Aerobic Dance

Some classes have unique, catchy names used specifically for marketing purposes. Classes can be highly choreographed, which requires a high level of co-ordination and skill.

Nowadays health clubs and fitness centres usually offer a range of ‘aerobics’ classes. The classes usually have different names, formats and descriptions and will vary from one venue to the next.

Currently popular ‘aerobics’ formats include Hi-Lo, Low Impact, Martial Arts-based Aerobics, Kickboxing, Latin, Hip-hop, Funk and Jazz. A variety of equipment-based workouts, such as Step Aerobics and Slide Aerobics, also fall within this category.

When you join a health club or fitness centre, ensure that you are familiar with different classes offered and study the class description carefully. This will enable you to choose the ideal class to go to.

The aerobics phase follows the warm-up. The aerobics section is mainly aimed at improving cardiorespiratory endurance and body composition and uses large body movements performed continuously so that the heart rate remains elevated.

An aerobics class always ends with stretching and relaxation exercises. The cool-down is designed to lower the heart rate, help prevent muscle soreness, enhance flexibility and re-establish homeostasis or equilibrium.

Killer Back Workout

  • Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – Grab some dumbbells that you will be able to perform 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, and 8 reps with. As the reps lower you should use heaver dumbbells. Stand up while holding a pair of dumbbells and carefully lean over at the waist until your back is parrell with the floor. Make sure your knees are bent slightly. With the dumbbells hanging straight down, pull the dumbbells up to your sides as high as possible and squeeze your back muscles together at the top for a count of three seconds. Then slowly lower the dumbbells back to your starting position.
  • Machine Rows – 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps again adding weight as you lower your reps. Start in a seated position by placing your feet firmly against the footrests on a back row machine. If you do not have this type of machine you can use exercise bands with the band placed under your feet. I like using my Bowflex for this exercise. Arch your back slightly and grasp the handles or grips if you are using exercise bands. Pull the handles toward you and squeeze and squeeze your back muscles for a count of three. Do not bend backwards at your torso. Your back should remain straight. Slowly return the handles to the start and repeat with the next rep.
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell Pullovers – 3 sets of 10 reps a piece. Start by lying face up on a weight bench with your head and neck supported by the bench. Hold a single dumbbell with both hands over you chest by cupping the inside of the dumbbell. Bend your elbows slightly. Now lower the dumbbell behind your head toward the floor. Make sure the movement does no go beyond full stretch, contract your lats and return to the start position. I think this is an excellent back workout exercise. Sometimes this exercise is mistaken for a chest exercise.

Fitness Program Include Posture

The often overlooked, and rarely talked about, exercise posture is extremely important in preventing exercise injuries, and strengthening your overall skeletal muscle system. When focusing on proper posture while performing an exercise, you will provide a more grounded, solid base; thus, improving focus on taxing the specific intended muscle group or movement without getting unwanted muscles involved.

It is also important to focus on everyday posture outside of your fitness program. Discomfort in the back and neck is the primary adverse consequence of poor posture. It can also strain your hips and knees.

The first thing you must know is what exactly is proper posture. Find a mirror, take a deep breathe, and exhale. Now observe your position. Your head should be centered on your neck (not pushed forward or tilted in any way.) Your shoulders should be level, and not sloped. Your chest should be up, and abdominals tucked in. You should also assume the same type of position when seated.

When conducting any type of exercise, strength training or cardio, please focus on the specific posture mentioned above. Concentrate on contracting your abdominals during the execution of all exercises. Chest will be up, and head straight forward. This little reminder will not only protect you from injury, but automatically strengthen your core muscles from the constant isometric contraction.

It is important to note that poor posture can be corrected by
combating the two major causes of misalignment: weak muscles,
and bad habit. Correction begins outside of the gym getting into the habit of proper posture each and every day as mentioned above.

Here are a few more exercise tips to help you strengthen the muscles that will affect your posture.

  • Do pelvic tilt exercises while lying on the ground
  • Abdominal crunches
  • Upper and lower back exercises. Rhomboid, and Erector Spinae
  • Strengthen your gluteal and leg muscles

In order to increase your exercise productivity, and decrease the chance of injury, pay close attention to your posture both during, and after participating in your specific exercise program. You will see a difference in results and fitness program injury prevention.

Calorie Burning Summer Exercises

Swimming

In summer, when the sun is blazing down on you, there’s nothing better than diving in a cool, clear, outdoor swimming pool to keep your body temperature comfortable. Do a short spell of swimming and notice the difference it has on your body and mind. Swimming is the total body and mind workout.

Tennis

Tennis is the ideal summer sport. Playing against a friend or tennis partner provides the competitive edge that you may need to work that little bit harder. Tennis is great for developing toned arms and legs. For variety you can play doubles tennis, although this doesn’t burn quite as many calories.

Cycling

Cycling in the sun is a great experience. With the sun blazing down on you and the wind blowing through your hair provides a great middle ground to keep your body temperature constant. Cycling is great for working and toning the leg muscles and the best part is, you won’t even realise your exercising them!

Hiking

This summer, why not find a place to hike to burn some excess calories. Get on your hiking shoes and find a rural trek. Go with a friend, a family member or even your partner. When hiking you won’t even realise your exercising, but it is highly effective. In fact it burns around 450 calories per hour or more.

Leg Cramps & Running Cramps

The Role of Fluids

The main function of sweat is to cool the body down. The average 70kg/154lb person running at a 6 minute mile pace will burn energy at the rate of about 1000kcal per hour. In a warm climate, this would equate to around 1.5 litres of sweat to remove this extra heat.

When you look at it from this point of view it’s easy to see how an athlete could lose as much as 3 to 4 litres of water per hour!

It only takes a 2 – 3% dehydration or 3lbs of sweat loss for a 68kg/150lb person for body function and exercise performance to be impaired.So, if you want to perform your best and avoid dehydration fatigue and the possibility of cramping from dehydration, you should have a strategy aimed at taking on the correct amount of fluid.

Because you’re burning energy, you also need to take in carbohydrate – however the processing of carbohydrate also requires water . . . about 3ml of water for every gram of carbohydrate you want to fix into the muscles as glycogen. So, in order to replenish your muscle glycogen reserve, you need more water and if you don’t replace it then it will be taken from the blood stream and accelerate dehydration.

A litre of sweat typically contains about 20mg Calcium, 50mg Magnesium, just over 1 gram of Sodium and 1.5 grams of Chloride . . . a good reason why hydrating is better with a sports drink containing these minerals than just with water.

In fact, the use of a sports drink with electrolyte minerals and carbohydrate has three key functions:

  • Whereas an excess amount of water can dilute the blood plasma, possibly leading to potentially life-threatening conditions such as hyponatraemia (low sodium levels leading to swelling on the brain and confusion, seizure and even death) – by contrast, sports drinks will help maintain healthy plasma levels.
  • Drinks containing electrolyte minerals promote thirst and lead to an increase in voluntary intake of fluid.
  • There is evidence that when electrolyte minerals such as sodium and small amounts of glucose are present, the rate of fluid absorption from the small intestine into the rest of the body is improved. The same is true for hydration after the event.

Hydrating During The Race

There are 2 factors that determine how well you are able to get fluid to where it’s needed during a race – Gastric Emptying (how quickly the fluid leaves the stomach) and Intestinal Absorption (how well the small intestine is able to absorb fluid).

Studies have shown that a larger volume of fluid in the stomach as well as the presence of carbohydrate and electrolytes improves the uptake of fluid.

In regard to carbohydrate concentration, the optimal amount is around 2.5g per litre of water (about 4-5% glucose). Higher concentrations tend to slow the process down, however for endurance athletes the benefits of higher energy replacement may be more preferable.

Interestingly, fructose (sugar from fruits) tends to absorb more slowly and may slow down the uptake of water.

Reasons To Power Walk

Energy Boost

In addition to being refreshing, the power walk is also invigorating and energizing. It gets your heart pumping, the blood flowing, and those synapses firing. Today, office workers spend most of their day sitting. Between the office commute, the hours spent in front of the computer, and sitting in front of the television for entertainment, your body does not get many opportunities to move around. The power walk is the perfect antidote for this. It gets your body moving, your brain thinking, and the blood flowing.

Breaks the Day Up

As I mentioned, my power walks are helping to break the monotony of the day. Rather than take on your work day in 4 hour increments, a 15 minute power walk in the morning and one in the afternoon will break your day into 2 hour increments. You can return to your desk, or meeting, alert and ready to take on the next chunk of work.

Mental Clarity

Sometimes my power walk is timed just when I’m banging my head against the wall trying to solve a difficult problem. Stepping away from the computer for a while helps. Your head will clear when you go for a walk. New solutions will become apparent to you. You will return to your desk with the perfect solution and the energy to execute it.

Calorie Burn

It’s no longer a secret that I am getting healthier everyday. Part of that is increasing the number of calories I burn. While a power nap might prove energizing, a power walk certainly burns more calories. You can get an extra hour of walking into your day with power walks. A 15 minute walk for a morning break, one for the afternoon, and a 30 minute lunch walk, gives you an hour of movement easily spaced throughout the day. It certainly beats staring into space while marching on the treadmill.

Socially Acceptable

My roommate’s mom was right. Dozing off at your desk while staring at the screen isn’t the best office etiquette. Worse than that, nodding off in the meeting while your boss is giving a very important (cough, cough) presentation. No one can fault the power walk though. Better than that, it gives the impression that you care about your health and you’re industrious.

Stress Relief

Ever feel like telling a co-worker, “Let’s take this outside.” Now you can, with just 2 more words. “Let’s take a walk outside. Or you can go by yourself. A short walk will help to diffuse the situation and loosen you up. It also beats a smoke break.

Tickled by the Pickle

The Basics

Before you step out onto the court, it is important to know that Pickleball has varying skill levels, it is an activity for all ages, and you can choose singles, doubles, or mixed doubles. Equipment is minimal but essential. Footwear should be cross-trainer or tennis shoes with non-marking, durable flat souls that provide stability for side-to-side movement and the paddle you use should be light enough to present you both tactile options and power. Flexibility is imperative an important aspect of any fitness activity. Maintain your optimal functional efficiency by warming up all muscles, joints and ligaments for greater ease of movement, enhanced skill performance, and less chance of injury – Remember that short tight muscles limit movement and become sore when they perform physical activity. Every athlete knows the importance of having water readily available and Pickleball is no exception, hydration will be imperative due to the physical demands.

It’s all in the Team

Doubles play is perhaps the most enjoyable part of Pickleball. Playing involves much more than just the individual player’s techniques or physical abilities. The emphasis is on team, working together using strategies, tactics, and various techniques. A recent match had my partner asking, “Why are you trying to kill it? Just put the ball where they’re not.” Makes sense. How was I going to curb my enthusiasm? By trusting in my partner.

Before diving into more advanced skills, such as strategies and tactics, I had to first understand the basic Pickleball doubles formation. Moving with my partner for best effect. On the serve both players must stand behind the base line and stay there until the other team returns the ball then we move together about centre court for best effect.

As a novice player, I tend to make the mistake of staying on my side of the court even when my partner is under pressure. I find myself just standing there watching as my partner gets assaulted by the opponents. Lately, I have found that as the novice, experienced players will draw the ball to me most and trust that I will make mistakes – often. If that sounds familiar, here’s how to help yourself and your partner. Imagine that there is rope attached to your waist and your partner’s waist and when one player moves, the other should naturally follow. For example, if one player is returning a corner net shot, the partner should follow to help maximize court courage. You and your partner are linked by an invisible rope, pressing forward together, retreating together, and moving laterally together. This is how partner chemistry is developed in Pickleball doubles.

Health Benefits

You may be thinking, “Here it comes, – exercise and diet, you will live longer.” Consider this, the human body was designed for physical activity – only the fittest survived. Our current society has an abundance of what is known as hypokinetic diseases – conditions caused by a lack of regular physical activity.

The average person can burn anywhere from 300- 400 calories per hour playing Pickleball. When you increase the number of calories you expend and balance it with healthy eating, a magical thing happens; you begin to feel good about your body, emotional and mental clarity may follow, and energy levels improves considerably. Stress and tension melt away. Increase your play or add a few more games in each week and you will increase your demand for oxygen. Aerobically, this means your heart, lungs and muscles to work more efficiently, why it even reduces elevated blood fats and blood pressure, improves digestion, and elimination trouncing hypokinetic disease. Dynamic and isotonic strength improves, low back pain, osteoporosis, and joint pain diminish as well as resistance fatigue over a period of time develops. A Pickleball lifestyle is more than physical activity, it is a standard of living with meaning and purpose. Evidence supports the fact you are never too old to experience the benefits of exercise and the body will respond to exercise at any age.

The Rules

To start, a coin toss usually decides who goes first but most friendly games has the pair with the least amount of experience serving. The pair will stand behind the baseline and the player on the right side will begin by serving underhand and contacting the ball below the waist. The ball is directed to the opposite player on the other side of the net who is standing behind the baseline. The ball must bounce once before it is returned and the serving team must also wait for the returned shot to bounce before volleying. This is where the game gets exciting and picks up speed. There is a no-volley zone – or “kitchen”, this is the 7′ foot space between the net and the first court line which prevents players from standing too close to the net and promotes quick reflexes with skill shot strategies as apposed to power shots. Only the serving team can score points and the game is played until one team reaches 11 points or clears 2 points above. A game can last anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes and can be quite competitive with equally skilled players. The main goal is to have lots of fun.

Fight Depression with Exercise

While the sky-high feeling is only temporary, I am still left with the personal satisfaction that yet again, I put forth a considerable amount of effort to take a step forward in my life. Only a fortnight ago, exercising seemed as impossible as climbing the tallest mountain in the world. Today, it is gradually becoming a part of my weekly routine.

Some days are tough – sitting in front of the computer seems a much easier alternative; however, when you anticipate the feeling of well-being you will have at the end of your exercise session, when you look at yourself at the mirror and see big gobs of fat hanging over your trousers, when you remember you stuffed your face with cake at lunch and would do best to burn those extra calories, you know you’re better off getting up and hitting the gym than spending time with a computer that doesn’t even love you back.

The first five minutes, pumping the required energy to move your inertia-prone body feels like doing prison chores, but as you get going, you realize it’s not so bad after all, and in the end, you’re glad you forced yourself to do it because you suddenly feel 10 years younger and a couple of pounds lighter (even if you know you weigh just the same as you did before you started).

Recovery From Exercise

Cool-down

After exhaustive exercise, don’t stop and rest immediately. You can speed up the removal of lactic acid from your muscles by continuing to exercise at a low intensity for 10-20 minutes. Cooling down can help reduce the feeling of stiffness that often occurs after a workout and is especially important if your next training session or event is scheduled a few hours later.

Stretch

Static stretching before exercise puts you at risk for damaging the very tissues you are trying to protect and as such should be avoided. Research has shown that stretching causes lengthening of the tendinous fibers within the muscle-tendon unit. Such lengthening causes the tendon (or passive) component to lose much of its shock absorbency, thus, placing the muscle fibers at greater risk of trauma. However, stretching after exercise may help minimize muscle soreness and may even help prevent future soft tissue injuries. Thus, before activity, more active-type stretching routines that promote range of motion and increased blood flow are recommended. Conversely, after exercise, the emphasis should be on passive or static stretching to allow the muscles to relax and return to their resting lengths.

Carbohydrates

The muscles are primed for quick restoration of their carbohydrate fuel reserves (glycogen) immediately after exercise, so don’t wait too long to start eating foods and drinking beverages rich in carbohydrate. Fruits, energy bars, and sports drinks all contain large amounts of carbohydrate. From a nutrition standpoint, post-exercise is one of the only times where you want to be consuming high-glycemic index foods for they will stimulate a quicker release of insulin and, thus, carbohydrate storage in the muscles. Ideally, these fuels should be consumed as quickly as possible upon finishing your exercise session.

Protein

Most forms of exercise lead to the breakdown of proteins within the muscles. This breakdown-repair process stimulates the muscles to rebuild and become stronger. Moreover, some of our muscle proteins continue to be broken down during the recovery phase after exercise. For a faster buildup of muscle proteins during recovery, include a small amount of protein in the foods you eat. Milk, cheese, eggs, whey protein shakes, sandwiches, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and energy bars provide carbohydrate and protein. Look for easily digestible protein sources (such as the ones listed above) following strenuous exercise. Avoid saturated fats.

Fluids

Replacing lost fluid is crucial to the recovery process. Having adequate fluids within your body promotes the removal of toxins and waste from your muscles. Top off your supply of fluids by drinking before exercise, continue to hydrate every 15 or 20 minutes during a workout, and replace any body weight lost during exercise by drinking while you recover. Remember, 1 L of water is equivalent to 1 kg of body weight. Therefore, if the difference between your pre- and post-exercise weight is 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) you would want to rehydrate with 1.5 L of water to bring your body fluid back to homeostasis. Before, during, and after exercise, the rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, it’s too late! Therefore, be sure to have a water bottle throughout the day to sip on. On a daily basis (at rest), the number of ounces of water you should be consuming should equal half of your body weight (in lbs). Thus, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you want to be drinking 100 ounces of water (almost 3 L).

Salt

Your body loses water and minerals – mostly sodium chloride, some potassium – when you sweat. Drinking water alone during exercise and recovery will make it difficult to replace body fluids rapidly because much of it will pass through the kidneys to become urine. Replace the salt along with the water to counteract dehydration. If you have to compete again within a few hours, consider sports drinks that contain water, sodium chloride, or fruits such as bananas which are high in potassium. Add extra salt to foods at mealtime if you are susceptible to cramps. Consider using condiments, sports drinks, and fitness waters instead of salt tablets.

Damage Control

Inflammation, swelling, and muscle soreness are possibilities following strenuous exercise. To minimize the effects, consider cold packs around joint areas, alternating cold and hot whirlpool baths, and the use of specially designed magnets to speed the recovery process. Light massage is also a good option for promoting toxin removal from the tissues and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by Hilbert et al. showed that a 20 minute massage 2 hours following exercise helped to reduce the intensity of soreness 48 hours post-exercise in subjects who underwent 6 sets of maximal eccentric hamstring contractions. Minimize foot contact with the ground. Engage in light activities that increase blood flow while not taxing the nervous system. Swimming, cycling, walking, and light jogs are alternatives, but minimize foot contact with the ground.

Instant Fitness

Get a schedule

I can not stress this enough. The first two weeks is that hardest part of any new aspect of your life and going to the gym is no different. If you want to work out everyday before work, do it everyday! Don’t skip a day, because that will quickly turn into skipping every other day, and before you know it, you’re back to making a New Year’s Resolution. Seventy percent of people who sign up for a gym membership stop going after two weeks. Seventy percent.

Get a difficult workout

OK, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing in the air that will magically make you reach your fitness goals. If it is to lose weight, you need to hit the cardio at a relatively fast pace, increase the difficulty periodically, and combine a safe weight training routine. The correct weight training done at a faster pace will burn just as many, if not more, calories than cardio.

Write down everything you eat and drink

And I mean everything! Those margaritas on a Friday night still count against your diet, and they do add up! If you go to Staples and get a composition book and write down everything you eat daily, along with the total number of calories, you’d be amazed at where you can make changes.

Buy measuring devices

This is the single most important tip you will receive. Everyone (should, at least) knows where the nutrition information is on all the food we eat. But 2 ozs. of pasta? How much is that? The only way to know is to buy a digital scale (I bought mine for less than $30) and weigh your food. I know, it sounds strange, but it will help melt the weight right off.