Many people become so focused on the lifting part of using light weights and the stretching part of using resistance bands for strength training that they tend to forget about one of the most important aspects of strength training, good posture.
Good posture is important for a number of reasons. The first is to avoid injury. Our back is incredibly flexible thanks to our vertebrae, muscles and joints. However, that flexibility can be a disadvantage when lifting weights, even light ones. This is because it is very easy for you to slouch during your exercise and for your posture to get increasingly out of alignment the more repetitions you do if you are not careful about your form. Bad form means less benefit and slower results, which no one wants when they are working so hard to improve their body.
In terms of resistance bands, good posture is even more important in order to avoid particular kinds of injury those who use them are prone to. Resistance bands can cause injury if they slip out of your grasp or snap. Keeping your head up, back straight and eyes straight ahead will protect your face from any snapping, as compared with looking down and slouching over the handles of your bands and getting smacked in the face by them.
To get the most out of each exercise, align your body correctly. This will usually be with your feet slightly apart or shoulder width apart and your body in a straight line from head to toe, with your back straight and abdominal muscles (abs) engaged so your hips do not thrust forward or shove backwards.
As you move from one position to the next, hold the form recommended for the exercise. You may wish to practice a few times without weights or bands first to see how it feels. If you work out in a mirror, you can also see whether or not your posture is good and if you are maintaining form as you work your way through each rep in each set.
Finally, good posture is particularly important if you are doing slow lifting versus natural count lifting. Most people do the 1, 2 natural movement with little thought, eager to get their reps and sets done. Slow lifting means taking as long as possible to move from one position to the next. Slow lifting puts more strain on the muscle, so good posture is essential in order to avoid injury and work the muscles deeply. Slow lifting is an excellent way to improve your form rather than just cranking out endless reps.
With more than 80% of all people experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives, pay attention to posture to avoid injury and see what a difference it can make to your strength training.
Have you considered hiring a personal trainer to boost your weightlifting results? It makes sense for a lot of reasons to reach out to a trained professional for help in this and many other areas of your life. When you need help solving a specific problem, you hire an expert that knows a lot in a particular area. You don't try to handle any electrical tasks around your house, and you call a plumber when you have a water problem.
Why not consider the same strategy concerning your fitness efforts? Hire a strength training expert to help you in your weightlifting efforts. They can teach you proper technique, give you some tips to reach your goals quicker and more efficiently, and help minimise injuries. If you pay someone for their weightlifting knowledge, just remember that every trainer has a different style.
How do you respond when someone tries to teach you with an aggressive approach? Or do you find yourself performing better when someone uses more of a calm, nurturing, "hold your hand" teaching process? Does teaching style even matter to you, as long as you know you can reach your intended goals?
The tip here is to hire a trainer that is a good fit for your learning style. Ask around. Check out online reviews. Before you invest your hard-earned money in a weightlifting coach, make sure you choose one that is going to fit your personality and goal set. You will maximise your efforts and results, and enjoy the experience along the way.
Many seniors shy away from strength training because they think they are too old to work with weights. They might also dread the idea of going to a gym or think they have to use all sorts of complicated and expensive equipment in order to get results.
The good news is that working with light weights and resistance bands can give you real results in the comfort of your own home, without spending a lot of money on fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership.
The most important part of planning a workout or set of workouts is to consider your overall health. Common health issues affecting seniors include arthritis, osteoporosis, heart health issues, obesity, diabetes and more. Discuss your plans with your doctor to start doing strength training. They can give you safety tips and help set your fitness goals.
Once you have set your fitness goals, you can decide what exercises will help you reach those goals. For example, if you want to target your flabby arms or get six pack abs, research exercises that will help with this goal and which you will be able to do as a beginner.
Another important consideration is a good whole body workout versus focusing on trouble spots. Alternate exercises for arms, chest and shoulders, abs and legs, so that no one area gets too tired.
This is especially important if you have any joint issues due to arthritis. Strength training can support your joints and keep them mobile and flexible provided you do not overdo things.
Once you do your research, it will be time to create a few customised workouts to keep you interested and work the parts you wish to focus on. For example, bicep curls, chest presses and tricep kickbacks will all give you nicely sculpted arms and get rid of chicken wing arms with flab dangling down. Vary your routines to keep you motivated.
You can also vary your equipment and exercises for the same reason. Getting sick of your dumbbells? Try resistance bands instead. Add one or two exercises to each of your strength training sessions. Or alternate days, using weights one day, resistance bands the next.
Add light weights or resistance bands to your usual work out moves, such as sit ups, lunges or squats. The extra weight can add variety and intensity for faster results. Enjoy yoga or tai chi? Try some of your moves with resistance bands or wrist and ankle weights and see what a difference it can make to your fitness.
All of these are fast and easy ways to add strength training to your fitness routine. Remember, the best workout is the one you will stick to. Try a few curls, rows and kickbacks and you should soon see a whole new you.
If you are a woman reading this then you are probably quite familiar with the ups and downs that come with monthly hormone fluctuations. Sometimes these changes in our hormonal state can be very disruptive causing mood fluctuations and even mood disorders — like premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
If you are one of the millions of unlucky women who suffer from wild hormone imbalances you may want to look in your kitchen for some foods that can help you balance your hormones.
Here are the top 5 foods that help with hormonal balance in women.
Soy is a great source of protein along with other vitamins and nutrients. One of the nutrients that soy contains that will help you balance your hormones is phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens can help women raise their estrogen levels. Redbook Magazine recommends that women going through menopause increase their consumption of soy to help their hormonal shift.
These little seeds give your body a great way to get more estrogen. Flax is a high fiber food, and popular health blogs report that it will help you feel full and keep you going for a long time during the day. In addition to the fiber and hormone balancing properties, flax is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been reported to help hormone synthesis.
This cold-water fish is good for the brain and a wonderful help to balancing hormones. This fish has great anti-inflammatory properties and according to Prevention magazine, it is full of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega -3 fatty acids are responsible for counteracting all of the negative effects that the Omega-6 fatty acids have on the body. Having several sources of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet will help you to reduce the oxidisation effects and inflammatory effects of high omega-6 fatty acids. Wild caught salmon is one of the highest sources of this highly beneficial fat. Nutritionists and dieticians recommend that you consume 1-2 servings a week to get your allotted serving of Omega-3 fatty acids.
This plant has been used for centuries as a way to manipulate women’s menstrual cycles. Chasteberry regulates progesterone levels in women. In some women, regular doses of chasteberry can even stop ovulation in the same way that progesterone based birth control tablets do.
For women who are low on progesterone, chasteberry can provide a boost in this hormone to regulate the menstrual cycle. According to Organic Authority chasteberry can help thicken the uterine lining by increasing progesterone levels and may be a first intervention alternative to fertility treatments.
Chasteberry is not recommended for anyone who is currently seeking medical treatment for hormone related conditions. Because of its natural ability to affect the body’s production of progesterone, it could interfere with your medical treatment.
Like soy, chickpeas are a natural source of phytoestrogen. Popular health blogs note that while phytoestrogen is not estrogen, the body does a good job at using these chemicals in place of the real hormone.
Not only do chickpeas have great hormone balancing abilities but they are also full of other nutrients that will help you lead a healthier life. Chickpeas have high protein and fiber and are often used as a meat alternative.
While these foods are all great at helping normalise hormone levels in women with problematic hormone cycles, it is important to note that it is still necessary to discuss any health concerns with a physician.
Many times supplements, like chasteberry, can interfere with traditional medications – like antibiotics. If you are trying to control your hormones through diet or supplementation, your physician should be aware of your at home efforts.
Having severe PMS and hormonal changes can be difficult to deal with. Making small modifications in the diet, and taking supplements like chasteberry could make all the difference in your overall wellbeing. Try them out and see if you notice a difference in your monthly cycles.
Most people trying to lose weight focus on vigorous aerobic (cardio) exercises. While they are certainly of benefit, strength training has a valuable part to play in helping you lose weight and keep it off.
If you have ever tried to diet by cutting down on what you eat and counting calories, you know how hard it can be to lose weight through diet alone. It takes only 2,000 extra calories to gain a pound but 3,500 calories burned to lose one. This means if you shave 500 calories off your meals each day, you can really only lose 1 pound per week.
For most people this is far too slow a rate of weight loss. But then again, most people want to get instant results. It is time to be realistic. If it were so easy to lose weight that you could just take a pill, we would live in a nation of skinny people. Slimming down takes work, including eating right, counting calories, cooking your own healthy meals, and above all, exercising.
Cardio can help you burn calories during your workout but you might be surprised to discover that strength training can help you keep on burning calories even when you are sleeping! This is because strength training builds lean muscle and muscle burns calories more efficiently than fat. Lean muscle therefore boosts your metabolism, encouraging to burn calories rather than store them.
Resistance bands are perfect for strength training because almost anyone can use them, no matter what their age or level of fitness. Even if you have not worked out in years, resistance bands are easy to use and safe provided that you follow the instructions from the manufacturer of your bands. They can give a great full body workout to slim and tone you all over.
The scale might not go down when you first start using your resistance bands, but in only a short time you should start to notice that your clothes feel less tight and your arms and so on are less flabby and jiggly. You might even discover that you are able to drop a dress size or tighten your belt a few notches. This should inspire you to keep using your resistance bands to improve your fitness even more until the pounds start to come off without the need to starve yourself.
If you have been struggling to shed pounds, add resistance bands to your daily routine and see what a difference they can make to your physique.
Losing weight is a huge accomplishment. For many permanent and long lasting weight loss is eluding. Many women spend a large amount of effort trying to lose weight only to have all of that hard work vanish over the next year. What happened? Why is it that women seem to yo-yo diet so frequently? Why is that we cannot as society maintain a healthy weight, as obesity rates continue to skyrocket out of control.
There are key strategies that you can incorporate to keep take your weight off and keep it off for good. Let's take a look.
Don’t Turn Back
Health.com writes a great article about how many women simply stop checking in with the scale once they have reached their goal weight. When you stop checking in on your weight, you make it really easy to allow those extra pounds to creep back on. The next thing you know you are back up to your beginning weight or your clothes no longer fit.
So how do you stop this?
Check in on your weight. You should make a plan to weigh in every week or two once you have met your goal weight. Checking your weight is a good way to make sure you are being honest with yourself about your new eating habits and exercise routine. If you start to see the scale creep back up, it may be time to check in with your food log.
When losing weight most women understand the basics: eat less and move more. Unfortunately, when the goal weight is met, or the trousers fit, or the dream dress zips; the activity stops. Many women simply stop what they were doing to lose the weight in the first place.
The Huffington Post reported that the most successful maintainers of weight loss also maintained an average of 200 minutes of activity every week. Just because you have lost your weight, doesn’t mean you can go back to what you were doing before. Remember the bad habits that made you gain weight once, will make you gain weight again.
There are many types of food journals out there. Some women keep emotional inventory journals to help combat emotional eating. Others keep a simple log of the foods they ate that day. Still, there are the refined and exact to-the-gram food logs for those that need more control.
Whatever type of food log you kept to lose weight Web M.D. recommends you continue doing it after your weight is gone. If you want your weight to stay off, you have to stay in tune with what you eat and drink. The best way to do this is to maintain your food journaling habits that helped you learn what you were eating in the first place.
Schedule Your Workouts
One great piece of advice for those who are transitioning from the weight loss to the weight maintenance phase of life is to schedule your workouts. This is going to be one of the best ways to make sure that you are getting your recommended 200 minutes of activity to help you maintain your weight loss that you have already achieved.
If you are just starting out on your weight loss journey, then this piece of advice should go double for you. Scheduling your workouts (especially when you are new to working out) gives you a subconscious boost in their importance. If it’s on the calendar, it’s going to get done.
Remember your Portion Sizes
The British Heart Foundation wants you to remember your portion sizes. This goes for weight maintenance and weight reduction. A portion of fish, cheese, or bread doesn’t change depending on your weight. Remembering what these portions look like will help you remember to eat the right amount of food.
Just because you have hit a weight loss goal does not give you the license to overindulge or to forget everything you learned that helped you lose weight. Weight maintenance is a lot like weight loss, the only difference is you get to eat a tad bit more. All your healthy habits are still in place, though, keeping you at your healthy body weight.
Most of us dread the idea of working out. We think of expensive but smelly gyms, confusing weights machines from the space age, sweating all the time, and feeling embarrassed because we feel old and out of shape compared to all the 20-somethings with perfect bodies we see everywhere all pumping iron.
They might have perfect bodies, but they got them by working out. Note the word working. If you put in the work, you too can get a better body. But it does not have to be all work and no play. Strength training can be fun once you know how to get started.
First, you don’t have to go to a gym. You can work out with light weights and resistance bands anywhere in your own home, even in front of the TV watching your favourite show. You don’t need expensive memberships or equipment, just a commitment to devote about 10 to 30 minutes per session to your better body. Head to the kitchen to find some heavy cans or bottles you can grip easily and you will have enough to get started. Once you have mastered several exercises to tone and trim your body, then you can consider investing in some inexpensive weights and/or resistance bands.
In terms of weights, dumbbells come in all shapes and sizes, but if you have not worked out for a while, begin with light weights and gradually increase your load. You can get a tower with several different pairs of weights. Or you can get a fun set of Aquabells, which you fill up with water in order to achieve the weight you want to lift. They come with 4 sets of ‘wells’ per side which will each fill up to 4 pounds of water, for a total of 16 pounds each side. They will therefore ‘grow’ with you as you progress from 2 pounds to 4 and so on upwards.
Then there are wrists and ankle weights. Wrist weights are useful for a ‘hands-free’ workout, for example, as you do the housework or go for a walk and swing your arms to add intensity to the exercise, as well as for many other lifting moves you would usually do with dumbbells.
Ankle weights serve a similar purpose, giving your legs more of a workout so they become firmer faster. You can do ordinary weight lifting exercises with them, or add them to your yoga or tai chi moves, for example, along with wrist weights, to build strength even more rapidly.
Resistance bands come in a range of attractive colours and weight loads. A good set of resistance bands will give you a range of weights, and will also allow you to combine bands to increase your loads. They should also come with a door attachment and an ankle strap so you can do a range of exercise which will help you target your trouble spots or areas you wish to improve. They are a bit like using the space age weight machines to give you a full body workout, but without all the heaving and clanking.
The best exercise routine is one you will stick to. Use light weights and resistance bands to maintain interest and have fun, and see what a difference your new strength training routines can make to your health and appearance.