Exercise while relaxing on vacation – Chair Yoga

The movement of the body is important for maintenance of one’s health and well being. When you are on vacation, the tendency to gloss over adequate movement and exercise often occurs.

There are many ways to exercise one’s body when one is on vacation. One way that you can move the body is to make use of a chair.

Chair exercise is an accessible format that can be used when you are on vacation. Exercises that address basic spinal movements are always a good bet. The spine, being the bodily expression of health and vitality, when healthfully maintained, will positively affect the quality of one’s actions.

These are basic movements but they should still be approached with a degree of awareness and caution. If anything is painful or aggravating, do not do it. Breathing is important when performing these movements.

Spinal Warm-up

chaircatcow

Sitting in the chair, the individual will place their hands on their knees and keep the arms straight. On the inhalation, you will lift your chest to the ceiling. On the exhalation, you will arch your spine toward the chair. This will gently warm up the spine.

Forward Bending

DownDog

Standing up and facing the chair, you will position yourself so that you can lean forward and grab the chair. With the arms outstretched, hinge forward at the hips and lean the torso forward. Keep the spine straight, keep the core engaged and the arms and torso aligned with and to each other. Use the chair to support your body as you lower yourself. Breath.

Side Bending

Lateral Extension
Good for the spine.

While sitting in a chair, move your hips to the front of the chair. Sitting square to the front, extend your right arm up. As you extend your arm up, lean your body to the left. Repeat on the other side. Breath.

Back Bending

Lunge
Opens the front of the thighs / hips. Opens the the chest, strengthens the arms and back

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These types of movements are great for strengthening the back and arms. Start with the lunge movement. With hands on the seat, extend one leg backward and bring the other foot forward. The extended leg thigh and the forward foot hip will get a stretch. Repeat on the other side.

For a deeper stretch, place both hands on the chair and extend both legs back. Squeeze the inner thighs toward the ceiling, roll the shoulders back and lift the chest up. Breath.

Spinal Twist

chairspinaltwist

While sitting in a chair turn your body so that your legs are on the left side of the chair. Turn your torso so that it faces the back of the chair. Use your hands to support you in this position. Breath. Repeat on the other side.

Forward Bending

DownDog

Standing up and facing the chair, you will position yourself so that you can lean forward and grab the chair. With the arms outstretched, hinge forward at the hips and lean the torso forward. Keep the spine straight and the arms and torso in alignment. Use the chair to support you as you lower yourself

How Not to Gain Weight during the Holidays

The holiday season is here. This means that many of us will be with families and eating homemade pies and cakes. At work, there will be streams of goodies and sweets seemingly surrounding us. Planning for and attending various holiday functions, we will unconsciously nosh, nibble and imbibe to our hearts content. All of this means that we will be making those New Year’s Resolutions at the beginning of the New Year. Typically, weight loss is at the top of the list.

However, we need not wait until the results of our holiday activities shock us into more healthy habits. In fact, there are things that we can begin to do right now that will minimize the amount of (unwanted) weight that we accumulate due to the holiday season excess. Specifically, by drinking more water, sleeping more, being more active, eating more fiber and monitoring portion size, we can keep weight gain to a minimum.

  • Drink Water

    Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature.
    “To all living things, water is of major importance.”

    When looking to minimize weight gain during the holiday season, one need look no further than though the bottom of their glass; that is to say, drink more water. Water is the liquid that sustains all life on earth. Water also has ‘0’ calories. But more than that, one can actually burn calories due to water consumption. Specifically, men burn more fat while women break down more carbohydrates due to water consumption. So, to hedge your bets against that holiday weight gain, drink more water.

    Recommendation: Ideally, 1.5 liters of water per day or 2 (8 Ounce) cups of water before each meal.

  • Sleep More

    a sleeping baby
    Babies are growing so they need rest. Adults need rest for health maintenance and physiological repair.

    According to researchers, adequate sleep can be instrumental to obtaining positive results from dieting and exercising endeavors. Adequate sleep allows for the activation of Human Growth Hormone: this hormone is responsible for “functions in the body such as vitality, energy and weight maintenance“. In addition, adequate sleep brings about a near 50%:50% muscle mass loss to body fat loss. Inadequate sleep can cause five times more muscle mass loss than body fat loss (5:1 ratio). Minimal sleep can stimulate higher levels of consumption because hormone levels, that stimulate hunger, food intake and retention of body fat, increase. One cannot sleep themselves thin but one can insure that caloric accumulation is kept to a minimum with adequate sleep.

    Recommendation: Get more than 6.5 – 7.0 hours of sleep.

  • Walk More/Be Active

    For those who are busy, there are creative ways to stimulate metabolism. Standing up and stretching a couple of times an hour will do wonders for the body.
    One step at a time: a good way to burn calories.

    To maintain (current) weight and avoid the effects of holiday binging, the importance of physical activity cannot be overlooked. The amount of physical activity can positively affect the efforts to maintain weight. Balancing Calories In vs. Calories Out will yield Weight Control/Weight Maintenance. 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity is recommended to maintain weight. If this proves difficult, however, there are options such as parking farther away from the entryway door and walking, taking the stairs, doing little chores around the home and the like. Every little bit helps. Increased physical activity will also help people to improve conditions of:

    1. Heart disease and stroke
    2. High blood pressure
    3. Diabetes
    4. Back pain
    5. Depression and anxiety

    Recommendation: Try to accumulate 30 minutes of mild to moderate activity per day or try to stand up and stretch a couple of times every hour.

  • More Fiber

    These are some great sources of fiber.
    These are just some of the great sources of fiber that are available

    Generally, studies indicate that increased fiber intake correlates to better weight control. Fiber is an important constituent of food that assist with the passage of food through the colon. Fiber supplementation, along with adequate water consumption, can be part of a balanced diet. However, if a person needs to see and consume an amount of food that makes them feel full, then eating fiber dense foods will be instrumental in their consuming less. Fiber may not help with calories that are consumed from high-caloric beverages: consider that the average American’s recent, increased calorie consumption has come from increased consumption of high-calorie drinks.

    Recommendation: Accumulate more fiber from food sources; drink more water.

  • Portion Control

    Which one do you want?
    Larger portions are being accepted as ‘normal’, single servings. This puts less active people at risk for weight gain.

    One of the best ways to minimize weight gain is through portion control. Many people often eat what is in front of them and most underestimate the amount (of calories) that they consume on a day to day basis by as much as 25%. In order to affect portion control, one must direct their efforts toward assessing, monitoring and regulating the portion sizes of foods that they consume. If you are at a restaurant, eat half of your order and take the remainder home, if possible. If you are at home, eat a smaller than normal portion and wait a bit before going for seconds. If the feeling a fullness is there, you just may not want to go for seconds.

    Recommendation: Make a strong effort and adhere to consuming smaller portions and waiting to see if satiety sets in or eat smaller portions throughout the day.

These steps are presented as a way to help in minimizing the weight gain that typically occurs during the holiday season. By adding these steps to your daily routine throughout the holiday season, you can be in control of what transpires with your weight. Of course, if you are exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, then these steps will easily help you in maintaining your weight.

Drinking water will assist in caloric expenditure. Sleeping more will help the body to burn more fat. Being more active will help to burn the calories that you consume. Consuming more fiber will keep the colon clear. Portion control will allow you to regulate how much you are actually consuming.

I have assembled a Percentage (%) of Effort Chart below to give you an idea of how these activities will contribute to your minimizing that dreaded holiday weight gain. The items are the five points outlined in this blog: i.e. water, sleep, activity, fiber and portions. The more days that you do these things, the better your results will be. 100% of effort will yield better results than 20% of effort.

Oh, before I forget . . .

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

% of Effort

1 item

2 items

3 items

4 items

5 items

1 – 2 days

4%

8%

12%

16%

20%

2 – 3 days

8%

16%

24%

32%

40%

3 – 4 days

12%

24%

36%

48%

60%

4 – 5 days

16%

32%

48%

64%

80%

5 – 6 days

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

SOURCES:

CNN: Trying to Lose Weight? Drink More Water

WebMD; Drinking Water May Speed Weight Loss

Science Daily; Sleep Loss Limits Fat Loss

HuffPo: Sleep Is Integral To Weight Loss, Study Suggests

WebMD: Exercise and Weight Loss

WIN: Physical Activity and Weight Control

CalorieLab: Does more fiber mean more weight loss?

Food Product Design: The Skinny on Fiber and Weight Management

Mayo Clinic: Portion control — Downsize portions for better weight control

WebMD; Portion Control and Weight Loss

Nice, Butt!

Do you want tighter, firmer, well-defined buttocks? I do! In fact I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. While it is true that you cannot spot reduce, you also cannot just work the gluteal muscles. A well-rounded exercise program should include aerobics, flexibility, balance, and resistance training.

I have put together an exercise segment for targeting the gluteals. The following exercises should be done after you have sufficiently warmed the body with some type of aerobic activity or resistance training. Your goals will determine how many repetitions and sets you perform.

Core Exercises

Despite what you may have heard, core exercises involve more than simply “activating your abdominals” and crunching. The core reaches far behind the abdominals. Pilates is a great way to strengthen the core musculature, but Pilates instruction often overlooks the activation of the pelvic floor musculature, which is crucial to developing a strong core.

In the following video, I perform a Pilates style Teaser exercise with three modifications or progressions. The following exercises are advanced, but certainly possible to perform if your core is strong and you have adequate flexibility. Please read and practice the following core stabilization blogs: Tell Me More About The Core, Pelvic Floor Muscles, and Shoulder Strength-Scapular Stability and Mobility as they provide a great starting point.

Video For Core Exercise with Bands

If your core is weak, sadly, everything else is weak.

Walk Your Walk to Weight Loss

At first glance, golf seems like a lazy person’s sport. Caddies can carry your golf bags for you and carts are available to transport you easily from hole to hole. Despite all of the conveniences, weight loss is possible for golfers. By changing your game a bit, golfing can help you shed excess pounds.

Before you start your game, warm up for 15 to 20 minutes. Walking on the treadmill at the clubs fitness center and stretching your muscles will warm them, prevent injury, and burn calories. By choosing to walk the course instead of taking a cart you will get in a cardiovascular workout and expend more calories. Assuming you are free from any musculoskeletal issues and are able to do so, then to carry your own bag. Invest in a pull or push cart so you can walk the course and slim down. If you choose to carry the golf bag yourself, be sure to change shoulders every now and then to maintain muscle balance.

The key to walking the course is to maintain a brisk pace while increasing your caloric expenditure. If your club requires golf carts, then stick to the cart paths. Instead of riding to your ball, leave the cart on the path directly opposite your ball, grab a couple of clubs and walk to your ball. All the additional walking and calorie burning will require the intake of more liquids; opt for water instead of soda or beer.

Writing down your weight loss and golf goals makes you more likely to achieve them. And while you’re at it, keep a three-day food log. You may be surprised to see how much or how little you eat. By the way, skipping meals is not the answer to permanent weight loss. Shedding unwanted weight becomes easier when you combine conscious eating habits with exercise that you actually like doing. By making these simple changes to your game, you will drop extra pounds and improve your game.

Golf, what’s in your tool box?

Assess the situation on the golf course. Have you properly gauged the distance? Have you made the necessary biomechanical adjustments? Will you be able to apply the appropriate amount of force? Where will the ball end up? These are interesting questions and perhaps, at one time or another, they have crossed your mind.

Golf tools in your toolbox.
Assess distance. Make adjustments. Apply force. Is the ball going where you intended it to go?

In the game of golf, many panaceas are applied to help in the improvement of scores. New balls, new golf clubs and golf lessons are the methods employed to help you hit the ball better, drive the ball further and swing the club more consistently. These methods do help for a period time. However, because you may sit all day or perform the same repetitive tasks throughout the day, your body sets up movement patterns and areas of tightness that can detract from your game.

You may be loathe to admit it but your body may require some tuning up. Does the golf ball go further down the fairway because of the new club you purchased? Maybe the new balls that you purchased are designed for better flight and they enable you to drive farther. Perhaps, the new ball adheres to the green in such a way that your putting is more consistent. No, the biomechanics of your body brings the club into contact with the ball such that it flies straighter and farther down the fairway. The stability of your body, with the appropriate areas of flexibility and balance of strength, enhances your ability to drive the ball farther and to putt with more consistency and accuracy.

Conditioning for golf; this is not an absurd idea. The golfing parameters of club face alignment, swing path, angle of impact, club speed, and sweet spot are factors that impact golfing errors such as hooking, pulling, slicing and pushing. Your golf game, as with any physical endeavor, is a direct reflection of the condition of your body.

The flexibility, center of gravity, movement patterns and posture of your body can be improved through a comprehensive conditioning program. By increasing your optimal level of conditioning, you will experience a decrease in back, neck, shoulder and hip pain. By relieving pain in these areas, you will achieve better contact between the club face and the ball, longer drives, and improved putting consistency.

An exercise that you can do to help your golf game.

Ab-Sutra Health and Fitness Coaches, LLC, in Scottsdale, AZ, will help you to lengthen short and tight muscles, obtain optimal flexibility and muscular balance. Call us for an appointment at (480) 247-2502.

Move it or Lose it

Go for a bike ride
Fun cardiovascular activity

Moderate-intensity aerobic activities, like brisk walking, are generally safe for most people, yet so many of us are inactive. Why is this so? With the advances of modern technology (cars, washing machines, dishwashers, remote control televisions, computers, and etc.), we have less time each day to break a sweat. We have sadly become more and more lethargic and complacent in today’s society, especially where taking care of ourselves is concerned. Physical activity patterns are set early in life. It may take creativity to change them and determination to maintain them, if you are currently inactive. Maybe you think your schedule is too busy for you to exercise, then pencil it in your date book, hire a qualified personal trainer, go to a group exercise class, do something. Our health and wellness needs to be a priority!

I do not think people realize just how dangerous sedentary lifestyles are. Weight gain, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancers, and osteoarthritis are just some of the conditions brought on by being a couch potato.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you go out and run a mile today. If you are sedentary and all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity you are putting yourself at increased risk for having a heart attack. That is why it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week. The good news is these 30 minutes can be broken into 10 or 15 intervals two to three times a day. C’mon people, that’s not a lot to ask of our bodies. The health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt, but if you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes talk with your physician to find out if your condition limits your ability to be active.

Tips To Help Get You Started Today

1. Set realistic small goals and gradually increase the time, frequency, and duration. Please don’t try too much too soon, you may injury yourself.

2. Ask a friend or family member to join you.

3. Go for a brisk walk around your neighborhood, high school track, or walk around your house carefully adding in the stairs.

4. Don’t forget resistance and flexibility training.

5. Choose activities that you enjoy, something that causes you to break a sweat.

6. Keep an exercise log. Tracking your progress can be very motivating.

7. Go to a beginner yoga class.

8. Speak kindly to yourself, you CAN do it.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a qualified fitness professional.

10. Get moving now!