Exercise Bike Workout – Leave the Ordinary Spinning To The Amateurs

 Exercises, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on Exercise Bike Workout – Leave the Ordinary Spinning To The Amateurs
May 272010
 

There you sit in front of the television pedaling your bike. You have the tension set to a level you are comfortable with, and you have a pace locked in. Does it sound familiar? If you really want to get the best benefit out of your equipment and have more fun, you need to follow an exercise bike workout system.

What does an exercise bike workout add to your normal routine? You will need to start varying your pace, your tension, and your attitude. There are several ways to go about getting a great program. The first method is to check what your bike offers. Many exercise bikes include an electronic workout routine which can automatically vary the tension and prompt you to speed up or slow down. Honestly, this is the most boring way to have a varied workout. It is rather dull.

Another way to get a great varied workout is to use your television and a workout DVD. There are great exercise bike videos which are created to help you simulate real riding experiences. You get scenery, music, and prompts to adjust your tension and speed based upon the terrain of the video. This method of creating a workout can be fun, stimulating, and adds a few mental stimulants.

Do you really want to kick it up another notch? You can choose your own playlist of songs, and music videos and put them on your television or computer to watch while you exercise. Put in a great mix of slow and fast paced songs. Use the tempo of the songs to determine the speed of your pedaling and the tension levels you set on the exercise bike. This helps you get almost the feeling of dancing and playing on your bike. It can be a very motivating way to design your exercise bike workout.

There is one more suggestion which works great for many people. Use exercise videos for other kinds of courses. The trainers normally will be varying intensity, shouting out motivation, and you see the excitement of their class. This can help motivate you to pedal faster, remember to change the tension, and enjoy the excitement. You may even choose to start adding some of the upper body movements from their classes into your exercise bike workout. This can increase the efficiency of your workout and improve your upper body fitness. The important thing, have fun with whatever you are doing. When you have fun you workout harder.

These techniques are primarily for creating an exercise bike workout for your home equipment. If you are going to a fitness center to use the stationary bikes, then partner up with another person. You can set the bike’s built-in programs and then have fun competing against each other. No matter how you choose to create or work on your own plan of exercise, get out of the rut of pedaling at one tension and one speed. You will get faster and better results with variety in your workout from both your body and mind.

May 272010
 

Before we start discussing what kind of exercise after pregnancy you should be doing, you need to take care of one important item. Do not start an exercise program without discussing it with your obstetrician or gynecologist. Your body has undergone major changes and stress during pregnancy. Depending on whether you delivered naturally, by cesarean, and the stress of your delivery can all play a role on how soon you should begin your exercise program. Many women are able to start exercise within only a few days after delivery.

Now that you have talked to your Doctor, what should you be doing? There are a series of exercises recommended by most health care professionals for women after pregnancy. These include kegel exercises, pelvic tilts, bridges, and leg slides. These exercises are designed to start firming up the muscles which were stretched and abused during pregnancy and delivery.

Before you start with any of these exercises take a few moments to warm up. This could be as simple as walking around the home for a few minutes to get your body warmed up and your blood pumping a little quicker.

Kegel exercises are ones you can do during your workout or anytime during the day. A kegel exercise is simply contracting the muscles in your pelvic wall similar to stopping urine flow. Make sure to hold the muscle contraction for 10 to 15 seconds, then release. Do this in a series of 10 to 15 contractions. Do kegel exercises at least 3 times per day, or more often if you wish. These exercise will help you have better bladder control and start firming up your lower pelvic area.

The leg slides are a very simple exercise but great at starting to build up leg muscles and your abdominal muscles. Lay flat on your back and slide one foot up until your knee is bent and the foot is flat on the floor. Slide the foot back down until the leg is straight then rotate to the other leg. Start off doing this ten to twenty times with each leg, doing the reps slowly. As your energy and fitness increase you can do more reps and quicken the pace.

The pelvic tilt is another exercise you do flat on your back. Tighten your stomach muscles, pressing them inward and towards your backbone. Then slightly tilt your pelvic area upwards giving a deeper contraction to your abdominal muscles. This exercise will strengthen and flatten your stomach area quickly. Do five to ten reps to begin with and work up to 20 reps.

The bridge is our final recommended exercise after pregnancy. Starting on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground, tighten your abdominal muscles and your buttock muscles to lift your rear off the ground. Bring your buttocks up until you have created a straight line from your knees to your chin. Start with five reps and slowly build up to 20 reps. This exercise improves the entire core of your middle body.

Exercise after pregnancy does not need to be intense to be helpful. Get started with these few exercises and your body will start to firm, your fat will begin to decrease, and you will feel great.

Cardio Workouts To Lose Weight – Burn The Calories And Watch Fat Disappear

 Exercises, Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Cardio Workouts To Lose Weight – Burn The Calories And Watch Fat Disappear
May 252010
 

Are you ready to lose weight the most consistent way possible? Cardio workouts to lose weight are more effective than calorie restriction diets. When you burn the calories, you will burn the fat, changing your body’s appearance quickly.

To make sure you are not misunderstanding, it is still a good idea to take control of your eating habits, and eat a reduced calorie diet. Do not become obsessed with cutting calories. You just need to make wise choices in your types of foods and eat a little less to make a big difference. When you combine planned eating with a cardio workout the results are magical.

Using cardio workouts to lose weight gives you many advantages over just restricting calories. First, you are going to be building a stronger heart, and circulatory system. Secondly, you will start building some lean muscle tissue. The combination of a stronger cardiovascular system and more lean muscle creates a fat burning engine. With your enhanced body you will find burning fat is quite simple and enjoyable.

To burn fat and lose weight the best cardio workouts will use sustained activity. Examples would include jogging, fast walking, bicycling, rowing, and swimming laps. You want to get your body’s systems working at faster rate, with your pulse elevated, and your breathing coming a little harder. When you reach the proper training level you will be burning calories and fat at a rapid pace.

If you want to increase overall body strength and health, choosing a circuit training program might be perfect for you. You would use a combination of several exercises to push your body into the training zone, while creating stronger muscles over your entire body. Having added lean muscles over your entire body is more important than you probably imagine.

The magic of having the extra lean muscle is what it does throughout the entire day. Muscle tissue requires calories to burn for energy. This means your lean muscle tissue will be helping you lose weight 24 hours per day, not only during your workouts. This is why many top diet consultants insist you include exercise during your diet. Even the TV shows being broadcast to show very overweight people competing to lose weight push their competitors to exercise intensely, and to learn to love exercise as one of the key ingredients in their success.

Cardio workouts to lose weight are not restricted to one kind of exercise, so you can have fun varying your program. Just strive to exercise at least 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week. You will start seeing amazing changes in your levels of fat, and in increased energy. Funnel your added energy into even more activity and you will find the weight disappearing very quickly. Soon you will be needing to buy new smaller clothes. Your mirror will become one of your best friends, instead of the evil thing in the bathroom. Get started exercising right now and watch the changes begin.

Cardio Exercises At Home – Who Needs The Gym, Exercise At Home

 Exercises, Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Cardio Exercises At Home – Who Needs The Gym, Exercise At Home
May 252010
 

Sometimes getting to the gym is not as easy as everyone makes it sound. The only time you have to workout is in the morning while the kids sleep, or after you tuck them in bed at night. You really do not need a gym to get into great shape. Cardio exercises at home are very easy, and just as effective as heading to the gym. Sometimes they can be even more fun.

Are you thinking the last statement is a bit crazy? How can you possibly have more fun at home alone doing cardio exercises than being surrounded by like minded people? Honesty time, most people are not that comfortable exercising in front of other people when they are really out of shape. Most of us are not willingly to get a little crazy when we are surrounded by other people. When you do cardio exercises at home all limitations can be thrown out the window. If you want to exercise to Jazz, Rock, or Mozart, you get to choose. If you want to howl at the moon while you exercise, just make sure you warn the family, they will want to join you.

Cardio exercises can take many forms. Do not get hung up on the idea of needing an exercise bike, treadmill, stepper, or cross-trainer. You can get a great workout with just your body, a little floor space, and your DVD player. Why not grab a few DVD discs showing some great kickboxing cardio workouts, an aerobics dance workout, and one with a good boot camp workout. Now you can rotate shows and workouts and have an exciting workout every day. You will be doing push-ups, sit-ups, jogging in place, kicking, punching, dancing, and having fun.

The real fun of doing your cardio at home is you get to play. You can have a wide variety of workout movies, music, and ideas. Your workout time can become playful, instead of serious. You may be sweating like crazy, huffing and puffing, but you are having a good time. When you get finished and are dripping in sweat you will not compete for the showers, you just walk to your bathroom and have a nice pleasant, long, soaking shower.

What if you choose to buy some cardio equipment for the home? Then still search out some good videos to exercise with. You may love having a Tae Bo video playing while you are on the treadmill. Punching your arms while you jog or walk on the treadmill can energize your workout. Hearing and seeing the intense workout on the TV screen adds to your own intensity and fun. You will accelerate your weight loss and your fitness improvement. If you want something a little more laid back, then get one of the movies simulating running or riding down a country road for your workout.

The best thing about cardio exercises at home is the freedom. The freedom to exercise, play, and have fun your own way. Go ahead grunt, holler, and scream, it is your home, and your workout.

May 252010
 

Pedal, pedal, pedal, the spinning pedals of an exercise bike can become a tedious drone in your ears. A treadmill is no better. Are you one of the people who have come to believe your cardiovascular workouts have to be boring? Using cardio circuit training is one way to drive away the boredom and increase you overall health.

What is cardio circuit training? Instead of using only one exercise machine, or exercise type, you are going to start rotating through a series of exercises. If you goal is to get an energized aerobic workout for 40 minutes every day, you can break the time down into a challenging series of activities. This is going to keep your mind interested and engaged, while your body gains the benefits of working additional muscles. Let us take a look at an example workout.

For your 40 minute cardio circuit training workout we are going to break it down into 5 different exercises. You are going to rotate through the 5 exercises (one circuit) two times doing each exercise for 4 minutes. If you cannot do a particular exercise for the entire 4 minutes, then rotate on to the next exercise in the cycle. You will just need to start into a third circuit to finish out your full 40 minutes.

Our Example Circuit:

Exercise Bike – 4 minutes – Pedal intensely. Do not take it easy on yourself during this four minutes. You want to get the heart pumping and prepare for your next exercise. Keep track of the time and be ready to move on.

Jogging in Place – 4 minutes – Jog fast enough to keep your pulse in the training zone. This is putting some new stresses on your body, but this is good thing. Watch the clock.

Push-ups from knees – 4 minutes – Do not attempt to do this with straight legs to start with. It is very unlikely you will be able to do this for the full four minutes, but do not worry about it. Do as many push-ups as possible and then move on into the next exercise in the circuit. With time you will build up the number of push-ups you can do, and will approach being able to do 4 minutes.

Side to Side Jumping – 4 minutes – Place a small object on the floor and jump back and forth sideways over the top of it. Make sure it is a flat item in case you would happen to come down on top of it. As you get stronger over the upcoming weeks you can use slightly higher items to make yourself jump even higher.

Sit-ups – 4 minutes – Once again, do not expect yourself to hit 4 minutes on this part of the circuit. If you can, excellent, be proud of yourself. If you cannot, move on to the exercise bike again and start the circuit over.

As you can see from this example, cardio circuit training works more parts of body, keeps you excited, or maybe a little frightened at what is coming next. You are going to build a more balanced and healthy body using circuit training. Keep in mind this is only an example. You should create your own series of exercises choosing ones you enjoy and which target parts of your body you wish to change.

Cardio Boot Camp – Miraculous Changes Can Happen To Your Body Rapidly

 Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Cardio Boot Camp – Miraculous Changes Can Happen To Your Body Rapidly
May 252010
 

Have you ever marveled at the changes a young man or women makes to their bodies after a few weeks in a military boot camp? They go into the military out of shape, sometimes many pounds overweight. They come out of boot camp lean, strong, transformed completely. You can accomplish the same changes in your own body by following the plan of a cardio boot camp.

What exactly is a cardio boot camp? You are going to use the same intensive types of training the military subjects their recruits to. You are going to use push-ups, sit-ups, rope climbing, double time marching, running and a wide variety of other exercises to reshape your body and life. One of the things you are missing is the drill Sargent yelling in your ear, driving every move. You are going to need to become your own drill Sargent, and demand more from yourself than you thought possible.

What kind of workout could you start out with? A common warm-up for recruits is to start off with 30 push-ups, followed quickly by 50 sit-ups, then jump up and do 50 jumping jacks. You are now starting to get warmed up, so take off and run two miles. This is not a sprint, think of it as a jog or double time march. You want it to be fast enough to make you breathe hard, but not where you cannot talk. When you get back home, base camp, it is time for another round of push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks. This is just a good starter idea for your own personal boot camp.

In a real boot camp you would have additional marches throughout the day, weight training, and possibly a second round of exercise in the evening. If you really want to transform your body quickly, add additional walking into your daily routine. Do not look for the closest parking spots, park at the far corners of parking lots and enjoy a brisk walk into the office, mall, or grocery store. If you are really ambitious you can follow this routine twice a day, but watch your body closely. It is possible to over train. If you feel yourself not recovering between workouts, or not feeling energetic during the day, drop back to one workout a day.

One thing which would probably shock you in boot camps is how much food these young men and women eat. They are ravenous. They need lots of food to power the physical demands. If you are working at your maximum capability you will need plenty of nutrition, too. Do not try to go on a starvation diet while following this program. By restricting calories just slightly you can lose fat very quickly.

The plan laid out earlier is a very abbreviated program, and it would be wise to consult with a full guide or a trainer to create a complete cardio boot camp exercise program. The amazing thing about following a boot camp regimen is the amazing speed in changing your total body. It is an amazing way to exercise.

Best Cardio Machine – Get Your Body In Shape With The Best Machine For You

 Exercises, Fitness Tips, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Best Cardio Machine – Get Your Body In Shape With The Best Machine For You
May 252010
 

What is the best cardio machine to get yourself in shape? Watch television for a few hours and you will be completely confused. You will see machines of all styles, all price ranges, and some which look completely insane, all claiming to be the best exercise machine. How do you choose?

When you start asking wealthy people what the best cardio machine is you will probably hear some of them talk about the ROM 4-Minute Cardio Machine. Unless you were preparing to spend fifteen to twenty thousand dollars for your home gym you are not going to want one of these machines. While they are highly effective, they simply are not the machine most of us will ever own. Most of us are happy if we can budget $500 to $1000 for a good quality machine, with many of us hoping to stay even lower. Do not worry you are not needing to spend thousands of dollars.

The next machines most of us look at are the families of treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical trainers, steppers, and rowing machines for the home. You can make arguments for each of these machines as being excellent for promoting cardiovascular health. The advantage in these machines will go to machines which work the upper and lower body together. This normally will lead you to rowing machines, exercise bikes with rowing attachments, and cross trainers. These machines can range in pricing from around one hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It is not always the most expensive machines which are the best either. Set your budget and then shop for machines in those price ranges. You can find a great piece of exercise equipment in your range.

How do you choose the best cardio machine out of the group? It is actually quite easy. While certain machines are a little more efficient at giving you an excellent workout, it is not the primary item you must look at. Take a look at the different machines, watch a video of them in use, and then picture yourself using each one. Can you picture yourself going down to floor level to use a rowing machine day after day? Are you going to enjoy riding an exercise bike for months? Choose the machine you feel most confident you are going to use consistently. Take into consideration other activities you wish to do while exercising. Do you want to watch a movie, read a book, or talk on the phone while you exercise? By choosing a machine which matches your interests and habits you are more likely to consistently use it.

There is the real answer to choosing the best cardio machine. Get one you will use consistently, then do it. When you workout daily you can make dramatic changes to your body. Your metabolism goes up, you start burning more fat, your energy levels spike. You will feel like a completely new person when you exercise regularly.

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.

Workouts for Good Strength and Conditioning

 Bodybuilding, Fitness Tips  Comments Off on Workouts for Good Strength and Conditioning
May 112010
 

In working out, there is a large difference between training for strength, and training for better conditioning. In the first case, you’re simply working to attain stronger, more effective muscles. This can simply mean that you’re getting better at performing a specific strength-related exercise, for example. But when it comes to conditioning, you’re actually training your body in a way that gives you actually applicable strength – one that you can make use of in either everyday situations, or in a sport that you’re practising.

In most cases, you’d see the two types of workout separated – that is, the trainee is either working for strength, or for conditioning. You can normally find athletes using conditioning routines when an important event in their professional career approaches. Sometimes though, it can be useful to combine the two types of workout, so that you can have something that’s both good for your health all around, as well as practical in everyday use terms.

To do that, you’d generally want to start with a normal workout for strength, one that builds your muscles in the basic manner – this will include all sorts of exercises, building such a routine is far beyond the scope of this article. The important thing to remember is that you need to be building this just like you’d build a regular workout program for hitting the gym weekly.

Afterwards, you should start including elements for conditioning training in that program – those don’t need to be that many, but it’s important that they’re present in most of your workout days, so that you get enough – and proper – conditioning training. For example, if you like to jog (and you should, if you want to stay healthy in general), you should try “injecting” some short sprinting sessions in your regular jog. That is, when you notice your energy is starting to wear down, pick up the pace and go in a all-out sprint until you’re exhausted completely.

You’ll probably find that you are nearly collapsing on the ground after around 10 seconds on the first few tries, but as you do it more and more, you’ll start feeling less and less troubled by it – eventually reaching a point where you can steadily sprint for a good duration without getting tired at all. This will attribute to your conditioning a great deal, as you’ll be preparing your body for an actual real-world situation where running might be needed, be it because you need it for your work or because you’re a, say, footballer.

Of course, this was just an example – the actual conditioning you’ll be doing depends solely on the purpose you need it for (work, sports, etc). Whatever it is though, just make sure you push yourself to your body’s absolute limits, until you’re extremely tired – this is what conditioning is all about, and it’s how you’re going to become better and better each time you do it.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation – How it Can Help You

 Fitness Tips, Health  Comments Off on Progressive Muscle Relaxation – How it Can Help You
May 112010
 

Relaxation is an important aspect of everyone’s life where well-being is appreciated – you can’t expect to be efficient in your everyday activities and to think clearly on a regular basis unless you take some time to clear your mind properly at regular intervals. And the best way to clear the mind goes straight through the body – a strong, healthy body will guarantee you the equivalent state of well-being in the mind. But how do we achieve this?

Progressive muscle relaxation is the name of a specific system of techniques aimed at inducing a very deep and profound state of relaxation. The system was developed around the 1920s by Dr. Edmund Jacobson, who based it on his discovery that a muscle can be very easily relaxed if one is to first apply tension to it for several seconds, and afterwards release it. Doing this in a systematic pattern throughout the body will eventually put you in a state of deep relaxation, which is capable of assisting you in dealing with various health conditions and issues.

The original system encompassed around 200 unique muscle relaxation exercises, but it’s not required to practice all of them if you want to achieve good progress with the technique – in most cases, doing around twenty will do you just fine, and you should be able to experience the full benefits of the system. One of the best things about the progressive muscle relaxation technique is that, by eliminating muscle tension, you’ll feel much more free and unconstrained as a whole.

The technique isn’t difficult to perform, and won’t take up much of your time either – in most cases, doing it for around 20-30 minutes daily should be more than enough. Take note that proper relaxation is a sort of a skill in itself, so you’ll get better at it as time goes – you’ll find that in the beginning, most of your time is spent trying to actually induce the state of relaxation, while later on you’ll be able to enjoy its effects for longer, as it will take you much less time to produce the desired effect.

It’s important that you have a proper schedule for it and that you stick to it strictly – set apart a specific time of the day for performing the exercises, and try not to deviate from it even by minutes – this will attribute to your body getting used to the technique much quicker. It’s also crucial that you pick your environment appropriately – you don’t want to practice this in a place that gets you tense and nervous. Make sure you’re in a secluded place, preferably dark. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re far away from technology.

Your posture will determine the results of your exercises a lot, so practice until you get it perfect – if you know how to sit up straight and align your body properly, you’ll be able to get your entire body relaxed much quicker.

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.

Breathing Techniques for Relaxation

 Fitness Tips, Health  Comments Off on Breathing Techniques for Relaxation
May 112010
 

Breathing is one of the most important aspects of any relaxation practice. Without learning to control your breathing properly, you shouldn’t expect to be able to properly induce a state of relaxation on your body and heal yourself by healing your mind. However, before learning some of the more advanced breathing techniques, one should really take the time to familiarize themselves with the very basics of breathing – something which many people believe they already know, when in fact they don’t.

So what’s so special about breathing properly? To learn how to do it, you need to lie down, and relax your entire body with your arms by your side and your legs pointing forward, slightly spread apart. Then, begin slowly breathing in through your nose. This is an important point – you’re given a nose for a reason. It contains many little hairs which are there to catch dust and other particles, preventing them from getting inside your airways. Thus, always breathe in through the nose and not through the mouth when you can.

Now, the crucial part of breathing properly is to actually use your whole lungs, and not just the upper parts as most people do – when you’re breathing, take note of how your body is moving. You should see your abdomen rising with every inhalation, while your chest sinks slightly – likewise, when you’re exhaling, your abdomen should lower itself slightly while your chest will rise. You may notice that only your chest seems to be moving when you’re breathing – this is an indication that you’re doing it wrong. Practice until you feel you’re performing the technique correctly.

To perform a deeper breathing, you’ll need to breathe mainly through your abdomen. To do this, place your hands on your body – one on the chest and one on the abdomen – and use them to feel where your breathing is going. You should not raise the hand that’s on your chest at all, or raise it as little as possible, while your abdomen hand should go up and down rhythmically. You should do this in sessions of 5-10 minutes, and repeat it every day when possible to achieve the best results and get the most benefits out of it.

There’s also a technique called imaginative breathing which has been known to greatly improve any person’s state of well-being if applied properly. To do it, you’ll first need to lie down as we described earlier. This time though, place your hands on your chest, around your solar plexus. Close your eyes and begin breathing deeply, as you imagine the following picture in the same time: your body is filled with energy with every inhalation, and this energy rushes out to fill the body. Likewise, every time you exhale, the energy gets spread out across your body. Keep imagining this as best as you can, and repeat this procedure every day for several minutes for best effect – after a few days, you should notice a definite sign of improvement in your mental condition.

Maintaining a Healthy Resting Heart Rate

 Fitness Tips  Comments Off on Maintaining a Healthy Resting Heart Rate
Apr 032010
 

One of the ways to determine how healthy you are, roughly, is to examine your resting heart rate – or in other terms, how fast your heart beats when you’re not excited or performing any serious physical tasks. Generally, this rate lies in a certain range for most people, and examining it can be a good way to indicate potential complications with your health. But to do that efficiently, you first need to know what your regular resting heart should be.

For adults, the general standard for a resting heart rate to be considered “normal” falls between 60 and 80 beats per minute. Now, this is just a rough figure, and the actual one can depend on various factors. In most cases though, anything below 50 bpm can be considered an indication of a condition known as bradycardia, and on the other hand rates higher than 100 bpm may indicate tachycardia – more on these conditions later.

If you’re leading a life where you’re constantly training though, some lower levels could be normal for you – as a good example, Lance Armstrong, a cyclist, has a resting heart rate of about 32 bpm – quite low compared to the regular ones among adults, yet he’s completely healthy. The same goes for anyone regularly exercising, too – if you’re such a person, you’ll likely observe greatly lowered resting rates overall.

A low resting heart rate is not always healthy though – the condition bradycardia, characterized by such low rates, can lead to severe complications in your health, and even lead up to death. This is because your heart isn’t getting enough blood pumped into it, and you eventually suffer from symptoms similar to a heart attack. Other symptoms associated with a low resting heart rate are commonly running out of breath, fainting from time to time, and it can occasionally be fatal, if deep enough.

To ensure your heart isn’t headed for any complications, always go for regular check-ups at a doctor. Your personal doctor should be well-aware of your regular resting heart rate, and will be able to tell if something’s changed that should raise your suspicion. Remember, your heart is one of your most vital organs, and neglecting it could only lead to complications later on – that’s why you need to pay extra special attention to it. Don’t tell yourself that there’s nothing wrong, and just go for your regular check-ups – as annoying as they may be, they’re one of the best ways to prevent any complications in your health!

Also, it can be a good idea to buy an electronic wristwatch with an integrated heart rate monitor – those aren’t very expensive, and are commonly used by athletes to measure their body status on the go. If you can get your hands on one, this should also greatly improve your exercises as a whole, as you’ll be able to know when you’re at the peak of your performance, and likewise, when you need to pick up the pace.

Are the Costs of a Personal Trainer Worth It?

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Apr 032010
 

The most commonly pondered aspect of hiring a personal trainer are surely the associated costs. Many are aware that they’ll have to pay substantial amounts of money for a high-quality service, but not many are sure that the money will be worth it in their specific case. There are several things to consider before hiring a personal trainer – and if you’re careful enough in thinking about it, you may find out that hiring one is not the suitable action for you anyway!

First, think of what your goals are – you most probably want to lose weight. In that case, is your situation serious? A personal trainer will be someone you’ll end up working with for quite a while, so hiring them for a one-time short thing like losing a few pounds is really unsuitable. If, on the other hand, you have a serious obesity problem, a personal trainer can greatly benefit you in taking the right path to becoming slim – all that matters is how much work you’ll have to put into losing weight.

Sometimes, people need personal trainers for more specific reasons – for example, learning a sport. Here, there are also several factors to consider – what kind of sport do you want to learn? It if’s a team-based one, you should most probably sign up for a class instead, as you’ll never get the hang of it individually.

The above paragraph may sound like unneeded tips, but you’d be amazed at how many people are trying to master football and basketball with a personal trainer – sure, it can help you develop the individual techniques more precisely, and it will definitely improve your game when it comes to basketball, but in the end, the best thing to do is play it with other people, and you can still be supervized by a coach if you want to.

One of the main reasons for getting a personal trainer though, is motivation – this seems to be a very serious problem for some people, as they find it hard to maintain a positive way of thinking when going through a harsh workout process. In these cases, hiring a personal trainer can have great benefits for you, as those people are usually specially trained to help deal with motivation issues.

And since you’re wondering about whether or not it’s worth paying the money – you should look at things simply mathematically. Calculate how much you’ll end up paying at a gym, complete with an instructor and everything else they offer – in the long run, you’ll likely find the personal trainer to be a more money-efficient option. Even if it still seems more expensive, remember the amount of time you’ll be able to save by using the services of such a person – and time is surely a resource you can’t measure the price of easily.

Scouting the Local Gyms

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Apr 032010
 

Locating a quality gym in your local neighborhood can be a tricky task if you haven’t done it before. Most inexperienced trainees usually roam the streets until they see a gym, and then simply sign up for it. Doing that can end up costing you a lot of money though, as it may turn out that you’ve signed up for a low quality, yet expensive place. To avoid such situations, you can simply use your common sense along with some simple rules.

First, word of mouth is a very powerful tool for this sort of thing – if a certain place has a reputation, be it positive or negative, you’ll quickly find out by simply asking around your friends from the neighborhood who’ve been there. This is the simplest, yet often most effective step in finding the place you’re going to visit.

However, there’s a common mistake that lures every beginner, more or less – people always seem to lean towards gyms located close to their homes. While this makes sense – you need to have convenience, after all – you shouldn’t go for the one that’s five minutes away from your place. The reason – a 10-15 minute walk can serve as a very nice warm-up and can help you get ready for your workout. This way you’ll be saving time when you’re actually at the gym, as you may not even need to warm up there at all.

Having a training partner can make a huge difference on your performance, so ask your friends and neighbors if anyone’s currently visiting a gym or planning on doing so soon. The gender normally doesn’t matter, but try to pick someone from your own – some gyms restrict men and women and separate them in different areas, plus you’ll be able to more directly exchange experience and information if your body types are similar.

Since you’ll be in the neighborhood anyway, try to pick a place that allows you to fit your workout with your other everyday tasks. Not everybody realizes how much time can be saved if you, for example, do your weekly shopping on the way home from the gym. Try to think of other things which you do close to home, and figure out which are most suitable for merging with your training as described above.

Don’t limit yourself to one place if you’re not satisfied though – sometimes you won’t make the right choice from the beginning. Don’t get discouraged, simply look around until you’ve found something else that suits your needs. And remember that in some cases, solving your problem can be as simple as talking to the gym’s staff and explaining it to them in a civilized manner.

Last but not least, if you don’t have any local gyms to consider, get a bicycle and expand your definition of “local” – surely no matter where you live, there’ll be a good gym a short ride away from your home!

Target Heart Rate – Knowing Yours

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Apr 032010
 

When you’re working out, several changes take place in your body, all of which benefit its health and improve the well-being of most of your organs. One of these effects is the increase in your heart rate, something which is most pronounced in the so-called “cardio” exercises, or the ones that concentrate their effects on your heart and blood vessels. While many know that the increased heart rate is a positive change, not that many are aware of how to accurately measure the precise rate at which they’re getting the most benefits of their exercise – also known as the Target Heart Rate, or THR for short.

One’s Target Heart Rate cannot be determined by using a simple formula, as it depends on many factors, including your gender, age, current physical conditions, as well as any prior training you’ve gone through. Generally though, you’d be going for a heart rate that is well over 100, but the precise number can also vary greatly.

For example, someone in their 30s who’s wishing to push themselves to a moderate level should look at a rate of about 115 beats per minute (or bpm). On the other hand, if that person was looking for a nearly maximum increase in intensity, they should go for something that’s quite above 150 bpm – so you can see the drastic difference that arises from setting different goals for yourself.

Numerous formulas can be used to approximate the number, but none of them can give you a 100% accurate result – so you should take everything with a pinch of salt. The Karvonen formula is one of the most commonly used for this purpose.

In all cases, you should go for something above 110 if you want your body to experience any benefits, especially weight loss. What happens at these increased heart rates, is that your heart starts pumping a lot more blood, delivering more oxygen to your organs. This reflects on your lungs, which need to produce more oxygen, and therefore you start running out of breath. The increased flow of oxygen to the organs is highly beneficial for them, as it helps them work faster and more efficiently.

This all reflects most noticeably on your metabolism, which enters a state where it burns fat a lot faster than usual, and leads to severely increased weight loss. Even though nobody can usually keep up at the pace required to keep this up for more than a few minutes, this is usually well enough to get a large effect on your health, burning lots of fat and bringing you closer to your weight goal.

Of course, knowing your Target Heart Rate is one thing, but being able to push your body there is completely different – and you should also know that going over your THR is not really recommended, as you’ll be wasting your body’s resources this way – remaining at your THR while working out is usually the most beneficial for your weight loss.

Fitness Tips for Senior Citizens

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Apr 032010
 

No matter how old you are, there’s always room for improvement – especially when it comes to your health! So many people sink into the thoughts of becoming old and weak and stop even putting any effort into their well-being – in the end though, it’s all up to you how well you’ll feel. Unless you have some more serious condition, you should be able to do a good variety of exercises to maintain a healthy tone.

You should keep some things in mind when you’re doing your workouts, of course. First, remember that age still does have some effect on you – it won’t prevent you from working out, but it will take some consideration on your side. Start out your exercises slowly, don’t make any sudden movements. Warm up properly and stretch as much as you can, as your body usually tends to stiffen up more regularly.

People in their later years are usually more prone to injury, too – so, if you currently suffer from one, no matter long-term or short, under no circumstances should you perform a workout – that can have a seriously adverse effect on your health. Also, in this line of thought, observe your own health closely – as soon as you notice something odd, stop.

To make sure you’re making positive progress and not harming yourself by contributing to an unknown condition, get yourself regularly checked up at a doctor to make sure. Like we said earlier, the most important aspect of keeping your health up as a senior citizen is attention – observing your health in all possible aspects so that you can notice something odd. Don’t take this lightly, and don’t ignore it by no means – it’s not like it’s a difficult task anyway, all you need to do is keep an eye out on your health and that’s it.

As a senior, you can also greatly benefit from psychological motivation, if not more than the physical one. There have been various studies that have indicated that the main reason for people feeling unenergetic as they grow older lies in their mindset, and not so much in the body’s physical characteristics – though improving your HGH supplies can never go wrong as well if you’re aiming at perfect health at these years.

Some more unconventional methods of working out can also have a hugely positive impact on your health – consider taking up yoga, for example. It may be a bit challenging at first, as your body is still getting used to the exercises, but once you get going you’ll find out how enjoyable it is to practice yoga on a regular basis, and you’ll also notice how much it will impact you in a positive manner. Although, try to visit a yoga class that specializes in your age range specifically – there are some subtle differences in the way you’ll be performing the exercises at different ages, and it’s best if someone gievs you tips that are geared towards your own health status.

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.

5 Tips for Keeping Healthy

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Apr 032010
 

Everyone strives for the perfect, healthy lifestyle – however, achieving it is not always that obvious. Knowing how to live healthy is an entire science in itself, and hardly anyone is familiar with its ins and outs to the maximum. However, if you familiarize yourself with just the most basic concepts, you’ll already be making substantial progress in living a better, healthier life. To make it easier for you, we’ve collected some good ideas on what you can do to keep your body’s health status up.

1) Get rid of refined sugars. This is one of the biggest problems with today’s society – the amount of refined sugars we consume is tremendous, and their effects on your health are probably even worse than you’re imagining. It may be hard to get used to living a life without this type of food, but look at it on the bright side – it can be replaced very easily with other things, and you’ll be doing yourself a HUGE favor in the process, too!

2) Water is your best friend. This should really be made public knowledge in a somewhat more efficient way. Sure, everyone is aware that you need to drink water to survive, but very few actually realize that water should be drank not only when you’re feeling thirsty, but throughout the whole day as well. It will benefit you in many ways, mainly by allowing your organs to perform their functions more efficiently.

3) Get regular check-ups. You can hardly keep track of your health condition yourself – unless you’re a professional in this area, but then again you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if that was the case. For this reason, get yourself a thorough medical examination at least once a year – yes, we know it’s bothersome and you probably feel fine, but it only takes a few hours for the entire year, and it will let you know if something’s wrong with you right away.

4) Refrain from using medications when you’re sick. Today, medicaments are so widely available, people naturally spring for the pill bottle at the slightest sign of something going wrong with their health. However, by stuffing yourself with chemicals, you’re slowly but surely causing your body’s immune system to deteriorate.

If you get sick, it’s the immune system’s job to treat you – and it gets better at it every time it happens. Think of it like a “training” for the immune system. By solving the problem with medications, you’re depriving it of that training and getting it adjusted to letting medications do its work.

5) Try to find a way to work out throughout the year. Many people tend to pause their exercise routines during the winter season when it gets cold and is usually unsuitable for things like jogging. But admit it, you’re only looking for an excuse – you know the gym is indoors and heated, so grab your gym bag and go pump some weights! The winter is actually a great time to build muscle mass without worrying too much about defining it, as you’re usually covered in clothes anyway.

What Are the Benefits of Jogging?

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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.