- Hi, I'm Erin. Thanks for checking out my blog! Follow me as I attempt to manage life as a working mom of two small children while eating healthy, exercising regularly and running the occasional half marathon.
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Tag Archives: Fitness
WooHoo! It’s Friday!
As we approach the end of yet another busy week, I encourage you to take full advantage of TODAY’S CHALLENGE and….
According to the Mayo Clinic (via About.com Physical Therapy) the top five benefits of stretching include:
INCREASED FLEXIBILITY AND JOINT RANGE OF MOTION
Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes, or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Flexibility tends to diminish as you get older, but you can regain and maintain it.
Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Blood flowing to your muscles brings nourishment and gets rid of waste by-products in the muscle tissue. Improved circulation can help shorten your recovery time if you’ve had any muscle injuries.
Frequent stretching can help keep your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain a proper posture. Good posture can minimize discomfort and keep aches and pains at a minimum.
Stretching relaxes tight, tense muscles that often accompany stress.
Maintaining the full range-of-motion through your joints keeps you in better balance. Coordination and balance will help keep you mobile and less prone to injury from falls, especially as you get older.
It is essential to practice proper stretching techniques. Doing so will allow you to avoid any unnecessary injury. Tips to proper stretching technique include the following:
WARM UP FIRST
Stretching muscles when they’re cold increases your risk of pulled muscles. Warm up by walking while gently pumping your arms, or do a favorite exercise (jogging, cycling) at low intensity for five minutes.
HOLD EACH STRETCH FOR AT LEAST 30 SECONDS
It takes time to lengthen tissues safely. Hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds — and up to 60 seconds for a really tight muscle or problem area. That can seem like a long time, so wear a watch or keep an eye on the clock to make sure you’re holding your stretches long enough. For most of your muscle groups, if you hold the stretches for at least 30 seconds, you’ll need to do each stretch only once.
Bouncing as you stretch can cause small tears (microtears) in the muscle, which leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. The scar tissue tightens the muscle even further, making you even less flexible — and more prone to pain.
FOCUS ON A PAIN-FREE STRETCH
If you feel pain as you stretch, you’ve gone too far. Back off to the point where you don’t feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
RELAX AND BREATHE EASY
Don’t hold your breath while you’re stretching
STRETCH BOTH SIDES
Make sure your joint range of motion is as equal as possible on each side of your body
STRETCH BEFORE AND AFTER ACTIVITY
Light stretching after your warm-up followed by a more thorough stretching regimen after your workout is your best bet
Here are some great stretches you can do everyday to help increase your flexibility for a healthier lifestyle:
Have a great weekend!
Welcome to Week 2 of the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!
How did Week 1 go? Are you drinking your water? Thinking about planning another weeks worth of meals? I sure hope so! Establishing healthy habits takes time and effort – stick with it and you will be on you way to improved health and happiness!
So, TODAY’S CHALLENGE will once again be the focus to the upcoming week – here it is…
Complete 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, moderate physical activity is good for you. Walking, jogging, biking, swimming, dancing and participating in a group exercise class for just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is enough to experience the following health benefits:
- Better health.
- More energy.
- Reduced stress.
- Stronger bones.
- Better balance, strength, suppleness and mobility.
- Improved sleep.
- Improved body shape.
- Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Make or meet friends.
- A sense of achievement.
- More independence in later life.
Check out this infographic for more great information on the benefits of just 30 minutes of physical activity a day!
Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem difficult at first, however, with proper planning and prioritizing, I know you can make it work!
1. Close an activity you enjoy at a time that is convenient for you – that way you are more likely to stick with it!
2. Schedule your workouts – actually write them into your agenda and treat your workouts like important meetings!
3. Break things up if you have to. You don’t have to do all your exercise at one time. Shorter but more frequent sessions have aerobic benefits too. Fifteen minutes of exercise a couple of times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session.
4. Involve friends and family. As well as being more sociable, you will be able to motivate each other when one of you loses momentum.
5. Get tech-y – there are literally hundreds of apps and gadgets you can use to help keep track of your workouts. A few I really like are RunKeeper, Moves Fitness Tracker, and Nike + . All three of these apps track distance traveled, time, pace, calories burned, and more. Having a log of your progress is a great way to stay motivated!
Remember, start slowly and build up gradually. Exercise should raise your heart rate and feel like hard work but it shouldn’t hurt. There’s nothing wrong with having sore muscles the day after you have exercised as long as it doesn’t prevent you from getting on with your day.
Smile, laugh, be happy and be active! Remember, some activity is better than none!