Best Exercises At Home

While I always advocate working out with your trainer and scheduling an appointment at the gym, sometimes you simply don’t have the window of opportunity to get there and workout, but you do have that extra hour to workout at home. Here are the best exercises at home for those days you simply don’t have the time to make it to the gym. I’ll keep it simple, since most of you won’t have equipment at home. However, if you choose one piece of equipment that travels and stores well, while also being inexpensive, consider resistance bands and a yoga mat, so you don’t have to lay on the floor.

Go back to the basis.

The basics include body weight exercises and the makings of a boot camp. Start with squats, do as many as you can and add five more as your ultimate goal. Push ups, walking lunges, plank and jumping jacks are next. If you don’t have resistance bands or dumbbells, use large laundry detergent containers filled with water, milk jugs, kitty litter buckets or even large cans as weights. You may already know the weight you need or can judge how much water to fill it with by your effort.

Do interval training.

Getting done quickly may or may not be your goal, but either way, High Intensity Interval Training—HIIT— is excellent. You’ll need a slightly lighter weight for interval training to help ensure that you maintain proper form. Use dumbbell lunges with a twist, pushups, step ups while holding weights and bent over lateral raise as your strength exercises. Do a strength training exercises for one minute, quickly move to 30 seconds of jump squats or mountain climbers. If you need to rest between sets, don’t rest longer than 15 seconds.

Don’t forget walking more.

You can get your chores completed and get exercise at the same time if you’re mindful of working out. A pedometer will help. These little tips can help year around, even if you’re working out at the gym regularly. Take the stairs and not the escalator or elevator. Don’t even try to get on the escalator and walk up or you’ll be disappointed by a few people who won’t share your enthusiasm for stair climbing. Carry your packages yourself and don’t take a cart to the car. Park further from the store and walk more. Put on the music and dance your way to a cleaner house. Not only will you get the job done faster, you’ll enjoy it more.

  • Talk to your personal trainer to get ideas for exercise combinations you can do at home. HIIT training is quick and effective. Using exercises from your normal workout ensures you know the proper form.
  • You don’t have to workout a full session all at once. You can break the workout down to several sessions that are at least 10 minutes long.
  • Incorporate dance into your workout. Not a slow dance, but one that gets you moving. Plan your routine first, to put your whole body into the moves. Create a song playlist that motivates and invigorates.
  • Get the family involved. Make exercising a game to do with the kids. You can also exercise with your partner to make it more fun. Of course, schedule a time or add an impromptu workout rather than waiting for the right time, which may never come.

Dance To Workout

Too often people think they have to go to the gym and do a specific routine to get the benefit of exercise. While a focused routine specifically to address your deficiencies and needs is important, you can get exercise other ways too. After all, exercise is one means to get you healthy enough to live an active lifestyle. Many of my clients come to workout three times a week with me, but on other days, they participate in hobbies and pastimes that get their blood pumping. They don’t consider it as exercise, even though it is, but as the reason they exercise. You can do any type of activity, but I find that when you dance to workout, you get huge benefits you might not expect, no matter what type of dance you choose.

Dancing is a good cardio exercise.

While running for the same amount of time as dancing will burn more calories and bring greater cardio benefits, dancing is still good. In fact, it’s better than jogging. If you took a 30-minute dance workout class, it would burn anywhere between 130 and 250 calories, which is approximately the same as dancing. The difference comes in the actual amount of exercise you get. If you go to a dance club and dance every song in the set, staying standing between songs, you’ll get at least 40 minutes of workout for each set. That’s far more time working out than you’d get in a dance workout and probably more than you’d be able to tolerate jogging. It’s also just one hour of the normal time spent in a club.

Dancing improves your flexibility and range of motion.

When you dance, you’re training your muscle groups to do specific types of movements. The movements may be repetitive, but often they’re not and encourage the muscles to work in a number of different ways. It’s important to stretch your muscles before you dance. Of course, you have to try new things and work toward a more difficult level of dance. The longer you dance, the more you’ll notice that you can stretch further and further. If you’ve ever watched a dancer and thought, “Wow, I can’t do that and if I did, I would hurt forever.” The truth is that you can’t do that right now, but with continued practice, anything is possible.

You don’t have to go to a dance club or a gym to dance.

One of the best parts of dancing is that you can do it anywhere. If the weather is too hot to run or rainy, you can turn on the music and dance in the living room. If you’re too tired to start a run, sometimes turning on the music and moving to the music is far easier. Music provides the incentive to move that is more powerful than the thought of jogging through the neighborhood. In fact, just 15 minutes of dancing can get your blood flowing and prepare you for your morning run.

  • Dancing improves muscle strength and can help prevent osteoporosis, since it’s a good weight bearing exercise.
  • Dancing can burn calories and be part of your weight management program.
  • There are many types of dancing, each with its own benefits. For instance, ballet focuses on muscle strength and flexibility, while fast dancing to popular music or salsa dancing may provide more aerobic benefits.
  • No matter what age you are, you can dance. Even slow dancing provides a great deal of exercise, particularly for those who are out of shape.

Daily Workouts Remind You That You’re Creating A Better You

Life is really all about how you look at things. If you dread your daily workouts, you’ll find them increasingly difficult to get through and even harder to get started. However, if you focus on the positive side and think about the fact they’re creating a better you, it can make a huge difference in your desire to workout and the effort you put into that workout. Keeping focused on the strength you’re building, the final outcome and how good you’ll feel when you’ve finished the workout can make it all worthwhile.

Daily workouts don’t have to be in the gym.

Most people often spend only three to four days each week working out in this almost formalized workout setting. That’s good, but it doesn’t mean you should be a couch potato the rest of the week, lounging in front of the TV. Learning to live a more active lifestyle is what really keeps you fit. It doesn’t have to be a daily walk or run as your workout. Dance through the house while you’re cleaning, take the stairs instead of the elevator, tackle a home project that takes more energy than money to finish. All these things will keep you fit and remind you why a daily workout is good. You’ll get less tired and finish your tasks quicker.

Make sure you measure your progress for the biggest boost to your workout.

As a trainer, I track your progress so I know when to make the workout harder. However, if you’re looking for motivation, track progress at home, but do it differently. I have one client that decided to use physical tasks to improve his fitness. His first task was remodeling the spare “junk” room to create a usable space. It involved several weeks of going up and down ladders, carrying supplies, lifting and basically working out for several hours at a time. He logged how long he could work before requiring a rest. As that project finished and he started the next, he told me it was a real inspiration to finally go an hour and a half without feeling the need for a break.

Watch your complexion improve and bask in the compliments.

While daily exercise can help you tone your muscles and lose weight, it also has many other benefits. One of those is an improved complexion. Boosting your circulation comes with many benefits, including great benefits for skin. It sends oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all parts of the body, including the skin. That makes it healthier. It also helps flush away debris through sweat and clean your skin from the inside, making you look more youthful and also helping with adult acne. It gives you a glow that can make you look years younger.

  • You’ll have more energy and feel fantastic at the end of the day.
  • Even if your day is stressful, exercising regularly can be a great stress buster and leave you feeling good again. That also helps keep you more youthful looking and healthy.
  • You’ll think faster. If you find yourself slowing down when it comes to mental tasks, start exercising. You’ll be amazed at how much it improves the mind.
  • Daily tasks become far easier when you workout regularly. When you add up all the benefits of exercise and keep them in mind, it should make it easier to go to the gym or take a quick walk when you have the extra time.

Build A Standing Desk

Increasing your exercise helps reduce the risk of serious diseases and also helps you shed pounds faster. If you’re like many people in our country, your job is at a desk and often on the computer. It’s important to take frequent breaks to walk a bit and improve blood flow, but that’s not always possible, especially if you’re on a big project. The alternative is to have a standing desk. The best is one that converts from sitting to standing very quickly. Some of these are quite costly and the expense may not be justified by the benefits you receive. However, it doesn’t take much to build a standing desk and if you’re handy, you can even build one that is suitable for both standing and sitting.

How tall should it be?

You want the desk to be tall enough so that when you’re using your best posture, standing up straight, you can look at the screen and easily see the top third of it, since most of the time, that’s where your eyes are focused. It’s as though an imaginary line is drawn from your eyes straight to the screen top. If you hold your arms to your sides and bend them at the elbow to 90 degrees you should be able to lightly touch the keyboard.

Building a standing desk doesn’t have to be a complicated project.

If you want a simple project that costs under $60, a few pieces of wood, a reclaimed door or large piece of plywood, two saw horses, some paint, nails and a bit of effort can create a great standing desk that has the industrial décor look. The saw horses become the legs for the desk and the door or plywood is the top. The extra wood is to create shelves in the legs of the saw horse for storage. You can get a chair that is taller for the desk for those times you just need to take a break from standing or have more intense work that requires total focus.

Try a table on the wall.

A great idea that’s relatively inexpensive, just about the cost of dinner for two at an average restaurant, about $20. build a small table to go onto your desk. You need wall shelf brackets and wide shelving or premade desktops. Identify the ideal height of your standing desk. Measure twice (or more) to insure it’s the proper height. Screw in the shelf brackets and put on the desktop without permanently attaching it. Use a level to ensure it’s level and then attach it permanently. It takes less than an hour and costs very little. You can put this shelf above your regular desk.

  • Use an Ikea lackside table for a tabletop desk. Simply use brackets to attach a Viktor shelf for the keyboard. It works best if you have two monitors and a program to switch the two.
  • Check out one of the top shelves of a book case. This would require moving the monitor and keyboard and is best if you have a laptop.
  • Scott Rumschlag has created plans for a wooden convertible standing table that uses counterweights. You have to be handy in the shop to create it, but with perseverance anything is possible. It costs about $30 to make.
  • You may be tempted just to stack up some books for the monitor to set on and a stack for the keyboard. It’s okay to use to find the height for a project and maybe test it for a few days, but too wobbly over the long haul. You’re better off spending the $20-$30 dollars to see if you like a standing desk.

Eating Disorders And Working Out

There are good and bad correlations with eating disorders and working out. The negative aspect of the duo occurs when exercising becomes obsessive and is accompanied by orthorexia. Just because you exercise every day, it doesn’t mean you suffer from this condition. Orthorexia is a compulsion to avoid eating certain foods to the point, the person may only have a few food choices left. It’s an eating disorder that takes healthy eating and healthy exercise miles beyond the point of healthy. On the other hand, regular exercise has been found helpful for those with anorexia and certain types of eating disorders.

When have you crossed the threshold from healthy to compulsive?

It’s tough to know when you’re just dedicated and when exercise has become a compulsion. Just like anorexia and orthorexia, working out to excess gives the person suffering from it a feeling of control over their life. There’s no actual number you can put on how much is too much, because an Olympic athlete is going to workout beyond the normal amount of time. For the person with a problem, it means putting exercise ahead of everything in your life to a point it becomes unhealthy, both for the body and mind. It means shunning other social activities you used to love. People who suffer from it often workout even though they have a high fever or have pulled muscles. It is truly an obsession, where, regardless of the circumstances, you workout two, three or more hours each and every day.

When exercising is a social outlet, you probably don’t suffer from an obsession.

People with a compulsion to overdo in the area of exercise and feign healthy eating by eliminating most foods from their diet often don’t socialize. They may take up running and other solitary types of workouts, such as running, but keep themselves separated from a workout community, like we have here. Remember, it’s a compulsion and people tend to shun socialization. In fact, one study found that exercising can be beneficial to help prevent eating disorders and overcome them.

Exercise provides other benefits than just weight loss and strong muscles.

Exercise boosts self-image and can help lift depression. One study at the University of Florida shows that it actually might be beneficial for those at risk of eating disorders. For years, doctors felt that exercise could be harmful, but in many cases, it’s quite the opposite. According to the study, which used 539 students of average weight, the psychological effects of working out actually helped prevent eating disorders and could be part of the treatment.

– Whether it’s eating healthy or working out, anything can be taken to extremes.

– When you work with a personal trainer, the trainer can help provide you with a healthy workout schedule and identify the physical symptoms of over-exercising.

– If you’ve suffered from anorexia or any other eating disorder in the past, let your trainer know before he or she creates your workout. Group workouts, strength training and yoga can be far more beneficial than solitary exercising, such as running.

– If you’ve had eating disorders in the past, watch for the signs of compulsion when you start a workout program. Working out when ill, starving yourself on days you don’t workout, increasing your workout time continually and frequent injuries should alert you to the potential of a problem.

Depression And Health

When you talk about depression and health, you’re talking about a combination that normally are found together. When you are ill, sometimes the first symptom is a feeling of depression. In fact, some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, lupus, HIV/AIDS, MS and hypothyroidism can cause depression, which is why you should always get a physical if depression is long standing or particularly severe. Depression can also lead to some of those same diseases or aggravate it and make it worse.

Depression is more than just feeling sad for a reason.

The loss of a loved one, loss of a job and even moving can make you feel depressed, but it’s not the same as depression. It’s natural to feel sad when you encounter a loss in life, but even that type of depression can lead to a weakened immune system. How many times have you heard of an elderly person losing a spouse, only to die themselves within six months? It’s not coincidental that it happens. Depression causes stress and stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol, which affect the immune system and other parts of the body.

Fight depression with exercise.

One study gave a group of depressed individuals a proven anti-depressive medication and the other group a placebo, but included exercise into the study. The improvement on each group was identical, with the group exercising’s only side effect being weight loss and improved health. Another study conducted in 2005 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, noted that just 30 minutes five days a week for 12 weeks, reduced depression symptoms by almost half.

Depression limits the brain’s adaptability and limits neurotransmitters in the brain.

Depression locks the brain into a loop of negativity. Exercise tells to brain to boost the efficiency of neurotransmitters by boosting the BDNF— brain-developed neurotrophic factor—which helps the neurotransmitters function better. It also builds new neuropathways and improves brain plasticity, which means it helps brain cells grow.

– Healthy eating can also help reverse the effects of depression. Omega3 fatty acids from fish or nuts, Vitamin B complex from leafy greens and eggs, Vitamin D and tryptophen from dairy and other sources and selenium from Brazil nuts and walnuts help. Cashews and cashew butter also helps.

– Exercise and healthy eating can also prevent weight gain that often accompanies depression and leads to further depression. It can also help with weight loss, which boosts self-image and helps decrease depression.

– Exercise stimulates the creation of dopamine and other hormones in the brain that make you feel good right after working out for a boost, even though it’s not permanent.

– Getting adequate sleep helps reduce depression. Unfortunately, depressed people often have insomnia. Exercising can help you sleep better.

Back To School Health

Back to school health starts with getting everyone back on the school schedule for sleeping, waking and meals. It’s insuring that all immunizations are all up-to-date and if physicals are necessary, they’re completed. It means the active times of summer are finished and it’s time to sit focused in the classroom. Whether you’re a working parent or a stay-at-home one, it can all add up to extra work and planning to insure the good health of all family members, including parents.

Planning is important.

Insuring adequate sleep and good nutrition is of primary importance. The first comes with adjusting sleep schedules. About two weeks before school starts, it’s time to start setting bedtime earlier by increments for everyone whose schedule is changing. If going to school means rising two hours earlier, adjusting bedtime a half hour every three or four days and getting up earlier will help reset the internal clock. Stick with the same schedule on weekends, just as you should throughout the year. It helps stabilize the Circadian rhythm.

Check the school lunch program.

Even though there are many changes to make school lunches healthier, it’s hard to standardize requirements when one child may be the perfect weight at 70 pounds, while another is just right at 120. Each one requiring a different amount of nutrients and calories. Some programs use prepackaged foods with lots of processing and additives. You can check the menu and supplement with nutritious snacks for mid morning and have snacks ready in the refrigerator for after school.

Make sure the kids get physical.

Going from an active summer lifestyle to all day in the classroom decreases the amount of exercise each week. Create activities for the family on weekends that increase the time, whether it’s going for a walk, riding bikes together or shooting hoops in the driveway. Check for after school activities to help burn off the pent up energy and stress from the school day. It might not seem like it, but school can be stressful no matter what the child’s age. Create a chore list that requires physical exertion on the child’s part, whether raking the lawn or sweeping the floors, every little bit counts.

– Get the kids to help you make snacks and meals. It helps them learn how to choose food wisely, encourages healthy eating and can be fun.

– Get up earlier in the morning and walk your children to school, if possible. Both you and your kids will benefit from the extra exercise. It helps boost the brain power for the day.

– Limit online and TV time. Computer games may be fun, but they aren’t developing a healthier child.

– Reinforce the rules of healthy hygiene, such as emphasizing washing hands after using the bathroom.

Reasons To Workout Even When You’re Older

workout when olderToo often people nearing or past retirement give up on staying fit, or never bothered to attempt it in the first place. They don’t realize that you need to workout even when you’re older or that it’s never too late to begin. The body is a beautiful machine that, unlike other types of machines, heals itself. It does need help however, and that help comes from eating healthy and staying active.

Never give up.

Sometimes, no matter how healthy you try to be, things happen. It may be genetic or even a freak accident that causes an injury or illness. That’s when your pure determination can help. People who have lived a healthy lifestyle even find good health temporary, but they also have avoided some of the risks. It’s never too late to start, even if you’ve had a serious condition. You can help the body to heal and reduce the risk of complications by adopting a can-do attitude.

Exercise is just one of the keys to living healthier and longer.

Exercise boosts your natural antioxidants and improves overall circulation. The quicker you start any type of exercise, the faster you’ll improve. One physician said that if the benefits of exerciser were in a pill, it would be more popular than any now available. It helps improve the muscles, ligaments, blood, tendons and bones. It increases the production of collagen to heal wounded tissue. One study at Ohio State University in Columbus showed that people over 55 healed faster when following a program of exercise. The key is to get moving, any way you can.

Eat healthier.

The older you get, the more important healthier eating becomes. The body doesn’t seem to process foods as well and even if your diet is the same as it was in your 20s, you may not be absorbing as many nutrients. Adding herbs and spices to foods not only enhances the flavor, but can also improve the nutrition. Turmeric, for example, is a known anti-inflammatory that can help arthritis and even Alzheimer’s. Rosemary helps the heart and garlic seems to help everything…plus keeps vampires at bay.

– Osteoporosis can be delayed and may be reversed by strength building and weight bearing exercise. These also reverse the effects of muscle tissue loss.

– Exercise helps you look younger. It stimulates the production of collagen to prevent an aging look. For a more youthful appearance, run to the store, but not to pick up the latest collagen face cream, but to get in the exercise your body deserves.

– Exercise helps reduce the risk of serious diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporsis and heart disease. It burns off the hormones created by stress.

– A program of regular exercise will keep you looking and feeling younger. It adds bounce to your step and boosts your energy level.

Is There Such A Thing As Healthy Slimming Fat?

healthy fatsYou’ll often read about a single discovery that suddenly makes everyone switch to the next super food or condemn a specific food. Fat is one of that received the most condemnation. Everyone suddenly got on the “eliminate fat train” and forgot that healthy slimming fat is part of the group. In order to understand the condemnation of fat and why some is good, you have to know there are all types of fat.

Saturated fat versus unsaturated fat in the war for good health.

The two main categories of fat include saturated and unsaturated. Within those groups, there are even further divisions. Unsaturated fat tends to be the heroes of good health with the saturated fats playing the foes. Unsaturated fat includes Omega3 fatty acids, which are the true heroes of healthy eating. It’s a poly unsaturated fat. The best way to get this is eating fatty fish, such as salmon, but you can also get it from flaxseed and walnuts. Monounsaturated fight right along with the polyunsaturated fats to help you keep healthier and are in foods like olive oil, cashew, avocados and pumpkin seeds. Bad fats, such as transfat and some saturated fats definitely aren’t your friend. The worst of the worst is artificial trans fats that were popular because human engineering gave them a longer shelf life.

When you eat healthy fat, it actually helps you lose weight in a number of ways.

While a diet solely of healthy fats, such as cashews and avocados, would be disastrous and leave you malnourished, mixing in healthy fat with your diet can help you shed those extra pounds. Healthy fat leaves you feeling full, but doesn’t add all the calories that it would take for carbohydrates to leave you feeling satiated. It also doesn’t raise the insulin levels.

Your body can burn fat more efficiently when you have healthy fat available.

A diet lower in fat reduces the production of the hormones adipokines. One of those, adiponectin, helps your body metabolize fat and increases the rate that it breaks down fat. Since the goal is to burn fat, you want to maintain higher levels. A low or no fat diet lowers the level, making it harder to shed those extra pounds. In fact, one study shows that a low or no fat diet actually made people fatter.

– A diet that has adequate monounsaturated fat can actually lower the potential for fat building in the abdominal area and help eliminate belly fat.

– Healthy fat is not only good for weight loss, it’s brain healthy too. Many sources of healthy fat also are nutrient rich, making it a healthy option for all parts of the body.

– You’ll get a boost of energy without all the extra calories from healthy foods that are sources of good fat.

– A study from the British Journal of Nutrition published in 2009 found that people who had the highest consumption of unsaturated fatty acid also had lower BMIs. They had limited belly fat too.

Boost Your Brain While You’re Building Your Body

boost brain powerIf you want to boost your brain power, taking classes and keeping mentally active is a start. Studies show that people with a good social life and those who are mentally active have a lower chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s. But the brain is more than just a storage area for facts, it’s a living organ and like all other organs in the body, needs adequate nutrition. What you eat and regular exercise play a huge role in getting and delivering those nutrients to the brain for better brain health.

You’ll think clearer if you spend active time.

You’ll not only feel better if you’re active each day, you’ll think better too. Exercise stimulates the blood flow to the brain. It helps prevent the build up of plaque in that slows or blocks the nutrients from reaching it and can cause the brain cells to slowly die. Getting some exercise every day, whether it’s a workout in the gym or a walk through the park, can help keep the blood flowing and prevent the buildup of plague in the arteries.

Fight off mental decline.

While participating in mental activities, no matter what age in life it was done, made a 14 percent difference in the amount of mental decline faced by seniors, physical activity played a bigger role. Physical activity slowed brain changing diseases such as stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s. People who were more active in their senior years showed a slower rate of decline compared to the average by 32%. Those who were most sedentary increased their decline from dementia by 48%.

Feeding your brain keeps it functioning at its best.

Just like diet affects the body, it affects the mind. When you eat for your brain, you need to include a certain amount of fat. Most people actually fear eating fat, but healthy fat is important. Sorry, you won’t find that kind of healthy fat in a bag of fries. It comes from a good balance of Omega3 and Omega6 fatty acids, mono and poly unsaturated fat found in oily fish like salmon, avocados, nuts, whole eggs, olive oil and coconut oil. You need to include nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin K and vitamin C, as well as calcium, magnesium and zinc can help brain power. Don’t expect to just take a pill. The body needs phyto nutrients that are only found in whole foods. Spices, such as turmeric, have been found to be anti-inflammatory and can prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer’s.

– Exercise burns off the hormones create by stress that can leave you depressed and make you sick. These hormones also slow the functioning of the brain. It replaces them with ones that make you feel good again.

– While staying active is important, so is sleep. A good night’s sleep clears away the cobwebs and lets you process the memories of the day.

– For a healthy brain, make sure you drink an adequate amount of water daily. Dehydration can lead to symptoms of dementia that are reversed with increased fluids. The brain is about 73% water.

– High blood sugar levels lead to damage in the area of the brain that performs memory functions, the hippocampus. Keeping blood sugar levels in check is done with exercise and diet.