Monthly Archives: June 2016

Ways to Do Roman Chair Exercises

The roman chair is an exercise equipment, usually used for lower body workouts. There are variety of roman chairs available in market. Whatever you may opt for or if you already have brought one; it is important, that you use it in the right way. It consists of a long bar at the base of the machine, where you can tuck in your legs for better grip and stability. It looks like a normal chair except that there is no back support. This is done, so that you can move your back easily at different angles while exercising. No back support also helps in maintaining appropriate posture and balance; that works on muscles of the legs. Of course there are no handles or hand rests to support your hands. Therefore, while exercising on a roman chair it is important you cross your hands over the chest to avoid unwanted arising.

The muscles targeted by this machine are usually lower body muscles. Floor exercises are usually performed on the Roman chair (also called captain’s chair), the only difference being performing the same exercise on the machine may increase strength and flexibility. Like in case of sit-ups, your range during the extension phase is limited and you have to return to the starting position once you reach the floor. The Roman chair in this case, allows you to extend your range, way beyond neutral, flexing movements. The basic design of the Roman chair may vary, but the purpose remains the same. I have listed down a few exercises to perform on a Roman chair. Take a look.

Roman Chair Workouts

Roman Chair Back Extensions

  • Place your feet on the foot tray or tuck them under the rolled cushions at the base of the chair and your thighs on the pad allowing your body to hang forward.
  • Cross your arms at your chest and keep your back straight.
  • Bend forward from the hips towards the floor, keeping your back straight. Inhale while you do so.
  • Exhale when you lengthen your body to the original position.
  • Keep your neck relaxed and focus on using your abs to lift your body, which will strengthen your core muscles.
  • Repeat at least 10-15 times initially, gradually increase the counts as you get comfortable.

Roman Chair Sit-ups

  • Sit on the roman chair with your legs tucked under the padded bar and attain a comfortable sitting posture.
  • Cross your arms over your chest. This is your original position.
  • Inhale as you lower your upper body backwards, in a way that is parallel to the ground.
  • Hold. Now raise your body by flexing your hips until you are back in the original position.
  • Make sure you keep your core tight and follow the correct breathing technique.
  • Initially it may seem a little difficult, but gradually as you get a hang of it increase the number of counts.

Roman Chair Knee Raises

  • Stand with your back against the roman chair and grip the handles tightly.
  • Pressing your hips firmly against the back on the chair, bend your knees and lift your legs until your thighs are parallel to your hips.
  • Do not swing your legs, instead lift them, sucking in your abdominal muscles.
  • Pause, then lower your legs to the original position.
  • Make sure you do the roman chair knee raises slowly.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

Roman Chair Oblique Crunch

  • On a 45 degree roman chair, place the right side of your hip on the larger pad and your legs in the foot tray.
  • Now, crunch your oblique at the waist to lower your torso to the right.
  • Lower it down until you feel a good stretch in your right oblique.
  • Raise your torso back to the starting position.
  • The primary muscles put to work here are the obliques, it is the best exercise to get rid of love handles.
  • Repeat 15-20 times initially and gradually increase the count.

Roman chairs are also called hyper extension machines, this is because of the movements it allows. Since you have to use your core trunk muscles to perform any sort of exercises, they are a great choice for toning and strengthening your muscle groups.

Nice Ideas to Start Exercising When You are Busy

How does your normal day look like? Once you are up, you make/have breakfast, rush to work, return late at night, have dinner, and retire to bed too tired to do anything else. Or if you are a stay-at-home mom, you get the kids ready for school, do the laundry, put the dishwasher, pick up the kids, shop for groceries on the way, cook for the evening, etc. Have you wondered that while handling so many other chores, you have totally neglected a very important task that should be a part of your everyday routine? Yes, I am talking about exercise! Everyone from college students to working professionals have faced this problem. The importance of exercise in our lives is well-known, yet we are all so busy with work, school, and home, that we neglect it. So now it’s time to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise into our busy routines by altering our habits, so it will help us shed those extra pounds and stay healthy and fit.
Exercising does not always mean working on the treadmill or sweating it out at the gym. Simple everyday activities that get your body moving are a much easier way to incorporate exercises into the daily routine. You do not need to work out for long durations everyday, short spells of workouts as a part of your routine can very well show positive results. In fact, it would be easier to stick to them and you will more likely follow them! All of us know of someone who is as busy, perhaps busier than most of us, but is always in top shape. How does he or she manage to look that way? Regular exercise, definitely. More than that, commitment towards oneself to maintain a healthy body. Thinking and planning about exercising, and actually putting it into action are two entirely different things. So let us see how you can merge an exercise routine with your everyday routine and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

How to Start Exercising When You are Busy

Set Time Apart for Exercise

Do you play a sport? Or are you interested in learning one? Take up the sport and set aside a few minutes everyday so you can play. If you are not into sports, try walking or jogging. Set aside 15-20 minutes for these activities, preferably in the morning. This way you are bound to get up early and start the day with an exercise routine. Do not hit the snooze button on your alarm, or you are bound to snuggle deeper into your bed and not wake up on time! Perhaps walking/jogging are the best ways to start exercising, as they are not overly strenuous and won’t have you dripping in sweat. You can practice yoga as well. A few minutes of yoga everyday will not only tone your body, but rejuvenate and calm your mind, which can be so beneficial in today’s hectic lifestyle. If nothing else works, resolve to take a few minutes walk in the parking lot everyday during lunch break.

To help yourself to keep your date with exercising, mark it in the calendar and put the calendar in a place such that it’s always in front of your eyes. This acts as a visual reminder, and you are less likely to forget your planned workouts. Whatever sport or activity you have taken up, place the required workout gear right where you can see it. Seeing the calendar and the gear will motivate you to work out. Listening to music acts as a stimulus, so keep your iPod handy.

Having kids at home will anyway keep you on your toes most of the time. Still, make it a point to play physical sports with them. Play tag, follow-the-leader, or hopscotch with them, put up a basketball net in your backyard, there are scores of options. What better incentive to exercise than having some fun-filled playtime activities with your children?

Plan a Workout Date with a Friend

Scheduling fitness workouts with a friend or family member is not only fun, but also a good motivational factor. Having someone to nudge you to get up and get moving when you are feeling lazy and lethargic is a bonus. It will also ensure that neither of you skip your daily quota of workouts! Research has proven that working together helps you lose weight faster.

Turn Errands into Workouts

By far, the simplest way to embark on exercising. Whenever you get a chance, WALK! Bid farewell to the elevator, and make the stairway your new friend. If your office or school is really close by, walk or take the bike instead of car. You will be doing a favor not just to your body, but to the environment as well! When you go shopping, park you car as far away as possible from the store, so you are compelled to walk those few extra steps. When you take a coffee break, do some stretching exercises. It also eases tensed muscles and improves blood circulation.

Daily housework chores are good ways to get you moving, so make it a point to do certain things on an everyday basis, like mowing and raking the lawn, dusting the house, vacuuming the carpets, doing the laundry, and washing dishes instead of using the dishwasher. Don’t take your car to the car wash, wash it yourself. If you own a pet, take it for a walk everyday.

Sign Up for a Gym/Class

This is something many people avoid. It’s not that they do not have enough time for it, but once you have joined a gym, you have to go there since you have paid the fees, and they (and that includes most of us) do not want to be bound by it. Gym memberships don’t come cheap, so it’s not something that can be skipped or avoided every now and then. And that’s where commitment comes into picture. So if you really, really want to start exercising, sign up for a gym, or any other sporting class, be it swimming, tennis, or any other sport. When you pay for it, you will attend it, at any cost! If exercise sounds too boring, enroll for a dance class. Various forms of dance classes are a rage nowadays, so join them and dance your way to good health!

Easier said than done? Probably. But after all, it’s your body, and who else but you is responsible for it. Even if you travel frequently, some of the above tips can surely be assimilated into your routine. You need to look for those latent opportunities in your fast-paced schedule to work out. Even a few minutes of exercise give you immense satisfaction and a sense of relaxation, not to mention the added benefits of weight loss and better health! Combined with a healthy diet, exercise will get your heart pumping, and help you to be more alert and energetic throughout the day.

Ways to Prepare for Bikram Yoga

Anyone who has heard of Bikram yoga is aware that it is practiced in very high temperatures. Therefore, one has to be well prepared for each of the classes. This write-up is divided into three sections, the steps to take before going for Bikram yoga are divided into three phases. In other words, the measures to be taken before one goes for the sessions, measures to be taken during the class and after the class. Each of the measures to be taken, have an important role to play, so that you are able to derive the best from each of the Bikram yoga sessions.

How to Prepare for Bikram Yoga Class

Measures to be Taken Before Class
The day you are supposed to go for your class, it is important that you start the preparations in the morning itself, by drinking a lot of water. Many people often make the mistake of drinking only when they are about to go to class. However, you should drink water in small quantities all through the day. This will ensure you are not dehydrated at the end of the class. However, it is best to taper water consumption about an hour before the class, else you will have to use the washroom during the class as well. The last meal before the class should be had about 3 hours before you go for your class. It is best to stick to a light meal of salads or fruits. This will give you the energy required for the class. If you go to the class on an empty stomach, then there are chances that you will feel hungry during the class and not be able to perform well.

It is important that you carry your own yoga mat along with towels for the class. Carry a big towel, which can be spread on the yoga mat. Since one sweats profusely during hot yoga, it is best to spread the towel on the mat, so that the mat does not disintegrate due to the sweat and also remains clean. Also use another towel for wiping sweat off the body.

Have your total quota of sleep the previous night. If you have not slept well the previous night, there are chances you will not be able to do all the postures correctly, as you will lack concentration. It is also natural that you will feel very sleepy and tired during the class, if you have not slept the previous night. To derive the Bikram yoga benefits, it is best not to work out on the days you have Bikram yoga sessions and also the next day.

Measures to be Taken During Class
Wearing the right clothes is also important for the Bikram yoga class. If the clothes are very loose, they may come in the way of practice. The clothes in which you are going to practice yoga have to be light and breathable. It is best to stick to natural fibers like cottons. It will not only soak moisture from the body, but it also help to keep the body cool naturally. Men should stick to over pants and go shirtless. Women can either team up a tank top or sports bra with shorts for the class. There is an added advantage of wearing such clothes. The instructor will be able to spot any mistakes in your posture easily.

Carry about 2 bottles of water for the class. Do not drink a lot of water at one go during the class. Drinking small swigs of water throughout the class are recommended. This will ensure you are well hydrated during the class.

If during the class you feel nauseated or dizzy, it is best to stop practicing and rest. It is possible that you will not be able to perform on a certain day due to various reasons. If it is very hot inside the yoga studio, then you should walk out of the studio and let your body temperature come down to normal.

Measures to be Taken After Class
After the class is over, it is advisable to lie down in the corpse pose, till you have cooled down. Many people do not understand that they derive the benefits of the class when the hard work is integrated. The integration starts during the col down. One should at least have a corpse pose of 10 minutes for better relaxation.

After the class is over drinking some water is necessary. It will help you to hydrate your system. It will ensure you do not feel giddy or lightheaded after the class. You may also choose to have a fruit after the class. It is best not to run after the next activity after the yoga class. The state of relaxation and calmness should be maintained after the class as well. Make sure you sleep well after the class, so that you are energized for the next class.

These were some of the tips for preparing for Bikram yoga. If you suffer from any ailment, it is best to consult your health care professional and your yoga teacher for specific tips, so that you are able to take all the measures for the class and protect yourself.

Fitness Challenge Ideas for Groups

A fitness regime seems to be promising before you start, difficult when you are a beginner, and after a point, it gets kind of mundane, especially when you’ve been into it for quite some time. Perhaps you could bring about a positive change in your routine by involving more people in your workout. As mentioned already, it has been observed that group exercises prove to be more fruitful than otherwise. According to Todd A. Astorino, Associate Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos, “For long-term weight loss, you need to have social support”. Apart from this, exercising in groups consisting of people who share common fitness goals and challenges also helps in building positive relationships with them, which again contributes to your overall health.

Different fitness challenges can be incorporated to target the long-term goals of how you wish to sculpt your body. These challenges not only induce a sense of healthy competition among members, but also provide the much-coveted motivation and zest that most people fail to find within themselves during a workout session. Take a look at these 5 challenges we have in store for your group.

Fun Group Activity Ideas for Achieving Your Fitness Goals

The Pedometer Boost

According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, people who use a pedometer, tend to walk almost 2,000 steps more than those who don’t use one. So, yes, before you start planning a fitness regime for your group, make sure everyone gets a pedometer for sure! You are normally suggested to walk 10,000 steps everyday to keep the weight off your body. However, to make things a little more challenging, your group can start with the treadmill (while wearing a pedometer). The goal is to compete with each other to see who reaches the number (10,000) first. The fun part would be that, in order to win, even those members who resented running would let go of their brisk walk and run! If the whole running on the treadmill challenge is not possible, each group member can wear the pedometer and report back the next day with the number of steps taken. The one who has the highest number is declared the winner.

The Balancing Act

Another fun-tastic activity that exerts your core muscles, abdomen, hips, arms, shoulders, and other target areas, would be to balance your body, as if you are a statue! In fact, it would make sense to take this challenge everyday so that the repetition not only helps in targeting your flab, but also improves your balancing skills over time. You can try different exercises―planks, side-leg raises, V-sit position, and the like. Using props, such as the stability ball and boards, will make things all the more interesting. The fun part would be to see people lose their balance, and watching those who would settle for a compromising in-between position making the activity seem all the more funny. Watch out for these funny sights, as they might be enough for you to lose your balance as to try to control your laughter. Many people prefer closing their eyes to gain more focus. As you might have gauged, the one who stays balanced till the end, wins.

The Super-fast Crunches

Who would deny the benefits of crunches when it comes to toning our upper body? Compete with others in the group, and do as many crunches as you can in 3 minutes! You know, there is something that really pushes you to the extreme when you watch others perform. Call it your willpower, ego, or stubbornness, you automatically start neglecting the pain that your abs feel after reaching a certain number. Slowly, you begin to enjoy that pain, and you push yourself till you see everyone else admiring your determination. If you manage to complete the entire 3 minutes, and reach a number that’s like a record (say, 70 crunches in 3 minutes), compete the alternate day again to see if someone else in the group takes over your title. You can try the same approach with different exercises including push-ups, lunges, squats, and rope jumping. Healthy competition can be extremely rewarding!

The Flexibility Goal

It has been observed that most people struggling with weight issues, also have flexibility issues. When alone, they tend to give up easily if they don’t see their fingers reaching their toes without bending their knees, or when they can’t do a perfect split! However, in presence of a group that is willing to support you, perhaps give you some helpful tips to improve your position, attaining your flexibility goal becomes only a matter of time. Give this challenge a time-frame, varying from 10 to 15 days, or more (if need be). The challenge would be to form a position using your flexibility skills. For instance, the group has to work together to make a perfect circle with their body, as shown in the image above. As a reward, each member gets the picture of the attained goal to be proud of the accomplishment. This task is more of a team effort, as opposed to a competition.

The 30-day Weight Loss Challenge

We wouldn’t be surprised if you tell us that you have tried this challenge a zillion times, and something has always gone wrong! Which is why, we insist that you give it a shot along with people who share the same goal. Share videos of a new exercise, pictures of what you’re eating, your thoughts when you need that firm assurance that these efforts are worth it, and motivation to not let go. Monitor weekly results. Get your food journal and share it with others. See where you or they may possibly be going wrong. Compete with each other to lose more in the given time-frame. Share the tips you come across in the process. With so many supportive hands together, you can make this challenge, a cherished success.

Please Note –
The aforementioned ideas can be modified as per the fitness level of the group members, as not everybody has the same capacity to endure the set difficulty level. It would be wise to take consent of every group member before deciding the activity. Also, it should be very clear that these competitions/challenges are healthy, and that no one should take extreme measures to “win”, especially those measures that may prove to be harmful to one’s health.
It is advisable to conduct these exercises/activities under the guidance of a professional. An experienced trainer would help you do the exercise in the right way. Incorrect posture while exercising may end up affecting the body adversely. For instance, exercises such as squats and lunges, if done incorrectly, may strain your knees. A dietitian who is aware of your medical condition (if you have any) such as diabetes, problems related to the heart, and the like, should be consulted while following a specific diet. Make sure all these professionals give each and every group member the go ahead to proceed with these (or any) fitness challenges. Other than that, it is strictly advisable to consult a trusted healthcare specialist before taking up any physical activity or amending a change in your diet. Your health condition would determine if it is okay for you to take up certain exercises. Hence, a professional consultation is a must.