Posts Tagged ‘workout’
Earlier this month, TIME Healthland wrote about the 5 most common mistakes that gym-goers are making during their workouts. The first one listed was “going overboard on cardio machines”. The author, Alexandra Sifferlin, noted that failing to use cardio machines correctly could place them at risk for a less-effective workout, as well as injury. She notes:
“If you’re using an elliptical machine, for instance, don’t set the resistance so high that you can’t work out comfortably without leaning on the machine for support. “Hunching over or using a death grip on the machine handrail because your incline or resistance is too high for you cheats your body and can throw off your alignment, jarring your spine, shoulders and elbows,” says Scott Danberg, the director of fitness at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami.”
Now, I watch the Biggest Loser, so I know that when you are using a cardio machine, whether it be the elliptical or a treadmill, you should be keeping your HANDS OFF. Lord knows that Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper have screamed this advice (or would it be order?) at participants season to season. However, I thought it was important to share that excerpt with you, as I didn’t realize how much it could affect your spine and the rest of your body. I was practicing this advice based solely on the knowledge that using your hands for supports leads to a less effective workout.
Similar to your daily routine outside of the gym, you want to maintain awareness of your posture during your workout. A hunched stance, either on a cardio machine or while doing a free weight exercise, can lead to misalignment of the spine. This, in turn, will affect not only your back in terms of pain, but can affect other areas of your body. When a vertebra in the spine is misaligned, this can affect the closest nerve, causing pain in other areas besides your back.
“Maintaining good form while lifting will also improve your overall posture. “Generally, people who don’t have good posture have tight or weak muscles,” says Danberg. “If you do not think about your form while you are lifting, you are training poor posture.””
That is why it is so important to make sure that you take note of your form during your workouts. Mr. Danberg recommends leaving your books and magazines at home. These reading materials can distract you from concentration on performing an effective, and most importantly, safe, workout.
Supplementary to maintaining proper form and posture during your workout, maintaining regular adjustments by your chiropractor will also help keep your back pain at bay. Chiropractic adjustments will not only help decrease or eliminate pain, but encourage overall body health and wellness.
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Rounding the corner into March, I’m hoping that all of you who made the 2012 resolution to become more active are doing just that. But after 2 months, sometimes the workout that was awesome just a few weeks ago can become mundane. Hey, it happens to the best of us. Here are some tips to spice up your workout.
1- Take It Outside. Now that the sun is staying out a bit longer each day, you can take advantage of this mild winter weather and do your cardio outside. Feeling risky? Train outside at your local park. Use the stairs and few bottles of water for free weights, and get your strength training in a different scenery. Just remember to keep your form in mind, since you probably won’t have a mirror handy.
2- Partner Up. If you are feeling like your workouts tempt you to say “blah”, try working out with a partner. Ask your co-worker to go for a walk with you on your lunch break, or drag your significant other to the gym. Inquire about personal training services. At a lot of gyms, the first session is free. Not in the mood to chat while you work out? Look no further than man’s best friend. Walking or running with your dog can be a great change of pace, and motivate you to work harder.
3- Take It Up A Notch. If your workout routine is feeling a bit dull, changing just one aspect of it can have a huge affect. Example one- my trainer this weekend had me do some chin-ups, squats, planks, push-ups… all with a backpack filled with weights. Something as basic as a 25 second plank turned into a rug-burn inducing, calorie-burning, tense workout. Adding the use of common gym items like resistance bands or the Bosu ball can have similar effects, and wake up your gym routine.
4- Take A Class. Sure, not everyone is into the group fitness classes that most gyms offer. But if they are part of the cost of your membership, it can’t hurt to check them out, right? Even trying a class once a week can motivate you outside of the studio, and teach you a new technique.
What other tips do you have for keeping your workout fun and interesting? Comment on this blog now!
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Sure, we all try to maintain a certain level of health… eat right (when it isn’t Thanksgiving, that is), workout, get adjusted. But for all my ladies out there… are you just getting on the treadmill or elliptical, hitting a few basic machines for your biceps, abs, and legs, and then calling it a day?
Shape Magazine recently outlined some muscle groups that tend to be neglected by females in the gym. For example, a lot of women overlook working out their neck and upper back, or the trapezius. Shape notes:
This layer of muscle runs across your upper back, across your shoulders and up your neck, and are used in daily activities like turning and supporting your head. Lugging a heavy purse around all day on one shoulder can cause some major muscle imbalances within your trapezius.
I know what you are thinking. I don’t want to get huge traps like the guys that I see at my gym, where it doesn’t even look like they have a neck anymore! Not to worry, you can work out and strengthen the muscle group without making huge changes to your appearance. A free weight-less move, such as a wall angel, is easy to do anywhere, and can make a noticeable change in your posture as well. Strengthening those traps will keep your shoulders back and improve your posture, which can help avoid pain.
Another area that you aren’t spending enough time on? Your erector spine. Shape states, This bundle of muscles and tendons support the spine, most notably the lower back. These muscles are used in everything from maintaining proper spine alignment to flexing and extending the spine during daily activities like picking things off the floor.
Cobra back extensions, an exercise that also does not use free weights, can help strengthen your entire back. This too, will improve your posture and help avoid back pain.
To see the exercises that Shape Magazine recommends to help, click here.
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Summertime to most people usually means relaxation, sun, and of course, vacation. It does not mean sweating it out in a hot gym, wishing you were outside enjoying the sunshine. Especially if you are taking some time off of work and traveling- and your local gym is nowhere in sight.
So what are you supposed to do to keep that beach-ready body? Calisthenics. Most of you probably recognize this form of working out, defined by Webster’s dictionary as “systematic rhythmic bodily exercises performed usually without apparatus,” as old school moves your gym teacher used to make you do back in middle school- jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches. But with exercise programs such as Insanity and P90X gaining in popularity, suddenly what is old is new again.
Calisthenics are a great option for people on vacation, because you save on time, money, and space. You can perform the exercises in your hotel room in as little as half an hour, working most of the major muscle groups with no free weights or machines.
It is important to note that you have to be aware of your form in order to avoid injury. It is a good idea to develop an exercise program with an expert, such as a personal trainer, to make a workout that is specific to your needs and ensure all of the moves are being performed properly. Another good option for travelers?
Walking, jogging, or running outside around your new destination. This way, you can take in the sights and get some cardio in as well.
Check out a New York Times article that spoke more about this here.