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Archive for the ‘fitness’ Category

If you play sports or are involved in any type of strenuous physical activity then sports massages are something to consider having on a regular basis. Similar to regular massages, these massages are not so much for indulgence but can help your performance on and off the field, track or court.

The type of sport you’re involved in whether it be a team sport or otherwise is unimportant. The important thing is that your body remains in the best shape it can be in and the same can be said for your health!

A sports massage is an excellent alternative means of relaxing your body following a workout or a game. It also provides a way for athletes to make their workouts and sports practices more effective. Another advantage of it is that it can support the healing process when an injury does takes place. Professional athletes have  massages all the time.

A sports massage is an alternative means of supporting an athlete in performing at his or her best. It does not matter whether the massage takes place before a performance, afterwards or even during. This type of massage is beneficial for every athlete but it is particularly worthwhile for one who is in training and also one who is in rehabilitation after suffering from an injury.

One way to think of a sports massage is “a manipulation in a systematic manner of soft tissues that relate to the specific muscle groups used by the athlete.” Not only can these types of massages help heal the body but it will also make the person feel calm and very relaxed! It really is a wonderful feeling to receive a massage from a trained and skilled professional.

A sports massage will soothe your body and will also do amazing things for your mind. It will put you into a tranquil state of ease, comfort and peace. It reduces heart rate and blood pressure. It also increases the flow of lymph in the body as well as the rate at which blood travels from one part of the body to other parts.

Having regular sports massages can both increase as well as maintain the level of flexibility in your body. They can also help to reduce the chances that you will hurt yourself. If you are prone to soreness or stiffness as a result of rigorous training then this kind of massage will address this issue as well. After training and/or any competitions a sports massage can do its part to assist your muscles and tendons in recovering as quickly as possible.

A sports massage is designed to help you be the most accomplished athlete that you can be. It can improve your performance and prepare you for the upcoming game. Once your body is primed and ready this will help your mind get into the right place as well. This type of massage focuses in specifically on the muscle groups that play the most essential role in the sport that the athlete is involved in.

Endurance and strength are improved upon due to regular sports massages. A sports massage also promotes coordination and reduces body fatigue. It also eliminates any swelling that has taken place and it reduces tension in the muscles. All those who play sports and even those who don’t play sports but who exercise a lot should incorporate sports massages into their busy schedules. You will be glad that you did!

Becca Scott

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Here’s a wild theory being touted by Dr. Daniel Lieberman, a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University, and repeated by Christopher McDougall in his national best seller “Born to Run” – the modern day running shoe is killing us! Yes, literally.

Man’s evolution has required we hunt and avoid being hunted. For thousands of years we rose to the top of the species because of our ability to run distances. For most of those thousands of years we ran barefoot but then progressed to covering our feet with rudimentary soles of different materials.

Even prior to 1970’s athletes set world records and achieved Olympic gold on nothing more than thin-soled gym shoes. Then in 1971 Nike invented the modern running shoe and our days of strong feet and low incidence of knee injuries became a thing of the past.

Today you can’t talk to a runner or jogger without hearing stories of injuries and pain. It’s almost as if they expect it as part of running. It’s as if we’ve all been brainwashed into believing these super-cushioned pronation-controlling $200 running shoes are needed if you want to exercise with your feet!

But the truth seems to be the reverse. Studies in Australia at University of Newcastle conclude the modern day running shoe offers no more protection at getting fewer injuries than the old pre-1970’s vintage shoes. Others go further and believe the modern running shoe has contributed to more injuries.

Dr. Lieberman believes if modern day running shoes never existed more people would be running, and if more people ran, fewer would be dying of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and many other western ailments.

Even world renowned track coaches noted a difference in athletes running faster with fewer injuries going barefoot.

So where does all this lead?

Well, as you know I’m a great proponent of exercise for weight loss, and continue to utilize the PACE Exercise Program to help with achieving weight loss on just 20-minutes a day. The PACE Exercise for Weight Loss program is ideal for going barefoot when running and walking your intervals. Of course you need to do this inside the track on the grass or on your own treadmill.

But before you go barefoot let me offer to be the Guinea Pig. I’ll be doing this over the remainder of this summer, and I’ll check in with you in a few weeks to let you know how it’s going for me.

So don’t throw your running shoes away yet, but consider buying the cheapest pair of running shoes you can – the less support the better! And start using them on your own exercise program. See how it goes and give it time to toughen up your feet.

Don’t be reckless, and if you struggle to adjust to your new “El Cheapo” shoes then revert to your original expensive models.

It may take a little time and feel strange for awhile, but try it and let me know how it’s going for you by leaving a comment below.

Watch this space for further updates on my progress.

Becca

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If your winter and spring weight loss plans didn’t work out how you expected to fit into that target swim suit then don’t despair but don’t stop either.

This spring has been hectic for me as well and I didn’t get to achieve all my goals yet. I’ve even missed getting my regular blog posts up each week for the last month and this makes me feel like I broke a promise – like I didn’t keep my word.

You see I made myself a promise I’d do one post at my various blogs per week and up until March I was doing well but then I got overrun with family stuff. Keeping my word is the most important thing to me. And breaking your word to yourself is just as damaging for your well-being as breaking it to somebody else.

I’ve come to realize when we make a promise to ourselves – like blogging every week – or sticking to a diet – or exercising 2/3 times per week – and we break it, then it impacts so much more in our life. We start to feel like we can’t be trusted and it permeates everywhere.

Okay. Enough of this self-trash talk. As my mom would say just get back on the cycle and pedal forward to regain your momentum.  Life happens and gets in the way of our plans. So you made a detour and just need to get heading in the right direction again.

I think I have about four mixed-metaphors in the last sentence – but you get my drift.

If your weight loss plans didn’t go so well then here’s how to get back “on the cycle.”

1. Stop beating yourself up today and make a promise that’s realistic for you to keep. Yes, most of us are guilty of over committing – so don’t.

2. Choose a form of exercise you enjoy. Don’t go running to keep fit and maintain weight if you hate running. If walking or swimming is an activity you enjoy or even skipping, you can make a great workout out of any of these. Maybe you found the exercise took too long or got in the way of your hectic schedule? If you did review the PACE exercise program for 12-20 minutes workouts a few times a week.

3.  Take a long hard look at your diet plan you had? Was it too bland or not satisfying for you? There is no one diet plan for everybody. Even choosing a low carbohydrate diet plan requires going through a few to find one containing foods you know you’ll enjoy. Personally, it’s taken me a few attempts to get to one that works for me.

4. Don’t use the summer to skip out of your goals. I know it’s tempting with kids at home and lots of activities as we make the most of the warm weather but keep your word to yourself. The sooner you get back to keeping your word the sooner you’ll feel good about yourself. Again, be realistic about what you can promise yourself.

Do these four things for yourself and you’ll make progress.  Now progress may not be size 10 before Labor Day and depending on your exercise program you may not lose a lot of weight but instead create muscle but lose a wait size – this is all good and great progress.

Make a promise to yourself and keep your word. It is life changing.

Samantha

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Stress and anxiety is very real and there’s no escaping it entirely. The key isn’t to try to rid stress and anxiety but to find ways to manage it effectively.

Here we look at the top 10 ways help you control anxiety and stress better so you don’t feel so overwhelmed and drained.

1.    Eat healthy foods:

Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is also important to consume fiber and essential amino acids. Consume fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, low fat dairy products and fish. Stay yourself away from foods that can do you nothing but harm.

2.    Exercise on a regular basis:

Exercise is good for more than just keeping your heart strong and keeping your body in shape. Exercise is excellent for relieving stress and anxiety. Look for opportunities to add more physical activity to your life. Not only will exercise help to relax you but it will also help you sleep better at night. For those who feel they’re so far out of shape or don’t have time consider a program like the Pace 12 Minute Fitness Revolution Progam.

3.    Meditate your stress away:

Meditation involves a state similar to sleep where the body and mind are quieted and become completely focused on a person’s internal world. Meditation is a type of inner consciousness where you must block out everything in your surroundings in order to concentrate on your breathing.

4.    Add yoga to your life:

Yoga is a physical and mental discipline that is an amazing stress/anxiety reliever. Yoga is a set of exercises made up of stationary poses as well as a variety of movements. It also combines deep breathing to lend itself to a manner of relaxing the mind, body and soul. Use this Ancient Practice to Create Harmonious Living in Your 21st Century Life.

5.    Be mindful of the present:

Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment and relishing it with no thoughts of the past or future intruding on your mindset. Mindfulness as stress relief can be as simple as going for a walk and focusing on every step you take, to the exclusion of everything else. Mindfulness is often thought to be a type of meditation.

6.    Use EFT for stress reduction:

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique (or Emotional Freedom Tapping). It is an alternative treatment with psycho-therapeutic roots that is based on a theory in which stress and negative emotions disrupt the body’s energy field and therefore need to be released. The release comes by way of tapping the fingers on specific points of the body. Discover more about EFT Tapping and How to Train Your Fingers to Perform Therapy here.

7.    Visualize a calmer state:

Close your eyes and focus on a particular scene in your mind. Imagine yourself placed in a stressful situation where you remain calm, cool and collected. The power to visualize yourself being relaxed and able to cope well with stress is not easy to do but it can become easier the more you work at it. Visualization can help you to imagine stress disappearing from your life!

8.    Try deep breathing exercises:

Deep breathing comes from deep down in the abdomen as opposed to more constrictive breathing that comes from the chest. Deep breathing is a stress buster that can bring instant stress relief. The good thing about deep breathing exercises is that they are easy to learn and they can be practiced anywhere. You can find more information about Breathing for Meditation here.

9.    Relax with progressive muscle relaxation:

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and relaxing the different muscle groups throughout the body, just not all at the same time. Begin with your face muscles. Tense them and hold the muscles in place for approximately 10 seconds and then allow total relaxation to set in for 10 seconds. Continue to do the same thing as you work your way down your body. This is a very basic way to let tension go.

10.    Be realistic about the realities of life:

Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. It is easy to become overwhelmed if you say yes to everything that is asked of you. Practice the art of saying no. Don’t take on more than you can handle as this can lead to a tremendous stress overload.

Samantha

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An active lifestyle which includes regular exercise and eating a balanced diet can help everyone to maintain a healthy weight especially if you have diabetes.

The reason for this is because your weight can have an impact on the disease you have. This works in the reverse as well. In other words, diabetes can influence your weight. Exercise does not have to be long and intense and in fact many exercise for weight loss programs include walking and just 12 minutes of workout.

Type 1 Diabetes and Your Weight:

Diabetes is something you can develop at any age. However type 1 most commonly develops in children and teenagers while type 2 is most commonly seen in people who are over the age of 40.

Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) if it’s undiagnosed or untreated can cause a person to lose weight. In this case the body has ceased to produce a hormone called insulin which is required to use glucose. Glucose is the main kind of sugar that is found in the blood. Glucose is something that our bodies are supplied with through the foods we eat. It is also the body’s number one source of energy.

When the body is unable to use glucose in the manner that nature intended then it flushes the glucose out of the body through the urine. This can also be said for the calories in the body. What this means for the type 1 diabetes sufferer is that they will lose weight even if their appetite is as normal as ever. However once a diagnosis is made by a doctor and treatment begins then the loss of weight is generally no longer a concern.

Type 2 Diabetes and Your Weight:

A large number of people already have weight issues when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A person who is overweight or obese runs a higher risk of developing this disease. In the same way if a person who already has the disease puts on weight this makes it more difficult for the body to control blood sugar levels.

Those who have type 2 diabetes have a health condition known as insulin resistance. What this means is that their bodies are able to produce insulin but cannot adequately move glucose into the cells of the body. This causes the level of glucose to increase in the bloodstream. The pancreas responds to this by working harder to produce more insulin. This in turn puts added stress on the pancreas which may eventually reach a critical point where it is no longer capable of making enough insulin to keep the blood glucose level as normal as possible.

Due to all of this, individuals with insulin resistance often suffer from a weight problem and do not tend to engage in much physical activity. The good news in all of this is that insulin resistance can be reversed by exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, controlling the size of portions eaten as well as losing weight and keeping it gone.

All of these things help the body to reach and maintain target blood sugar levels. Those who are overweight but have not developed type 2 diabetes can cut their risk of developing it by losing weight and exercising on a regular basis. This is something that they can start doing immediately and are highly encouraged to do!

For more information on this topic see this article for diabetes and weight issues – taking care of your health.

Becca

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Exercising without monitoring and adjusting your effort won’t be enough to get you an optimum workout – so let a heart rate monitor watch be your trainer.

We’ve written a few posts about exercising recently and the general shift away from the long slow aerobic and cardio training methods and instead focused on the short intense workouts of programs like PACE.

If starting to exercise is the first step then the second must be ensuring you’re doing it right. In today’s article Erika Slater will teach us about heart rate monitors and how they can help us exercise to get maximum benefit. You’ll want to read this one all the way through to the end.

Take it away Erika…

Like everything else in the 21st century life gets more complicated each year… and exercise has not been spared from this thirst for specialization.

Now we have aerobics and cardio workouts along with calisthenics and exercises on equipment that can feedback instantly how fast your heart is beating – actually, that’s good progress as you’ll see.

But whatever happened to slipping on some jogging shoes and running for an hour?

Well, we realized – and I love to jog – that long slow durational exercise is not so good for you. The human body isn’t designed to run for miles and miles everyday without eventually breaking down. And mine did. Ouch!

On the other extreme there is the interval regime that has us pushing our target heart beats towards 90%-95% of maximum for long intense bursts of explosive energy. But this is also a problem for our major organs that can be weakened or damaged over time under this kind of duress.

For those of us that want to see steady progression towards getting fit and need reinforcement we are on the right track to keep motivated then there is the heart rate monitor (HRM). This lightweight device measures our heart beat and sends it to the watch’s display. Most HRM devices come with a chest strap that transmits the beats per minute (BPM) to the watch.

A HRM is common on modern gym equipment but you can’t take a treadmill down to the track – so a heart rate monitor watch and strap is an easy and flexible alternative.

It’s one of those devices that’ll take a few uses to get comfortable with the operation while exercising, but once it becomes a habit, you’ll not want to leave home without it.

Our heart BPM is the best indicator to us we are getting an appropriate workout. As you get fit you’ll find your BPM will slow down for performing the same duration of exercise. This is what you want, but if you only focus on duration then this impedes you progressing and getting fitter. But if you aim for achieving the same heart BPM for the duration as you get fit then you’ll need to tax your body more and thus keep progressing.

BENEFIT #1: A heart rate monitor puts you in, and lets you stay in, your ideal workout zone.

It’s said very few people who start exercising are still doing it after six months. Much of this is due to not seeing the progress expected and so de-motivation happens and exercising stops.

It takes four to six weeks of regular exercising before you notice changes in your physical appearance, but internally things are changing day one. Your BPM provides the window into your improvement before you see it externally. A slower pulse at rest, and a quicker return to your at rest pulse rate after exertion, are all indicators you’re making progress internally.

BENEFIT #2: A HRM shows your real progress and keeps you motivated.

With all the different types of workouts you can now do to get those film star bodies we can easily fall into the trap of taking things too far and putting ourselves at risk of injury. You know how easy it is to get energized and convince yourself you can do an extra minute at a demanding workout pace.

But if you know your target heart zone then a heart rate monitor alarm can be set to remind you when you leave that zone and enter the “at risk” zone, so you can back off and stay injury free.

BENEFIT #3: A heart rate monitor keeps you safe.

My own exercise workout is based on Dr Al Sears PACE: 12 Minute Fitness Revolution program and I’ve found a heart rate monitor ensures I get an effective and safe workout from any of the individual training sessions included in the program. But a HRM device will help with any fitness program you decide to use.

Erika Slater is a Certified Hypnotist in Massachusetts and uses Dr Al Sear’s PACE program and HRM for her group weight loss clients. If you enjoyed this article you can find more about the PACE Heart Rate Monitor Wristwatch at her web site along with details about her private Weight Loss Hypnosis Sessions in Massachusetts here: www.smoke-free-at-last.com.

Thank you Erika for an interesting discussion of heart rate monitors and their benefits. Be sure to check out Erika’s site for more information about her hypnosis services and products and related topics.

Becca

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Exciting events such as Superbowl or World Cup can cause stress on your cardiovascular system to the extent if you’ve a diseased heart you could suffer an attack.

You can read the studies and research behind this at an article posted here. However, the reason for this post today is not just because I’m writing it one day before the Superbowl but because the person who wrote the article is Dr Al Sears, who is an expert in the cardio field and has written a lot of books on the subject.

One of those books has just been released and he has earmarked the Superbowl to send out his message of a different type of exercising to the Superbowl fan base. You can read all about his PACE 12 Minute Fitness program here. But back to how to avoid a heart attack while watching the Superbowl or other major sporting events.

1. Do some activity before the game and at breaks. Stretch out, go outside if you can and do a few sprints or a short aerobic workout – no more than 5 minutes and this should be at a relaxing pace.

2.  Watch what you eat for snacks  – go for healthy ones like vegetables, or nuts and sunflower seeds.

3. Assume the ref will make a few bad calls and don’t let it anger and over excite you.

4. Avoid alcohol and tobacco or do it in moderation – excessive consumption of these two deadly chemicals is a frequent cause of cardiac arrest.

5. Don’t gamble on the outcome if the loss would cause you hardship as this will send you into worry mode, and again cause undue stress on your heart.

The article by Dr Sears at the link above covers these in more details and includes 10 in all. It’s worth a read anyway.

Having an ongoing exercise program you’re following makes sense for anybody who wants to avoid heart attacks, but make sure it’s the type that’ll strengthen your heart and not weaken it. A program like the PACE Fitness Revolution is such a program and worth checking out – I know it’s working for me and Samantha and we’ll both be watching the Superbowl with our hubbies and families.

Go… whatever team you’re rooting for!

Becca

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