We have all seen this before: a runner stretching behind his car getting ready to hit the track. He stands there with one leg up onto the truck, his knee straight and locked. Then he reached out towards his toes, bounce, hold, bound, hold. Next, he grabs his calf and pulls himself lower towards his toe, bouncing along the way. Success and now ready to run! Right? Wrong!
Only a relaxed muscle will allow itself to be stretched. When a muscle is stretched with bouncing and pulling, it will contract and tighten which sets the runner up for injury. Also, by putting one leg up on the trunk, he is tightening up all the muscles in his body from his ankle all the way up to his neck. Well then how should a person stretch?
The following are good rules of thumb for keeping your body safe when you are stretching:
- Warm your Body Up: Always increase the temperature of your muscles before stretching, by performing light aerobic activity such as walking. Another good time to stretch is after a warm shower/ or bath.
- Timing is Everything: After your muscles are warmed up, try to perform each stretch 2 to 5 times and hold each stretch 15 to 30 seconds. You can always progress up to holding your stretches for longer periods of time. Listen to your body- it will let you know how long to hold the stretch for. Do not stretch to the point of pain. Some discomfort or tension is ok, pain is not.
- Think Functional: Stretch those joints that you need in everyday life. For example, keeping your knees flexible so that you can climb up and down stairs without difficulty.
- Do it Right: It is safer and more effective to go slow. Bouncing does not increase flexibility bur actually causes the muscle to contract and shorten when may induce micro tears or strain the muscles.
- Every Day is Different: Flexibility varies from day to day and from person to person. Do not compete with any one else. Be patient and remember this is your time.
B.S Health Education
Owner of The Perfect Workout
A couple of years ago, my best friend bought her dream sports car filled with all the bells and whistles. After about six months of taking the car out only on Sundays, she retired it to the garage. Eventually, the air leaked out from the tires, and the gas became flat and stale.
Your butt muscles are the same way. They are a group of muscles that are designed to be active and moving. Prolonged sitting leads to tight hips, and hamstring muscles. Then, random muscles will start to ache and become stiff. Soon your glutes will spread out and appear flat, jiggly and have no tone. The best way to avoid this is to get up and get your butt moving. Make them work! (more…)
Exercise Number One– Medicine Ball Pull-Over
The Medicine Ball Pull-Over targets your underarms and armpit area. This exercise also works your shoulders, core, and abdominals.
Step One– Holding a medicine ball, lie down on a bench or step. Bend your knees 90 degrees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Step Two- Keeping your abs tight and your core engaged, extend your arms towards the ceiling taking them directly over your shoulders and then bring them back down to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times and work your way up to 25 reps. (more…)
Last week after teaching a Barre Burn class, I had a member come up to me and ask me what could be done to get rid of the extra fat she carries in her armpit area. She was referring to the fat on both the chest and back next to her armpits. Most women tend to store fat in their hips, thighs and upper armpits. (more…)
Last month after teaching a kettle bell/medicine ball class; I had a member come up to me and ask me how long the medicine ball has been around as an exercise tool and how did it get its name. She did not understand why a ball would be referred to as “medicine.” I explained to her that “medicine” doesn’t just refer to pills and liquids, but it is also used to describe anything that promotes health. When people say a doctor is “practicing medicine”, they are essentially saying: the doctor is promoting good health. The term “medicine ball” first showed up in an English-language dictionary in 1895. At that time, “medicine” and “health” were more synonymous than they are today. (more…)
Pretend for a minute that everything is weightless. You don’t know how much you weigh because scales have never been invented. How would you define your state of health?
To be considered “fit,” you have to meet minimum standards in 5 different areas, known as the Components of Fitness. Body Composition is one of them (in addition to flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic fitness). Body composition itself deals with four areas: weight, fat mass, lean mass and fat distribution.
But weight alone doesn’t tell you the whole truth about your progress or fitness level. For example, it doesn’t tell you how much fat you carry. You could start lifting weights and actually gain weight…but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are tipping the scales towards obesity. (more…)
When I was a teenager, I wiped out on my bicycle, tripped on pavement, and fell while walking down stairs, often. For years, I overlooked exercises to improve my balance. I did not realize that you can train for balance like you do for strength, power and endurance. I now incorporate balance exercises into my Pilates classes. Having good balance, I found, has helped me lift weights with ease, glide through exercise participation and has substantially reduced my risk of falling. (more…)