August 10

Easy-to-do arm and upper body exercises

little lifter

Hi!  Everyone,

I have blogged about leg exercises before now, I guess it’s time for arm exercises.  All or most of these exercises can be done seated or standing, but remember if you do them standing please make sure that you have good balance or you use your opposite arm to hold on to a chair of cabinet or some other sturdy object.  None of these exercises will do you any good if you are falling in the floor!

Ok, let’s get started.

Let’s start with Biceps.anatYou know, the “look at my guns” muscle!

#1)  Biceps curls, with or without weights.  If you don’t have weights you can purchase many sizes of weights at walmart.com or Target.com or most any other store that carries sports equipment.  Or if you don’t want to spend the $$ use a 16oz can of corn or beans!  That’s 1 pound!  But be careful don’t drop it on your toe.  That wouldn’t be fun!

curls

Simply bend and flex at the elbows.  Remember to move slowly, up and down.  Make that muscle work, don’t use momentum to get the movement done.  Take your time, and remember to breath.  You can do this one seated if you prefer.

#2) Triceps kickbacks.

kickback2

Kickback is exactly what is sounds like.  Kick that arm back and you should feel that in the back of your arm. You can rest the opposite hand on your knee as shown above or on a chair or bench that is solid.

#3)  Triceps press.

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This one you should also feel in the back of your arm.  Keep those elbows close to your ears. You can do this one seated if you prefer.

#4) Deltoids or shoulders.

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This will work the front deltoid (shoulder), raise only to shoulder level.  You can alternate as shown above or both at the same time.  If you alternate then you can concentrate on one at a time.  You can also do this one seated if you prefer.

delts4

This exercise hits the side of the shoulder.  Again raise only to shoulder level.  Slow and easy, don’t forget to breath!  This can also be done seated.

#5)  upright rows.

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Works the overall deltoid (shoulder).  Simply lift the weight up and down, keeping your elbows high, bring up to chest level and then back down again.

#6)  Combination of biceps & deltoids.

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Bend at elbow for biceps curl, then push straight up into shoulder press. Back to bent elbow and then straight down again.  Just reverse the movement.   Do this one as a separate exercise or replace it for your biceps curl exercise.

#7)  Total arm, chest, and back.  Push ups

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The wall push up.  If you can’t get down on the floor (or can’t get up from the floor) this move is the next best thing.  This will be the same as a floor push up only on the wall.  Be sure to keep your back flat, your knees straight.  You should feel this in your arms, chest, back.  It is a good overall exercise.  If you can get down on the floor but can’t do the traditional push up try push ups on your knees.

push up

This position will work you arms (both biceps & triceps), chest, & back even more than wall push ups because you are pushing more of your body weight.  Remember to keep your back straight, core tight (tighten your stomach muscles, but remember to breath) bring your nose as close to the floor as you can and push yourself back up again.  If you are able do the traditional push up, with only toes and hands on floor do that.   This is the ultimate push up, you will really feel it in your chest, arms & back and it is a very good core exercise which is another blog some other time.

#8)  Circles.

circles

This exercise seems so simple but if done right, will really work those shoulders.  First do small circles then do large circle.  With or without weights, will do the trick.

Ok, these are all the basic exercises to get you started on those beautiful arms.  Arms you will want to show off with sleeveless shirts.  Do the triceps exercises to help with that arm “jiggle”.  Tighten up those shoulders and biceps too!

When you first begin try doing the exercises without weight, until you feel comfortable with the movement, then add a light weight.  Do only 10 reps (repetitions) when 10 becomes easy do 20, if you can do 20 or 30 without a problem then add weight.  When you add weight go back to 10 or 20 reps.  You may not be able to do too many push ups in the beginning, so start with 1 or 2, then move up.  Remember to breath in on the easy part, out on the hard part.  Like for example on the push up, breath in on the way down, out on the way up.

We want to keep this simple, it should never feel overwhelming or too much like work.  Bleh!  Who wants that??  No one!  So pick some of these exercises and try them.

Don’t forget to get your doctors approval before starting!  Drink plenty of water!  Relax, breath and have fun.

Come on!  Get up off the couch and get moving! There’s no time for sitting!  I have faith in you!  You can do it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 3

Getting Started

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Before

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After

Hi!  Everyone,

I am finally back!  I have not blogged in quite a few weeks because I have been very busy with a backyard project  See Pictures above.  In the before picture you can see how the backyard was and how it looks now.  My daughter was getting married and we decided our backyard would be the perfect spot. However, as you can see, it was a disaster!!  So we put in a patio with a fire pit & a deck.  I am standing on the deck to take the after photo.  We had a great time building this, the wedding went well, we got a lot of great compliments, BUT, I am glad it is done.  It was a lot of hard work.  My exercise program for the last 10 weeks or so has been hauling pavers, digging flower beds, hauling wheelbarrows of top soil, swinging a hammer and doing a lot of yard work.  Now its time to get back to my “regular” exercise program.

I do believe that as long as you are up and moving it is a good thing!  So the activity I have been involved in can still be counted as exercise or good activity, but I can not keep up that kind of a pace all the time.  It is very stressful on the body, and can burn you out quickly.

Today I am going to write some pointers for beginners from an article I read lately.  Wish I had found this article before now, but hey, better late than never right??

This article called “Beginners Guide to Getting Started With an Exercise Program”  found in Health Radar, which is a health publication that I subscribe to.  It always has some good pointers and I thought this one was very good for this blog.

 

If you’ve reached the point of deciding to get into shape, you already have taken a HUGE step toward a better you.  You have already found your motivation, whether it is losing weight, becoming healthier, or looking better (who doesn’t want to do that??) people who know why they are exercising tend to be the most successful.

But how to get started?  Here are a few ruled that not only will help you to avoid the beginners’ biggest mistakes, but will also allow you to get the most out of whatever you decided to do.  You’ll have fun, reap more benefits, and most importantly, make it last.  before you do anything else, make sure you have your doctor’s clearance.  Now you’re ready to go.

#1)  Choose a sport that goes well with your current physical condition and is not complicated to do or organize.  Of course, the simplest thing to do is to open your front door and go for a walk.  But there are many more options.  If you have access to a pool, swimming is a superb exercise for beginners.  Bike riding is also excellent.  What I cannot recommend is buying a set of dumbbells and start lifting weights.  It might be good for later, but first go to a gym and have someone show you the basics.  Learning good technique is crucial when lifting weights so that you don’t injure yourself. (don’t be afraid to find someone to show you good technique, this is a very beneficial form of exercise)

#2)  Schedule your workouts and stick to the plan.  Create a routine and don’t deviate from it.  the “play-by-ear people” are those who are least successful because there is always something that gets in the way of their workouts.  For most of us, there will never be a perfectly ideal time to exercise.  Just do it! ( it has to be a priority!)

#3)  Don’t go overboard with big goals before you even get started.  Get experience first.  The only thing that matters right now is just doing something.  If you exercise three times per week for about 20 minutes three weeks in a row, that would be a good start.  After you get into better shape, try to work out more frequently, adding a couple more days a week.  Then, start to make your workouts longer, increasing them to 30 minutes or even longer when you feel comfortable doing so.  Making your muscles, lungs, and heart work a little harder than usual is what you want.  It’s OK to feel a little tired, but do not exhaust yourself.  Please allow your body to adapt slowly and expect an adjustment phase of at least 6-8 weeks before you see results.  It’s important to be patient, so you do not become discouraged.

#4)  Never compare yourself to other people.  Live in your own world and measure your own progress without paying attention to others.

#5)  Do not worry about the way you look when you exercise.  If you are carrying some extra weight or have an awkward running motion, know that there are lots of people just like you.  Don’t worry about it!  I’m telling you this because being embarrassed or self-conscious keeps a lot of people from starting to exercise.  It is so important to accept who you are.  Wear comfortable clothing and good-quality shoes.  Having a nice workout outfit can make you feel better about your appearance.

One good resource for beginners is the website takethemagicstep.com.  It has excellent practical advise on how to get started and how to keep workouts fun.

Remember: No bailing out.  Keep your promise to yourself to exercise.  Those are the things that make you a winner.

This article was taken from Health Radar publication.  Written by Dieter Hogen, world renowned nutrition expert & Olympic athletic coach.  The comments in parenthesis are mine.

As I have said before in my previous blogs, you are never too old to get up and move.  Start easy and work your way up.  It’s very important that you are not sedentary (couch potato)!  That is never good for your health.  Come on get up!  You can do it!  I have faith in you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 9

Winter needs to go!!

We really need some wonderful weather!  It has been on and off cold here, it is very difficult to get up off the couch and get outside because one day its 70, the next day its 20.  Of course if we take advantage of the 70 degree days it will help to relieve any depression and cabin fever we have been experiencing. We have to get ourselves motivated to get up and get out!  Get moving!  Now that the time has changed we are supposed to have more daylight at the end of the day.  We can get outside, work in the yard, walk in the neighborhood, dance on the grass…..the grass is still a little dead but hopefully the closer we get to spring, the greener that will get! We need the sunshine!  it will decrease depression, increase warmth!  You know that feeling of cold that just goes down to the bone??  Sunshine will help to alleviate that too!  Plus we need vitamin D that you can get from the sun!  Just 10 minutes of unprotected sun in the summer time is all you need to help your body produce vitamin D.  The older we get the more we need. According to USNEWS.COM, vitamin D will protect us from many health issues such as……….osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer……..and as mentioned before decreased depression and insomnia!!  So what’s not to love about the sunshine??  They also say that the benefits of the sunshine far out weighs the risks.  The worry is skin cancer with unprotected sun, however all you need to 10 minutes.  10 minutes!!  That’s it. So to me, that is a little bit of incentive to get up and get out!!  Get outside!! Come on you can do this!!  I know you can!!  It’ll be good for you!

February 1

Easy-to-do Standing exercises for all fitness levels!!

Good Morning!

Ok, so we’ve already talked about walking.  Very easy, you can do it inside or outside.  You can start out going just 100 feet and work up to a mile. (yes, you can do it!!)  We’ve talked about drinking plenty of water, it’s very important to stay hydrated even when you’re not exercising.  Please refer to previous blogs, first blog deals with walking, and second blog talks about all the benefits of drinking water.

Today we will talk about leg exercises.  To begin with we want to do just some simple standing, range of motion exercises.  Start with 10 reps, adding reps until you can do 30 reps easily, then add ankle weights.  Starting with 2-3 pounds and going up.  Now you are talking about strengthening exercises.  Which will help with walking, sitting, standing, getting in and out of bed, climbing stairs, stepping up onto a step stool, and many other activities of daily living.

Remember, check with your primary care physician before starting any exercise program.  If any of these exercises cause pain, stop doing that exercise.  continue with the exercises that don’t cause pain and check with your Dr if the pain persists.

Ok, lets get started.

Standing at your kitchen counter, or behind a tall kitchen chair, place your hands on the counter (or back of chair) for balance if you need it.  Feet shoulder width apart for good base of support….

#1).  Hip Flexion exercise:  Lift one leg 10 times, then switch sides and do the same on the other leg.  Remember, as they get easier add more reps.  Work up to 30 of these.  This exercise increases strength to your hip flexors, which brings your leg up to your torso which is very important for walking, sitting, standing from sitting position and with help prevent falls

#2).  Hip Abduction:  This exercise helps to strengthen the outside of your hip.  Again with your hands resting on your kitchen counter or back of chair, feet should be shoulder width apart, with leg straight, bring your leg out to the side.  Start with one side do 10 reps, then switch to the other leg and repeat.  Keep your back straight, head up, don’t lean your torso, your leg should be the only thing moving.  If this bothers your back don’t kick out quit so much, lesson the range of motion.

#3)  Mini Squat:  this exercise is one of the best leg exercises you can do.  It works, hamstrings (back of thigh), quads (front of thigh), core (stomach, low back), glutes (buttocks), and gastrocs (calves).  So this one is an important one to do.  Do this one safely and remember to go down just as far as is comfortable.  It is not necessarily important to go all the way down in the beginning.  Work up to it.  If you have problems coming back up, put a chair behind you.  Go down until your bottom touches the chair, then immediately come back up again.  start with 10, if you can 5 is a good start too. Then work your way up, remember this is a great exercise.

#4)  Heel Raises:  Or tippy toes…I don’t think that is an adult phrase, but you get the idea.  This exercise strengthens your gastrocnemius (I know, crazy!) this is the back of your calf.  Don’t worry, you will feel it when you do this one right.  This muscle is important in that it allows your foot to point down, or when you are walking it helps you to push off of your toes.  It helps prevent you from tripping, and reduces your chances for falling.  Very important for those of you who have this issue.  But!  It is an easy fix!  If you get cramps when performing this exercise, walk it out and try again.  Once you get used to this exercise you will no longer cramp.  Keep at it, don’t give up!

#5).  Toe raises:  Or toe taps if you will.  This exercise works the anterior tibialis or the front of your calf.  This muscle of course raises your toes when you walk.  Again preventing that toe from dragging when you are stepping and to prevent you from tripping and falling.  Very easy to do but very important!

#6)  Hamstring curls:  Last but not least, this exercise works the….hamstring, or back of thigh which flexes your knee.  Very important for walking, sitting, standing, climbing stairs, bending….you get the picture.  It helps with many things you do throughout your day.  So again, standing tall, hands on counter, keep leg as straight as you can.  No flexing at the hip and bend your knee, as if you are kicking yourself in the bottom.  Do one side for all your reps, then switch to the other side.

Ok,  those are the easy-to-do leg exercises.  Remember to do these slowly and deliberately, don’t rush them, don’t use momentum to do them.  You want that muscle to work for you, if you do them too quickly the muscle is not doing the work it needs to get stronger.

Start out walking first, walk around for about 5 minutes before doing the exercises, this will warm up your muscles and decrease any chance for injury, and hopefully will prevent any cramping or other problems.

Drink plenty of water, before, during and after you exercise this too will help decrease chance for cramping or increased dehydration, which as we learned in the last blog can be detrimental!!

Also remember that if any of these cause pain, readjust and try again.  If it continues to cause pain stop that exercise, if pain persists talk with your Dr to make sure that there is not some underlying problem.

Remember to talk to your primary care physician before starting any exercise program.

Last but not least, get moving!  You can do this!!  Your health is in your hands!  You are responsible for your own body, treat it like a temple!