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ARE YOU EXERCISING
TIPS TO SHAPE UP YOUR LEGS

You might not be on a dancing competition on national television or a regular on the jogging track but that doesn’t mean that you ignore your legs completely. To sculpt your leg muscles faster, try these simple exercises:
A.

Lunges
Try the classic Lunges to tone your muscles. Stand straight with your feet shoulder wide apart and arms by your side. Take a step back such that you allow enough room for your legs to bend at a right angle. Simultaneously, bring your arms up so that they serve as a counterbalance to your body position. You’ve pretty much reached the perfect lunge position when your knee in front is placed directly above the ankle.

B.

Another really simple exercise is the Scissor Legs routine. Start by lying on your right side with your right arm under your head and the left hand on the floor along with your legs in line with your torso. Now, lift your left leg about a foot and a half or higher (if you can manage) and hold it in that position for a few seconds. Bring it down, pause for a while and then do the same with your left leg. Switch sides as you progress. This exercise can also be done while lying on your back and trying to lift your feet off the ground together for a few seconds and then repeating.

C.

Hold-Lift-Raise
One of the most widely practices exercises to tone up the muscles of the abdomen and the thighs is a really simple hold-lift exercise. Lie on your back with your heels together, bending your knees such that they point towards the ceiling. Put your hands by the side of your hips with palms facing the floor. Now, try to lift your butt off the floor. Tilt your pelvis up and down just once. Hold this position for a couple of seconds. Now, lower it to the floor. Repeat this exercise as many times as your body can handle.

One must always keep in mind that if you are a beginner, take it easy. Pushing yourself on the first day itself could have very disastrous consequences. At the same time, do these exercises regularly so that your body gets used to them and builds a resistance towards any physical discomfort.
 

ALL ABOUT PILATES!

Girija Naiksatam


Remember Madonna rapping, 'I do yoga and Pilates…' in her 2005 release, 'American Life'? Pilates is a new fitness trend you may have thus far only heard about in celebrity interviews. But it isn't just some expensive new fad – it was in fact developed well back in the early 20th century! You too can incorporate Pilates into your exercise regime. Here's how.

What Is Pilates?
 
  • Pilates (pronounced: pih-LAA-teez), is a set of basic exercises that involve slow, controlled movements that help lengthen and tone the body. They are specifically designed to help improve coordination, balance, strength and flexibility.

  • The core focus of Pilates as an exercise technique is the muscles of the abdomen and the lower back, thought of as being critical to the functioning of the human body.

  • All movements are to be performed in a slow, controlled manner, regulating one's breath and leaving out no small detail as incorrect movements can harm the body. Thus, it is important to practice it only with a trainer.

  • Some Pilates exercises include the pelvic placement exercises, which pay special attention to the hip region through a series of upward-downward and sideways rocking movements. The scapular (shoulder-blade) movements along with the head and neck exercises focus on the spine and posture.

    Why Is Pilates Good For Me?

  • Pilates works various parts of your body at a much deeper level

  • It not only makes your body more toned but also makes you more poised as you carry yourself better.

  • Although Pilates is perceived as a gentler exercise regime, it is one of the best exercises for those just starting to work out.

    With an increasing number of followers, Pilates is indeed one of the newest and simplest ways to a stronger, leaner body!
     

    REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD WORK OUT!

    It is common knowledge that exercising reduces body weight and fat, decreases the risk of diseases and improves physical appearance. Here are some more reasons why you should consider working out an important and beneficial activity.
     
  • Increases metabolism rate: After the age of 30, your body gradually begins to lose its muscle. If your activity level and the amount of calories you eat stays the same, you will still gain weight because your metabolism has slowed down.

  • Helps your mental well-being: Regular exercise has been known to reduce depression. Regardless of your body appearance, regular fitness helps improve your self-esteem.

  • Helps you sleep better: People who exercise tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

  • Increases your anaerobic threshold: This allows you to work or exercise longer at a higher level.

  • Prevents muscle loss: Dieting tends to cause a loss in muscle. You can help avoid this by lifting weights while reducing your calorie intake.

  • Helps improve cholesterol levels: It helps decrease total cholesterol levels and increase ‘good’ cholesterol levels.

  • Gives you a leaner body: Physical fitness increases your lean body percentage (and of course decreases your body fat percentage). So, the more muscles you build from exercising, the more calories you will burn. Building muscles also help keep your metabolic rate constant.

     
    START YOUR DAY WITH THE SUN SALUTATIONN

    One of the best ways to start your day is by doing the Suryanamaskar or the Sun salutation. This ancient Indian asana is a complete meditative technique as it includes asanas, pranayama as well as mudras. The Suryanamaskar is a combination of 12 simple postures to be followed in continuation with a uniform breathing pattern.
     
  • Start by standing straight with your feet together and your hands palm-to-palm in a namaste position at the center of your chest.
  • While inhaling, raise your arms and slowly bend backward while stretching your arms above your head such that your biceps touch your ears. Stretch your abdomen as much as possible.
  • Now bend forward while exhaling, and try to put your palms at the side of your feet. If you’re unable to touch the floor, keep your arms in line with your legs.
  • Inhale and extend one leg back, keeping your palms and feet firmly on the ground, and place the other leg between the arms. Raise your head to look at the ceiling.
  • Extend your second leg back, balancing on your toes, keeping the hips off the floor, with your hands supporting the body in a push-up position. Now exhale. Lower your head to be in line with the arms.
  • Next, exhale and lower the body to the floor until the length of the body touches the ground as if you are sleeping on your stomach. Keep your buttocks raised to keep only your abdomen off the floor.
  • Then, inhale as you slowly raise your head and upper body, bending the spine to the maximum.
  • Now, raise your hips and lower your head with eyes on the navel and both heels on the floor to form an inverted 'V'. Exhale and, keeping the arms straight, align the head with the arms.
  • Following this, you need to repeat the positions in reverse. Inhale and again move the right leg back away from the body in a wide backward step as you had done before. Keep the hands and feet firmly on the ground, with the left foot between the hands. Raise the head.
  • Exhale slowly while bending forward, touching the floor with your palms so that your arms are in line with your legs.
  • Raise your arms as you inhale and stretch them above your head, and then lean backward as much as possible. The palms should be touching each other.
  • Exhale and come back to the starting position with your feet together and palms folded in front of your chest.

    Do about 10-13 cycles everyday as soon as you wake up. This asana should preferably be done facing the Sun.
     

    THE BEST TIME TO LOSE FAT!

    Most people get to exercising "whenever they get a chance." Sometimes during the middle of the day, sometimes before going to sleep, sometimes directly after a weight training workout or before a weight training workout and sometimes first thing in the morning. The truth is, all of those times will get results. It doesn't matter what time of the day you do your cardio workout, you will be burning calories every single time. But the real question behind everyone’s mind is which of these times is the most effective? And the answer is simple, first thing in the morning!

    Doing cardio first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, before you eat anything, is by far, the most effective. Whether you run, jog, walk, swim, jump rope, take an aerobics class, ride a bike, etc., doing it first thing in the morning is the best time to do it for maximum fat loss. You might ask why? It’s simple. When you do your cardio workout, you are burning calories. Lets say you wake up, eat breakfast, eat lunch later in the day, and then a few hours after lunch, you do your cardio. All you will be doing during that cardio is burning the calories and carbohydrates of the food you just ate. When you do cardio first thing in the morning, you haven't eaten anything for the last 8 or so hours because you were sleeping. So, when your body sees that there are no carbohydrates to burn, it goes directly to stored body fat. And stored body fat is the fat that is on your body, which is the fat that you want to get rid of.

    Understand how it works? When you do your cardio sometime during the day other then first thing in the morning, you spend most of that time burning off carbohydrates that you already ate that day. When you do it first thing in the morning, there are no carbohydrates to burn, so all your body can burn is body fat!
     
    ARE YOU EXERCISING PROPERLY?

    Exercise ensures good health. Although it has many advantages; if done improperly it can lead to some serious complications. While exercising it is important that you maintain the right body posture to avoid any injury.

    The following are a list of mistakes people often make while lifting weights and how you can go about fixing the problem.

    HIPS AND PELVIS
    If you’re moving your pelvis back and forth during bicep curls, you are using momentum to help you thrust the dumbbell upward, rather than isolating the muscle and using it to lift the weight.

    How to fix it: To make sure you perform the motion using only your biceps to move the bar, do the exercise seated, with your legs spread, and rest your right elbow against the inside of your right leg, then do the same on the left side. You should have a 25 degree hip angle, with your legs straight.

    USING SHORT CUTS
    Not exercising through a full range of motion is a common mistake, especially when doing bicep curls. Many people stop the exercise before they’ve extended their arm all the way down. This means they are only strengthening the upper part of the biceps instead of fully developing the muscle.

    How to fix it: Each exercise should be done in a slow, controlled manner through the complete range of motion, with emphasis on a completely contracted position. Full range of motion movements, contract and strengthen the muscle you’re working and stretch the opposing muscle (in the case of the bicep curl, the triceps).

    HIPS
    When you lift your hips off the bench when doing a bench press, you change the angle of your shoulders as you lift the bar, so you are using only your lower pectoral muscles instead of the entire pectoral muscle. Your feet are also contributing to the movement, so you’re not working as hard.

    How to fix it: One simple way to prevent this is to place your legs on the bench with your knees bent and your feet down.

    ELBOW
    As discussed earlier, there is a fine line between a full range of motion and hyperextension. For example, allowing your elbows to go too far behind the back in a bench press or chest press. It’s hard to know how far is too far. In the case of a bench press or chest press, the farther you bring your elbows down, the more you increase your chances of injuring your shoulders.

    How to fix it: A general guideline if you’re doing a bench press is to lower the weight onto your chest until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. This means that your elbows drop slightly below your chest — but this will not overstrain your shoulder because aligning the forearm helps you keep good form.

    WARM-UP
    If you are lifting significant weight and you don’t warm up, it will be harder for you to lift because your muscles won’t be ready. You will also increase your chance of injury.

    How to fix it: Do a general warm-up before you start lifting, by using a cardio machine at a moderate level for a minimum of at least four to five minutes.
     

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