Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fun in the Sun: How to Keep Cool

Outdoor exercise can be challenging when the temperature soars. Stay safe during hot-weather exercise by drinking enough fluids, wearing proper clothing and timing your workout to avoid extreme heat.

In the excitement of a pickup basketball game or the relaxation of a friendly round of golf, you might not notice the temperature rising - but your body will. If you exercise outdoors in the heat, use caution and common sense to prevent heat-related illnesses.

How hot weather affects your body

Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your heart and lungs. Both the exercise itself and the air temperature increase your body temperature. To dissipate heat, more blood circulates through your skin. This leaves less blood for your muscles, which increases your heart rate. If the humidity is high, your body faces added stress because sweat doesn't readily evaporate from your skin - which only pushes your body temperature higher.Under normal conditions, your skin, blood vessels and perspiration level adjust to the heat. But these natural cooling systems may fail if you're exposed to high temperatures and humidity for too long. The result may be a heat-related illness, such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

How to avoid heat-related illnesses

To keep it cool during hot-weather exercise, keep these basic precautions in mind:

Take it slow. If you're used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. If you have a chronic medical condition or take medication, ask your doctor if you need to take additional precautions.

Drink plenty of fluids. Your body's ability to sweat and cool down depends on adequate
cooling by letting more air pass over your body. Avoid dark colors, which can absorb the heat. A light-colored hat can limit your exposure to the sun.rehydration. Drink plenty of water while you're working out - even if you don't feel thirsty. If you're planning to exercise intensely or for longer than one hour,consider sports drinks instead. These drinks can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, which actually promote fluid loss.

Dress appropriately. Lightweight, loosefitting clothing promotes sweat evaporation and cooling by letting more air pass over your body.Avoid dark colors, which can absorb the heat. A light-colored hat can limit your exposure to the sun.

Avoid midday sun. Exercise in the morning or evening - when it's likely to be cooler outdoors - rather than the middle of the day. If possible, exercise in the shade or in a pool.

Wear sunscreen. A sunburn decreases your body's ability to cool itself.

Know when to call it quits

During hot-weather exercise, be on the lookout for heat-related illness. Signs and symptoms may include: Weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting, or rapid heartbeat.

If you suspect a heat-related illness, stop exercising and get out of the heat. Drink water, and wet and fan your skin. If you don't feel better within 60 minutes, contact your doctor. If you develop a fever higher than 102 F (38.9 C) or become faint or confused, seek immediate medical help.

Regular physical activity is important - but don't let hot-weather workouts put your health at risk.

Muscle of the Week:
3 moves that target your CHEST


1.Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand atop your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.

2. Then, using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder width.

3. Once you have the dumbbells raised to shoulderwidth, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. This will be your starting position.

4. Be sure to keep full control of the dumbbells at all times. Then breathe out and push the
dumbbells up with your chest.

5. Lock your arms at the top, hold for a second, and then start slowly lowering the weight. Tip Ideally, lowering the weights should take about twice as long as raising them.

Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

When you are done, place the dumbbells back on your thighs and then on the floor. This is the safest manner to release the dumbbells.


1. Lay down on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with the palms of the hands facing towards the ceiling.Tip: Your arms should be parallel to the floor and next to your thighs. To avoid injury, make sure that you keep your elbows slightly bent. This will be your starting position.

2. Now move the dumbbells by creating a semi-circle as you displace them from the initial position to over the head. All of the movement should happen with the arms parallel to the floor at all times. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement.

3. Reverse the movement to return the weight to the starting position as you exhale.


1. Lie back on a decline bench with the feet securely locked at the front of the bench. Using a wide, pronated (palms forward) grip that is around 3 inches away from shoulder width (for each hand), lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. The bar will be perpendicular to the torso and the floor. This will be your starting position.

As you breathe in, come down slowly until you feel the bar on your lower chest.

2. After a second pause, bring the bar back to thestarting position as you breathe out and push the bar using your chest muscles. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in the contracted position, hold for a second and then start coming down slowly again.Tip: It should take at least twice as long to go down than to come up.

3. Repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How Muscle Reacts to Injury and Rehabilitation

Muscles atrophy (get smaller) following broken bones, surgery, or serious illness. British researchers summarized the way in which muscle react to disuse rehabilitation. Following injury or illness, muscles are resistant to normally anabolic stimuli such as myostatin, which normally retards growth, and stimulates biochemical pathways to promote muscle protein synthesis and growth.

Rehabilitation exercises cause mild inflammation, which triggers the growth of satellite cells and muscle cross-sectional areas.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which slows down muscle rehabilitation. Intensely training athletes should minimize the use of these drugs when recovering from an injury.

(Journal of Applied Physiology, 110: 555-560, 2011)

Shape Up Your Digestive System

It is not always pretty, but your digestive system plays an important role in keeping you healthy. By processing the foods you eat and providing your body with the nutrients it needs to remove waste, it can help you avoid problems such as constipation and heartburn. Here's what to do:

1.) Eat at regular intervals throughout the day

2.) Don't hold it in when you "gotta go" to the bathroom

3.) Avoid fatty, fried foods that upset your stomach

4.) Exercise on a regular basis

Question of the Week:

Q: I like to work out solo, but what are the benefits of a spotter?

A: A spotter can play two roles during your workout: He can observe that you lift with proper technique to avoid injury, and he can prevent heavier weights from falling from your hands.

Your spotter also serves to compliment your final lift by lightly helping you raise the weight when it seems you just cannot go any further.

Very often, this gentle aid will allow you to perform that last rep, which is critical for building muscle strength. Generally, spotters are necessary for upper-extremity workouts such as the bench press or arm work with barbells.

-Carly M.


"It is remarkable how ones wits are sharpened by physical exercise"

liny the Younger

-Pliny the Younger

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Workout Music: Keep Boredom Away While Exercising

It has been proven scientifically the listening to music while working out you will get better results. First you will notice that you will be able to do more exercises at a higher intensity. Second you won't feel as tired after a workout. You feel energized and powerful if you listen to the right kind of workout music. The world is yours.

Getting motivated through music is a pleasure for many people.

Some cannot exercise without listening to some good workout music. The kind that makes your blood flow faster. Of course there are people that could care less about music while working out. But still they should exercise listening to music to increase the effectiveness of the workout. If you go to the gym I hope they playgood workout music. If not an mp3-player full of energetic and rhythmic music would be really helpful and recommended.

You cannot listen to the same workout music regardless of what type of exercises you are doing. For yoga or Pilates exercises, you should choose more calm meditative music that helps youachieve inner-peace. For jogging you need some energizing dance or pop songs. Create a playlist of songs you like that make you feel a rush of energy and start jogging.

A doctor form the English Brunel University has studied for 20 years the effects of music on the athletic performances of athletes. All the testing lead him to the conclusion that the best beat for working out is found in the range of 120-140 beats per minute. You need to listen to such a song while working out to get motivated. Maybe there is a correlation to the fact that your heart beats 120-140 times per minute while you workout,reaching even 160 beats per minute. Usually the rock and dance songs have between 120-140 beats per minute. The name of the doctor is Costas Karageorghis. Also keep in mind that the options are always up to YOU!

A workout music top made by Fitness Magazine includes some of the most enduring and famous songs out there used by people while working out. Here are just some starter ideas for you own personalized workout music list:

  • "TNT" by AC/DC"
  • Walk This Way" by Aerosmith
  • "So What'cha Want" - Beastie Boys
  • "Crazy in Love" by Beyonce
  • "No More Drama" by Mary J Blige
  • "Under Pressure" by David Bowie
  • "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
  • "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C&C Music Factory
  • "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
  • "Loser" by Beck
  • "Feelin' Alright" by Joe Cocker

Muscle of the Week:

3 moves that target your HAMSTRINGS


1. Begin with a bar on a rack at shoulder height. Rack the bar across the rear of your shoulders
as you would a power squat, not on top of your shoulders. Keep
your back tight, shoulder blades pinched together, and your knees slightly bent. Step back from the rack.

2. Begin by bending at the hips, moving them back as you bend over to near parallel. Keep your back arched and your cervical spine in proper alignment.

3. Reverse the motion by extending through the hips with your glutes and hamstrings. Continue until you have returned to the starting position.


1. Put a barbell in front of you on the ground and grab it with palms facing down, grip that a little wider than shoulder width.
Tip: Depending on the weight used, you may need wrist wraps to perform the exercise and also a raised platform in order to allow for better range of motion.

2. Bend the knees slightly and keep the shins vertical, hips back and back straight. This will be
straight up, lower the bar by pushing the hips back, only slightly bending the knees, unlike when squatting.
Tip: Take a deep breath at the start your starting position.

3. Keeping your back and arms completely straight at all times, use your hips to lift the bar as you exhale.
Tip: The movement should not be fast but steady and under control.

4. Once you are standing completelyof the movement and keep your chest up. Hold your breath as you lower and exhale as you complete the movement.

5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.


1. Adjust the machine lever to fit your height and lie face down on the leg curl machine with the pad of the lever on the back of your legs (just a few inches under the calves).
Tip: Preferably use a leg curl machine that is angled as opposed to flat since an angled position is more favorable for hamstrings recruitment.

2. Keeping the torso flat on the bench, ensure your legs are fully
stretched and grab the side handles of the machine. Position your toes straight (or you can also use any of the other two stances described on the foot positioning section). This will be your starting position.

3. As you exhale, curl your legs up as far as possible without lifting the upper legs from the pad. Once you hit the fully contracted position, hold it for a second.

4. As you inhale, bring the legs back to the initial position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.