All posts in Daily Exercises

Exercise & Pain

If we all agree that exercise is vital to health, then let’s figure out the best routine. The right mix of exercise can: Reduce the risk of premature death, reduce the risk of heart disease,  reduce high blood pressure, reduce high cholesterol, reduce the risks of many cancers, including colon and breast cancer, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, reduce fat and optimize body weight,  build and maintain healthy muscles, bones, and joints,  reduce depression and anxiety,  enhance performance in work and sport. 

Believe it or not, running every day, won’t cut it. Going to the gym every day and working out with weights every day won’t cut it. The ideal exercise program includes cardio/aerobic exercise, strength training, weight-bearing exercise, stretching, breathing, and balance.

Cardio/aerobic exercise. This has to be some movement that is brisk enough that requires the heart and lungs to work harder to meet the body’s increased oxygen demand. Basically you are forcing the heart and lungs to work harder, and yet of low enough intensity to facilitate adequate oxygen transfer to the muscle cells so that no buildup of lactic acid is observed. Think repetitive movement of the arms, legs, and hips.     Take your pick from running, jogging, and fast walking. Biking (either road or mountain), and swimming are also good. If you belong to a gym or have home equipment, there are treadmills, elliptical trainers, spin cycles, and rebounders. 

Strength Training involves the use of free weights, kettlebells, weight machines, resistance bands or some other form of resistance to build muscle and increase strength. Its benefits include: Increased muscle strength, increased tendon and ligament strength, reduced body fat and increased muscle mass,  better balance,  lower blood cholesterol, improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.  The key to strength training is to choose one you can do easily and are willing to do regularly.

Every patient of mine that wants to lose weight, I make sure that they are  doing  circuit weight training.  Strength training builds muscle which increases your resting metabolic rate. 

Weight bearing  exercise is actually a subset of certain aerobic and strength training exercises. It helps slow down the rate of bone loss and osteoporosis. It is exercise in which you force your body to support weight (your own included) while exercising.  The best weight bearing exercises are: weight-lifting, jogging, hiking with a back pack, stair-climbing, step aerobics, racquet sports, and other activities that require your muscles to work against gravity. Swimming and simple walking don’t do the trick. One exceptionally useful form of weight bearing exercise is rebounding. The act of rebounding makes use of g-forces, just like astronauts training in a centrifuge. 

Stretching is the most over-looked area of fitness I have seen lately. Stretching reduces muscle tension and increases range of movement in the joints. I see tremendous tightness and restrictions in most clients bodies from a lack of variety of movement.  Tightness and constriction cause a reduced blood flow to the muscles and soft tissues, this leads to a lack of oxygen to the tissues and this is a very painful situation. Yoga  has become one of my pewrsonal favorites for stretching. Pilates works well too. If nothing else, just do 5-10 minutes of simple stretching after your daily exercise routine as part of your cool down time. 

Proper breathing is often over-looked as much as stretching. The concept is simple: putting a device in your mouth that restricts (in a controlled manner) your inhalations and exhalations, which forces your lungs to work harder. This, in turn, strengthens the muscles that makes your lungs work and increases their capacity.  

The last area  is Balance. Balance diminishes with age unless we consciously exercise it. If you fall down and break your hip or wrist, the odds are you will have  a long-slow recovery, if you fully recover. 

The most simple balance exercise is to practice standing on one leg. If you need to hold on to a chair for support, with one hand, that’s fine. Slightly bend one leg so that  the foot of the bent leg is projected out behind you. Get used to balancing on the one leg holding a chair or wall. Then take the hands off the chair and balance with one eye closed. Build up to balancing with your eyes closed for 30 seconds. 

Please remember that you can not exercise your your way out of a bad diet. Increase your quality protein to build the muscles you are exercising.  Avoid sugar but enjoy high quality fats such as Omega-3s.

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Low Intensity Sample Workout

This is a perfect workout to get your energy flowing but not your sweat! 

March in place for two minutes.

Vertical Push-Up: Stand at arm’s length from a wall. Keeping your elbows at shoulder level, place both hands against the wall, shoulder-width apart. Lean into the wall, bending your elbows as you come forward… and straightening them out as you push back. Try to do 10-12 reps.

Squats: Stand one foot away from a chair, facing away from it. Bend at your knees, lean forward and bend – keeping your back straight – until you are seated in the chair. Rest for a second, place your hands on your thighs, and push off using your legs… and stand. Try to do 8-12 reps.

Crunches: Sit on a desk, bench, or other straight surface. Cup your ears with your hands. Bring your left knee up and across to your right elbow. Pause, tighten your ab muscles, and return to your starting position. Bring your right knee up and across to your left elbow. Pause, tighten your ab muscles, and return to your starting position. Try to repeat 6–10 times.

Do 10-12 more wall push-ups. Do 8-12 more squats. And finally march in place for two minutes.

Enjoy!

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How to perform the plank

The plank requires good abdominal strength and co-contraction of the abdominal wall musculature to hold the lumbar spine and pelvis in correct alignment.

Technique:

  • Assume a press-up position, but with your hands and forearms on the floor.
  • Hold a straight body position, with your weight supported on your elbows and toes.
  • Brace your abs and set the lower back in neutral (neither overly rounded nor arched) once you are up. Sometimes this requires a pelvic tilt to find the right position.
  • The aim is to hold this position, keeping the upper spine extended, for an increasing length of time – up to a maximum of 90 sec.
  • Do 2-3 sets.

Progression: Lift one leg just off the floor – hold the position without tilting at the pelvis.

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Walking Protects Against Alzheimer’s

A new Alzheimer’s study that used MRI scans was recently conducted at the University of Pittsburgh. Researchers recruited more than 400 older adult subjects–some with Alzheimer’s, some with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and some with no signs of dementia. Physical activity was monitored, and each patient underwent two MRI brain scans approximately 10 years apart. In a press release, the study’s lead author, Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., described the results: “We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI, especially in areas of the brain’s key memory and learning centers.”

Mental exam scores dropped an average of five points over five years among patients with cognitive impairment who were physically inactive. But scores for physically active patients dropped only one point on average. Dr. Raji also noted that patients who walked five miles per week showed slower decline in memory loss over five years. There was also good news for the healthy, dementia-free subjects. Those who walked at least six miles per week maintained normal brain volume and significantly reduced risk of cognitive decline. Dr. Raji: “Volume is a vital sign for the brain. When it decreases, that means brain cells are dying. But when it remains higher, brain health is being maintained.” 

Whenever someone asks me what I want as a gift, I usually remember to say more IQ points.  Key take away – stay active to help keep the brain healthier longer.

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For all you cardio junkies

I am so sick of clients doing excessive  cardio – I mean mindless long runs, or bouts on the bike or eliptical. I hear about clients doing 60 minute cardio sessions and they are stiff as a board and in pain. The part that ‘kills me’ is that they won’t stretch or even listen to me when I talk to them about doing some weight lifting. I know cardio is one fat burning strategy, but it is time consuming and the reality is that aerobic activities burn far fewer calories than you think.  After doing 20-30 minutes of cardio you may feel as though you’ve burned 600 calories but the cold reality is far different. For example, researchers measured the number of calories burned when walking versus running. The study showed that the average man burns just 124 calories when running a mile and only 88 when walking the same distance. So by running three miles you can expect to burn about 396 calories and by walking three miles you will burn about 240.

Figures for other aerobic activities are shown below (these are calculated using a man who weighs 190 pounds).

•    Stationary bike (light): 474 calories per hour;
•    Walking uphill (3.5 miles per hour): 518 calories per hour;
•    High impact aerobics: 604 calories per hour;
•    Stationary bike (moderate): 604 calories per hour;
•    Jogging (light pace): 604 calories per hour;
•    Running (5 miles per hour): 690 calories per hour;
•    Stationary bike (vigorous): 906 calories per hour;

To lose one pound of body weight – you have to burn calories through exercise activity, or decrease your intake of food calories by approximately 3,000 calories. One strategy I use is to decrease 250 calories of food daily and increase your activity by 250 calories per day to reach the 3,000 calorie mark each week to lose a pound a week. Make sense? Do 30 minutes of cardio (intervals = sprints) to burn body fat and then do some weight lifting to build muscle which automatically burns more calories during rest. Or you can combine cardio + resistance. That’s what I personally do.

Too much aerobic exercise will burn calories from fat but can burn fuel from muscle cells—resulting in a loss of muscle mass—now you are screwed. The reason this happens is that periods of aerobic exercise cause the body to shift into survival mode. In this state, it strives to preserve access to fat cells by also burning fuel derived from muscle cells. It does this because the body is incapable of understanding our motivation for doing cardio. As far as it is concerned, it just needs to maintain fat reserves for any pending emergency situations where we might not have access to food.

By combining your workouts with resistance + cardio activities, you can burn up to 44% more calories. The bottom line is that resistance + cardio workouts burn considerably more calories and fat than ordinary cardio alone.

Just tell me what you like to do and I can turn any of your activities into a  cardio + resistance workout. For example, if you like to walk or jog you can pick up a set of dumbbells, some ankle weights or even a weight vest. If biking is your thing, just kick up the resistance. Whatever cardio activity it is that you like to do, I’ll show you how to add some resistance and not only will you burn more fat but you’ll also be able to maintain more of your hard-earned muscle mass.

Come in for a few sessions and I’ll teach you how to do a cardio + restance workout. This will help you lean out!

 310-473-2911

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2011 Let’s Shake Up Your Workout

“New Years resolutions” – I’m hearing them on a daily basis. The top 3 on the list are weight loss, more exercise, and more sleep. As far as exercise goes,  this is the time to get out of the same old routine – change up your reps and sets. I keep telling you that your body adapts quickly to exercises you give it.  Therefore you have to trick it into growth by constantly varying your routine. I like to change my personal program every 6 to 8 weeks. I have dozens of clients that come in every 6-8 weeks just to have me write them new exercise routines. please take advantage of this service.

A simple workout renovation could include changing the number of reps you perform: If you have been doing only 12 reps per set, now’s the time to go for 25 reps for four sets — that’s 100 reps!  The following week do just six reps per set to keep your body guessing. You can also swap out some of those tried-and-true lifts for new ones, or amp up the speed of your reps while cutting your resting time. By going faster and allowing less time between sets, you’ll sweat off calories fast.

 Let me help you develop a new exercise routine that will stimulate your muscles — and keep you from getting bored.

Example: Try this two days a week – Upper-Body  Core Workout and Sprinting

  • Ten minutes alternating between chin-ups, push-ups (I alternate between conventional and Hindu push-ups), pull-ups, dips, and sit-ups. Start with 2 chin-ups, 4 push-ups, 2 pull-ups, 4 dips, and 4 sit-ups. Immediately go to 4 chin-ups, 8 push-ups, 4 pull-ups, 8 dips, and 8 sit-ups. Immediately go to 6 chin-ups, 12 push-ups, 6 pull-ups, 12 dips, and 12 sit-ups. Then go to 8 chin-ups, 16 push-ups, 8 pull-ups, 16 dips, and 16 sit-ups.
  • Take a two-minute break (just 120 seconds) and then reverse the pyramid, starting with a set of 8s and 16s and working back down to 2s. This entire upper-body workout will take about 20 minutes and will leave you totally pumped.
  • Take another two-minute break and then do 5- 10 minutes of interval running. Alternate between sprinting and jogging (or walking) for 5-10 sets.
  • When your running is done, do 5-10 minutes of stretching. 
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Theraband Stretch Strap

I use the Stretch Strap to improve joint mobility, muscular flexibility and fascial, vascular and neurological extensibility.

 It’s important to check functional movement patterns then, target the tight and short muscles as opposed to long and tight muscles. One of the goals of treatment is to reprogram range of motion around the joints and help accomplish effective movement patterns.

 Proper muscle inhibition and muscle lengthening sets the foundation for skillful movements. Patients are willing to spend more time on stretching maneuvers when they use the Stretch Strap. This improves flexibility and has a strong effect on restoration of function and on relief of pain. We must remove as much of the limited mobility as possible. Then relearn the levels of stability.

The Stretch Strap is a powerful, fun, tool that helps my clients improve posture, flexibility, body awareness, coordination, and balance.

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My workout this morning

This was a great 20 minute workout I did this morning that I want to share with you. It combines weight training with high intensity cardio so it’s fast, efficient and effective. And there’s only 5 exercises.

Here’s the workout:

Lunges holding a kettlebell overhead: Stand holding a kettlebell overhead with your right arm straight. Maintain that position as you take a large step forward until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee is an inch or two off the floor. Return to the starting position, and repeat with the other leg. Perform 10 reps with each arm holding the kettlebell overhead.

Push Up & Row Combo (Renegade row): Assume a pushup position with your arms straight and your hands resting on dumbbells or kettlebells. Keep your feet about hip-width apart. Lower your body to just above the floor, pause, and then push yourself back up. Now bring one dumbbell toward your rib cage and return it to the floor. Do another pushup, and repeat with your other arm. That’s 1 rep. Perform 20 reps.

Single leg balance reach (single leg deadlift): Stand on your left leg. Now bend at the waist (while keeping your back flat and hips pushed back), and extend your right leg behind you. Reach down, moving your right hand across your body and toward your left foot. Then raise your upper body to the starting position, but without touching your right foot to the floor. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 reps on one leg, and then switch sides and repeat.

Squats: Start with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing out only slightly. Take a deep breath and squat down. Pretend like you are taking the hips backwards to sit in a chair. Feel the bodyweight pressing down through both heels. Lower yourself to a knee bend where the thighs are parallel to the floor (at least 90°). At the bottom think “butt” and activate the gluteal muscles to help return to the start position while breathing out – this helps support the spine. Start with bodyweight only performing 8 repetitions, progress to using a dowel or light bar across the chest. This can be progressed by holding dumbbells or a kettlebell in one hand or both hands. Aim to increase the weight you can lift for 8 reps.

I did a set of kettlebell swings between each of the above. Do as many rounds of this circuit as you can in 20 minutes.   

The key is to make this intense, so you’ll get that afterburn effect – meaning you’ll be burning calories for many hours after the workout is completed.

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My FREE At-Home 10-Week Conditioning and Fat-Loss Program

This 20-Minute Workout will build muscle up fast and loss fat:

  • Learn how to blast fat, build muscle, and sculpt your entire body in just 20 minutes a day!
  • These exercises are for head-to-toe conditioning.
  • The workouts combine cardio and lifting routines. 

I don’t waste time going to the gym. I do all of my workouts at home. Most of the routines are just three or four exercises that give you the results you want in the least amount of time.

Please do me one favor. I just want you to refer friends & family to my website. Pass the 20 Minute Workout along, but ask them to sign up for my free newsletter. I am more serious than ever about getting my health message out there! Please help me by asking friends & family to read my newsletter. 

Here is the link http://www.toyourhealth.com/mpacms/tyh/article.php?id=1277

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Core Training On Stability Balls Part 1

 Are you seeing more people train on balls while working out in the gym? Training with unstable surfaces such as Thera-Band® exercise balls, stability trainers, and balance boards do promote activation of core muscles. The “core” can be defined as the axial skeletal and its muscular and fascial attachments, including the pelvic and shoulder girdle.

Canadian researchers David Behm PhD and colleagues published a comprehensive review on the use of instability to train the core. Research has shown that exercises performed on unstable surfaces produce higher levels of muscle activation in both the core and extremity muscles compared to stable surfaces. However, force and power outputs are decreased while exercising on unstable surfaces, sometimes up to 70%. Interestingly, increasing levels of core muscle activation can also be achieved with free weight exercises such as squats and Olympic lifts without added instability.

In their article, the authors made several recommendations for both athletes and non-athletic conditioning based on their review of the literature. Dr. Behm et al. noted that athletes should emphasize “higher-intensity ground-based lifts” (such as Olympic lifts, squats and deadlifts) while including resistance exercises with unstable devices, as well as unilateral exercises that provide “transverse stress to the core musculature.” Furthermore, they stated that “unstable exercises should not be used when hypertrophy, absolute strength, or power is the primary training goal.”

Similar recommendations were made for the general population, noting the benefits of both free weight and instability training on promoting spinal stability. It’s important to remember to decrease resistance loads on exercises performed on unstable surfaces.

During rehabilitation, unstable surfaces can be effective at improving muscle reaction time and co-contractions that protect joints. In addition, resistance training on unstable may provide localized muscle endurance training, beneficial for the high proportion of Type I “aerobic, slow-twitch” muscle fibers found in core muscles. Dr. Behm and colleagues recommend core endurance training exercises generally be performed at higher repetitions (greater than 15 per set), while athletes requiring more strength and power perform less than 6 repetitions per set. The authors further noted that unstable surfaces can provide musculoskeletal health benefits such as decreased injury risk and increased spinal stabilization as opposed to using free weights.

In summary, unstable exercise devices such as Thera-Band Exercise Balls and Stability Trainers should be included as part of a well-rounded conditioning program for athletes and non-athletes, but not for increasing primary strength and power. In addition, resistance exercises performed on an unstable surface should be performed at a reduced intensity level because of the reduction in force output.

REFERENCES:
Behm DG, et al. The use of instability to train the core musculature. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2010 Feb;35(1):91-108.

Behm DG, et al. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology position stand: The use of instability to train the core in athletic and nonathletic conditioning. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2010 Feb;35(1):109-12.

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