Benefits of Treadmill Walking

February 21st, 2010 by contrib

Walking is one of the best stress relieving exercises that anyone can do, regardless of fitness level. Treadmill walking is one of the easiest ways for you to get in shape and burn fat. Treadmills can be used either at home or in a gym. They only require that you can walk to use them, as opposed to other gym equipment requiring more strength and perhaps special training how to use them.

There are many different types of treadmills, some featuring extended handles that move as you walk so they work your arms and shoulders, too. Most treadmills provide a comfortable surface on which users can either jog, walk, or run. The suspension must be directly under the walking deck in order to provide effective cushioning for the legs, feet and back. Having a treadmill with a long deck allows you to run or walk at full stride.

A treadmill workout, while similar to that of an elliptical, provides a different variety by allowing you to run, jog, or walk on an incline. Even though the feel of an elliptical is close to walking or running, it’s still not as good as actually running. In order to keep bones, muscles, and joints working in good order, most experts will agree that an average healthy person requires the bouncing and jarring usually connected with walking or running.

Walking or jogging on treadmills can be boring. But many people prefer that kind of a workout so they can concentrate on other things while exercising. Putting on a headset and listening to music or even educational material is an excellent way to multitask and accomplish more while getting fit. Also placement of the treadmill so you don’t face a blank wall helps make it more interesting. Walking slowly and then suddenly increasing the speed is one way to vary your workout and burn extra calories.

Over the years, the amount of walking people naturally do has decreased due in part to the convenience of the automobile. Treadmills offers a great alternative to walking outside as well as being much more versatile than outdoor walking by being able to choose your terrain and walking attributes. You can walk on a even surface at a leisurely pace, enjoy a brisk sprint, or race rapidly up a hill.

Besides being able to adjust the incline and having a smooth and even surface, walking or running indoors has the advantage of being available in all weather conditions (except maybe during a power outage unless you have a manual one). No need to worry about wet or icy roads or the neighbor’s dog. If your schedule is tight, having a treadmill at home can mean the difference between skipping your workout or being able to fit in a few minutes of activity for your body.

Exercise is important whether it is on a treadmill, a bicycle, elliptical or by running or walking in your neighborhood or on the jogging track. If walking, running, or jogging is your preferred exercise, getting a treadmill is a smart choice. Even if you prefer being outdoors, having a treadmill will motivate you even on days when the weather does not cooperate with your plans.

Tips for Making Yourself Far More Flexible in the Next 30 Days

March 1st, 2010 by contrib

When it comes to the Big Three of exercise – cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training – it’s pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring.

As the population ages, however, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance, and optimize functional movement in daily life. Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week.

How can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness program? Here are some guidelines:

Think in Terms of Serious Flexibility Training, Not Just Brief Stretching.

Squeezing in one or two quick stretches before or after a workout is better that nothing, but this approach will yield limited results. What’s more, generic stretches may not be effective for your particular body. The more time and attention you give to your flexibility training, the more benefits you’ll experience. A qualified personal trainer, physical therapist or health professional can design a functional flexibility program specifically for you.

Consider Your Activities.

Are you a golfer? Do you ski, run or play tennis? Do your daily home or work routines include bending, lifting or sitting for long periods? Functional flexibility improves the stability and mobility of the whole person in his or her specific environment. An individualized stretching program is best to improve both stability (the ability to maintain ideal body alignment during all activities) and mobility (the ability to use full, normal range of motion).

Pay Special Attention to Tight Areas.

Often the shoulder, chest, hamstrings and hips are particularly tight, but you may hold tension in other areas, depending on your history of injuries and the existing imbalances in your muscle groups. Unless you tailor your flexibility training to your strengths and weaknesses, you may stretch already overstretched muscles and miss areas that need training.

Listen to Your Body.

Stretching is an individual thing. Pay attention to your body’s signals and don’t push too far. Avoid bouncing or jerking movements to gain momentum; this approach can be dangerous.

Instead, slowly stretch your muscles to the end point of movement and hold the stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds. Older adults, pregnant women and people with injuries will need to take special precautions.

Get Creative.

Varying your flexibility training can help you stick with it. You can use towels, resistance balls and other accessories to add diversity and effectiveness to your stretching.

Warm Up First.

Don’t forget to warm up your muscles before you begin. Walking briskly for 10 to15 minutes is a simple way to do this.

Find a Flexibility Class That Works for You.

Classes that include stretching are becoming more popular and more diverse. Some combine cardiovascular and strength components with the flexibility training; others focus exclusively on stretching.

Stretch Your Mind and Body.

Did you know that your emotional state may affect your flexibility? If your body is relaxed, it will be more responsive to flexibility training. Listening to music and focusing on your breath can help you relax as you stretch. You may also want to explore yoga or Pilates. In addition to stretching, classes in these disciplines may include relaxation, visualization and other mind-body techniques designed to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.

It’s Not Just for Wimps.Maximize Your Metabolism

Forget the idea that stretching is just for elderly, injured or unconditioned people. Many Olympic and professional athletes rely on flexibility training for peak performance.

Do It Consistently.

It doesn’t help to stretch for a few weeks and then forget about it. Integrate regular stretching into your permanent fitness program. For inspiration, look to cats and dogs – they’re dedicated practitioners of regular stretching and you rarely see them getting the kind of joint or muscular injuries that humans get!

Shoulder and Trapezius Stretch:
Stand upright with shoulders back, chest out, and feet hip-width apart.
Sign up for our newsletter hereClasp your hands behind your buttocks.
Slowly lift your hands up and away from your body until they have reached the furthest comfortable position.
Keep your chest out and your chin in without hunching over.
Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your chest and anterior shoulders, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Lying Quadriceps Stretch:
Lie face down on a mat.
Lift your right leg up towards your buttocks.
Reach around with your right hand and grasp your foot. Slowly pull downwards, stretching your quadriceps to the furthest comfortable position.
Hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.

Shin Stretch:
Using a wall or chair as support, place your left foot behind your right foot, with the top of your left foot on the ground.
Extend the bottom of your left shin as far forward as possible. Slowly lower yourself by bending both legs.
Once you have stretched your anterior tibialis to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.
Switch legs and repeat.

Hip, Gluteus and Back Stretch:
Sit on the floor with both of your legs extended in front of you.
Bend your right leg over your left leg, keeping your right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.
Place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and extend Sign up for our newsletter hereyour right arm behind you with your palm flat on the floor for support.
Slowly twist your upper body to the right while looking over your right shoulder.
Lightly apply pressure with your left elbow on the outside of your right knee as you twist. Be sure to keep your upper body straight.
Once you feel a comfortable stretch in your hips, buttocks, and lower back, hold this position for at least 15-30 seconds.
Switch sides and repeat.

Calf Stretch:
Put the sole of the top half of your right foot against the wall.
Slide your right heel as close towards the wall as possible.
Slowly lean forward towards the wall stretching your calves.
Once you have stretched your calf to the furthest comfortable position, hold for at least 15-30 seconds.
Switch legs and repeat.

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Christopher Guerriero, is the founder of the National Metabolic & Longevity Research Center and a best-selling author, speaker, and coach to millions. He is creator of the award-winning ‘Maximize Your Metabolism‘ system. To learn more about this step-by-step program, and to sign up for FREE how-to articles and FREE teleseminars, visit Maximize Your Metabolism

Grip Exercise

May 28th, 2010 by admin

Need a New Kettlebell Challenge? Try the Pistol Grip

The Pistol Grip, or inverted, kettlebell position can add a crucial component to your kettlebell training. Up until now, the Pistol Grip kettlebell position has been seen as more of a feat of strength rather than an exercise variation that could be incorporated into your everyday kettlebell training routines. For those who don’t know, a Pistol Grip is when you hold the kettlebell upside down from the handle; this puts the ball portion of the kettlebell straight up in the air. You can then create variations of standard kettlebell exercises utilizing the Pistol Grip position, including the clean, press, Turkish Get Up, overhead squats, windmills, etc.

The Pistol Grip position requires a greater amount of effort on your grip and forearms as well as your arms, shoulders and core. This is a great method to build iron grip strength as well as a strong upper body. Additionally, by utilizing the Pistol Grip in your training you can get a greater challenge from a kettlebell that has become too light for standard kettlebell exercises.

If your sets of kettlebell presses and get ups are getting too easy, the Pistol Grip position will make them seem like brand new exercises. It provides another level of difficulty because the kettlebell is even more unbalanced, allowing huge gains in functional strength. Grip and core strength will be taken to new levels. A set of Pistol Grip get ups will work your entire body like never before.

When moving into Pistol Grip exercise variations, you want to make sure that the weight is heavy enough to provide a challenge, but not so heavy that you worry about dropping it on your head. Always be in an area where dropping the kettlebell won’t be an issue. When you start off, use your free hand to protect yourself from unexpected kettlebell movements. Remember, safety first.

When you have a firm grasp of all the standard variations of kettlebell exercises, grab a lighter kettlebell and try the Pistol Grip on the following exercises: clean and press, Turkish get up, and windmill. Throw these variations into your workout or make it a workout by itself. Make sure that you don’t go to failure with these exercises. The last thing you need is a wobbly arm and an upside down kettlebell over your head. Do each exercise for a few reps and sets before moving on to the next one.

Once you start incorporating the Pistol Grip into your workouts, you will be reaping the benefits in no time. You won’t have to spend the money on a heavier kettlebell because you can perform the same exercises with the same weight, only now utilized the Pistol Grip which will provide plenty of new challenges. If you have a heavier kettlebell that you can’t seem to lift, work the lighter weight with a Pistol Grip and pretty soon, you’ll be lifting the heavier kettlebell in no time.

Give this sample workout a shot and become addicted to Pistol Grip training:

Pistol Grip Turkish Get Up
Use a weight you can easily do multiple reps with. Alternate sides, but only perform about 3-5 reps for 2-3 sets.

Pistol Grip Press
Using a weight you can strict press 10 reps it for 5 reps. Alternate arms, but don’t rush through. Get the feel for the Pistol Grip. Do at least 1-2 sets, never going to failure.

Pistol Grip Windmill
Keep the reps at least 2-3 before failure. Work 1-2 sets.

Try adding these to your lower body workout days or on off days. Don’t make this particular schedule a workout. Just practice the Pistol Grip. Get a feel for it. Become proficient in it. Pretty soon you will be seeing results in numerous aspects of your lifting.

About the Author

Marcus Martinez is the co-owner of MBody Strength, an Orange County based kettlebell service and equipment company. Marcus is certified RKC and has created a variety of innovative workout programs involving unconventional training methods, including kettlebell training. Find free workout plans and low-priced kettlebell equipment at MBodyStrength.com.


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