November 20, 2012 | Filed Under Exercise, Healthy Lifestyle, Stretching, Tips for Beginners, Workout Tips, Workouts | No Comments
Learn how to keep injuries at bay while working out.
While working out in the gym can help you get in better shape, doing the wrong things can inevitably lead to unwanted injuries. Since no one wants to get hurt while trying to tone their thighs, flatten their belly or build muscle, you need to know the most common ways you can injure yourself so that you can effectively prevent making these mistakes. So, what are the easiest ways to turn your healthy workout into a disaster? Here are some of them:
- Skipping your warm up. It may be tempting to skip the warm up part of your routine and dive head-on into your workout, especially when you’re pressed for time. Well, to tell you the truth, you are putting yourself in harm’s way if you choose to do this. Keep in mind that warm up exercises are there for a reason. They work by preparing your mind and body for the task ahead and by improving the elasticity of your muscles to prevent injuries. This is what a healthy workout is all about.
- Not using the proper form. Using bad form not only compromises your workout, it also puts you at a greater risk for injury. So, whether you are doing cardio workouts or weight training exercises, you need to use the proper form at all times. When lifting weights, keep your back straight when bending at the hips, don’t lock the joints or bend your knees excessively, and keep your head and neck as still as possible. Also, consider using proper fitness gloves since they provide additional comfort as you perform these muscle building exercises.
- Going past your limit. To get the most benefits from a healthy workout, you need to know your limits. Don’t try to make up for lost time by overexerting yourself. This won’t do you any good and may cause harmful strain to muscles and tendons that can lead to pulls, tears, or snaps, not to mention dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.
- Lifting excessively heavy weights. This can increase your risk of straining your muscles and/or injuring your back, shoulders and knees. Weight training is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. You need to work your way up to heavier weights in a gradual manner to build true strength and endurance.
- Doing the same routine. Doing the same exercises over and over again can lead to overuse injury so consider varying your workout. Try to modify your moves, or work only certain muscle on alternate days, or revamp your total workout routine. Not only will it prevent boredom, but also prevent overuse injuries.
Image By: Fort Rucker
April 30, 2012 | Filed Under Stretching, Workout Tips | No Comments
It’s no secret that heavy lifting and the drop-down method build muscle mass, and that increased muscle mass can interfere with flexibility and range of motion. Muscle mass also doesn’t always equate to strength. As professional body-builders know, increased mass results from hypertrophy, or the microscopic tearing and scarring of overtaxed muscle fibers, and hypertrophy may have little to do with increases in strength and conditioning.
So how can we round out a lifting regimen with moves that will build real strength, increase our flexibility, improve blood flow, and elevate the focus and concentration that contribute to athletic performance? Yoga is a great place to start.
Yoga and Athletic Performance
Yoga uses basic principles of stretching combined with additional elements that support breathing and circulation. And most yoga poses also help us build and strengthen the “rails”, the minuscule muscle interactions that are often unconscious and contribute to subtle elements of performance like balance and coordination.
But since adding yoga to your workout routine comes with very little cost and no risk, the best way to examine its benefits is to simply start doing it. Find an excellent yoga instructor in your area, or attend the classes that may be offered at your gym. If you can’t find a yoga resource near you, search the internet for descriptions of basic poses and stretches. The quality of yoga instruction matters—an excellent teacher can help you obtain the benefits of a yoga habit faster. But it’s perfectly okay to strike out on your own.
Recognize that yoga requires discipline, and that it should be done along with, not in place of, your regular training routine. But after a few sessions, you’ll recognize how great your body feels after 30 minutes to an hour of yoga instruction. And it won’t be long before you see the effect of these sessions on your performance.
March 30, 2012 | Filed Under Stretching, Workout Tips | No Comments
A sleek, tight midsection and a set of chiseled six pack abs look great on anyone, and a strong core can support workouts designed to target almost every other area of the body. Not only can tight abs help you look great and feel great, they can improve your posture and help your back stay strong and injury-resistant.
Lean abs can also have a positive impact on overall health, since stomach fat isn’t quite like other forms of fat. While the subcutaneous fat that lies elsewhere on the body is designed to store fuel and not much else, the fat cells of the stomach generate a variety of hormone and chemical signals that affect the function of the vital organs right next to them. This can mean trouble, especially for the liver, which controls insulin resistance. Too much abdominal fat can contribute to insulin related problems including metabolic disease and diabetes.
So look out, Potbelly! It’s time to trim down that torso once and for all. Here are few tips to keep in mind as you get to work:
1.Crunches are a great place to start, but make sure you vary your moves in order to maintain balanced muscle development and prevent boredom. Try planks, scissor kicks, and bicycles. When you’re ready, head for the dip bar and pull your knees up to your chest while your body is suspended above the ground.
2.Be persistent and patient. Abdominal fat can be stubborn. Remember that while thousands of crunches will tone your ab muscles, fat loss can’t be targeted to specific areas of the body. When fat comes off, it comes off according to the body’s own mysterious plan. So bring your Gripads to the gym and don’t neglect the cardio and weight training elements of your workout routine.
3.Most ab workout moves depend on the body’s own weight and gravity to create resistance, so as you get stronger, ab exercises become easier. Don’t plateau; instead, keep increasing your reps and finding ways to ad resistance to your moves.
October 15, 2011 | Filed Under Stretching, Workout Routines | No Comments
Stretching before and after a period of exertion was once considered part of a simple equation: The more limber our muscles, the better our performance. A few lunges and hamstring stretches would start the routine, and away we would go.
But in recent years, the formula for proper stretching has become more complex. The wrong kind of stretching with bouncing and twisting elements can cause back trouble, and some studies have even shown that too much stretching performed on cold muscles can actually increase the risk of injury during some activities.
The general formula for proper stretching before and after a workout seems to settle on the idea that cold muscles are like cold taffy. If they’re gently warmed before athletes engage in sustained stretching movements guided by common sense, muscle fibers lengthen and loosen. Oxygen delivery to muscle tissue improves and workout benefits increase.
Stretching should not be painful or abrupt. The process should feel good, and the muscles you plan to engage the most should receive additional attention before your workout routine. If you’ll be lifting weights or targeting the back, abs, obliques, or legs, make sure these areas are warmed gently and then stretched for at least a few minutes before you slip on your Gripads and begin your reps. And when your routine ends, whether it involved weight training, aerobic exercise or both, take a few minutes to stretch your muscle fibers again. Increasing circulation to taxed muscles not only feels good, it may ease your soreness later on.
When it’s done properly, stretching should have a pleasant, lasting effect that you can feel throughout the workout and into the day, especially if you stretch often. For pointers on your stretching technique, sign up for a yoga class or get a few tips from a professional trainer.
September 18, 2011 | Filed Under Stretching, Workout Routines | No Comments
So you’ve decided to start working out for the first time, or maybe you already exercise enough for maintenance, but you’re ready to take your cardio or resistance training workout to the next level. Exercise feels great, and you’ve already seen the benefits. Your body is leaner, you’re more alert, your outlook is brighter, and you sleep better at night.
Maybe you stretch lightly before heading out on a run, but should you also be stretching before you begin your resistance training? And what about stretching in general—Should you start your day with a few minutes of yoga whether you plan to work out later or not?
The simple answer is yes. Stretching and yoga are excellent ways to improve circulation throughout the body and maximize the benefits of any healthy routine. A few minutes of yoga in the morning can help you face the day with a positive outlook, and the benefits to your breathing and posture can stay with you and help you stay energized all day long. Stretching in the morning can also set your day on a positive path in unconscious ways. A few minutes of focus on body and health can subtly steer you toward healthier decisions (like taking the stairs) for the rest of the day.
Intense stretching before a workout can also be beneficial, but bear in mind that muscle tissue is dense and has a unique consistency that can sometimes be compared to taffy. It helps to warm the tissue and boost circulation before stretching vigorously. Avoid tugging too abruptly on cold muscles, since this will limit the benefits of your stretch and cause miniscule tears that may take time to heal. Instead, do a few light movements first within a comfortable range of motion, or take a light jog to warm your muscles before leaning fully into your stretch.