Getting back on track

Thanksgiving is this week and Christmas is just around the corner. So what are your plans for the holidays? Traveling across the country to see family? Staying close to home and hosting a party? It’s really easy this time of year to let our exercise regimen slide a little, what with all of the wonderful indulgent foods to eat at parties and family gatherings. If you are like me, you find it hard to say ‘no’ to the dessert table! That’s ok, go ahead and indulge, and when you are ready to get back on track, head over to Fitness Boot Camp in Ann Arbor!

Functional Training

In our everyday movements, there are many things that we already do without thinking about it. We squat when we get something off the floor, we twist our torsos getting out of a car, you push when shutting a door and lunge when something is falling and you want to catch it.

Functional training is a type of exercise that uses whole body movements instead of targeting only one muscle group. Using lunging, twisting, pushing and squatting, we can improve our balance and posture, decrease the risks of injury because the muscles are stronger and more resistant to tearing. Here I will show you 5 effective ways to use functional training for exercise.

Firstly, the bodyweight squat is the best exercise you can do for your lower body; it strengthens your low back, calves, glutes and hamstrings. It simply mimics the movement you would make to sit on a low stool. You can extend your arms out or fold them in front of you at about shoulder height. Your knees should never pass your toes, and keeping your knees straight while squatting is very important also.

Secondly is the lunge, which is another excellent exercise for the lower body. You simply take a big step forward and bend your knees deeply and lift your body back up. You want to make sure your shoulders are straight and your arms are down at your sides. You can continue going forward, or do backward walking lunges as well.

Third is push-ups, which train the chest, arms and core. Always start with your belly and chest flat on the floor to better address functional strength. Without locking the elbows at the top, push up with your arms and keep your core muscles tight. The number of push ups isn’t important, it’s keeping your muscles engaged that really matters.

Fourth is pull-ups, which targets back muscles, arms and core. Keep your shoulders contracted and don’t overextend at the top of the pull up, just have your elbows in line with your body.

Fifth and finally is rotations. There are many different twisting rotations that can be great exercises for arms, chest and back strength, see a physical therapist or trainer to find one that works best for your body.

These exercises are a great basic way to get into exercising, but no matter what you do, be safe and seek help if you are experiencing discomfort or pain with any of the movements.

Motivation for Exercise

In my last post, I talked about starting a new exercise routine from the inside out.  We all know how important it is to get out there and exercise, but we so often fail because our hearts and minds are just not into it.  I have 3 tips to help you find the motivation you need to get started and stay committed to exercise to improve mind and body.

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From the Inside Out

When starting any exercise regime, make sure you’re really committed to what you are endeavoring on.  It’s one thing to make the outside of our bodies look nice and fit, but if your mind is not on board, you will backslide and eventually stop working out.  It’s important to start on the inside, find the motivation you need to get started and keep at it.

Still looking

Praise the Lord, my back has been feeling better just by sleeping in my own bed again!  But I know this problem is something that won’t go away on its own, so I have to find a provider who offers the Active Release Technique in lower Michigan.  So far, I have only found a few Chiropractors who can do this technique, but they all work 2-3 hours away from me.  But I am still searching for someone closer to me and I will post all about it when I finally find one!

Active Release Technique

While vacationing in beautiful Grand Marais, MI in the U.P., I threw my lower back out again.  I had a terrible cold to start with that left me coughing so hard the muscles in my low back were strained to the point that any movement I made sent shockwaves of pain throughout my body.  Add to that we were sleeping on a thin mattress in a pop up camper, which didn’t provide much back support, needless to say.  I knew that the only way to relieve my pain was to see a Chiropractor.  (more…)

That dang back is whack- AGAIN

I’ve had chronic back problems for years.

Recently I’ve felt especially out of whack but in a different way than I have been in the past. Usually when I had back issues they would arise in the form of debilitating muscle spasms that are incredibly painful and immobilize me somewhat. My range of motion is usually limited and the pain is what I referred to as ‘tweaky’ and sharp. (more…)