Fun Form of Exercise!

If you live near a body of water such as a lake or ocean, we highly encourage you to purchase a “SUP” and get with the trend of Hulakai!  Otherwise known as a stand up paddleboard, this is a great form of exercise.  Stand up paddleboards have the ability to test your balance, leg strength, and core stability all while working your arms.  You can enjoy the sun and outdoors while getting a relaxing (but difficult) workout!  Check out the Hulakai website to learn more about their SUPs!


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Jog FM

Have you heard of the iTunes app “jog fm?” This easy-to-use application lets you type in how long it takes you to run a mile and from that information it will give you a list of songs that will keep you on pace.  It uses the beats-per-minute method.  There are also programs for walking and cycling.  Try out this application to keep up the pace with your workouts!


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Utilize Your Electronics

Are you an owner of an iPhone or iPad?  If you are considering the purchase of an Apple product such as these, think of the health benefits these electronics can provide.  If you are doing indoor cardio, the video capability can allow you to watch your favorite TV show on the treadmill, elliptical or other cardio machine.  Utilize the Nike app for workout guides, mileage and calorie counting and the Pandora Radio station for a variety of music choices.  There are countless applications in the iTunes stores to keep you fit and motivated towards your health and wellness goals.  With food trackers, calorie counters and exercise programs-your electronic device may be the best option as a workout buddy!


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Exercises You Think You Need-But Don’t

Fitness pros from O Magazine have comprised a list of five exercises you may think are beneficial, but could be swapped with an alternative exercise for optimal results and comfort.

The first exercise is crunches.  Although they are a great abdominal exercise when done correctly, they are very hard on our discs in the spinal cord.  A better option is planks.  Planks keep the core in a neutral position to alleviate back pressure while also working your obliques to stabilize you.

The second exercise is straight-leg dead lifts.  Bending forward with straight legs puts immense pressure on the invertebral discs.  And while you’re supposed to use your hamstrings to pull you up, many people lift with their back, which can lead to a herniated disc.  Swap this with “bird dogs”.  On all fours keep your hands under your shoulders and hips under your knees.  Extend your right arm straight out in front of you and your left leg out behind you.  Raise your arm to shoulder height. At the same time, straighten your left leg and raise it to hip height.  Hold for one count and release.  Do 10 reps. Then switch to the left arm and right leg.  Repeat three times.

Leg extensions with a machine.  Although the machine works the quadriceps, it neglects the hamstrings which can lead to strain.  Instead, try lunges to test your balance and work muscles in the pelvic area as well as the entire leg.  For maximum results, try using hand weights for an added bonus.

The squatting dumbbell front raise can easily strain the muscles in your neck and back.  Instead, separate the movements doing dumbbell front raises, and then squats.

The fifth exercise to be swapped is the triceps extension, usually done with a machine at the gym.  Many people don’t have the range of movement and shoulder flexibility to properly execute tricep extensions.  Instead opt for tricep push-ups that work the chest, shoulders and biceps.




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Sports Injuries: Ice or Heat?

Injuries require different sources of heating or icing depending on if they are tight muscles, strains, sprains or spasms.  So how do you know which one to utilize? Well, below is an easy-to-follow list of when to ice and when to heat to get you back to your workouts!

Use ice for

• a sprain
• a strain
• swelling
• inflammation
• overexerted muscles from exercise
• bruising
• acute joint pain

Use heat for

• overuse pain
• repetitive tendon pain, before physical activity
• tight or injured muscles before exercise
• repetitive strains
• muscle spasms
• muscle pain
• chronic joint pain

Take care of your body and its injuries.  Listen to when your body can and can not handle the stress of exercise.  Utilize your best judgement but don’t be afraid to get back at it!

Back Pain Relief With Foam Rollers

Foam rollers have been described as one of the best tools to easing back and neck pain.  Made of dense foam and sold at sporting goods stores or online, these $30 rollers are worth every penny with the relief they provide.

The foam roller is the next best thing to getting a deep tissue massage or a chiropractic adjustment.  Spending a few minutes each day on the foam roller is extremely effective at working the knots out of your muscles, helping to align your spine and relieving tightness in soft tissues, like the IT band that runs down the side of the leg.

Click here for an instructional video on using a foam roller properly to maximize the result of reducing back pain and giving your muscles that necessary deep tissue pressure.

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The Bar Method

If you’re looking to switch up your work out routine maybe The Bar Method is your new fit to staying fit!  It seems likely to infer than yoga and pilates fans would find The Bar Method a hit but My Better Self is here to tell you about this exercise program sweeping the nation getting Americans lean, firm and sculpted.

The Bar Method is a a company with locations nationwide whose program combines muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.

The Bar Method has helped millions of users stay in shape with its low impact format fit for all ages and body types.  It continually challenges its users and has provided rapid weight loss and muscle shaping results.  The Bar Method has become a staple for post-baby weight loss as well as all users looking for that added sculpting and toning.  Check out The Bar Method‘s website for class locations near you and see what The Bar Method buzz is all about!

Perfect Your Running Form

When we think of running, we think of one foot in front of the other.  But, if our running form is incorrect we may end up with aches, strains and injuries.  Below are some of the most common running-form mistakes to avoid next time you hit the treadmill, trail, or pavement provided by Prevention Magazine.

1.  Head tilting your chin toward you chest, or leaning your head back may be relaxing on your neck at times.  But, to prevent neck strain Prevention Magazine encourages an open throat for easy breathing by keeping your head stacked over your spine.  Correct head position also encourages a straight, upright stance, which makes you a more efficient runner.

2. Shoulders make sure you are not tensing your upper back and shoulders while running.  Every so often take nice deep breaths and relax your torso and actively roll your shoulders back and down toward your pelvis.  Do a self-check to make sure your shoulders are stacked over the hips.  Hunching the upper body forward not only makes it difficult to breathe, it also puts pressure on your lower back.

3. Arms leave the side-to-side swaying arms for the dance floor.  Your arms shouldn’t move across your body when you run: it uses up energy, tires your muscles, and actually prevents your body from propelling forward.  To increase your speed and endurance, focus on swaying your arms forward and back, keeping your elbows at 90-degree angles.

4. Hands: Clenched fists translate to tense arms and shoulders, which tires your muscles and can cause a dull, achy sensation.  Not to mention, it also makes you look like an angry runner!  Maintain a sense of relaxation in your torso by running with a slightly open fist, pretending you’re holding an egg in each palm.

5. Belly: Many runners complain of lower back pain, and one reason is because they don’t engage their abs.  While running, concentrate on drawing your navel in toward your spine to keep your pelvis and lower spine stable.

6. Feet: Where your feet strike is a big debate among runners.  In order to land with the least amount of jarring pressure on your ankles and knees and have the ability to push off the ground with great force, it’s best to land on the midfoot — not on the heel.  Then roll forward quickly onto the toes, popping off the ground with each step.  Landing softly is key — no one should hear you pounding your feet as you run.

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Tai Chi May Relieve Anxiety/Depression

A wonderful fact provided by Prevention notes the healing power that the martial art “Tai Chi” has, in that it may relieve stresses associated with anxiety and depression.  This results from the combining movement, meditation and breathing exercises associated with its practice.  Although there are few studies on its effects, various scholarly sources believe it is beneficial, especially among the elderly.

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