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Wellness Articles : Getting Fit At Home

Exercise doesn’t have to happen in a fitness center or club. You can pick to exercise in the comfort, convenience, and privacy of your own home or neighborhood.

The key is to do something! Doing anything is better than nothing!

Locating the Time for Exercise

• Find the time – for one week write down where you spend your time, you must be able to find points that could be changed to free a bit of time everyday.

• Start by increasing your daily activity – walk to the post office or store, take the baby or the dog for a walk, take a walk up and down the stairs for that coffee break, walk on your lunch break, if you sit most of the day get out of your chair every 20 minutes and move around the office, garden.

• Schedule an appointment to exercise – people who workout in the morning are often more likely to stick to their programs because work and family obligations are less likely to interfere, schedule a time that works best for you and stick to it!

• Exercise while waiting – for the children to complete their piano lesson, soccer practice etc.

• Consider purchasing home exercise equipment – prior to deciding to invest be certain you will use it. Durable equipment is not inexpensive!

• Be sure to take turns giving your meaningful other or friend a break to workout – by watching the children or sitting with a member of your family that can’t be left alone.

• Make exercise a high priority – when getting in shape is your goal you have to make exercise a priority to reach that goal.

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Wellness Articles : The Advantages of Exercise

Regular exercise and physical activity are extremelyimportant and advantageous for long-term health and well-being.

For a comprehensive resource, see “Physical Activity and Health – A Report of the Surgeon General.”

Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

• Decrease the risk of premature death

• Reduce the risk of developing and/or dying from heart disease

• Reduce high blood pressure or the risk of developing high blood pressure

• Decrease high cholesterol or the risk of developing high cholesterol

• Reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and breast cancer

• Reduce the risk of developing diabetes

• Lower or maintain body weight or body fat

• Build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints

• Reduce depression and anxiety

• Enhance psychological well-being

• Enhanced work, recreation, and sport performance

Links to other Health Organizations

The American Cancer Society

The American Heart Association

The American Diabetes Association

National Institutes of Health

Benefits of Aerobic Activity

• Increased maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max)

• Improvement in cardivascular/cardiorespiratory function (heart and lungs)

o Increased maximal cardiac output (amount of blood pumped every minute)

o Increased maximal stroke volume (amount of blood pumped with each beat)

o Increased blood volume and ability to carry oxygen

o Lowered workload on the heart (myocardial oxygen consumption) for any given submaximal exercise intensity

• Increased blood supply to muscles and ability to use oxygen

• Lower heart rate and blood pressure at any level of submaximal exercise

• Increased threshold for lactic acid accumulation

• Lower resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) in individuals with high blood pressure (BP)

• Increased HDL Cholesterol (the good cholesterol)

• Reduced blood triglycerides

• Reduced body fat and improved weight control

• Improved glucose tolerance and decreased insulin resistance

Benefits of Resistance Training

• Increased muscular strength

• Increased strength of tendons and ligaments

• Potentially improves flexibility (range of motion of joints)

• Decreased body fat and increased lean body mass (muscle mass)

• Potentially reduces resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure

• Positive changes in blood cholesterol

• Improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity

• Improved strength, balance, and functional ability in older adults

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Wellness Articles : Choosing a Personal Trainer

Selecting the perfect personal trainer may be the difference between a successful exercise program and an unsuccessful program. Be very selective when choosing your personal trainer.

Below are frequently asked questions that individuals looking for personal trainers often ask. Ask yourself these questions to determine when your personal trainer is the best for you.

Is the fitness trainer within your budget?

You can expect to pay between $20 and $100 an hour for your fitness trainer. A few trainers will offer lowered package rates when you buy more than one session.

Is your trainer available when you wish to work out?

Be sure that the fitness trainer can accommodate your schedule.

Does the trainer have a certification, degree, or background in a related medical or exercise science field?

A certification or degree will assure that your fitness trainer can construct a workout program that will fit your needs.

Make sure the certification is a national recognized organization (ACSM, NSCA, ACE, AFAA, IDEA, etc.). Every person’s exercise program must be different to accommodate different needs.

Does your trainer have a current certification in CPR and First Aid?

Safety during your exercise program is very important. the personal trainer needs to have the knowledge to assist in an emergency.

Does your trainer or facility require a health screening or release from your physician before beginning your fitness program?

When you’ve special needs during your workout program that are results of a past injury or medical problem, a expert trainer will discuss any exercise considerations with the doctor.

How does the trainer interact with his/her clients during the fitness session?

An interested fitness trainer will use hands on help, like touching the bicep during a bicep curl as you concentrate on that muscle during the exercise.

When you’re uncomfortable with hands on help, they need to provide encouragement and motivation.

You probably will not want to pay $100 an hour for your trainer to only count your repetitions during the fitness session.

Demand more for your money.

Are you comfortable with your trainer’s gender?

A number of people like working with a personal trainer of the same sex, and others prefer the opposite sex.

Do you feel that you’ll get along with the trainer?

In order to have the best working relationship, you really should be certain that you lie your personal trainers personality.

The two personalities should click. Carefully interview the trainer to see what approach he or she’d have with you.

Is your trainer willing to design a workout program that you understand?

You should always know why you are doing a certain exercise. Your fitness program must be developed so that you can participate in the fitness program without your fitness trainer at all times.

Does your trainer exhibit good listening skills and communicate well?

You want your trainer to be able to address your need. If the trainer doesn’t communicate effectively, you will not know what to do during the fitness session.

A specialist trainer will never make you feel uncomfortable to ask questions.

Does your trainer address your goals or expectations?

In the starting of your exercise program, he/she ought to sit down with you to address why you want to begin a exercise program, what you expect to get out of the exercise program, and your goals that you want to achieve during the exercise program.

Does your trainer provide you with clear cancellation policies and billing procedures?

Before beginning, be certain you understand all policies attached to your exercise program.

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Wellness Articles : Starting an Exercise Program

Do I need to see my doctor before I start exercising?

So that you can begin your exercise program safely and effectively, answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge, and follow the directions at the end of this section.

When you’re unsure of any answer, it’s advised that you see a physician to accurately determine the safety of starting an workout program.

When have been told by a doctor that you have any cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, or metabolic disease such as diabetes, obtain permission from your doctor before beginning or changing your workout program.

1. Are you a man over 45 years old?

2. Are you a female over the age of 55? Or, are you less than 55 years old and past menopause, but not taking estrogen?

3. Has any male family member died of a heart attack before age 55? Or, has any female family member died of a heart attack before age 65?

4. Do you smoke cigarettes or tobacco products?

5. Has a physician ever told you have high blood pressure (BP)? Or, has your blood pressure (BP) been measured more than once at greater than 140 over 90? Or, do you take high blood pressure (BP) medicine?

6. Has your physician ever told you that you’ve high cholesterol? Or, do you know if your total cholesterol is greater than 200? Or, is your HDL cholesterol less than 35?

7. Do you consider yourself physically inactive at work and during your leisure time?

If you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions it’s advised that you see a doctor before pursuing a vigorous fitness program. Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), 5th Edition, 1995.

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Wellness Articles : Side-Stitch Prevention?

Many people experience a side-stitch, which is a sharp pain in the side of the abdomen, when they exercise. the accurate cause of these side-stitches can vary from individuals to individuals.

This condition, technically referred to as exercise-related transient abdominal pain, is often associated with a muscle spasm in the diaphragm.

A few research indicates that the amount of food eaten before exercising may influence the occurrence of side-stitches.

Side-stitches can occur with any kind of exercise, but seem to be most commonly associated with running and jogging.

Some of the following tips may to help lower the frequency at which side-stitches occur

• Delaying exercise or activity for a longer time after consuming, if your side stitches occur when you exercise after consuming.

• Sticking to long, low intensity workouts, in lieu of quick, high intensity ones.

• Warming-up and slowly and gradually picking up workout pace may help prevent side stitches, regardless of exercise intensity

• Building stretches of speed intervals into your workout in order to strengthen your abdominal muscles and diaphragm. Some believe weak abs and diaphragms cause side stitches so making them stronger might help to prevent side stitch occurrences.

• Continuing to workout at an even pace; some scientists found that individuals with better aerobic fitness tend to get fewer side-stitches. Thus, the more you build up your endurance and cardiovascular fitness, the less likely you are to wind up with a side-stitch.

• Avoiding shallow breathing; instead taking slow, deep breaths during exercise.

When these avoidance strategies fail to help, and you do get a side-stitch, slowing down and breathing deeply is one way to alleviate the pain.

Two other things you can try are – (1) bending over while tightening your stomach muscles several times; and, (2) applying pressure to the area with your fingers, giving yourself a sort of “pressure massage” where the pain is.

For this, attempt pushing your fingers deeply into your stomach in a spot just below your right ribs, while pursing your lips and exhaling as hard as you can.

Simply grunting loudly while breathing out may also help, as could slowing down until the pain is gone.

Occasionally, side stitches might come from an allergy or intolerance to wheat or dairy products. Side stitches may occur up to 24 hours after eating or drinking something that contains this product.

To see when this applies to you, you could want to keep record of your meals, snacks and physical activities and see when your side stitches occur after eating a specific food or food group.

Side stitches may also be mistaken for pain in the heart caused by lack of oxygen.

When the pain comes from beneath the breastbone, or radiates down your left arm, makes you out of breath and comes from exercise or strenuous exercise, your best bet would be to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

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Wellness Articles : Is soreness a good indicator of a good workout?

The old axiom, “no pain, no gain,” is just that… old and outdated. Pain and soreness aren’t valid measures of the benefits of exercise.

Muscle soreness can occur with anyone who exercises, from a starting exerciser embarking on a new program to a conditioned veteran who is working at a greater intensity, frequency, and/or duration than the person is used to.

It frequently happens to well-trained people as they begin a new activity.

Muscle soreness may also be a result of overuse, which could eventually lead to injury. It’s important to listen to your body and seek treatment for injuries.

Meeting objectives as for developing strength or endurance needs to be the focus of any exercise program. Well-defined objectives guide results that you’re able to attain through gradual behavior change.

Examples – I want to be able to do 20 push-ups; I want to be able to run a 10K by the end of the year, etc. Goals are specific and measurable and can be useful in guiding any exercise program.

Soreness can be a consequence of working toward a training goal, but should not be a goal in and of itself.

Your development and achievement should be the personal trainer’s first concern.

A number of trainers feel the way a client looks or how much she / he can lift is a direct reflection of her or his ability. Does it make sense for you to have a conversation with your trainer about your concerns?

You could want to reference Picking and Effectively Using a Personal Trainer, created by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

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Wellness Articles : Dizzy after exercise

Feeling lightheaded and/or dizzy, as if you’re about to pass out, are not normal reactions to exercise.

After an aerobic activity session, you ought to feel invigorated, not totally wiped out.

Your description sounds as though you’re working extraordinarily hard.

Do you eat anything before your physical activity? Are you drinking during your run or bike ride? How’s your overall fluid intake?

Although an precise diagnosis based on your description can’t be given here, these few suggestions may help avoid these feelings

• Make certain to eat a snack before exercise. If you have less than one hour before your session, fewer than 200 calories is advised. A piece of fruit and a couple of crackers work well for many individuals .

Your snack may be a bit bigger when you have two hours or so until your workout starts – one small plain bagel with jam, a piece of fruit and a yogurt, or two or three fig bars and a cup of milk or juice.

• Drink 16 oz. of fluid 2 hours before an event. This promotes hydration and allows enough time to excrete any excess liquid.

• Drink fluids during exercise. Weighing yourself before and after exercise can help determine your sweat rate, and how much you will need to drink.

o When you lose 1 lb. per hour – drink 4 oz. every 15 min

o If you lose 2 lbs. per hour – drink 8 oz. every 15 min

o When you lose 3 lbs. per hour – drink 8 oz. every 10 min.

o When you lose 4 lbs. per hour – drink 10 oz. every 10 min.

• If you’re exercising for longer than 60 minutes, add some fuel to your water with a sports drink.

These fluid replacement drinks include glucose and electrolytes (sodium and potassium) to help with fluid intake and absorption.

Talking with your healthcare provider is a good idea when these strategies don’t help.

Being properly fed and hydrated, as well as getting enough rest and watching your breathing as your exercise, should help make your workouts more productive.

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Wellness Articles : Achilles tendon injury

The Achilles tendon attaches to the calf muscle and to the heel bone. the calf muscles and the muscles along the shin are needed to protect against shock in high-impact exercises. This muscle group is very strong and is used constantly.

Because of this, your Achilles tendon is put under a lot of pressure. the Achilles tendon handles forces that range from two to three times the body weight in walking, to four to six times the body weight in running and jumping.

When it’s overused, or when you continue to use it when it’s injured, inflammation of the Achilles tendon could lead to local degeneration and recurrent injury, which could result in a partial, or even a complete, rupture. It was very wise of you to take a break before slowly resuming exercise.

As you get back into an exercise routine, be certain that you follow up with your health care provider and/or a physical therapist to be certain that you are not doing any more damage to your Achilles tendon.

Stretching and strengthening exercises can definitely play a role in taking care of your body.

Do not forget that all stretching ought to be slow and static and that you ought to listen to your body – feel your muscles stretching, but stop when you feel pain.

Specific to the Achilles tendon and surrounding muscles, consider the following  

Stretch #1 – Calf Stretch

1. Stand about a foot from a wall, extend one leg behind you, keeping both feet flat on the floor, toes pointed straight ahead, and your rear knee straight and your front knee bent.

2. Move your hips forward, keeping your lower back flat.

3. Lean into the wall until you feel tension in the calf muscle of the extended leg.

4. Hold for 10 seconds, then stretch the other leg.

5. Repeat at least two more times.

Stretch #2 – Calf Stretch

1. Stand arm’s-length distance from a wall (or tree, or lamppost – whatever is handy and gives you support).

2. Be sure to put your hands on the wall, keep your back and your legs straight, and be sure your heels are flat on the floor.

3. Bend your arms and lean forward, attempting to touch your chest to the wall.

4. Feel the stretch in your calf muscles.

5. Hold it for a few seconds.

6. Relax and repeat at least two more times.

Stretch #3 – Achilles Tendon Stretch

1. Stand with one leg in front of you, slightly bent, and the other leg extended back.

2. Lower your hips downward as you slightly bend the knee of the extended leg.

3. Be sure to keep both heels flat on the floor and toes straight ahead.

4. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, and then stretch the other leg.

5. Repeat at least two more times.

Note – This Achilles tendon stretch requires only a slight feeling of tension at the back of your ankle.

Also, make sure that you do not bounce, and that you stretch gently and completely.

Besides running and jogging, the Achilles tendon could be injured from any activity that has an impact component.

To help prevent injury to the Achilles tendon, consider exercises that put less stress on the Achilles tendon, such as bike riding and swimming.

Additionally, abnormal pronation and muscle imbalances may be a problem for a recurring inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

If you decide to get back into running, you need to have a physical therapist check out your running shoes to make certain they are not causing extra stress on your Achilles tendon and calf muscles.

Be sure that you always wear running shoes that aren’t worn out, and attempt to avoid uneven or hard running surfaces.

You could want to run on soft surfaces, such as running tracks, or soft trails without holes or ditches.

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Wellness Articles : Muscle cramps

Cramping could be so frustrating, and as you said, uncomfortable. Regrettably, no one fully understands what causes muscle cramps.

Factors that contribute to cramping include dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, overexertion, and/or inadequate fitness/conditioning.

Is it possible that the sort of exercise you’re doing is a cause? Think about your exercise routine and examine your patterns.

Are you doing specific exercises that stretch the muscles in the buttocks? When so, how often and for how long do you participate in these exercises?

Could you change your programs to see when it’s the kind or amount of exercise that can be causing your muscle distress? You could also try adding stretching routines before and after you exercise.

It is interesting that your nighttime calf cramps disappeared when you introduced a sports drink as a post workout strategy.

That could lend a possible explanation – perhaps you’re dehydrated and/or have an electrolyte imbalance, in particular of sodium, potassium, and calcium.

A low sodium consuming plan, coupled with high perspiration losses or with persistent vomiting/diarrhea, can deplete your body of sodium.

Potassium deficiency is not likely to be the result of sweat loss; nonetheless, the result of both a sodium and potassium deficiency could be muscle cramping.

Some sports nutritionists will also cite a lack of calcium as a contributor to cramping.

Another approach could be to experiment with your eating plan – perhaps increase your salt (pretzels, olives, nuts, salami), potassium (bananas, oatmeal, potatoes), and calcium (milk, yogurt, fortified orange juice) intake to see when you notice any changes.

Additionally attempt to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, specifically in the hours leading up to a workout.

An easy way to check hydration is to notice the color of your urine. Clear, light urine reveals a more hydrated body than dark, orange urine. .

When these suggestions don’t work, your condition gets worse, or it’s severe enough to interfere with your daily life, it’s probably time to consult your healthcare provider.

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Wellness Articles : Back-strengthening and stretching exercises

The lower back is an area that is often ignored but frequently causes problems, particularly as the years go by. Strengthening exercises, in addition to stretching, help prevent injury and pain.

It’s important to focus on the lower back muscles in addition to those in areas that support the lower back. These include the stomach, hip flexors, and hamstrings (back of the thigh).

We will first concentrate on your lower back muscles. Begin by performing a front lying chest lift, a body weight exercise that involves no equipment at all

• Lying face down, place your hands (palms down on the floor) next to and even with your chest.

• Keeping your hips and thighs on the floor, lift your chest off the floor. Assisted slightly by your arms as you lift, your lower back muscles ought to be contracting.

• Be certain the back of your head is in an even line with your spine – do not tilt your head up or down.

• Pause briefly when your arms are straight and then return to beginning position.

• Build up to three sets of eight to twelve repetitions, taking short breaks between each set.

If you’ve access to a gym the low back machine permits you to raise resistance as you become stronger.

Try resistance exercises two or three times each week on non-consecutive days

• Sit on the seat with your legs secured and upper back in contact with the roller pad.

• Push the roller pad down towards the floor, contracting your lower back muscles. Your range of motion should be comfortable.

• Pause briefly and return to starting position gradually. Make certain to keep your arms relaxed and your head in a neutral position.

• Make certain to use a weight that permits you to complete two or three sets of eight to twelve repetitions.

You may stretch every day once you’ve warmed up your muscles. Stretch smoothly, as opposed to bouncing, which can cause  injury.

For maximum effectiveness, each stretch needs to be held for at least fifteen to thirty seconds.

Great lower back stretching exercises include

Double knee to chest stretch

• Lying on your back with knees bent, pull both knees off the floor toward your chest, holding legs behind the knees on the bottom part of your hamstrings. This stretch may be done with both legs together or one at a time.

Figure-4 stretch

• Lying on your back, with your head on the floor or mat and right knee bent, pull your right knee towards your chest.

• Then draw your knee across your body towards your left shoulder. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor or mat.

• Repeat with your left leg.

Cat/Cow stretch

• On your hands and knees, sag your back while lifting up your head.

• Alternate with arching your back and keeping your head down.

• Lean back onto your heels and hold, keeping your head down and arms extended.

Abdominal muscle-strengthening stretch

Correct form is the most important aspect of this exercise, which will support your lower back

• Lie face up with your knees bent and your hands placed loosely behind your head.

• Slowly curl your upper back off the floor while pressing your lower back against the floor. You should feel your abdominal muscles contracting.

• Pause briefly before returning to starting position. Try your best not to put pressure on, or pull, your head with your hands.

• Be certain to keep your breathing coordinated – exhale on the way up, inhale on the way down.

• Do not rush – do this exercise slowly and gradually.

Hip flexor stretch (a.k.a. Runner’s stretch)

Stretching your hip flexors can help alleviate stress to the lower spine

• Assume a lunge position, making sure your front knee is directly over your foot and ankle (your knee will be in the form of a right angle).

• With your weight supported by both hands touching the floor, press your hips towards the floor.

• Repeat on both legs.

Hamstring stretch (Straight leg raise)

This exercise will also help reduce stress to the lower spine

• Lying on your back, bend your knees and keep both feet flat on the floor.

• Raise and straighten your right leg without lifting your hips from the floor.

• Support your leg and increase your range of motion by placing your hands below your knee, around the back of your leg, and gently drawing your leg towards your chest while keeping it straight.

• Repeat with your left leg.

Hope these exercises and stretches keep you in tip-top shape and pain-free.

You can also choose structured exercises for strengthening your back. Yoga, for instance, is an great form of back strengthening physical activity.

Most  of the suggested stretches listed above are a part of poses and movements performed during a yoga session. Swimming is another excellent exercise for your back because the buoyancy of the water offers some support.

Also, notice your posture. What position do you spend most of your time in when you’re sitting, standing, and walking?

For example, does your job require you to sit at a desk throughout the day? If so, be aware of your posture.

Make certain the ergonomics of your work set up are optimal for your body.

If you’ve freedom to play with your workspace, consider using a balance ball as a desk chair even for part of the day.

Sitting on a ball demands your posture to be proper and numerous of your torso muscles to stay active.

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