Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Flex your muscle with some Stretching exercises.

Stretching is a critical part of any workout. Stretches should be done both before and after exercising. It helps to prevent injury while exercising, and to aid in recovery after a workout. If you spend a few minutes watching athletes of different sports you will soon realise how differently they carry out stretching.

Few might ask: “Why should we stretch at all?”

The reasons are
  • To increase muscle length permanently.
  • To prevent muscle bulk formation, especially the calf muscles.
  • To reduce tension in the muscle. Sometimes a muscle can hurt if we have held an awkward position for a while, or if we are much stressed.
  • To reduce the risk of muscle injury. If a muscle is more stretchy  then it is less likely to be overstretched when we exercise.

The Different Types of Stretching are: ballistic stretching, dynamic stretching, active stretching, passive stretching, static stretching, isometric stretching, and PNF stretching. Although there are various types of stretching:  the Two Basic Types of Stretches are the Ballistic Stretch and the Static Stretch but I have figure it down to Two simple types of Stretching & they are : Upper Body Stretching  & Lower body stretching.

Upper Body Stretch.
    Neck Stretch :Put your chin to your chest, and let gravity pull the weight of your head forward. Let your head drop to the right toward your shoulder. Drop your head to the back, so that you are looking up. You should feel the stretch in the front of your neck. Finally, let your head fall toward the left shoulder, so that you feel the stretch on the right side of your neck.

    Shoulder Stretch : Take your right hand and, going over your shoulder, place it as far down your back as possible. Place your left hand on your right elbow and push backward. You should feel the stretch in your right shoulder area. Switch arms and repeat.

    Upper Arm Stretch : Cross your right arm across your chest toward your left side, keeping your elbow straight. With the inside of your left elbow or your left hand, push your right arm back toward your body. You should feel the stretch in your right upper arm and shoulder. Switch arms and repeat.

    Upper Back Stretch: Clasp your hands together in front of your body. Straighten your elbows, keeping your hands clasped and your palms facing outward. Let your shoulders shift forward, and push your hands out away from your body. You should feel a stretch in your upper back area.

    Abdomen Stretch: Clasp your hands together above your head. Straighten your arms up as much as possible, and pull your hands away from your body. You may bend back slightly to deepen the stretch.

    Lower Back Stretch: Start in a seated position, with your legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee to a 90 degree angle, and place your right foot on the outer side of your left leg so that your right leg is crossed over your left. Your left leg should remain straight. Twist your torso to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Push your elbow against your knee as leverage to deepen the stretch if possible.

Lower Body Workouts.
    Hamstring Stretch: Stand with your feet slightly apart (about 6 inches). Bend over at the waist and let your upper body hang down. Reach your hands toward the ground. You can bend your knees slightly. For a deeper stretch, grasp your calves and gently pull your upper body toward your legs.

    Thigh Stretch: Stand with your feet slightly apart. Bend your right foot back and up toward your buttocks, and grasp it with your right hand. Balancing on your left leg, pull your right foot up with your right hand. To help you balance, pick a stationary spot in front of you to stare at and lift your free arm out to the side.

    Calf Stretch: Stand with right leg straight and behind you. Your left leg should be bent in front of you. Place most of your weight onto your left leg. Push the heel of your right foot down toward the ground, and slightly shift your weight back keeping your torso upright. You should feel a stretch in your right calf.

Check out my videos about Stretching exclusively on Sweat It Out

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Health tip # 63

Don't crash diet before you go away on holiday, you'll be so hungry when you get to your destination you'll eat everything and anything. It's better to eat sensibly before and during your stay.

Health tip # 62

Canned rice pudding is great for lifting calcium levels, pilchards offer Omega-3 fatty acids and vegetables are full of vitamins. Adding beans, peas and lentils into a dish will make it go further and increase the protein and iron values of the meal.

You've been missing your routine at the gym very often thanks to your busy schedule (or plain laziness) and suddenly you realize that in one week you have to attend a wedding.
You want to wear your favourite saree or figure-hugging dress but are worried about your flabby stomach bulging out. Well, you still have a last option. While you cannot reduce fat, you can lose belly fat by decreasing your total body fat percentage. And you don't have to completely alter your daily habits to get a flat stomach within 7 days!
Step one:
If you want to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, you have to perform circuit training, three days per week. How can you achieve this? Indulge in full body exercises like lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups, for one set of 15 repetitions. Don't forget to follow every exercise with one minute of jumping rope. You should be able to burn around 500 to 600 calories per workout.
Step two:
You have to work on your abdominal muscles three times in the week. Crunches and leg raises for three sets of 20 repetitions should be done. Also, do planks by holding your body in a push-up position on your elbows for 30 to 60 seconds for four sets.
Step three:
The kind of food you will eat in this period is vital in bringing about any change. Natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and pastas, chicken, beef, fish and low fat dairy should replace processed foods full of sugar.
Step four:
To minimize water retention, lower your sodium intake. This means you need to avoid salt. You can flavour your food with other herbs and spices instead.
Step five:
Stressing and anxiety can cause the over-production of a certain hormone called cortisol, which encourages weight gain about the belly area. So try to keep your cool!

Health tip # 61

Tropical fruits, especially pineapples and paw paw are very good foods to protect you against cellulite. They're extremely rich sources of beta carotene, which is very important for healthy skin and contain natural enzymes that are extremely good for the digestions and help break down fat deposits.

Health tip # 60

If you're trying to lose weight, remember to count the booze - a single gin and tonic has about 140 calories.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

How to Flatten Your Abs!
When it comes to losing weight and getting trim, the so-called Holy Grail for most individuals is getting flat abs. Specifically, they’re called six-pack abs – abs that you can shred cheese on. There are dozens of companies that offer medications, gels, food, and exercise equipment that is specifically designed and marketed to help you achieve six-pack abs.
If you’re one of the millions that have bought something from one of these companies, or you do hundreds of crunches a day and have seen no major results – we might have the answer for you.

Ab exercises are not enough!

If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably have discovered that crunches alone are not enough to flatten your abs. It is important to work on your abs, but if they are covered by a layer of fat you’ll never see them show up. Some may not know this, but “spot reducing” doesn’t work. This means that you can’t concentrate on one part of your body and expect to see results from that work alone. Your body is not designed to be “forced” to lose weight in a specific area by exercising that area – what you should be doing is focusing on losing body fat as a whole and gaining/toning muscle.

Change Your Diet:

The first thing to do to lose body fat is to change your diet. You can always decrease calories by participating in daily activities like walking, climbing stairs, etc., but unless you consume less calories – you’ll never shed the pounds.
Eat frequently:
 You may be thinking, what? But it’s true. Eating several small meals throughout your day will boost your metabolism, which helps your burn more calories. Meal replacements like protein bars should be used as snacks between meals instead of traditional calorie heavy snacks.

Eat less calories:
 Cookies are great, but they’re not so great for six-pack abs.
Drink more water:
Cleanses your body and can make your body feel full.

Setting up an ab workout routine:

Once you’ve completed the first step of lowering the amount of calories you consume, you need to begin working out. As mentioned above, diet without exercise can and will lead to weight loss – but it will only go so far. You must implement exercise into your daily life to see long-term, permanent results with weight loss. Your ab workout routine should include:
·     Weight training that focuses on all of your muscle groups, not just abs. Do this 2 or 3 days a week, in days that are not back to back. You must give your muscles time to rest.
·     Perform 30 to 45 minutes of cardio 3-5 days a week. You can substitute regular cardio with any intense recreational activity, like football, soccer, or basketball.
·     Stretch before and after your workouts for flexibility and relaxation. Also, warm up before each workout that you do (simple stretching and exercises). Remember to do cool-downs, which means gradually decreasing in your intensity until you stop.

Are ab exercises still necessary?

Reading this, you’ve discovered that ab exercises aren’t going to be a dominant factor in reducing the amount of fat around your body. Should you still do them? The answer is both yes, as well as no. You do want to work your abs (as well as your entire body), but not necessarily with the usual crunches and sit-ups that you might be doing now.
To have a maximum impact on your abs, switch it up and get more creative. Invest in an exercise ball, use a hoola hoop, or go salsa dancing. Move around your mid-section a lot more and you’ll not only have fun, but get tighter and better looking abs.