Thursday May 16, 2013
If you rent or own any kind of property, there's a very good chance you have a yard to take care of. I've learned, both from a childhood of incessant yard work to an adulthood of...well, what feels like the same thing, that taking care of a yard is a lot of work. The weeds, the grass, the mulch, the trimming and cutting and raking and whatnot. It can, quite literally, be back breaking.
It's tough to really prepare your body for gardening without actually gardening, but what you can do is take some precautions to save your body, your back and your very soul:
- Ease into it by doing a little at a time and giving yourself plenty of breaks. This is something almost none of my gardening clients do and something they often regret, although a day spent digging holes is a great excuse for a massage. Or, do what my neighbors do and make your kids do all the work.
- Protect your back - The single most important thing you can do for yourself is to treat your back like it's the only thing holding you up...which it sort of is. That means, every time you want to pick something up from the ground, you must squat. This is hard to do but, if you practice, and you have a trainer who constantly nags you about it on a weekly basis, it can be done.
- Treat your yard work like a workout - When you exercise, you warm up, you hydrate, you stretch. If you're doing a long workout, you take breaks. Do the same thing when you're working in the yard, setting an alarm for breaks if necessary.
- Get and stay strong - Your body will be able to do so much more if you lift weights and exercise on a regular basis. Some good options:
And now it's your turn. Is yard work a big part of your warm weather activity each year? How do you protect your body and still get things done? Leave a comment and tell us about how you get through gardening season.
Wednesday May 15, 2013
The weather is still a little iffy around the country, but I know one thing is coming. One thing that makes the parking lot at my gym so full, I can't find a parking space. One thing that makes shopping at the local mall a contact sport. One thing that, depending on the state of your body, can make you laugh or cry. Or craugh, which is a combination of laughing and crying and, if you've ever done that, you know it isn't pretty.
That one thing? Summer. As many of us frantically try to squeeze in all those workouts we've skipped in the past few weeks, the question arises: Is there still time to make a difference? With official summer just 37 days away, there's still plenty of time to get ourselves in shape. Can we work miracles in 37 days? Not unless we go the unhealthy route and do things like skip meals, starve ourselves or do a crazy amount of exercise.
However if you have realistic expectations and a good solid plan for easing back into exercise, if you've been on a break, there's quite a bit you can accomplish in the next few weeks.
So, where do you start? One place is with our Summer Shape-Up Guide, which we debuted last year. This is a great place to start for just about any goal you can think of: Boosting Your Metabolism, Eating Low Carb, or Losing Weight.
Another option is to think about what you'll be doing in the coming weeks and focus on workouts that strengthen your body for those activities. For example, if you're a golfer, you'll want to practice Golf Warm Up Exercises and strengthen your golfy muscles with a Golf Strength Training Workout.
If you're into gardening or yardwork, you'll want to strengthen your entire body with a focus on core, flexibility and endurance. Try these workouts: Core Strengthen and Stretch, Outdoor Circuit Workout and Basic Total Body Strength.
Whatever you do, go easy on yourself until your body gets used to all this extra activity. And be sure to leave a comment telling us your plans. How are you getting ready for summer? Are there any workouts you're doing in particular? Tell us about it!
Tuesday May 14, 2013
The exercise ball is probably one of my favorite pieces of fitness equipment and not just because it makes fart-like noises if you sit on it and do hip circles (which makes all my clients laugh, even the ones who don't have a juvenile sense of humor like me). I love it's versatility, more than anything. It's amazing how many exercises you can do and how many muscle groups you can target with something that costs less than $50.
That said, if you've been using an exercise ball for awhile, you may be ready for new and more challenging moves. I've just updated one of my favorite workouts, this Advanced Ball Workout. As the name suggests, these are advanced moves that challenge everything - The abs, back, arms and lower body. These moves also target muscular endurance, core strength and will test your balance in a whole new way.
If you're new to the ball, I also have a Beginner Ball Workout that includes simple moves to get you used to the ball and, for intermediate exercisers, check out the Core Workout for those of you who are familiar with the ball but aren't quite ready for the advanced exercises.
And now it's your turn. What's your favorite exercise on the ball? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
More Exercise Ball Workouts
Monday May 13, 2013
And now it's time for my favorite blog post of the year: What song title best describes your exercise attitude these days?
Music is always an important part of our lives, especially for those of us who exercise. So, thinking about where you are in your exercise life right now, how are you feeling about things? Is the new season giving you a boost? Have you turned a corner with your workouts and feel more confident about your ability to stick with it? Or are you struggling a bit as the school year winds down? Tell us what's going on with you lately.
Vote in this week's poll telling us what song title describes your current exercise attitude.