Ready Set Sweat

Are you looking to get more out of your workout? No matter what type of workout you are doing, the best way to start your workout is with a quality warm up.

There are two aspects to a quality warm up the physical aspect and the mental aspect.

Physically speaking, your blood will start flowing to the areas of the body that you are using, distributing more oxygen and nutrients to your body. Your heart will start pumping faster, giving it the much needed increased intensity to keep it strong and healthy. And, both your muscles and joints will get prepared for more rigorous movement.

Psychologically speaking, you are preparing for a good workout. The “feel-good” chemicals are activated in your brain. Your adrenaline starts pumping. You are getting into “the zone.” And, you are starting to slow down all of the general mind-chatter that consumes your every day life.

A quality workout is just as important for the mental aspect as it is for the physical aspect. Before you start your warm up, think about your intention for your workout. Do you want to have a workout that is going to give you results or do you want to go through the motions just because it’s “healthy?”

Starting out with a good warm up sets the tone for a good workout. You will get more pleasure out of working out once you start to incorporate this workout philosophy into your routine.

Now you might ask, “What is a quality warm up?”

There are many different types of warm ups you can do. Primarily, you want to get your heart rate up and get every part of your body moving in ways that you are going to them during your workout. Here is a sample warm-up:

Start by setting your intention

Get your joints moving with head/neck/shoulder/hip/knee/ankle rolls

Get your heart rate up jumping jacks/ jump rope/ high knees/ jog in place/ (2-5 minutes)

Get your muscles ready 10 of each with no weights: lunges/ squats/ push-ups/ reach down to your toes, walk out to a plank position, walk your hands back and stand up.

Stretch your muscles alternating stretches (do 3-5 times on each side, hold for 10-20 seconds then switch): quads, side to side lunges, hamstrings, runners lunge with a twist, triceps, deltoids

One more set of get your heart rate up.

My goal for you is to BREAK A SWEAT during your warm up. If you start eliminating toxins from your body and get those feel-good chemicals flowing from your brain at the beginning of your workout rather then the middle or the end of your workout, you will enjoy your workout much more!

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Walking For Exercise

Are you the type of person that doesn’t enjoy running? Do you have an injury that prevents you from running? If so, walking is a low-impact activity that can help you stay in shape.

Walking for 30-minutes each day is nourishing for both the mind and body. The fresh air that you breathe while walking outside helps to slow down your mind. Slowing down your mind allows you to step out of thinking mode and into feeling mode. Our minds are constantly racing with thousands of different thoughts. When we allow it to slow down, we take time to listen to our true desires.

When I first started walking for exercise, I thought it was boring. After a few adjustments, I began to see that walking can be great exercise and it is very enjoyable. If you want to turn your daily stroll into a walking workout, here is how you can do it:

  • Create Goals. Creating goals is crucial for success. Set goals to increase your distance or increase your speed. Ex. Maybe when you started walking you would walk for 30 minutes at a slow-ish pace. Next walk, try to walk the same distance in less time. Once you accomplish that try to walk for 35 minutes.
  • Start with a good warm-up.  Get your heart rate up and your blood flowing
  • Pump your arms while you walk. This generates more energy and keeps the blood flowing through your chest and upper-body more efficiently. You will be able to walk faster because of opposing forces (opposite arm & leg). Plus you will burn more calories this way.
  • Interval training. Interval training is all about increasing your heart rate for short periods of time. This method helps you walk at a faster pace but allows you to rest along the way. See Interval Training for more details.
  • Hills & Stairs. Treat these areas as a challenge. Instead of walking up the steps, pick up the pace a little bit. Maybe even challenge yourself to do the stairs or walk up the hill 2 times. Try to pick a trail that has at least 1 set of stairs or 1 hill.
  • Walking Partner. Walking with other people who have the same intention as you can be very motivating. Make sure that you pick a walking partner that will walk at the same pace or faster than you. You don’t want someone to slow you down. Have a walking partner a few days a week helps keep consistency because you hold each other accountable.

Do you have any tips or tricks to make walking more of a workout? Please share!

 

Integrating Movement Into Your Day

Most jobs require us to work in a seated positions. When we are not at work, we also sit in the car and the couch… now that’s a lot of sitting. Humans are not designed to live such a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are designed to move through out the day. In previous generations, people were physically active in their work. They did not have to spend time in the gym or designate time to exercise to stay healthy.

Since this is no longer the case, I encourage you to incorporate movement throughout your day as much as possible. Some suggestions are to:

  • do a few jumping jacks to get warmed up for your day
  • park further away from the grocery store
  • walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator
  • take mini breaks to stand up and walk around while you are at work
  • if you are waiting for food in the oven, do some squats or lunges
  • during commercial breaks do a set of abdominal or push-up exercises
  • take a 30 minute walk after you eat dinner