Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

4 Low Impact Exercise Options

tai-chiAs we all know, regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But because of various injuries and/or health conditions, instead of running on a treadmill or jumping rope, many people must choose to participate in low impact activities. If you’re someone who is impacted by musculoskeletal issues ranging from tender joints to osteoarthritis, check out the four activity options below for healthy ways to stay active without all the wear and tear.

Swimming

Swimming is a great way for everyone to stay active, but is especially well-suited for those seeking a low impact way to get or stay healthy. Stiff and sore joints can benefit from the buoyancy of water and the fact that your body bears less of its own weight when underwater. The increased resistance afforded by water (vs. air) means exercise can be even more effective in building not only strength, but also your range of motion.

Yoga

Because the foundation of yoga is stretching, it is an ideal exercise option for those requiring low impact options for staying fit. The slow and gradual movements associated with yoga allow the body to gracefully ease into each position and ensure joints avoid taking on the heavy impact associated with many other forms of exercise. Yoga can help improve strength, balance, and flexibility, all while going easy on your body.

Cycling

Cycling is a fantastic low-impact way of working cardiovascular exercise into your routine. Both indoor and outdoor cycling allow you to incorporate resistance training into your workout and get the heartbeat up to burn calories, build stamina and boost your overall health!

Tai Chi

Rooted in a combination of martial arts and meditation, tai chi provides core strengthening, balance and aerobic benefits, along with an opportunity to get in some time for deep breathing and stress relief as well. Leveraging slow, graceful movement, tai chi removes the impact from your workout and is easy on the joints while reducing stiffness and even improving your sleep!

These are some great options for low impact exercise. What are your other favorite low impact exercise options?

Spotlight: Men’s Fitness

Men's Health MonthJune is Men’s Health Month. It’s also the time of year when many men become more active. The warm temperatures and long days make it easier (and more fun) to play on a softball team, tend to the yard, or start a new exercise routine, like biking or swimming. But after months of rest, the sudden explosion of activity can wreak havoc on the body.

If you’re about to ramp up a new summer workout, keep these injury prevention tips in mind:

1. Get Professional Help

If you are new to exercise, or just haven’t been active in a while, see your doctor for a physical to make sure you are healthy enough to take on strenuous activity. Also consider hiring a professional trainer or coach who can teach you proper form and technique.

2. Wear Proper Clothing

Always wear appropriate footwear. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will also be able to alleviate undue stress to your ankles, knees and hips by providing much needed support. Also choose appropriate clothing that fits well, allows you to move naturally, and doesn’t interfere with your safety.

3. Warm Up

Never start a workout in full throttle. Begin slowly and build the pace. This gets the blood flowing to your muscles gradually, giving them time to warm up and acclimate to the activity. This also gives you time to listen to your body and identify any aches or pains that may be red flags to more serious problems.

4. Leave Your Ego At The Door

Many men start a workout program thinking too much about what they should be able to do rather than what they are honestly capable of at the time. Attempting too much too quickly invites injury. So, take the pressure off. Concentrate on your individual progress rather than comparing yourself to or competing with others.

5. Stretch

When your muscles have warmed up, stretch. Many men skip this part of a workout. After all, stretching is for girls, right? But, as your muscles get stronger and tighter they start pulling on one another. Eventually, this tug-of-war affects your body posture and you start to feel aches in your back, hamstrings, and shoulders. These minor aggravations can turn into serious problems, all preventable if you take the time to stretch.

6. Take A Day Off

Rest is important. It gives your body time to recuperate and repair. If you’re just starting an exercise program, make sure you take two days off each week. Listen to your body and respond accordingly. Pain and fatigue are subtle signs of overtraining that can lead to more serious problems.

7. Eat Well

Pay attention to nutrition. In order to maintain healthy energy levels and have the physical endurance to push through tough workouts, you need to fuel your body with good, healthy food. Avoid high-fat foods and sweets and drink lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Related Resources:

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

exercise motivationWe know exercise can help us lose weight and will be better for our health in the long run, but we still can’t seem to get ourselves motivated to exercise for the recommended duration, frequency and intensity outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Current guidelines recommend about 2.5 hours per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise (such as a brisk walk or jumping jacks) and at least 2 days a week of muscle-strengthening activity. Check out fitness guidelines for health as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Heart Association (AHA).

Here are 5 tips to help get yourself motivated to exercise:

  1. Break it down. The recommended 2.5 hours per week works out to about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can break that down further by doing three, 10-minute sessions each day. Remember to combine aerobic and muscle strengthening activities for optimal benefits.
  2. The power of one. The journey of 10,000 miles (or the loss of 30 pounds) begins with one step. Or pushup. Or lunge. If you’ve been inactive for a while or have old injuries, trying to pound out a 30-minute jog may be a setup for failure. Also, ask your physician about modified exercises to help ease into a new routine.
  3. Put it on your calendar. Set appointments with yourself and treat it as you would any other meeting or appointment.
  4. Phone a friend. Working out with your partner or friends will help make exercise more fun! Unfortunately, most of us are more willing to let ourselves down than others, so having a support system in the form of an exercise buddy will force you to keep yourself more accountable.
  5. Less trips to the doctor. According to the AHA, heart disease and stroke are the nation’s # 1 and # 5 killers, and exercising for the recommended amounts of time can improve your overall cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of a myriad of health issues. Trade in the time you’d spend at the doctor’s office for a few minutes of exercise!

Related Resources

References

American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Physical Activity Guidelines

Dr. Hart to Host Online Chat on Getting Motivated to Exercise

Dr. Chris HartExercise provides numerous benefits—from reducing cardiovascular disease to fighting depression. While we all know we should exercise regularly, the trick is working up the motivation to start exercising. Overcoming couch-potato inertia can be difficult particularly during the dreary winter months and especially after most of us have spent the holidays celebrating with family, friends—and a lot of comfort food.

Join Christopher J. Hart, MD, Chief of Staff at Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Medical Director of Emory Johns Creek’s Atlanta Bariatric Center, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 from noon to 1 p.m. as he provides tips and guidance to help you get moving.

Exercise Motivation Chat Sign Up

 

Whether you are simply working toward a healthier lifestyle in the New Year, or you are trying to lose weight for a surgery, Dr. Hart can address issues and questions such as:

  • I really want to start exercising but I can’t seem to work it into my schedule.
  • What if I don’t like to exercise?
  • I can’t carve out an entire hour to exercise. What are my options?
  • What if I can’t afford a gym membership?
  • I’m exhausted all the time, and just the thought of exercising wears me out. How do I get over that mental hurdle?
  • I’ve tried exercising before, but I can’t stick with it. What can I do to stay motivated?

If you’re looking for a good way to get motivated in the New Year, join Dr. Hart for what’s sure to be a great online chat!

On the Job? 5 Cubicle-Friendly Toning Exercises You Can Do At Work

Sitting at your desk or cubicle for extended periods of time can result in back pain and stiffness. Toning exercises can help lessen back pain, especially when the pain stems from a lack of toned abdominal muscles. By doing a few of these simple at-work exercises, you can start to improve your back pain right away.

Below, we’ve outlined five exercises you can do at work to help you stay fit while you’re on the job!

1. Up and Over

The first toning exercise you can do to strengthen your abs and lower back muscles is simple, yet effective. Use your water bottle or something similar to hold in your hands. Grip the water bottle sideways with both hands and lift it into the air. Be sure to pay attention to how you are sitting. Both feet should be flat on the floor, back nice and straight, and abs in. With your arms high in the air, bend to one side as far as you can, using a slow and fluid movement. Repeat for at least ten counts, and then switch to the other side. Try to do three sets as many times per day as you can.

2. Twist and Back

This is another variation of the side toning exercise. Hold your water bottle again with both hands. This time put your arms out in front of you. While holding the water bottle, twist to one side using the same fluid movement as with the up and over exercise. Be sure to keep your feet flat and move only your upper body, not the whole chair. Repeat for ten counts and do at least two sets for each side.

3. Sitting tight

This is a toning exercise that is easy to do any time and can be done several times a day. While you are sitting in your office chair, sit up straight and hold the sides of the chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Tighten your glute muscles and your ab muscles, and lean forward slightly. You should feel your muscles working if you are doing it correctly. Do at least twelve counts, and try to do two sets at the top of every hour whenever you can.

4. Lift Your Knees

This is another toning exercise that can be done while you are sitting at your desk. Sit up tall with your back straight and your abs in tight. Your feet should be on the floor and your hands should be holding the sides of the bottom of your chair, next to your thighs. Slowly lift your knees as far up as you can while your back stays straight. This is a challenge and not as easy as it sounds. Do it for as many counts as you can and as many reps as you can.

5. Legs Up

This one will work if you have a mat and room enough to be on the floor. Lay on your mat on the floor with your feet resting on your office chair. Keeping your feet on the chair, perform ab crunches.

There are many ways to stay in shape, even while working at a desk job. Creativity and consistency are key elements to staying fit while at work.

How do you keep in shape at your office? Share your “At-Work” fitness tips in our comment area below.

Exercise May Enhance Sexual Function in Men

Exercise Men's Sexual Health Erectile DysfunctionMen under the age of 40 now have one more reason to hit the gym. According to a recent Emory University study, increased physical activity is associated with better sexual function in men under 40.

The study, published online in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, assessed the association between physical activity and erectile function in young, healthy men ages 18 to 40. Previous studies have suggested that erectile dysfunction in men under 40 is correlated with increased cardiovascular risks.

“The men in our study who exercised more seemed to experience a protective benefit against erectile dysfunction,” says Wayland Hsiao, MD, co-author of the study and assistant professor of urology, Emory University School of Medicine. “We hope that early screening for ED may be a gateway issue to help motivate young men to live healthily on a consistent basis so that they can possibly avoid health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We see this as just the beginning.”

For the study, a group of men ages 18 to 40 kept a record of their exercise and sexual function. Researchers found improved erectile function in men under 40 with increased exercise, as well as higher rates of sexual dysfunction in sedentary men under 40. The study also noted that men can start experiencing issues with erectile dysfunction as early as their 30s.

“Several studies have evaluated the relationship between exercise and erectile function in older or obese men,” says study co-author Chad W.M. Ritenour, MD, director of the Emory’s Men’s Health Center and associate professor of urology, Emory University School of Medicine. “Our goal with this particular study was to determine if there is a connection between increased exercise and better erectile function in younger men.”

Drs. Ritenour and Hsiao recommend that men follow the recommendations of the CDC and get at least two and a half hours of physical activity a week, ideally spread throughout the week. Also, men should eat a diet that includes variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat and alcohol.

Related Resources: