Posts Tagged ‘health’
What are Lat Pull Down? Pull downs are a back exercise, specifically focusing on the upper back, the lats.
Instructions: There are different variations of pull downs including close grip, medium grip, wide grip, overhand, or even backhand. The wider your go the bigger your back will get. You want to first sit down at the machine with your knees tightly placed underneath the grip that keeps you secure to pull down. Set your weight and grab the bar. As I stated before you can grip it however you want close, medium, wide, overhand, or backhand. You grip the bar tightly as you bring it right down to your chest. Slowly let the bar go back up while still with a tight grip so you do not let go. Follow these steps bringing the bar down and letting it go back up. As always do whatever repetitions are good for you. A spotter isn’t necessary but it could always be beneficial especially because if you are having a hard time bringing the weight down.
Primary Muscles Worked: Upper Back/Lats
Secondary Muscles Worked: Biceps
What are Push Ups? We should all know what push ups are as we have been doing them for years. I remember way back in elementary school during gym class we were first taught how to do push ups. This may possibly be one of the most underrated exercises ever. This is a phenomenal exercise to build up the chest. Maybe people don’t realize the impact because they are not using weights but that is certainly not the case. Set a target with these, and hit that target daily or even every other day and you are certain to build your chest along with your triceps.
Instructions: No weights needed here, unless you are very strong in that case some people put weights on their back. A spotter or partner is not needed for this exercise either. You want to have your feet very close together. You also want your arms to your side lined up right about at your shoulders. You simply push up, and right back down. There are various different ways to do pushups though. You can do the diamond type in where you put your hands flat on the floor in the shape of a diamond and push up, and back down. These are a lot harder than normal pushups. You can also do a wide push up where you put your hands flat on the ground but wider. You can even do incline and decline pushups. You can do these by either having your feet raised up on a chair or any raised object and do your push up. You can also have your feet flat on the ground and your hands on an object or chair. If you do a circuit of all these different types of pushups you are guaranteed an excellent workout.
Primary Muscles Worked: Chest
Secondary Muscles Worked: Triceps
What are Bicep Hammer Curls? Bicep hammer curls are a variation of regular bicep curls. Instead of you using the normal form for curls where the 2 ends of the dumbbells face left and right as you lift up and down, you are now doing a motion with your dumbbells where the 2 ends are facing up and down. The motion you make looks like you are slamming a hammer, hence the name hammer curls. This is an excellent workout for the biceps that switches things up and confuses the bicep muscle because you are using this different motion.
Instructions: You first simply grab dumbbells, ones that are a reasonable weight. You put them at your sides with your clenched fists facing the floor. You bring both arms up towards your shoulder/head area making a hammer motion, up, and down. Continue this motion for as many times as your set requires. A friend to spot you is always a plus, but is not completely necessary for this exercise. As you can see in the picture you can also do this exercise while sitting down on preacher curl machine.
Primary Muscles Worked: Biceps
Secondary Muscles Worked: Forearms
Remember people, don’t ever do weight that you cannot handle. Also, make sure your form is as good as possible for you are risking injury. Attached is a picture giving instructions of what your form should look like.
In reality, it is pretty common amongst first year college students—myself being one of them. Another common phrase, “you live and you learn,” applies quite appropriately to dealing with sudden weight gain. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of gaining more weight than normal in a given school year, and then how to address them.
- Stress: When you make the transition from high school to college, the workload increases, as does your involvement on campus, most likely. And how do many people deal with stress? They stress eat. We’re all guilty of it at some point.
- Availability of Food: My university required all freshmen to have an unlimited meal plan, so I could swipe myself into the dining hall as often as I wanted, or needed. It was easy to lose track of how much food I was consuming every week, let alone each day. You need to be careful because, even though food is readily available on campus, you need to monitor how much you actually eat. Chances are, it’s more than you think.
- Idleness: Sometimes with our schedules at school we’re too busy to exercise. I’m a dance minor at school and I still managed to gain 12 pounds my first year. It just turns out that I took in more calories than I burned. Try to take a PE class every couple of semesters. As a supplement to that, or an alternative, you can make good use of your rec center on campus. It’s there for you!
Ways to Deal with the Above
- Monitor What You Eat: Simply put, just watch what you’re consuming. If you realize you’ve been stopping by the local café and getting a doughnut three times a week, it might be time to cut back. If you’ve been relying on sugary or caffeinated beverages to keep up your energy and stay awake, try to get more sleep and/or decrease your sugar intake so you become less reliant on it. It’s easier said than done to sleep more at school, but good time management skills can buy you at least a couple more hours a night. And finally, remember that alcoholic drinks have tons of calories, too.
- Have an Active Summer: I was quite surprised by the middle of the summer following my freshmen year. I had been working at a retail shop since I got home in June, standing and moving for four or five hours at a time without a break. When I decided to weigh myself toward the middle of July, I realized that I had lost all 12 pounds I gained at school, and was back to where I was before I started college. It was a pleasant surprise that being on my feet for longer periods of time (and earning good money simultaneously!) was enough to get me back to where I wanted to be. If you find that you’ve gained more weight than you would have liked to, I highly recommend a retail or similar fast-paced environment for the summer.
Remember this: in spite of your stress, comfort foods can only take you so far. You can still feel sluggish after a sugar high, and it’s much better to balance those types of foods with healthier alternatives. It’s okay to consume fats and high-calorie foods at times (in fact, it’s recommended!). Just make sure you also have foods and drinks that will sustain you. I’ve kept this in mind ever since my freshmen year, and I’ve managed to stay within my target weight range through to my upcoming final semesters.
Believe me, being at a healthy weight during school, and one that you’re comfortable with, will propel you academically as well. When you feel your best, your energy level reflects that. And we all know that energy is one of our best friends at school!
Try cutting a few simple things out of your diet the week before you go for a quick slim down. Things to cut could include: sweets, soda, condiments, and chips. Sweets, chips and soda are obviously bad for you. Especially if you are a loyal soda drinker or candy lover, you will notice a difference right away by cutting them out. I cut condiments a lot of times because they are just extra calories. Eating dry food saves some calories. Mustard is okay because it doesn’t have any calories but if you can manage to cut mayo, jams and jellies, cream cheese, or sour cream, you’ll be saving a lot of extra calories.
Try adding fruits, veggies, and water. By adding a lot of fruits and veggies you’ll still be able to eat a lot and feel full, but they won’t stick on your stomach. Drinking a lot of water will help you to feel full and hydrated faster and it will save the calories from other beverages. I have heard that if you drink a glass of water before you eat, you are likely to eat less and feel full quicker.
Do a lot of cardio. Try running for short amounts of time or even walking. Sometimes even lightweight lifting can be considered cardio if you use light enough weight and do a lot of reps. Many people enjoy biking or swimming laps as well. Find something you enjoy that can get your heart rate up and do it every day for 30 minutes. Cardio combined with a slight altering of your diet will instantly shape you up.
Finally, work those abs! YouTube has a million ab videos to help you get started. A lot of times it’s easier to have someone telling you what to do and counting for you to keep you from moving too fast or rushing. One of my favorite videos is called “thin q fitness ten minute abs.” This video is literally just ten minutes and it always makes my abs feel awesome. I encourage you to try this one or find another video you enjoy with an instructor you like. Doing abs every other day is an important part of shaping up quickly.
I hope these tips will help you to feel great in time for vacation. You’ll be sure to look amazing in you swim suit after applying each of them. Remember, you can’t just do one. A combination of diet, cardio, and muscle work is what it takes to really shape up quick. You can do it!
In the summer, finding the motivation to exercise can be impossible—especially when it’s 90 degrees out. Instead of hopping on the treadmill in a poorly air conditioned gym or sweating it out on the streets as a heat mirage dances before your eyes, get yourself out to the beach or a pool for some fun in the sun—and exercise too!
First of all, you should all realize what an intense cardio workout swimming can be! If you do some serious laps in the pool or propel yourself against the current of the ocean for a bit, you’re targeting your arms, legs and abs all in one powerful exercise. According to trainers, if you tread water in your pool or at the beach with all of your might, you can burn 11 calories each minute—so a whole afternoon in the water will lead to some serious weight loss potential.
Walking around the town won’t seem as fun once you spend time walking in the water. It might not seem like walking could be as effective as going for a run, but with the water resisting your motions, you’ll be working out like crazy! Walk in the shallow water with long, exaggerated strides. You can also walk on your tip toes in the deep end (if you’re not a good swimmer or don’t like deep water, don’t try this since you’ll most likely fall at some point) for a more concentrated effect on your calves. Add some arm motions under the water for added effect and more calorie burning action.
Simply floating—or floating with a twist—can help improve your abs and core muscles. While you’re lying on your back in the water, make a conscience effort to tighten your abs as you float. You can tighten and relax, tighten and relax, for short spurts of exercise that don’t distract you too much from the task at hand: not sinking. You can make this exercise even more intense on your abs by rolling your body in the water with very controlled motions. As you tighten your abs and hold onto a ball for support, roll over so your stomach is in the water (make sure you hold your breath or hold your head up to avoid sucking in water), and then flip back up.
For those of you who prefer the shallow end of the pool, you can sit back in the water to begin treading, remaining in an outstretched seated position with a bend at the waist—turning your body into a V. Move your hands in circles by your waist to hold yourself up and make your way through the pool. Oppositely, you can also go onto your stomach and try propelling yourself with just your legs, a fun challenge for yourself that will make those quads burn!
There are countless exercises you can easily do in the pool or at the beach, working up a sweat without feeling the effects—unless you’re in extremely warm water. So now you have no excuses to not spend at least part of your summer getting toned, while getting tan and splashing around with your friends. Happy swimming!
Even with the summer here, it can be hard to find time to exercise—especially when you’re at a desk job (or internship) all day long. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t fit a little something in to help your muscles! There are lots of easy-to-do exercises you can complete at your desk—some more noticeable than others. Besides, who just wants to sit in front of a computer screen all day when you can squat or extend your legs in front of a computer screen all day?
The easiest move you can adhere to while working is improving your posture. Slouching at your desk totally counteracts all the crunches and ab moves from the day before. By keeping a straight back and a taught stomach, you’re reminding the stomach muscles to stay tight and flat—which, let’s face it, is something we all love to see. If you have an uncomfortable chair at work, bring in a pillow or two to make it more comfortable and easier to keep your spine straight during the long work day. You can further this position with an additional stretch to work both your abs and your arms. Sitting crossed legged on your chair, suck in your stomach and placing your arms on the seat or armrests (whatever is most stable…and only do this in general if you have a sturdy chair), raise yourself off the chair for 10 seconds. Repeat this move a couple times for stronger arms and abs, and better balance too.
The next suggested move requires a little equipment. Get an exercise band, which you can use for a number of arm exercises. You can pull your arms straight out to the side, then back to the front (you’ll feel resistance when pulling the band to your sides, which strengthens your triceps). Another move you can try with your band is bicep curls, by placing the band underneath your feet for resistance. Any other exercise you can think of with an exercise band can be done at the office—though you don’t want to break that much of a stress when you have 5 hours to go. Even easier are simple wrist stretches. Stretch your forearm by extending one arm with the palm facing outward, and using the other to gently pull back on the fingers. You can also place your palms together in front of your chest with the elbows sticking out, and move your wrists to the right and then the left—an excellent way to get your arms ready for a long day of typing.
You can also target your legs while at work. You can easily forgo the elevator for the stairs, which you can take two at a time for an added bonus. But you can also strengthen those muscles by doing some simple moves at your desk. While you sit up straight, rest your hands on your chair and extend one leg out in front of you; hold for 5 seconds and then release. Do at least ten reps for each leg, and voila, easy as pie.
Have some fat on your inner thighs you want to banish? Grab a sweater or something you can place between your thighs. Again, sitting up straight and tall with your stomach sucked in, squeeze the object for a good 5-10 seconds before relaxing. Do three sets of 20 and you’ll have an amazing thigh workout on your hands! Another great one for the legs is squats…with your chair! Lift your butt out of your chair so you’re hovering over it (do not use your arms for support), hold for a few seconds and lower. For some variety, you can also try quick pulses (going up and down on a 1-2 count) to get more impact at a faster rate. If you feel like really challenging your legs, you can try the one legged-squat. Place one foot firmly on the ground, and lower and lift your body with some support from your hands on the chair—remember to switch between legs after 10-15 reps.
Remember, you don’t have to do anything to crazy to squeeze some exercise in. Simple stretches will even help your body stay in better shape. Give some discrete desk poses a try. Take a walk around the block during lunch hour. Park in the way back of the lot so you have a nice long walk to get into the building. Instead of going home and plopping down on the couch after work, go for a bike ride or a jog or any activity other than sitting—you’ve been sitting all day, give your butt a break! Exercise doesn’t have to take a ton of time or be insanely difficult. Do it where you can, when you can and you’re on your way to a healthier you.
“Uh, ah AHCHOO! There’s no way I’m making it to class today,” moans your roommate, and now the clock is ticking as to when you will be feeling that way: sinuses clogged, headache, body aches, fever, pretty much every symptom on the front of the DayQuil box. A good cold could put you a week or more behind in your schoolwork. Even worse, it was Barney Stinson (of How I Met Your Mother) who said, “A week? That’s like a year in hot girl time!” You don’t want your current crush to wonder why you haven’t been around for the past week or two. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
First thing’s first: stock up on supplies. Hit the drug store and pick up some antibacterial spray for surfaces and the air (if you get the product that combines surfaces and air, you only need to buy one bottle instead of two). Grab some Emergen-C or AirBourne to strengthen your immune system. Soup would be a nice gift to your roommate since the quicker they get over the sickness, the quicker those germs are out of your dorm room.
Once you get back to your dorm, start disinfecting. Hit areas that both of you touch: doorknobs, light switches, a shared bathroom, etc. Be sure to open a window or two or you will end up coughing yourself from the fumes. Even if its very cold or very warm outside, keep the window cracked so you can get some ventilation. Be sure to adjust your air conditioner/heater accordingly.
After you have set up your room, this might sound harsh, but try to spend as little time in your room as possible. This works for two reasons: first, if your roommate has a migraine or headache you making noise or having lights on will not help. Also, letting them sleep it off is one of the best things they can do. Second, not being around gets you away from those germs.
Hope your roommate gets better and best of luck warding off their sickness.
These days, time and money is an issue for everyone. As college students, that problem is often multiplied. With a busy class schedule, who has time to go to the gym? Even summer doesn’t give us a break, since we need to make money to prepare for the upcoming college semesters or an internship instead of classes takes over all our free time. Maybe you just don’t feel comfortable working out in the gym. Perhaps you need some extra encouragement, but your friends can’t put in the effort. An online fitness community might be the right choice for you.
Whether you want to lose weight or tone up, there are lots of options online to target your needs on a personal level while you also engage with a community working towards similar goals. People seek fitness help online more often than ever before. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found 80% of people online are searching for health related issues, with 52% looking specifically for information on exercise or fitness. Ted Vickey, a PhD researcher studying the connection of social media and exercise at the National University of Ireland, believes social media could change the health industry forever.
“I believe that social media can be one of most important pillars to fighting the global obesity problem,” he said. “Report after report suggests that the number one reason people don’t exercise is time. Now that technology has given us more time, what if we could create a tool that could persuasively assist a person in finding the time and motivating them to exercise? That would be a great step in the right direction.”
Communities like Blogilates (I personall recommend this as a popster myself), founded by Cassey Ho in 2009, have video workout routines available. Ranging in length fro 10 to 30 minutes, and in targeted zones of the body, you’ll have the opportunity to change your body gradually with a little effort each day. The videos are easy access, posted on YouTube and Ho can be found constantly on Twitter and Facebook, posting workout commands, updates and inspirational quotes to keep you going. The other popsters are also on Facebook often, posting about their success and asking each other questions.
Katy Widrick, another popster, started #FitBlog Twitter chats in 2010. Every week, there’s a new topic, a new discussion leader (usually a health or fitness professional) getting the conversation flowing, and hundreds of participants interacting with one another. If you prefer to blog about your struggles and interact in a more private forum, Roni Noone’s BlogToLose might be the motivator you’ve been searching for. Noone started the platform after she found blogging about her fitness journey in 2005 helped hold her accountable and ultimately got her into shape faster—the community gave her the support she needed and kept her on task with her fitness goals.
Even though this all sounds dandy and fun, you have to be weary of the sites you turn to for help. Anyone online can post about whatever they want to, whether they’re an expert or not. Some people will take it to far, to an extreme of being unhealthy; avoid looking at images of super skinny models as a weight loss goal or blogs focused on thinspiration. Also steer clear of any negative comments. If people come into the online community talking smack about being overweight or unhealthy—especially anonymous comments—you have to keep in mind these people feel good by putting others down.
Ultimately, being online is a balance of the good and the bad. You have to inform yourself and keep on top of the legitimate sources. The best aspect of online fitness is accessibility, time management, and the community, but there’s also some harsh commenting and bad imagery out there. So use your best judgment, put on your sleuthing hat if necessary, and have fun while you get fit.
Happy exercising, friends!
Spring seems to be the time where everyone decides to take their New Years resolutions of getting back into shape seriously as there are only a dozen or so weeks until we reach the first day of summer. Unfortunately, fad diets and gimmicks to shed those winter pounds may be way too tempting to try out. The first order of business here is to know that there are no shortcuts. Doing something drastic and strict for the next few weeks may look good on the outside for now, but you can be doing irreparable damage to your insides. Plus, most of the time when a fad diet fails, a person will gain back the weight they have lost plus some! We all can agree that is the last thing we want to do.
Before deciding to jump on into an all out diet and workout regime, first evaluate yourself realistically. You may not need to lose any weight. Looking in the mirror and asking your friends or even asking the scale is not always the answer. Remember, muscle weights more than fat so you could have gained, but if you have been active, you may have built some muscle, not fat. So instead of asking your mirror, your friend, or your scale, ask a doctor.
No matter what, eating right and getting some exercise is good for you, but it is all about balance. Pushing yourself hard at the gym or on the track while running on coffee and herbal tea is not the way to go. Remember that when you are working out more, you will have a greater appetite. Eating a balanced diet of healthy carbs and protein is the way to go. But what does that really mean?
Fiber foods fill you! There are fruits, veggies, nuts and grains from almonds to zucchini that have high fiber foods that keep you feeling full. Eat healthy carbs from whole grain bread to a sweet potato. Lean protein is what helps build muscle so don’t forget lean meat such as turkey, skinless chicken breast, and tuna. If a vegetarian or vegan, replace that meat by stocking up on beans (and other meat substitutes)!
In terms of exercise, do not over do it but stay motivated. Try getting a workout buddy to ensure you make it to the gym 4-6 days a week. If working out is completely new to you, it is easy to push yourself hard, get frustrated, and quit. Try to build up slowly by walking flat then uphill for couple minutes then go back down again for cardio. If you’re a self-proclaimed gym-rat, do not push yourself too hard each day as your muscles do need a day of rest to recuperate and rebuild themselves. While lifting, you are actually tearing your muscles (hence the phrase “getting shredded.” This is why it is so important to mix up which parts of the body you will be working each day.
One tip that everyone could use is to DRINK MORE WATER. Water is your new best friend. Drinking water throughout the day, especially before a meal, will help you feel more full and satisfied. Throwing in a few lemon slices or a bit of fruit could zing up the boring drink if drinking straight water is just too bland. Your body also cannot build muscle if dehydrated. Dehydration leads to fatigue, which is something we are all trying to avoid.
So get out there. Do your research, talk to your doctors, and figure out what is best for you. Get healthy and do it safely.