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16 Health Benefits of Pilates, According to Science

In the 1920’s, a man by the name of Joseph Pilates observed people doing yoga, and animals moving how they naturally do at the zoo and came up with a series of movements that allow a human to stretch and build muscle that he called pilates.

Pilates is considered to be a “low-impact, big result” workout regimen. It was intended to be a workout for dancers with injuries.

Knowing it’s intended purpose it should come as no surprise that the series of movement works out the entire body but also tends to focus more on the core muscles and balance. (1)

Pilates is series of movements that are slow, methodical, require a lot of focus and accuracy coupled with controlled breathing.

Because it is not considered cardio, yet it is considered exercise and because it is so adaptable, pilates is perfect for those just starting out in the exercise world or those coming back from an injury.

Pilates is very much like yoga, but it is stepped up a notch.

Pilates is more balance, more muscle toning, more stretching, more flexibility, more mind/body connection. (2)

Pilates can be done as a stand alone exercise if it is challenging enough in itself but many do pilates on their “day off” from a stringent workout routine.

Regardless of why you choose to do pilates, the health benefits are amazing.

Here are 16 amazing health benefits of pilates and 10 tips for beginners.

  1. Pilates improves flexibility
  2. Pilates increases strength
  3. Pilates increases core strength
  4. Pilates is safe for rehabilitation
  5. Pilates increases circulation
  6. Pilates increases lung health
  7. Pilates improves concentration
  8. Pilates increases coordination
  9. Pilates improves balance
  10. Pilates improves posture
  11. Pilates lowers stress
  12. Pilates can bring increased self-awareness
  13. Pilates can prevent injury
  14. Pilates can improve your brain health
  15. Pilates fights insomnia

To read more in-depth into each of these benefits of pilates, and for 10 tips for beginners, check out this post, courtesy of Jen Reviews.

3 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Training at Home

Home workout routines are easy and beneficial in many ways. Without an expensive instructor, it’s also easy to make mistakes. Fitness is about developing good habits to improve your health and life in many ways. Get the most out of your routine by avoiding these common mistakes.

Imbalanced Routine

Unless you’re training for a marathon or sports, 30 minutes of light to moderate cardio in a day is enough. Save the extra calories for strength training. Cardio and strength training are both important to a routine. Aerobic exercises like running or walking burn readily available calories and improves blood flow. Strength training builds and tones muscle, which burns fat to maintain.

Too much cardio can cause muscle loss, while too much strength training can increase appetite. Include a focus of bone strengthening exercises to round out your workout. Yoga, jumping jacks, or even weight training on a Body Solid Home Gym can double for both bone strength and either cardio or strength training. Expensive trainers often provide a balanced routine for you, but you can create your own plan using a few simple guidelines.

  • 20-40 minutes of cardio
  • 30-50 minutes strength training
  • Include bone strengthening exercises

For losing weight, your total daily routine should stay under 90 minutes. Once you’ve hit your target, the ideal is 60 minutes a day for long term health. For long term programs, try an every other day approach; 90 minute sessions three times a week and 60 minutes the other four. Alternatively, stagger your focus on either cardio or strength in the same way.

Improper Challenge

When just starting out, it’s tempting to push too hard during the routine. Strain and exhaustion counteract benefits of your workout. Instead, start with 15 minutes and work your way up. Even light exercise for 15 minutes a day can improve your health dramatically.

For the first month, increase the duration of your routine without adding new exercises. Make sure to balance cardio, strength and bone exercises as you do this. After a month or two, slowly add in more complex exercises one at a time. Give an alteration at least a week to monitor the effect it has on your workout.

Too little challenge is also a common mistake of home routines. Set the standard to push yourself regularly, but take care to set reasonable goals. Changing the routine too often increases the risk of overworking your body. Know your body’s limits and lightly nudge once in a while to avoid plateaus.

Recovery

One of the biggest mistakes of any routine is underestimating the importance of recovery times. Proper recovery time helps you get the full results from your hard work. There are three areas of recovery to keep in mind:

  • Between sets
  • Daily activities
  • Rest

Between Sets

Resting between sets is an overlooked aspect of a home routine. At home, you don’t have the benefit of an instructor to guide you through an appropriate time of recovery. This is easily solved by formulating a plan for adequate rest between sets. However long your set took, rest for twice that time. Doing so allows your muscles to catch back up so you can start fresh the next round.

Daily Activities

Your daily activities will use calories, too. Recovering from each day’s stress on the body improves performance and prevents strain. Activities outside the routine also affect recovery. Some activities in everyday life can count as part of your workout regimen as well. Unplanned activities can affect your fitness plan. If extra recovery time between sessions isn’t an option, dial down the next session to compensate.

Rest

To fully recover from each session, your body has specific needs. This includes getting enough sleep, when the body does most of the healing, and diet. Without the proper nutrition, exercise can decrease muscle and bone density. Even if your diet includes the necessary protein and calories, many other nutrients and vitamins may have taken a back seat. Look for recipes that meet all your nutritional needs.

In Conclusion

Committing to a workout is only the first step in a total fitness plan. Home routines don’t have the benefit of an instructor to guide you through each session. However, you can become your own coach to avoid the pitfalls along the way to a healthier body.

5 Fundamental Kettlebell Exercises

If you’re as much of a kettlebell enthusiast as I am, then you’ll love what I’ll share with you today.

Here are 5 of the most fundamental kettlebell exercises that will work out your full body. Best of all, these exercises are so effective (since they work out the full body and not just smaller, isolated muscle groups) that you don’t need to do many repetitions to achieve a great workout.

In other words, you can fit a quick workout based on these kettlebell exercises right into a busy day.

Are you excited? If yes, then let’s get started!

 

Read more: if you’d like to see a list of over 100 of the best kettlebell exercises, check out this post.

 

1. Kettlebell Deadlift

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0yspkANWVY

The kettlebell deadlift is probably the most popular kettlebell exercise and for good reason. It’s a full body exercise, which means it will help you work out your entire body and burn a ton of calories at the same time.

Here’s how you can do it:

Stand in a stance that is slightly wider than your hips, and hold the kettlebell in both hands. Bend down until you can place the kettlebell in between your ankles. Take a small breath at the bottom position, then flex your abs and stand up to your starting position.

 

2. Kettlebell Swing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSxHifyI6s8

The swing is a beginner-intermediate level exercise that will work you’re your lower body and your core.

Here’s how to do it:

Stand in a stance wider than your hips, let your feet stand outwards a bit and hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of you. While bending slightly at the knee, let the kettlebell fall down and through between your knees, and then stand back up into the starting position, once again holding the bell in front of you.

 

3. Turkish Get Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SK-L2P56zjU

The Turkish get up is an intermediate level compound exercise that will target mainly your legs, shoulders and core.

It’s a quite complex exercise, so I won’t even try to describe how to do it, you’ll end up watching this tutorial video either way:

 

4. Kettlebell Clean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPYfiwpUeSE

The point of the kettlebell clean is to take the bell from a low hanging position close to the floor up to your chest. It’s an important basic exercise to master, because from this position you’ll be able to do a host of other exercise variations like press, lunge or squat.

Instructions:

The kettlebell clean is a very simple looking exercise: all you have to do is take the kettlebell from a lying position on the floor up to a racked position onto your chest. However, the devil is in the details, so I suggest you watch this training video to learn what you need to pay closer attention to when performing this exercise.

 

5. Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li4g5p6s2eM

This is personally one of my favorite kettlebell exercises. Despite its simplicity, it’s one of the best exercises for working out all major muscles of your lower and upper body at the same time.

Here’s how easy it is to do it:

Squat in a hip width stance and hold the kettlebell close to your chest. While keeping your back straight, stand up and when you reach the top position raise the kettlebell up over your head (while still keeping it in both hands). Then go back to your squatting position and start another repetition.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it: five simple but very effective kettlebell exercises that will help you work out your entire body and burn a ton of calories at the same time. If you’d like to see how you can fit these exercises (and many others) into a full-blown workout, I suggest you check out this comprehensive workout guide by KettlebellsWorkouts.com

 

3 Stretches To Help Your Posture

I get this question a lot, so I figured I should probably share the answer with you as well.

“How do I improve my posture?”

“I feel like my shoulders are slouched forward – is there anything I can do to fix this?”

You can absolutely fix this, even if you have been sitting at a desk for most of your life and feel like it’s a lost cause. It’s never too late – the body is “plastic” and adapts to exactly what we do.

This goes both ways. This is why our body gets so good at being in a slouched position. But this is also why we can re-train our body to shift back to a more optimal alignment.

The truth is that you have a bit more work a hard of you if you have been “stuck” in this posture for a longer time. However, this just means it requires a bit more consistency on your behalf. It is completely doable.

I would suggest taking 3-5 minutes to do these stretches, 3 times a day – once in the morning, once mid-day/afternoon and once in the evening before bed. Here is my challenge to you – give it a try for 3 weeks, 3 times a day. I assure you that you will look AND feel different.

These stretches are designed to restore proper function to your upper body joints & muscles. This will restore muscular balance and enable you to maintain a more optimal alignment during static postures (sitting) & dynamic movements (any activities of daily life). As a result, you will be enabled to alleviate tension in your neck and/or back.

Try it out now and be sure to comment with your progress! If you’re having difficulty and want to set up a free 30-minute consultation with me, email me now and I’d love to help!

Lying Chest Opener Stretch

Shoulder Drivers

Child’s Pose Reach

The Best Abdominal and Core Exercises

Toned, washboard abs will keep your partner happy and boost your self-confidence with every outfit you put on. So get ready to pull those tight pants out of your dresser, this is the abs workout guide to six-pack abs and a flat, toned core!

<strong>Bulking</strong>

Many women can become too concerned with the number they see on their bathroom scale. You might think if that number is getting higher, something is wrong. A proper bulking regimen may add a couple of pounds to your scale, but the results in your mirror will tell a different story.

The basic concept of bulking is to consume more calories than you are burning off in your workout. If you are looking for some clean foods to add to your bulking diet, try chicken, turkey, rice, pasta, fish, eggs, peanut butter, steak, and yogurt. Usually, exercises that work out your abs are done in sets of about 20 repetitions.

During bulking, pick three abs exercises per day that involve some weights or added resistance. Do reps of 10-12 for three sets each to increase the size of your abs. Some of the ab exercise options to chose from are cable crunches, Russian twists, hanging leg raises, decline crunches and abdominal machines. I’ve outlined these exercises in detail below.

<strong>Cutting</strong>

One excellent way to prepare for summer or a vacation where you’ll be in a bathing suit is to implement a cutting routine before your trip. Typically, cutting takes place in the months after you finish bulking. The majority of food choices for your cutting diet can remain the same as your bulking diet if you just eat less of them; these are all healthy foods.

Make sure to drink plenty of water while you are cutting. Don’t think that cutting means you have to starve yourself! You should still be eating three meals per day, with a snack or two mixed in if need be. Continue to eat foods that are high in protein, but cut out some of the carbs like bread and pasta.

<strong>Cardio</strong>

An important aspect of both bulking and cutting is cardiovascular workouts. During the bulking phase, skipping cardio can cause you to gain fat from the excess calories instead of gaining clean muscle. When you are cutting, cardio exercises help ensure that fat gained from your bulking phase get burned off.

Running, biking, and swimming are all cardio exercises that you can pair with abs workouts. Other exercises focused on abs can double as a cardio workout if you do them at a fast pace, 60 seconds or longer. Some of these exercises include wall push-ups, hot potato squats, mogul jumps, and kettlebell juggling, which are all outlined in detail below.

<strong>Abs Exercises</strong>

Unlike other body parts, you can train your abdominal muscles every day. You can do many of these exercises with little to no equipment, in the comfort of your home. These exercises should be done in 2-3 sets of 15-25 reps, or 2-3 sets of 60-second intervals. Rest between sets should be between 30-60 seconds. Here I’ve selected some of my favorite exercises you can do at home without equipment!

<strong>The Bird Dog Exercise</strong>

<strong>The bird dog can be used as a warm-up exercise in addition to an abdominal workout.</strong>
<ul>
<li>You can do 5 to 15 reps per side in a set. Three sets is a sufficient workout.</li>
<li>Start with a strong base of your hands under your shoulders and knees directly beneath your hips.</li>
<li>Point your toe when your leg is fully extended, but make sure to keep it straight.</li>
<li>After full arm and leg extension, touch your knee to your opposite elbow for a more difficult variation.
<strong>Single-Arm Wall Push Up</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>If the name weren’t obvious enough, you’d need a wall to perform this exercise. So, unfortunately, this can’t be done in an open field.</strong>
<ul>
<li>The wall should be an arm’s length away from your starting position to maintain proper form.</li>
<li>Keep your feet wide for a strong base.</li>
<li>Mix in a push-up rep in-between walk up reps to make this more challenging.</li>
<li>Clench your core and abdominals for the duration of each movement.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Mogul Jumps</strong>


<ul>
<li>Start on your hands and knees, and then slightly lift your knees off the ground using your toes and hands as support.</li>
<li>Rotate your belly button, hips, and chest to one direction as you hop your legs to that side.</li>
<li>Keep your spine in a straight line with the rest of your body.</li>
<li>With your legs already to one side, hop directly to the opposite side instead of going back to the starting position first.</li>
</ul>
<strong>Figure 8 Pelvic Tilt</strong>

<strong>The figure 8 pelvic tilts primarily focus hamstrings, glutes, and pelvic hip muscles.</strong>
<ul>
<li>To remove your quads from the workout, lift your toe on the foot that is planted on the ground.</li>
<li>Squeezing your glutes the whole time will maximize your results.</li>
<li>Make sure to get a full hip extension at the top of the motion.</li>
<li>Thrust upwards as soon as your butt touches the ground at the bottom of the motion.
<strong>Rotating Side Plank</strong></li>
</ul>

<strong>Rotating side planks are a variation that you can mix into your regular plank routine.</strong>
<ul>
<li>Lift one arm off the mat, pointing it straight up in the air while opening your body and turning to that side.</li>
<li>Hold that position for 30-60 seconds or even longer if you can.</li>
<li>If you are unable to hold that position for extended periods of time, just hold it briefly, before returning to a regular plank quickly alternating sides.</li>
<li>Rotating side planks build strong abdominals, oblique muscles, and lower back.</li>
</ul>
For more workouts like these, including abdominal and core exercises that implement equipment, please visit <a href=”https://homefitnesslife.com”>Home Fitness Life</a>.

 

Best Exercises to Get Started on Eliminating Back Pain

If you have back pain, the fear of exacerbating your pain further is real. So you stop moving. But what about all of the things you used to love to do? Even just walking, or getting into the car, or lying down for bed without pain?

I’ve been there. You have to start somewhere. Living with pain, and living unable to do the things you love is not an option.

So, here are some places to start. The key is to start re-introducing certain movements to your body, and to start reawakening parts of your body that haven’t moved for a long time. Your body is likely experiencing pain due to muscular imbalances, joint dysfunctions and an overall lack of high quality movement.

But, like I discussed in my Facebook Live video the other day, we can’t solely treat the symptom – back pain. Yes, there are issues going on in the back muscles & relevant joints, but we must address the rest of the body. Everything in our body is connected – it is referred to as the kinetic chain. In fact, we really are one muscle. So, in order to alleviate pain & rebuild strength to get you back on track, we must address the areas of the body that are typically under lots of distress.

Here are 5 exercises to start taking care of the parts of your body that are feeling quite neglected and are likely contributing to and/or exacerbating your back pain:

Pelvic Tilt – It is critical to learn to isolate this part of your body. If the pelvis is shifted out of alignment, or immobile, this causes issues with the hips, the low back, the hamstrings, and basically every part of your body. TIP: Incorporate with diaphragmatic breathing as shown in the video to really get those core muscles firing up!

Shoulder Drivers – We must also build stability & mobility in the shoulder joints. If these aren’t functioning properly, then certain muscles in your shoulders & back will try to take on work they weren’t designed for. Typically, our low back likes to take on the brunt of the work, instead of the shoulders. TIP: During this exercise, be sure to focus on driving the shoulder blade straight back, without any lifting of the shoulder or any bending at the elbow. Performing up against a wall, for sensory feedback on the shoulder blade, is also very helpful.

Tennis Ball Trigger Point Release – Most people’s hips are extremely tight from sitting at a desk, sitting on the couch, sitting in a car, etc. Using a tennis ball as a trigger point release is a great way to provide much needed “information” to the hips that they haven’t been getting due to their restricted movement. This tends to open them right up, consequently releasing the SI joint & low back.

Hip Drivers – As a consequence of our tight hip flexors, the muscles on the other side of our rear ends, our glutes, tend to “shut off”. The tight front of our hips limits proper muscle activation in the back of our hips. This one is great to work on both stretching the front of the hips and activating the back of the hips.

Child’s Pose Reach – This exercise also works on shoulder mobility but is really powerful because it locks the low back in place so there is no way you can compensate using the low back! This will completely take pressure off of the low back and restore function to the shoulder so that your body can start working optimally again! TIP: It is critical to avoid arching the low back, as explained in the video.

Try performing these exercises twice a day – morning and evening – for one week.

You should already start to feel some relief!

Please leave any comments with questions/concerns! Good luck!


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

 

Can These 3 Desk Exercises Boost Energy?

We all have experienced the fatigue, brain fog, and general lack of sprightly spirit that can come from sitting at a desk for extended periods of time. And we all have been lectured to about the harmful effects of sitting, on our health and our productivity.

But let’s be honest. Sometimes we just have to get sh*t done, so getting down on the floor and doing some crazy stretches doesn’t seem quite that feasible.

Well, I am delighted to be the bearer of some pretty great news. I’m going to let the following two quotes speak for themselves. To just frame the picture for you, these quotes discuss the inextricable link between MOVEMENT, the BRAIN, and COGNITIVE FUNCTION.

Pretty cool stuff. I’ll break the quotes down after you give them a quick read.

“Born with a simple spinal cord and a three hundred neuron “brain”, the larva motors around in the shallows until it finds a nice patch of coral on which to put down its roots. It has about twelve hours to do so, or it will die. Once safely attached, however, the sea squirt simply eats its brain. For most of its life, it looks much more like a plant than an animal, and since it’s not moving, it has no use for its brain. Lllinas’s interpretation: ‘That which we call thinking is the evolutionary internalization of movement.’” – Dr. John Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain

“By showing that exercise sparks the master molecule of the learning process, Cotman nailed down a direct biological connection between movement and cognitive function.” – Dr. John Ratey, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain

This book quoted above, written by Dr. John Ratey, is one of my favorite books. That’s because I’m a nerd and love anything talking about the brain-body connection as it relates to our optimal health & performance.

What he is explaining is that without MOVEMENT, we actually wouldn’t need a brain. Yup. And, this works in reverse as well. Because the true purpose of the brain is movement (external movement via physical activity, or internal movement via thoughts), when we MOVE, we are stimulating our brain, and thus boosting our cognitive function.

The moral of the story? If you’re feeling sleepy, unmotivated and/or uninspired, give your body a dose of movement! What’s even better is that these movements do NOT need to be large, sweat-inducing or performed for long periods of time. Movement, in any form, causes a powerful cascade in our brain, and our entire body.

Movement (according to Ratey), even simply small joint mobility exercises, has the ability to boost neurotransmitters (namely, BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor) responsible for the healthy function of neurons, the regeneration of new neurons, and the protection of neurons from stress and cellular death. This also causes a cascade of other hormones and neurotransmitters that support learning, memory, stress-management and problem solving to be released.

But, again, we sometimes are short on time since life is in no way perfect and we can’t always dedicate large chunks of time to exercise each day.

So, I’ve chosen a couple of energy-boosting exercises that can be done seated or standing at your desk (or anywhere, for that matter! Even on an airplane!) that don’t look ridiculous and can probably even be done without anyone taking notice!

These also were selected for particular reasons, listed below.

Spine Rotators

Any movement involving the spine is extremely powerful, since there are so many joint articulations in the body, and our spinal cord holds so many nerve endings. The more joints we can mobilize, the more “movement” and “information” we are feeding to our brain (read more on this in my article on why joints are the new muscles). So, any area of the body that has lots of movement receptors will be a high-impact exercise.

Shoulder Drivers

Exercises for the shoulders are extremely important if you tend to be desk-bound. This is because our shoulders often end up in one of two positions – forward slouching OR elevated up towards our ears due to tension/stress. So, feeding our shoulders the movement that they were designed for is extremely important. This will keep the entire chain of our body functioning properly, because of our shoulders are out of whack, it shifts everything else out of alignment, causing dangerous compensations. So, get those shoulders moving!

Toe Lifts

Last but nowhere near least, exercises for the feet & ankles are extremely high-impact and low-risk. Plus, you can do them under your desk or in the seat of an airplane without anyone giving you strange looks – they can be done INSIDE of your shoe! And just as discussed above, the more joints an area has, the more movement we are feeding to our brain, which makes the body very happy (again – read more on why the body loves joint movement here). Well, the foot has 28 bones and 33 joints. So…while some ankle circles may seem like a measly little exercise that you can just skip over, they are extremely powerful. Plus, as I have discussed in some of my Facebook videos, the feet are an often over-looked part of the body – but foot strength and stability is critical to leg strength, full-body strength, balance & power.

So the next time you are feeling like you need another afternoon Starbucks run, save your $5 (and some calories!) and try a couple sneaky desk exercises. I bet the fog hanging over your brain will clear up and you’ll be ready to get back to your to-do list with some newfound vigor.

Happy moving!


To learn more about Melanie Daly and her personal training, please visit her website: http://www.backpainpersonaltrainer.com/

My Go To Stretching Routine

I thought I would share my go to stretch routine. I do this after any type of workout in order to lengthen my muscles, maintain flexibility, and to ease the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that is bound to make an appearance the next day.

If you want to follow along, I would recommend a short pulse raiser to start. Jogging on the spot for a few minutes should prepare you. Let me know what you think?

Rowena x

I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.


Check out more workouts and posts by Rowena on https://www.type1active.com/

Keep Your Fitness Resolution All Year Long

Year in and year out, fitness and New Year’s resolutions seem to go hand in hand. Every year a promise of a livelier, healthier, fitter you comes to the front of your focus —at least for a few months, anyway. In order to keep your fitness resolution well into the new year and perhaps even carry it into the next year, you must build a momentum and stick with it! The only thing standing between you and your ideal of perfect health —is you.

Find Your Tribe

The good thing about having an extremely common resolution such as health and fitness is how easy it will be for you to find people to connect with. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are on the same quest as you will indeed keep you from slacking on your goal. A good support system will aide in assisting you with making sure your fitness stays a priority. If your support team isn’t in your immediate family or circle of friends, no worries, there are several other ways you can meet them.

One good resource for finding your tribe is a social media outlet such as Facebook. You could pose a question via status to your friends’ list asking if any of them have a new year’s resolution in fitness. If Facebook isn’t your thing you can always go the organic route and meet people by attending classes at your gym or workout facility. Once you’ve found your accountability partner(s) you can either workout together, or contact each other on a regular basis to make sure you are still focused on your resolution. You will be more likely to accomplish your goals when you feel like there is someone cheering on your progress!

Prep your meals ahead of time

One of the quickest ways to thwart your efforts in the gym is unhealthy eating. In a world where convenience is king, drive-throughs and processed foods have just about taken over healthy, planned, wholesome meals. If you are serious about sticking to your resolution, it will be wise to avoid the pitfalls of poor food choices. Heavy snacking and less than healthy meals will definitely put a monkey wrench in your progress.

In order to beat this, it’s best to plan and cook all of your meals at the beginning of the week. Also choose healthy, easy to grab snacks to ensure that you won’t reach for the nearest bag of chips when you get that midday urge. Poor dieting choices have the tendency to make you sluggish and unmotivated. Be sure to load up on foods that will give your body the fuel and energy it needs to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Your health journey is a marathon, not a sprint

A lot of times in all the hype surrounding the new year, people tend to set goals that may not be feasible or realistic to attain. A fast start almost always guarantees a burnout, so be mindful of that when setting your fitness resolutions. Give your mind and body time to adjust to your new fitness regimen —do not over do it. Start at a pace that feels natural to you, then work your way up from there. Track your progression and allow yourself the opportunity to feel good when you cross a milestone. The more you treat your fitness goal like a lifestyle, the more likely it will become integrated into your day to day routine. Let your new year’s resolution guide you into a lifestyle that you can look back on next year with pride and contentment!

resolutionskeep-1

30-Day Squat Challenge

I stumbled upon this workout on Twitter last year, and it’s become my go to every few months when I want to get back in the habit of working out, when I want to challenge myself, or when I have an event to prepare for. For me, having an event is the most motivating factor, not for the event itself per say, but for having a deadline. This is why the 30-day squat challenge is great. You add some squats into your daily [workout] schedule, progress little by little every single day, and then by day 30 you have reached your goal and feel amazing!

I highly recommend this. So print out the schedule below and hang it up in your home gym, or make it the screensaver in your phone so you don’t forget a day, and let’s get to squatting!

squatbitch


Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@Lyfebulb) and Instagram (@Lyfebulb) and show us your exercise tips and progress by tagging us and using the hashtag #ExerciseRegularly.

How to Stay Fit and Healthy in Later Life

Some people think that exercise is something for younger people. Yet, being sedentary is a big problem no matter what your age. About 60 percent of adult Americans don’t meet the recommended physical guidelines. Exercise is an essential lifelong activity that offers numerous health benefits.

Benefits of Staying Fit

Staying fit and healthy will improve your quality of life on several fronts as you age. A review published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that regular exercise is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and the global community. Other health benefits include:

Types of Exercise

The recommended guidelines for physical activity are 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise and two weekly sessions of strength training. Each type of exercise helps you in different ways.

  • Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises like walking or running help you maintain bone mass. As you age, your bones become less dense, and thus, more prone to damage. Women and older individuals are at a greater risk. However, this can occur at any age. Even short walks can make a difference.

  • Balance Exercises

Balance exercises like yoga and Pilates offer gentle ways to stretch and strengthen your muscles, especially in your core. Strong abdominal muscles will assist with balance and can help reduce falls, a common occurrence in older adults. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of adults over 65 experience a fall each year.

These exercises can also help prevent back problems. Strong core muscles provide better support for your back. A study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that back issues ranked third among the costliest health expenses at a yearly expense of nearly $90 billion. Fortunately, these exercises aren’t taxing, so you can do them every day.

  • Strength Training Exercises

Think you’re too old to lift weights? Think again! A study published in the journal, Age of the American Aging Association, considered the effects of strength training on individuals aged 90 and higher. Researchers found that after a 12-week training program, participants showed improvements in walking speed, muscle mass, and the ability to get up from a chair.

While you may not be thinking about little things like standing up, they can make a significant difference in elderly individuals. Remember that even for those living in assisted living facilities, the independence that comes from the ability to get around and take care of yourself is priceless. But it requires staying active.

  • Aerobic Workouts

Walking can suffice as an aerobic workout as you age. From a practical point of view, it’s easy and free. But it also offers additional benefits. Spending time in nature can improve your mental well-being. A review published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology, found that exercising outdoors improved a person’s mental health more than working out indoors.

The benefits of staying fit and healthy make a good case for finding time to work out even as you age. However, it’s essential to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are on any medication.

After all, exercise, though beneficial, still places a strain on your system. Take the time to seek the advice of your doctor about an appropriate amount and type of exercise for you. Once you have obtained the green light to start exercising, you can take a significant step towards ensuring an active and independent life as you move into your golden years.

Meet Up Retired Wellbeing Pensioner Workout Concept

Your New Favorite Gym Routine

Raise your hand if you’ve gone to the gym and done the same exact workout day in and day out. (My hand is up!) It is quite common that we head to the gym with the right intentions, but get stuck in the same old routine. For me, it was 30 minutes on the treadmill, 50 squats, and a set of ab exercises. I’m not saying this is bad, but switching up your workouts every day ensures that you not only get a more even full-body workout but also targets new muscles that you may not even know you aren’t hitting (or even know existed)!

Courtesy of our trainer Ken Yu, we’ve got a new workout to incorporate into our weekly gym routine. Pick up those dumbells, because we are starting with a dumbbell routine and then heading over to the machines!

Young caucasian woman doing exercises on fitness machine in gym. Female using rowing machine at fitness club.
3 Rounds With Dumbbells:
15 DB Romanian Deadlift
15 DB Chest Press (Bench or Floor)
15 DB Squats
15 DB Bent-Over Rows
15-30s Plank Hold

Machines:
3×10 Chest Press
3×10 Cable Row
3×10 Single Leg Press
3×10 Hamstring Curl

Show us your progress and workouts on Instagram by tagging us (@Lyfebulb) and using the hashtag #Exercise Regularly!

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