Pull Your Weight: The Importance of Pulling Exercises

In a resistance training routine, it’s important to balance pushing and pulling exercises. Whether a plan works your entire body or focuses on specific body parts, incorporating push and pull exercises is crucial to overall strength, muscular development, and muscular balance.

What Are Pushing and Pulling Exercises?

A push exercise is performed when the muscle pushes weight away from the body during the concentric phase of the movement and then lengthens in the eccentric phase when the weight is moved back toward the body. Pushing exercises include push-ups, bench presses, back squats, and forward lunges. These exercises use prime movers such as the glutes, quadriceps, calves, pectorals, deltoids, and triceps.

A pull exercise, on the other hand, is performed when the muscle pulls weight toward the body during the concentric portion of the movement and then lengthens as the weight moves away from the body during the eccentric portion of the exercise. Pulling exercises use prime movers such as the hamstrings, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, biceps, forearms, obliques, and abdominals.1

A Little Pulling Goes a Long Way

The majority of the muscles used for pulling exercises make up what is known as the posterior chain. The posterior chain is a group of muscles predominantly comprised of tendons and ligaments along the back or posterior of the body, including the neck, back, hips, and legs.2

Modern humans spend a lot of time seated during the day, which inhibits the use of the posterior chain muscles. The posterior chain is the primary mover for forward propulsion, including movements such as jumping, pushing, pulling, running, hopping, twisting, walking, squatting, bending, and even simply getting in and out of a chair. Neglecting your posterior chain can negatively affect your posture, mobility, strength, and flexibility.3

When this happens, your primary movers take a back seat while your stabilizing muscles do the big jobs. This means your support system does all the heavy-duty work, which can lead to daily aches and pains in your back and neck. The best way to avoid this poor movement pattern is to add pulling exercises to your weekly workout routine.

Upper-body pull exercises are divided into two categories: horizontal pull and vertical pull. Horizontal pull exercises include any exercise that moves the weight toward your body horizontally, such as bent-over rows. Vertical pull exercises include any exercise that moves the weight down vertically in relation to the torso, such as pull-ups and lat pulldowns. Elbow flexion exercises, such as bicep curls, fall into the upper-body pull category.

The Push–Pull Balance

A good exercise routine incorporates the entire body and includes pushing and pulling exercises as well as core and accessory movements. A good way to create this balance is to include opposing movements in your routine. If you do an upper-body pull exercise, include an upper-body push exercise. An even better way to create a well-rounded workout routine is to incorporate the seven fundamental movement patterns into your weekly workout program.

Pulling exercises are vital, but it’s also important to include upper- and lower-body pushing, rotational, anti-extension, and anti-rotation exercises. There are many ways to design workout plans that include all these movement patterns, including body-part splits, push/pull, upper/lower splits, and full body.4

Regardless of your training template, include at least one of each movement pattern in your weekly routine. The more you train, the more exercises you will include each week. Full-body training is the most well-rounded type of training because you cover all the bases in each workout.

Final Thoughts

Lifestyle factors can limit your posterior chain muscles, thus inhibiting proper function. A lack of posterior strength can lead to slouching, aches, pains, and reduced mobility. Adding the pulling exercises mentioned above to your weekly exercise routine will help you not only balance your workouts but also build up the strongest, most powerful muscles in your body.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/the-importance-of-pulling-exercises/

Your Body on Plyo

 

If you bounce out of your seat when you hear House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” then you may love plyometrics. Jumping is plain fun, and that’s what makes plyometrics, or plyo, addictive. Plyometric or jump training involves quick, bursting movements that power you upward, outward, or side to side.1 Athletes use both upper and lower body plyo workouts to improve speed, power, and reaction, which translates into higher jumps, quicker jukes, harder throws, and faster sprints.

What about jump training for the average gym enthusiast? If you get the OK from your physician to perform high-impact exercise, you can absolutely benefit from plyometrics (even without a competition on the horizon). Read on to learn about the benefits of plyometrics and how to incorporate this type of training into your workout routine.

The Benefits of Plyometrics

Plyometrics help build explosive movement and benefit anyone who wants to get faster, stronger, and more powerful and agile. A good plyo workout uses low-rep sets with high intensity, which can help shed seconds off your run time, increase strength and speed on heavy reps in the weight room, and improve jump height for any sport.2

Plyo Mythbusting

Plyometrics is part of power training, but not all power training is considered plyometrics. Power training allows you to apply maximal force in a short amount of time.3 Think about when a defensive lineman explodes off the line toward his opponent in a football game. If he is slow off the line, he misses the opportunity to protect his quarterback. Power training helps achieve this reaction.

However, when it comes to plyo, the unique component is the fast-loading phase that builds into the explosive contraction. To help you better understand what this means, let’s use the box jump as an example. The standard box jump involves standing stationary in front of a box and jumping a couple feet off the ground to land on the box. This is a great power-training move, but it’s not plyo training. Plyo training would involve jumping off a short box immediately onto a lower box. The main difference: there’s a longer reaction time with the first power-training jump.

How to Prevent Injury During Jump Training

Plyometrics requires a sound strength base and some patience as you take yourself from beginner jumps to more advanced ones. Often plyometrics gets a bad rap because trainers and participants do not build a solid foundation before moving into more advanced exercises.

For healthy participants, the most common mistakes that lead to injury are improper body position and poor program design. When jump training, it’s important to start at the most basic level to get a clear understanding of body position, movement, and what it means to not only exert force (concentric muscle contractions) but also absorb it (eccentric muscle contractions). Take the above example: Jumping off and onto a box allows your body to absorb force before it exerts force.4 Many people sacrifice recovery at the expense of intensity, but recovering between sets is crucial to help prevent injury and reap all the benefits of training.

Body position is a key ingredient to safely moving through a plyometrics workout. During jump training, it’s always important to land on the balls of your feet with good ankle dorsiflexion (when the top of the foot flexes toward the ankle), as well as a slight bend or flexion in all joints, including the knees and hips. In the landing position, the shoulders, knees, and toes should align. This helps absorb force and prevents non-contact injury.5

The most important injury prevention tenet in jump training is the quicker you can explode through the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) by jumping, the safer the movement. This may mean a lower jump height, fewer reps, and more recovery time between sets.

Lower-Body Plyometric Exercises

Lower-body plyometric exercises involve jumps in which you take off from one or both feet and land on both feet. These exercises include single or multiple long jumps, jumping jacks, jumping rope, or jumping down from a box and back.

Single-leg hopping is also part of lower body plyo and can include a single-ankle hop or multiple ankle hops for a distance. Bounding, a more advanced form of plyometrics to try after mastering the basics, is where the participant takes off from one foot and lands on the other, either forward or laterally.6 It is not included in the workout below but is a good goal to work toward!

Upper-Body Plyometrics

Upper-body plyometrics are great to improve strength, power, and explosiveness for any throwing or pushing movement. Upper-body plyos can work your body through a series of overhead, rotational, pushing, pulling, and throwing deceleration exercises. Because upper body plyometrics training generates energy through ground contact, the core and lower body reap residual benefits from this type of training.7

Although certain exercises like plyo push-ups only use bodyweight, the most effective upper body plyo exercises use a medicine ball. The best type of medicine ball for this training is one made of durable, bounceable rubber. The workout below also uses a stability ball. Some great upper-body plyo medicine ball exercises include the soccer pass, two-arm side toss, and medicine ball overhead slam.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/your-body-on-plyo/

Double your workouts with a fitness buddy!

Workout. The hardest part of it is right there in the word itself: work. When it comes to fitness, some of the most common reasons given for not doing it include:

And I get it! With any new commitment, there’s a bell curve of excitement. You start in the “I’ve got this!” phase, where you are all in, mentally and physically. For workouts, that means you get the equipment and the apparel, pay for gym or studio memberships, and start setting your alarm early every morning to go get your sweat on.

A few days or weeks in, that enthusiasm starts to wane. You’re tired. You’re sore. Maybe you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like. So you start to skip a workout or two. When you do go, you don’t put in a full effort, so you start to see diminishing returns.

Hopefully, something happens that pulls the curve back up. Otherwise, that curve is more like a steep drop-off that leaves you where you started (or worse), feeling disappointed and defeated.

Enter: partner workouts! They tackle all of the challenges of working out and then some.

So, how do you start? The first trick is to find the right person. Sure, it’s easy to ask someone you’re already close to (a spouse or partner, a parent, a best friend, a colleague), but before you commit, make certain that this person has enough in common with you that you’re setting yourself up for success.

Ask yourself to following:

What time does this person like to get up? And to work out? If you’re an early riser who likes to knock out a run before the sun comes up, you likely won’t do well with someone who’s a night owl and prefers to work out after the evening meal.

What kind of workouts does this person like? If you crave cardio and hate doing weights, you may not want to partner with someone who feels the opposite. However, there is value in finding someone who can push you to do the things that aren’t as natural for you, and vice versa. Just be sure that that partner is open to trying it and won’t opt out of the types of workouts he or she doesn’t enjoy.

Do the two of you have a similar goal? It will work best if you’re both trying to achieve the same results: better performance (being able to run faster during a race, or lift heavier weights), weight loss, stress relief, and so on.

Is this a person that you can really count on? Just because you like someone or you get along well with that someone in other aspects of your lives does not mean that this person will make an ideal match, so take a good look at how he or she treats other deadlines and commitments before asking to go steady at the gym.

Finally, does this person have his or her own built-in incentive to keep going? Just as your commitment level and enthusiasm will undoubtedly wax and wane, so too will your partner’s. Do you think this person has enough willpower to push past these challenges?

But once you’ve found your partner, it’s important to be a good buddy, too.

Consider having an agreement – informal or formal, depending on whether or not you think you’ll need to refer back to it – that actually lays out the commitment each is agreeing to. How many times a week will you each work out? Will you work out together all the time, or will you sometimes work out on your own?

Remember that having a partner is all about accountability, and that goes for outside of the gym, too. Text or call through the week to ask how your buddy is doing. See if he or she needs some extra support, or just someone to laugh about sore muscles with!

Then, before the start of each workout, ask, “How can I help you today?”. On some days, your partner may need an extra push when they’re feeling a bit down or have low energy, while on others, he or she may need a little less help. It’s good to have an overall plan for the type of support each of you prefers, but don’t be afraid to build in some flexibility.

If it’s helpful, try a system of consequences and rewards! If one of you skips a workout, it’s an extra ten push-ups the next time you’re together. Or, whoever logs the most miles in three months gets a car wash from the other. Just try not to make these rewards food-based, which defeats the purpose of working out.

And whether it’s at the beginning or after you’ve started the program, don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Perhaps the two of you would work best with a third party overseeing your workouts – a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor – and then, the way that you support each other is by showing up and by cheering the other on.

Now you’ve found your partner and you’re both committed, what workouts and moves can you try? The most effective workouts are those that are fun and challenging and target the entire body.

Don’t forget cardio, either! A great way to work out together, but at different levels, is to run or walk on side-by-side treadmills. Partners who run at a similar pace can see who can get to a certain distance the fastest, while those who may need different speeds can set a time goal instead.

Here are some other ideas for making a success out of working with a buddy:

  • Pick a weekly group fitness class and agree to meet before class for stretches and conversation. Knowing that the other person is counting on you, and vice versa, can really help establish some good fitness habits.
  • Together, choose a goal that you can both work toward, such as a road race (the 5K is a great starting distance and really fun to do with a partner), a sprint triathlon or some other time-sensitive event. Make sure you give yourself enough time to put in the training, but then use that as your motivation!
  • Here’s one tip that works really well: make sure your goal is S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based.
  • Don’t love the idea of training for a physical event? Look ahead to some big moment in your life: maybe an upcoming wedding, a class reunion, a family photo session, or some other occasion where you want to look and feel your best. Then, reach out to someone else who’s counting down to the same thing! Your training partner doesn’t have to be someone who lives close to you. If you think you’ll be more motivated to check in with someone virtually, you can change those in-gym meetups for daily text or email threads to stay accountable!

And make the most out of your limited time. If you work with your buddy, why not try meeting him or her before heading into the office, or carving out some time during your lunch break to fit in a bodyweight workout? A small lawn or even the parking lot with some towels laid down can make for a great informal studio.

If your workout partner is only available once or twice a week to meet in person, consider doing some of your workouts through live video chats, or include a line in your agreement about how much the other person commits to doing outside of the partner times (and check in those days as well).

Finally, if you’re not sure how to approach a potential partner or you don’t have one in mind, don’t be afraid to go public. Make a Facebook post or send out a group email saying something like, “I’m thinking of signing up for my first 5K race this spring and I’d love to have some friends to join me in training. Are you interested? Email me!” You may even find that there’s so much interest, you can trade your workout buddy for buddies, or set up a small group of people who are motivated to improve their lives together.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/working-out-with-a-friend/

Full Circle Body Fitness

 

1) What is EMS?

Fitness has evolved and just 20 minutes a week is all it takes to build and maintain a strong, athletic physique in a fraction of the time. At EMS / Full Circle Body Fitness you can burn up to 800 calories in an average workout session while losing weight, increasing muscle mass, activating dormant muscles and speeding up your metabolism. EMS also assists you in feeling more energized and less stressed which is essential in today’s face paced work environment.

You can accomplish YOUR fitness objectives in only 20 minutes per week through notable EMS (Electric Muscle Stimulus) innovation.  You will immediately start experiencing all the fat consuming and muscle building advantages that you would experience with up to 4 hours of standard training in a conventional gym center through only 20 minutes.

Electric Muscle Stimulus has been utilized for ages and in light of innovative generations has of late turned out to be more accessible.

It’s time to get one step closer to your fitness goals!

Aim high and become the fittest person!

2) Why should people use EMS versus joining a regular gym?

Getting up off your seat and partaking in standard physical activity one of the most essential things you can do to ensure you stay healthy. An old age inquiry, which appears to have no clear answer, is what motivates individuals to move? In the event that this inquiry could be replied, we can have less weight related issues. Finding a physical activity schedule that works for you is a mind-blowing feeling. Nothing compares to being inspired to gear up and get to work.

Full Circle is the answer to all the problems. If you don’t care to go to GYM, no time, occupied, absence of inspiration, back agony – all of that can be solved by EMS Training at Full circle body wellness and you can accomplish your objectives, feeling considerably more beneficial, vigorous, energetic and cheerful.

3) What set’s your facility apart from the others offering EMS

We utilize the most recent innovation in the market, which is the X body, where you can exercise with wireless gadget. Any kind of workout that you do for example cardio work out, with the use of the wireless gadget you can accomplish a greater amount of cardio benefits and the flexible movements on your training.  X Body / Full circle EMS Training is the world’s speediest and most productive EMS training. You achieve all your wellness objectives with your fitness coach in just 20 minutes once every week.

4) What are the benefits of EMS?

Some of the major benefits include:

  • Weights loss: Full circle body wellness/EMS provides the quickest method to burn out not less than 800 calories in only 20 minutes, transforming your body to burn calories up to 3 days after the sessions.
  • Muscles Gain: EMS can contract 92% of body muscles with highest intensity and you can attain strong muscles and cardinally change your self-perception. Likewise utilizing Full circle EMS you will develop muscles since EMS goes further deep into the muscles and break the muscle to more prominent degree than the typical regular workouts.
  • Back pain: Full circle body wellness/EMS encourages you to strengthen the profound muscles around your spine.
  • Knee pain: Full circle Body fitness / EMS training is a specific training to improve your knee condition.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Full circle body fitness offers you the quickest way to a healthy lifestyle. Just 20 minutes once a week ensures you the recommended excise in order to stay fit, be invigorated and have a satisfactory way of life, likewise add to your physical and mental wellbeing. EMS training will activate all your 650 muscles, Increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, cholesterol (fat from the blood) and improve blood circulation.

5) Are there any side effects or drawbacks?

The concept of Electric Muscle Stimulation has been used successfully for decades and in recent years this full body application of the technology has become very popular globally and the secret weapon of professional athletes, supermodels, celebrities and technologically savvy individuals across the globe.

Wearing the specialized wireless EMS Training Suit while doing exercise, we stimulate and activate all the muscles in the body penetrating deeply, ensuring faster results, in creased recovery times and a higher release of Human growth hormone leading to greater cellular regeneration.

So to answer to your question there are no side effects at all.

6) What are your top 3 tips for people who want to try EMS but are nervous?  

  1. Scientifically proven that there is no side effect; the technology developed for physiotherapy
  2. Results are visible in a very short space of time; with most people feeling and seeing the change in their bodies begin within 2 sessions.
  3. By removing heavy weights and impact on the joints – clients can safely enjoy all the benefits of long hours in the gym while saving their most previous commodity – TIME. Just 20 min per week all you need.

Save 20% on all EMS packages at Full Circle Body Fitness only on FittPass.com => https://fittpass.com/full-circle-body-fitness

Yoga Ashram

 

1) What sets you guys apart from other yoga studios?

We are different from other studios in that we offer authentic yoga sessions which don’t just focus on Asanas but on breathing and meditation too. We also offer the International Programs by Art of Living and International Association of Human Values ie. Happiness Program for adults and similar program for kids and teens. We also offer prenatal yoga, yoga for kids and beginner and advanced classes.

2) In a nut shell what are the benefits of yoga?

Yoga among its numerous benefits, can greatly enhance your awareness and alertness. It allows you to be present in the moment, be calm and work in a most productive way in the moment. This is especially important in our daily lives where we are constantly stressed and always on the go. Yoga helps to bring you back to the moment which can help you be effective at anything and everything you do

3) Can people who have no experience in yoga take classes at your studio?

Yoga is for everybody and its most definitely for those who at times feel intimidated and afraid of trying. To help those that are scared to start yoga we have beginner classes at the studio.

4) We would like your top 3 tips to anybody who wants to start yoga but unsure of how to go about it.

  1. Attend a Sri Sri Yoga Class near you as it is gentle yet works on the mind and the breath
  2. Always be with your own experience, never compare yourself to others or judge yourself. The body is changing all the time and if today you can’t do the asana, in the future you will be able to do it.
  3. Regular practice and being patient with yourself. Just start and enjoy the practice.

5) What are the different types of yoga offered at Yoga Ashram and what are the differences?

All yoga is derived from Hatha. A more dynamic form of practice is called Vinyasa. Mixed-Style Yoga is when the teacher mixes several styles and puts in his/her own characteristics to make it unique.

Our Iyengar or Traditional Hatha with props is popular as it is great in correcting your alignment. Sri Sri Yoga is gentle, yet very relaxing and great in bringing the body back to its natural balance with the mind and breath.

We are especially proud of our Yoga Therapy sessions for various ailments like diabetes, high BP and arthritis to name a few and the kids and teens yoga is also becoming popular.

 

In Shape Ladies Fitness Club

Image result for in shape ladies fitness club

1) In Shape Ladies Fitness club isn’t just a gym, you offer group classes as well. In your group classes, how do you accommodate varying skill and fitness levels?

In Shape Ladies Fitness Club is a boutique gym which means that it has a personal approach to women’s fitness for the simple reason that all our group fitness classes are not pre-choreographed workouts and also our classes are never over crowded. This makes it easy to keep an eye out for women who need assistance or instruction during the class. All our classes are designed by a team of very experienced trainers who have great insight and knowledge of the local demography we specifically cater for. Women of different fitness levels can attend all our classes because we can very easily modify exercises on the spot without disrupting the flow of the workout. Women feel that they are continuously receiving the personal care needed to motivate and encourage them to be active, fit and healthy.

2) As a personal trainer, how important is nutrition to you in creating a client’s regimen? Do you create a meal plan for them or just guide them on the right foods to eat?

As a personal trainer it is my duty to teach, instruct and educate. That means that anyone embarking on a fitness lifestyle or otherwise, nutrition is the corner stone of being healthy and fit. A properly structured nutrition plan is an essential and integral part of achieving specific goals whether it is fat loss or building lean muscle mass.

Macro nutrients, portion control and food choices are discussed to ensure the proper implementation of a healthy clean diet which is directed towards achieving the desired goal!!

Every client goes through a Body Composition Analysis that allows us to gauge fat%, Free Fat Mass% and (BMR) Basel Metabolic Rate which we use to create the perfectly balanced nutrition plan that gives the client a basic general guidelines on when to eat and what to eat!

3) What are your thoughts about organic food? What are your thoughts on a vegan diet? Do these really help in weight loss and fitness?

Going organic or following a vegan diet has no impact on weight loss and fitness! It is a personal choice. As long as the same guidelines are followed to create the optimal nutrition plan, then weight loss and general fitness will be achieved.

4) You’ve recently started group personal training classes. What was the motivation behind that and how does this help women?

Actually, it was only after I researched it and found that it is the fastest growing fitness trend in the rest of the world but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be something that has been picked up in Dubai.

It is both cost effective, fun, motivating and gets amazing results. Groups are usually between 3-6 people and the trainer does not participate in the workout as in group fitness classes but focuses all her attention on the group in hand! Essentially it is “Personal Training” at one third of the cost.

5) What are 3 essential exercises you suggest for all clients?

When it comes to essential exercises it really isn’t easy to determine but I would say the plank for core stabilization, the push up for upper body strength and squats for the lower body!

6) In your 25 years of fitness knowledge and experience, what are a few misconceptions that people have towards fitness?

I think the BIGGEST misconception is the fact that the fitness industry is centred around weight loss!! Fitness in a nutshell is about how the body functions and the main components of fitness are Muscular Strength, Cardio Respiratory Endurance, Flexibility and Body Composition. So if a person successfully over time builds all these components to the required levels and couples it with a sound nutrition plan then we can confidently say that gradual realistic fat loss is possible.

The next misconception is that weight training creates bulky muscles, which is a virtual impossibility in natural body building. This is mainly because women don’t have enough testosterone levels. Also, female hormones are not considered very muscle bulking material!

When we workout we CAN”T spot reduce fat. Where we store FAT or LOSE it is predisposed by our genetics. Ladies! Fat can’t change into muscle because they are completely different cells! You can lose fat and build lean muscle mass.

All women must remember that a muscle that isn’t targeted through resistance training will look like a tyre with a puncture flat and flabby. Whereas, a trained muscle will look tensed, pumped up and shaped like a tyre that’s good to go! I personally hate the “punctured” look! Give me “pumped” look anyday!

About Laila Lallas

Laila is the owner and founder of “In Shape Ladies Fitness Club” and has been actively involved in the fitness industry for the last twenty years. It has been her passion to be able to relate the importance of making fitness an integral part of people’s lives, especially women.

She is a certified group fitness instructor and over the years has designed several modules of her strength circuit class Body Shape-N-Tone and Tae Bo Cardio Kick, a low impact high intensity workout. She is also a certified personal trainer with ISSA, a weight management consultant with ACE and has trained in functional training, Bosu Balance trainer, Swiss Ball, Anti Natal exercise and many more.

Take A Stand On Sitting

When you think about risky jobs, you probably think about mining, steel work, or commercial fishing, not typing memos in a corner office. However, researchers are increasingly raising the alarm that office jobs carry substantial health risks because they require people to sit for long periods. Sitting for 8 hours or more per day increases a person’s risk of premature death by up to 60 percent, according to a 2012 study of a million adults published in the Lancet. Sitting causes more deaths than obesity and poses as great a threat to public health as smoking, according to the researchers’ analysis.

Are you concerned your sedentary job may be harming your health or shortening your life? It’s time to take a stand against sitting. Keep reading to learn why frequent physical activity during the day is necessary regardless of how much you exercise, and discover how to move more at work to stay healthy and productive.

Exercise Is Not Enough

Health experts recommend approximately 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise to maintain physical health. Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of Americans don’t get that much exercise. Worse, even frequent exercisers are at risk for health problems if they’re sedentary for long periods for the rest of the day. The human body is designed to move frequently.

What types of activities are best? Any movement is better than none. In one study, people who took the most frequent breaks from sitting during the day (even for just a minute) had significantly smaller waistlines and lower markers of inflammation than those who took the fewest breaks. In other studies, people who fidget are consistently thinner and healthier and have lower morbidity risks than those who don’t. In a large observational study, women who spent the most time doing light household activities such as cleaning, home repair, gardening, or climbing stairs had the lowest risk of breast cancer (Notably, vigorous exercise was not associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in this study). To be healthy, a person needs to be moderately active during the day.

Take a Stand

With all of the headlines about the ills of sitting, a standing desk may sound like the solution. Warning: staying in a static position for a long time is hard on the body whether you’re sitting or standing. Moreover, standing for long periods, as people do in certain jobs, is associated with a significantly greater risk of developing serious varicose veins in the legs, according to a 2015 study.

With those caveats, sit-stand desks provide many benefits over regular desks because they allow office workers to change position more frequently and may encourage more walking. Research on sit-stand desks is in its infancy, but a few studies suggest standing for some of the time at work may also increase workers’ productivity by approximately 10 to 15 percent.

If you don’t have access to a sit-stand desk, you can fashion your own. If you have a laptop, it’s best to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can keep your screen just above eye level and your hands at waist height. Then try one of these tricks:

  • Set a chair and low box on your desk. Put your laptop on the chair and the keyboard on the box.
  • Set a box on a waist-height countertop. Put your laptop on the box and your keyboard on the countertop.
  • Use a bookshelf. Put your laptop on a shelf at eye level and your keyboard on a shelf at waist height.

No matter which sit-stand arrangement you use, alternate standing with sitting and gradually transition to standing more. Aim for eventually standing for about one-fourth of your working hours. Use standing as an excuse to walk and move more, not less.

If possible, it’s also beneficial to sit on the floor for some of your working hours. Chairs are uncommon in many parts of the world, and some health experts argue chairs are not an improvement on the floor when it comes to sitting. Sitting on the floor increases the mobility of the hips, encourages good posture, and makes people want to naturally change positions often. It also requires people to rise from the floor to standing, a movement that requires a surprising amount of muscular strength, flexibility, and balance. Cardiologists can even predict longevity with the sitting-rising test, a simple assessment of whether a person can rise from the floor without using their hands.

Resting is a normal and natural part of life. Anthropologists have documented at least a hundred common resting postures around the world. However, it’s not optimal to stay in any one resting position for a long time. It’s better to move to new positions frequently, and get up and walk around often.

Jump on the Treadmill

What about walking while you work? Treadmill desks are growing in popularity and they offer benefits, according to some research. In one study, subjects who walked while they worked for two hours a day for two months slept better and significantly improved their blood pressure.

However, walking on a treadmill is biomechanically not the same as walking on land, and it can contribute to hip, knee, and pelvis problems in some people, according to biomechanist Katy Bowman. On a treadmill, you must use your hip flexors to propel yourself forward instead of your lateral hip and glute muscles. Moreover, if you’re typing at the desk, you can’t swing your arms as you typically would as you walk, which can contribute to lower back pain. The benefits may outweigh the risks, though, especially if the alternative is sitting all day, which is known to be hazardous.

Expect a learning curve if you decide to jump on the treadmill. New treadmill desk users performed much worse on tests of cognitive abilities than their seated colleagues in a study. Some new users also report dizziness and overuse injuries, such as foot inflammation. However, a longer-term study suggests workers are as productive as seated colleagues after using a treadmill desk for several months.

Escape the Desk Sentence

If you’re sedentary for long periods of the day, commit to being more active at the office. At first, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and move. Also, pay attention, and you’ll notice your body prompting you to get up periodically. Here are a few common signals: restlessness, inability to pay attention, fatigue, headache, eyestrain, and tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Do these symptoms sound familiar? Take your body’s messages seriously – get up for a few minutes, and walk around. If possible, look outside at the horizon to relax your eyes. When you get back to your desk, change your position. You’ll feel better and be healthier, and you’ll probably also be more productive. Brief breaks have been shown to vastly improve the brain’s ability to focus.

No matter how much you move at the office, computer jobs are more sedentary than the daily work most humans did throughout history. When you’re not at work, commit to being active regardless of your age. Researchers used to think humans inevitably lost muscle mass, flexibility, and mobility as they aged. However, many of the physical changes we’d assumed were due to aging are actually due to physical inactivity, according to newer research. Regular physical activity keeps people strong and agile throughout life. Any type of movement is better than none. Walk, run, crawl, roll, squat, stretch, jump, swim, hang, and play. Or clean your house, tend your garden, mow your lawn, and commute and do errands on foot. Your body and brain will thank you.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/the-benefits-of-standing-over-sitting/

The Hectic Holiday Guide to Keeping Your Health Goals

Fitting fitness in is difficult at any time of the year. I’m a personal trainer, I teach group fitness classes, and I love working out. But still, I literally have to add my fitness plans to my weekly calendar, make certain that someone is around to watch the kids, and be ready to adjust if a work emergency pops up (and let’s be honest: those emergencies seem to manifest once a day).

Add in holiday parties, end-of-year work deadlines, family visits, and travel, and it feels nearly impossible to make it all happen. Plus, the pressure mounts as the new year approaches and everyone starts asking: “What are your resolutions?”

Not to use an already over-used phrase, but it really is crucial to put on your oxygen mask first. Take care of yourself, and you can take care of everything and everyone around you.

So, let’s talk about a few hectic healthy holiday strategies that can help you stay on track.

Food and Diet

There’s something that’s just so nostalgic about holiday treats. Pumpkin spice invades the store shelves, everyone starts bringing cookies and homemade treats to the office, and you dig out the old family cookbook to create some of the most delicious and special meals from your childhood holidays.

It’s so easy to think, “It’s okay to overindulge, because I almost never get to eat these things,” or “I’ll make up for it after the holidays are over and go back to a more balanced diet.” But that quickly leads to not just one cookie, but three – or seconds and thirds when you’re already full.

One popular approach to holiday health is the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of choices are healthy and smart, and 20 percent are fun and indulgent. It’s a way to feel fulfilled and enjoy some special treats without totally derailing your lifestyle. You can also apply it to your plate: 80 percent of what you pile on is healthy (roasted vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains), and 20 percent is whatever you want!

I find that that 20 percent guideline is incredibly helpful because it really reminds me to pick the things that are special and that I really want, and not just take some of everything.

Here are a few other tips and tools:

  • Rest up! Research shows that a bad night’s sleep can lead to poor eating choices the next day – maybe even an extra 300 calories, which add up quickly over a week.
  • Take a lap before filling your plate. You’ll likely eat the most of whatever you serve first, so if you can make it a salad with fresh vegetables, some hummus, or even soup, it can prevent you from overdoing it on the indulgent meats, sides, and desserts.
  • Use smaller plates. We tend to fill up the space we have, so if you use a salad or appetizer plate, it can make a big difference. Plus, you can go back for more servings, but use the break to ask yourself: “Am I really still hungry?”

Work and social engagements are a great way to celebrate the season, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of mindless snacking and extra treats. Because these events often fall on nights and weekends, when you might also be ditching your workout, making a few intentional decisions before you arrive can help parties from being a pitfall.

  • Eat a small but filling meal or large snack before you go to a party.
  • Stand more than an arm’s length away from tempting treats and snack foods.
  • “Thanks but no thanks.” Don’t feel pressured to eat or drink something just because someone offers it or encourages you to indulge. A simple ”No thank you” is very powerful, and you can always go back on your own and eat it later – when it’s your choice, not just a reflexive action.

Let’s all admit together that working out during the holiday season is hard. That just means that we need to choose to overcome that obstacle. Yes, you’re tired. Yes, you’re juggling visitors or packing for your own travel. Yes, just the gift shopping feels like a workout. And actually, it is! If you wear an activity tracker you know that you can get up to 10,000 steps just walking through a mall or shopping center.

I think the three keys to sticking with a routine are the following: find something fun, go with what you already know, and stay to play. Let’s break that down.

Find Something Fun

Honestly, my favorite thing to do is to put on a great playlist of music, gather my family around me, and DANCE. I add some sneaky bodyweight-bearing exercises like burpees, high knee runs, jumping jacks, and more – the kids love to keep up and don’t think of it as a workout at all! – and after 20–30 minutes, we’re all dripping with sweat.

Go With What You Already Know

I love trying new classes and workouts and committing to monthly challenges. But this is not the time to jump into something new that you may not end up loving or that may take more of your time than you can give!

If you’re already taking weekly yoga classes at the studio near work, stick with it – bonus points if you pre-pay for classes so you have an extra incentive to make it to the mat. Drag out that well-loved workout DVD and load it up at night so all you have to do in the morning is press play. Keep your current running club dates or personal training sessions, since they’re already part of your routine.

And if you’re not currently working out but want to, keep it simple. In the big picture of fitness, of course you want to mix things up to make sure you’re getting a good balance of strength training, cardio, and flexibility. But for this short period, it’s just about moving and making smart choices.

Stay to Play

The thing I hear most often when it comes to the hectic holiday period is that people just don’t have the time to go somewhere. Driving to the gym takes up time that could be spent on wrapping gifts or finishing work. When family is in town, it feels wrong to leave them and spend 90 minutes on a run or in a yoga class.

So, stay home – and invite everyone to join you! Thirty minutes a day can make a huge difference, and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training) are quick, sweaty, and very effective. You can knock one off while waiting for the Christmas cupcakes to bake!

Wellness and Self-Care

Finally, don’t forget to find some quiet time in the craziness. Yes, we focus on diet and exercise because it’s so easy to pack on extra pounds during the holidays. But meditation, self-reflection, and de-stressing techniques are a very important part of the package.

It can feel wasteful or selfish to take a hot bath while out-of-town visitors are downstairs catching up on stories. You might cringe at the idea of passing on a trip to the mall for last-minute shopping with your best friend, even though you’ve completed your list already.

Make time and space for yourself. It’s okay to say no. Remember that oxygen mask!

Mad About Dance Studio

 

1) Tell us a bit about MAD and what sets you guys apart from other studios

MAD (Mad About Dance) is a personalized and light-hearted approach to building activity into your lifestyle. We call it the perfect mash up of having fun and working out. We realize that if you have your favorite music going on while you’re working out in a non-gym environment (I mean a large open space, plenty of light, easy parking space, good location) and with a help of a good trainer, this can do wonders to your mind and body. That’s where we come in.

2) What are the benefits of dancing?

Benefits of dancing are endless. For the body – benefits include weight loss, toning, strengthening the core and muscles, increase stamina and improves flexibility and blood circulation. For the mind – It’s one of the best natural anti-depressants and can be very therapeutic too.

3) How is fitness incorporated in the dances?

When we teach technical classes such as contemporary form, regular warm up and stretching sessions are a part of the class. Ofcourse teaching dance is physical movement which done regularly is part of a fitness routine.

Having said that, we have specialized sessions for those who are primarily interested in taking classes for fitness or weight loss reasons such as Zumba, MADx and private lessons.

4) You have fitness specific dance classes such as Zumba, MADx, personal training sessions & Bhangra. Please explain what these classes are and how they are different?

Other than the dance workshops and classes that we teach, we also have dance –fitness programs that are targeted to losing weight for any age and any size person with any stamina level.

Zumba is good cardio. We also have our own programs such as MADx (the Bollywood fitness) that is 30 minutes cardio, and 20 minutes floor exercises or weights. Its almost losing 400 to 600 calories in that one hour. Which is quite a lot! We regularly do Bhangra workshops that’s again extremely high energy dancing on Bhangra music for non stop 1.5 hours straight.

That’s not it – we have one to one personal trainings to create a program according to one’s body needs. This is for those who do not want a group session and want a target or goal that they want to achieve in less time.

5) What are your top 3 tips for people who want to try a dance fitness class but are nervous?

Tip 1: When you walk in your first day, don’t bother putting up with others. Do as much as you can and enjoy the process. The fact that you made it to class is your win.

Tip 2: It’s happened with me many times when I feel that all others are much better than me. Why should I go anyway? But I realized that others don’t matter. Its our inner doubts that serve as a barrier. So ignore your inner demon and just go for it! There is a 99% chance you won’t regret your decision afterwards.

Tip 3: Dress appropriately. For eg- not having sport shoes, a water bottle or not wearing a sport Bra can affect your mood and elevate your fear in the class. If you go prepared, you will be able to focus on the class and improve over time. But most importantly remember to have a good time!

 

Make a Splash: The Health Benefits of Water Workouts!

The pool is an amazing place to get fit – and believe me, if you build the right workout, you’ll find yourself sweaty and sore after just a short amount of time! From using weights to some specific swimming drills, build strength and endurance the next time you’re in the water.

As a personal trainer, I can tell you that moving your workout to the water can be a great way to work up a sweat, build muscles, increase your cardiovascular fitness, and much more.

Before you go jumping right in, there are a few safety pointers to keep in mind:

  • Even strong swimmers can get a cramp, find themselves in deeper water than they can handle, or just need a break. So never, ever work out in the water alone. Grab a buddy or, better yet, buddies, so you can always have at least one person out of the water to keep an eye on things
  • If you’re in the pool, stay close to the side. Not only is it there for you if you need a rest, it’s a great place to do many of the exercises themselves!
  • If you’re outside, watch out for the elements! Slather yourself in sunscreen so you don’t get burned, take a look around to make sure you won’t be near any boats or other people, and make sure that you find safe footing in a sandy spot
  • Stay hydrated. Just because you’re in the water doesn’t mean the water is in you! And you may not feel yourself sweat, so be sure to stay on top of your hydration and take breaks if you need them

And as always, never start a fitness regime of any kind without your medical provider’s approval.

Let’s break the workout options down into cardio, strength training, and flexibility. You can focus on one or mix up your routine to include all three! Just make sure you warm up and cool down at the beginning and end of the workout.

Warmup

Before you get in the water, make certain that your muscles are warmed up and you’ve started to get that heart rate going. Try marching in place for a few minutes, maybe even raising and lowering your arms to increase the intensity. A few static stretches may also feel good, so gently take one arm across your body and hold it there for 30 seconds before switching sides. Do the same to loosen up your legs: bend your right foot behind you and grab it with your right arm, bringing it as close to your glutes as possible. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

Cardio

Ready to Go?

Start with a few laps! If you’re a strong swimmer, I recommend that you do a short individual medley (IM). Try one lap each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Your form matters, of course, but you’re not in the Olympic trials, so just work on doing the lap as fast as you can.

  • Need more intensity? Try two laps of each stroke, and then go for several (3-5) sets. Add flip turns if you know how, or alternate sets with arms only (dragging your legs behind) and legs only (using a kickboard or putting your arms out in front for balance)
  • Too intense? The breaststroke is something almost everyone can do, because you don’t have to put your face fully in the water. But it still gets your heart rate going, so do as many laps as you can until you start to feel like you’re getting a good workout

Jog in place: Find a spot where your feet can touch but you’re underwater up to your waist or stomach. Start slowly, then pick up the pace. How high can you get your knees? Try doing this for 60-second intervals: one minute on, one minute off.

  • Need more intensity? Try jogging while holding both arms in the air, or even holding a light waterproof weight or block.

Squat jumps: Find a spot where your feet can touch but you’re underwater up to your waist or stomach. With your feet about hips-width apart, bend your knees until the water’s up to your neck, then push off and jump as high as you can.

  • Need more intensity? Go all the way underwater and clap your hands above your head as you jump up

Pool wall kicks: Starting with your face toward the wall, put both hands on the side and gently push yourself back until your body is floating, close to parallel with the ground. Flutter your legs up and down and start to pick up the pace until it feels like the right intensity. Try doing this for 30-second intervals.

  • Need more intensity? Put your face in the water and breathe from side to side, rather than keeping your face out of the water

Ready to change it up? Flip over so you’re on your back, with your arms resting on the pool wall, perpendicular to your body (in a T shape). Engaging your core muscles, flutter your legs up and down for 30-second intervals

Strength

Let’s build some muscle!

Pool arm dips: Starting with your face toward the wall, put your hands on the side about shoulder-distance apart. Keeping your elbows in so they’re brushing the side of your body, press down into your hands so your body comes out of the water. Push up as high as you can without locking your elbows, then gently lower your body back down. Try 10 repetitions, and then try to complete three full sets.

  • Ready to change it up? Sit on the side of the pool with your fingers pointed behind you (and your wrists facing forward). Gently lower your body into the water, but hold your body up so that your elbows and shoulders are at a 90-degree angle. Engaging your triceps, gently press down into your hands, straightening your arms, then lower again. These tricep dips can be pretty intense, so start with five repetitions and three full sets.

Wall push-offs: With your back to the wall, crouch down until you’re underwater to your shoulders. In one move, tuck your knees into your chest and bring your feet behind you, so you push off the wall as hard as you can. This is an explosive move, so the harder you push and the closer you start to the wall, the more you’ll engage your quads!

  • You can vary the intensity of this by keeping your head above the water or pushing off underwater and seeing how long you can swim without coming up for a breath.

If you have waterproof weights, add these in! You can do underwater tricep push-downs and kick-backs, underwater bicep curls, and much more.

Flexibility

It’s time to embrace your inner synchronized swimmer!

Synchronized starfish: Start by floating on your back, then extend your arms up so your body creates a long line. Keeping the arms straight, bring your wrists toward the sides of your body, dragging them through the water until your arms are straight down at your sides. Reverse the move so that your wrists go from your hips back up above your head.

  • You may need to keep a kickboard or float between your legs for balance!
  • Time to add on! At the same time as you bring your arms down, take your straight legs out to the sides, separating the ankles and stretching as far as you can go. At the end of the move, your arms will be at your sides and your legs will form an inverted V. Switch, so that your arms go back up and your legs come together.

Scissor stretches. Start by floating on your back, then bring one knee into your chest, wrapping both arms around it. Hold it there for 30 seconds, then switch sides. You’ll need to engage your core muscles to stay floating, and the more you pull the knee in, the deeper the stretch will be.

Cooldown

That’s the workout! And don’t be fooled – it may look like water dripping off your face, but a lot of it is sweat, so take five to ten minutes and really take it easy before leaving the water. I like to do a few laps of sidestroke or breaststroke, with my face out of the water. You can also float on your back, keeping still and bringing your breath back to normal. And remember, when you get out, a few static stretches can help ease the delayed onset muscle soreness you may feel a day or two after the workout.

Source: https://www.fix.com/blog/benefits-of-water-workouts/