5 Body-Toning Exercises for Women

I always say that the most important thing in life is having a healthy body. Your body is a temple and it’s the only one you’re ever gonna have, so you should take care of it! So, I decided to give you some tips on how to keep your bodytoned. I know most of you are probably very busy with work, family and the like, so I’m only including activities that are both quick and effective.

1. Jumping Jacks
Everyone knows how to do jumping jacks and you don’t need a gym membership to do them! These can be very effective, especially if you go to your local sporting goods store and buy yourself a pair of ankle weights to wear while doing them. You can also buy some free weights to hold in your hands. They should be on the lighter side though, as this is a toning and endurance exercise, not weight lifting.

2. Dead Lifts
The Dead lift is considered by many to be the greatest exercise ever invented and for good reason. This one single exercise works your entire body. Just make sure you practice with less weight at first, because it can be easy for a beginner to lose form and pull a muscle. You can look up tutorial videos on YouTube or just have someone at the gym coach you.

3. Leg lifts
Leg lifts are very important for toning your lower abdominal region. This can be a difficult area to tone even if you are doing sit ups, so I would recommend this activity to almost anyone. Leg lifts enable you to fully stretch out your stomach, unlike flat ground sit-ups.

4. Balance
Instead of standing on the flat ground during your whole workout, it is much more effective to stand on a trampoline or on a bosu ball for part of it. This will engage your core and give you a full body workout, instead of just focusing on your upper body. Do a simple Google search for great balance exercises. There are literally countless options out there.

5. Plyos
The plyo is similar to a squat, except you use the motion of a squat to jump up to a higher level, and then back down to the ground. Do these over and over again. Really feel the burn and you will notice your legs and glutes transforming like never before.

6. Push Ups
Do these often, but make sure you do them while balancing on your toes, not your knees (unless you have to, then don’t worry about it – just do what challenges you). When push ups are done correctly, they will engage your entire core so that you are not just working your arms and chest, you are working your entire torso. This is a kind of “body weight workout” – these are great because they require no equipment, and your bodyweight is usually a good amount of weight for a beginner to start out with anyway.

Remember that none of these workouts are going to be effective unless you commit yourself to doing them all the time and never skipping out. You will also need to have a healthy diet too, because exercise can only do half the job of looking good. You can build as much muscle as you want, but if you have fat over it, it won’t do you any good. That means cutting out all fast food and soda. Study how the body metabolizes its food to get the most bang for your buck. A lot of knowledge can be obtained online and in magazine, so it’s not hard to learn this. Lastly, remember that it’s not always about who trains the hardest. It’s about who trains the smartest.

Tanner Lovely writes about fitness, wellness & saving money on healthcare at www.dentalinsurance.net.

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Working Mom’s Guide: What to do When Not Making Progress

All good things must come to an end; or at least that is how it feels sometimes. But in the realm of fitness why is this? We are in an amazing age of information where you can easily and quickly find just about anything you want on the internet. There are countless articles about fitness routines, diet options, and more; yet tons of people are still not meeting their fitness goals.

Why is this?

A Bit of Philosophy

Yes we are going to talk philosophy for a minute, but it is necessary. Far too often people accept things as they are and only react to the situations that happen around them. It is very rare that people take the time to enact or create change. Why? It boils down to a lack of specific goals and the all important focus.

The mind is an amazing thing. When we focus our minds on a given task it is very rare that we will not accomplish it. That is because with a clear goal in mind we are more prone to do everything we can to reach that goal. People don’t like to fail. But that is also the reason why people do not take the time to create specific goals. If you have a general goal of ‘getting in shape’ it is so arbitrary that how can you define if you meet it or don’t?

You can’t, which is why so many people use that for a New Year’s resolution; it is hard to fail at an arbitrary goal. But if you don’t have a finish line in mind how can you run the race?

Continue reading

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Over-the-Counter Health Supplements: Hype or Hope?

You probably wish you could turn back the clock to a mystical past in which you felt younger, stronger, and more vital. Whether you ever actually lived in that past is another story, but the folks responsible for marketing and distributing the growing array of over-the-counter health supplements sure are good at bringing it to life. If you’re considering buying one or more of the products you see on TV, online, or on the shelves at your local health-foods store, take a moment to consider whether these supplements are anything more than hyped-up sugar pills.

Defining Health Supplements

Also known as “dietary supplements,” most of these products come in pill form and are readily available on the shelves of your local supermarket or health food store at a variety of price points. Some, like “B-complex” and “immune booster” pills, are little more than cocktails of everyday vitamins that retail for a few dollars per bottle. Others are more complex, containing a variety of obscure herbal compounds, and are correspondingly more expensive.

In any event, the Food and Drug Administration defines the “dietary ingredients” in these supplements as anything that can be considered a vitamin, mineral, amino acid, or “extract.” As you can imagine, some perform their stated functions better than others.

Regulation and Fact-Checking

Since their active ingredients have the potential to cause serious harm when not taken properly, prescription medications are tightly regulated by the FDA. Not so with health supplements: the companies that market these products are not required to disclose the results of studies that test the efficacy of their constituent compounds. In other words, you’re taking the supplement at your own risk.

What Works, What Doesn’t

Most health supplement ingredients are not actively harmful; more often, it’s merely a question of whether or not they work. A quick rundown of some effective and not-so-effective supplements follows.

  • Joint health. The two most common joint health compounds are chondroitin and glucosamine, both of which occur naturally in human cartilage. Although initial claims that they actually help rebuild joint cartilage that wears down due to rheumatoid arthritis have been proven false, they do appear to reduce pain and inflammation in sufferers of the disease.
  • Heart health. These supplements contain everything from Vitamin E, garlic extract, and Omega-3 fish oils to green tea and red yeast rice. Only red yeast rice has been proven to reduce “bad” cholesterol, but that’s only because it mimics an active ingredient in popular prescription medications like Altoprev.
  • Memory. Most of the supplements that claim to improve cognitive function contain gingko biloba, a naturally-occurring plant extract. It has been conclusively proven to improve the memories of dementia patients and increase blood flow to the brain, but it carries the risk of side effects including bleeding, dizziness, and vomiting.

Even the most effective over-the-counter health supplements, like gingko biloba, have drawbacks that should not be taken lightly. Many more simply don’t do what they claim to. Before buying any non-prescription supplements, do your research, talk to other users, and make an informed decision on your own terms.

Tamera Mulkey is a freelance blogger, who writes about health topics. If you want to make a career in the health industry, Tamera recommends getting a master of science in nursing online.

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5 Workouts You Can Save Money Doing at Home

Looking good can come with a steep price tag. Many people spend thousands each year on hairstyles, makeup, clothing, accessories and more. But the price of feeling good doesn’t have to cost so much. It’s not mandatory to spend money on gym memberships you don’t use. If you’re stressed about spending too much, your overall health will suffer. Why not save a few bucks while gaining all the benefits that working out provides. A variety of at-home exercises can keep you motivated, strong and healthy. Whether you are into yoga, Pilates, kickboxing or dancing, choose a few of these toners and put them together to develop an individualized, powerful workout routine.

Sideways Step

Begin in a crouched position with feet parallel, toes forward and knees slightly bent. Step to the side with your left foot, squatting as low as you can. Bring your right foot over to meet the left, tapping the ball of your foot on the floor. Repeat by stepping out with your right foot and bringing the left foot over to meet it with a tap. Add intensity by quickening the pace.

Kickback

Begin on all fours with your elbows resting below your shoulders and your hips aligned with your knees. Hands should be clasped in front of your body. Your weight should rest primarily on your shoulders. Lift one leg to hip level, bending at the knee to form a 90-degree angle. Keeping your foot flexed and your sole parallel to the ceiling, pulse your foot up three to four inches. Repeat for 15 repetitions, and then switch legs.

Backward Lunge

Begin by standing tall, toes pointed forward, and feet hip-width apart. Perform a lunge by stepping back with one leg and lowering your body until your front leg forms a 90-degree angle. Keep your back heel and knee off the floor. Repeat the same motion on the other side. Perform 10 repetitions for a complete set.

Superman

To strengthen your back, glutes, spine and hips, begin by lying face down on a mat. With legs stretched out behind you, arms reaching in front of you, and palms facing each other, direct your gaze down to the mat. Rest your forehead and relax your neck. Exhale as you slowly reach up and out with your arms and legs. Align your head with your neck and spine while looking down at the mat. Imagine someone pulling your arms and legs from opposite directions. Keeping your body aligned, hold strong for a few seconds. Inhale as you return slowly to the position where you began. Repeat a number of times.

Crunch

Tone all your abdominal muscles with a few crunches. Begin by lying on your back on a mat with your knees bent, arms behind your head, and feet flat on the mat. Exhale as you lift your shoulders and head off the mat, keeping your elbows back and your head in line with your spine. Pull your belly button toward your spine, using the strength of your abdominal muscles to raise your head and upper back off the mat. Keeping your lower back on the mat, hold for a few seconds. Release by inhaling as you slowly roll down. Repeat as many times as desired, gradually adding repetitions as you gain strength in your core muscles.

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5 Spa Etiquette Tips for Beginners

Even if you’ve never been to a spa before, you probably have an image in your mind of what it’s like. You’ve seen characters like Carrie Bradshaw or one of the countless “Real Housewives” lounging around being treated like royalty. There’s usually a waterfall in the background and beautiful people walking everywhere. A real-life spa however is usually less fancy, but no less enjoyable. It’s a place you can go to relieve stress, get together with friends, or treat yourself to a special day away from work.

Despite all this luxury, going to a spa can be an intimidating experience for some people. While there are certain unwritten rules you’ll need to learn, a lot of it is based on common sense. Here are some tips to remember to make your first spa experience as enjoyable as possible.

Make an Appointment – a spa is definitely not a place where you simply show up like a drop-in clinic. Going to gather information or ask questions is fine, but you should always make an appointment if you want a service. Busy spas have to manage a lot of clientele and it’s good to make their job easier. Remember, a happy spa staff gives better service, and that means better relaxation for you. Showing up unannounced and demanding a service will achieve the exact opposite.

Take a tour – if you’re signing up for a comprehensive service or membership, a spa will usually offer a tour. You should definitely take advantage because it’s a great opportunity to get a general feeling for the place. You’re probably not going to use every service during your first session, but it’s nice to know what’s available when you come back. It’s also a great way to meet other spa members for the first time.

Communicate concerns – it’s absolutely vital that you feel as comfortable as possible with whatever service you’re getting. For example, you don’t have to get a massage if you don’t want to, and you certainly shouldn’t continue if you’re uncomfortable with your masseuse. Some spas have different rules regarding clothing or bathing, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you don’t feel like taking off your towel. Express your concerns clearly and you’ll likely come up with a compromise that works for you.

Tipping – it really depends on the service, but tipping is generally expected for most of them. And instead of thinking about it a long monetary lines, consider whether or not you enjoyed yourself. If you had a really good time and it’s been one of the best facials of your life, then you should definitely tip big. You’re paying for a specialty service which can’t be found everywhere so make sure to show your appreciation when someone does a good job.

Maintaining a Rapport – over time, a spa can be your private refuge for rest and relaxation. A big part of what makes the experience successful is the other people around you. Do your best to maintain a good rapport and you get the most out of every visit. It’s a great place to hang out with friends or to making new ones. Be friendly with the staff as well because when they’re on your side, it can elevate the spa experience to a whole new level.

Going to the spa is great, but it’s not something everyone can afford all the time. Luckily, you can still treat yourself to some private time at home with a relaxing foot massager you can use after a long day of work.

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Why YOU Should Work Out

Life is busy. Between work, school, kids, relationships, shopping, and community events, there is a lot to keep up with in life. Each of us depends upon our body to get us from here to there yet we don’t always give it what it needs to stay healthy. Taking care of your body is a choice that has lifelong benefits. Here’s are a few reasons you should work out on a regular basis:

You will look better: The majority of people that work out do it primarily so they will look better. This is a very legitimate reason. The better we look, the better we will feel about ourselves. Looking good will increase your confidence in a variety of different settings—from this weekend’s date to tomorrow’s job interview. Looking good never hurt!

Release energy: Each of us needs an outlet of some kind. Video games and movies are good, but they don’t have the same kind of effect on your body that vigorous exercise does. All of the emotional stress we stuff into the body can be released through physical activity. This can help us feel more calm throughout the rest of the day—despite the kids wanting to be fed and the boss that is demanding more sales.

Decreased risk of disease: Some types of cancer are found more commonly in those that aren’t physically active. Those who do not engage in frequent exercise have higher blood sugar and insulin levels. This can lead to diabetes and coronary heart disease. Exercise can have a good effect on your metabolism and other body functions.

Less strength-related embarrassment: From personal experience, I can tell you that it stinks to go help a neighbor to move the piano when you have the arms of a pre-adolescent child. Although this isn’t a very scientific reason, increasing your strength can help you to perform a variety of tasks better, allowing you to go help your neighbor move the piano without fear. (It is important to note that your aim shouldn’t be to become Superman or Arnold Schwarzenegger, but to be constantly improving your strength).

Increase your flexibility: Contrary to popular belief, strength training can actually increase your flexibility. Your range of motion can actually be increased through working out each of your muscle systems on a regular basis. It may not give you the ability to do the splits, but bending down to pick up that pen you dropped shouldn’t be quite the problem it was before.

Overcome obesity: Although exercise isn’t the only component to overcoming obesity (a lot of it has to do with diet), it is a major one. Being inactive causes a lot of your muscle mass to convert into excess body fat. Unfortunately, low activity is often connected to eating more—two negative factors working against you.

Increased productivity: Everything you do takes a toll on your body. Working out increases both your physical strength and your stamina, giving you the energy you need to do more. Your increased productivity can take you places that your Nintendo never could.

 

About the Author

Stepehn Sharpe is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers can help you if you want to enroll in online master’s degree programs.

 

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