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All Entries For exercises

Rise and Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning


One of the best ways to start your day in a healthy way is to take a moment to ground your thoughts by stretching and intentionally breathing.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in less than seven minutes to set your day on the right path.  
 
When you stretch deeply, you should always be warm.  So performing this series after a morning workout or after a hot shower is optimal. If you do it right out of bed, make sure you stretch more gently.  

Here are eight stretches to add to your morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded. These exercises cover all your major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day, including after your workouts.
Posted 4/11/2014  5:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 15 comments   30,449 views
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A Seriously FUN Full-Body Workout for Fall


Tired of the same old exercises? Are curls, raises, rows and squats no longer doing it for you? Fret not, fearless exerciser, for we have a fun workout that will change all of that!
 
These seven exercises require a little imagination but otherwise no equipment at all. You can do them outdoors, inside a tiny apartment or even on an empty soccer field. As a bonus, this is a workout that your kids will LOVE to do with you—because it feels more like play than exercise. So if you're a mom or dad who needs to squeeze in exercise on top of childcare responsibilities, this is a win-win-win. (The extra "win" is because your little one will become your accountability partner and will ask to do the whole routine with you again and again!)
Posted 10/28/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 20 comments   19,060 views
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Best & Worst Exercises for Arthritis


It might seem intuitive to avoid exercising your joints when they're causing you pain. But, like many aspects of the human body, what seems to make sense isn’t necessarily what's good for you! When you're suffering from arthritis, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to exercise. However, you must learn the right exercises to strengthen the muscles around your joints, and the best stretches to gain and maintain flexibility.
 
Here are the exercises that I prescribe for my patients with knee and hip arthritis. My patients have had great success with them, and I hope you do, too. 
Posted 9/12/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   8,965 views
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4 Effective Exercises for a Beach-Ready Butt


Whether you are curvy, muscular, or slim, chances are you want to have a swimsuit-ready backside, especially in the area where the buttocks meet the upper thigh (called the gluteal fold).  Strengthening this area can help lift, tighten and tone our bottoms.  But despite endless repetitions and time spent on toning this area, many women aren’t getting the results they want.  Why is it so difficult to strengthen and tone this key area? And what are the secrets to getting a strong and sculpted bottom?
 
For better or worse, I have become an expert on getting toned buttocks— mainly because my own backside needs constant toning to stay lifted and firm.  Many fitness experts and trainers seem to be born with airbrushed bodies.  On the other hand, I tell my clients I probably had cellulite when I was in diapers!  Even at my thinnest throughout my teens and 20’s my thighs were riddled with stubborn cellulite no matter how many butt toning exercises I did.  And believe me; I did every single one I could find every day.  It wasn’t until I started working out smarter, not harder that I finally saw the results.  Now I use Pilates and (ballet) barre techniques and each year, I get a little more lifted and toned.  You can’t ask for better than that, right?  I love sharing these tightening and toning techniques with other women—and hearing about your results!
Posted 6/24/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   20,822 views
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The 'Lose Your Love Handles' Workout


Love handles, the spare tire, the middle age spread: Call it what you will, but nobody likes having excess flab around the waistline (not even when we name it cute things like "muffin" top). And while you can target the oblique muscles located on the sides of your waist by doing specific toning exercises, doing tons of abs moves alone isn’t enough to shrink your waistline. Your best love handle melting strategy involves the same principles for losing weight anywhere on the body: eating better foods (and less in general), and performing both fat-burning cardio along with muscle-toning strength training.
 
But like any exercise program, you should cater your exercises to your specific goals. And if whittling your waistline is one of your goals, you should be doing exercises to help you reach it.
 
I designed this workout circuit to help you target your waistline in a smart way: by keeping your heart rate elevated to burn more calories than you would simply lying on the floor and doing crunches. You’ll alternate a cardio move that also targets your core with a traditional oblique toner for maximum benefit.
Posted 6/12/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 106 comments   948,634 views
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Your Excuse-Proof Workout Plan


Hey, we're all busy. But that’s no reason to let your workouts get away from you. Next time you feel like skimping on exercise to watch TV or meet your friends for Happy Hour remember this: It doesn't take much to get a great workout.
 
That's why I designed this excuse-proof workout. You can do this simple, 6-minute circuit anytime (it's whisper quiet), anywhere (no gym required) and without any equipment.  All that and it'll sculpt your body from head to toe, too.
Posted 6/3/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 40 comments   104,785 views
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The Towel Workout Makes Toning Easy!


There’s no need for special equipment for a great workout! A good old beach towel can be just as effective at working your muscles as dumbbells, resistance bands or expensive machines. Want proof? Meet "The Towel Workout."
 
All of these moves can be done with just a towel, which is great because you’ll probably need it to wipe up your sweat after you are done.
Posted 5/31/2013  12:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 42 comments   53,912 views
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6 Kettlebell Workout Routines


Just like fashion trends come and go, same can be said about workout trends. Hundreds of years ago Russian bodybuilders were using cannonball-like equipment for strength training. Little did they know then that their workouts would be turned into classes in gyms across the globe 300 years later. The reason kettlebell workouts are so popular is they provide strength training, cardio, balance and flexibility all in one short workout.

In the January 2011 issue of Fitness magazine, John Porcari, PhD, an exercise researcher at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, stated that "an intense 20-minute workout with kettlebells burned on average, an astonishing 400 calories, or 20 calories a minute."

Posted 5/27/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 91 comments   337,043 views
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Your Guide to Flat Abs


Many people want to have flat abs, but have trouble getting them. Attaining visible abdominal definition depends on a low body fat percentage that isn't realistic for many and your genetics plays a part of it as well, but that doesn't mean you can't work towards a goal of having a slimmer tummy. While you can't spot train or target where you lose fat, you can work on those muscles to help you achieve flatter abs and a strong core overall.

Posted 5/20/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 34 comments   74,901 views
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The Top 5 Exercises You're Doing Wrong


For some people, safety and form during a workout is a huge priority. For others, it's an afterthought. If you work out without the careful eyes of a trainer or instructor watching your every move, it can be difficult to know if you are exercising with proper form—even when you're really trying to.
 
Learning how to move with correct alignment isn't just about looking good; it can mean the difference between muscle activation and joint strain—or even injury.
 
Here are five exercises that are common—and may even seem simple—but are most often performed incorrectly by people of all fitness levels.
Posted 5/13/2013  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 38 comments   154,344 views
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8 Amazing Exercises for the TRX


If you haven't been in a gym recently you may be surprised to see trainers and fitness enthusiasts incorporating many new gadgets into their workout routines to help keep their training fresh and challenging. Having covered kettlebells, BOSU trainers and Body Bar workouts in previous Fitness Round-up blogs, now seemed an opportune time to introduce the TRX Suspension System.
Posted 5/10/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 34 comments   179,897 views
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10 Body-Weight Training Exercises You Can Do Anywhere


A few weeks ago I was reading through the message boards when I came across a post from Chris 'SparkGuy' Downie to a member who was asking about what type of strength training activities he could do without access to a gym or weight training equipment.  Chris did not let that deter him from offering some great recommendations of performing body-weight exercises--exercises such as push-ups and squats which can be done at home or when traveling when access to resistant training equipment is not at your disposal.

This gave me the idea to link examples of body-weight exercises for you to refer to as the busy holiday travel season rolls around. Hopefully you will can take this with you when traveling and access to weights or machines is not an option.
Posted 4/26/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 44 comments   218,559 views
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The 13 Best Yoga Poses for Runners


When I first started running, I thought for sure it would be a bad combination with yoga. Running is repetitive, it can be hard on the body, and it's fast.

After my first few runs, I felt sore and tight, despite my thorough stretching session afterwards. I spent all that time practicing yoga to loosen my muscles; it seemed silly to then tighten them up with one little run.

A few runs and a bit of research later, I changed my mind. Running and yoga complement each other quite well, and I don't need to end up sore and tight after my runs.

The breath control (pranayama) we practice in yoga actually helps me keep my breathing even when runs get tough, and it's especially helpful after a hard run. Plus, there is a certain peace that accompanies running (and walking). That repetitive motion allows your mind to clear, and the path that lies before allows your eyes to focus on the horizon. Add some motivating music, and you've got quite the relaxing and stress-relieving workout!

My friend Bob (BOBBYD31) SparkMailed me recently to ask about yoga. He's a runner and, like many of you, battles tight hips and hamstrings. He wanted to try yoga but wasn't sure where to start. I gave him some suggestions for DVDs and books--and did one better. I'm a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher, so I decided to create a routine for him and other runners to help them stretch out after a run and keep his muscles healthy and loose.

Here are a baker's dozen poses to help runners (and cyclists and walkers). Hold each pose for 5 breaths or longer if you'd like. You'll need a mat and a yoga block (or a chair) for these poses.

Posted 3/22/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 213 comments   183,394 views
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8 Hip Flexor Stretches and Exercises for Healthy Hips


If you are like me, you spend a large portion of your day sitting. And because of this, it isn't too uncommon for many of us to have tight hip flexors—the muscles responsible for flexing the hip or drawing the knees to your chest, as well as moving your legs front to back and side to side.

Your hip flexors are not a single muscle, but are actually a group of muscles which are comprised of the iliopsoas, the thigh muscles including the rectus femoris and sartorius, as well as the tensor fasciae latae, the inner thigh muscles including the adductor longus and brevis and finally the pectineus and gracilis.

Tight hip flexors are a common complaint amongst runners, too, due to the small, repetitive movement when running which can bring on injury if the muscles remain tight. If you suffer from tight hip flexors this may lead not only to hip pain, but lower back pain as well. Therefore, by doing stretches and exercises to help release the tension of the muscles, you may be able to prevent an injury from developing.

Posted 3/15/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 74 comments   1,321,197 views
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10 Exercises That Target the Triceps


Spring is around the corner, which means you'll be bringing your short sleeved and sleeveless tops out of storage in no time. Speaking of baring your arms: Are yours in tip-top shape? If not, you could help build strength and muscle tone in the most common problem area of the arms—the triceps—by adding some additional triceps exercises to your workout plan.
Posted 3/4/2013  6:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 24 comments   270,479 views
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