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Category Archives: Fitness

Components of Fitness

Body composition

Body composition is the percent of body fat compared to your lean body mass (muscles, bones, tendons, ligament, organs etc.). High percentages of body fat can lead to coronary disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, metabolic disease, low energy and many more. It is directly relates to the overall fitness level. It consider the individual body type according to the height, frame size, weight and the ratio of the fat mass to lean muscle mass.

Cardiorespiratory endurance

Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity. It consists of exercise like walking, running, biking, rowing, treadmills, jogging etc. that forces functioning of your cardiovascular system i.e. lungs, heart, and blood vessels. It consists of aerobic physical activities lasting longer than 90 seconds. It is very important to be fit in your cardiovascular systems. To improve cardiovascular endurance, aerobic exercise should be performed at least 3 times per week, 15-20 minutes each day.

Muscular endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability to perform repeated muscular effort over a period of time without fatigue. A good muscular endurance can perform more number of repetitions of a particular strength training exercise such as running, jogging, cross-training on an elliptical machine, etc.

Muscular strength

Muscular strength is defined as the maximum amount of force produced by a muscle in a single effort. It is the ability of the muscle to exert strength during a workout or an activity. To increase your muscular strength, exercise using heavy weight for 3-6 times. It is measured by maximum amount of strength a muscle has while lifting or during an exertion. The best ways to improve the muscular strength is by performing anaerobic weightlifting exercises like the bench press, leg press, shoulder press, or bicep curls etc.

Flexibility

Flexibility is defined as the ability to bend and move the joints through full range of motion. It depends upon many variables like gender, age, body composition, behavioral activity etc. By the flexibility of your joints the fitness level is measured. If you have good flexibility, injuries related to joints could be prevented but poor flexibility increases your risk of injury. It helps in improving lower back health, reducing the appearance and effects of arthritis, and reducing muscle-tendon injuries. Exercises such as stretching, yoga, Pilates, swimming etc. are the way to improve the physical flexibility.

Stretch Before Working Out

What’s wrong with static stretching?. Studies have shown that, his type of stretching, before exercises or any athletic endeavor does not prevent injuries or is beneficial for improved performance. In fact, it has been shown that active dynamic warm-ups involving resistance machines (leg extensions) or free weights (squats), were better for subjects than static stretching. The participants who did static stretching had a lower 1 rep max, when squatting and less lower body stability, when performing the squat. It should be noted that subjects were tested in each protocol after a 48 hr break, so that they were sufficiently rested and hydrated. Stretching consisted of 3 sets of 10-second stretches for the quadriceps, hamstring, calf, abdominal, and lower-back musculature. A meta analysis of multiple studies failed to show a link between static stretching and exercise performance. The study found that short duration stretches had no detrimental effect on performance, but, stretching beyond 60s had detrimental effects on exercise performance. Performance was defined as, improvements or reductions in strength, power or speed. In general, the research does suggest that stretching after exercise or any other time is beneficial and increases range of motion (ROM).

I would still take this with a grain of salt. If you’re a ballerina, or some other performer where flexibility or ROM is important, before a performance might not be a bad thing. ROM is improved, and the decrease in strength might not necessarily be enough to hinder performance. In the case of an athletic event or competition, where you need maximum power, speed or strength, this approach might not be favorable. If I’m weight lifting, I won’t stretch before I work out. I will stretch after, and to be honest in my personal experience, I’ve found that not stretching, to be better. What most people do, myself included is perform a few warm-up sets with light weights, before the actual lift weight. This gets the blood flowing and helps warm-up the actual muscles that I need to perform the lift. I also get a chance to make sure I have good technique.

Now, here’s a type of stretching that seems to be beneficial at anytime, before, during, after exercise, it doesn’t seem to matter. Dynamic stretches, include lunges, arm swings/ rotations (forward and backward), leg swings (forward and backward) etc… Dynamic stretching, is gentle and generally takes you to the limit of your ROM in a progressive manner (gradually increase ROM). This is done in a very controlled manner. A study on benefits of dynamic vs static stretching, on vertical jump performance, at Wichita State University, has shown that dynamic stretching increases performance compared to static stretching. There were various theories put forward for why this was so. Static stretching causes a more compliant muscle tendon unit which prevents muscles from being able to store as much elastic energy in its eccentric phase which decreases the amount of force produced. Additionally, static stretching causes a decreased neural drive due to a decreased reflex sensitivity following the stretch. Movement in dynamic stretching is also rehearsed in a more specific pattern than static stretching. Dynamic stretching actually increases neural drive by increasing core temperature. Several other studies, have demonstrated the advantages of dynamic stretching over static on athletic performance. There are other types of stretching, which I prefer not to get into (ballistic stretching). I just taught I’d look at the major types and determine what are the benefits and which is safe to do and when.

Build Triceps Fast

This is a nice starting point particularly when dealing with the smaller muscles such as the triceps. When you train the triceps, twice in a week, this will provide a great stimulus for that greater growth as long as the training frequency isn’t increased for over 6 to 8 weeks. This is a group of muscles that will recover fast and therefore, you will only need 2 to 3 days between the workouts. With this already said, you can choose to train the chest on Monday, the triceps on Tuesday and the shoulders on Wednesday but this won’t qualify as 2 or 3 rest days as multi-joint presses for the shoulders and chest will involve the extension of the elbow. These involve elbow extensions and this means that the tris are being worked on the back-to-back days. It is important to remember this as you set up the split.

When you train tris around 2 times in a week, it means that you should not workout the chest and shoulders the day prior to or after you have trained the arms. You will not need to have extra knowledge to understand split but you will have to understand the limitations. It is also worth noting that in case you are doing triceps around twice in a week, you should ensure that these are quite different so that the muscle fibers can be stimulated in various ways. You should be able to make the routines a basic one for mass building.

You will definitely understand how fatigued your triceps will feel when you engage in chest and shoulder workout. Therefore, if you would like to enjoy those meatier triceps, you should focus on training the smaller group of muscles immediately after engaging in the larger workout days. Since the triceps don’t get pre-fatigued, it will be possible to provide them with more weight and more energy and this is a good combination for getting that maximum stimulus. For other ideas on how to build triceps, get in touch with Muscle Prodigy.

Booty Shaping Exercises

Stair Climbing: Instead of taking the elevator why not climb a few sets of stairs instead? Alternatively you can use a stair climber at the gym or in your home if you have one. The muscles in the backs of your legs and buttocks get an excellent workout when climbing stairs.

The Isometric Butt Squeeze: You can do this while watching T.V. Lie face down on the floor and squeeze your butt cheeks together for 30 seconds at a time. Alternatively, you can do this exercise while sitting in a chair or standing. Butt squeezes are exceptionally good for women; it tightens the pelvic floor area and tones the buttocks at the same time.

Step-ups: For this exercise you will need a step or bench. You start with one foot on the ground and the other on the stair. Push off with your foot that is on the ground until it reaches the same height as the one on the stair. Slowly lower back down until your foot is back on the floor. Change feet and repeat as many times as you can.

Deadlifts: You will need a barbell for this exercise. Pick the barbell up off the ground while keeping your back straight, knees slightly bent and your eyes focused in front of you. Repeat this exercise as many times as you can in a two-minute period. This exercise will shape your butt in no time.

Bikini Body

Exercising is one of the oldest methods that are used by people who want to remain fit. Swimming, bike riding and running are some of the most popular workouts. They burn your calories and ensure there is a rise in the metabolism. This in turn causes the quick burning of fat. You should make sure that you find adequate time to exercise so as to get the perfect bikini body and also stay fit.

Doing exercises as a team also helps in keeping the motivation high. You can join a team that is local or make your own team with friends where you can play a few times each week. Having an exercise buddy also assists a lot.

Please also note that you can actually burn many more calories by engaging in interval training. The high intensity kind of training for some 15 minute interval can also help.

Running or walking for a distance of two miles usually burns about 200 calories. Cutting out some junk food and walking for some miles every day can really help you lose some of that unnecessary fat. Don’t take too much of desserts, snacks and sodas. To cut that weight, you should eat small meals frequently. Starving yourself doesn’t really help.

It’s important to remember that our brains usually take about 20 minutes to actually realize that you are indeed full. Your diet should be mainly proteins and carbs. Make sure it’s balanced. Around 40{58a44aa700d0f7d481798b3fb43855508d9afafab27b5f093d03e69ec98cab24} of the calories should be from proteins such as beans, peanut butter, fish and chicken. Another 40{58a44aa700d0f7d481798b3fb43855508d9afafab27b5f093d03e69ec98cab24} from carbs like whole wheat, brown rice, vegetables and sweet potatoes. The other 20{58a44aa700d0f7d481798b3fb43855508d9afafab27b5f093d03e69ec98cab24} should be from the natural fats such as eggs, nuts and avocado.

Kickboxing As Exercise

Over the years, new fighting techniques have been incorporated into the practice. In the olden days, the sport became so popular that the rich, the poor, the young and the old wanted to be trained. New techniques incorporated over the years include the groin guard, the gloves, rules and regulations plus weight classes.

Today, kickboxing has become popular around the world and these are some of the Muay Thai health benefits you are bound to gain if you practice it.

Improved cardiovascular health

The heart is a vital organ in the body and it helps to pump oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body muscles as well as pumping the deoxygenated blood from various body parts to lungs to be oxygenated. To ensure that your muscles receive the much needed nutrients, it is important to improve your heart health.

When you engage in Muay Thai, it will have a huge impact on the cardiopulmonary system. This is possible both in aerobic and anaerobic ways. It will help to improve your cardiovascular health assuring you of increased blood flow and nourished muscles plus organs.

Improved core strength

Your core muscles include the abdominal muscles, the back muscles and the pelvic muscles. When you have strong core muscles, you are able to perform different activities with ease. For example, if you are involved in gymnastics, you can be able to achieve different positions thanks to strong back muscles. Furthermore, since you have to lift a few things when moving items, your back muscles need to be strong.

With Muay Thai kickboxing techniques, the different movements you make during training and when fighting help to strength your core muscles.

Improved hip mobility

When you age, your hips are bound to ache and be problematic. This can be avoided thanks to kickboxing. During training and fighting, you need to kick your opponent on different parts of the body. This means that you will have to use your hip muscles frequently as they can help you to disarm and defeat your opponent. Apart from the kicks, the knee movements help to strengthen the muscles around the legs and hips. This assures you of better hip mobility and no hip problems when you age.

Prevents onset of stress

Every day, people get to wake up, prepare themselves and head to work. At work, you will be required to meet certain goals as well solving challenges. In the evening, you have to fight the traffic jam as you head home only to be met with more chores and responsibilities at home. This is bound to increase your stress levels. With Muay Thai health benefits, you can improve production of serotonin and dopamine which helps to relax you and make you feel good.

Improve Squat

First, before you worry about form, examine the surface you stand on. You should be standing on a flat hard surface and not an exercise mat. The point is to keep your feet as flat on the ground as possible. This helps you balance as your body moves down into the squat and back up to stand. Some sneakers are highly cushioned and this can also contribute to lack of balance. Do not be afraid to try squatting barefoot.

Now we concern ourselves with form. The width of your stance will affect the muscle groups that will be engaged the most. A narrow stance will primarily engage the quadriceps, a shoulder-width stance will engage the quads and hamstrings, and a wide stance will primarily engage the hamstrings. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on a shoulder-width stance.

Second, stand with your feet roughly shoulder width apart. Your body should be relaxed from head to toe. Your spine should be straight, your shoulders back, and your chin high.

Third, tilt your hips back and put a slight bend in your knees. It is very important to tilt your hips before going down into your squat. This will help you feel the burn where you are supposed to and keeps tension off of your knees. Sticking your butt out will save your knees and help you remain injury free.

Fourth, now that you are standing properly, it is time to descend into the squat position. The movement should be slow and steady as you drop down bringing your quads parallel to the floor. At this point, you move slowly to keep your form in check. As for your upper body, make sure that your chest is out, shoulders are back, spine is straight, and abdominals are tight. Now look to your lower body. While your quads are parallel to the floor, your knees should not pass further than the tips of your toes.

Easy Fitness Tricks

Gear Up

The right type of shoes or clothes for the activity must be worn to put a stop to the many fitness injuries that occur daily when we are not properly informed. Shoes have to be specifically designed to support your type of foot, for the activity you want to do. Be dressed in clothing made with fabric that is designed to pull sweat away from your body. Wear protective gear, such as helmets and knee pads for activities that could have a higher incidence of falling, such as cycling, skating or skiing.

Stay Hydrated

The more active you are, the more fluids your body needs, according to Northwestern Health Sciences University. During one hour of exercise, you can lose 1 qt. of water, so it is important to drink plenty of water, which is considered the best fluid replacement during exercise, before, during and after you workout. Two cups of water about two hours before exercise is sufficient, suggests the American Council on Exercise, as well as 6 to 8 oz. every 20 minutes during exercise. If you are exercising for longer–45 to 90 minutes–consider a sports drink that contains electrolytes to replace those your body has lost.

Don’t Overdo It

While it is true that work out can slow the loss of muscle mass and ease muscle and joint pain, too much of a good thing can be harmful. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking or riding your bike, provides you with many health benefits, contrary to earlier beliefs that you needed to carry out vigorous exercise to reap any rewards. And although moderate intensity is best, low-impact exercise also is advantageous.

About Muscles and Maturity

Even though the information about muscle mass and aging is commonly known, most folks don’t realize that you can actually age more gracefully and stop the rampant atrophy of your muscles by having a more active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Although muscle atrophy is a natural byproduct of aging, it can be minimized. As muscles atrophy, they get marbled with fat that replaces muscle. The greatest enemy of your muscles is a sedentary lifestyle. However, the good news is that even after muscle loss, it is possible to rebuild your muscles and lose the fat through general aerobic activity coupled with weight training.

Often, people’s careers can place them in a sedentary situation, which can greatly deteriorate muscle mass such as those of astronauts who spend time weightless in space. In other situations, certain health conditions can make someone sedentary, even bedridden. In these situations, physical therapy is usually prescribed by doctors to treat bedridden patients. As such, the bedridden patients don’t lose muscle integrity. Someone’s recovery time from being bedridden can be greatly improved if proper exercises are done to prevent muscle loss.

Slowing down the process of muscle atrophy is vital if you want to live a long and healthy life. Research shows us that fatty muscle is more likely to cause a loss of mobility and eventual weakness. When people weaken and lose mobility, they can also decrease their stamina. Without stamina and good mobility, a person’s exercise routine cannot only be challenging, but also extremely painful as well. However, just giving up and sitting on the couch all day will guarantee your muscular demise.

Exercise is the key that unlocks the youthful potential that is still in your muscles. Aerobic exercise will jumpstart your muscles and metabolism. The more you persevere, the more effectively you will succeed at building muscle mass and strength, which in turn will help your body burn fat and provide you with more energy. Actually, research has shown us that even after a few days of regular aerobic activity, your body will get a boost in metabolism.

Quality Exercise

Quality vs Quantity

The key to quality exercise for good health is not measured by how long you workout but by the quality of the exercise that you actually do. Our mindset is programmed to think that someone who jogs for 1 hour gets a better workout than someone who does a 20 minute workout. However, a 20 minute workout that incorporates high intensity, multi-level exercise, with proper recovery and stretching can provide just as much or more.

Diversity and Intensity

Functional exercises involve training the body for the activities performed in daily life. These include exercises like squats, planks, lunges, knee lifts, jumping jacks and sit ups. These incorporate the diversity and give you the dimensional training that your body needs. When you exercise in multiple planes, (frontwards and backwards, side-to-side, and rotational) it allows you to target muscles from all angles so that you don’t develop imbalances. Imbalances can promote injury. This also adds efficiency to your workout by allowing high intensity interval training thus cutting down on time needed to complete your workout.

Recovery and Stretching

Recovery time is as important as the actual workout itself. High intensity workouts absolutely require recovery time. As your intensity increases, you typically need to decrease the frequency of your workout to ensure your body has time to repair and recuperate between sessions. For this reason, it is NOT recommended to do high intensity exercises more than three times a week. Over-exercising can sabotage your fitness efforts. In the case of over exercising, your body will go into an elevated stress response mode which keeps your cortisol levels elevated. Cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone,” is secreted by your adrenal glands and is involved in regulating your insulin, glucose levels, and controlling inflammation. Elevated cortisol will cause your body to store fat instead of building muscle. For this reason it is important to listen to your body and get the important rest that is needed to recover.

It is also important to not overlook the importance of stretching at the beginning and end of each workout. Stretching works with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. Stretching also allows your body to repair itself and prepare for activity.