Category Archives: Exercise

MINIMAL TIME, MAXIMUM WORKOUT

By: Judd Handler, author of Living Healthy: 10 Steps to Looking Younger, Losing Weight and Feeling Great

 

Some people have difficulty inserting new agenda into their already packed schedule. Great news for those who know they have to get in better shape but don’t have a lot of time to exercise: There is a way to intensify your short-period workout.

Yoga Exercise Workout

 

The best way to maximize your workout if you’re short on time is to do shorter bursts of moderate to moderately vigorous exercise. There are highly effective and relatively simple exercises you can do that will help you burn more fat than if you were to do a much longer workout, say a 60-minute jog.

 

More research is confirming that shorter bursts of exercise help you burn more fat. One Japanese study in the Journal of Applied Physiology concluded, “Repeated bouts of exercise cause[d] enhanced fat metabolism compared with a single bout of prolonged exercise of equivalent total exercise duration.”

To maximize your short workouts, follow these principles:

  • Pick movements/exercises that utilize as many major muscle groups as possible
  • Allow your heart rate to elevate at a level where maintaining a conversation is slightly difficult (with your doctor’s clearance and after you’ve built up to that level)
  • Let your heart rate come down until you feel almost fully recovered
  • Perform movements that combine strengthening and stretching, and stimulate the cardiovascular system
  • Challenge yourself but don’t exercise to exhaustion as that will stress your body

 

The 3-5 minute warm-up

Warm up by moving major joints around in different directions such as hip circles, arm swings, knee lifts, ballet leg swings, shoulder rotations and many others. These movements are called dynamic stretches and will help lubricate the joints better than stationary or static stretching. Static stretching will not hinder muscle performance, contrary to some contemporary studies, but only if the stretches are under 60 seconds, so says one study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

 

The 15-minute workout

After your dynamic warm-up, climb a deep flight of stairs. Skip every other step and make sure you are pushing off with your entire foot and activating the buttocks and hips as you push off. If your heart is pounding at the top, rest for 30 seconds until your breathing is back to normal or almost back to normal. Perform a set of push up until near failure i.e. unable to continue the push up due to momentary muscle failure, at the top of the steps. Modified the pushup if needed, for example, doing it while on the knees. Run back down the stairs. Immediately come back up.

When you have worked up to it, try sprinting up a segment of steps until your breathing is significantly labored. Pause, whether it’s quarter-way or halfway up the steps, if you’re out of breath. Rest. Repeat until you reach the top. Repeat pushups. Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll feel like you’ve been at the gym for an hour.

Other moves you can try: Rope jumping to a count of 100, then perform a downward dog yoga stretch, then do bodyweight squats, followed by cat-cow yoga stretch. Repeat for several cycles.

 

The 30-minute workout

You can simply choose to do additional cycles of the 15-minute workout; you’ll certainly get in better shape once you’ve gotten used to the 15-minute short burst workout. Or you can perform the first 15 minutes doing short bursts of bodyweight strengthening exercises followed by 15 minutes of power yoga. For example, 15 minutes of pushups, dips, squats and lunges, then, 15 minutes of lowering phase pushups to a jump-to-standing position. After 25 minutes of this, you’ll feel spent. Take the last 5 minutes to do static stretching.

 

The 45-minute workout

If you have 45 minutes or longer to exercise, you’ll still want to interval train to get your heart rate up, way up, to about 160 to 180-plus beats per minute (bpm) and then let your heart rate gradually drop to, about 100 bpm. Sprints are excellent for fat burning and increasing your lung capacity. Rather than jogging for 45 minutes — which might seem like a great fitness activity, vary your speeds from sprinting to slow jogs and you’ll maximize your workout. Every few minutes, drop to the ground and crank out a set of pushups.

Got any other ways to maximize your workout if you’re short on time? Share them here.

 

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Source:

http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/the-best-workouts-for-15-30-or-45-minutes

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BEAT THE MONDAY BLUES

Monday is here again. Does the day trigger overwhelming feelings of anxiety, sadness, or stress? Do you lack passion and motivation on Monday morning? Are you sluggish or tense? If you’re nodding affirmatively, you might have a case of the Monday Blues.

Monday Blue

“The ‘Monday Blues” describe a set of negative emotions that many people get at the beginning of the workweek if they’re not happy at work,” says Alexander Kjerulf, an international author and speaker on happiness at work. “It contains elements of depression, tiredness, hopelessness and a sense that work is unpleasant but unavoidable.”

The Monday Blues are so prevalent that they have become a cultural phenomenon, “and this makes it easy to laugh them off as ‘just the way things are,’” he says. “But they can be much more than just a passing tiredness; they are often a serious warning sign that something is not right at work. If you were happy, you’d be excited and energized on Mondays, not tired and depressed.”

Rita Friedman, a Philadelphia-based career coach, agrees. “If you love your job and are passionate about what you’re doing, going in to work Monday morning is another opportunity to do what you love,” she says. “But if you’re feeling under-appreciated or unsatisfied with your job, it can be especially difficult to start another seemingly endless workweek.”

As it turns out, your case of the Mondays can have a negative impact on your performance and productivity—as well as the people around you.

“We know from countless studies in psychology and neurology that your current emotional state has a huge effect on the quality of your work and when you’re feeling blue you are less productive, less motivated, more pessimistic, less creative, less engaged and learn more slowly–just to mention a few effects,” Kjerulf says.

Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, star of MTV’s Hired, and author of Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad, says the Monday Blues are contagious. “Your stress or bad mood can drastically change the overall work environment,” he says.

Friedman agrees with Kahn assessment. She says everyone’s productivity is affected by your Monday Blues. “When you’re unhappy at work, it makes it very difficult for those around you to be happy, and oftentimes just one worker with a case of the Mondays can spread the doldrums to the whole team.”

Here are 11 ways to beat (or avoid) the dreaded Monday Blues:

  • Identify the problem.

“The first thing to do is to ask yourself what’s wrong,” Kjerulf says. If you have the Monday Blues most weeks, then this is not something you should laugh off or just live with. It’s a significant sign that you are unhappy at work and you need to fix it or move on and find another job.

Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, suggests making a list of the things that are bringing you down in your job. “Maybe it’s a negative co-worker or a meeting with your boss first thing on Monday morning, or maybe it’s that you don’t feel challenged–or maybe it’s all of the above,” she says. “In either case, clarifying what is bothering you can help you try to be active in finding solutions. It’s a way of empowering you to take charge and try to improve the situation.”

Kjerulf says if you only suffer the occasional bout of mild Monday Blues, then you can do some things to successfully cheer yourself and others up on an otherwise dreary Monday.

  •  Prepare for Monday on Friday.

“Mondays can be extra stressful from work that has potentially piled up from the previous week and, for many, can be challenging to jump right back in,” Kahn says.

To help combat that Monday morning anxiety, be sure to leave yourself as few dreadful tasks as possible on Friday afternoon, Friedman says. “By taking care of the things you least want to handle at the end of one work week, you’re making the start of the next that much better.”

If you do have any unpleasant tasks awaiting your attention Monday morning, get them done as early as possible so that you don’t spend the rest of the day procrastinating or “feeling as if there’s a black cloud hanging over your head,” she says. “Make that uncomfortable phone call, resolve that outstanding issue, or clean up that mess that’s waiting for you. You’ll feel a lot better once it’s over.”

You’ll also want to make sure your calendar is up to date and synched, and you have a good view of and handle on your upcoming work week–especially Monday, says Deborah Shane, a career author, featured writer, speaker, and media and marketing consultant. “What do you need to prepare for and get organized with? Get it done Friday, or by Sunday, if possible.”

  • Make a list of the things you’re excited about.

“We often look at the week ahead of us and think of all the tough stuff we have to do and the difficult tasks ahead of us,” Kjerulf says. “Turn that around. Sunday evening, make a list of three things you look forward to at work that week. This might put you in a more positive mood. If you can’t think of three things you look forward to, that might be an indication that you need to make some changes.”

  •  Unplug for the weekend.

If possible, try to avoid checking work e-mail or voicemail over the weekend, especially if you’re not going to respond until Monday anyway, Friedman says. “It can be tempting to know what’s waiting for you, but drawing clearly defined boundaries between work and personal time can help keep things in check. When you leave the office on Friday, leave your office problems there and focus on enjoying your time off. Sometimes going back to work on Monday feels especially frustrating because you let it creeps into your off-time, and so it never even feels like you had a weekend at all.”

  • Get enough sleep and wake up early.

Go to bed a little early on Sunday night and be sure to get enough sleep so that you wake up feeling well-rested, Friedman says. “If you’re only running on a couple of hours of sleep, it’s unlikely that you’re going to feel good about going anywhere when the alarm goes off Monday morning.”

Although it might seem counter-intuitive, waking up an extra 15 to 30 minutes early on Monday morning can actually make going back to the office easier. “Having a little more ‘me time’ instead of feeling like you’re trapped in a time crunch can make that transition a little easier,” she says. “Taking the time to enjoy a healthy breakfast, do some exercises, or take the dog for a walk can help you feel more centered for the rest of the day, and can help you remember that you’re not a robot who just sleeps and works.”

  • Dress for success.

“Dress up, perk up and show up ready to be positive and help others be positive,” Shane says. “Be the light and energy that makes others have a better day. Show and share your spirit, charisma and vibe and make yourself magnetic.”

Kahn agrees. He suggests you use Monday as the day to wear your favorite new outfit. This can help build your confidence around the office and might get you a few complements from co-workers, he says.

Sutton Fell says when you look good, you feel good. “Feeling good about yourself is half of the battle on Monday mornings, because rather than being deflated by work you want to face it with confidence.”

  • Be positive.

Start the week out with an “attitude of gratitude,” Kahn says. “Take time to recognize and appreciate the things that you enjoy about work.”

This starts before you even get to work. To pump yourself up on your way in to work, try listening to your favorite songs, Friedman says. “Think about the type of playlist you would create for a workout, and incorporate that same upbeat, high-energy music into your morning preparation or commute.”

When you get to the office, do your best not to be a complainer–and keep your Monday morning grumpiness to yourself, Friedman adds. “In the same vein, don’t listen to other people’s Monday gripes. Creating or contributing to a culture of complaining is no way to improve your attitude.”

Shane says you must make a decision to turn negative reluctance and dread into a “positive, productive and excited welcome to Monday energy.” Start with Friday and make sure your desk is organized, and your work to-do list is ready to go for the following week. “Take Sunday to rest, review and reward, but plan for and get ready to leap into Monday.”

If you’re able to be a source of positivity in the workplace, not only will you make your day more enjoyable, but you’ll also make the work environment better for those around you, Kahn concludes.

  • Make someone else happy.

Make a vow to do something nice for someone else as soon as you get to work on Monday, Sutton Fell suggests. “Doing nice things for other people definitely can lift the spirits, and in this case, it could actually help shift the overall mood in your office,” she says. “Paying it forward can yield great results all around.”

Kjerulf concurs. He says we know from research in positive psychology that one of the best ways to cheer yourself up is to make someone else happy. “You might compliment a co-worker, do something nice for a customer, help out a stranger on the street or find some other way to make someone else’s day a little better.”

  • Keep your Monday schedule light.

Knowing that Mondays are traditionally busy days at the office, a good strategy is keep you Monday schedule as clear as possible, Kahn says. “When you’re planning meetings ahead, try to schedule them for Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This will help you to come into Monday with more ease from the weekend.”

Instead of tackling the biggest and most complicated tasks early on Monday, take some time for easier, more routine stuff, Kjerulf says. “This might get you up and running and give you the energy for the hairier tasks.”

But beware: If you have too much free time—you’ll sit around “feeling blue,” Shane says.

  • Have fun at work.

Take it upon yourself to do things that you enjoy in the office on Monday, Kahn says. “Maybe bring donuts for your colleagues or take a quick break to catch up with friend in the office. Sharing stories about the weekend with co-workers can be fun and also is a great way to strengthen your interoffice network.”

Sutton Fell says to schedule a weekly Monday coffee break or lunch with a friend. “Create an event that you will look forward to on Mondays as a way to break up the day with some known positivity.  At the very least, it gives you a chance to take a deep breath, talk with a friend, and regroup for the rest of the day.”

  •  Have a post-work plan.

Your day shouldn’t just be about trudging through Monday to get it over with, but about looking forward to something. “By making Monday a special day where you get to go out with friends, make your favorite dinner, or eat a bowl of popcorn and catch up on a TV show you recorded, the day doesn’t have to be all about getting up to go into the office,” Friedman says.

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Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/02/25/11-ways-to-beat-the-monday-blues/

http://news.joyamaze.com/beat-the-monday-blues/

MATH BY HAND: KEEP YOUR BRAIN STIMULATED

In the early years of school we learn the basics of math. Those skills definitely are used in many aspects of our lives. However, as adults we tend to rely on other methods for calculating things. As a result our skills aren’t nearly as sharp as they used to be. Have you ever been out with friends for lunch and then struggled to divide the total bill three ways? Simple math can become a struggle if you don’t work on it.

Math

One of the main reasons why this part of your brain isn’t as sharp as it used to be is that we have too many handy resources. We tend to use calculators for everything including balancing our check book and setting up our budget for the month. Most software programs have built in calculators too so that you don’t have to check the math as you create spreadsheets or other materials either.

The retailers do this for us as well. For example when there is a big sale on clothing many of the items have a percentage off on them. The sign on the rack may say 30% off the retail price. Instead of having to figure out that savings on your own though the will have a chart attached to the rack. This tells you the full price and then the sales price with that 30% reduction.

So how do we get that ability to do math very well back? The answer lies in taking the time to practice it. Do your math by hand and you will be able to strengthen that part of your brain. Put the calculator aside and do your math by hand. Many people are able to do it quickly when they can visually see the numbers they are working with.

As your math skills significantly improve you need to challenge yourself to do more of the math in your head. This is more difficult but as you work at it you will find that you are able to do it in no time at all. This is going to come in time as you work at math skills. You will be able to quickly determine how much of the bill is yours as well as how much of a tip you should leave based upon your balance that is owed.

Some say and evidence supports the left brain theory that if dominant left brain you’ll have no problem when it comes to symbols such as words, letters, and math notations. The left-brain person is at home with linguistic and math or logic problems.

When you go back to doing math by hand and in your mind it is going to take you more time than before. This can be frustrating if you deal with numbers often throughout the day. However, keep in mind that such exercises for the brain really do have a significant purpose. You will be pleasantly surprised too as you notice your skills improving over the course of time.

If you aren’t confident in your ability to calculate things in such a way you can keep a calculator handy or math. However, make a rule that you only use it after you have made a very good attempt to get the answer on your own. You can use the calculator as a way to verify that your answers are correct.

The more your challenge yourself to do your math by hand or in your mind the more your mind is going to benefit. When we stop using a part of our brain functions we will lose them. Don’t allow that to happen and if it already has then you have the ability to change it now.

Don’t stop here… Word games, brain teasers, logic puzzles, and math puzzles can give your brain a real memory workout too.

The game of chess has always had a reputation for being tailor made for super-intelligent people. Chess is an excellent game to improve the mind, but there are other games that would do much the same thing, man logic and math puzzles or games too. A lot depends on the individual who is playing the game. If a certain game is a challenge for you, and you can tell it makes you think a bit harder than you normally do, then that game will be just right for you to use in order to exercise your mind and memory.

 

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http://news.joyamaze.com/math-by-hand-keep-your-brain-stimulated/

LET’S DO SOME EYE EXERCISES

Most of us today have to stare at computer screen while working. To some, the time when they don’t stare at the glaring contraption would be the time the get some shut-eye. I was having some eye strain the other day when I remembered about this eye exercises that I haven’t done in more than a decade.

I first came across Bates Method eye exercise while I in was high school, studying for a very important examination. My parents were worried that all those late night studies might affect my vision as I constantly suffered from headaches. Then I found this in a health magazine. Every morning before cycling to school, I would just stand outside the house, facing east; the sun was just rising, the air still fresh and did this exercise. On weekends I would spend longer time outside.

Well, it is high time to get my eyes back into shape. It would be nice to do this exercise while staring at any green tree, but you can do it anywhere, anytime. Just try to find some distanced, stationary object and you are all set. To me, that would be another building a few distances away from my office window. The only warning I have before and while doing this exercise is, do not strain your eyes.

i. Swinging

This one takes about a minute. Focus on an inert object. The further it is from you the better. Then, without moving your eyes, gently move your body from side to side while maintaining focus on the object.

ii. Optical massage

I just love this one. I used to look forward to do this every day. It takes about a couple of minutes but l loved to do it longer. Very soothing, very relaxing (and very addictive too. Well, to me that is). Hold your hands about 2 inches in front of your eyes, with palms facing inwards and your fingers crossing to make some sort of mesh. Look through the mesh into middle distance. Gently, without breaking your focus, move your hands in little circles. You can actually feel the muscles inside your eyes relax while doing this.

iii. Palming 

This is best doing when sitting or lying down, comfortably. In the morning, I did this by simply leaning with my back against the gate while at night when I was ready to go to bed. Again, hold your hands in front of your eyes, palms inward, but this time the palms slightly cupped.

Rest the base of your palms on your cheekbones, and the cupped palms lie across the eye socket but make sure they do not touch the eye or lids. Carefully arrange the position so that no light penetrates through and your eyes in complete, warm darkness.

Close your eyes and concentrate in the darkness in about two to three minutes. Gently remove your hands. This particular technique actually invigorates your eyes. Just make sure your do not remove your hand too fast, especially when doing this in broad daylight. The sudden transition from dark to bright can hurt your eyes.

All the techniques above can be done more than once. Try to at least do them a couple of times every day, early morning before work, and a few minutes before going to sleep.

Anybody have other interesting but effective techniques? Feel free to share it here. I would love to try them too.

 Source

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REAP THIRTY HEALTH BENEFITS IN SEVERAL BOUNCES

If you just about to start working out, rebounding is a good overall body workout that will not cause any pain or injuries. Such set back can make you lose interest in exercising quite fast. If you are currently engage in walking, running, cycling or any other fitness regimes that do not involve any form of jumping, incorporate this low impact but exhilarating exercise to boost your holistic health. Although you do need to buy a good quality rebounder, it is a lifelong investment, not only you’ll ensure your safety while exercising, you are doing your whole body a favor of making it hale and hearty.

Jumping ropes, jumping jacks, burpees and rebounding all require leaping movements but what makes rebounding extra special? What makes it able to offer us 30 health benefits while we are having fun bouncing away on a rebounder? First of all, just like we’ve mentioned earlier, rebounding is a low impact exercise, safe for joints, soft tissue and bones.  It will not cause any unnecessary pressure especially on our lower extremities; on our ankles and knee joints and legs every time we land, allowing us to exercise longer and frequently. NASA researchers have proven this workout helps build bone mass, even reverse damage cause by osteoporosis, so people with arthritis and back problem may gain benefit from rebounding too.

When we bounce, we are experiencing constant acceleration, deceleration and gravity changes. Coupled with the fact that rebounding is actually an aerobic activity, more oxygen is supplied throughout the body; we are actually strengthening each and every cell in our body. Waste products from cellular metabolic activities, fat, dead cells, heavy metals and chemicals are purged and oxygen and nutrients are flooded into our cells.

We all know 57 to 60 percent of our body is water, with lymphatic fluid outnumbered blood in volume. However, unlike blood, lymphatic system does not have any central pump. It relies on peristalsis and millions of one-way valves to circulate. The bouncing movement combines with the ever-changing state of weightlessness helps to open and close the valves simultaneously, allowing the lymphatic fluid to circulate around our body about 15 to 30 times faster, improving detoxification process and haul much-needed nutrients to all cells faster. Since lymphatic system ties with our immune system, it simultaneously strengthened our defense mechanism too. A few people with allergies claimed their problems disappear or eases after rebounding for more than a few months.

Our cardiovascular and respiratory systems gain a lot of benefit with this physical exercise. We remain upright every time we go from acceleration to deceleration, zero gravity (0G) to 2G. We also use less energy and oxygen when going through the up and down motions and this lessens the stress on our heart. Overtime, it gradually lowers our resting heart rate whereby it toughened and improves the quality of our heart muscles. The functions and coordination of the systems improves too, as a matter of fact we are re-training our cells and re-setting our metabolism to work as efficiently as they did when we are younger.

Rebounding can also help to boost our strength, stamina, muscular development, balance, coordination and even flexibility. Amazing feat considering it is not a strenuous physical activity yet it offers more benefits than any high impact workouts can. Rebounding helps us to generate energy and physically rejuvenate us. That means we are not leaping on the rebounder only when we are full of energy, but bounce away because we want more energy. Landing on and leaping off the flexible surface of the rebounder meanwhile stimulate our body’s balancing mechanism, coordination between the proprioceptors in the limbs and nerve impulse transmission to and from brains and muscles fibers, thus helps us to improve our equilibrium and coordination.

Here are the list 30 health benefits of rebounding workout, as studied by Dr. Morton Walker:

  1. It increases the capacity for respiration.
  2. It circulates more oxygen to the tissues.
  3. It establishes a better equilibrium between the oxygen required by the tissues and the oxygen made available.
  4. It causes muscles to perform work in moving fluids through the body to lighten the heart’s load.
  5. It tends to reduce the height to which the arterial pressures rise during exertion.
  6. It lessens the time during which blood pressure remains abnormal after severe activity.
  7. It holds off the incidence of cardiovascular disease.
  8. It increases the functional activity of the red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.
  9. It aids lymphatic circulation, as well as the flow in the veins of the circulatory system.
  10. It encourages collateral circulation.
  11. It strengthens the heart and other muscles in the body so that they work more efficiently.
  12. It allows the resting heart to beat less often.
  13. It lowers elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  14. It stimulates the metabolism.
  15. It promotes body growth and repair.
  16. It tones up the glandular system, especially the thyroid to increase its output.
  17. It adds to the alkaline reserve of the body which may be of significance in an emergency requiring prolonged effort.
  18. It chemically attains absolute potential of the cells.
  19. It reserves bodily strength and physical efficiency.
  20. It expands the body’s capacity for fuel storage and endurance.
  21. It improves coordination through the transmission of nerve impulses and responsiveness of the muscle fibers.
  22. It affords muscular vigor from increased muscle fiber tone.
  23. It offers relief from neck and back pains, headaches, and other pain caused by lack of exercise.
  24. It enhances digestion and elimination processes.
  25. It allows for better and easier relaxation and sleep.
  26. It results in a better mental performance, with keener learning processes.
  27. It curtails fatigue and menstrual discomfort for women.
  28. It minimizes the number of colds, allergies, digestive disturbances, and abdominal problems.
  29. It tends to slow down aging.
  30. It reduces the likelihood of obesity.

Before starting this physical activity please refer your personal physician as rebounding can cause prolapsed organs on older people, so you might need to start slowly and gradually. We always believe in prevention is better than cure and this exercise should be a leap for health and happiness, not the other way around.

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References

Health Understood, access 31 December, 2013

http://blog.cellercise.com/dr-morton-walker/

Rebound, access 28 December, 2013

http://www.rebound-aerobics.com/NASA_rebounder_report.htm

Healing Daily, access 28 December, 2013

http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/rebounding-for-detoxification-and-health.htm

http://www.healingdaily.com/exercise/effects-of-rebounding-on-the-lymphatic-system.htm

Inspirations Personal Training, access 31 December, 2013

http://www.busywomensfitness.com/rebounding.html

Dr. Morton Walker, access 31 December, 2013

http://drmortonwalker.com/2011/03/rebounding-jumping-for-health/

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