Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Comparison of Fabric for Exercise Clothing
The science of fitness clothing has come a long way from those baggy cotton sweatshirts and knit leg warmers of previous decades. Today, exercisers have a vast array of choices for workout fabrics, and choosing appropriate materials for a particular sport or purpose can be a difficult process.
Factors to Consider
The first factor to consider when purchasing new workout out clothes is the type of exercise you'll be doing. Sport-specific attire is designed take into account the types of movements that will be done and what type of fabric the wearer will need to stay comfortable and dry.
For yoga and stretching, polyester and spandex are good fabrics for allowing the exerciser to bend easily. For high-impact cardiovascular exercises like running and aerobics, moisture-wicking fabrics like nylon for staying dry while sweating.
About Moisture-Wicking Fabrics
While once the most commonly-worn exercise fabric, cotton absorbs moisture and can therefore become heavy and uncomfortable on the body once it becomes drenched in sweat. Today, athletes who want to stay dry during their workout have a wide variety of synthetic fabrics to choose from, including Nike Dri-FIT and Polartec PowerDry. In addition to the material itself, a chemical finish is often applied to moisture-wicking clothing in order to enhance its performance, allowing it to quickly draw moisture along its nonabsorbent fibers and transport it to the garment's exterior.
For outdoor sports, staying cool in the heat or staying warm in the cold are important to maximizing one's performance. One type of high-performance cooling fabric, COOLMAX, uses moisture-wicking technology to draw moisture away from the skin and keep the wearer dry and comfortable, but in addition it is specifically designed to be light and breathable for warmer- weather workouts.
For cold weather, synthetic fibers like Polartec Thermal Pro create air pockets that trap air and retain body heat, providing warmth without being too heavy on the body. In addition to insulating the body, many of these thermal garments are sprayed with a water repellent finish that helps sheild the wearer from rain and snow.
While the use of Spandex has been used for decades with the purpose of comfort during bending and stretching activities, newer technology has allowed stretchable fabric to find a whole new market in compression clothing. Using a special knitting process and fabric, compression sleeves can improve circulation during and after physical activity to help alleviate stiff, sore muscles and hasten muscle recovery. The sleeves stimulate blood flow, helping to reduce lactic acid build-up and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Balancing Fitness With a Busy Life
Dad, can you skip the gym today and spend time with us instead? (This is for mother's too)
If you're in a similar situation -- constantly going at full speed while trying to be productive at work, spend quality time with your family and make progress in the gym -- you're probably beginning to feel that something has to give. And you're right. As hard as we try, it's just not possible to achieve everything every day. But experience -- and science -- has taught me something else: Contrary to what you might have heard, you don't need to spend hours every day in the gym to get results. By modifying the way you work out and manage your time, you actually can achieve more than you thought you could.
When time is limited, go for maximal intensity through some sort of interval training. Or use some sort of strength complex or circuit. Modify the number of repetitions you perform for each set, decrease the rest period between sets, and incorporate compound movements or even increase the amount of weight you lift. You'll burn calories not only while you're working out, but also after you've left the gym. As your strength endurance increases, you can go through the circuit two to four times.
Monday, February 25, 2013
GET BACK TO BASICS
Every year, millions of people make very specific commitments to improve a variety of aspects of their lives, and studies show that over 90% give up their New Year’s resolutions within the first 30 days. While there are many reasons for this, the bottom line is that the complexities of accomplishing their goals end up overwhelming their ability to succeed. The sad thing is that most of those complexities are easily manageable through sound and simple strategies that properly align motivation, education, and capabilities as simply as possible.
When your body learns how to move as intended, your posture dramatically changes, exercise becomes significantly more effective, and you will feel better than you've ever thought possible. Learning to move well is easier for some than others, but it’s worthwhile for everybody. I have seen the positive effects of this on everyone. By focusing on building a strong Foundation before moving further in exercise, you will be giving yourself a huge advantage, particularly if you are experiencing chronic back, knee, and/or hip pain. Time to get back to basics!
Friday, February 22, 2013
13 Strategies to Stay Fit During Stressful Times (13 of 13)
Work out at home with the equipment you have at hand.
Exercise may be tough to fit into a busy day, but outfitting your home gym is easier than you think. Your home gym can be as lavish (mega-machines and expensive cardio equipment) or as simple (a good pair of athletic shoes) as you like and, for the budget-minded, it doesn't have to cost a thing.
Making Your Own Weights
Whether you're outfitting a home gym or traveling, there are a variety of things you can use as dumbbells such as:
• Full Soup Cans. These are great for lighter weights. Some larger cans weigh up to a pound (or more) and could be used for upper body exercises.
• Full Water Bottles. A large water bottle (say around 33.8 fluid ounces) can give you a little more than 2 pounds when full of water. Fill it with sand, rocks or change and you get even more weight.
• Computer Bags or Small duffel bags. My husband carries around a small computer bag so stuffed, it weighs about 10 pounds. Because computer bags usually have handles, these can be great for exercises like bicep curls, lateral raises or one-armed rows. Small duffel bags with handles can be filled with books and used for lower body exercises like squats, lunges and deadlifts.
• Milk or Orange Juice Jugs. Save your old milk jugs and fill them with sand, change or water for weights with ready-made handles
• PVC Pipes. I had one client who filled PVC pipes with sand, capping them off with duct tape to avoid spillage. This is a great idea since PVC pipes come in all shapes and sizes, many of which fit perfectly in your hand.
• Tennis balls and cans. Shawn Keith, certified personal trainer, recommends filling tennis balls and tennis cans with sand or change for some great handheld weights.
Most of these materials can be found around your house or at your local hardware store. If you're not into making weights yourself, there are some other alternatives for finding cheap equipment.
Thursday, February 21, 2013
13 Strategies to Stay Fit During Stressful Times (12 of 13)
Tell yourself you'll work out for ten minutes
If finding excuses to skip workouts made us fitter, we'd all be triathletes. We've robbed it of any joy. We've transformed it from a natural, stress-relieving activity to something we have to schedule, plan, and create goals for. In other words: another form of stress. First you have to realize that there are two types of energy—physical and mental—and that they feed off each other. Chances are, you're mentally tired from sitting at your job all day, and you need to get your blood circulating to rev your engine again. Grant yourself permission to call it quits if you're still slogging after 10 full minutes. Eventually, you'll make the connection that feeling tapped out means you need to move more, not less.
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