- Being impatient and expecting quick results
- Doing the same workout routine over and over and over again
- Not performing enough weight training
- Performing unnatural or risking moves
Many people who workout tend to make mistakes without realizing. This is unfortunate because the mistakes made may limit the progress workout enthusiasts deserve. Here are some of the common workout mistakes:
In most instances, you should continue to exercise despite feeling back pain. Why? Because exercise will serve to keep your muscles from becoming stiff. In addition, physical activity may lessen back pain and prevent recurrences. Yes, chronic back pain is not to be taken lightly but avoiding any activity is a mistake. At the very least, you should try walking. Research has determined that merely walking may lessen back pain. Unless you've been diagnosed with having some pathology such as a herniated disc, arthritis, scoliosis, osteoporosis, a tumor, an infection, etc., there's no need to be overly conservative in your activity level.
The cause of back pain is multifactorial. Contributing factors include moving improperly (i.e., twisting the torso while lifting), weak muscles (e.g., abdominals, lower back, gluteals, etc.), tight muscles (e.g., hamstrings, hip flexors, etc.), and/or sitting for too long with improper posture (i.e., slouching at the desk hunched over a computer). Most people would prefer to be sedentary when experiencing pain but this is the worst thing you can do. Your muscles will become weaker from disuse. Remember that exercise serves to strengthen and stretch muscles as well as lessen postural imbalances.
So what exercises should you do if you feel back pain? Aerobic exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, cycling, etc.) as well as anaerobic exercise involving the core muscles (e.g., crunches, pelvic tilts, back bridges, planks, back extension, etc.). Avoid any ballistic movement (i.e., jump rope, box jumping, running, etc.) or any movement that increases back strain or stress.
Many who try the plethora of diets out there usually fail in misery. Why? Because they fail to exercise and eat healthy for the long-term. I italicized long-term because this concept cannot be overstated. Diets are by definition short-term and therefore doomed to failure in terms of sustainable weight loss. Instead, you should eat the foods you enjoy in moderation to ensure you eat as part of a healthy lifestyle. In no particular order, herewith are tips to help you lose bodyweight (and more importantly, bodyfat) and keep it off:
Remember, what's important is NOT necessarily how much weight you lose but rather how your body looks in front of a mirror. In other words, body composition (fat deposition) is more important than bodyweight in terms of health and aesthetic reasons.
When you're sick it's even more important to eat vegetables, fruits, dairy, healthy fats, and lean protein. Examples of healthy vegetables include garlic, onions, broccoli, and spinach. Fruit should include bananas and berries. Include yogurt and cheese for your dairy products. Be sure to get your healthy fats from olive oil, fish oil and avocados. Lean protein sources should include salmon, lean chicken and tuna. Honey contains antibacterial properties. Green tea boosts your immune system by increasing your antibody count. Get most of your antioxidants from fruits and vegetables and the remaining from supplements such as vitamins C, D, E, as well as from minerals including manganese, selenium, and zinc. Click the file below for more details:
You need not be completely sedentary when sick. Depending on the severity of your illness, exercise may speed up the recovery process. One of the plethora of benefits attributed to exercise is that it may strengthen your immune system (i.e., increased resistance to respiratory infections) so that your risk of getting an illness (e.g., the common cold) in the future is decreased. All it takes is twenty to thirty minutes of walking or biking to boost your immune function.
The conventional wisdom is that it's okay to exercise if you have a cold but avoid exercise if you have a fever. If you have a cold, exercise may speed up the recovery process whereas if you have a fever, exercise may slow down the recovery process. Physical activity tends to boost your immune system so cold symptoms may diminish faster provided exercise intensity level is not too high. Always listen to your body and be aware of your heart rate, breathing rate, energy level, etc. Performing exercises such as walking, biking and/or yoga at a low-to-moderate intensity level may boost your immunity to combat infection more readily. If you overreach or overtrain (as many athletes tend to do), your risk of getting a viral infection (i.e., common cold, the flu) may increase due to a suppressed immunity level as a result of increased stress (i.e., increased cortisol release). Of course, your immunity level is dependent on many factors (i.e., stress level, age, gender, amount of quality sleep, environment, mood, fitness level, etc.).
BOTTOM LINE: Low-intensity exercise is okay when you have mild symptoms (i.e., runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, etc.) but do NOT exercise when symptoms are more severe (i.e., fever, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest congestion, diarrhea, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, etc.). Click the file below for more details:
There are so many benefits to exercise that it would be a crime to not exercise!
Check out 101 benefits provided by Personal Trainer Development Center (PTDC) here.
The proper size of the stability ball (given in diameter size) that you should use is based on your body height (HT):
You know you're using the proper size stability ball when you sit on it and your hips and knees are at a 90 degree angle (your thighs are parallel to the floor). Of course, the size of the ball used may vary depending on the exercise. But in general, you should buy and use the size that's indicated above.
Typically there is a low adherence and high dropout rate with low-calorie diets and most people who have lost bodyweight tend to gain it back and more within five years. This is the so-called "yo-yo diet effect" when your body, having been restricted of energy, rebels by hoarding as much fat as needed to survive when previous eating habits (i.e., higher-calorie diet) resume. Eating a low-calorie diet is not sustainable nor healthy for the long-term. A risk of nutrient deficiencies and a dramatic drop in caloric intake slows down metabolic rate which slows down weight loss. When following a low-calorie diet, most of the bodyweight lost is lean body weight (i.e., muscle mass). The only way to attenuate the loss of muscle mass is to perform resistance training (i.e., lifting weights). The insidious part about losing bodyweight when following a low-calorie diet is that the loss of muscle tissue is usually accompanied by bodyfat increase. This means that although you've lost bodyweight, you've also gained bodyfat in the process. In other words, you've become a skinnier, fat person--underweight but having a higher bodyfat composition. Keep in mind that fat is much less dense than muscle tissue.
So what's a healthier diet plan option? The answer is any eating plan in which there's a gradual reduction in calories (i.e., 250 calories/wk) and that is sustainable for the long-term (i.e., permanent change in eating habits). In this way, less muscle mass will be sacrificed. The diet plan should be complimentary to your lifestyle (i.e., the more active you are, the more carbs you should eat). Eat four to six times per day consisting of meals interspersed with snacks and be sure to perform anaerobic (i.e., weight training) as well as aerobic (i.e., cardiovascular) exercise two to three times and three to five times per week, respectively. Remember, weight training can reduce the loss of muscle mass that typically occurs when following a reduced-calorie diet plan.
"Text neck" is fast becoming part of the lexicon within the medical field and refers to a condition in which poor posture as a result of incessantly looking down at your iphone causes chronic neck strain. Young people are most affected by this condition since they exhibit poor posture from constantly looking down at their iphone while texting. This is a real concern among chiropractors and physical therapists because your neck is not designed to handle the dramatic increase in loading placed upon it when tilted forwards for long periods of time. The weight your neck must endure may increase about 50 lbs from a neutral posture to a 45-degree angle. Excessive loading may cause nerve impingement within the brachial plexus of your shoulder which can cause numbness the entire length of your arm.
What is the treatment for text neck? Here are several options:
Following the Mediterranean Diet, which consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil, and an occasional glass of red wine, may boost your longevity, according to a study recently published in BMJ. Analysis taken from the ongoing Healthy Nurses' Study found an association between those who ate the Mediterranean Diet and decreased shortening of their telomeres found at the ends of their chromosomes. Telomere length is an indicator of life expectancy.
Like a lot of existent research, this study had noted correlation rather than causation. In other words, following the Mediterranean Diet will not necessarily cause telomere shortening. Rather, there appears to be an association between eating the Mediterranean Diet and reduced shortening of telomeres. Nevertheless, geneticists have long known that longer telomeres are indicative of healthier aging and longer life expectancy. Living an unhealthy lifestyle (i.e., eating sugary, fattening foods and smoking) is associated with shortened telomere length. So it makes sense that eating an antioxidant-rich diet (i.e., Mediterranean Diet) may increase your longevity.
There are particular foods you can eat today that will increase satiety so that you take in less calories daily. High-protein and high-fiber foods are recommended to lessen appetite. Eating the following foods will control your blood sugar level (lessen insulin resistance) and thus curb your appetite:
First, it's important to understand what metabolism means. Metabolism refers to an assortment of processes that occur within your body that involves the conversion of stored energy (from the ingestion of food) into expended energy that results in movement. Metabolic rate refers to the speed that metabolism occurs within your body. Therefore, the key aspects that affect your metabolic rate are:
Your response to this question most likely is lack of exercise and eating too much food. Well, you may be half right. Research seems to support the finding that sedentary behavior rather than eating too much food is primarily involved in contributing to the prevalence of overweight and obese Americans today. The American Journal of Medicine has concluded from reported data that Americans are more sedentary now than they were 20 years ago. Almost 1 in 5 women reported not being physically active 20 years ago, whereas over 1 in 2 women reported being mostly sedentary today. In men, 1 in 10 reported not being physically active 20 years ago whereas today, over 2 in 5 men reported being mostly sedentary. But here's the interesting part, average daily caloric intake throughout this time period did not significantly increase. Therefore, one can surmise that it's a lack of physical exercise that's causing our skyrocketing obesity rate and not gluttony behavior.
BOTTOM LINE: Sitting for long periods of time is not recommended if you want to avoid bodyweight (i.e., fat) gain. Take short breaks every hour and go for a walk to get the blood flowing and lessen the risk of heart disease (still the number one killer of Americans), stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.
Type-2 diabetes occurs when your pancreas is not able to release adequate insulin to metabolize sugar within your blood. Regular exercise in conjunction with a healthy low-sugar, high-fiber diet (think lots of fruits, vegetables and nuts) can ameliorate the effects of type-2 diabetes. Of note, weight training may be particularly beneficial in lessening the effects of high blood sugar because increased lean body mass allows more sugar from your blood (i.e., glucose) to be stored within your muscles in the form of glycogen, your body's fuel source for muscular energy. In other words, increased lean body mass (i.e., muscle) obtained from weight training means less bodyfat which lessens insulin resistance.
How often should you exercise if you have type-2 diabetes? The general recommendation is to lift weights two to three days per week and perform some kind of cardiovascular exercise (e.g., walking, swimming, biking, rowing) four to seven days per week. The weight training should not be too intense (i.e., less than 75% of your 1-rep max which amounts to about 12 to 20 reps before sufficient fatigue) and cardio training should fall within 40 to 70% of your heart rate reserve. It is essential to be aware if you feel dizzy or light-headed. These are symptoms of a low blood sugar level and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Have a snack and/or glucose tablets available just in case.
This topic has received a lot of attention lately in the press because many people drink low-calorie diet sodas containing artificial sugar in an effort to lose bodyweight or bodyfat. With the increased trend of type-2 diabetes occurring in our society this news should sound some alarms. Maybe it's not a good idea to consume those diet sodas after all.
Scientists have discovered that the commonplace artificial sugars saccharin (Sweet 'N Low), sucralose (Splenda) and aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) raised blood glucose levels more than natural sugar by changing intestinal bacteria in the gut. The increase in fasting blood sugar levels was found to be significant enough to warrant attention because of the increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
The findings from the research has been criticized because the study was performed on a very small sample of people and uncontrolled confounding factors such as genetics, diet, gender, and health status may skew the results. Nevertheless, you may want to limit the amount of diet soda you consume and avoid putting artificial sugar in your coffee.
Here is a list of things you can do today to increase your energy level throughout your day:
Whether due to a vacation, illness, work schedule, injury, etc., you can reverse the effects of detraining when getting back into a fitness routine. Factors such as age, fitness level and exercise experience will affect how readily your body will respond to exercise after a deconditioning period. Nevertheless, no matter what shape you were in prior to a layoff, your body will regain the losses in muscle mass, cardiovascular capacity and flexibility with exercise.
Your body is a miraculous organism which has the capability to adapt to physiological changes that are put on it. This means that if you subject your body to an intense bout of resistance and cardiovascular training, your body will essentially "remember" the effects of this stimulus after a break in training. These effects include the pumping of blood (and oxygen) throughout your body to affect your metabolism during exercise. Training-induced effects include ameliorating your blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as increasing your muscle fiber size and neuromuscular adaptations. All of these favorable physiological effects will dissipate to varying extents as a result of sedentary behavior. The longer the layoff the longer it will take your body to regain the loss in muscle mass and cardiorespiratory capacity. The good news is that your muscles (including your heart) have a "memory" of how it felt as a result of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. Thus, no matter how long your layoff period, you can certainly regain some, if not all, of your muscle mass and cardiovascular (aerobic) capacity. The more fit you were prior to your layoff, the more gradual the decrement in muscle mass and aerobic capacity.
To lessen the effects of detraining when going on a vacation or when you're more busy at work, try to get in at least some exercise. In other words, it's better to perform some exercise (i.e., workout at least once per week) than to not exercise at all for a period of time. When time is short, increase the intensity of your workouts by performing abbreviated weight training (i.e., 30 minutes) and high-intensity interval training (i.e., 1-minute sprints followed by 1-minute slow jogs for 10 minutes). If you injured one limb, you can still exercise the rest of your body to minimize the detraining effect.
BOTTOM LINE: In most cases, there is no reason to not continue exercising no matter the changes that may occur in your lifestyle or circumstance. The important thing is to continue working out and not stop altogether in order to stem the detraining effect on your body.
Most people know a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition and regular exercise reduces mortality. Now new research supports this finding in the case of running. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that running for just five to ten minutes may extend your life by three years. The fascinating aspect of this 15-year study was that the speed, distance, frequency, and duration of running was not as important as running itself. In other words, you can reap the benefits of living longer by running slowly for a few minutes at a time. It's important to keep in mind that this research did NOT prove causation that running increases lifespan but rather that there seems to be a correlation between running and living longer. The research had found a 30 percent lower risk of death among runners compared to non-runners. Those who are more avid runners tend to accrue the most benefit of living longer. Obviously, the health benefits from running such as improved heart and lung function help explain why runners tend to live longer than non-runners.
BOTTOM LINE: Running at your own pace for just a few minutes per day may extend your lifespan.
Aside from the obvious medications available today, the best way to control your blood cholesterol levels is to exercise regularly (i.e., 3 to 5 times per week of aerobic exercise, 2 to 3 times per week of anaerobic exercise) and eat healthy foods. Regarding the latter, here are some recommended foods that may help to lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol level due to their quantity of antioxidants:
Knock knees (genu valgum) is a common condition (especially for women) in which the knees face inward when standing, walking, running, etc. When performing impact exercises like running, having knock knees can predispose you to injuries at the hips, knees, ankles, and/or feet (overpronation). Orthotic inserts for your shoes may be recommended if you have knock knees, particularly if you are a runner. Having knock knees while performing impact exercises (esp. running) will most likely predispose you to joint problems later in life unless you either wear orthotic inserts or avoid the exercise altogether. Non-impact exercises like walking, swimming and biking are safer alternative exercises for those who have knock knees.
The best way to keep your joints healthy is to BE ACTIVE. A sedentary lifestyle of sitting most of the day is not good for your joints, especially your knees. Moving your body regularly ensures adequate synovial fluid circulation within your joints to keep them healthy and to prevent stiffness. Losing bodyweight is particularly recommended to lessen knee pain due to cartilage breakdown. Every pound you lose removes four pounds of pressure from knees. Daily stretching is strongly recommended to lessen joint stiffness and pain. Just be sure to warm up your muscles prior to stretching to loosen up the tendons and ligaments surrounding your joints. Low-impact cardio exercises (e.g., walking, biking, swimming, etc.) are recommended to protect your joints from cartilage damage. Weight lifting is also encouraged to strengthen your muscles surrounding your joints and to lessen the risk of arthritis. Be sure to move your joints in a FULL RANGE OF MOTION when exercising to lessen stiffness. Also, perform core-strengthening exercises that work your abdominals, lower back, gluteals, and hamstrings to maintain a strong foundation for your joints. Eat fish (e.g., salmon, mackerel, etc.) to lessen joint inflammation as well as plenty of dairy products containing calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong bones. Maintain good posture to protect your joints by performing exercises such as fast walking and swimming regularly.
A recent study has found a correlation with watching a lot of television and decreased life expectancy. This means that there seems to be a connection between excessive TV viewing (i.e., more than three hours daily) and shortened longevity. But this does not mean that watching a lot of TV causes decreased life expectancy. The study just determined that there is a correlation and that's all. Nevertheless, it is eye-opening to think that watching a lot of TV may shorten your existence on earth. The risk of heart disease, cancer, and premature death increased with excessive TV viewing. Of note, those that watch a lot of TV tend to eat less healthy foods (i.e., sugary, processed foods). Of course, if you watch a lot of TV you're not very active--certainly puts you at increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
BOTTOM LINE: Watch less than two hours of TV daily and get out there and exercise to live a longer life.
The importance of having good posture cannot be overstated as the many aches and pains felt by your body may be associated with having faulty or bad posture. Having good posture will lessen your risk of incurring back pain while serving to maintain a strong and healthy back.
What exactly is meant by having good posture? Good posture occurs when your musculoskeletal system is in alignment to guard against injury and deformity over time as a result of needless muscular strain. Your muscles work more efficiently when your body is in a state of balance and equilibrium whether in a standing, lying, squatting, bending, or sitting position. Good posture can be assumed when drawing your chin back, relaxing your shoulders, stretching your chest forward, tucking your navel toward your spine, sitting with your knees lower than your hips, and having both feet planted firmly on the floor. Good posture means standing or sitting "tall', shoulders pulled back (chest pushed out) with your stomach pulled in. Assuming good posture does require isometric contraction of your stomach and lumbar muscles but the result will be good spinal alignment, reducing upper and lower back pain caused by slouching and hunching. Having good core strength in your abdominal, lumbar, hamstring, and gluteal muscles will certainly help in maintaing good posture. (See elsewhere in this blog for information regarding core exercises.)
BOTTOM LINE: Strengthening your core muscles as well as stretching tight chest and shoulder muscles will be helpful in maintaining good posture. And don't forget there's a bonus to having good posture: you will look much more attractive!
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.