Kickboxing Exercises – Put Some Real Kick In Your Workout

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Jun 212010

Most workout routines verge on complete boredom. Kickboxing exercises punch and kick the boredom out of your exercise time, and fill it with energy, excitement, and passion. If you have never tried kickboxing exercises you are in for a real treat.

Kickboxing exercises can be learned two easy ways. The first way is to buy a video and learn from the instructors while you train at home. This can be very effective, but is not ideal. The real fun in kickboxing comes when you have classmates and fellow adventurers in this fun way of training.

There is one reason you should consider grabbing a video or two even if you choose to train in a class. There will be days you are on the road, or cannot make it to the gym due to weather, children, or other events. By having a DVD you can throw into your laptop or DVD player you can still get a great workout. A second advantage is variety. You may some days enjoy seeing a little different routine than your instructors. Pop in the video and get the variety you crave.

Kickboxing aerobics is offered in many fitness centers and gyms. If you stop by a class and watch the current students you will see looks ranging from joy, to effort, to exhaustion. Kickboxing exercises are very intensive and will give you a complete workout including almost every muscle in your body.

Your training sessions whether in a class or on a video are almost certain to start with stretching exercises. You will want to follow the techniques taught here very carefully. You want to improve your range of motion and prepare your muscles for the work ahead.

The next portion of your kickboxing exercises is going to be getting in motion. Expect to start off slowly with a variety of punches and simple kicks to get your body heated up. Once you are warmed up the real fun will begin. Hopefully as you warmed up you paid attention to all the punches and kicks being taught because now you are going to start combining them into some fast paced movement.

Kickboxing exercises are designed to have you move quickly between different kicks and punches in combinations, repeating the moves several times before switching body sides, and then moving on to the next combination. The powerful kicking and punching will bring your heart rate and your breathing rate up quickly. Expect to feel sweat pouring off your body. This is a phenomenal workout.

Your body will increase in strength from your lower legs through your fingertips with these workouts. Expect a noisy room full of a shouting teacher, great fast music, and your own grunt, yells, and cheers. One thing you will discover, no kickboxing exercises are boring. They are fast moving, intensive, and a lot of fun. When you finish a session you feel like you have really accomplished something great. If you have not tried this form of exercise yet, you are really missing out. Give it a try, and see what all the noise is about.

Exercises To Increase Height – Can Exercise Make You Taller?

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Jun 212010

Your overall height is determined by many factors in life. One factor is genetics. Another factor is lifestyle. Exercises to increase to height can actually help in both areas. By exercising you can maximize your genetic potential, and reduce the height reducing factors of lifestyle.

Have you noticed how as people get older they seem to get shorter? It is not just your perception, they actually do get shorter. Gravity is pressing down on their body frame for years causing compression and shrinkage. You can battle this change, and actually make your body taller with proper stretching and extension exercises. Yoga and Pilates workout are great for stretching out your cartilage, ligaments, and your overall body to reduce the effects of gravity.

One exercise many people use to battle the effects of gravity is hanging. It sounds a little silly, but using gravity to reduce it’s own effects can really work. Hang from a chin-up bar for several minutes daily, or even better, a couple times daily can help to decompress the body, stretch out and straighten your spinal column, and make you taller. This is not an exercise which can be done a few times and then expect the benefits to stay with you. You need to make this part of a lifestyle change, and do it daily.

Pilates and Yoga have about the same effect. Using the poses, stretching, and balancing movements in both of these exercise styles can help stretch your body, and improve the strength of your core. Keeping your muscles lean, long, and flexible will help you stay at your tallest potential.

What about genetics? It has been shown repetitively in scientific studies exercise, especially resistance exercise, can increase the production of human growth hormone. HGH is one of the key ingredients in helping to maximize your genetic potential. This is more effective the younger you are. The highest benefits will come to teenagers and young adults. The older you are the less likely you are to spur a new growth cycle. Do not let this deter you from using resistance exercise when you are older. The added HGH will reduce the effect of aging including the normal shrinkage seen any many adults as they age.

Hearing this about HGH many people want to leap to the conclusion they should be adding human growth hormones artificially. This sounds great until you realize there are risky side effects by doing so. Giving your body proper nutrition and promoting the release of natural HGH is much more effective, and completely safe. Added height would be very useless if you lost your health. Exercise and do things the right way for the greatest benefits.

Exercises to increase height are not a myth. Stretching and extension exercises can help you maximize your existing height, reducing the effects of daily living. Resistance exercise can help produce higher amounts of HGH to fuel reaching your genetic potential. Use exercise to become your maximum height.

Jun 212010

Exercise is not just for people in their younger years, but may actually be even more important for our elderly. Exercises for the elderly can take many different forms depending on age, physical condition, and desire. We are going to discuss exercises for a reasonably healthy person.

Before starting any exercise program it is advisable you visit with your Doctor and discuss your plans. They may wish to make minor adjustments to your plans to make sure you avoid injuries, but expect them to be your biggest cheerleader. Doctors love to see their patients, including elder patients, exercise. They know exercise is one of best ways to increase health, improve mobility, and enjoy life.

Being a bit older mean you need to start by throwing away one very common exercise phrase. The idea of “No Pain, No Gain” is a great thought for young people who are trying to pack on muscle, but is a terrible mantra for anyone who is even a little older. If you feel excess pain, it probably means you did too much, or may have sustained a minor injury.

Enough warnings, let us get started with the fun. One of the most important kinds of exercises for the elderly is aerobic or cardio fitness exercises. The most popular is walking. Walking for 30 to 45 minutes per day can make major improvements in your life. You will get more oxygen, more blood circulation, improve balance, and it aids in maintaining bone strength. The best part of walking is it can be done indoors on a treadmill in bad weather, or enjoyed outside in the fresh air on nice days.

Another great exercise program for the elderly is water aerobics. This takes all the stress of gravity off of your body, and allows you to play in the water. You can get a great workout with zero impact, and increase circulation, improve cardio fitness, and have fun. You can find these classes at many fitness centers, and community recreation facilities.

Weight lifting is not just for young people. Doctors and fitness trainers both recommend the elderly lift light weights a couple times per week. It helps in strengthening muscles, improving balance, maintaining bone density, and again, can be great fun. Make sure you start with light weights and increase the weights very gradually. Never lift a weight which feels awkward to handle. You will be shocked at the overall improvements strength training can make to your lifestyle. Improved balance and strength can allow you to return to activities you loved in the past, and thought were gone forever.

The biggest factor in choosing exercises for the elderly is not creating limits. If you want to try a kick boxing aerobics class and your Doctor approves, then try it. You may need to move slower, take more time, and improve your condition slowly, but you will have great fun. Get out there and regain your strength and love of life with exercise.

Elliptical Exercise Machine – More Complete Exercise Than A Treadmill

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Jun 212010

Are you trying to choose what exercise equipment to get at home? An elliptical exercise machine should be towards the top of your list.

The big three in home exercise equipment today are the treadmill, the exercise bike, or the elliptical exercise machine. The treadmill is the most efficient machine for training someone planning on running on the road. If you are going to be going out jogging, running in races, or even doing a lot of hiking, a treadmill is probably your best choice. The treadmill gives you the simulation of running on the road even giving you a similar load bearing experience.

An exercise bike takes the load completely off your legs, but works the muscles of legs. Your workout is very one dimensional using only your legs for the pedaling action. Some exercise bikes do have options for upper body attachments, and some riders use punches or other upper body movements to give themselves a more complete workout. Since both of these options are not common, they should not be considered in choosing your piece of exercise equipment.

An elliptical exercise machine most commonly has handles for exercising your upper body along with your legs. You will not get the impact you do on a treadmill since the foot pads travel with your foot. Their movement simulates the same action as a runner running down the street, but is not identical due to not having the weight bearing impact.

Elliptical trainers are excellent for people with weak knees, back pain, or other joint issues. Since you are not taking the impact of running your joints stay healthier while you still get a very intensive aerobic workout. This allows an elliptical to be used by almost everyone in the family. Whether it is for a teenager in great shape, or grandma who has sore knees, an elliptical trainer can give them a great workout.

Which machine is mosts efficient at burning fat? The elliptical trainer and a treadmill come in almost even. The treadmill gets a little more fat burning compared to the exercise bike due to the weight bearing activity and higher impact. The elliptical trainer comes in even with the treadmill due to the added upper body involvement. From a standpoint of burning fat, the exercise bike is going to come in last on our choice of exercise equipment.

Choosing the right machine for yourself can be simplified a little. If you are not training to be doing outdoor running, or preparing for races, the elliptical exercise machine should be your preferred piece of exercise equipment. You have less risk of damaging or stressing a joint with the elliptical trainer. You will get the added benefit of the upper body workout which helps give you a better balanced overall appearance. Since you burn the same amount of fat, and get the same aerobic benefits, the added upper body workout and lower risk of injury make the elliptical a great choice.

Benefits of Pilates – The 5 Major Benefits To A Pilates Program

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Jun 212010

Are you considering joining a Pilates class, but trying to figure out what benefits you will really see? There are five major benefits of Pilates you will gain from the exercise routine. Let us take a look at each of them.

1. Flexibility and Range of Motion – When you begin thinking about the benefits of Pilates, one of the biggest is your increased range of motion. With the motions and stretches in the Pilates routine, your back, and extremities will become more flexible with a greatly improved range of motion. This is great news for the elderly and people who have seen their range of motion decreasing.

2. Improved Circulation – Deep stretching has been shown to help increase circulation in the body. Pilates is filled with deep stretching, and you will begin to feel the benefits of better circulation in your hands, feet, and all portions of your body. With better circulation your hands stay warmer, your feet do not get as cold at night, and you feel more energetic. Having great circulation is necessary to both fuel all parts of your body, and to carry away the waste.

3. Improved Posture – When you start developing your core muscles and focusing on proper form, you begin getting one of the most noticeable benefits of Pilates. You will stand taller, straighter, and look more confident. When you move your body will flow with your improved posture. Have you noticed how someone with great posture seems to be in more control? They appear to be in command of their body, and filled with energy. Someone with poor posture looks tired.

4. Abdominal and Core Strength – The Pilates program focuses most of its efforts on improving your core strength. Your abdomen, lower back, and buttocks will increase in strength and stability. This gives you the powerful core which makes all other functions of your body movement easier. A strong core helps to eliminate injuries, and is the catalyst for all the other benefits of Pilates. This strong core helps to give you more energy, which transfers into higher levels of confidence, and happiness. When you feel confident in your body’s ability to handle challenges, you will find more joy in life.

5. Reduced Neck, Back, and Joint Pain – When you improve your flexibility, strengthen your core, and learn proper body movement, you will experience less pain in all of those annoying areas. If you thought living with pain from working at a desk, in a factory, or at a check-out stand was normal, you are wrong. When you learn and work with Pilates, you will learn new ways to move, and have the strong core needed to stop pain before it happens.

The benefits of Pilates may not include items like losing weight and increasing cardio fitness, but it does revolutionize your body. You will move differently, feel better, and change your look by practicing Pilates. It is one program where the benefits make the effort worth every moment.

Abdominal Exercises for Men – Replace the Beer Belly With a Six Pack

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Jun 212010

Does standing with your profile to the mirror drive you crazy? You see a belly instead of a firm, powerful stomach. Women notice your stomach sticking out almost immediately. Two of the sexiest parts of a man for women is their buttocks and their stomach. If your stomach is a bulging beer belly you are not creating the right impression. Using a few simple abdominal exercises for men can start transforming your beer belly into a six pack.

There are two parts to building an impressive stomach. The first is exercising the abdominal muscles using resistance exercises. The abdominal muscles become stronger, more toned, and defined by building added muscle. The second part of the plan is to trim a little excess fat off your body to uncover those new powerful stomach muscles.

Let us get rid of the excess fat issue first. By just cutting your fat and sugars a little in your diet, and adding a little aerobic exercise your excess fat will quickly disappear. It is not going to take an extreme effort on your part, just a consistent effort. Reduce your calories a little while increasing your activity will solve this portion of the problem quickly.

Now, to build a really impressive stomach you will need to focus on abdominal exercises for men which are designed to increase abdominal muscle mass. It sounds a little strange to think about adding mass to get rid of your beer belly, but it is the proper solution. Muscles take much less space, and look impressive. Here are three exercise to get you started creating a powerful abdomen.

The first exercise you should be doing is abdominal crunches. Laying on your back with your hands behind your head, roll your head and shoulders up using your stomach muscles for the power. Hold the crunch for a few seconds before lowering back down slowly. Repeat for 15 to 20 reps. Do 3 sets of crunches in each of your abdominal workouts. As possible start adding weight by holding a dumbbell or other weights across your chest. You want to keep increasing the weight to build stronger, more impressive muscles.

Another very effective exercise for your stomach is the leg pull-in. Lie flat on your back, arms resting beside your body. Lift your legs bending your knees and draw your knees to your chest while rolling your hips to get even more of a contraction in your abdomen. Do 15 to 20 reps for 3 sets.

A slightly more advanced exercise is the hanging leg raise. Using a chin-up bar, or other location your can hang from, pull your knees up towards your chest, rotating your hips upwards towards your chest, too. The addition of gravity pulling against your body increases the resistance making this exercise challenging.

The main thing to keep in mind while choosing your abdominal exercises for men, choose exercises which allow you to increase resistance. You must be able to continue to add new challenges to your abdomen to increase the lean muscle and fitness of the area. Only with increased muscle and less fat will your beer belly become an impressive six-pack.

Workouts For Women – Go Where No Man Dares To Tread

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May 272010

Women are built differently than men, there is no doubt about the fact. Workouts for women can be very similar to a man’s workout, but women normally want to work on different issues than men. A man is dreaming of big arms, powerful legs, and big chest muscles. A woman is dreaming of a shapely bottom, beautiful legs, perfectly sized hips and a firm feminine body. Women get to overcome the effects of pregnancy, while men overcome the effects of a beer belly.

The interesting thing, both sets of dreams do have many parallels, which will make your workouts for women have many of the same aspects as a man’s workout. The first big similarity is the need for aerobic exercise. You must do cardio work if you want to lose fat and get your body to look fantastic. There is no way around this simple fact. When planning your workout choose a form of aerobic exercise you can stick to. For many women this means an aerobics dance class. These classes are fun, normally filled with other women. You not only get to work on burning fat and getting fit, you can have fun with the dance like movements. Other women tend to head to the gym and will be found on the treadmills, stair steppers, and the exercise bikes. There is no perfect answer, except the one you will keep doing.

If you want to reshape your body aerobics is not enough. You are going to want to add in some forms of strength training. This does not necessarily mean weights, but does mean effort. This can come in the form of working with stretch bands, weighted balls, or even exercises like push-ups, lunges, and sit-ups. Creating slightly bigger and stronger muscles helps to change your body shape and to burn away the fat. You will not become massive, or muscular, you are going to become trimmer and beautiful.

One form of exercise which combines aerobics and some resistance is water aerobics. You will get the resistance of the water which can aid in reshaping your body, and the great aerobics workout of the movement in water. These classes can be great fun. This is another class which is normally heavily balanced towards women. Men tend to be out on the rowing machines, weight equipment, and treadmills.

If you would love to prove to the guys women are just as resilient and capable as them, a kickboxing aerobics class is the perfect place. Do not worry about being out numbered, women love these courses as much as men.

What type of workouts for women should you choose? The best answer is to choose one and just get started. You will either love the one you choose, or find it annoying. Either way you have learned. If you do not like it, try another program until you find the one which gets you excited. Make sure to include the combination of strength and cardio training, and your body will start heading towards your dream vision quickly.

Water Aerobic Exercises – Exercise to Transform Your Body With Water Resistance

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May 272010

Water aerobic exercises are the best way to give your body a superior workout. The other big advantage to water exercise is the low impact it puts on your body. The low impact exercise is highly beneficial to the elderly, people who have joint injuries, are recovering from surgery, or even people who are overweight.

Have you ever noticed how impressive the bodies of Olympic swimmers, divers, water polo players, and rhythmic swimmers appear? Their bodies are lean, muscular, and in fantastic shape. Their bodies are sculpted by the resistance of water. Water gives you a gentle and controllable resistance which helps you sculpt your body into the appearance people admire. Body appearance is not the most important reason to follow a program of water aerobic exercises, though.

The best reason to start a program of water aerobics is because of the health benefits it gives your heart. Your heart will respond to the aerobic exercise, improving your circulation, and your total cardiovascular health. While you are working out intensely, building a stronger healthier body, you will not be taking the severe pounding of a high impact aerobics program. Another amazing benefit is how you will feel while working out. Instead of dripping in sweat you will be staying cool. If you think doing aerobics in an air conditioned gym with a fan blowing across your body feels great, think how much better it feels when the perspiration is washed away with water. You will not even realize you are perspiring.

The fact you are not aware of your perspiration is one thing you need to stay very aware of. Just because you do not feel it, does not mean your body requires less fluid intake. You need to make sure you stay hydrated by drinking water or sports drinks during and after your workout. If you do not take time to stay hydrated you will feel the effects quickly. You could start feeling light headed or a little ill. Take care of yourself during any type of intensive exercise.

Water aerobics exercises follow very similar movements to any other kind of aerobic exercise except in slow motion. You cannot move nearly as quickly in the water as in the air. This is due to the resistance of the water and is one of the big benefits. You will build stronger muscles, while giving yourself a very effective workout. Your joints do not take the beating they do from other forms of aerobics.

It is even more gentle than a low impact aerobics routine. This is the reason if you are a little older, battling joint injuries, or have other health concerns you should enrol in a water aerobics class. These classes will help you strengthen your body. After building your strength and improving your overall health you may be able to move on to other forms of aerobics if you wish. You will probably learn you love the water aerobics so much you will never wish to change.

Warm Up Stretching – A Stretch A Day Keeps the Doctor Away

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May 272010

Go watch the average workout center. You will see people running in, getting to their aerobics class, weight workout, or to hit the aerobics machines and jump right into action. Is this your pattern, too? It is very easy to neglect the warm up stretching, because it does not seem to be the portion of the exercise time giving us the real benefits. Remember that when you pick up the phone to call the Doctor about your latest injury.

Are you protesting that you never get injured working out? When is the last time you missed an exercise session because your back was stiff, your legs were aching, or some other minor problem? Those are injuries. Maybe they did not require you call the doctor, but they are injuries. What if you miss a week of exercise due to a nagging problem? Suddenly the importance of warm up stretching becomes a little more clear.

Taking 5 to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and stretch them thoroughly before you start exercising will help protect you from most to the annoying little injuries you may have experienced in the past. Often the back injury seems to occur because of some little random twist or turn you made and you feel the little tweak happen in your back. You hope it is not going to cause problems, but you know it probably will. This is exactly the types of injuries which are most times avoided with simple stretching and exercise before you start your exercise routines.

Many aerobics classes, kickboxing exercise programs, and other group exercise programs integrate warm up and stretching at the beginning of their class sessions. This is one reason you must be on time. If you show up late and start the program when it is going full speed, you are not going to perform well, and you will be risking those minor annoying injuries.

If you exercise on your own using the weight equipment, or aerobics machines it is very easy to overlook warm up stretching. You may believe starting off slowly and working up to full speed is good enough, but it does not target all of those supporting muscles, getting them thoroughly warmed up. It does not improve your range of motion, which is one of the biggest factors in avoiding injury. Most of these minor injuring occur because you exceeded your range of motion resulting in a minor muscle or connecting fiber tear. Take those few minutes to warm up and stretch and you will avoid those problems.

It is discouraging when you have worked hard to create a habit of regular exercise, and can see the improvements happening, then to suddenly be sidelined for a few days due to nagging injuries. Starting today, warm up stretching should be at the start of every exercise session. You will be able to keep your progress moving forward, and more importantly not need to worry about finding the doctor’s phone number.

Torn Calf Muscle – The Hobbling Injury

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May 272010

You are racing down the field, making rapid turns to avoid the defense, and suddenly you feel the shooting pain rip across your calf. You are doing intensive calf raises to build up your calf size, and suddenly you feel the pop, the pain, and the agony begins. A torn calf muscle can be intensely painful, and can bring your season to a halt, and slow your weight lifting progress to a crawl.

It is not until you experience a calf injury that you understand what a crucial role it plays in all parts of your life. Every step, every jump, every stretch to grab something all starts from your calf muscles. When you experience a torn calf muscle you must immediately seek medical advice to have the quickest and most successful recovery possible.

Just to set your expectations properly a mild tear is going to require two to three weeks to heal. This level is only micro tears in the calf muscle, not complete tearing. The next level involves minor tearing through a portion of the muscle tissues, this level of tearing can take up to two months to heal. The highest level of tear can include almost an entire cross section of the calf muscle and will require 3 to 4 months to recover. Follow the advice of your Doctor and trainers before you head back into intensive action.

During your recovery you will be given a series of conditioning exercises to work on stretching and mobility in the calf. Do these only at the advice of your medical guides.

An important note while you are recovering from a torn calf muscle, do not attempt to return to your sport, or full weight training until you are 100% pain free. If the calf muscle is still weakened you can easily re-tear it, starting the entire process over again. Many times the second injury is even worse. It has the weakened tissue to start the tear and continues the tear wider and deeper.

Just because you have a calf injury does not mean all training is off limits. You should be able to work on upper body exercises, and potentially some upper leg exercises on machines. Discuss what you would like to do with your doctor and trainer and they will give you permission on exercises they are sure will not cause you to stress the calf muscle. There is no reason for you to lose all of your fitness and strength gains by sitting out completely for a couple months.

After you muscle is healed you must continue to do the stretching and range of motion exercises. These exercises should become a part of your daily exercise regimen for the rest of your life. By taking care to work on the flexibility, elasticity, and your range of motion you can help reduce the odds of another torn calf muscle. As you already know, a few minutes per day of prevention is worth avoiding this pain and recovery period again.

Stretching Benefits – How Stretching Can Enhance Your Life

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May 272010

One of the biggest problems when you are getting older, or have not been exercising regularly is losing your range of motion. The movements which used to be easy now are difficult. Getting improvement is your range of motion is only one of the stretching benefits you can experience. Stretching is one of the best way to improve you body’s capabilities, and to get other added benefits.

With a program of daily stretching you can increase your range of motion no matter what age you are. The best time to start to use stretching exercises is today. If you are 20 years old you will still get an improved range of motion and maintain it throughout your life. If you are 70 years old you will start to regain your range of motion, getting back the freedom to do things you took for granted before.

Another of the stretching benefits is improved coordination. Flexible joints, and limber muscles make motion much easier. Stretching can improve muscle condition. With this combination you will discover you have more physical dexterity and coordination. Instead of tripping over every little thing, and feeling clumsy, you will move gracefully and easily about the house and world.

One problem which creeps into your life as you age is poor circulation to extremities. Stretching can improve circulation throughout your body, and especially in your limbs. With consistent use of stretching exercises your cold feet will begin to stay warm, your cold hands will regain better circulation and feel warmer. Exercise and stretching benefits can begin to change your life in just a few weeks. It takes consistent practice and effort, but the changes can be dramatic.

How often do you finish a day with tense shoulder muscles, an aching back, and other aches and pains? By starting and ending your day with stretching you can begin to eliminate these troublesome problems. Many days it is just as bad starting off the day. It is a big effort to get out of bed due to aching joints and muscles. The is one of the most important stretching benefits, giving yourself back a body which functions smoothly throughout the day from the time you wake up, until you close your eyes at night.

The importance of stretching increases with each passing year of our lives. If you are not carefully taking care of your body you will discover you are no longer capable of my activities. It is important to maintain flexibility. If you do not the things you love will suffer. Bowling, golfing, dancing, and even gardening all require flexibility and muscle fitness. By starting to work on these issues today, you ensure a healthy more enjoyable life throughout all of your years. Stretching benefits are important for everyone, whether you were the best athlete in your class, a business man, or a factory worker, stretching is going to allow you freedom from many of life’s most annoying physical limitations. Losing your range of motion should not be accepted as normal, you should challenge it, and start stretching daily.

Stretching and Flexibility – Increase Your Range of Motion and Protect Your Body from Injury

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May 272010

Muscle pulls, strains, joint injuries, pulled ligaments and other injuries are often caused by one thing, lack of flexibility and proper warm-up. Stretching and flexibility exercises should be part of every workout you have.

Have you ever watched high school, college, and professional athletes train? At the beginning of every training session their trainers and coaches insist they go through a complete series of stretching and flexibility routines. The players often hate this portion of the practice. They are excited about building strength, growing bigger muscles, and the actual time playing their sport. Coaches and trainers know without this critical time of warm-up and stretching they will be losing players left and right to injury.

Now, go to your local fitness gym and watch the average person come in for their exercise routine. They walk in the door already dressed to exercise. They walk up to the first machine, climb on it, and start their workout. That night they lay in be, get a cramp, want a massage, or complain about their latest annoying little injury. It might not be a severe injury, but they have an annoying pain in the arm, leg or back. These kinds of problematic training injuries can be avoided by taking a little extra time to prepare your body.

When you head into the gym to workout, take the first five minutes to do stretching and flexibility exercises. Make sure your hamstrings, calf muscles, and back muscles have been gently warmed up and stretched before you jump on the weight equipment, exercise bike, treadmills, or other gear. Not only do you help protect yourself from injury, you will make your workouts more effective. Your body will move more freely, with a little more range of motion. Your muscles are warmed up and ready for action and will be ready to start burning off the fat.

If you want the best overall effects, then add a five minute session of stretching and flexibility at the end of your workout, too. Your muscles will be warmed up, and you will discover you can stretch a little further. Working to have a great range of motion will help protect your body when you do those strange and unusual moves at home to pickup things off the floor, the quick twists to grab the running child, or trying to control the dog while you give them a bath.

The biggest benefit from using stretching and flexibility exercises will be noticed in the quiet of your bedroom at night. You are less likely to have the cramps, to notice tight painful muscles, and will discover less annoying aches and pains. Instead of taking extra time off from training all the time because of annoying injuries, you will never miss a session. Your body will be ready for action all the time. All those coaches and trainers are not making their players stretch for fun. They know it protects and prepares their bodies for the game ahead. It will work just as effectively even if your game is chasing kids. Take some time to prepare your body properly.

Stretches for Runners – Start Your Run the Right Way To Prevent Injury

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May 272010

How do you start your morning or evening run? If you are lacing on your shoes and taking off out the door for your run, you are risking your muscles. Learning the proper stretches for runners will help you protect your muscles, and avoid many of the common runner’s injuries.

Before we jump into the best stretches for you to use, it is important to understand when to use them. Do not try to stretch your muscles until you are warmed up. You could start off your running session with a five minute walk or light jog to get the blood flowing and then stop to run through these few stretches. When the muscles are warmed up the stretch further, and easier, enhancing the injury reducing effects.

It is important to get a good stretch into all of your major leg muscles. The first place to start is with your hamstrings. The most popular stretch is the hang ten. You keep your feet fairly close together, keep your legs straight but not locked. Bend over at the waist as far as possible hanging your arms down, and letting your head relax downward, too. For most people their hands will be dangling just above their shoe tops. For more flexible people their hands may actually be on the ground. Hold the stretch for at least 45 seconds. Do not bounce. You want to stretch until you feel the tension, maybe slight discomfort, but not pain.

Another popular stretch is the Splits. Spread your feet as widely as possible, while keeping your feet pointing forward. Again bend down as far as possible. This will stretch completely different muscles in your legs, especially the adductors.

The Flamingo stretch is one of the most common exercises you will see runners doing at street corners waiting for traffic. Standing on one foot you grab the opposite foot with your hand and pull the foot up to your buttocks. This stretches the muscles throughout the front of your leg, keeping them ready for those intensive miles.

You must keep your calf muscles well stretched and limber to prevent getting cramps and having lower leg injuries. The heel drop is the most important of the stretches for runners to improve lower leg flexibility. It is most easily accomplished at a stairway or curb. Standing on the ball of one foot on the edge of a stair or curb, simply let your heel drop downwards below the level of your toes to stretch the calf. It feels great and will improve your running.

The last of the stretches for runners we will discuss is the lunge stretch. This stretch is the most inclusive of all muscles. Stretching deeply into a lunge position will stretch the calf muscles, and all of the upper leg muscles. It helps to lengthen your stride. Make sure to include it in your regular stretching times.

By using these few stretches for runners you can greatly reduce your chances of injury, and enhance your running ability. Taking these few extra moment in your running session is going to increase your enjoyment of running dramatically.

Strength Conditioning – Planning For Excellence in Your Sport

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May 272010

Strength conditioning is key to excellence in many sports. Wrestling, football, track and field events, and even baseball demand strength to excel. The challenge for athletes is determining the proper exercises for their sport.

Football is one sport which almost demands strength conditioning if you want to play. It does not matter what position you plan to play, whether receiver, defensive tackle, or even the quarterback, you must be strong. You are going to need to be able to physically compete against men who may be larger than you, or faster than you. Strength conditioning can help even the playing field, and give you the edge.

Using football as our example, let us explore the types of exercise you need. In football the core of your strength will come from your legs. You must be able to drive forward, and battle through tacklers arms, or to hold off a rushing linebacker. The best exercise to develop the explosive leg power is the squat. You are simulating the same type of driving motion you are going to use with your legs to power through an opponent.

Strong legs are not enough, you must have the ability to control your opponent with your upper body strength, too. The bench press is the ideal exercise to focus on to get an advantage. It builds powerful arms and chest muscles for pushing away the opposing player, and controlling their movement. If you are on the defensive side of the ball, you must be able to grasp and pull just as strongly. Using cable pull downs, barbell rows, and barbell curls will build massive pulling and holding power.

The dead lift is one of the most power packed exercises a weight lifter can do. You are building powerful buttock and lower back muscles. These muscles are the same ones which will help you throw off an opponent with ease.

While these few examples can be used in almost any sport, the key to strength conditioning is thinking about the movements, and the needs of the game. You then use weight training to build strength in the motions and methods you need for your sport. A basketball player is going to be more concerned about explosive jumping power, and the ability to hold their ground against a bumping player. Customize your workouts to build strength in the areas you need improvement on, and you will soon be dominating on the field or court.

When you workout, work intensely, with mental focus and drive. Always keep in mind the players on other teams are exercising, too. The player who will win in the game is the one who trains and practices with the most intensity. Make that player be you.

Do not allow strength conditioning to become your overwhelming focus in your sport. It is just as important to learn the plays, techniques, and to work on aerobic conditioning and speed. Combining your added power into all other aspects of your game is where excellence is born.

Muscle Stretches – Preventing Muscle Injuries Is Critical

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May 272010

Your muscles can be come shortened, tight, and injury prone if you do not take proper care of them. Using muscle stretches before and after your exercise sessions is one of the most important ways of preventing muscle injuries. Muscle stretches will give you a secondary benefit of improving your range of motion.

When you start planning your stretching routines do not neglect any part of your body. You want stretches to work on all the muscles from your neck all the way to your feet. Ignoring any muscle group can lead to possible injuries when some parts of your body have a great range of motion and their supporting counterparts have limited movement.

Muscle stretches are actually very easy. You can choose to follow a chart of planned stretches, or you can just choose to gently stretch each muscle group as you feel it. Some of the most innovative stretches come about just because one person decided to try a new way of stretching a muscle to get a little better angle on the muscle. If you can feel the pull, it is working.

For most people the best way to get started is with a good chart of stretches. These are available in many exercise books, and you can even purchase just the charts through many book outlets.

Here are a few examples of effective muscle stretches to get you started:

Heel Drop – Calf Stretch – This is one of the easiest stretches. Stand on a step, the edge of a curb, or other elevated stepping spot. Allow your heel to drop down, stretching the calf deeply. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute, and then rotate to the other leg.

Neck Stretches – Keep your head facing straight forward, but start tipping your head to one side. Go until you feel the tension in your neck and then allow the weight of your head to gently stretch the muscles on that side for about 30 seconds. Tip your head to the opposite side. After completing both sides, tip your head forward, and then backwards repeating the same sequence to stretch the front and rear neck muscles.

Hamstring Stretch – Place one heel up on a step, or possibly two steps up. Lean forward slightly at the waist towards the straightened raised foot. You should feel tension and pulling in your hamstring. Hold the position for 30 seconds, do not bounce. After 30 seconds rotate to the other legs.

These three examples should help your start visualizing how you can stretch all the muscles in your body. You are simply looking for ways to isolate a muscle, and move until you feel tension and stretching, then stop and hold. Over time you will gain additional depth in your stretches, increasing your range of motion.

Muscle stretches help prepare you muscles for the sudden shocks, turns, and demands put on them through sports and daily life. A well prepared muscle avoids injury, or minimizes the injury allowing for fast recovery. Never neglect stretching in your exercise routines.

Muscle Gainer – Become A Muscle Gainer Not A Fat Retainer

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May 272010

Do you want to know the number one enemy of a fat body? Hopefully you did not say a healthy diet. Becoming a muscle gainer is the number one enemy to fat. A great diet helps, but without muscle the battle is extremely hard. A strong muscular body is what you really want, one filled with power, energy, and sexual drive.

Here is the reason you must become a muscle gainer instead of staying just at your normal level of muscle. Muscle burns fat. Muscle is what transforms the appearance of your body. Muscle is sexy. Muscle is powerful.

Contrast this with maintaining your current level of muscle and losing fat. You will need to battle with a diet to starve the fat off of your body, along with intensive aerobic exercise. If you succeed you must maintain a lower calorie diet because you do not have the fat burning engine of muscle. Your body will probably appear to be a smaller version of your fat shape. You will probably become weaker, since when you are dieting without building muscle you are likely to lose muscle.

Now, imagine yourself in the gym. You are hitting the weights, your arms are getting bigger, your legs are powerful, your chest pops out powerfully with every bench press. The fat which was on your body has been burned off with your combination of powerful weight training and some aerobic exercise. As you walk across the floor people watch the way you move, and are talking about your transformation. This is the life of a muscle gainer. You are not another of the normal people in the gym any more. You are one of the people with the impressive athletic bodies.

This type of change is not limited to men in their teens and twenties. This type of transition is possible for men in their thirties, forties, fifties, and beyond. The only real difference with age is the time it will take, and you may need to supplement your diet differently. There are stories from all age ranges of men who have transformed their bodies at all ages, going from fat and flabby to powerful and muscular. Being a muscle gainer is not magic, it is a choice. A choice to work a little harder than the average person. A choice to feed you body in a different way to maximize the potential. A choice to be the powerful person you really want to be.

Have you avoided moving from the aerobics machines over to the racks of weights because you see those powerful guys over there and feel intimidated? They were you before. They will welcome you into their group, and will give you advice to help you accelerate becoming a muscle gainer. Get over there and learn what these guys already know. Having a strong powerful body creates confidence, pride, and enhanced ability. You will love being physically powerful and ready for any adventure. It is your choice, do you really want to keep living as a fat retainer, or are you ready to build muscle?

Low Impact Cardio – Aerobic Fitness Without The Physical Beating

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May 272010

Are you like so many of us, you are a little overweight and your joints already ache? The idea of pounding your body through jogging, an aerobics class, or tae bo is almost frightening. A low impact cardio workout is exactly what you need. You will be able to get the fat burning and aerobic fitness you want, without the unneeded pressure and abuse on your joints.

There are many different kinds of low impact cardio programs you can use to get plenty of daily exercise. Here are a few of the most popular ones.

Walking – While jogging puts a lot of stress on your joints, walking is very low impact, and very beneficial. Bone strength and joint conditions usually improve with weight bearing exercise. Taking a brisk walk for 20 to 40 minutes per day can help you to start losing weight, and getting into better cardio fitness. Walking does not require any special equipment and can be enjoyed year round. You may need to take it inside during the winter months in a large department store, fitness center, or mall.

Water Aerobics – One of the most fun low impact cardio exercises is water aerobics. You can get an energizing workout while playing in the water. No worries about sweating, it is all washed away by the water. Usually these classes are filled with laughter and fun. If you have not tried a water aerobics course, now would be a great time.

Swimming – Since we are already discussing the water, why not go swimming. Swimming laps, treading water, and steady movement in water makes for a great workout which improves your overall health and burns fat quickly. Remember how hungry you were as a kid after swimming for an hour or two. You burned calories rapidly.

Bicycling – Whether you choose to ride a real bicycle down the bike paths in your community, or hit a stationary bike in your home, cycling is a great way to increase you fitness without the impact of many other exercise routines. Cycling is one of the most popular ways to burn fat, and build up cardiovascular condition. It is the choice of many sports trainer when they are working to rehab their athletes from sports injuries.

Low Impact Aerobics – While many aerobics courses put great pressure on joints, there are many classes which are designed to be low impact. You avoid the jumping, large moves, and the pounding steps of other aerobics classes. You can get a great workout with a room full of other exercisers, or enjoy a video at home. This form of exercise can be great fun.

Do not use your aching joints as an excuse to avoid exercise. Low impact cardio will help you get in shape, and improve the condition of your joints. You are not going to have improvements in your health without effort. Make the decision to get started today, and enjoy the benefits of a better looking body, less joint pain, and improved energy.

Fitness Class – Quit Trying To Get Fit At Home Start Having Fun

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May 272010

Do you believe the only way you can make time for exercise is if you do it at home? You are missing out on the best part of getting fit. A fitness class is much more than just getting the exercise you need, it is about changing your life.

Seriously, do you believe you are going to stick with an exercise program at home? People buy exercise equipment every year, start using it, and then next summer sell it a garage sale. They used the equipment for a few months, and then it started gathering dust in the corner. They knew better, and still know, they need exercise. Exercising at home even with the best equipment becomes boring, and tiresome. You start losing motivation and soon you quit.

When you join a fitness class you add several important factors to your exercise. First, you create a new level of commitment. You are investing in a monthly fee, and you are going to feel motivated to make sure the money does not get wasted. Secondly, you make friends. Do not under estimate the importance of these new friends. This is the key ingredient in increasing your motivation and interest. You are not going to want to disappoint your friends by not showing up for class. You will be excited to see these friends during the week, too. All of you create higher levels of motivation in each other with your sharing and gentle joking with each other.

There is another reason a fitness class is important, the trainers. They are the ones who specialize in getting the most out of you. They will help you learn proper techniques, monitor your progress, and give you motivation. Instead of feeling alone and unsure of what you are doing, you have someone to consult with. When you feel discouraged you can talk to your trainer and explain why you are feeling down. They will have ideas to adjust your workout to get added benefits, changes in music to inspire you, and maybe even some great books or videos for you to watch to lift your spirits.

You remember your worries about time? You are talking about only 15 or 20 minutes extra per day over working out at home. The only time difference is the distance between your home and the fitness class. Do you really want to take a route which will probably end up with failure, or a method which will inspire you and transform your body? Is an extra 15 minutes really that hard to find?

The sad thing about trying to workout at home, you will probably lose all your money on the exercise equipment. The same amount you spent buying the equipment could have easily enrolled you in a year or two in a fitness class. Instead of throwing your money down the drain, invest it in a healthy, fit future. The class is going to change your life in ways you could never anticipate. Give it a try and discover the amazing difference.

May 272010

The big event is just around the corner. You are beginning to feel the pressure of losing weight, and looking great. By using a combination of fast weight loss exercises and a sensible diet you can reach your goals. What are the best exercises to help you lose weight?

There are two sides to the coin in fast weight loss exercises. The first side of the coin requires exercises to burn calories and get the fat off of your body. The second side of the coin requires exercises to build lean muscle, to increase your ability to lose fat. Losing weight is not your real goal, losing fat is the goal.

Back up and read the last sentence again. You may believe you want to lose weight, but you must lose fat, not weight. Here is the difference in the two statements. Losing weight can come in the form of losing water weight, lean muscle, or fat. When you lose water weight it rapidly returns once you start drinking normally again. The dehydration risks can be very severe. Losing lean muscle is the worst thing you can do. When you lose muscle you are slowing down your metabolism allowing fat to become even more dominant. Losing fat is the goal. You can lose fat, while losing very little weight and look much different.

Here is a recommended set of fast weight loss exercises. Set up a plan of exercising 6 days per week. You are going to workout 3 days per week on your fat burning cardiovascular exercises. This can include jogging, an exercise bike, fast walking, an aerobics class, or any other favorite fast paced exercise. Plan on spending 30 to 40 minutes each of those days exercising. Set you goal to go a little further, or to increase your pace a little each day. If you are walking, try going an extra 10 to 20 steps each exercise session, while keeping your time the same. This will push you to improve gradually burning off more fat.

On the other 3 days of the week you are going to work on increasing your lean muscle. For beginners the best plan is to use body weight exercises. Sit-ups, ab crunches, push-ups, lunges, one legged squats, and other exercises. This helps to increase your muscle, accelerating your fat burning. Ladies, do not worry, we are talking about very modest gains in muscle which will only increase your level of firmness, overall tone, and enhances your shape. You are not going to build large muscles with this workout.

By combining both strength and cardio exercise you are creating a fat burning machine. This combination is the fast weight loss exercises you need to meet your goals. The changes can be very rapid, and very impressive. The only thing required is your own motivation and commitment to make it happen. Are you ready to look fantastic? Then get started, and change your body.

Exercises for Osteoarthritis – Getting Relief and Improved Range of Motion With Exercise

 Exercises, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on Exercises for Osteoarthritis – Getting Relief and Improved Range of Motion With Exercise
May 272010

Pain is faced by many people who exercise, but only another person with osteoarthritis can really understand your challenges. Starting an exercise program may sound very intimidating, and you are anticipating pain. There is no guarantee you will not feel pain, but you can be assured exercise will help improve your condition, not make it worse.

What kind of exercises should you undertake? In reality most kinds of exercise will work. The only thing you must avoid are exercises which directly stress a very loose, or weakened joint. Visit with your doctor about what you would like to try and they can give you the proper advice.

One of the best exercises for osteoarthritis is water aerobics. You get the assist of lessening your weight through water flotation. The movements are more fluid and slower. You still get amazing cardiovascular benefits due to the resistance of the water. It as a very low impact form of exercise. This is a great starting program for anyone.

Traditional low impact aerobics classes are very good, too. You can get your heart pumping, work on your range of motion, and increase muscle strength in an aerobics class. Discuss your limitations with the instructor to make sure you are both comfortable with the class. When the rest of the class is doing a motion you do not feel confident in completing just continue moving in place to the last move, or walking in place. When they move on to the next movement rejoin them.

Weight and strength training can be a very beneficial form of exercise. You are building stronger supporting muscles which can help to take pressure off the joints. If your osteoarthritis is affecting your grip strength make sure you take it into consideration when choosing your exercises. Weight training works on improving range of motion, too. You will need to make sure you always take the motions to the limits of your motion to stretch the muscles and improve your flexibility.

Pilates, Yoga, and other stretching routines can be highly beneficial in reducing pain and increasing range of motion. These programs are designed to give you a longer, leaner look. The increase range of motion can help you get a little more capability back out of your body.

Exercises for osteoarthritis are not really any different than exercises for everyone else. You just need to use more caution and take time to rest your joints when they hurt. Do not continue exercising through joint pain. If you need them, a brace or supporting elastic bands can make your exercise easier. With increased muscles strength, weight loss, and improved range of motion the benefits of exercise can improve your conditions. Do not let osteoarthritis stop you from improving your health, it should be your call to take action and start exercising. A body in motion will improve. A body at rest will continue to increase in stiffness, reduced dexterity, and increasing pain. Consult with your doctor, and then get started improving your quality of life.