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Category Archives: Fitness

Risk Factors that May be Causing Pain in Your Lower Back

1. Muscle imbalances: nearly every ache, pain, or injury people suffer from today are mostly caused from muscular imbalances. Over 80% of people have muscle imbalances that go undetected. Over time, these muscle imbalances will cause numerous muscle and joint problems such as wear and tear on the joints, which eventually leads to arthritis, bulging disc or back spasms. An imbalanced muscle is a weak muscle.These weak muscles cannot stabilize the joint in its socket causing the joint to become misaligned and move at a slightly incorrect angle or rotation. When these faulty movements are repeated hundreds of times, the joints, tendons and muscles begin to degenerate.

2. Poor posture: Today’s diverse clientele with varied needs offers a unique challenge to health and fitness professionals. The one-size-fits-all approach to exercise programs is commonly unproductive and potentially dangerous. Many injuries and chronic back pain is a result of cumulative affects overtime.

Faulty postures and poor body mechanics will cause lower back pain and be at least partially attributed to these same faults. Improper movements will cause micro trauma to the joints and soft tissues. You may experience pain initially maybe pain comes and goes and doesn’t get much attention but overtime the problem worsens and aching, pain, or stiffness begins more frequently.

Until you correct the problem not just the symptom your back will be prone to injury or re-injury. The problem (muscle imbalances) the symptoms (poor posture) the solution (Muscle Activation Techniques).

3. Not enough exercise: Inactivity can cause our muscles to shrink and lose strength. This is a natural process, but living an inactive lifestyle (no exercise) will accelerate the loss. Physical inactivity causes an average muscle loss of 5-7 pounds per decade. Strength training is a simple concept it involves briefly working your muscles, on a regular basis, a little more than they are accustomed to working.

This causes your muscles to become stronger and more toned. Also, your tendons, ligaments and bones will be strengthened. This strengthening will make your joints more stable and less prone to injury. Everyday tasks will become easier, such as picking up grocery bags or grandchildren, getting up from a low sofa or going up stairs.

Back Exercises Benefits

Back exercises are often prescribed effectively as an alternative to surgery. Doing daily back exercises can significantly reduce back pain related to a variety of common ailments. However, not every exercise is appropriate for some conditions and certain back exercises may even make the problem worse. This is why it’s important to check with your doctor about which exercises will help or hinder you.

One of the simpler back exercises that you can do is a pelvic tilt. Lie on your back with your feet flat and knees bent. Keep your legs together and cross your arms over your chest and then you are going to tilt your pelvis and push your low back to the floor. Slowly lift your buttocks off the floor as far as you can without straining your muscles. After maintaining the position for about 5 seconds, slowly lower your buttocks back to the floor.

Of course there are many other back exercises that can help strengthen your back and alleviate pain, you will just need to experiment to see what your back can handle. If an exercise doesn’t make you feel better, or worse yet, causes further back strain, then you should move on to another exercise that is better suited for your particular back problems. If you can avoid surgery by alleviating your pain through exercise then you will not have wasted a moment with back exercises. Working with your doctor or physical therapist to reach that goal is certainly going to be in your back’s best interest.

Tips to Exercising With Kids

Infant through pre-school

  • Fit in exercise time while they are napping. Try a home exercise video, walking or jogging (if you have a treadmill), jumping rope.
  • Occupy them for even 15 minutes with a video or toy while you do some toning exercises like squats and tricep dips.
  • Grab your stroller and go for a brisk walk*. Or, buy a jogging stroller for more flexibility. With a jogging stroller you can walk faster, jog or even run at a fast pace. And, for veteran rollerbladers, you can even use the stroller for some skating time.
  • For younger children, you can use a back carrier to transport them while walking. This can burn even more calories as the extra weight makes it more challenging.
  • Turn on some music and dance together. Toddlers love dancing, especially when their parents joins in.
  • Push your kid on a swing. And, after every push complete one squat.
  • Use an infant carrier or bike trailer to enjoy a bike ride together.

Grade School

  • Try rollerblading or skating together.
  • Spend an afternoon at a park with a playground, but don’t spend the whole time relaxing on the sidelines – join in on the fun. Spend some time swinging to help workout your legs. Try making it across the monkey bars – even just once (it’s a great upper body workout and you’ll be amazed that your kid does it with such little ease). Try some pull-ups using a bar on the playset. Do some tricep dips on a nearby park bench.
  • Play catch with a ball or get a small group together for a kickball or softball game.
  • Make Saturdays family bike outing day.
  • Involve your kids while you strength train. Let them count your reps out loud for you and/or clock your rest time in-between sets.
  • For pool outings, don’t just spend time soaking up the sun. Walk back and forth in shallow water while your kids have fun splashing about.
  • On rainy days that force you inside, walk or run up and down the stairs. You might even make it a contest to see who can finish 5 complete rounds first.


  • Register for a fun run (or walk) event and spend time together training for the event.
  • Purchase a family gym membership and workout together weekly.
  • Play tennis or basketball together.
  • Consider joining a community volleyball or softball team that includes enthusiasts of all ages.
  • Don’t just sit and cheer your kids at their sporting events. Every few minutes do some walking or jumping jacks or squats.
  • Implement a daily family walk each day before or after dinner.
  • Work together in the yard raking leaves, planting flowers, trimming trees.

Aerobic Exercise and Weight-Training

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise burns energy and oxygen, through continuous movement of the largest muscles in your body (your thigh muscles). Aerobic activities include bicycling, swimming, jogging, and (a great one for beginners or those who are recovering from illness) walking. If you’re just starting, try 10 minutes a day four days and increase as it feels comfortable until you’re exercising 30 to 60 minutes. Some people find that adding variety to their program (a new route every day; alternating classes and stationary biking) keeps them motivated.

Finding the right pace for aerobic exercise is important. Rambling at too comfortable a pace may not maximize the benefits of aerobic exercising, but overdoing can make exercise “anaerobic” (non-oxygen burning). A good way to make sure you’re exercising aerobically is to measure your heart rate. After exercising, put your fingers (not your thumb!) across your wrist (palm up). Count the number of pulses you feel during 10 seconds, then multiply that by six to convert it to a one-minute heart rate. Keep your exercise heart rate to 55 percent to 80 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate (220 – your age)

If that’s too much math, you can estimate using the sing/talk test. While you’re exercising, carry on a conversation with your gym-buddy or (if you’re exercising at home) sing a song (“Yankee Doodle” works well). If you feel just as you would if not exercising, pick up the pace a tad. If you’re out of breath and having to puff after each word, you’re no longer in the aerobic range – cut back a bit to get the full exercise benefit.


Strength conditioning can include callisthenics, lifting free-weights, and machine-assisted lifting. Strength condition helps build muscles that can stabilize joints and may help prevent bone loss as you get older.

Strength conditioning seems to help weight loss. Conditioned muscle burns more calories even between aerobic exercise sessions. training seems to assist with retaining if you’re And if you’re on a reduced calorie (weight reduction) diet, weight training may help you lose more fat and less lean muscle.

Some women are nervous about weight bearing exercise because they are afraid of getting “too bulky” or looking “too masculine.” Not to worry: men make testosterone in large amounts, which may contribute to that sort of muscular development; women generally don’t respond to strength training the same way and are more likely to lose inches as they work out.

Tips to To Stretch Safely

# Start gently. When you’re first starting out, you may not be able to stretch your joints very far. Don’t push it or you may end up damaging your tendons, ligaments or muscles

# Stay gentle. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that the “no pain, no gain” method of stretching may destabilize your joints. Try a gentle stretch of the muscles you use for 10 to 30 seconds. If it hurts, there’s a reason.

# Match stretches to exercise. If you’re an avid dancer, make sure that your legs and ankles have been gently stretched; if you lift weights, stretch your arms and legs.

# Accommodate your history. If you’ve had a previous injury, make sure that your stretches accommodate rather than exacerbate it. Your doctor or a sports medicine practitioner can help you to finding the right stretches and will often have handouts showing you how to perform them.

Remember, before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your health care practitioner to tailor it to your needs, particularly if you are 40, have existing health issues or a prior significant injury, or have suffered in the past from heart disease or stroke.

Know the Reasons Why Should Stretching

Overcoming & Preventing Sports Injury

If you’re involved in the health & fitness industry, whether it be participating in your favourite sport, coaching, training or just keeping fit, you’ll know how annoying and debilitating a sports injury can be. In reality, when you have a sports injury you’re actually losing on two fronts. Firstly, you’re losing simply because your body has been hurt and now needs time and care to repair itself. And on top of this, you’re also losing the time you could have been putting into training and improving your sporting ability.

A sports injury is a bit like losing money. Not only do you lose whatever you were going to buy with that money, but you also have to work hard to make up the money you’ve lost. Take it from me; a sports injury is one of the most frustrating and debilitating occurrences that can happen to anyone who’s serious about their health, fitness, sport or exercise.

The Cold, Hard Facts

I recently read an article titled “Managing Sports Injuries” where the author estimated that over 27,000 American’s sprain their ankle every day. (And no, that’s not a typo, EVERY DAY!) On top of this, Sports Medicine Australia estimates that 1 in every 17 participants of sport and exercise are injured playing their favourite sport. This figure is even higher for contact sports like Football and Gridiron. However, the truly disturbing fact is that up to 50 percent of these injuries may have been prevented.

The Professionals Secret Weapon

While there are a number of basic preventative measures that will assist in the prevention of sports injury, there is one technique that has slowly been gaining in popularity. It’s still not used as often as it should be by the average sports participant, but with the professionals using it more and more, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to catch on. Before we dive into this little used technique for minimizing your likelihood of sports injury, let’s take a quick look at some other techniques to help you prevent sports injury.

So, Where Do You Start?

Most people are coming to understand both the importance and the benefits of a good warm-up. A correct warm-up will help to raise body temperature, increase blood flow and promote oxygen supply to the muscles. It will also help to prepare the mind, body, muscles and joints for the physical activity to come.

While warming-up is important, a good cool-down also plays a vital role in helping to prevent sports injury. How? A good cool-down will prevent blood from pooling in your limbs. It will also prevent waste products, such as lactic acid, building up in your muscles. Not only that, a good cool-down will help your muscles and tendons to relax and loosen, stopping them from becoming stiff and tight.

While preventative measures such as warming-up and cooling-down play a vital role in minimizing the likelihood of sports injury, other techniques such as obeying the rules, using protective equipment and plain common sense are all useful.

The One Technique to Cut Your Chance of Injury by More Than Half

So what is this magic technique? Why is it such a secret? And how come you haven’t heard of it before? Well chances are you have, and also, it’s not that secret and it’s definitely not magic. You’ve probably used this technique yourself at some point or at least seen others using it. But the real question is, how dedicated have you been to making this technique a consistent part of your athletic preparation?

What is it? STRETCHING. Yes, stretching. The simple technique of stretching can play an imperative role in helping you to prevent the occurrence of sports injury. Unfortunately stretching is one area of athletic preparation often neglected. Do not underestimate its benefits. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective. Stretching is a vital part of any exercise program and should be looked upon as being as important as any other part of your health and fitness.

In recent time the professionals have been getting more and more serious about stretching and ultimately, their flexibility. The coaches and trainers are just starting to realize how important flexible muscles are to helping prevent sports injury. Flexibility has often been neglected in the overall conditioning of modern athletes. It’s only now that its benefits are proving invaluable to all those serious about staying injury free.

How Does Stretching Prevent Injury?

One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase the length of both your muscles and tendons. This leads to an increased range of movement, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

If the muscles in your neck are tight and stiff this limits your ability to look behind or turn your head around. If for some reason your head is turned backwards, past its’ normal range of movement, in a football scrum or tackle for example, this could result in a muscle tear or strain. You can help to prevent this from happening by increasing the flexibility, and the range of movement, of the muscles and tendons in your neck.

And what about the muscles in the back of your legs? The Hamstring muscles. These muscles are put under a huge strain when doing any sort of sport which involves running and especially for sports which require kicking. Short, tight hamstring muscles can spell disaster for many sports people. By ensuring these muscles are loose and flexible, you’ll cut your chance of a hamstring injury dramatically.

How else can stretching help? While injuries can occur at any time, they are more likely to occur if the muscles are fatigued, tight and depleted of energy. Fatigued, tight muscles are also less capable of performing the skills required for your particular sport or activity. Stretching can help to prevent an injury by promoting recovery and decreasing soreness. Stretching ensures that your muscles and tendons are in good working order. The more conditioned your muscles and tendons are, the better they can handle the rigors of sport and exercise, and the less likely that they’ll become injured.

Change Your Body Faster with These Excercise

1. Lunges with a barbell. Properly executed, this exercise is the king (or queen) of total body reshaping exercises.

2. Interval Training. Start out performing your favorite cardiovascular exercise like jogging on the treadmill. Warm up at a low pace for 5 minutes, then increase the speed and the inclination 50 – 100% for 2 – 5 minutes, then decrease the speed back down to your slower pace for 2 minutes. After that, continue to alternate from your slow pace for 2 minutes to your fast pace for 5 minutes until you’ve completed your full 30 – 45 minute training session. Remember to monitor your pulse the whole time. And if you feel faint or dizzy at any point, stop immediately.

3. Indoor Rock Climbing. No other exercise will work as many muscles (both large and small) at the same time than using a Computerized Indoor Rock Climbing Wall!

4. 100 Rep Squats – while standing straight, in the squat position, holding either a pair or dumbbells at your sides or a light barbell across your shoulders (behind your neck) – you slowly squat to parallel, without using any jerking motions. Then when standing back up, you refrain from locking out your legs at the top position. Repeating this sequence for as many times as you possible can, up
to 100 reps. When you can perform 100 reps, you simply add more weight. If you need a break during the set of 100 reps – for health reasons – then take one – but before then, once you get back up continue where you left off until you’ve performed 100 reps. This type of volume training drives a massive amount of oxygenated blood throughout your entire body improving your endurance, melting body fat, cleaning out your lymphatic system, and boosting your metabolism.

100 Rep Squat Details :

Using a straight barbell or dumbbells, with very little weight and your feet flat on the floor spaced about 12 – 14 inches apart, bend into a full parallel squat position (as one of our friendly personal trainers to assist you the first time you try this one – and always use a smith machine or a squat rack for safety purposes).

Perform as many squats as you possibly can without stopping or altering your form. Then stop and rack the weight. Rest for 15 – 30 second (or until you catch your breath), then pick the weigh back up and continue until you need another short break.

Repeat this format until you’ve completed 100 repetitions. Your goal is to squat 100 repetitions in one set. Once you reach that goal, simply add 5 or 10 pound to the bar.

It’s important that you start this exercise with guidance first (Use a personal if you have access to one, not just anyone who is working out in the gym that day) and start with a very light weight, preferably just the weight of the bar.

I promise, if you keep your form strict, and you perform this exercise as outlined here, you’ll have one of the best lower body’s on your block (including the tightest rear-end around).

Why Exercise In The Morning?

# Over 90% of people who exercise *consistently*, exercise in the morning. If you want to exercise consistently, odds are in your favor if you exercise first thing in the morning.

# When you exercise early in the morning, it “jump starts” your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours! That means you’re burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning!

# When you exercise in the morning you’ll be *energized* for the day! Personally, I feel dramatically different on days when I have and haven’t exercised in the morning.

# Many people find that morning exercise “regulates” their appetite for the day – that they aren’t as hungry and that they make better food choices. Several people have told me that it puts them in a “healthy mindset.”

# If you exercise at about the same time every morning, and ideally wake-up at about the same time on a regular basis, your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms adjust to that.

Physiologically, some wonderful things begin to happen; A couple of hours *before* you awaken, your body begins to prepare for waking and exercise because it “knows” it’s about to happen. Why? Because it “knows” you do the same thing just about everyday. You benefit from that in several ways..

a) It’s MUCH easier to wake-up. When you wake-up at different times everyday, it confuses your body and thus it’s never really “prepared” to awaken.

b) Your metabolism and all the hormones involved in activity and exercise begin to elevate while you’re sleeping. Thus, you feel more alert, energized, and ready to exercise when you do wake-up.

c) Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.

# For many people, that appointed time every morning becomes something they look forward to. It’s time they’ve set aside to do something good for themselves – to take care of their body, mind, and soul. Many find that it’s a great time to think clearly, pray, plan their day, or just relax mentally.

# Research has demonstrated that exercise increases mental acuity. On average it lasts four to ten hours after exercise! No sense in wasting that brain power while you’re sleeping. 🙂

# Exercise first thing in the morning is really the only way to assure that something else won’t crowd exercise out of your schedule. When your days get hectic, exercise usually takes a back seat!

# If finding time to exercise is difficult, anyone can get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise (if it’s a priority in your life). If necessary, you can go to sleep a little earlier. Also, research has demonstrated that people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher quality of sleep and thus require less sleep!

# You’ll feel GREAT! DO IT! 🙂

About Interval Training

Running on a flat surface burns calories and gives your heart and lungs a great cardiovascular workout. Running up hill challenges your muscles, heart, and lungs, burning more calories and providing additional toning. But taking a 30 minute run up hill or on a steeply inclined treadmill would quickly exhaust most of us, or likely force us to stop early. However, running up hill then back down, or up hill then on flat ground would allow for high intensity work counter balanced by intervals of slower periods of active recovery. Interval training burns more calories and pumps more blood than continuous lower intensity exercise because it includes intervals of energy and oxygen-hungry work.

Because interval training burns a lot of calories and provides good muscle work, it may help you save time. A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. Likewise, running one mile burns the same number of calories as walking one mile. But walking one mile takes a lot more time. If your goal is calorie burning and toning, and you are short on time, then interval training does more, faster. Just remember that improving cardiovascular health requires aerobic exercise of 30 – 60 minutes, so don’t make all of your workouts quickies, save those for when you’re in a rush.
Interval training can also be helpful if your goal is to move yourself up to the next level of endurance and fitness. Maybe you have been trying to start a running program, but can’t seem to maintain such a demanding exercise. Interval training is, in fact, one of the most effective ways to train the body. Marathoners commonly use this method to train for an up-coming race. A good program is to run for 4 minutes then walk at a good clip for 1 minute, or do a 3/2 interval. Your body will work hard then rest (while remaining active), work hard then rest. Your heart, lungs and muscles will make the transition to running, running farther, or running faster in a safe and productive manner.

There are a lot of ways to add intervals to your workout. If you are already a runner add hills or speed segments. If aerobics classes are your genre, add explosive moves like jumps or sprints. Include segments of speed walking in your normal walking routine or take the incline of your treadmill up a little higher at timed intervals.

Interval training is productive and can add excitement to your ho-hum exercise routine. Doing interval work in place of your normal routine, once a month, once a week, or once a day, is a good and effective plan. E-mail me if you need suggestions on how to intensify, endure and enjoy. You’ll be glad you did.

Guarantee If You Stick To Your Workout Program

1. Think Small. This is probably the hardest part of exercise for people to understand and follow through with. Most people want the results to happen now and start their workout program going all out. This is the number 1 reason men and women stop exercising. They expect too much. Breakdown your goals into sections or parts and choose some realistic goals. Before you know it, you lost those annoying 10 pounds and or health has improved ten fold.

2. Begin Looking at Exercise Differently. Think of exercise as a way of life. Do not look as exercise as a chore or task that hurts you. Exercise is probably the most inexpensive and fun thing you can do for your life. Find something in exercise that you enjoy doing such as meeting new people, getting out of work, or your means of stress relief. It will be like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. The sooner you view exercise as a activity of health and way of life, the sooner your results will show up.

3. Get A Workout Partner. If there is somebody waiting for you at the gym, the same time you are supposed to be there, you can bet you will be there 100% of the time to workout with him or her. It also can be immediately physically result producing since you will automatically be pushing each other to do better and better.

4. Change Your Workout More Often. Change: The essence of goal attainment. If you modify your workout more often, you will undoubtedly see changes. It prevents your muscles from getting stagnant and gets the doldrums out of working out.

5. Workout At A Different Time Of Day. Rearrange your schedule to workout at different time of day. This will put a huge shock to your body and mind set regarding exercise.

6. Plan To Exercise For A Minimum Of Six Months. The whole idea regarding exercising is to get the results you desire and create a healthier you. The sure- fire way to do this is to consistently do it over a period of time. When commencing on an exercise program, regardless of your goals, you will need do this for a minimum of 6 months. Before you know it, exercise is now a way of life.

7. Hire A Personal Trainer. Are you spending too much time at the gym and not seeing changes? You may be overworking certain muscles and not use others at all. Are you performing all exercises correctly? The slightest movement will do wonders for shaping and acquiring the look you want. A personal trainer will know exactly what to do to help you get results.