My workout partner[ Farel|http://www.farelhruska.com] and I are often amazed at how good of shape people are in at our gym. We are, after all, fitness professionals. You would think that people would be watching us. They’re not. So we were watching these two amazing women doing pull ups. Another woman came up and commented on the strength of the gals. We told her that we’ve set a goal this month inspired by them. “Oh yeah, how many pull ups are you going to do?” she asked. “Just one”, we answered. She laughed. It’s not that we set the bar low. We are just realistic. Right now, neither of us can even do one pull up. If we train to do one this month, then maybe next time we can do two. My point is not to be overwhelmed by any goal. Cut it into the smallest bite size piece and go for it!
Squeaky knees, stiff necks, aching backs or tender joints- we’ve all encountered bodily creaks as we head into our day. How much we should do while our bodies sound like a popular morning cereal, emitting a “snap, crackle, pop”?
A general rule of thumb is: if you find your mobility significantly decreased, or have pain that does not go away in 48 hours, you should see a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment (WebMd). At Stroller Strides, we also ask you to simply listen to your body. If your mind is telling you to slow down, or avoid movement, then listen to your gut and rest.
For run-of-the-mill aches or stiffness associated with motherhood and pregnancy, stretching exercises will help increase your flexibility and help you work out the kinks. Strength training will also help you build muscle, have stronger bones, and increase your functional fitness levels. The more you work at increasing flexibility, the less likely you are to have injury and stiffness in the long run.
One of the best stretches for aches is the pelvic tilt, as it decreases stress on the back and is the building block of good posture.
Do the pelvic tilt on your hands and knees, keeping your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach and arch your back upward. Hold this position for several seconds. Then relax your stomach and back, keeping your back flat and not allowing your stomach to sag. I like to practice this stretch along with a long child’s pose for a total body stretch and relaxation period. To do child’s pose push your bottom back onto your heels with arms extended, forehead down and hold while you breathe deeply.
The next time you are stiff or sore, try these stretches to get your blood flowing, your body limber, and your kinks worked out.
Taking the time to write down exactly what you eat and drink everyday will allow you to get a better idea of why you may not be accomplishing your desired goals. Estimate calories wherever you can. Maybe you’re eating too much, or possibly not enough. Does your diary show multiply trips to Starbucks each day? Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? A food diary will allow you to make an accurate analysis of your eating habits so that you can improve upon them, and then actually track your own progress.The food & exercise log that I use and recommend isFitBook- it is an excellent way to document everything you do, track your goals and see all of the things you've accomplished.
2) Sit down for at least 3 meals a day.
This means no eating at your desk, in your car, at the playground, or in front of the television. It also means that you don’t skip breakfast, lunch or dinner! Even more impressive is if you can sit down for two or three additional snacks as well, but that may be pushing it! If your focus is on your computer, watching your children, talking on the phone, watching television, etc., you aren’t truly aware of the calories that you’re consuming. Chances are that by not listening to your body, you won’t know when you feel full and should stop eating, and that is what leads to a quick extra 3,500 calories each week.
3) Cut out junk food and take-out for one week.
This might be really hard for some of us, and I understand the challenges. But for a single week, eat as clean of a diet as you can. Brown bag it to work, or pack a cooler each day with fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. You may be tired at the end of the day, but for one week, resist the urge to order out. At the end of this week, review how you’re feeling overall.
My guess is going to be that if you incorporate fresh organic choices into your diet and cut out the junk (which is usually packed with excess calories and sodium), you’ll find that both your body and mind perform at an improved level. And if you like the results after one week, keep it going!
Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or you just want to establish healthier eating habits, these tips will help you move in the right direction. There are more tips at www.strollerstrides.com.
Most moms in Stroller Strides tell us that their hips and thighs are a trouble spot after having a baby. This exercise targets those troublesome areas.
Lay down onto the back and anchor the feet with a forward foot wrap (shown above). Anchor elbows down by the waist and bend the knees down to the outside of the abdomen, like frog legs. Squeezing the inner thighs, slowly press the legs back up, contracting the quadriceps at the top of the movement.
- Core should remain tight to support the spine
- Keep knees soft at the top, don't lock them out.
For less intensity, feel free to perform this exercise without tubing/resistance.
It's May, about 5 months after New Year's. Did you make a New Year's Resolution to lose weight or to get in shape? How many years have you set the same resolution only to have given it up by February? You're certainly not alone. We all have good intentions but life seems to get in the way. Following are 8 tips to get you started on the path to exercise.
1. Goal Setting. What does it mean when you say you want to exercise or lose weight? People don't set specific or powerful enough goals for themselves, and very often those goals that are set are unrealistic. Set S.M.A.R.T. (SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC AND TIMELY) goals to set you up for success.
2. Fit It In To Your Lifestyle- Most people tend to do too much, too hard, too fast. This year, find activities that will easily fit in to your lifestyle. If you have babies, consider a stroller based workout. If you don't have time to go to a gym, then try exercise tapes or just walk right in front of your house. You have to make it non-negotiable, just like taking a shower, brushing your teeth, etc. In fact, book exercise on your calendar just as you would any other appointment.
3. Find Things You Enjoy - Hate the gym? Then don't go. There are a million ways to get fit. Find activities that you enjoy. Any of the following are examples: Yoga, Walking, Running, Tennis, Basketball, Racquetball, Bike Riding, Swimming, Spinning. The list goes on and on. Do what you enjoy and you'll stick with it.
4. Reward Yourself - It is human nature to strive to achieve things when there's a reward at the end. Set up some positive reinforcers for yourself such as a massage, a new outfit or even just a day to relax. Set a goal and set a reward that you will be excited to receive. Here's an idea. Pay yourself every time you workout. At the end of the month, use that money to treat yourself to something.
5. Sign up for an event - If you are a walker, biker, runner or swimmer, there are tons of events from 5k's to marathons that you can sign up for. If you sign up for an event, it helps keep you on track with your training because you know what you have to achieve and by when.
6. Get A Workout Pal - It is so easy to skip workouts when you only have yourself to hold accountable. People with workout partners are far more likely to stick to their routine. If you know that someone is depending on you, it's tough to make excuses.
7. Get Your Family Involved - Create an active family. Instead of going to the mall on weekends, go for a family hike, bike ride or swim at the local pool. It will add a new element of fun for your family and will encourage you and your family to live a more active lifestyle.
8. Stay Motivated. Set The Mood. You're more likely to stick with an exercise routine if it inspires you. That means different things to different people. For instance consider buying new exercise clothes or an mp3 player so that you have motivating music to pump you up. If you get revved up every time you hear the theme song to Rocky, then by all means start your day with it!
I've been a fitness professional for nearly two decades. I've learned the foundations of fitness from conferences to books to certifications. But it wasn't until I became pregnant with my first child that I realized what it meant to take care of my health. It changed my perspective on everything. I ate to fuel my body, my baby. I exercised in moderation - not too much, not too little. I stressed less and meditated more. I never forgot to take my prenatal vitamin and I made sure to drink my suggested water allotment each day. Yes, I had that glow. But was it from pregnancy or was it because I took better care of myself for 40 weeks than I ever had in my life? After Jacob was born, I continued on this path as I still felt that I was fueling my baby. I was a nursing mom and I wanted to pass my good health on to my new son. As he has grown older (now 7), I still embrace this way of health. It occurred to me that my pregnancy regime was what health was all about. We should all take care of ourselves as if we were growing a baby. What we won't do for ourselves, we will do for your children. This can last you far beyond pregnancy as you are always a model mom for your children. They will learn about healthy eating, exercise and wellness from you. You are the ultimate teacher and guide.