Encouraging Health and Happiness

Posts tagged “Core Conditioning

Three machines that are worth your gym time

Health columnist Kelly Turner explains the benefits of three machines for a great gym workout.

By On Exercise

By Kelly Turner Special to The Seattle Times

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The gym is full of twisted metal contraptions with more handles and levers than a medieval torture device, but knowing which machines are worth using cannot only save you time, but get you results faster than you expect.

People like to stick to what they know, and this is no truer than in the gym, which can be an intimidating place for most. The only way to truly get results, however, is to mix up your workout. Doing the same routine, in the same way, day in and day out will eventually hinder your progress. (more…)


How Fit Are You? 3 Simple Tests to Find Out

By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health

 

 

Ask 10 experts for their definition of fitness, and you’ll hear 10 different answers. That’s because how you define the word depends on the type of performance you expect. Some athletes need to develop a particular type of fitness over all others—powerlifters at one extreme, marathoners at another—but most of us are at our best when we achieve balanced fitness. In other words, we’re good at everything a healthy, active man needs to be able to do. (more…)


Upgrade Your Abs Exercises

If your belly refuses to flatten, your workout is probably stale. Upgrade your favorite exercises with these tweaks and revisions. Plan on putting these moves into practice and get ready to experience transformed abs.

Side Plank and Row

Side Plank and Row

SIDE PLANK AND ROW(Replaces: Side plank) (more…)


Brrrr: 10 tips for cold-weather runners

Posted by Don Shelton

If you’re a Seattle runner like I am, you’re no stranger to running in cold, rainy weather. But the kind of bone-chilling temperatures and ankle deep snow that’s hitting the area now is a different matter.

We’re here to help. If you’re looking for some advice on how to stay safe and avoid a pratfall or injury, look no further. Here are 10 tips for runners to weather any kind of nasty extremes, courtesy of running coaches Jess Cover and Sam Davis from RunVermont. These folks seem to know their cold-weather stuff.

So read up and run on.

1. Layer, layer, layer: Layering clothes provides the perfect balance needed for winter running to avoid over- or under-dressing. When done properly, layers will trap the air warmed by your body while still allowing moisture and sweat to be wicked from your skin. Choose layers that can easily be tied around your waist once you begin to warm up; it’s important not to overheat while running since this can put you at risk of hypothermia. (more…)


The Squat, Supercharged

From the Editors of Men’s Health
Thu, Sep 15, 2011

 

You know squats are essential. But they come in so many variations—how can you tell which one is right for you? We asked Chris Proulx, D.C., M.S., a professor of movement science at Westfield State University in Massachusetts, to help sort them out. Proulx and his students tested five different squats—the four freestanding versions shown below. Volunteers performed the exercises standing on force platforms, which are high-tech devices that measure the pressure exerted through a lifter’s feet. The researchers also attached electrodes to the volunteers’ legs to see how hard the moves made their quadriceps and hamstrings work. Their pain, your gain. Looking to master the move before trying one of the variations below? Then use The Secret to the Perfect Squat to perfect your technique. (more…)


How to Do the Perfect Pushup

By Bill Phillips and the Editors of Men’s Health
Aug 15, 2011

When was the last time you did a pushup? Choose the most applicable answer:

A) “Gym class, sixth grade.”
B) “Why would I ever do a pushup?”
C) “Yesterday.”

Scoring: If you answered A or B, you’re like most men. If you answered C, you probably work at Men’s Health.

Most guys abandon the pushup for the bench press sometime around puberty. That’s a shame—pushups have a lot going for them. You can do them anywhere. They don’t require any equipment. And they’re more effective at building rippling muscles than you probably realize.

In fact, researchers recently discovered that performing pushups as quickly as you can is one of the best ways to build explosive upper-body strength, according to The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. This pushup method was more effective than doing plyometric pushups (think: clapping between each pushup), and fall pushups, where you drop from a kneeling position and try to push your way back up to the starting position.

Why is quicker better? Take a look at a vertical jump: “If you do a quick knee bend before jumping, you’ll always jump higher than if you don’t,” explains N. Travis Triplett, Ph.D., one of the study’s researchers. The same type of action occurs when you do pushups as fast as possible. Dropping your chest toward the ground and pausing ever so slightly enhances the motion of pushing yourself back up—and ultimately helps you build more explosive strength, says Triplett.

You won’t be able to maximize your strength if you don’t perform the pushup correctly, though. Here’s the right way to perform the move:

1. Get down on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Straighten your arms and legs. Your body should form a straight line from you head to your ankles.

Dig Deeper…


Yoga Exercises May Alleviate Lower Back Pain

7 Yoga Exercises That Help Osteoarthritis

By Kate Hanley, Special to Lifescript

Published April 24, 2011

Are you fed up with the back pain and misery of osteoarthritis, a painful degenerative joint disease? Regular yoga practice can help. Here are 7 easy exercises to improve mood and mobility, build strength and stability and increase circulation for osteoarthritis sufferers. Plus, how much do you know about yoga? Take our quiz to find out…

What do yoga and osteoarthritis have in common?

Osteoarthritis is an age-old, degenerative joint disease that takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. Yoga is an ancient therapy that can restore both. Recently, science has begun to connect the dots between the two.

A 2008 randomized, controlled study revealed that dozens of women eased their chronic low-back pain by participating in a one-week intensive yoga program to help osteoarthritis.

“By its very nature, yoga is good for arthritis because it relieves the disease’s major disability” – reduced range of motion – “without causing further trauma to joints,” explains Loren Fishman, M.D., co-author of Yoga for Arthritis (W.W. Norton).

It also:

– Builds strength, which provides greater stability to joints.

– Improves posture, which minimizes joint trauma caused by misalignment.

– Increases the circulation of synovial fluid, which nourishes and protects joints.

– Promotes a confident attitude, and reduces anxiety and irritability.

“The key is practicing regularly,” says Ellen Saltonstall, a New York City yoga teacher and co-author of Yoga for Arthritis, who also has arthritis in both hands, one foot and lower back.

The best part is you can do yoga on your own whenever you have time. To help osteoarthritis, aim to complete at least one pose each day, she suggests. If that’s too ambitious, make it every other day.

Before starting, consult your doctor and an experienced yoga teacher to learn the right alignment. To find a qualified teacher, ask a chiropractor, acupuncturist or other trusted health-care provider for referrals, or search the website of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Here are 7 easy yoga exercises for low-back pain adapted from Yoga for Arthritis by Fishman and Saltonstall. (Reprinted by permission of W.W. Norton.) During each pose, breathe slowly through your nose.

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