Tag: Stretching

ABCs + Exercises = Get Moving!

ABCs + Exercises = Get Moving!

I thought it would be fun to do something a little different this week that would be creative, a little out of the ordinary, and something that family and kids, couples, and people of all ages can enjoy together!  In honor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign and to pay tribute to Heart Health Month it seemed appropriate to put together an “ABCs of Exercises” to get people moving this month and throughout 2015!  So, here are some exercise ideas to get you going!

A:  Ab workout

B: Biking, Basketball, Bicycle Crunches

C: Crunches, Canoeing

D: Dancing

E: Equestrian – Ride horses!

F: Football

G: Game night w/ a twist – do exercises in-between games and snack breaks!

H: Hiking

I: Ice skating

J: Jumping jacks, Jogging

K: Kayaking

L: Lunges

M: Make a fort, make a tunnel, or make something creative outside!

N: Natural surroundings, use your imagination in your neighborhood to play outside.

O: Open Air — because I love fresh air and being outside!  Run, jog, walk, hike, the possibilities are endless!

P: Push-ups, Paddle boat

Q: Quick run

R: Racquetball, Running

S: Squats, Soccer, Skiing, Stretching, Swimming

T: Tennis

U: Ultimate frisbee

V: Volleyball

W: Weights/Weight training, Walking

X: X-treme water park? It’s X…give me a break, there aren’t too many options with X!

Y: Yoga, Yard work

Z: Zoo outing might be an option as long as it involves some walking, of course!

Happy exploring, playing, and moving!  Find your interests and hobbies and use those along with your imagination and creativity to come up with activities that you can enjoy all while moving!


Conquer the first 5 minutes of your workout!

Conquer the first 5 minutes of your workout!

Sometimes starting your workout is the hardest part of your actual workout.  You may be tired from work or overwhelmed by all the things on your “to do” list.  There are three small tips/tricks that I use each day that might help you conquer starting your workout and make you feel better: 1) Eat an energy snack no more than two hours before your workout.  2) Look at working out as a challenge each day that you will accomplish. 3) Warm up – conquer your first 5 minutes to find your rhythm and get your heart rate up.

I find that eating an energy snack one to two hours before my workout is a great way to fuel my workout and give me that extra dose of energy that I need to make my workout more enjoyable, push me to my limit, and make it less exhausting.  Eating my energy snack two hours prior to my workout works best for me, but I suggest you find a time that works best for you based on your schedule, routine, and body.  My pre-workout snack might be carrots and cucumbers, almonds, craisins, apple slices, rice cake snacks, or an almond/dark chocolate chip/craisin trail mix.

I am a disciplined and dedicated person once I set my mind to something so I love to look at my workout as a new challenge for me to accomplish each day.  Looking at your workout as a new challenge is a great way to get your mind in the game and change your mindset from “I don’t want to do this” to “I can and I will do this”, which is a great attitude to take with you to the gym each day!   This attitude will help motivate and inspire you to put forth the effort necessary to meet your challenges and overcome obstacles while you workout.

It’s all about warming up and getting the first 5 minutes under your belt!  Conquering the first 5 minutes of your workout, getting started, and allowing your body to get warmed up will give you the energy and motivation to keep going without giving up!  It allows your body to get in the mode of working out, which in turn allows your mind to adjust to the needed increase in energy to fuel the workout.  Once that occurs, you get into the rhythm of your workout, maximizing your success! 🙂

I know taking the plunge to start your run, jump in for your swim, or beginning your cardio or strength training workout can be difficult, but I promise that finding small tricks to help you ease in and make the start less overwhelming or dreadful will provide a small sense of relief!  So, get to finding ways that will help YOU start your workout…use my tips, find alternative tips/tricks, and more than anything get off the couch and start your workout! 😉


To workout or not? …WORKOUT!

To workout or not? …WORKOUT!

Do you ever have one of those days where you aren’t sure whether you want to workout or not?  Of course you do, because we all do at one point or another.  The point when you say to yourself, do I really want to workout today or should I take the night off.  It’s one of life’s burning questions!  Well, maybe not exactly one of life’s burning questions for all of us, but you know what I mean! 🙂  You get off work at 4:30, the kids have soccer practice at 6:30, and you aren’t sure whether you have time to fit in a workout, shower, and get the kids fed before practice.  Trust me, time management will allow you to do it and you will thank yourself later!  Skipping workouts is one of the worst things you can do for yourself because it takes you out of your routine.  Even if you can’t do your regular 30-45 minutes of cardio, strength training, or yoga, go ahead and fit in a small workout whether it be a walk or 30 minutes of stretching and at home exercises (i.e. jumping jacks, lunges, squats, push-ups, etc).  Maintaining a routine will help encourage you to stay on track, reach your fitness goals, and make you feel healthier and happier (aka less stress)!

The question at hand: Should you workout today?  Answer: See the infographic to the left!  There aren’t too many reasons that will get you out of the workout, so if you are looking for an excuse you will need to look elsewhere!  There are too many benefits of working out!  If you are considering skipping a workout this infographic will reaffirm to you why you SHOULD get up off your butt and go workout!

It’s March, which means it is time for 5k runs, outside workouts, yard work, walking on trails, swimming, etc so no excuses!  Go WORKOUT!  Why? Because you will thank me later (and yourself too)!  Plus, your physical and mental health will be happier as well!


Burn v. Pain & Stretching

Burn v. Pain & Stretching

Exercising is great, but one important thing to realize about exercising is that there are times when you should keep going and times when you should stop and days when you should take the day off and days when you should push through.

Often times, people feel burning sensations in their muscles when they are exercising.  I hear this frequently from people actually.  Burning sensations while exercising (not pain) are completely normal and mean you are pushing your body and muscles during your workout.  When your muscles and body get past the point of burning and feel pain then it is time to stop.  You should not be exercising if your muscles and body hurt or you feel pain.  Exercising should not hurt or evoke pain, AND yes, I will repeat that again…exercise should NEVER be painful or hurt.  Burn, yes.  Burn that leads to soreness, yes to that, too.  In fact, I encourage you to exercise until you feel the burn in your muscles to maximize your results.  Short, intense periods of heavy cardio and exercise are great for you.  This may create sore muscles later in the evening and the next day because of the burning sensation that your muscles feel, but this is normal and actually good for you.  If you can’t walk the next day from soreness, then you probably felt the burn at some point during your workout ;-)!  I stress though that you should NOT be in pain.  Pain is not something that should be associated or linked to exercise.  Exercise is a pleasurable, stress reducer, not a pain inducer! 🙂

Where does stretching come in?  To help alleviate soreness from exercising, remember to stretch, stretch, and then stretch some more.  Stretching is one of the most essential and beneficial ways to not only warm your body and muscles up, but to increase your flexibility and therefore push your exercising capabilities even farther.  Stretching is something that is easy.  It is also one of the BEST things you can do for yourself to progress through workouts so that you can challenge yourself and get better.  The more flexible you are, the better.  This is because the strength you gain from stretching and increasing your flexibility will allow you to push through your workout and workout even longer.  With the above discussion of pain in mind, stretching out before and after your workout will help ease soreness, prevent pain, and allow you to hold exercises longer when you feel burning.

If you aren’t convinced stretching is as great as your actual workout, you should think again!  It will help wake your mind and body up before you hit the intense part of your workout.  I stretch as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning.  It’s one of the best things I can do for myself to help wake up.  I touch my hands to my toes to stretch my back muscles, and touch my feet to my butt to stretch my legs and thighs.  Nothing too crazy or over the top, but simple exercises to help get me going.  The same can be seen as I go throughout the day.  I frequently stretch 4 or 5 times a day because it helps loosen up my body, destress, and makes me feel refreshed in as little as 2-10 minutes!  How awesome is that?!

So, start thinking about what your body is telling you whether you feel pain or burning and remember that stretching is a great way to prevent soreness from exercise.  I say, get STRETCHING! 🙂


Breathing, Form, & Rest Time

Breathing, Form, & Rest Time

Today’s tip focuses on breathing, form, and rest time.  Often times, people struggle with maintaining the stamina and energy to go for a long trail run or workout without getting too exhausted 10-15 minutes after starting.  One thing that really helps me (and is a learned technique over time) is to maintain controlled breathing.  In order to do this, you really need to find a steady rhythm and flow (which often takes time and patience to develop), but counting your breaths as you breath in and breath out can sometimes be helpful.  Further, steady, controlled breathing while exercising will help you conserve energy and push you through your workout.  This will help you gradually improve your stamina and energy over time, which in turn will allow you to go for longer runs, maintain higher intensity workouts, and make you feel less exhausted during your workouts.  Be patient because finding your rhythm and flow for controlled breathing can be challenging when first starting out.

Next thing to think about is your form when you are doing exercises.  Along with your breathing, stretching and increasing your flexibility will really help move you forward in your workouts.  It helps warm up your body and prepare you for what is ahead without using too much energy too soon.  Additionally, remember that while you may feel more successful when you do many reps of each exercise, if you are not using the correct form when doing exercises such as squats, push-ups, lunges, etc. then you are not only hurting yourself, but you aren’t utilizing your energy efficiently to obtain maximum results.  In order to use the correct form, go at a slower pace if necessary and modify or adjust exercises to fit your level and lifestyle.  For example, do “girl” push-ups at first if you need to and work your way up to doing a normal push-up.  I like to remind myself that when exercising, “quality” of correct form, trumps “quantity” of reps per exercise.  Eventually, once you master your quality it will become second nature and you can then begin quality and quantity at the same time during your workouts! 😉

My last part for today, is to remember that rest time throughout your workout and at the end of your workout are as important as your actual workout!  It is very important to stay hydrated when exercising, so I always have a water bottle alongside me.  In order to refrain from stopping frequently to take drinks and rests (which also means a break in your heart rate), I have timed, controlled breaks to maintain a steady pace for myself.  For example, I might give myself five 30 second breaks during a 45 minute workout, but do whatever works best based on your fitness goals and lifestyle.  During your 30 second rests, remember not to take big gulps of water when you rest as this can lead to heavy breathing, using more energy.  Instead, take several small sips when you take your 30 second rests to conserve your energy and give you additional energy to continue.  Lastly, a great way to help yourself ease into your post-workout is to have a post-workout routine.  Rather than ending a long run with sitting on the couch to return your heart rate back to its normal rate, walk for 3 minutes or have a stretching routine.  This is important because you don’t want to stop a workout with your heart racing, but rather you want to steadily bring it back down.  For example, I do crunches and hand weights to slowly allow my body to return to normal. Happy exercising2behealthy! 🙂


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