Not Enough Time?

Is your schedule so full that it’s hard to find time to work out? Here are six times to squeeze in some exercise.

You know exercise is vital to your health and well-being, and you’ve tried to fit it in. So why is it so difficult to make regular exercise a priority in your schedule? It probably has something to do with life. From work to kids to meals to errands to chores to sleep, fitting in anything else is virtually impossible.

But no matter how busy your life may be, you can find time to add more activity – if you’re willing. Though a minimum of 30-minute increments of exercise are recommended, as little as 10 minutes can still make a difference. Squeeze in 10 minutes a day every day, and you’ll rack up 300 minutes or five hours a month. How do you do it?

Fitting in Fitness at Home

Vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing the bathroom. Like it or not, you probably spend time each week doing household chores. What great ways to be active! Instead of getting it over with as soon as possible, turn on your favorite dance tunes and work at a pace fast enough to get your heart rate up. Even while folding the laundry or making dinner you can stand on your tiptoes or do squats. And don’t forget outdoor chores such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and gardening. These are excellent ways to burn extra calories all while doing normal activities around the house.

Lunch Break = Exercise Break

Tired of staring at the computer screen all day or dealing with cranky clients? Take a quick walk outside during lunch or other break times. If you’d like company, find a coworker to join you. Even better, if there is a gym near your workplace, use lunchtime to get in a quick workout. You’ll return to work feeling energized to finish the day, unlike your coworkers who are ready to go to sleep.

Parking Lots and Elevators

Do you find yourself circling the parking lot to find the closest spot or standing in line waiting for a slow elevator? Turn these moments into exercise opportunities. Why not take the farthest parking spot and walking the distance to the door? You may actually end up saving time by walking instead of searching for a closer space. It’s also a good idea to skip the elevator and use the stairs. You’ll burn a few calories and don’t have to worry about someone sneezing on you on the way up.

Get off the Couch

After a long day at work, relaxing on the couch and watching television or talking on the phone catching up with a friend is rather appealing. While it’s fine to rest after a busy day, don’t forget to take advantage of these exercise opportunities. Grab a couple canned goods out of the cabinet to use as hand weights. Sit on a stationary bike and pedal away while you watch your favorite sitcom or talk on the phone. Get on the floor and do some leg lifts, push-ups, sit- ups, stretches, or yoga positions. Also, get rid of the remote control. It’ll force you to get off the couch to change the channel or better yet – it will make you want to turn off the television and get active.

Include the Kids

If you have children, you may find your time divided between taking care of kids and taking care of yourself. Why not do both at the same time? Involve your whole family in exercise. Get out and take a walk or ride bikes together after dinner. Instead of a family movie night, plan a trip to the zoo or go hiking in the mountains. Play a game of kickball or soccer together at a park. If possible, walk with your kids to school in the morning. Another fun activity is to take a fitness class along with your children. You may even want to join in their karate or tennis classes. Many gyms now offer “mommy and me” swim or exercise classes for mothers with new babies, so take advantage of them.

Be Social

The final way to add activity into your busy schedule is to include exercise in your social life. Join a dance club with a friend sign up for a softball team through the local recreation department. Not only is being part of a team a great way to stay committed and motivated to exercise, it is also a great way to have fun with friends.

Start Slow.

These five exercises are the most popular workouts for developing your lat muscles. As usual, if you’ve had previous back injuries or pain, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. And to prevent injury and strain, start slowly and work your way up.


Want To Build Your Lats?

Here are five of the best exercises to work the largest muscles in your back.

Your latissimus dorsi, commonly known as lats, are broad, fan-shaped muscles in your middle to lower back that connect to all the other back muscles. While you may not give them much thought, your lats work to rotate and move your arms and shoulders. They also play an important part in your overall weight and resistance training and add width to your body that give your physique the unique “V” shape that shows you mean business.

Want to turn your body into a V-shaped beacon of musculature? Try out this handful of exercises.

Old-Fashioned Pull-Ups

You can use all sorts of machines to pump up your lats, but pull-ups are actually the best possible workout for your lats – as long as you do them the right way. To do a pull-up correctly, use your widest overhand grip. For a front pull-up, pull up until the bar touches the top of your chest and then let yourself all the way down. Don’t jerk or swing your legs at any point in the motion, as this will subtract from your lats workout. Instead, make the entire motion in a controlled, fluid motion. For the best lats routine, start and end your back exercise routine with pull-ups.

Lat Pull Down

The second best workout for lats is the lat pull down, and there is a machine made just for it. So take a walk around your gym until you find the lat pull and have a seat. Whereas pull-ups require you to pull your weight upwards, the lat pull requires you to pull weight towards yourself. When doing so, use a wide overhand grip to grow your lats outward, or keep your hands close together and palms facing you to increases the thickness of your lats.

Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row machine includes a bench, footrests, and a cable. Sit down and pull the cable toward your body while sitting upright on the bench with your knees slightly bent. When you pull the weight, make sure you pull towards your lower stomach, and return the handle slowly, keeping your back straight the entire time. This motion works your middle back lat muscles as well as your arms.

Bent over Barbell Row

The bent over barbell row is another great workout for developing your back strength and thickness, as it works your lats and the rest of your back. To do the bent over barbell row, your legs must be slightly bent, your back should stay straight, and you ought to lean forward until you are almost parallel to the floor. Once in this position, pull the barbell up toward you until it touches your stomach. Pull the bar toward your mid to low stomach to develop your lower lats. Pull it toward the top of your stomach or chest, and you’ll work your upper lats.

Bent over Dumbbell Row

While it may sound similar to the bent over barbell row, the bent over dumbbell row is a very different exercise. Whereas the bent over barbell row works your entire back, bent over dumbbell rows hone in on your lats. To do this exercise, place one knee on the bench and lean over, resting your hand on the bench. Stand on your opposite leg and hold the dumbbell with that arm. Lift the dumbbell off the floor and raise it up, pulling it close to your body at your chest or shoulder level. Lower the dumbbell slowly and repeat. Continue with the other side of your body. Try not to let your shoulders or arms do the work, and avoid performing barbell rows in the same workout as dumbbell rows.

Start Slow.

These five exercises are the most popular workouts for developing your lat muscles. As usual, if you’ve had previous back injuries or pain, be sure to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. And to prevent injury and strain, start slowly and work your way up.


Starting with Stretches

Want to start your day off right? A stretch routine first thing in the morning is a great way to wake up your muscles and get your blood flowing.

While you may want to hit that snooze button over and over, a better way to start your day is with a few early morning stretches. Besides feeling good physically, stretching is mentally and physiologically beneficial as well. It improves your flexibility, circulation, coordination and balance, posture, and your mood.

With just 10 minutes of stretching added into your morning routine, you’ll be prepared to face the day. Here are a few easy stretches to get you going.

Breathe Deeply

The simplest stretch to get started with is deep breathing. Sit up straight in a chair or even on the side of your bed. Rest your hands on your stomach and breathe in deeply. Exhale normally and notice the movement of your stomach. Repeat this exercise a few times, all the while breathing evenly, and progress slowly up to 12 repetitions.

Loosen Your Neck

Still sitting (or standing if you’d rather), keep your neck straight and move your head slowly forward as far as you can. Then slowly lean your head backward as far as you can. Repeat this movement a few times. Then smoothly and slowly roll your head in a circular motion. This will loosen up your neck muscles.

Relax Your Shoulders

Moving down your body, it’s time to stretch your shoulders. After sleeping on your side, they may be especially tense. While sitting or standing in a balanced position, slowly and steadily lift your shoulders upward toward your ears, and lower them smoothly. Repeat several times. For another shoulder stretch, place your hands on your shoulders, move your elbows close together, and rotate your arms in a circle.

Stretch Your Sides

To stretch your side muscles, stand straight with your arms by your sides. Place your right hand behind your head and point your elbow out to your side. Bend your waist to the left, keeping your left arm straight, and reach down toward the floor. Hold this position for a couple seconds then stand up straight again. Repeat this stretch a few times and switch sides.

Loosen that Lower Back

This stretch will loosen your lower back and buttocks muscle. Lie on your back and bend your knees. Rest the ankle of your left leg on your right knee. Hold your right thigh and pull your leg toward your chest. You will feel a definite stretch. Hold this for a few seconds then relax. Repeat and hold for another 15–20 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

Stretch Your Hamstring

Another important muscle to stretch is your hamstring, which runs from your buttocks down to below your knee. While lying on the floor, take hold of the back of one thigh and pull your leg to a 90-degree position, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Hold for 20 seconds, slowly lower your leg back to the floor, switch legs, and repeat.

Help Your Hips

One last helpful stretch to get you going in the morning is the seated knee raise, also known as seated marching. When done right, it improves your hip stability and your range of motion. Sit up straight in a chair and lift and lower one knee at a time as if you are marching. Lift both legs at least 10 times.

One Size Does Not Fit All.

Not only are stretches important before you exercise, they are also beneficial to start your day off right. However, you shouldn’t expect your stretch to look identical to someone else performing the same stretch. Adjust your stretches to meet your needs according to your age and level of fitness. If you’ve had injuries in the past, take precaution and check with your doctor before beginning any new routines.


Why You Need a Personal Trainer

Wondering if a personal trainer is for you? Wonder no more.

You’ve been in the gym for days, weeks, months, or years, and for some reason, you’ve never sought the assistance of a professional trainer. Now you’re wondering if you’ve made a mistake. Should you have enlisted the help of a pro a long time ago? Maybe.

Here are a few reasons to get a professional trainer on your side.

You Want to Get Fit (Safely)

Anybody can walk into a gym and start slinging weights around or sprinting on a treadmill. However, doing any kind of exercise without having someone to tell you if you’re doing it properly or not can put you at risk for all sorts of injuries. On top of the potential for getting hurt, using improper form also reduces your likelihood of getting the full benefit of the exercise you’re performing.

Instead of letting your poor form keep you from getting healthier, get a personal trainer. He or she will know the ins and outs of good form and will correct you when an arm, leg, or your torso isn’t in the right place. Eventually, having this professional by your side will instill good form that you can maintain even when you’re worn out at the end of a workout.

You Need Motivation

Getting to the gym isn’t always as easy as you wish it would be. After all, you’ve got a busy enough life without having to squeeze exercise in there. Hence why it’s a good idea to have a friend or family member join you for exercise. That way, when one of you isn’t up to hitting the gym, the other will be there to make sure you both workout that day.

But what if your exercise partner could be someone with specialized training in exercise? And what if this exercise partner helped you keep track of your progress, so you could use small improvements to keep yourself motivated? That’s the power of a professional personal trainer.

You’ve Been at It a While

If you’ve been hitting the gym hard and heavy for a while but have stopped seeing improvements, making a few tweaks to your routine can reap big dividends. The problem is that it’s not always easy to figure out what tweaks you should make. Enter stage left: your professional trainer.

With years of studying, training, and experience, a professional trainer should be able to watch your workout and figure out where you can make changes. A good trainer can also monitor the changes made in your routine to make sure they’re having the desired result. Over time, your trainer will offer even more suggestions to ensure your routine never causes your good health to become stagnant.

You Realize Exercise Isn’t Enough

While a personal trainer’s main focus is exercise, a true professional trainer realizes that good health depends on more than just working out. When seeking a trainer who fits your needs, look for one who also understands how what you eat affects your performance in the gym and overall good health. This way, you can get eating tips before, during, and after your exercise routine to make sure you are living a lifestyle that complements what you’re doing in the gym a few times each week.

By having a fuller view of what it means to obtain and maintain good health, you’re more likely to get and stay healthy for the long run. So you’ll not only look better than you ever have. You’ll also feel better as well!

Qualifications, Please.

When choosing a professional trainer to assist in your goals, consider his or her qualifications. Each country has different certifying agencies that require trainers to undergo rigorous training to acquire. If a trainer doesn’t have such certification, keep looking.