180319 Five Facts About Flexibility and Stretching

180319 Five Facts About Flexibility and Stretching

1. Maintaining your Range of Motion (ROM) is important, as it appears to reduce the potential for injury. An adequate ROM will enhance your ability to do certain physical and sports related activities.

2. The best time to stretch is immediately after the warm up as the blood flow and temperature in the muscles is highest. This makes them more elastic and in a better condition to be stretched. However, this is NOT the time to stretch if you are about to participate in a power sport, i.e. sprints, pole vaults, throwing movements or weight lifting. Stretching before these types of activities reduces the power output by as much as 8%!

3. One of the key facts to maximizing flexibility is the amount of repetitions performed each time. The magic number seems to be no less than two up to about six per position. Hold to the point of mild discomfort for 10-30 seconds. The time has not been universally agreed upon.

4. The order in which you exercise matters. Stretch the major muscles first. From these move to the specific muscles that will be involved in the upcoming activity.

5. Isolate the muscles to help eliminate any compromises in your efforts. By concentrating on specific muscles, you also lessen your risk of injury.

230117 General Upper Torso Stretches

230117 General Upper Torso Stretches

Shoulder front

Standing upright with good posture put your hands together behind your back, keeping your arms straight raise them slowly upward to the rear. Hold for a moment then lower back down and begin again.

Shoulder rear

Continue standing with good posture in an upright position. Take one arm and hold it horizontal and parallel to the ground. Now move it across your upper chest so the hand is on the opposite side. With the opposing hand hold the elbow of the horizontal arm and begin pulling in a gentle manner toward your chest. Hold the stretch for a moment and release then repeat.

Favorite shoulder stretch

Stand facing a wall with outstretched arms. Lean into the wall and rest on your hands now look between your arms and lower your head toward the floor. Feel the nice stretch in your shoulders. This can also be done by placing your fully extended arms onto a bench or chair and leaning downward toward the floor.

Floor stretch

Get on your hands and knees. While keeping your arms straight set back on your calves with your buttocks touching them. Put your head between your arms and touch the floor with your head.

Towel stretch

The old standby for working the shoulder range of motion is the towel stretch. Starting with a bath towel or dowel rod slung over your shoulder and dropping toward the floor hold the top with one hand the bottom with the other in your other hand. Now you can go one of two ways: either pull down with the back hand or pull up with the hand at the top. In both instances, the pull should be gentle as your shoulders are in a vulnerable position and easily damaged. A soft pull is what you are looking at achieving, just enough to stretch the shoulders. The ideal is to be able to touch your hands together in the middle of your back. This may be nearly impossible if you are heavily muscled.

Chest
In a standing position interlace your fingers on top of your head. Now move your elbows and hands to the rear.

Chest favorite

Standing next to the wall, a door frame or better yet a power rack, reach behind and hold onto the surface. The stretch begins as you turn your shoulders and upper torso away from the wall, door or power rack. This works really well with the power rack.

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

170613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part four

If you eat junk food you get a junk body!~Lamar Gant~

Stretching definitely has a place in an exercise program; however, static stretching before doing either cardio or resistance training is counterproductive and may even lead to injury. It is the purpose of static stretching to increase the length of the muscle range of motion. It does this by relaxing the muscles surrounding the joints being stretched.

Since this is a case, it makes no sense to be static stretching before you begin an intense set of interval training or any explosive activity such as lifting weights. The joint receptors are confused, and because the joint is relaxed, it is not as tight as it should be when called upon to do intense activities.

Start each session with a general overall body warm-up, followed by a series of dynamic stretching or active range of motion movements prior to the actual session. This correctly warms the body up for the exercises that follow. Next follows the actual exercises and then use static stretching as part of the cool down.

Losing and maintaining weight

There is not a whole lot of difference between exercising for weight loss and exercising for weight management. Both must be kept up on a consistent basis otherwise, all the gains that you’ve made will be lost.

The best exercise program that you will ever find is going to be the one that you stick with day after day, week after week, and year after year. It is a never-ending process; you have to be active in order to be physically fit.

You cannot leave out the nutritional component of weight management. A proper nutritional diet greatly enhances your ability to lose and then maintain your weight.

Always keep in mind that the best exercise program in the world will quickly be sabotaged by sloppy eating and drinking habits.

120613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight-part two

120613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight

“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” — Napoleon Hill, author

Many people equate physical fitness with being able to run long distances or ride the cardio machines for a long time without stopping. Certainly those are admirable goals but jogging or using these machines for long slow workouts does very little to increase your fat loss. One proven way to lose fat is to increase the intensity. You can do that by doing hard, fast, intense intervals.

Interval workouts consist of specific, high-intensity, time limited exercises and using 20 to 90 seconds of rest in between each high-intensity section.

For example, if running outside, you would warm up with an easy 5-minute run. Once warmed up, you would transition into 5 to 10 high-speed sprints. Each of these high intensity sprints would last between 20 to 30 seconds at approximately 80 and 90% of your fastest speed. Keep in mind that if you continuously try to go one hundred percent of your fastest speed, eventually you will create a speed barrier, which is another topic altogether and will not be further discussed. Suffice it to say these self-inflicted physical and mental barriers are hard to break.

By continually challenging yourself and lowering the rest periods between the intervals you increase the intensity, which increases the benefits, which burns more calories. It sure sounds simple doesn’t it?

Anyone trying to lose weight knows it’s not as easy as this to do. Cardiovascular exercise is not the only ticket to increasing weight loss nor is it the only ticket to staying physically fit. Well-structured weight-loss programs utilize strength training to boost metabolism (1) and increase lean muscle mass.

(1) Metabolism–noun 1. Biology, Physiology. The sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed.

100613 Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight

Using exercise to lose and maintain your weight

“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you’re ready or not, to put it into action.” — Napoleon Hill, motivational expert

Losing weight, in the simplest of terms, means using up more calories than you take in. According to the scientific research, one pound of fat is 3500 calories. Therefore, in order to lose one pound of fat you either have to burn up 3500 calories or cut 3500 calories from your diet. Obviously not eating 3500 calories from your diet in one day is not going to cut it.

Maintaining your ideal weight is a matter of balancing the number of calories required to remain there. This means balancing out the number of calories consumed with the calories burned during the day. The United States Department of Agriculture’s site at ChooseMyPlate.gov states that 60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise is needed each day to prevent an increase of body weight or to lose weight.

If you have already lost the weight and want to keep it off, then maintain your caloric intake and physical activities at the current level and you should be OK. But pay attention to the scale and don’t let it creep back up again.

The key ingredient to losing or maintaining weight is to have an exercise plan.

Throughout the week, schedule time to do cardiovascular work, strength training, and stretching exercises. You could do each of these in each session but doing so would mean giving short shrift to one or more of them. You may be better off scheduling separate times for each.

For instance, one week’s schedule could look similar to this: three days of cardio and two days of strength training with stretching include at the end of each. The next week would be three days of strength training, with two days of cardio with stretching at the end. The reason you do the majority of stretching at the end is because your muscles are warmed up and your body is in a much more receptive mood.

290513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-2

290513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-2

Our bodies were built to move gracefully and efficiently throughout our lives. Preserving this ability requires daily effort. In this particular instance, it does not require much time, space or equipment.

Effortless movement relies on a normal range of motion and flexibility from each of the joints in our body. Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy.

These are not listed in any specific order; therefore, you can begin with any stretch at any time of the day. Remember, none of these are jerky movements, they’re all slow and controlled.

Turning your head
Being able to move your head within its range of motion from side to side involves standing straight and looking over your shoulders without moving your shoulders. Slowly look to the side, continue looking further, and further to the side until you feel tension. At this point hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then repeat.

Half circles
Standing tall and with your chin on your chest slowly begin making a circle with your head. You do this by rolling your head from your chin to one ear, to the back of your head, to your other ear and then back to the chin again. With this stretch go both, clockwise and counter clockwise two to three times.

Arm crossovers
Be careful with this one if you have any type of a shoulder injury as it will tend to aggravate the joint. Begin with your right hand holding onto your left arm; slowly pull it across your chest until you feel the tension building in your left shoulder. Now switch hands and do it with your left hand holding onto your right arm.

Chest and shoulder stretch
Stand tall with your hands held straight behind your back. Once in this position, raise your arms toward the ceiling. Go as high as you can without leaning forward and without pain. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and then lower down.

Calf stretch
Keep both feet parallel and step forward about a foot and a half to two feet with either foot. Move your body weight forward and lean on the front leg, which is now bent. By keeping the rear leg straight and the heel on the floor, you will feel your calf muscle being stretched. Maintain a natural arch of your back to avoid low back problems.

Hamstring stretch
Begin this stretch by extending one leg forward and keeping the toe pointed upwards. Now bend the opposite knee and lean forward at the hips. Continue to lean forward until you feel mild discomfort, just below the buttocks, in the straight leg. While leaning forward, maintain the natural lordosis of your lower back to prevent any type of low back injury.

As can be seen by reading the descriptions of each of the stretching exercises they can all be done with minimal space and with minimal disruption in your life. Nevertheless, they are all effective if you do them consistently, you will notice a gradual improvement in your range of motion.
With this added range of motion, many daily tasks will be easier to perform.

270513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-1

270513 Six stretches that will improve your mobility-1

Our bodies were built to move gracefully and efficiently throughout our lives. Preserving this ability requires daily effort. In this particular instance, it does not require much time, space or equipment.

Effortless movement relies on a normal range of motion and flexibility from each of the joints in our body. Exercise is an essential part of staying healthy.

Generally it is recommended that you start your exercise session with a general body warm-up, the goal of which is to raise your breathing, pulse and temperature levels to a degree that allows efficient, injury free movement.

However, none of the following stretches requires this type of preliminary warm-up and furthermore none of the stretches should be used before exercising unless there is a specific reason to slowly stretch out an area.

Bearing the above in mind, none of these are dynamic movements; they are all semi-static, slow and meant to be pain-free. To get started, move into each of the positions at your own pace and then push the stretch until you start to feel mild discomfort. Hold this position for five to fifteen seconds and then relax.

Do these stretches three to four times throughout the day for the first week and then once or twice every other day for the next week. Afterwards a maintenance schedule of twice a week should be sufficient.