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More Fun Exercises

It’s Monday and we hope you had a wonderful weekend.  October starts tomorrow, and there isn’t a better time to mix up your exercise routine than by adding something new.  Today’s additions to our Exercise Demonstration page include Single Leg Burpees, Hand Release Push-Ups and, always a favorite, 8 Count Burpees.  Each of these exercises will help you get stronger, burn calories and challenge your muscles in new ways.

Single Leg Burpee

The Single Leg Burpee is similar to a plain Burpee, in that you simply fall down and get up.  The additional challenges comes from being able to use only one leg to get back up.  Unlike plain Burpees, you do not have to put your chest on the ground and can keep your shoulders in a plank position.  These will really have your quads, hamstrings and glutes firing and are great for burning calories.

Hand Release Push-Up

One of FitNicePT‘s favorites, the Hand Release Push-Up is a great tool for building shoulder, chest and core strength.  Starting in normal Push-Up position, lowering the chest to the floor and picking your hands up off of it ensures a full range of motion and prevents stopping short.  This exercise can be modified by starting in regular push-up position, putting the knees on the ground during the downward and upward parts of the movement and finishing back in regular Push-Up position in a high plank.

8 Count Burpee

An 8 Count Burpee has a myriad of benefits and will not only help you burn tons of calories, but build leg, arm and core strength as well.  The 8 counts are 1-hands down, 2-feet back, 3-downward portion of a push-up, 4-upward portion of a push-up, 5-jumping feet out wide, 6-bringing the feet back together, 7-bringing feet to hands and 8-finishing with a jump.

Give all three of these exercises a try and put a new challenge into your Fall Workouts!  Good luck and enjoy.

Beat High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is an epidemic in America.  It can cause heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and heart attacks.  Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is most common in men over 45, women over 55, those who are overweight and people with a family history of the disorder.  Whether you have been diagnosed with hypertension or not, controlling blood pressure is an important part of living a healthy life.

If you do have medically diagnosed high blood pressure, there are lots of prescription medications available today that can help.  Medications can get expensive, and if you’re on something else, the interactions can be dangerous.  While medications are often an easy, quick fix for a serious issue, your body can also build up tolerance to active ingredients, making them ineffective.  There are natural, less expensive and better-for-you solutions that are just as effective as chemical controls, so try these before supplementing your diet with hypertension medication.

Weight loss.  Obesity is one of the major risk factors for hypertension, which makes losing weight one of the best ways to lower risk.  When the body carries extra weight, it puts strain on the biggest and most important muscles in our bodies, the legs and heart muscle.  Shedding excess pounds can relieve this pressure on the heart and, in turn, lower blood pressure.

Staying active.  While moving around and working out will help with weight loss, doing small things to stay active can also help reduce high blood pressure risk.  Social activities such as volunteering and taking dance classes provide supportive settings that promote healthy aging and decrease stress.

Sleep.  Over 50 percent of people with sleep apnea, which prevents good, sound sleep and causes daytime sleepiness also have hypertension.  Many who suffer from this disorder are also obese, compounding the risk of having high blood pressure.  Not only can getting a good night’s rest help control blood pressure, it can help you lose weight.  For more about how to get better sleep, check out this article.

Stop salt.  Processed and restaurant prepared food is rich in sodium, and that can leads to increased risk of stroke, hypertension and heart disease.  Cooking at home, buying food labeled low sodium and no-salt can help cut salt intake down, and asking for no salt added entrees when you’re out are great ways to help control blood pressure.

De-stress.  Stress can cause reactions similar to the fight or flight instincts that humans needed to survive thousands of years ago.  Constricted blood vessels, increased heart rate and higher blood pressure are key for responding physically to stress, but without an outlet, these reactions can cause high blood pressure to stick around.  Exercising is a great way to relieve this physical stress, help lose weight and decrease the risk of hypertension, heart attack, heart disease and kidney failure.

Get Some Sleep!

Sleep is an incredibly important part of physical fitness.  Putting out a max effort as often as possible in the gym is how you get results.  If you’re tired, sleep deprived and lacking energy, you’ll be missing key elements important in reaching the goals you want.  A suffering workout can be prevented by getting enough sleep every night, here’s why and some ways to fix it.

One major reason not getting enough rest is going to prevent you from seeing increases in strength and endurance is that most of your growth hormone (GH) is produced while you sleep.  Not only does GH help you grow, it aids in calcium rentention, helps decrease fat storage, supports your immune system and assists your organs.  While GH is clearly an important element in getting results from your workouts, sleep also plays in big role in keeping your stomach satisfied.  Two hunger managing hormones, ghrelin and leptin, are balanced when you’re catching Zs.  A study in the journal PLoS Medicine showed a strong relationship between limited sleep, high levels of hunger-inducing Ghrelin, low levels of satisfaction-inducing Leptin and obesity.  The bottom line?  Not getting enough sleep will make you fat.

If sleeping less leads to weight gain, it implies that sleeping more help with weight loss.  Weight gain and weight loss are both associated with metabolism, and a big part of that is how your body manages blood sugar levels.  Not getting enough sleep puts your body in a state similar to being diabetic because it results in trouble regulating blood sugar.  Your body’s response to and regulation of blood glucose levels after eating carbohydrate rich foods can be slowed by up to 40% when lacking sleep.  Your thyroid, which is mostly in charge of how many calories you burn just to get through the day, doesn’t react well to losing sleep, either.  The thyroid hormone becomes suppressed when you’re getting a full night’s rest and doesn’t burn as many calories, slowing down your metabolism.

Now that you know how getting a full night’s rest will benefit you, here are some tips to help you get one:

Check out where and how you sleep.  Ambient light and noise need to be reduced as much as possible.  Put that flashing modem in another room, silence your cell phone and get rid of the bedroom TV.  Hang heavy drapes and close blinds before bedtime.

Develop a pattern.  Your body likes routines, so going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday will help your internal alarm clock reset.  Dimming the lights and quieting down for a half hour before bed starts shutting you down from the day, and if you’re one whose mind races, reading something light will help those speeding thoughts fade away.

Now you know how important sleep is and how to make sure you get a good night’s full, so go get your jammies on and hit they hay.

Stay Fit While You Travel

Travel is one of the most fun things you can do with time off from work.  Whether you drive or fly, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you stay on track with your fitness goals.  It can be tough to get back into a fitness routine after a vacation helped you missed a few days in the gym.  The key to avoiding this problem is sticking with it for the duration of your trip.  You don’t have to work out each and every day, but keeping only one or two days between workouts will help you get right back in the groove when you get home.

Stay on track with your diet.  Remember the 80-20 rule and find healthy choices while you travel.  Relaxing your mind and body doesn’t have to mean relaxing your diet rules.

Pack for activity.  DVDs, resistance bands and tubes are small enough to fit in any carry on and can help you workout anywhere.  Check out these recommendations for a little help with your travel fitness strategy.

Schedule activities.  Find out what there is to do in your destination.  Try a new class in vibrant New York City, go for a horseback ride in Wyoming, walk through wine country in Napa or scuba dive in Honolulu.  Canoeing, skiing, dancing and even a long sight seeing walk will help keep you moving forward.

Use your hotel.  Yes, they’re usually small, but hotel gyms give you a little space to move around.  Most hold stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines and some have quite modern, state of the art facilities.  Hotels pools you can swim in, and they have lots of stairs that are always available to be walked or run up for a fast, effective workout.

Expect to have a tough first few days back.  Your body might still be recovering from jet lag or overindulging in food and drink.  Your muscles need a chance to get back in gear, too.

Take these tips with you when you’re on the road and you’re sure to stay fit.  Want help planning your out of town fitness routine?  We’re here!  Email us at Info@FitNicePT.com!