Showing posts with label exercise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exercise. Show all posts

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Biking-Working Out While Commuting

Making the decision to put effort into biking is an important one that can do wonders for physical fitness goals. The reasons may be many, but it is possible to save on cost, improve fitness, use time wisely, and help the environment all through the activity of biking. The hardest part about biking is getting the courage to set out on a daily commute.

I am the type of person who jogs or does kickboxing/martial arts 40 minutes every morning and then heads to work. My daily commute takes around 20 minutes in the car. The total commute time and working out is 1 hour. Biking into work is approximately 40 minutes which gives me a net plus of 20 minutes saved in the morning.

The time saver in the morning makes it easier for me to wake up, have a cup of coffee, and make my way to work without being in too much of a rush. Considering the mild weather of San Diego, which neither gets too hot or too cold, it is a great place to bike without the fear of extreme weather differences. You can typically count on the weather being reliable for biking purposes.

A bonus occurs when I come home on the bike and add another 40 minutes to my workout. That is a total of 1.2 hours every time I commute without a car and just about provides most of the fitness I will need. Add a few weights and sports and that is it. Biking may take a lot of motivation but is based on habit. Once I get into the habit, it will become easier. For now, just a couple of times a week.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Eating and Fitness-Seeking Alternatives of Habit

You are busting your rump at the gym and running five miles a day, but you are not achieving your fitness goals. The result is you are not losing weight, staying the same, or worse gaining weight! The problem isn’t how much you work out but what you put in your mouth. Finding healthy alternatives will make a big difference in whether or not you will be able to achieve your desired body shape.

If you look at the average person in this country you will find that approximately 75% are overweight or obese. The problem has become such an epidemic that laws and regulations are being passed to counter the danger. This may be one of the first generations to decline in lifespan.

The problem lies in many areas and can be broken down into sedentary lifestyle and overeating. There are many ways to further break this down into average calories burned and the type of food eaten. Between the two food is likely the hardest challenge to overcome.

Much of what we eat is based on habit, and it can be difficult to change automated habits. The problem is that they are so embedded in your memories, backgrounds and ethnicity that it is strenuous to think about changing. Who doesn’t remember mac & cheese as a child or hot cocoa? Throw in a couple of pudgy pies and you might as well put a few more notches on your belt.

Yummy warm memories that taught you how to be chubby!

Finding alternatives and slowly adjusting your eating is a more successful way of getting in shape. As eating is our biggest challenge, it makes to improve this as soon as you decided to get into a fitness program. Finding small changes and adjustments through the use of alternatives can make a big difference in our overall outcome.

Consider the difference the calories in regular apple pie of 420 and low-fat apple pie of 190. Imagine if you could drop your calorie county by 50% every time you put something into your mouth. Finding alternatives may just turn fat gain into fat loss without changing the actual quantity of food. With a little research, you might be able to figure out how eat more food than before while reducing your overall calorie intake. The next time you eat breakfast have oatmeal instead of your favorite frosted cereal.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Saturday Evening of Fitness with Tennis

The tennis racket that was leaning against the wall for the past few months finally got some use. It seemed to be much useful on the court than as a cheap form of house decoration. Health is becoming important to me and so is the opportunity to meet interesting people. Tennis provides an appropriate balance between fitness and fun so that I can sustain movement toward my fitness goals.

It wasn’t a particularly warm afternoon for Southern California; somewhere near a breezy 60 degrees. A sweatshirt would have been appropriate in most casual outdoor situations. Within a few minutes, you will no longer think about a sweatshirt; or even the outside temperature.

Chasing that green furry ball is all the heat needed to keep warm. Tennis is a fast sport and requires sprinting from one side of the court to the other. The quick dashes, stops, and arm movements  of your muscles, heart and arms.  It is one of those full-body workouts that doesn’t feel like you're doing anything until it is all over.

Accordingly, that is one of the reasons why I like to play tennis. A few competitive games and an hour is up. If there was more time before the sun went down I might have stayed another hour. Because time flew bye we played until the court lights were needed to see anything.

Tennis has its charm as a fun alternative to other workouts that drag on and keep reminding us that we are “working out”. Improving fitness is easy when you engage in activities with enjoyment. Tennis is a social sport that any level player can enjoy. Maintaining an intensive fitness program requires finding alternatives to “traditional” exercises. Tennis seems to fill that gap without all the drudgery of the gym.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Melt Calories Playing Beach Volleyball

Volleyball is one of those sports you don’t move more than a few feet but still reap all of the benefits of a solid work out. It won’t take much time for you to build up a good lather of sweat when you jump, bump, and spike the ball over the net. Within minutes, your heart rate will be into its fat burning zone, and the calories will start melting off.

You can burn as much as 450 calories in an hour playing volleyball. It is comparable with swimming and running. Your heart rate will rise, lower, and rise again as you wait for the ball and run to keep it from hitting the ground. Raising and lowering your heart rate has been known to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

It is hard to find sports that are both fun and fitness packed. Volleyball not only gets your heart rate up but also improves muscle tone. Natural jumping jacks, burpees, and sprints are built into the sport, and you don’t even know it. It takes lots lot of energy to chase that ball around, and you use every part of your body to score the next point.

Unlike many sports that require repetitive use of the body, volleyball uses the full range of motion. This whole range can help people develop total body fitness versus just focusing on one area of the body. As the muscles grow and develop, they do so in an even manner creating a more attractive body form. Look at the serious beach volleyball players and see their sleek and muscular design.

Few sports are as fun and as fitness directed as volleyball. Beach volleyball is one of my favorite games because the sand offers more resistance and freedom of movement than court volleyball. The jumping, running and diving in the sand will put your coordination to the test. Because you don’t even feel like you are exercising you will keep coming back for more.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tennis as the New Fitness and Social Sport

Having fun, getting in shape, and meeting interesting people makes for some of the best fitness routines that will keep you on track. Tennis is one sport that helps you stay motivated while expanding your social network.  

Doctors recommend that everyone gets a few hours of high intensity exercise in per week. That won’t be hard to obtain if you find a group that meets a couple of times a week.

Tennis is a highly cardiovascular sport that shreds pounds.  Constant running and stopping will put your heart rate into the target zone improving your blood flow and strengthening your heart.

As a social sport tennis will introduction to lots of new people quickly.  Players rotate to try out new teams and experience new challenges. It won’t take long before you gain some new friends.

There are plenty of places to find tennis activities. You can visit recreation centers and ask about tennis activities, search online for clubs,  or make a call to the city’s recreation department. Tennis groups love new players and helping them gain new skills.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Are You Ignoring Contributing Factors to Fitness?

Is fitness and health exclusively about exercise? Certainly one can make that argument but they often forget about other aspects of one’s life that lead to greater fitness and health. If a person jumps on the treadmill for a half hour a day they will not magically get in great shape.  Those that fail to make a connection to other needed life adjustments are unlikely to achieve their full potential. The reason? – Limited perspective that results in ignoring contributing components to improved fitness.

Fitness and health is as much a lifestyle change as it is engaging in new activities. It requires adjustments in Food & Diet, Fitness Routine, Motivation & Habit, Self-Image, and Nutrition & Fitness Knowledge.  To encourage success in your endeavors you should consider how each aspect of your health impacts your chances of success:

Food & Diet: What we eat will have an impact on our overall health. High fat and calorie laden food will continue to add to your unused energy each day. When your body reaches 3,500 calories you gain a pound and begin to add fat. Eating low calorie but highly nutritious food will help you lose weight and provide the building blocks for enhanced muscle growth. 

Fitness Routine: Fitness routine design will determine focus, speed of change, and the likelihood of injury.  The type of activities influences weight loss, muscle gain, flexibility and performance. For example, gaining muscle requires resistance training while weight loss needs more cardiovascular routines.  It is best to follow other routines or find help in developing a customized routine.

Motivation & Habit: After the New Years gyms are packed with enthusiastic fitness hobbyists that disappear after a few months. The problem is related to motivation and habit. Motivation helps get someone to the gym but habit keeps them coming back at regular intervals. 

Self-Image Development: How we view ourselves will have an impact on our fitness levels, the body image we project, and sustaining motivation. Developing a self-image that is associated with fitness, exercise, sports, etc. will help integrate proper fitness behaviors that are relied on throughout the week.

Nutrition & Fitness Knowledge:  A lack of knowledge can regularly lead to fitness failure. Learning about how the body works, exercise movements, food choices, and sports hobbies encourages greater knowledge for proper fitness choices.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Improving Fitness and Health with Yoga

Yoga was once an obscure practice that attracted bleeding souls, hippies, and sports enthusiasts. Over time Yoga made its way into mainstream activity as the benefits to our body and mind became apparent. Yoga provides a strong augmentation to your current workout and affords greater muscle recovery and healing.  Incorporating an hour of yoga three times a week into your schedule enhances other aspects of sports and fitness that lead to higher levels of satisfaction and health. 

Yoga has a positive effect on both physical and mental health. A large study of 15 yoga studios hosting 1045 respondents found that fitness levels were higher among those who practiced yoga with the far majority of respondents indicating that they were in good to excellent health (Ross, et. al. 2013). Furthermore, participants also stated that yoga improved energy, happiness, social relationships, sleep quality, and proper weight. 

Not all benefits of yoga are subjective. Another study helps us understand that yoga improved physical function and capacity (83%), reduced stress/anxiety (83%), enhanced sleep quality (21%), and improved upon diet (14%) (Alexander, 2013). The secondary benefits of sleep and diet supported fitness and stress management. 

Whether you are a sports enthusiast, interested in fitness, or seeking to unwind from a hard day’s work you should consider the multiple benefits of incorporate yoga into your schedule. Start with simple yoga three times a week that is more akin to stretching and then move into more complex power yoga that uses muscles and positions to tone the body.

Consider the multiple benefits of practicing:

Develops Flexibility: Yoga encourages muscle flexibility that improves upon recover and reduces the likelihood of future injury. Stretching muscles in the recovery of weightlifting routines improves range of motion.

Improves Muscle Tone: By holding ones body weight in varying positions both primary and secondary muscles are engaged leading to full body development.

Even Muscle Development: Yoga engages secondary muscles that are traditionally ignored in fitness programs. These muscles are used to create power and balance beyond large muscle development.

Encourages Balance: By developing secondary muscles and placing oneself within yoga postures it is possible to improve overall balance.

Develops Coordination: Yoga requires complex movements that use multiple positions, balance and muscles while training the body to complete actions in coordination.

Promotes Stress Reduction: Yoga makes use of contraction/relaxation of muscles and combines this with breathing to reduce the tightening symptoms of stress. 

Alexander, et. al. (2013). “More than I expected”: perceived benefits of yoga practice among older adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21 (1). 

Ross, et. al. (2013). National survey of yoga practitioners: mental and physical health benefits. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21 (4).