How To Do Push Ups The Right Way!

There’s nothing more frustrating than making the commitment to exercise, just starting to get into shape and then BAM…you get injured and all your hard work gets undone while you recuperate. One of the best ways to avoid injuries is proper exercise form. Many exercise programs include push-ups. Here’s a short tutorial on how to do push-ups with proper form.  Do them the right way and avoid injury.

 

Weight Workout for Heel Spur

So I’m still nursing this heel spur and I continue to modify my workouts. If you are dealing with a foot injury, maybe you can benefit from my workout modifications. The doc says I can still lift weights as long as I’m not putting heavy pressure on the foot.  Here’s what I came up with:

Since I am not doing any squats or or lunges with weights, I have added some cardio on the bike on my weight days.

  1. Two minute bike warm-up followed by a four minute bike tabata
  2. Total body weight workout, eliminating any squatting or lunging movements. If I could do the weight move and eliminate the squat or lunge. (Example: kneeling shoulder press instead of a shoulder press with a lunge) I did it.
  3. Second two minute bike tabata, followed by a bike cool-down and a ten minute stretch.

Modified Workout for A Heel Spur

I have been nursing a heel spur since last Spring.  I tried three weeks of anti-inflammatory meds, special exercises and ice but I was still in some pain. So yesterday, I had to get a cortisone shot.  I am a huge shot baby! When the doctor said I had to go on light duty exercises for two weeks, there was no way I was going to ignore that.  I don’t want to even think about a second shot. Yikes! Doctor’s orders were simple. Only biking for cardio and no heavy weight bearing exercise that would involve my feet. Ok, I can do that and still get a decent workout.  Here’s what I did today:

  • Warm Up-two minutes at light pace on the stationary bike, followed by stretching
  • Workout- 20 minutes of riding at a moderate pace, then a quick break followed by a bike Tabata (four minutes)
  • 10 Minutes of Extreme Abs from ChaLean Extreme

This was a good cardio/ab workout and it put no stress on my heel at all. Definitely going to avoid another shot in the foot. If you have had to modify your workouts because of foot or heel problems, give me some of your ideas (especially for weightlifing). I know I will get bored quickly if I don’t have some variety.

 

Fitness: Over 40? You Should Be Weight Training

Male or female, if you are over 40, you should be weight training.  Working with heavier weights to build muscle is preferable to light weights and many reps.  Here’s ten reasons why you should pick up the weights and start building some muscle.

  1. Resistance training with heavy weights builds muscle mass.
  2. Muscle mass increases your metabolic rate.  That means you will burn calories at a higher rate, not just while you are exercising, but all day long.  Even while you are sleeping you will burn more calories. (definitely cool)
  3. Weight training makes your bones stronger and wards off osteoporosis. Increased strength can keep you from having a painful fall that could break brittle bones.
  4. Strength training reduces your risk of injury.
  5. Resistance training increases your stamina.
  6. The aches and pains associated with aging will be reduced.
  7. Strength training can save you money in the long run. Staying strong keeps chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis and chronic back pain at bay. This will keep the need for medical attention and costly medications to a minimun.
  8. Resistance training makes you look younger.  Strong muscles make arms, legs and abdomen look sleeker, slimmer and younger. Five pounds of muscle take up a lot less space than five pounds of fat.

(sorry guys, the last two are for the ladies only, but you got eight so that’s pretty good)

  1. Weightlifting will not make women look bulky or “like a man”. Women have way less testosterone than men.  What ladies will see when they weight train is a toned, tight, lean looking body.
  2. Strength training for women can help minimize the symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause (hot flashes, irratability, anxiety and depression).

Weather you are over 40 or not, male or female, weight training is a great addition to your workout routine.

 

Exercise on Vacation: It Can Go Together

In our vacation "gym" with the only equpment we needed.

It used to be a problem to keep the fitness routine going when I went on vacation. All the progress I made would take a giant step backwards when I travelled. Now there are many products on the market that make it easier to work out when you are on the road. Better yet, many really good workouts can be done with only body weight. So they can be done anywhere and don’t cost a dime!

My hubby and I spent two weeks at Sunset Beach, NC with the family. We tried spinning and Group Pump at the Fitness Studio in Ocean Isle. On a third day we walked 3 miles to prepare for the Freedom Run/Walk in Southport.  Other than that, we worked out together under the beach house.  We moved the car, used a few inexpensive and light to carry items and we were all set.   We worked out 8 total days in our makeshift gym.  Here’s what we did:

Workout 1 was a circuit workout.  Do each exercise for 30 seconds with a 15 second break between exercises.

  1. Push-ups
  2. Alternating rows with a resistance band
  3. Speed skaters
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Inch Worm
  6. Chest Press with a resistance band around a beam
  7. Mountain Climbers
  8. Alternating lunges
  9. Burpees
  10. Bicep curls with a resistance band
  11. Tricep kickbacks with a resistance band
  12. Defensive Slide
  13. But Kickers

Take a short break and repeat the circuit

Workout 2 was a a Tabatas workout.  We did this one four days during our two weeks and changed the types of exercises we did each time. Here’s an example:

Do each exercise for 20 seconds and take a 10 second break between each one.  Do the circuit twice with no breaks in between.  Do each exercise as hard and as fast as you can. Make sure you warm up for at least 5 minutes beforehand and cool down and stretch afterward.

  1. Push-ups
  2. Jump Rope with high knees (no real jump rope needed)
  3. Knee to elbow crunch sit-ups (alternating elbow to leg)
  4. Basketball lunges (reverse lunge followed by a simulated layup jump)

Workout 3 was a circuit with three different parts.  Perform each of the six exercises for 40 seconds with a 20 second break in between.  We did each exercise group twice and took a water/rest break before starting the next set of six.

Exercise group 1

  1. Squat to press with resistance band
  2. Chest press with resistance band
  3. Swimmers with resistance band
  4. Reverse lunge (change legs at the 20 second mark)
  5. Med ball rotations
  6. Jumping Jacks

Exercise group 2

  1. Alternating overhead press using resistance bands
  2. Rows using resistance bands
  3. Bicep curls with bands
  4. Alternating side lunge
  5. Plank- elbows to hands (alternating arms)
  6. Stand to defensive stance jumps

Exercise group 3

  1. Med ball slams
  2. Inch worm
  3. Bent over altenating rows using bands
  4. Squat jumps (or just squats if you are tired now)
  5. Diagonal Woodchops using bands or med ball
  6. Burpees

Workout 4 was a circuit that is done counting reps rather than a time limit.  A short break should be taken between each set of exercises. We did each set twice.

Exercise set 1

  1. push-ups (15)
  2. Squat and row (15)
  3. Alternate reverse lunge (15 each leg)
  4. Ski hops (15)

Exercise set 2

  1. Squat thrust (15)
  2. Swimmers using a band (15)
  3. Alternate Lateral lunge (15 each leg)
  4. Speed skaters (15)

Exercise set 3

  1. Walk hands out and back (10)
  2. Robinhood row (15 each arm)
  3. Screamer lunges (15 each leg)
  4. Squat jumps (15)

A special thank you to One on One Fitness.  The trainers there prepared these for us to take with us on vacation. As always, check with your physician before you start any exercise program and build up slowly to the intensity of these workouts.

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Online Fitness Coaching: Beginner’s Workout

Hey all! Just surfing around Pinterest today.  I’m home early from work prepping for a colonoscopy (yuck) and trying to take it easy.  Hey it’s all for healthier living, right?  Anyway..here’s a 30 day fitness plan for those of you who might be starting out from complete scratch.  Maybe you have not exercised for a long time and you need to start over.  It’s never a good idea to come out like a house on fire, overdo it and quit because you are too sore to walk for three days.  Print this out and put it on your fridge.  Follow it for 30 days and see how much better you feel.  While you’re at it, skip over to my “nutrition” tab and check out Shakeology.  They can both get you started on the right foot! Have a great weekend.

 

Online Fitness Coaching: My First Live Zumba Class

If you have not tried a Zumba class yet, it’s time to get your booty shakin’ to a live class near you. This is some of the most fun you can have while exercising.  I am fairly new to Zumba. I got the DVD “Exhilarate” this past Christmas and started doing a ChaLean Extreme/Zumba hybrid for my home workout.

The “Learn” DVD is like gold in my book because it teaches all the basic Latin dance steps in a very easy to follow format. After I had those mastered, I worked my way through the “Activate”, “Rush”, and “Exhilarate” DVDs. Each is a different length and intensity level. The music is great in all three and the instructors are easy to follow.

Armed with a free Zumba class I headed to Karina Nunez’s studio to “join the party”!  I pulled into the parking lot with my take-out from McDonald’s (really busy week, ok) I hoped none of the other class members saw me chowing down on snack wraps. I went in and introduced myself to Karina. I saw Steph, another mom I knew from our daughters’ preschool days. I started to feel more comfortable.  When the music started it was GREAT and loud which was super motivating for me. Karina was a really enthusiastic instructor. I am sure I never look that happy when I’m exercising even though I feel that way on the inside. I found I knew all the steps from the DVDs so I could just concentrate on having fun.

After class I got a chance to talk to Karina. She is originally from Venezuela and moved to our small PA town with her husband and daughters. At first Karina bought the “Exhilarate” DVDs and worked out with them. She loved the rhythm of the music and soon she wanted to become an instructor. She found a training about an hour from home and became certified. She started teaching classes at the YMCA and later switched to a studio that could hold more students.

“What I love best about teaching Zumba is that our class has become like a family. We come from all different ages and stages in our lives and we have formed a real bond,” Karina said. “That’s the kind of thing Zumba can do for people.”

Relieving Depression with Exercise

Exercise is an effective but underused way to fight depression.  Do you know why it works?  When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.  These chemicals are used by your body to reduce pain.  It works much like morphine.  Endorphins also act as a natural sedative without leading to addiction or dependence.  You could say that exercise is one good drug with no bad trips!  After exercising, it’s the endorphins that leave you with that euphoric feeling sometimes described as “runners high”.  It makes you feel like everything is right with the world.

If your are suffering from depression, here’s some other things exercise can do for you:

  • Improves the quality of your sleep
  • Increases energy levels
  • Provides a distraction from negative thoughts
  • Reduces immune system chemicals that can increase depression
  • If you are exercising with a group it can provide strong social support

Here’s even better news, any type of exercise can help.  So pick an activity you like and shoot for at least 30 minutes three times per week.

I suffered from depression when I started my first teaching job.  Any fellow teachers out there know how overwhelming that first year can be.  I recovered with therapy, antidepressants and exercise.  I don’t need the therapy or antidepressants anymore, but exercise is my daily medicine and believe me, I won’t skip it.  It’s my favorite drug!

Check the workouts page for some programs that can get you on the road to feeling better and add exercise to your other methods of relieving depression.

 

 

Build Your Self Confidence by Building Your Muscles

In your quest to find ways to build your self confidence have you ever thought about starting a  strength training program? I know they may seem worlds apart when you first think about it, but consider these connections:

  • According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise (strength training qualifies) increases endorphin levels in your brain.  That’s the “reward chemical” your body gives itself when you do something to keep the species going.  In caveman times, you got rewarded when you ran around chasing down your dinner.  You still got that reward when you went to work and did physical.  Now we don’t move around so much to earn our keep.  You have to get your reward chemicals through exercise.  You know how relaxed and calm you feel after a workout?  Endorphins. Feeling good and at peace with yourself on a regular basis will increase your self confidence.
  • Strength training improves your overall appearance.  If you replace five lbs. of fat with five lbs. of muscle, you will be leaner and more fit.  A better overall appearance improves your self esteem. Did you know you lose 1/2 pound of muscle every year after age 30?
  • If you physically feel stronger, you feel more self-sufficient.  If you don’t have to depend on others to do physical tasks for you, you will gain confidence.
  • Strength training increases your metabolism.  Muscles require more energy to sustain themselves, even while you are sleeping.  Your energy level increases.  More energy makes you feel better about yourself, which increases your self confidence.
  • Physical strength lowers your chance of injury.  If you are healthy and injury free, you are more self sufficient.  Don’t we all feel more self confident when we can live more independantly?
  • My two favorite strength training programs are P90X and ChaLean Extreme.   Have you tried any others? If you are feeling a lack of self confidence, try a strength training program.  You most definitely will notice a difference!

 

Exercise: Why I Quit Running

Sometimes you just need to make a change in your exercise program.

I grew up in the 70’s when the exercise craze just got started.  That’s when the nation changed over from mostly manual labor jobs to more tech type jobs.  The big thing at the time, was running.  There were running books, running shoes and the advent of the “jog bra”, now known as the sports bra.  When I graduated from high school, I knew I had to keep myself in shape (no more PE classes or sports) so of course I started to run.

Over the years I ran on and off, mostly off.  Here’s why:

  • I was the slowest runner ever.  My fastest mile clocked was 10 minutes.  Everyone smoked me, even couch potatoes just starting out.
  • It hurt my knees
  • My upper body was naturally scrawny.  Running does nothing for that.

After years of running and quitting, I finally decided I didn’t like it and gave it up for good.  What to do now?  I became a Curves girl.  I got cardio and weight training and I liked it a lot.  I stuck with that consistently for 2 years.  Then they moved and it wasn’t convenient for me to get there.  Now what?

I found at home workouts that I really liked through Beachbody.  I started with P90X, now I am doing ChaLean Extreme and I look forward to my workouts.  It sure beats the fight I used to have with myself to get motivated for running.  The moral of the story is this.  If you don’t like the workout you are doing, you won’t stick with it.  Find something you like.  That’s more than half the battle!

What are your favorite workouts and why?