With so much focus around
creating the perfect strength training and cardio workout,
many people forget about the importance of
good posture. Considering that the
spine, skeleton, soft tissue, connective tissue and
joints make up our structure that is not unlike that
of a frame of a house, you would think we would pay
more attention to it. These are what keeps our
bodies together and allow us to walk, run, and work.
Bad posture, such as slouching can affect the way we
feel and can make us more prone to joint, bone and
soft tissue injuries due to misusing them. Various
occupations can put us at risk. Many of us work at a
desk with computers, as cashiers, assembly workers
or nurses and nurse's aids and risk repetitive
injuries as is seen in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, back
and neck pain and 'pinched' nerves. The strain on
the spine, muscles and uneven stress on the joints
can lead to debilitating and permanent damage.
Back pain is the second most reported occupational
injury in the U.S. and the U.K. Studies found 95% of
lower and middle back pain is due to bad posture
while standing, sitting and even exercising.
Increased Confidence Levels
The first way in which good posture is going to help you
is by increasing your confidence levels. Confidence is one
of the things that will dramatically impact how other
people view you, so by straightening up your posture, you
can instantly come across as more attractive to others.
Not only that, but typically
when you use good posture you will also feel better about
yourself in general as well, so it carries through
impacting more than just how other people see you. Feeling
good about yourself will increase your mood levels, so
this is something you definitely do not want to overlook.
This simple change will really impact your image.
Improved Airflow Throughout The
The next benefit to using good posture is increased
airflow throughout the body. When we are not standing up
straight, our lungs are not going to be able to take in as
much air as they potentially could, so straightening up
solves this problem fast.
As you use good posture, you
will notice that your chest does open up, and itís this
that allows more air to circulate throughout the body. To
help further drive this point home, when using good
posture, focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together,
since this is the mechanism that alters the body position.
Decreased Risk of Injury
As anyone who has ever experienced an injury before knows,
injuries are extremely frustrating. Using good posture
however will decrease your risk of experiencing an injury
since all the body parts will be in proper alignment.
This is especially the case
when you are participating in activities like strength
training or sports, since incorrect form while performing
the variety of movements that you do will really put you
at a high risk for injury. If you donít understand what
proper form is for any exercise you are about to do, get
help first. Itís far better to be safe than sorry as far
as proper form and good posture are concerned.
Enhanced Energy Levels
Finally, the last major improvement youíll notice when you
start using good posture is increased energy levels. This
is partially due to the increased airflow moving through
the body as touched upon above, and also because when the
body is in the natural good posture stance, the muscles
will not be quite as stressed, thus are less likely to
feel as fatigued.
Poor posture is a learned behavior and can be
unlearned. Start by checking your posture. In an
ideal posture, the feet should be shoulder width
apart with the thighs elongated. Watch the lower
back and avoid arching or leaning back. The tail
should be slightly tucked down. Lift the breast
bone, your shoulder blades should move down and
create a distance between the hipbone and the rib
cage. The chin should be level and the head and
upper back should be the highest point on the body.
A good way to check your posture is the
Stand with the back of the head touching the wall.
Heels should be six inches from the baseboard. With
your butt touching the wall, check the distance with
your hand between your neck and the wall. If you're
within two inches at the neck, you are close to a
good posture. If not, the neck posture is too
forward and can be subject to deterioration of
joints and discs.
Good posture should be continued in walking,
sitting, driving and in almost every activity. In
walking, start with a correct standing posture. Walk
heel to toe and as you walk, your head should be
balanced over your head and shoulder, shoulders
should be rolled back with the spine slightly
lifted. Take steps of equal length.
When walking upstairs, most of us tend to lean
forward and take the steps with the balls of our
feet. The proper way to walk up stairs is to stand
straight and place the entire foot on the steps.
This does feel awkward at first as most of us have
been doing it wrong for years.
When sitting, feet should be placed on the floor or
if you are short, feet should be placed on a foot
stand. The knees and hips should be bent at about a
135 degree angle. Don't cross the legs. (Yes, I
know, many of us do that) When sitting in a chair,
make sure your tail is back against the chair and
maintain an arch in the lower back. Sometimes, using
a lumbar roll will be comfortable to support the
arch. These can be purchased or made by rolling a
towel or pillow length-wise with a length of about
12 inches. If sitting for long periods of time, get
up from the chair and walk or stretch to keep your
muscles toned and to relieve stress.
Maintain proper posture while driving to relieve
fatigue, especially on long trips. Sit as close to
the steering wheel as possible to avoid having to
stretch the arms to reach it. Adjust the seat
so your back is vertical and is supported by the
back of the seat. Knees should be bent to reach the
pedals. The knees should be as high as or higher
than the hips. Elbows should be bent slightly and
Sleeping posture is often times overlooked until we
awaken with a stiff neck or other body aches.
Sleeping on the stomach puts extreme pressure on
your back. The ideal sleep position is on your side,
(no, it doesn't matter which one), with the knees
bent, or sleep on your back. Use a pillow to support
the head and align it with the spine, but avoid
using thick or double pillows as this will throw off
the alignment of your head and spine. Sleep on a
slightly firm mattress, again to support the spine.
You don't want a mattress so soft that you sink to
Learning good posture will help keep the spine in
good shape and prevent injuries or pain in the lower
back. Exercise to strengthen the muscles and to tone
them. Remember, we only have the one body, take care
of it by paying attention to it.
Ref: Susan Findlay BSc RGN,
Kathy Eastwood, Yahoo! Contributor
Workout routines are what exercises, how many sets,
how many reps etc. that you do for each muscle. For
example, 3 sets of the flat bench press, 3 sets on
the incline bench press, and 2 sets of flat bench
dumbell flys is an example of one of the many chest
weightlifting workout routines.
workout split is a term given to how you split up
your workout. What days you do what muscle
on. For example, doing biceps back and legs on
Monday, and doing triceps, shoulders and chest on
Thursday is a workout split.
rule when making weightlifting workout programs is
to make sure to split it so that you aren't
overtraining. Doing chest on Monday, then triceps on
Tuesday, then shoulders on Wednesday will overtrain
your triceps. Why? Because just about every chest
and shoulder exercise works the triceps secondary.
And almost every back exercise works the biceps
secondary. Muscles should have at least 48 hours of
recovery before they are trained again.
are several options you can consider
when making your workout routines and splits:
Work chest, triceps and shoulders on the same day,
and biceps and back on the same day so that it's
ok if the secondary muscles get worked that day,
because your doing them anyway.
Separate those muscles that work a secondary
muscle so that they are far enough apart not to
overtrain you. For example, do Chest Monday,
triceps on Wednesdays, and shoulders Friday... and
biceps Monday with chest, and back Wednesday or
Do chest and triceps Monday, and shoulders
Thursday, and back and biceps together on Friday.
Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!
Side to Side
No matter how you slice it,
push-ups of any kind are still an outstanding exercise.
The side to side push-up adds additional shoulder mobility and
core stabilization to this push-up variation. There are
many types of "traveling push-up" styles out there which can
include moving forward, backward, side to side, and stepping
up and down various obstacles. As with any of these
variations, correct form should be maintained before
experimenting with any additional challenges.
Target: chest, shoulders,
triceps, core (pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps brachii,
Description: Start in
the "down" position of a push-up, but with your feet about
shoulder width apart. Press up to the standard
high-plank position, then move your right hand and foot next
to your left, shift your weight over, and move your left hand
and foot out. Be sure to maintain a tight core and
straight back the entire time. Repeat this motion back
and forth in each direction for reps.
I don't know about you, but when
I come in from my shoveling duties, I certainly feel like I got some exercise! Hey, if you have to go out and
move that snow anyway, you might as well make the most out
of it, right? Whether you really want to get in a
workout while you are out there, or you just want to get the
shoveling done, you should keep in mind some of the same
safety and health principals that you would use when working
Shoveling snow is a sure way
to work up a sweat and burn off some of those holiday
pounds. According to the Surgeon General's Report on
Physical Activity and Health, just 15 minutes of snow
shoveling counts as moderate physical activity! And seeing
as how the optimum stay-in-goal for aerobic activity is 30
minutes of moderate physical activity at least 3 times a
week - then shoveling snow certainly fits the bill!
This activity burns approximately 395 calories per hour for
an average, 145-pound person (LiveStrong).
Shoveling represents an
intense workout even for healthy college-aged students! A
study performed by researchers at North Dakota State
University determined that, based on heart rate, shoveling
was a moderately intense activity for college-aged subjects
most of the time but was vigorous activity during about
one-third of their shoveling time of 14 minutes.
Shoveling snow is considered
cardiovascular exercise, as well as weight lifting exercise.
This makes it a great form of functional exercise. You end
up releasing cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, growth hormones,
insulin-like growth factor 1, (IGF-1), which are all are
released when you do other forms of moderate exercise.
The flip side of this is that just like any other kind of
sports activity -- if youíre going to shovel snow you need
to warm up first and stretch out a bit. Think of shoveling
snow as an exercise similar to bent-over rowing that you
would do with a barbell in the gym. Or compare it to bicep
curls with a dumb bell or barbell. You wouldnít just go in
the gym and start doing those exercises without a warm-up.
Researchers have reported an increase in the number of fatal
heart attacks among those who shovel snow after heavy
snowfalls. This rise may be due to the sudden demand that
shoveling places on an individual's heart. Snow shoveling
may cause a quick increase in heart rate and blood pressure.
One study determined that after only two minutes of
shoveling, a sedentary man's heart rates rose to levels
higher than those normally recommended during aerobic
Shoveling can be made
more difficult by the weather. Cold air makes it
harder to work and breathe, which adds some extra
strain on the body, so think before you shovel.
Stretch out first, dress warmly in layers and bend
at the knees when youíre hurling that shovel-full of
snow. Remember to lift with your legs not your back.
Snow Shoveling Safety
Shoveling snow presents challenges even for those of
you who are reasonably fit. The National Safety
Council offers the following tips to help you get a
handle on safe shoveling:
Individuals over the age
of 40, or those who are relatively inactive,
should be especially careful. If you have a
history of heart trouble, do not shovel without a
Do not shovel after eating or while smoking.
Shovel only fresh snow. Freshly fallen, powdery
snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down
Push the snow as you shovel. It's easier on your
back than lifting the snow out of the way.
Don't pick up too much
at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only
one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
Do not work to
the point of exhaustion. If you run out of
breath, take a break. If you feel tightness
in your chest, stop immediately.
A common mistake
that people make with physical activity in the cold is not
keeping well hydrated.
Snow Shoveling Technique
In addition to she
safety concerns, here are some tips to keep in mind
for your cardio workout, while you're clearing your
sidewalks and driveway...
Make sure you have a good snow shovel. Most snow
shovels have open ends that allow you to easily toss
the snow off to the side.
Consider your physical condition. If you are out
of shape you should proceed with caution. When you
shovel you are simultaneously pushing, lifting and
lunging, and this will have a quick effect on your
muscles and stamina. Come to think of it, shoveling
snow has a lot in common with chopping wood. Snow is
heavy and shoveling is hard work - you don't want to
risk a serious injury or jeopardize your health. If
you have a heart condition or back problems, you
should definitely not shovel snow unless your doctor
Work toward the areas where you are depositing the
snow so that you have less distance to toss it as
you tire. Chip away any ice that you find under the
snow and remove the chunks with the shovel.
Spread rock salt over the cleared area to avoid
icing. Sand any areas that remain slippery. As snow
falls, you will find yourself outside shoveling
every few days, which coincidently is what you want
to be doing if you want to feel the benefits of
can be an ideal way to stay fit during the
holidays and winter season... Just donít
Yahoo! Contributor Network
It's Go Time!
February, March, April... that's
about 90 days before we get into the beach and pool weather
that starts back in May and June. 90 days... There's a
LOT that can be accomplished in 90 days. Heck, just take
a look at some of the success stories (and pictures) on the
P90X blogs and infomercials. However, it's important to
keep in mind that great results don't just show up at your
door one day. Results take determination, commitment and
hard work... basically outside of the comfort zone that you
are used to right now.|
90 days... 12 weeks... 3 months...
a quarter of a year... do you think that you can buckle down
and commit to yourself for this period of time? Once you
get into the swing of things, and your diet and exercise are
both looking good, you're talking about a potential loss of
12-24 pounds of fat by May (1-2 pounds per week is a safe
recommendation). Let me say that again...
12-24 POUNDS OF FAT!!!
Can you picture what you would
look like with that kind of success? Does that motivate
you? Get a program and work hard to stick to it for the
next 3 months and you can make it happen. A pound of
body fat is about 3,500 calories... to loose a pound per week
you would need a deficit of 500 calories per day compared
to what you are doing currently. This could be a
combination of restricting your diet by 250 more calories and
burning 250 more calories at the gym. Get the picture?
Your choice folks... I'm just
trying to provide you with the facts and motivation so that
you can have a realistic picture of your potential. If
this is something that you want to do, now is the time to do
it... not when it's time to sport the swim suit again!
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Stop Being So Tired
R.I.P Jack LaLanne... "Godfather of Fitness" ... a true