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Monthly Archives: November 2017

Guide to Start a Walking Program

The most important piece of equipment you will need is a good pair of walking or running shoe. Most shoe stores and sporting goods stores should be able to supply you with a good selection.  You may also want to think about getting yourself a pedometer. Pedometers are handy little gadgets that can measure your distance and time and help you keep track of your progress.

Why am I walking?

Now that you have your equipment and are ready to go, it might be nice to know why you are starting a walking program. The health benefits of walking are many and include the following:

  • Helps with weight loss.
  • Helps to reduce blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Relieves stress
  • Boosts overall energy levels
  • Strengthens the heart and reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Studies have shown that walking relieves depression and anxiety
  • Strengthens your body
  • Burns almost the same amount of calories as running

How should I start?

Since walking uses almost all 650 of your muscles it is a very good idea to warm up before you begin a walk. This will loosen up your body and help to avoid injury.

How long should I walk?

You should build up to walking for about one hour. Your current fitness level will determine the length and time of your first walk. Some people will only be able to walk around the block, others will able to walk the full hour. Do what you feel comfortable with and build from that point. Keep a log to measure your progress. As you become fitter, increase the pace and distance.

Personally, I like to measure my walks in distance. A pedometer will be of great assistance. Measuring your walk in distance helps to compensate for days when you might walk a little slower or faster. After your first few walks try to achieve a brisk pace where you may be puffing a little but you can still talk. Remember, there is not much difference in the amount of energy (calories) expended by walking or running a specified distance.

After you have finished your walk don’t forget to cool down. Try to spend about 5 minutes walking slowly. This will allow your heart, lungs and blood flow to return to normal gradually. This decreases strain on your heart and can help to prevent muscle strain and soreness.

Great Workout Tips

# Tone up on the Treadmill.

Save time at the gym or even at home, with this 10 minute cardio/sculpt session. Hop on a treadmill holding a three to five pound treadmill in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. It’s a great upper body workout and gets your rear going. do this two or 3 times a week. As you improve work up to four-minute sets.

# Chart your progress.

Continue to motivate yourself by using something to measure your progress by. Write down: Flexibility, cardio and weights. Set goals for each of these and them grade yourself.Do this at least 5-6 times a year to see where you are in your goals. You will see improvement!

# Power up your runs.

Add wall sits to the end of every run that will build up and strengthen your quads, hams and glutes. It will also improve your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall until your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds: Work up to doing 10 sets. Challenge yourself by adding heel raises. Life your left heel and then the right, then lift both at once.

# All-in-one Toner.

Try a side-step squat with a ball that works your arms, abs,torso,legs,inner thighs and butt. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart holding a 3-4 pound medicine ball in your hands. Bend your arms up so that the ball is at eye level over your right shoulder. As you bring the balls towards your left knee, step out with your left leg straight. Return to the starting position. Do 10-15 reps and repeat on the other leg.

# Break out the snow shovel.

If you are lucky enough to have snow, don’t pay someone to shovel it for you. Get to work yourself. Shoveling snow not only burns 400 calories per hour, Shoveling snow develops muscular endurance and power. Be sure to be very careful in the slippery snow and bend from you knees and hips not your back.

# Work out while working.

I am sure you have heard of this one, Sit on a stability ball while working at your desk. This will strengthen your core. Try and squeeze in shoulder presses and ab crunches.

# Jump Rope.

One of the best cardio workouts is jump-rope. Doing the following you will burn about 26 calories a minute. Do a basic jump for 5 minutes and then jump twice as high and turn the ropes twice as fast so it passes under your feet twice before you land. This takes timing and patience. You will get in shape just by working at it.

# You cannot be perfect.

You don’t have to be perfect to get results. Follow the 80/20 plan. 80 percent of the time eat well and exercise regularly. For the remaining 20, let yourself eat at holidays or lunch with friends. If you think it is all or nothing you are less likely to stick with it.

# Make over your running routine.

Unless you’re training for a marathon, skip long, slow distance running. Sprinting builds more muscle. Add a few 10 to 60 second sprint to your run. Slow down just long enough to catch your breath then do it again.

# Don’t eliminate carbs.

Your body needs them for energy. If you need added energy for a workout, eat some carbs about an hour before. Your best bets are low fat cheese with crackers, trail mix, or a half a PB&J sandwich.

Abdominal Exercises Myths

Myth 1

Just doing some midsection exercises can reduce your “love handles”.

Fact

You cannot reduce fat from a certain targeted area of your body just by using exercise alone.

And the abdominal area is no exception.

So if you want to get a flat stomach and to reveal your abs, losing the fat covering them is the way to go.

And the only way to do this is to lose fat proportionately from your entire body by burning more calories than you consume.

How? By doing these two things:

1) Have a healthy and balanced permanent diet: dark green vegetables, fresh fruits, whole wheat and whole grain products, non-fat dairy products, fish, poultry breast, lean red meat, egg white.

Yes, you should cut out all sugar, soda, non-whole grain products and saturated fats: these aliments should only be a reward for achieving a goal, not a habit!

2) Start exercising

Aerobic and weight training will raise your metabolic rate. In result, your body will burn more calories.

* aerobic exercising

3 times per week, practice an exercise that keeps your heart rate elevated for at least 30-45 minutes (ex: walking, running, cycling, swimming, aerobics, etc)

* weight training

Alternate days of aerobics with weight training. You will build muscles that will burn more calories, even when at rest!

Myth 2

You have to do tons of crunches.

Fact

Overuse of crunches will only shorten your abs, pull your head forward and gives you a bad posture. Do you really want to looks like Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame?

Any standing exercise that will contract your abs will do but you should specifically target your lower back to strengthen the muscles that support your spine.

The easiest exercise is sucking the gut in, also known as the “stomach vacuum” :

1. Exhale. Suck your gut in.

2. Maintain the contraction for 10 to 20 seconds.

3. Repeat 10 to 15 times, as often as you like throughout the day (for example while in the shower, sitting at your desk, while driving or in the bus).

Effective Exercise Regimen

The most effective exercise regimen includes both strength training and cardiovascular (aerobic) training in a consistent, regular program.

– 2-4 days of strength training and

– 2-5 days of aerobic activity; or

– 3-4 days of circuit training.

Every safe and effective exercise program should consist of three elements. In order, they are:

– Warm Up

– Work Out

– Cool Down

Warm Up

Always warm up before exercising. People who do not warm up before exercising are the ones who usually end up sustaining injuries. Protect your neck, back, spine, and joints. Get the blood and juices flowing and wake up your muscles gradually through a series of stretches and preliminary sets using reduced resistance. This is one time when “going through the motions” can be extremely beneficial.

Strength Work Out

Perform at least one set of 8-12 reps to near fatigue for each muscle group in the body (chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abs, thighs, hamstrings, and calves) a minimum of two times per week. Your goal should be to work up to doing three sets (increasing the resistance for each successive set) with 30-60 seconds of rest between each set.

Start out slowly.. By doing additional sets or combinations of sets you can realize even greater strength and body shaping gains. Following are some basic guidelines useful for all strength training exercises:

– Perform each exercise smoothly and evenly through the whole range of motion in a slow, controlled manner. Never jerk or lunge.

– Breathe. Exhale against the resistance; inhale on the return. Do not hold your breath.

– Always resist the Power Bands back to the starting position for each exercise. This provides a training effect in both directions.

– Increase the resistance for successive sets by 5%-10%. In general, increase the resistance when 12 repetitions can be completed in proper form; decrease the resistance when less than 8 reps can be completed.

– Replace fluids lost while exercising by drinking water at regular intervals during exercise. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink.

– Rest a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 96 hours between training sessions using the same muscle groups.

Aerobic Work Out

An exercise is classified as aerobic if the oxygen supply is sufficient to meet the oxygen demand of the working muscles during the exercise. When this occurs, it’s possible to continue the exercise for prolonged periods of time (12 minutes or more). Another aspect of aerobic exercise is that it engages the large muscle groups, principally those of the legs, continuously over the length of the exercise. Brisk walking, running, jogging, cycling, rowing, jumping rope, etc. are examples of aerobic exercise.

You can achieve an aerobic training effect by performing aerobic exercise for a minimum of 12 minutes during which your heart rate has been elevated to within your training range. The training range is between 65% and 80% of your Age-Predicted Maximum Heart Rate (approximately 220 minus your age). Remember: It takes a few minutes of exercise to elevate your heart rate into the training range and this time does not count toward the minimum 12 minutes.

Circuit Training Work Out

Circuit training consists of a series of strength training exercises, commonly interspersed with short episodes of aerobic exercise, all done one after the other with as little time between each exercise as possible.

The object is to perform strength training exercises on the major muscle groups while maintaining an effective aerobic training level. Circuit training takes significantly less time to achieve results comparable to separate programs of strength training and aerobics.

Since lack of time is the number one reason people give for failing to start or maintain a regular exercise program, circuit training is a method that makes sense. And SmartGYM, with its revolutionary new design that allows simultaneous aerobic and strength training, is the ideal circuit training machine.

Cool Down

Never quit exercising suddenly. Instead, decrease your intensity gradually and finish up with some stretching movements to allow your heart rate to come back down to normal, nice and easy. This can help to reduce muscle cramping and post exercise muscle pain.