Exercise on The Cheap

Many of us want to stay fit but as the economy becomes tighter we are beginning to question how we can. Check out these ideas so you don’t let your fitness slide along with the stock markets.

Exercise doesn’t have to be expensive. Truly all you need to move is you. Exercise can be accomplished using things you find in your everyday life. Are you looking ideas to keep working out but need something a little less posh? Try these out.

Use your body weight – push-ups, squats, pull-ups and all their variations can add overload without any fancy equipment.

Look in your pantry. Canned food and gallon jugs can effectively add resistance similar to a hand weight. Empty milk (or other liquid) jugs can be refilled to your needed weight so you can add more as you get stronger.

Use broom handles and a couple of chairs to create a modified pull up bar. This will allow you to lift only what you can rather than your whole body as in a traditional pull-up. In addition couches, chairs, ottomans can become “benches” for better range of motion.

Look for stairs around your house – they don’t have to be “real” stairs. Stools, rocks, stumps, etc all count if you have to step up to get on them. *safety note: you don’t want to be stepping too high – no more than 18 inches is plenty or so your knee and hip are perpendicular to the ground.

Kids are good for something! If they are small use them as weight – backpacks, strollers, and simple play can help you build your muscles. If they are older let them lead you in a fun game of tag or obstacle courses they love being the leaders. Teens may be willing to take a healthy lifestyle challenge with you with the bonus of building a closer relationship.

Invest simply in fitness equipment – rubber tubing, hand/ankle/wrist weights, a step, a ball, etc are versatile and inexpensive pieces that give a bit gain for little cost. The trick on equipment is – IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW CHEAP IT WAS IF YOU DON’T USE IT!

There are many ways you can continue fitness on the cheap. The trick is to get creative, think outside the box, and make sure you are being safe. As always discuss your new fitness routine with your healthcare person and remember to have a great time!

If you decided to build a home gym, comment below and tell us what you decided to use? What was your essential must have piece of equipment (it’s ok if that’s a milk jug!)

Like this article – read more: Try planning home workouts or Cardio Workouts Indoors for more ideas on working out at home.

Exercising Sore Muscles, Using Active Rest

We’ve all had those days when we wake up and know we did something active the day or two before. Delayed onset soreness isn’t uncommon but can affect how you feel about exercise, your body, and your fitness accomplishments. Exercising sore muscles can help. If you injured yourself during an activity but don’t need immediate medical care active rest can help, too but first some basic first aid can help.

The best thing is to train ahead of time. If you have failed to practice or train ahead of time there are some things you can do to get over those aches and pains with relatively little couch (whine) time. According to physical therapist Jim Rauzi, of the Center for Muscle and Joint Therapy in Superior, WI, “go for ice. You can usually do right by ice. Many people reach for heat because it feels good, however, heat keeps the injury bleeding which can cause more damage. You are better off to reach for ice if you need something right away. “

Follow R.I.C.E.: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It is important to understand how your injury is affected by movement. “Once you are able, you’ll want to follow immediate treatments with active rest,” says Rauzi.

Active rest means find movement you can do which does not affect the injured areas. If it feels ok, there is a school of thought and some research to support moving in the same pattern which created the soreness. In other words, if you are sore from walking, walk some. Use a slower pace and include stretching. Sorry, but it sounds like laying on the couch may not be the best alternative. You should get up and move, possibly do a little bit of stretching.

Whatever you decide to do it should not hurt more. It should help you feel better, and remember, this is not to treat or take the place of doctor’s advice, make sure you communicate with your health care professional.

Steps To Train For An Event

Are you one of those people who decides to do an event and spends the next few days on the couch whining about sore muscles and poor performance? We’d call you a weekend warrior! See last posting for more info on that, but if you want to feel great about your performance and know you did you best keep reading.

If you are preparing for an event think about what movements you must do to perform well in your activity. Maybe it is a 5k run, hit a home run, or par for the course. Maybe it’s a walk around your block, playing with the grandkids, or hiking with your children.
It is a great idea to train ahead of your event, outing, or race. You’ll be less likely to injure yourself and spend following days on the couch. Come to terms with where you are today in relation to where you were and move according to your current level.

Ø Practice movement patterns required by your event – break down your golf swing, run/walk, practice swimming strokes, etc

Ø Build up your endurance and speed – figure out how much time you have to train and incrementally increase your training to reflect how much time you have and how fast/long you want to complete the event at.

Ø Eat well – training isn’t just about exercise and movement. Eating right for an event gives your body the energy it needs to perform well. Hint: Eating right doesn’t just happen the day of or night before an event.

Ø Take breaks – your body needs time to rest while you are training. Make sure to take a day or two off (with active rest) each week.

Ø Be realistic in your goals – use your current fitness level and length of training time to determine realistically where you should finish. Choosing your high school track meet times may not be in your favor.

It is totally possible to compete at great levels as we age. Training and practice are a must – so once again I am telling you, “Get active, get in the gym, and get living”.

Learning To Balance

Balance is something many of us take for granted. Think about how you balance. Has anything ever taken away your balance? An injury or loss of hearing, sight, or a case of vertigo? Have you tried incorporating balance into your fitness training and noticed how much your core engages? Balance can be a great way to begin adding functional activity into your daily life.

Balance is learned. Many of us don’t remember learning because we were little when we learned to walk. If we can learn it, we can unlearn it, so we must keep doing it to keep our balance strong. Balance is done not only with the body, but the eyes and ears. If we lose a sense, we will have to adjust how we balance.
Start noticing when do you need to hold onto the railings, walls, things around you? Begin trying to hold on less. If you already have great balance begin incorporating unstable surfaces into your workouts, such as the BOSU, balance discs, and foam rollers.

Balance can be incorporated into many different movements, but my favorite way to teach balance is to have people brush their teeth while standing on one leg. Your body will adapt very quickly, as this is more a nervous system adaptation. Once you’ve got it on one leg move to your other. You may find you balance easier on one leg than the other. Each of us has a dominant side so it is normal to feel as though you are better at balancing or using one side or the other. By practicing balance on both sides of the body you are creating freedom to move.

More freedom in movement will translate into moving more, and you’ll be feeling great about your body’s ability to move. Once again, your body – absolutely amazing!

How to Stretch Effectively

Photo Credit: www.Sunlighten.com   

Many people fail to stretch because they just don’t know how. The basics of flexibility are easy and once you get them down begin adding them into all your workouts for maximum benefits. Stretching may seem mild in comparison to your normal workout but don’t forget to stretch your muscles will thank you.

When you begin flexibility training start slow. Begin by holding stretches for 15-30 seconds at the point you feel tension in the muscle. Do not bounce as you hold these stretches, you’ll run the risk of hurting muscle tissue. We have a built in response system for muscle tension, and bouncing can damage muscle tissue by moving it beyond the threshold too quickly. Stretch all muscles you worked.

Try foam rollers to help you relieve soreness and deepen your stretches.

Many times stretching can help soreness. There are many theories surrounding muscle soreness, but stretching seems to relieve it. Begin by moving around or taking a hot shower or bath, allowing blood to reach muscle tissue, stretch muscles that are sore using the above guidelines, and feel better.

Remember: 

Warm Up Your Muscles
Start Slow
Move to the Point of Tension
Hold for 15-30 Seconds
Repeat Stretches 2-3 Times Per Muscle Group
AND Don’t Ignore Your Flexibility Training!