body start rocking to the tempo of a style, you have found your perfect aerobics style. Enrol in a class of that style and give it a real trial run. You may suddenly discover the dance aerobics you loved so much before are suddenly replaced with a love for a powerful and exciting new experience. Let your heart drive you decisions, and you will love aerobics.

May 242010
 

Quick, what are the two most popular abdominal muscle exercises? If you answered sit-ups and crunches you are correct. Now the more important question, are they the exercises you should be using?

Let us alleviate your fears to start off with. Those two exercises are on the list of critical abdominal muscle exercises. They target the abs extremely well without putting unnecessary stress on your other body parts. One of the critical factors in avoiding injury and putting stress on your back and other body parts is using proper form. You must keep your knees bent, and do not pull on the back of your head. Putting your hands behind your head is a normal position, but it needs to be a relaxed position, not a leverage point for your arms which could lead to neck strain.

The problem with these two exercises is they only focus on a small part of the abdomen. It may be the largest and most prominent muscle, the rectus abdominis, but it does not do much for your external obliques or your other abdominal muscles. These two exercises tend to focus their work on the upper abdominals and can be better balanced by adding leg pull-ins to your routine. (Bent leg – leg raises)

You will need to add additional abdominal muscle exercises to get the well balanced, powerful abs you really want. If you want the abs of a bodybuilder you are going to want to add gorilla crunches. Make sure you have a strong grip for this exercise. You hang from a bar, and attempt to bring your knees to your chin. Since we are needing to work on our external obliques, pull your knees upwards and to the side to focus the effort outward, alternate between sides. This exercise takes major effort, but gives high results in building powerful abs.

You can add a very similar movement to your leg pull-ins and crunches to work the outer portions of your abdominal muscles. Whenever you make the effort to pull to the side instead of a straight up and down flowing motion you engage additional abdominal muscles increasing the entire area.

Machine crunches and other machine assisted abdominal exercises are extremely effective at helping you isolate muscles further and to build a powerful abdominal area. Do not neglect the importance of losing fat during your exercise efforts. Unless you reduce your body fat those tremendous abdominal muscles will not be on display. They will be hidden behind a pillow.

When abdominal muscles exercises, great nutrition, and reducing your body fat are combined you are going to develop an abdomen everyone will be jealous of. Everyone on the beach will notice your finely developed body. More importantly, a powerful abdomen is the core of your power. It gives you the support to accomplish many amazing feats with transforming your body and becoming stronger. Without the powerful base, you will have difficulty in improving many other parts of your body. Get started today creating the abs you really want.

Warming Up Properly Before Stretching

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May 112010
 

When exercising, one needs to realize the importance of properly stretching before performing the exercises. Warming up holds numerous benefits for the exerciser – they raise your body’s overall heat, making you feel more prepared and better suited for the exercises, and they also severely reduce any risk of causing strains or tears, as it helps your muscles strengthen up before an exercise session. Also, let’s not forget that performing your exercises in a good, stretched condition ensures you peak performance as you’ll not only have a well-operating body, you’ll also have a better mindset and you’ll feel fresher.

Warming up should always start with the joints – rotate and twist them so that they start moving around without any noticeable halts or hitches. You need to free up your joints as much as possible before you proceed with the rest of the stretching. One of the most important points in a good stretch is a short period of heavy cardio exercising – for example, you can do 3-5 minutes of jogging, or cycling (if practical in your specific condition), as well as various other exercises such as the jump rope. This will help stimulate your blood circulation as best as possible.

You should try to put a good amount of attention on your spine, as it can be very susceptible to injury, but also a major point of strain when it comes to exercising. To ensure that your spine is stretched appropriately, lay down with your hands at about shoulder width, and begin pushing yourself upwards while exhaling slowly and contracting your buttock muscles. Your feet should not leave the ground at any point of the exercise!

If you have a bar handy, you can also do the Bar Twist, which involves placing the bar behind your shoulders while standing up, and then slowly twisting your body in both directions using the bar as support. The key to this exercise is to move slowly, but also firmly – don’t force your body into it and don’t push too hard, just take it easy until you feel your muscles properly stretching.

As some general tips for stretching, you should try to maintain at least 10-30 seconds of duration for each stretch – 30 is a bit high for the average person though, so try to keep yours somewhere in the middle of those two values. Also, each stretch should be repeated at least 2-3 times for maximum effect. To get the most of it, you also need to make sure that you’re stretching your muscles to a point where they’re actually under tension – however, there’s a very fine line between this and hurting yourself, so proceed very carefully – otherwise you risk actually hurting yourself in the process that should prevent it during your workout!

Of course, you should also target your stretch at whatever sport you’re practicing in particular. Footballers will want to put more pressure on the lower body, etc – make sure you’re giving enough attention to the muscle groups you’ll be using.

What are the Benefits of Stretching?

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May 112010
 

When it comes to training, there are some auxiliary techniques that can be used to improve your performance, which many people tend to overlook for one reason or another. Stretching, the simplest of these techniques, also seems to be the least utilized one, as many choose to leave it out of their workout sessions, deeming it unnecessary. But how true is this? Can you really train effectively without stretching, or should you put some proper effort into it as well?

The truth is, stretching can easily become your #1 side-contributor to performance. That is, if you do it properly, stretching can help you improve a lot. There have been various studies that prove this conclusively – scientists have compared groups of people who stretch while working out against people that don’t, and have found out that stretching does in fact contribute to one’s progress to a great extent – regardless of the sport you’re practicing; it can be applied in many different sports.

However, as conclusive as this evidence is, there are still some things that the bodybuilding communities are divided over – mainly when should one apply stretching. Some claim that the best time to do it is right before your workout, while according to others you should wait until after you’re done training, as your muscles will already have warmed up and will stretch more easily.

It turns out that both methods can be equally effective, it really depends on your own body type and preferences, as well as the sport you’re practicing. The best way to find out is to just try – go one week with stretching before working out, then one week stretching afterwards, and see which suits you better. There really isn’t a reliable way to tell which method will be more suitable for you, so the best thing to do is to just experiment – which is valid for many other elements of training and bodybuilding as well.

Stretching can also be very useful in dealing with injuries and post-injury trauma, as well as preventing injury in the first place. If you train after stretching properly, you’re much less likely to succumb to any injury during your workout – plus, if you take some time to stretch after your workout as well, you should feel more relaxed after your workout and your muscles won’t be so tense and sore – which will go a great length towards helping them build properly.

Of course, don’t rely on stretching as an absolute solution to your problems. It should only be used as a side tool, one that helps you do better in your main workout. Use it like that appropriately, and you should notice definite signs of improvement in your performance and abilities – and you should be able to get used to it quickly and incorporate it into your workout as best as you can.

May 112010
 

Flexibility is easily one of the most crucial aspects of any athlete’s physique – you can’t expect to perform well in your exercises, whatever they are, if your body lacks the fluidity of motion required to properly blend between some movements. Any sport you could be practicing can benefit greatly from an increase in your flexibility – and the best way to achieve that is by stretching properly before working out. It doesn’t take much to learn how to do it properly, and when you do, you’ll find out it makes a world of difference in your training performance.

There are some basic guidelines to follow when stretching – if you want to have maximum efficiency with it, you should do your best to stick to those “rules” and deviate from them as little as possible. First and most important, you need to properly warm up before starting to stretch. All of your muscles will become much more flexible and effective in training when they’re warmed up nicely, so you should take the time for a little warming up.

Also, never be harsh on yourself when stretching. Remember, the important thing here is to adjust your currently stiff muscles to conditions of strain and training, and if you want to achieve that, you’ll need to be gentle at first. You can easily risk actually injuring yourself while you’re stretching if you’re not careful – so going gradually and adjusting the strain little by little will be one of the best things you can do.

Stretching is vastly different from regular exercising when it comes to technique. Instead of rushing to perform each set quickly and move on to the next one, you should take your time and hold your body in a stretched position for a good amount of time at each repetition – your muscles need to remain stretched for at least several seconds to improve their condition before working out, otherwise your stretching will be more or less useless.

There are various techniques for performing the specific stretches themselves, such as dynamic stretching, ballistic stretching and isometric stretching. They all have their benefits and downsides, and it’s up to you to choose which ones you’ll incorporate into your routine. One piece of advice we can give you though, is to familiarize yourself with all of them as best as you can – you’ll never know just how efficient something is for you and your body type until you’ve actually given it a try – and don’t lead yourself by the progress of other people either, what works for someone else wouldn’t necessarily work for you as well.

That said, isometric stretching in particular has shown a great deal of success in many people, so if you want to try out something that is likely to work, start with this one. It involves using the resistance of your muscle groups with isometric contractions – though the specific technique of performing it goes a bit beyond what this article covers.

Good Stretches for Runners

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May 112010
 

If you’re planning on taking up running as a regular activity to improve your health – or if you already do – you should realize the importance of properly stretching before going out to run. Stretching your muscles has numerous benefits for them, mainly in that they can perform much more efficiently when you’re working out, allowing you to make better progress. Some runners tend to ignore the importance of this aspect of the practice though – what’s even worse, you can sometimes see it being ignored by people who’ve actually practiced for a good while – and that’s just wrong!

As a runner, your stretching routine can comprise of several parts, and it’s up to you what exercises you decide to include specifically. However, there are several ones which are popularly regarded as simply the best and most indispensable when it comes to stretching before running, so you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by making sure your routine includes at least some of them.

To stretch your quadriceps, which plays a great role in your running performance, lean against a wall on your hand and stand like that on one leg. Then, bend the other one backwards and begin pulling its heel towards your body, pulling it in as much as you can until the pain becomes unbearable. Repeat this several times. Another exercise that can contribute to stretching this area is performed by leaning your entire body onto one leg, and extending the other one backwards so that it bends severely.

You need to pay good attention to your calves as well, otherwise you’re going to notice exhaustion setting in a lot more quickly. The best calf stretches involve leaning against a wall and pushing forward with your hips so that sufficient pressure is applied to the calves. This can be done in two ways – by either bending your knee or keeping it straightened, but both should produce more or less equally good results; for the best results though, try to mix them up and repeat one after the other, which will have an ever greater effect on you.

Don’t forget the bum – it’s quite easy to stretch, you just need to pull your leg in the other way to stretch the muscles around your buttocks appropriately. This can be done more easily when you’re laying down, but there are also some exercises that allow you to do it standing up, so it’s really up to the circumstances under which you perform it.

Don’t forget that it’s often a good idea to stretch after running as well as before – your muscles will be able to relax much more easily after working out if they’re stretched, so if you provide them with that benefit, you’ll notice a greater improvement in your exercise gains – it may take some time, but you’ll definitely notice your stretching paying off sooner or later, so make sure you incorporate it into your workout as best as you can.

Lower Back Stretching Tips

 Exercises, Health  Comments Off on Lower Back Stretching Tips
May 112010
 

Stretching is one of the best remedies for accumulated tension in your muscles, and we all know how much tension tends to accumulate in the lower back area – this is what makes stretching it a common necessity for many people, both hobbyist bodybuilders as well as professional athletes. We’ve provided some simple tips for stretching your lower back below, which will hopefully make this a bit easier for you.

A chair can be very useful for stretching the back, and can be utilized in several ways. For your first stretching exercise, you can try the following: first, sit in a chair in a normal sitting position, your feet touching the ground. Then, using your left hand, hold on to the chair’s seat and slowly turn your body to the left, so that you’re looking backwards over the shoulder. You should hold yourself in this position for several seconds – it’s best to measure in breaths – then release it and face in the default direction. You should repeat this 3-5 times, switching sides so that you equally stretch both.

Another exercise you can do with a chair starts in the same position as above, only this time you’ll be lowering your upper body so that your chest eventually touches your thighs/knees. The ultimate goal is for your hands to be touching the ground – after you’ve reached this position, hold it for several seconds, just as described above. Release by raising yourself and repeat 3-5 times.

There are, of course, exercises for lower back stretching that don’t involve using a chair. For example, you can use the “cat stretch” – get on the ground on all fours (you can use your bed if you’re not comfortable on the ground), then begin raising your head slowly. In the same time, lower your middle torso (around the abdominal area) to the ground, which will curve your back into an arch. Keep going like this until you can no longer do it comfortably, and retain this position for a few seconds. Then, the second phase of the exercise involves stretching your back in the exact opposite direction – raise your spine up and lower your head in the same time, bringing your chin as close to your chest as possible.

To get the best out of the cat stretch, you should start doing it in the opposite directions repeatedly, increasing the pace and distance little by little with each repetition. You should feel a great sense of relief in the end.

Breathing is very important when stretching – remember to breathe in and breathe out as you’re performing the various parts of the stretching exercise, as this will properly supply oxygen to your muscles and help them relax and stretch properly. Proper breathing technique takes a lot of time to master on its own, but it will bring you a lot of benefit in your stretching exercises if you take some time to learn it.

What is Core Strength and How to Build It

 Exercises, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on What is Core Strength and How to Build It
May 112010
 

If you want to be a viable athlete, you need to learn how to develop your core strength properly. While you normally have various factors around your body’s health that determine your performance, core strength is alone one of the most important ones. Having well-developed core muscles is essential for your overall performance while training, as they’re responsible for transferring power between your lower and upper body.

Also, having a well-developed and strong core will help you prevent various injuries, mostly back-related ones – it’s very important for a good athlete to make sure this does not occur under any circumstances, and working on strengthening your core will help you reach that goal a lot more easily.

There are various exercises that can help you improve your core strength. Most of them are related to using a ball in a certain way, and you’d want to use either a fitness or a stability ball. You should pay special attention to giving a good hold on the repetitions when doing the exercises, as this is important for properly strengthening your muscles.

The body weight squats are perhaps the most commonly used – and one of the most efficient – exercises for improving core strength. It works by first placing the ball against a wall and leaning yourself on it. Your abdomen should tightened, and your body should be slightly tiled. You should then begin to slowly bend your knees until you’ve lowered yourself as much as you can – then hold that position for several seconds and lift yourself up. Repeat this for up to 10-15 times in several sets.

Remember though, as important as core strength itself is, maintaining proper core balance is just as crucial – you can’t expect to perform properly if you don’t have enough balance skill to complement your ability to transfer power from the lower to the upper body and vice versa. To achieve good balancing skill, you can use several types of exercises, again revolving around the use of a ball – only this time, you’d normally be lying down on the ground.

Yes, you can use the ball horizontally as well – place it on the ground and lay on it, with the ball being underneath your chest. From this position, you can either begin “walking” using your hands, until the ball has reached the area around your feet, or try to retain your balance while the ball is somewhere around your abdominal area (this is referred to as the “prone Superman”, as it tends to imitate him flying).

If you want to do something that doesn’t involve using a ball, you can go for the classic lunges, which can help you strengthen your gluteal muscles as well as the quadriceps ones. This will put you at a great advantage when it comes to core strength, and will allow you to perform the other core strength building exercises with an increased effectiveness.

Exercises to Improve Your Breathing

 Exercises, Health  Comments Off on Exercises to Improve Your Breathing
May 112010
 

Learning how to breathe properly is perhaps the biggest step you can take to improving your state of well-being – both physically and mentally. Your breathing technique can have a huge impact on your performance in anything – from sports to everyday life – so you should take some time to master it and even learn some advanced breathing techniques which will help you, again, improve your health.

Before you begin learning how to breathe properly though, you should first check how you’re doing it specifically – to do this, use your hands and place them on your torso while laying down, one hand on the chest and the other on the abdomen. If you’re breathing correctly, you should notice both hands moving up and down regularly as you’re inhaling and exhaling. In most people, it’s common that only the chest hand moves and the abdomen one remains mostly stationary – in this case, to improve your breathing you’ll need to learn how to use your abdomen.

There are many techniques that can help you breathe with your abdomen better, but we really shouldn’t go into detail on those in this article – they go more in the area of advanced breathing techniques, and that’s not what this is about. However, the most basic exercises you can do to improve your abdominal breathing involve, again, your hands – use them to monitor your breathing as you do it, and follow the movement of the hand on your abdomen. As you improve your ability to breathe with it, begin pushing down with your hand slightly – this will make it a bit more difficult to breathe, and you should increase the pressure as you become better with the exercise.

There’s also a technique that can be used to produce an instant rush of energy, while also actually strengthening some of the muscles used in breathing (such as those in your neck, abdomen and around the lungs). To do it, simply close your mouth and begin inhaling and exhaling through the nose very rapidly – you should do it in small “sets” of about 10-15 seconds, not more. It can be a bit hard getting the increased breathing speed right at first, but you should definitely be able to do it after a few tries. You’ll also notice that it gets easier as you progress, and you’ll feel tension in the areas that we mentioned above – that’s because you’re actually putting strain on the muscles there!

We did say that you should do it for 15 seconds maximum, and that point deserves to be repeated – this exercise, while very useful, can also be very dangerous to your health if you’re not careful. There’s a condition called “hyperventilation” which is induced by breathing too heavily, and it can have very serious consequences – so limit your durations accordingly to avoid harming yourself! Really, we can’t stress this enough – you need to use a lot of common sense when it comes to breathing techniques.

Training Yourself to Run Better

 Exercises  Comments Off on Training Yourself to Run Better
Apr 032010
 

Getting involved in jogging, and running as a whole, is a great choice if you’re looking to lose weight – the benefits of this type of sport have been recognized globally by many. However, as you get deeper and deeper into it, you’ll have to learn some things if you want to maintain your progress. Jogging may seem simple, and in the beginning it really is, but as you become more experienced you’ll have to accommodate for some changes in your body and mind.

Learning to breathe properly will probably benefit you the most out of anything you can do to improve your running. If you can, try to breathe through the nose at all times, as this will ensure a proper flow of air into your lungs, and will prevent them from getting overfilled in sudden bursts. Inhale and exhale through the nose as much as you can, and hold off breathing through the mouth for as long as possible, until you start running out of breath.

To prevent cramps and sudden pains in your abdominal area, make sure you stay well-hydrated. Drink plenty of water before going out to run – just don’t fill yourself entirely – and grab a bottle to drink during your running. Make sure the water isn’t too cold though, as cooling down your organs all of a sudden like that can be harmful to you.

Pay attention to your footwear as well – you can’t expect to be any good in jogging if you don’t equip yourself properly beforehand. You should get some proper running shoes, as the impact they’ll have on your performance will be great. Tie them nice and tight, but not too tight or you risk impairing the blood flow in your feet, which will cause you to get tired faster. Pick the proper soles for the road you’ll be running on – make sure they have a nice grip on the ground so that you don’t slip easily.

When running, you should keep your back straight up with your arms by your sides. Try to keep your forearms horizontal as much as possible, as this will help your balance and improve your air circulation as well. Posture is one of the most important aspects of jogging next to proper breathing, so control yours as best as possible to avoid any problems.

When you notice you’re getting tired, pick up the pace – that way you’ll have a better chance of expending your leftover energy before you completely run out of breath. If you can, go for a short burst of sprinting as well – it may be difficult in the beginning, but as you get better, it will become more and more easier, and you’ll probably even be able to sprint for longer periods of time as you move on. It’s all about the proper conditioning, and as you get more and more involved in jogging this will come more naturally to you.

Pilates – A Great Tool for Weight Loss

 Exercises, Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Pilates – A Great Tool for Weight Loss
Apr 032010
 

Pilates has been gaining steady popularity in the mainstream lately, and mane associate it with great and efficient weight loss. On the other hand, some tend to wonder just how effective it really is, and whether it can be truly useful as a means of losing weight. If you’re one of those who still haven’t decided if they want to try it out, read on to find the answer.

In its essence, Pilates is not designed for losing weight. It’s rather meant to help you achieve a better posture, balance in your body, as well as more control over your body through your mind. One of the core principles in Pilates is that your physical health is closely tied to your mental one, so maintaining a good balance of both is essential in achieving a good-looking body.

The exercises in Pilates normally aim at improving your control over your body, and mostly emphasize that control in some ways. The exercises were originally developed to help rehabilitating soldiers regain themselves better and faster, but has subsequently made its way into everyday life, aiding people in improving their well-being.

Breathing is also a major focus of Pilates, and by improving your ability to control your breath, you’ll improve the oxygen circulation in your blood, which will reflect on the general functionality of your organs, making them more efficient. Breathing control is actually a major part of many similar systems, as its importance has become widely acknowledged.

In order to be efficient in Pilates, you need to learn proper posture – and this alone will benefit you in weight loss a great deal. Posture is very important in all of the exercises you’ll be doing to lose weight, and standing up straight ensures you a much better performance in those exercises. Also, by getting a better control over your body, you’ll also be able to more efficiently go through the various exercises you’ll be up against, and reap their benefits much more heavily.

Will Pilates get you to lose weight all by itself though? Hardly. Even though it’s a good system for maintaining your body’s health overall, Pilates doesn’t have weight loss as its primary purpose, and thus shouldn’t be relied on 100% for this. If you want to see any progress in losing weight by using Pilates, you’ll also have to stick to a proper, balanced diet, perform other exercises and generally keep your daily calorie balance negative – something which Pilates cannot achieve alone.

Will it, on the other hand, help you in getting there faster? Definitely – Pilates has proven many times to be of utmost significance in most weight loss efforts, and a great tool in the arsenal of many people who’ve successfully rid themselves of their extra pounds. It’s just that, as we mentioned, you mustn’t get the wrong idea and think that it will solve your problems alone, as this is something impossible.

Jogging for Weight Loss – The Right Way to Go!

 Exercises, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Jogging for Weight Loss – The Right Way to Go!
Apr 032010
 

If you’ve decided to take up jogging as a means to lose weight, you’ve made a great choice. Few sports manage to have such a positive impact on your health, while being so simple to perform. Jogging is widely acknowledged as an irreplaceable part of any good weight loss routine, as it incorporates everything that is good about cardio exercises in one simple “package.”

The first step in getting your jogging routine going is to pick an appropriate location. This will be very important in the long run, as the many factors around this choice will have a huge impact on your performance. First, make sure you pick a place that’s reasonably far away from your home. Try to go for at least a 10-15 minute walk – this way your legs, and your body as a whole, will properly warm up and you won’t have to waste time warming up when you’ve arrived.

Scenery can also play a major role, in regards to location – running among grey concrete can be somewhat depressing, so try to pick a place closer to nature – if that’s not available, there should be at least some park close to you that can fit the bill. If you can run by a river, that’ll be even better, as the fresh air around it can stimulate you a lot.

If your goal is to lose as much weight as possible, you’ll have to strain yourself hard – there’s no two opinions about that, sadly. So, motivate yourself mentally, then get going! You’ll find that the lack of motivation is (in most cases) just an initial phase, and once you’ve gotten through that, it’s all a steady walk uphill from there as you progress and become more experienced and enduring.

The best part about jogging is getting feeling that you’re actually making progress – whereas you run out of breath at some point in the beginning, you’ll be passing it lightly after just a few weeks – and paying attention to those small details can make you feel a lot better, and help you push forward!

Always bring a bottle of water with you when jogging – especially when you’re dealing with weight loss. You’ll need to keep your body well-hydrated, otherwise you can expect to run out of energy a lot quicker than usual. Water is what makes your organs run, and the better you supply them with it, the better you’ll feel and your performance will increase accordingly.

Protein shakes can also be useful, though remember to take them appropriately long before the workout – otherwise there could be some unwanted results, such as feeling heavy in the stomach and being unable to run for long. It takes a bit more knowledge when it comes to such products, so you’d best consult your doctor, or, if you have one, your personal trainer – they’ll best know how to approach your problem and with what substances.

What Are the Benefits of Jogging?

 Exercises, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on What Are the Benefits of Jogging?
Apr 032010
 

Most are aware that jogging is one of the best sports/exercises to both lose weight and maintain a healthy body. But just how much does it benefit us exactly? Not many know precisely what happens to your body while you’re jogging, and knowing can sometimes make all the difference between simply being effective, and getting the most out of your workout.

For starters, jogging is a great cardiovascular exercise. This means that it stimulates the heart and blood vessels to a great extent, training them and increasing their capacity. For your heart, this will mean that it will increase its ability to pump blood, and this will in turn reflect on your overall health, benefiting most of your organs.

Your lung capacity will also be improved – you’ll notice that as time goes by and you train more and more, you’ll be able to go for much longer without having to stop to catch your breath. This, in turn, will help you improve your jogging as well – by being able to run longer, you’ll very easily burn a lot more fat in a single session.

But undoubtedly the biggest impact jogging has on your health is how it affects your metabolism. While you’re jogging, your body slowly picks up the pace at which most of your organs work – until it reaches a certain point at which your heart is racing, pumping blood strongly, and you notice you’re running out of breath. This indicates that you’ve entered the accelerated fat burning state of your metabolism – from then on, all it takes is to simply keep it up for a few minutes to reap the benefits of it on your weight.

Let’s not forget your leg muscles as well – when people are practicing bodybuilding, legs tend to be left ignored somewhat, as most concentrate on their upper body. If you want to have nicely developed legs, but don’t want to spend much time for it in the gym, jogging will be of huge help here as it will stimulate your leg muscles steadily and help you develop them over time.

You’ll also develop a good posture – standing up straight is very important for proper jogging technique, and with time, you’ll get adjusted to doing it subconsciously. This habit of standing up straight will eventually carry over to your everyday life, and you’ll notice you’re keeping a much nicer posture while walking down the street. This not only makes you look better, it also adds to your height a tiny bit and overall gives a good impression of your health!

Of course, jogging comes with its risks as well as benefits – if you’re not careful, you can get yourself in some health troubles. Try to avoid running when it’s cold – the cold air can quickly cool down your organs, which in turn will lead to some negative developments in your body. The last thing you want to be doing when trying to lose weight, is to lay around in bed all day – so do your best to avoid that.

Apr 032010
 

When setting off to lose weight, there are many options available to you to aid your efforts to some extent. Sure, some manage to cope all by themselves, but in many cases, getting the most external help you can is the best course of action. And surely, one of the most commonly used “shortcuts” is hiring a personal trainer. Considering how it can be quite costly though, people tend to wonder whether it’s worth it in the end.

The most obvious advantage to having a personal trainer is that you’ll get an exercise program that’s tailored specifically to your needs. Whereas by doing things yourself you’ll most likely have to use a pre-made program – which, while not bad in itself, will never be as effective as something designed for your own body’s needs.

A personal trainer will also ensure that you’re properly performing all of your exercises – you may not realize it, but you’re probably wasting a lot of energy performing some of your exercises in a wrong way. Having a trainer, you’ll know as soon as you start doing something wrong, and you’ll also learn much quicker. Us humans always tend to learn things much easier when we’re shown personally by someone.

Something else that gets overlooked when considering a personal trainer is the aspect of motivation – many people’s biggest pitfall is losing their will to go on. You’ll sooner or later reach a point where you no longer make solid progress, and it takes a lot of effort and dedication to keep pushing forward. In these situations, many tend to simply give up and tell themselves that they’ve done well enough already.

But having a trainer will ensure that this won’t happen – a good personal trainer will be very experienced in motivating you, and he/she will be able to set you in the right mood and mindset to go on. Often, it just takes the right kind of encouragement, and this is exactly what a trainer can offer you.

This goes for those “slacking off” moments as well – everyone’s had those days when you just wake up and tell yourself “meh, I can skip gym today, it’s not like one time will harm me in any way” – but you’re wrong in thinking that, as missing even one workout can put a solid spike in the wheels of your progress. Your trainer will be the one to explain this to you, and motivate you to get through the day’s portion of your workout.

Last but not least, a trainer can become a good friend too – there’s an old saying that sharing your joy doubles it, and when you’re sharing it with someone who knows exactly what you’ve been through to get there, that really lifts your mood and can have a huge positive impact on your state of mind. So even if you think you know it all and have a solid will – you can still benefit from a trainer! It can’t hurt to try, certainly.

Are Fitness Boot Camps Worth It?

 Exercises, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on Are Fitness Boot Camps Worth It?
Apr 032010
 

Working out is one thing, but then there’s the option of pushing yourself to your absolute extremes. Few ever decide to go there – for most people, training under normal circumstances is usually more than enough to maintain their health on a high level. But what if you need some extra challenge, something which will really help you develop your body – and your mind as well? The answer lies in fitness boot camps.

A fitness boot camp basically takes what constitutes a good, high-quality training, and ups the ante on all of its aspects. It’s normally performed outdoors, for example at an obstacle course. You’ll regularly even see ex-military personnel running fitness boot camps, and it’s not uncommon for them to be quite strict in giving you “tips” on how to progress.

Additionally, to increase the challenge even further, some fitness boot camps perform their exercises in harsh conditions, such as heavy rain and/or storm. On the other hand, you get to work alongside other people, and you can very easily socialize and make new friends. That’s actually one of the goals of a fitness boot camp – letting you pick your own pace while trying to fit into the team’s general goal.

You’ll normally have to train for about 4-6 weeks at most fitness boot camps, and the difficulty of the exercises may vary. Some companies go as far as to provide an authentic military experience, with instructors screaming loudly and pushing you to go harder.

One of the best things about fitness boot camps is that you get to go lots of cardio exercises there – that’s why they hold a reputation of being very useful for weight loss. Cardio can help you lose weight, as well as increase your overall body strength and ability, so performing it on a regular basis under extreme conditions can be very useful for your health, even if done for just short periods of time such as a few weeks.

So in the end, is it the right choice for you? It depends on what you want to achieve, really – if you need to get the most out of your weight loss in the least amount of time, then yes, a fitness boot camp can do you lots of good. On the other hand, if you simply want to get in shape but don’t want to dedicate all that time and effort to the process, perhaps you’d be better off looking at a gym with a personal trainer or something similar, as a boot camp may turn out to be too challenging for you.

It can never hurt to try though – you never know, you may find something you greatly enjoy in boot camps which will hold you and motivate you to go on! Many seem to get this effect from all the socializing they do at a boot camp, and it’s very likely that you’ll enjoy it as well – so why not give it a go?