HOW TO START EXERCISE

NOV 11

6 Moves For Shredded Lower Ab

A physique can’t be deemed complete without a shredded abdomen. Abs have become an aesthetic standard which every pro athlete needs to maintain. You will never see a bodybuilder without a six-pack on stage.

Lower abs are one of the most stubborn muscle groups. Love handles can be the hardest to lose. If you want a shredded six-pack, sticking to the crunches won’t get you a long way. You need to perform exercises which will target your lower abs.

6 Exercises To Target Your Lower Ab

1. Flat Bench Leg Raises

Performing exercises like the crunches work the upper abs. You need to have lower body exercises like the leg raise in your exercise arsenal to target the lower abs. You can perform the leg raises on a flat bench or a decline bench.

Lie down on a bench while facing the roof. Your upper body should be on the bench while your lower body hangs off the edge of the bench. Slowly raise your legs so they’re perpendicular to the floor. Your feet should be an inch away from the floor at the bottom of the movement.

2. Hanging Leg Raises

Hanging leg raises are an isolation exercise and your lower abdominal will be completely exhausted after this exercise. You could perform this exercise on a pull-up bar or parallel bars.

Most people make the mistake of using momentum to lift their legs. Doing this can eliminate the tension on your lower abs. Your upper body should not swing while you perform the hanging leg raises.

3. Scissors

The primary muscles involved in scissor kicks are the lower abs and your hip flexors. Lie down on the floor and with a slight bend at the knees, lift your legs up so that your heels are about six inches off the ground.

Now, lift your right leg about a 45-degree angle while your left leg is lowered until the heel is about 2-3 inches from the ground. Repeat on the other side by lifting the left leg and lowering the right leg.

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4. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are usually a part of a HIIT workout and will completely smoke your lower abs. Get into a high plank position with your feet placed at shoulder width. Make sure you keep your abs tight and contracted throughout the exercise.

Lift your right leg up to the chest between your hands. As you return the right leg back to the plank, lift left foot and draw left knee to the chest between your hands. Keep your upper body fixed in place and avoid hiking your hips.

5. Slider Knee Tuck

You will need sliders or a towel for this exercise. Place both your feet on the sliders and pull in your feet to your chest between your hands. Push feet back to the starting position and repeat for the target reps.

Maintain a tight core, exhale and contract your abs at the top of the movement. Make sure you don’t hunch your shoulders and back or lean forward too much while performing this exercise.

6. Reverse Crunches

Reverse crunches are the opposite of the conventional crunches. This exercise might look easy but can prove to be lethal. Lie on the floor with your hands under your lower back. Maintain a slight bend at your knees and lift your feet so they’re 2-4 inches off the ground.

Raise your knees to your chest while maintaining the bend at the knees. Return to the starting position and don’t let your feet touch the floor. You can also perform the reverse crunches on a flat bench. Doing this will increase the negative motion which in turn will increase the tension on your lower abs.

NOV 9

Why Everyone with a Healthy Heart Should Do Interval Exercise

 Athletes use interval training to make themselves faster and stronger, and everyone with a healthy heart can benefit from this technique. A typical interval workout for non-competitive exercisers would be a session of jogging, walking or cycling in which they:

• Warm up by moving slowly for about 10 minutes,

• Pick up the pace until they feel a slight burning in their muscles (this usually takes 10-20 seconds),

• Slow down as soon as they feel this muscle burning, and go slowly until the burning is gone and breathing is back to normal.

• Alternate picking up the pace for 10-20 seconds and slowing down until they have recovered, then cool down and stop the workout whenever their muscles start to feel tight or tired.

A fit person should be able to do between 10 and 20 repetitions of these 10-20 second bursts in a single workout. For non-athletes, these intervals do not have to be done at 100 percent effort; 60 to 80 percent effort is sufficient. People in good shape can often work up to 50 or more of these short intervals before their legs tire.

The burning can come from acidity caused by a buildup of lactic acid in muscles, and accumulating lactic acid in your muscles makes you more fit, can help to prevent diseases and may even prolong your life.

Intervals to Increase Endurance

When you exercise, your muscles burn sugar, fat or protein in the presence of oxygen to produce energy. If you exercise so intensely that you become very short of breath and your muscles can’t get enough oxygen, lactic acid accumulates in your muscle fibers. An older disproved theory was that lactic acid interferes with a muscle’s ability to contract, so you feel tired. However, more recent research shows that muscles contract more efficiently when lactic acid accumulates in them (Science, August 26, 2004).

Electric currents cause muscles to contract. This electricity is generated by cell membranes causing potassium to move inside cells and chloride ions to stay outside. With vigorous exercise, potassium ions accumulate outside cells. When large amounts of potassium ions accumulate outside cells, electricity is not generated and the cells cannot contract. Another ion called chloride accumulates outside cells and prevents potassium from getting back inside cells. Lactic acid removes the chloride, so it is easier for potassium to get back inside cells. Lactic acid increases the ratio of potassium inside cells to the amount outside, and this helps the muscle contract with more efficiency.

Interval training teaches your muscles and liver to use lactate for energy much faster than just doing continuous training (Am J Physiol, 1983;244:E83-E92). The faster you can use up lactic acid,

• the more quickly you relieve the acid burning in muscles that slows you down, and

• the faster you can go because lactate requires less oxygen than even sugar does.

Interval training has been used in all endurance sports since the 1920s. George Brooks of the University of California at Berkeley showed why interval training can increase endurance (Am J Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2006). A major fuel for your muscles during exercise is glucose (a sugar). In a series of chemical reactions, glucose is broken down step by step, with each step releasing energy. When enough oxygen is available, the glucose releases all of its energy until only carbon dioxide and water remain; these are blown off through your lungs. However, if you exercise so intensely that you can’t get all the oxygen you need, the chemical reactions stop at lactic acid which accumulates in the muscles and spills over into the bloodstream. Lactic acid makes muscles acidic and causes a burning feeling that forces you to slow down. Thus lactic acid helps to prevent severe muscle damage by slowing you down when you run low on oxygen.

When you slow down after each intense interval, you catch up on your oxygen debt, and your body uses lactic acid as its most efficient source of energy for muscles. Muscles require less oxygen to turn lactic acid into energy. When your muscles produce lots of lactic acid, they can use this chemical for energy. This allows you to move faster and stronger for longer periods of time (Sports Medicine, 2006;36(4):279-91). Anything that helps muscles to break down lactic acid faster will increase your endurance and allow you to move faster when you are tired (Fed Proc, 1986;45:2924-2929). Lactic acid can also be used by your liver to make even more sugar to feed your muscles during exercise.

Intervals to Make You Stronger

You cannot enlarge a muscle and make it stronger unless you damage muscle fibers at their Z-lines with vigorous exercise. When the muscles heal, they become larger and stronger. Interval training allows you to exercise more intensely than continuous training and therefore gives you a stronger training effect by causing more muscle fiber Z-line damage that results in increased strength and greater oxygen debts that give you greater endurance. You can tell that you are damaging muscle fibers because the muscle feels sore the next day (delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS).

How Intervals Help to Prevent Disease and Prolong Your Life

A regular exercise program helps to prevent diabetes, heart attacks, and cancers. Interval training can make your exercise program even more effective because it helps to lower high blood sugar better than continuous training by making cells far more sensitive to insulin (Int J Sports Med, 2015;36:209-14).

Vigorous exercise also increases the number, size and efficiency of mitochondria in your muscle cells (Sci Rep, Jun 23, 2017;7(1):4191). All of the cells in your body (except mature red blood cells) have anywhere from a few to thousands of organelles, called mitochondria, that turn the food that you eat into energy. Muscle cells need a lot of energy so they have lots of mitochondria. Nerves don’t need a lot of energy to transmit messages so they need only a few mitochondria. When you exercise so intensely that you can’t get all the oxygen you need and you become short of breath, you increase the number, size and efficiency of mitochondria in cells everywhere in your body (J Physiol, 2010 Mar 15; 588(Pt 6): 1011-1022). Accumulating evidence shows that this helps to prevent obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and certain cancers. It helps to explain why exercise may increase memory and nerve function. Exercise also helps to reduce the loss of mitochondria in cells that occurs naturally with aging (J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2006;61(6)534-540; Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, April 2007). See More Mitochondria for Better Athletes

Start Gradually

If you have not been exercising regularly, spend several weeks exercising at a casual pace. Try to exercise every day and exercise until your legs start to feel heavy or hurt and then stop for the day. You may go for five minutes on one day, and have to take the next day off because your muscles feel sore. You may have a progression of five minutes on one day, then zero on the next day, then 10 minutes, then three minutes. Gradually you should be able to work up to being able to exercise casually for 30 minutes every day and not feel sore. Then you should be able to start your interval workouts. Start out with just a few of the 10-20 second pick-ups and gradually work up to ten or more repetitions.

Do not try to do interval workouts more than two or three times a week, and not on consecutive days. Each time you do interval training intense enough to damage the Z-lines of muscle fibers, you will probably develop a soreness 6-24 hours after you finish exercising. Physiologists call this Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). If you exercise intensely when you feel DOMS, you are at increased risk for injuring yourself. Skip a planned interval workout if your legs feel heavy or hurt from a previous workout.

Caution: People with blocked arteries leading to the heart can get a heart attack from intense exercise. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity or duration of your program.

 

NOV6

NOV 05

Does Aspirin Help You Recover From Exercise?

Training for competitive sports is done by taking a hard workout, having your muscles feel sore on the next day and then taking easy workouts until the soreness disappears. Most athletic training programs involve hard training sessions every thee or four days. Making muscles heal faster allows the athlete to do more work so they can improve their performance.

A study from Emory University School of Medicine shows that nonsteroidal arthritis medicines help to prevent muscle damage caused by hard exercise (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, July 2000, 1191-1196). This study and others show that aspirin-like drugs help muscles heal faster after a single training bout, but no studies show whether it is safe for athletes to take these drugs day after day. Aspirin comes from willow bark, and most plants are loaded with antioxidants that help prevent tissue damage. We still don’t know if taking nonsteroidal drugs will help you recover from exercise faster, but we do know that eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and other seeds will. Plant or animal sources of protein eaten after hard exercise help you recover faster as well.

NOV 01

Researchers Reveal How Not Exercising Is Worse For You Than Smoking

Exercising is crucial for health, yet so few people do so regularly. The World Health Organization states that 1.4 billion people around the world are not physically active or exercising enough. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report revealed that in America, only 23% of the population get sufficient exercise.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of mild to moderate weekly exercise, with some simple strength exercises two times every week. That’s only two and a half hours spread out over seven days! Still, we often find it difficult to make time for this important activity.

Further studies have revealed how shirking this small amount of recommended exercise is terrible for the body. In fact, recent research has revealed that a lack of exercise can be even more harmful to you than cigarettes! Let’s find out how not exercising is worse for you than smoking.

RESEARCHERS REVEAL HOW NOT EXERCISING IS WORSE FOR YOU THAN SMOKING

1.    EXERCISING HELPS YOU AGE GRACEFULLY

Most people want to age well. You likely wouldn’t want your golden years to be full of hospital trips and sickness. With regular exercise, these are benefits you can actually enjoy. According to MedlinePlus, here’s how exercising helps better aging.

·         REDUCED FALL RISK

Those who are older are more at risk of losing their balance and falling. The worst part is that the older you are, the more damaging these falls can be. Performing muscle training exercises with some mild balance and aerobic exercises are great for reducing the risk of this happening.

·         GREATER STRENGTH

If not exercised, bones and muscles tend to waste away as one ages. Bone density decreases with age in the average individual. Regular exercise can slow down this decrease, allowing you to enjoy strength and good muscle mass when you’re old and gray.

·         BRAIN SHARPNESS

When you exercise, your body releases special chemicals and proteins that help your brain stay healthy. Exercise can prevent brain and memory conditions. It can also help you to keep your thinking skills, cognitive function, and memory intact as you age.

·         LESS CHANCE OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

While certainly not the most important of the positive effects of exercise on aging, lowering ED risk is important to many seniors. Exercise can help boost arousal in women and reduce the chance of ED in men. For those who already have ED, they might see their problems decrease!

2.    EXERCISE BOOSTS POSITIVE THINKING AND HELPS MENTAL DISORDERS

According to WebMD, exercising causes the body to release chemical components known as endorphins. Endorphins are so powerful that they actually trigger a feeling similar to what you might get if you take morphine. You might feel “high”, light, and happy after exercising.

For this reason, exercise is also great for mental illnesses. Studies have shown that exercise can treat depression symptoms just as well as antidepressants, without all the side effects that may come with medication.

Exercising also relieves stress, so it can naturally alleviate tension that exacerbates anxiety disorders. Physical activity has been found to increase confidence and self-esteem, which can also help with disorders.

Given the fact that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in America, finding ways to treat or manage suicidal thoughts from mental illness is important. Although often not taken seriously, mental illnesses are no laughing matter. They deserve the same level of concern as physical illnesses.

Here are some neuro-atypical conditions that are helped by exercise:

Depressive disorders

Anxiety disorders

PTSD

C-PTSD

Other trauma-related conditions

ADHD

Stress disorders

Sleep disorders

Of course, the act of exercising can be difficult for those with mental health conditions. However, the extra effort to push yourself to undertake these activities can provide unparalleled benefits. You’ll feel proud of yourself for accomplishing something and doing good for your body – something you deserve!

It’s pretty obvious to see why failing to exercise can be worse than smoking. How else can you get a mood boost for free that does so much good to the body?

3.    NOT EXERCISING MAKES YOUR LIFE SIGNIFICANTLY SHORTER

If you didn’t have enough reasons to start exercising already, here’s a big one. Neglecting to exercise regularly can actually cause a higher mortality rate.

This is according to a study that placed more than 122,000 patients on observation through rigorous treadmill tests from the years 1991 to 2014. Researchers noted their findings and linked them, later, to mortality rates.

According to results, cardiovascular fitness has an incredibly strong link to longevity and total-body health. Essentially, exercising can determine whether or not you enjoy a long life. It can also determine if you develop life-threatening illnesses. So it doesn’t matter how thin or fat you are. If you don’t exercise, you’re at risk.

This study revealed that those who showed themselves to be unfit on a treadmill had a higher chance of developing life-threatening diseases or passing away early. As a matter of fact, these individuals wound up in worse states than smokers, people with diabetes, or those with hypertension who were relatively fit on a treadmill.

The findings of this study were so conclusive that researchers behind it sent out an urge to the population. They state that a lack of physical fitness should be treated as a disease. It should be placed on par with things like smoking, heart conditions, and diabetes. As the researchers said, physical unfitness is treatable with a simple prescription: exercise.

4.    EXERCISING PREVENTS DISEASE

Tying into our previous point about longevity, exercising regularly can actually prevent disease. Here is what it can do for different conditions.

·         HEART DISEASE

Exercise helps the heart keep strong and healthy. This makes your circulation better. Good circulation can then aid in cholesterol level, blood pressure, and triglyceride balance. It can also prevent heart attacks and artery disease.

·         DIABETES AND INSULIN RESISTANCE

Exercise can help regulate the levels of glucose, or blood sugar, in the body. This helps your insulin to function correctly. Incorrect insulin function puts you at risk for type 2 diabetes and even metabolic syndrome. If you currently have a condition that causes insulin resistance, such as PCOS, exercise can prevent it from worsening and make for positive change.

·         OBESITY

Similar to the prior point, exercise helps you maintain your weight or lose weight if you so desire. It burns calories, keeps your metabolism running, and helps you work off fat. Different kinds of exercise promote different benefits, so look for ones that will help you shed pounds if you seek this positive effect.

·         ADDICTION

Yes, we’re talking about how not exercising is worse than smoking. But if you’re a smoker who wants to quit and you exercise, you’ll actually be doing yourself a favor. Exercise has been shown to ease withdrawal symptoms and aid in management of craving.

·         CANCER

There have been studies that suggest exercise helps prevent the development of a lot of different kinds of cancers. This includes lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and uterine cancer.

The best part? You don’t have to do much exercise for these benefits! Just putting in two days of physical activity every week can work wonders, according to a study in the Journal of Psychology.

5.    EXERCISING IS SOMETHING YOU CAN CONTROL

Exercise is versatile. You can do tons of different kinds of physical activities. There’s no shortage to choose from, so unless you have a disability that prevents it, there are few excuses not to perform physical activity every day.

Able-bodied? Take a walk, go for a swim, visit the gym, or dance your heart out. In a wheelchair? Wheel yourself around a mall or do some form of weight-lifting for your upper body or arms. Have pain issues? Opt for relaxed, slow, low-intensity physical activity in small amounts at a time. Here are some examples of ways you can exercise:

Walking

Jogging

Running

Dancing

Biking

Swimming

Weight training

Climbing stairs and/or hills

Playing a game (football, basketball, tennis, hockey, etc.)

Doing housework

Doing yardwork

Yoga

Martial arts

At the end of the day, if you are able to physically perform exercise, there is always an option for you. It’s something you’re able to choose and customize for your personal needs and free time. Essentially, this is certainly much easier than stopping smoking or managing diabetes.

Taking control of your daily life and creating a healthy exercise routine can provide you with a sense of purpose. It can show you that you are capable of making a good change in your life. This can do wonders for your self-esteem, positive thinking, and overall bodily health!

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW EXERCISING IS WORSE FOR YOU THAN SMOKING

Brushing off the need to exercise isn’t just bad for your fitness. It can lead to a shorter lifespan, higher risk for disease, and worsened mood. You don’t need to do all that much of it to make a difference. This makes the universal lack of physical activity even more disheartening.

Even if you’re not able to get in as much exercise as you like, make an effort to incorporate small amounts of exercise into your daily or weekly plan. You’d be surprised the benefits you can get out of this small change. With so many benefits backed by research, you know it’ll be good for you in the long run!

OCT 22

Cooling Down After Intense Exercise

“Cooling down” means that after you exercise intensely, you slow down and exercise at low intensity for a while before you stop exercising for that session. The scientific literature is controversial on whether cooling down helps to reduce next-day muscle soreness to help muscles to recover faster. I believe that cooling down may help you to heal faster from muscle soreness after intense exercise, which allows you to recover faster from intense workouts. There is some evidence that cooling down augments your immune system response to help muscles fibers heal faster from the Z-line damage caused by hard exercise (Sports Med, July 2018;48(7):1575-1595; Nat Rev Immunol, 2011;11:607-615).

You can tell you are damaging muscles when you exercise vigorously enough to feel burning during exercise and when you get soreness in those muscles that develops 8-24 hours later (Strength & Conditioning Journal, October 2013;35(5):16-21). This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The old explanation that cooling down helps muscles recover faster by ridding them of lactic acid does not adequately explain any improvement in recovery time after intense exercise. Lactic acid build-up from intense exercise lasts, at most, for only a few minutes even if you do not cool down. Muscle soreness that starts more than four hours after stopping exercise is not caused by lactic acid accumulating in muscles; it is caused by damage in the muscle fibers.

Cooling Down May Help You Recover Faster

Many coaches and athletes believe that cooling down helps muscles heal so the athlete can resume intense workouts sooner and thus become a stronger athlete. However, there is conflicting scientific evidence whether cooling down helps to prevent DOMS. There is some evidence that cooling down does help to relieve DOMS three days after intense exercise (J Strength Cond Res, Oct, 2012;26(10):2777-82), but smaller studies on non-competing athletes fail to show that cooling down reduces next-day muscle soreness (J Hum Kinet, Dec 2012;35:59-68; Aust J Physiother, 2007;53(2):91-5), or helps athletes to recover faster (J Hum Kinet, Mar 2012;31:121-9). There is data to show that cooling down reduced pain when pressure was applied to muscles with DOMS 48 hours after intense exercise, more so than on the muscles of those who did not cool down (J of Human kinetics, Jan 26, 2013;35(1):59-68). A recent review of the scientific literature concluded that cooling down does not enhance same-day or next-day sports performance, even though it may help to clear lactic acid in blood faster, but cooling down may partially prevent immune system depression and promote faster recovery of the heart and lungs (Sports Med, Jul 2018;48(7):1575-1595).

Known Benefits of Cooling Down

• Cooling down can help to keep you from feeling dizzy or passing out after very vigorous exercise (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Sept 1994;26(9):1095-1101). Most people who pass out in races do so after they stop running suddenly at the finish line. In one study, all of the runners who collapsed had an excessive drop in blood pressure when they went from lying to standing, and the few cases of collapse away from the finish line were far more serious and were often caused by diseases such as asthma, heart damage or heat stroke (Physician and Sportsmedicine, 2003;31(3):23-29).

• Cooling down can help to clear lactic acid and relieve oxygen debt after intense running (J of Applied Physiol, Nov 6, 1966;21(6):1767-1772).

Cooling down has NOT been shown to improve fitness level, make you stronger (J Strength Cond Res, Nov 2012;26(11):3081-8), or to prevent injuries.

My Recommendations for Recovery After an Intense Workout

• Before every intense workout, warm up by going slowly until your muscles feel fresh.

• After every intense workout, do a prolonged cool-down of at least 10 minutes at an easy pace (Sports Science Exchange, 87:15, 2002; J Sports Sci Med, 2004 Sep; 3(3):131-138).

• Drink fluids for a faster recovery (Journal of Sports Sciences, January 2004).

• Add salt on hot days, if your muscles feel excessively fatigued or if you develop cramps (Can J Appl Physiol, 2001;26 Suppl:S236-45).

• Eat as soon as you finish your intense workout (J Sports Sci Med, 2004 Sep; 3(3): 131–138). It doesn’t matter what you eat in your post-intense-workout meal, as long as it contains lots of protein and carbohydrates (Am J Clin Nutr, Jan 2017; Med Sci Sports Exerc, Oct 2008;40(10):1789-94). In one study, fast foods such as French fries, hash browns and hamburgers helped athletes recover just as quickly from hard workouts as sports nutrition products such as Gatorade, PowerBars and Clif Bars (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, March 26, 2015).

• After each intense workout, get off your feet and do as little walking as possible.

• Try to sleep within a few hours after your intense workout as you may recover faster by sleeping than remaining awake (South African J Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation, Jan 2012;34(1):167 – 184). Loss of sleep can impair exercise performance (European Journal of Applied Physiology, April 2017;117(4):699-712).

• Do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve muscle soreness. NSAIDs can block gains in strength and endurance (PNAS, June 27, 2017;114(26):6675-6684; Med & Sci in Sports & Ex, April 2017;49(4):633-640)

OCT 17

7 Rotational Strength Exercises to Build Explosiveness

By Mike Dewar

October 17, 2018

Rotational power is key for many athletes, not just those in the formal sports. While rotation explosiveness is key for sports like baseball, golf, mixed martial arts, and tennis (just to name a few), strength, power, and fitness athletes can use rotational strength training to maximize performance.

Core training in general is a necessary for maximal force production, injury prevention, and building better abs, with rotational training being yet another way to integrate core training into your current workouts. In this article, we will discuss the following aspects of rotational strength training to help coaches and athletes develop sound programming and progressions to improve performance and injury resilience:

The Importance of Rotational Strength Training

How to Integrate Rotational Strength Training Into Your Program

7 Rotational Strength Exercises to Build Explosiveness

Benefits of Rotational Strength Exercises

Rotational training can help to increase sports performance, improve the transfer of power (kicking, hitting, etc), and can even improve core stability in explosive movements (such as weightlifting, sprinting, and contact sports). Below are three (3) benefits coaches and athlete can expect when integrating rotational strength exercise within a training program.

Anti-Rotational Strength and Awareness

Rotational strength training can be integrated within most fitness and sports training programs, developing stronger obliques and abdominals, movement patterning (in the rotational plane), and can improve a lifter’s/athlete’s ability to stabilize the spine and hips during explosive movements such as swings, slams, jumps, running, and even the Olympic lifts.

Total-Body Power and Explosiveness

Integrated rotational movement using the musculature of the legs, hips, and core (as well as upper body) occur in sprinting, contact sports, and even some ballistic movements found in training (snatches, cleans, jerks). The ability to promote rotational force goes hand in hand with the ability to resist unwanted rotational forces (most of which can impede performance in sports like powerlifting, strongman, and Olympic weightlifting if not adequately controlled).

Learning how to strengthen the core and then integrate more rotational explosive movements (like the ones below) can help athletes learn to integrate the hips and upper torso into the movement as well (1). By integrating even the most fundamental rotational strength exercises (below) within a training program, coaches and athletes can expect increased core stability, muscle development (of the obliques), and total-body coordination during more explosive-based movements.

Injury Resilience

Rotational forces on the spine can result in spinal health issues. Additionally, unwanted and/or uncontrolled rotational movement of the core can affect the hips and knees in movements like overhead squats, back squats, pulls, etc (2). By not having the coordination and strength to control rotational movement during both controlled and ballistic exercise, coaches and athletes may run the risk of using other structures for purposes they are not intended for. For example, a lack of core stability may result in the hips needing to become more rigid to support movement, which in turn could contribute to limited ranges of movement of unwanted force being now placed upon the knee in a squat.

How to Integrate Rotational Exercises into Training Programs?

Integrating rotational strength exercises into current training programs can be done in a variety of ways, allowing coaches to integrate the numerous exercises (and their variations) throughout most training programs. Below, we discuss four (4) segments of a training session that coaches can include rotational strength exercises (and power exercises) to enhance overall explosiveness.

Warm-Ups

Rotational training such as throws, woodchoppers and light swings can be done to acclimate a lifter to rotational exercises and/or can serve as a light warm-up for more explosive-based rotational work to come in the power, accessory, or conditioning segments.

Power / Medicine Ball Training

When working with athletes, I will typically put power / medicine ball training, such as ball slams, scoop tosses, etc towards the beginning of a session so that the athletes are less fatigued for these maximal velocity rotational exercises. The goal here is to move moderate to light loads at very high velocities, focusing on power output and explosiveness.

Accessory Work

In this segment of the workout, rotational strength exercises can be integrated using moderate to heavy loads to develop stronger muscles, coordination, and improve an athlete’s basis for more explosive work. These can be done supersetted with standard accessory work as well to increase to make workouts more time efficient if needed.

Conditioning

If you are looking to increase rotational strength and power, you can use conditioning segments to also train most of the below movements. While conditioning typically lends itself to greater amounts of aerobic processes and fatigue (as most power and explosiveness is done via non-aerobic systems), this can still be helpful to increase training volume, enhance movement under fatigue, and integrate rotational work in standard programs.

7 Rotational Strength Exercises to Build Explosiveness

Below are seven (7) rotational strength exercise coaches and athletes can integrate into current workout routines (as discussed above) to improve rotational force production and total body explosiveness.

Sledgehammer Slams and Swings

Sledgehammer slams can be done to increase core strength and rotational power in nearly any setting. To perform, grab a sledgehammer (which can vary based on weight) with one hand towards the base of the handle other towards the middle. Athletes can strike downwards onto a pad or tire, laterally, or in a wide array of angles; making the sledgehammer an inexpensive yet versatile way to build rotational strength and explosiveness.

Medicine Ball Variations

Medicine ball slams have been shown to be effective at helping athletes develop greater amounts of sport-specific rotational power, with the exercises ranging from slams, throws, and tosses (3). Rotational movements done with medicine balls offer coaches and athletes a unique opportunity to move with maximal velocities (lighter loads) or heavier throws to increase strength. Both can and should be used within a medicine ball training program to improve velocity (speed of movement) and power (speed and force production) of the medicine ball tosses/throws/slams.

Landmine Rotations

The landline rotation can be done using a barbell and a landmine holster, with or without added load. The landmine rotation helps to develop a stronger core that is resistant to rotational forces, while also helping lifters understand how to transfer force from the legs and hips throughout the core (assuming the lifter is allowing hip rotation, as there are various landmine rotation variations to choose from).

Woodchoppers (Cable, Dumbbell, Resistance Band, or Kettlebell)

The woodchopper is a loaded rotational movement that can be done with various equipment (see examples in title) and angles (low to high, high to low, lateral, etc). The ability to change lines of force allows coaches and athletes to customize training based on sport-specific movement patterns (golf swing vs baseball swing vs punching). If you are someone looking for the benefits outside of a sport-specific plan (general health and functional movement), changing angles can help you prepare for a wider range of motion and learn to control and resist rotational forces places upon the spine.

Tornado (Wall to Wall) Ball Slams

The tornado ball slam, is a medicine ball slam variation that requires a medicine ball to be attached to a tether/short rope. This is a great movement to increase a lifters rotational force output and train the obliques both concentrically and eccentrically at the same time (often done as explosively as one can). To perform those, the athlete stands with their back against a wall, holding on to the rope, with the ball on the other end. Simply keep the arms straight and rotate so there is not slack in the rope. As the ball slams the wall, rotate forcefully, pulling the ball towards the other side of the body/wall. Continue to do back and force, building in intensity as can.

Heavy Bag Kicks and Punches

The classic heavy punching bag can be a valuable piece of equipment for not only boxing and conditioning purposes, but for rotational strength training. Movements like punches and kicks can be done to increase rotational explosiveness and translate rotational movements into functional patterns for sport/life.

Landmine Press with Rotation

The standing landmine shoulder press can be paired with a slight hip rotation by having a lifter start facing perpendicular to the barbell. The movement is initiated by driving through the back foot and hip, and rotating the hips so that the lifter is facing the landmine attachment. Seamlessly go into a landmine press, using the rotational force that was producing during the previous step to aid in the press.

References

OCT 8

Intervals for Everyone

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) surveyed more than 4,000 fitness professionals and found that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the most popular trend in fitness for 2018 (ACSM Health & Fitness Journal, Dec 2017).

All healthy people can benefit from some form of interval training. They can pick up the pace for a few seconds while walking, running, cycling, swimming, skiing or skating, and then slow down when they feel the least discomfort.  Intervals for most people means to warm up by starting your exercise slowly, then pick up the pace for a short time until you start to feel the least burning in your muscles or the beginning of shortness of breath.  Slow down and keep going at a low level of intensity until you feel fresh, and then pick up the pace again. Keep on alternating these pick-ups and slow-downs until your muscles start to feel heavy, then cool down at a very slow pace for a few minutes and your workout is finished.
If you have done your interval workout properly, your legs are likely to feel a little sore on the next morning, so you should take a recovery day where you go very slowly.  Most people can use a 48-hour schedule with each interval day followed by a slow recovery day.  When your muscles should feel fresh again, you can repeat your interval workout.
Benefits of Intervals
The interval training technique has been used in all endurance sports for many years, but it wasn’t until a couple of decades ago that George Brooks of the University of California at Berkeley showed how interval training can make anyone more fit and a better athlete (American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2006). Further research has shown that interval training can also help to control blood sugar more effectively than continuous training, helping to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and certain cancers  (Int J Sports Med, published online November 6, 2014).
Your muscles burn sugar, fat and protein for energy, but sugar is the most efficient fuel since it uses less oxygen to convert sugar to energy. Sugar is the major fuel for your muscles during intense exercise. The faster you move, the greater percentage of sugar your muscles use for energy.   The limiting factor to how fast you can move is the time it takes to move oxygen into muscles. In a series of chemical reactions, the sugar, glucose, is broken down step by step, with each step releasing energy. When enough oxygen is available, the glucose releases all of its energy until only water and carbon dioxide remain and the carbon dioxide is blown off through your lungs.
If your heart cannot pump enough oxygen to your muscles to meet their needs for energy, the chemical reactions stop at lactic acid which accumulates in the muscles and spills over into the bloodstream. Lactic acid makes muscles acidic, causing a burning feeling in muscles that makes you slow down. However, if you can get rid of the lactic acid and convert it to energy to power your muscles, the burning disappears and you feel better.  Since the cause of the muscle burning and shortness of breath is lack of oxygen, slowing down allows you to catch up on your oxygen debt, which in turn converts lactic acid all the way to carbon dioxide and water and supplies a tremendous amount of energy to power your muscles.  Interval training causes you temporarily to exceed your lactic acid threshold, so you can increase the rate that muscles can take in and use oxygen and you can exercise at a faster pace.
The exciting news is that lactic acid requires less oxygen even than sugar does to be converted to energy and that means that while you are clearing excess lactic acid from your bloodstream, you can go much faster. Anything that helps muscles to break down lactic acid faster will make you a better athlete because it will allow you to exercise more intensely to increase your endurance and allow you to move faster when you are tired (Sports Medicine, 2006;36).

Mitochondria
Inside each muscle cell are hundreds of mitochondria, the little furnaces that burn fuel for energy. Lactic acid is burned for energy in the mitochondria, and anything that enlarges the mitochondria builds a bigger furnace and helps to increase endurance. Lactic acid is carried from the cells into the mitochondria by special proteins called lactate transporter molecules, so anything that increases these molecules will build endurance. An enzyme called lactic acid dehydrogenase is needed to start the reaction, so anything that increases this enzyme will also help. Interval training does all three: it enlarges the furnace (mitochondria), increases lactic acid transporter molecules, and increases the amount of lactic acid dehydrogenase.

How I Use Interval Training
I am 82 years old and have been exercising all my life.  I do interval training on my bike four days a week and long slower rides on the other three days. I warm up for a mile or two, then do standing 50-pedal-stroke intervals that make me short of breath and cause some muscle burning.  Each interval takes around 24 seconds.  I then go slowly until I recover my breath completely and my muscles feel fresh and then start my next interval.  I usually can do 21 of these intervals in a workout.  Near the end of my workout, my muscles start to feel stiff and heavy.

Intervals can increase your chances of injuring yourself, so I have learned from my many previous injuries when to take a day off.  My legs are always stiff and heavy when I get up in the morning.  I never plan to take a day off, but if my muscles do not feel fresh after a 5 to 10-minute slow warm up on my bike, I always take the day off.  I usually take off every 7th to 11th day. I have never had to take off from my long slow rides. This caution has protected me from being injured for the last six years.

OCT 1

Slow Lifting

If you want to become very strong, you have to lift weights heavy enough to make your muscles burn. It doesn’t make any difference whether you move the weights slowly or rapidly. Just exercise intensely enough so your muscles feel sore the next day. The soreness indicates that you have injured the fibers. When they heal, they will be stronger than before you injured them. But muscles heal only when you let them rest. If you put great pressure on a muscle that is already sore from a previous workout, it cannot heal and will tear. Then you are injured and will not be able to lift at all.

When you move very slowly with a weight, your muscles fatigue and weaken so that the weight feels much heavier than it is. Lifting a weight slowly causes the same muscle damage as lifting a heavier weight more quickly. One problem with slow lifting is that sports require fast movements and training is specific. You have to exercise against resistance moving fast to be able to use your muscle fast when hitting a baseball, throwing a half court pass in basketball and hitting someone in football. So slow lifting can make you strong, but it is not the best way to prepare you for fast-moving competitive sports such as tennis, ping pong, basketball and volleyball.

 SEPT29

The Frog Sit-Up Is Murder On The Abs

Frogs can leap lengthy distances, are comfortable both underwater and on dry land and have no problem picking up princesses. This froggy sit-up won’t land you a royal bride, but will give you a core workout with low risk of back strain.

Frog sit-ups are murder on the abs, but in a good way. Only using the first quarter of the range of movement in a sit-up, which is the most efficient part, means they will increase the work your abs are doing. They’re also a great way to target your core without causing yourself any extra neck pain or back strain, as the movement is kinder on your spine than regular sit-ups. As a bonus, that tricky frog stretch is bound to boost your flexibility.

How To Do It

Start by lying with your back flat on the floor and your legs extended in front of you, like with a regular sit-up. Bend your knees and bring your outer thighs to the floor as you touch the soles of your feet together – this is the bit that resembles a frog, or if you can’t picture yourself as a slimy amphibian, try to get your legs into a diamond position. Bring your feet as close to your bum as your flexibility allows. Next, cross your arms over your chest touching the opposite shoulders. As you exhale, actively flatten your hips and lower back into the floor as you curl the upper half of your torso upwards to the height of a quarter of a sit-up.

Hold firm at the top for a second before lowering slowly back to the starting position. You should aim to complete as many repetitions as you can, or include the frog sit-up within a circuit. It’s important to be warmed up first, as your inner thighs won’t appreciate the wide stretch otherwise.

This can be a difficult position if you’ve never done it before, and requires a not-insignificant level of flexibility to maintain correct form. If you’re struggling to get your thighs towards the floor, practice some stretches before you attempt to bring in the sit-up. Sit with your legs in the diamond position and your soles touching. Bring your feet towards your body while also gently applying pressure to your knees to flatten your thighs to the ground. Practicing this stretch will make the position for the frog sit-up a breeze.

SEPT 22

Strength Training Guidelines

In response to my recent article on strengthening muscles, I received the following guidelines from Dr. Richard Winett, a respected professor at Virginia Tech who has done extensive research on resistance training, and I am sharing them with his permission.

1. People need to learn a correct range of motion for each exercise that is within their capability and practice that range of motion with lighter resistance.

2. There is not a lot of convincing data on repetition duration, but what there is including work we have done, suggests for each exercise taking about three seconds for the concentric, positive part of the rep, and three seconds for the eccentric, negative part. The reps are done smoothly as are the “turn arounds” from positive to negative and negative to positive.

3. Train to the point where the last repetition in good form is performed that will usually represent a high degree of effort which is the goal. This is often called “training to failure” but a better point is saying that this is “successful training.”

4. The stimulus comes from the degree of effort and not a specific weight per se. There is no need to ever use heavy resistance. This isn’t based on 1 RM [the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition], an unnecessary concept from weight lifting. Simply after a number of sessions of learning good form, pick a resistance for each exercise that is challenging, anywhere from eight to 20 repetitions at the 3, 3 rep format. Train to the last good rep and stop. And, keep track of your workouts. Use any means (e.g., a written log, phone app) that suits you. Plan each workout based on your prior workout so you know exactly what to do. Try also to record your workout in ‘real time’, rather than trying to remember at some later point what you did in the workout.

5. When people pay attention and train in this way, performing one set per exercise provides about the same benefits as any number of multiple sets. A whole body protocol can include about 12 exercises and overall take about 30-40 minutes. Generally perform for major muscle groups one compound movement and one isolation movement. For example, for the quadriceps (thighs), perform the leg press and the leg extension. For small muscle groups perform one isolation movement. For example, for the biceps, perform a curl.  Besides a short general warm-up, warming up for the first exercise of the day is a good idea. Starting with lower-body also is a good idea, though any order can be effective. Take about a minute between sets. Pay attention to the exercise, your ROM [range of motion], and the effects of the exercise. No talking while doing a set. Resistance training, similar to yoga, should be a focused attention activity.

6. The process of adding strength and muscle hypertrophy is really not based on “repairing damage.” It is learning to train in ways that do not create a lot of damage so the body can focus on muscle protein synthesis, a growth process, and not on damage repair. This means sticking to exercises and performing them in correct form and not constantly changing a routine. Extreme muscle soreness the day after training is not a sign of a ‘good workout’. It often means the resistance used on one or more exercise was too heavy; or the range of motion was too large; or you changed some exercises, or your sleep or nutrition was inadequate. Think about what likely caused the extreme soreness and make a correction including, perhaps, taking an extra rest day. See how this literally ‘works out’.

7. Progress is made by small increments in repetitions and resistance over many workouts, but there is only real progress if form does not change. Do not try to ‘rush’ your progress. ‘Slow and steady’ wins the race. At some point, although this may take a year or more, your strength gains and body composition improvements will plateau. If you keep training consistently, you can maintain your gains. This has to be considered a form of progress. As people get older, strength and muscle mass are lost. If you are maintaining, relative to your age peer group, you are progressing.

8. One does not train the same muscle group on consecutive days. So, if on a Wednesday, eight good repetitions were performed in the chest press with 100 pounds, on Thursday, you would NOT do the chest press for eight repetitions with 50 pounds. Rather you would take a walk or do some other kind of exercise. But resistance training is a powerful stimulus providing numerous cardiometabolic benefits, and in order to improve in resistance training while you can effectively also do endurance or interval training, you can’t overdo the latter two kinds of training and expect to see gains in resistance training. This is called ‘concurrent training’. It was believed for many years that endurance training inevitably ‘interfered’ with and undermined gains from strength training. What has been found is that this effect was primarily caused by overtraining, i.e., too much exercise. Effective concurrent training is possible but it also can help to decide what type of exercise is your priority. That way you can still perform both types of exercise but put more time and effort into the type of exercise that is your priority. There also are disparate outcomes from studies assessing the effects of same day, or alternate day strength and endurance training. The benefit of same day training is that the next day can be a complete recovery day. The disadvantage of same day training is that the training session is very long. Experiment and find what works for you. The advent of very brief high intensity interval training and sprint interval training protocols tends to make same day training more feasible

9. The commercial marketing of strength training protocols mostly depends upon the idea that specific protocols produce specific outcomes. For example, for larger, ‘shapelier’ muscles, perform protocol XYZ. But, how we respond to any reasonable strength training protocol is largely based on genetic factors. For example, some people have a good propensity to increase strength, and others have a good propensity to increase muscle mass in response to the same protocol. And, research shows that these two propensities are not highly related. Nor, is it possible to change the shape of different muscle groups. The best approach is to be consistent with your training, nutrition, and sleep and in that way you will make the most out of your individual characteristics.

10. Nutritional support for strength training is important, but, this does not mean relying on supplements. The best evidence points to having meals distributed throughout the day with about 25 to 30 grams of protein in each meal, and within a healthful nutrition pattern such as DASH or the Mediterranean pattern.

SEPT 21

Wall Balls – Exercise Guide, Muscles Worked, and Benefits

Most of us know all too well the feeling of the lungs burning, arms flailing, and legs nearly buckling underneath us as we perform a huge number of wall balls in a metabolic workout. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I have put together everything you need to know about wall balls, how to do them, and their benefits so you can treat yourself to a seriously metabolic and rewarding experience.

Muscles Worked

Wall balls are a movement that entails nearly every joint in the body to open and close repeatedly, making it a great way to hit a lot of muscle at once. Below are the main muscle groups targeted when doing wall balls, with greater demands placed upon them when higher rep ranges are performed (muscular endurance) and/or when heavier loads are used (muscular power/strength).

Quadriceps

Gluteals

Hamstrings

Abdominals

Chest

Shoulders

Triceps

Lats

Erectors

Wall Ball Exercise Demo

Wall balls are a fundamental movement that entails perfect fluidity between a squat and overhead throwing motion, in a cyclical fashion. Below are a few exercise demos and video tips to help you increase your stamina, efficiency, and overall performance during this metabolic movement.

Here are some tips and tricks to maximize your wall ball efficiency and performance.

https://youtu.be/qvjpTJQ1zaU

Wall Ball Benefits

Below are a few benefits of performing wall balls, as either a movement as a whole or within a metabolic circuit.

Increased Fitness

Functional movement, muscular stamina and endurance, and even some strength and power can all be developed by wall balls (either done for endurance with lighter loads or done in small explosive sets for max height on the throw for power). This versatile movement can be incorporated to enhance muscular fitness, movement, and cardiovascular health, all of which are critical components of one’s overall fitness.

Fast-Track to Perfect Squats

Goblet squatting is a great way to teach slow and controlled squatting to all levels of fitness. Wall balls are very similar in that they are front loaded which force individuals to properly descend into a squat position. The great thing about wall balls is that you can program a gazillion of them into a training session in a timely manner to add quality reps and motor movement to beginners and/or reinforce proper squat patterning to pros.

Upper Body Stamina

After a wall ball workout you will notice one of two things; your legs and glutes are rocked, and your shoulders and arms feel like Jell-O. The repeated launching of a 14-30lb ball (yea, 30lbs, but heck, why not heavier) high into the air with repeated eccentric contractions as you catch it can due some serious muscle damage. Increased upper body stamina plays a huge role in competitive fitness and even sports like boxing, basketball, and swimming.

Midline Stability

Midline control and stability is necessary for about every movement that we do in fitness, sport, and life. The ability to control the midline via core strength, proper posture, and diaphragmatic breathing can increase endurance, work output, power, strength, and help to prevent injury. Squats, overhead pressing, and front loaded movements all do a wonderful job of reinforcing proper midline mechanics and increasing our abilities to remain strong and stable under fatigue. Runners, CrossFit athletes, and fitness goers alike can all benefit from wall balls.

Metabolic Training

Wall balls are simple and brutal exercise when done for long durations and with significant loading. The act of squatting, throwing, catching, and absorbing and transferring energy in a highly cyclical fashion is demanding on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Do it intensely, and you may even find yourself in a state of EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), which is the sweet spot for increasing your ability to do work while fatigued, increase caloric output, and elevate your metabolism.

SEPT 20 

Exercise to Prevent a Heart Attack
The same training principles that improve athletic performance in competitive athletes also help to prevent heart attacks and prolong lives:
• The SUN Study on 18,737 middle-aged people showed that those who exercise intensely have half the rate of heart attacks as those who do the same amount of exercise less intensely (Am J of Cardiology, Sept 11, 2018)
• Vigorous exercise is associated with a much lower rate of metabolic syndrome and diabetes than low-intensity exercise (American J of Prev Med, April 2017;52(4):e95–e101)
• An extensive review of major articles shows that exercise helps to prevent heart attacks and strokes (J of Clinical and Preventive Cardiology, 2017;6(3):109-114)
• Even low doses of exercise, such as slow walking, are associated with reduced likelihood for heart attacks and strokes (Am J Lifestyle Med, Jul 1, 2009;3(1 Suppl):44S–49S)
• The amount of time teenagers spend exercising intensely predicts markers of arteriosclerosis and inflammation far more than how much time they spend sitting still (PLoS Medicine, Sept 2018;15(9):e1002649)
• A Mediterranean diet and regular exercise, individually and combined, are associated with reduced risk for heart attacks and strokes (Eur J of Prev, June 26, 2018)How Intense Exercise Helps to Prevent Heart Attacks
Intense exercise makes muscles stronger, including your heart muscle. All people lose heart muscle as they age, which increases risk for frailty and heart failure. Strengthening your heart muscle helps you to live a more vigorous lifestyle and to protect you from heart failure. Intense exercise also helps to stabilize plaques in arteries and widens heart arteries to help protect you from a heart attack.Stress and Recover
If you try to exercise intensely every day, you are at high risk for injuries. To become stronger and faster and have greater endurance, you need to exercise on one day intensely enough to damage your muscle fibers and feel short of breath. Then you will feel sore on the next day and are supposed to exercise at a reduced intensity for as many days as it takes for your muscles to heal and the soreness to lessen or disappear. Only then should you take your next intense workout.
• You can tell you are exercising intensely enough to damage your muscles by a feeling of burning in your muscles when you exercise.
• You will not improve your maximal ability to take in and use oxygen unless you exercise intensely enough to become short of breath.

Use Interval Training to Avoid Injuries
Adding interval workouts to an endurance training program specifically makes muscles stronger than continuous endurance training (Med & Sci in Sprts & Exe, June 2017;49(6):1126–1136). To use intervals in your exercise program, first you warm up for 10 or more minutes by going at a slow pace. Then you pick up the pace in your sport (such as running, skiing or cycling) until you start to feel a burning in your muscles or start breathing hard, usually after about 5-30 seconds. Then slow down. When you have completely recovered your breath and your muscles feel fresh again, start your next interval. Alternate picking up the pace and slowing down for full recovery until your muscles start to feel stiff or heavy, and then cool down by exercising at a slow pace for about 10-15 minutes. Most people will be able to do 5-20 short intervals of less than 30 seconds each in their early workouts and increase the number slightly as they keep on doing intervals two or three times a week. You can avoid injuries as long as you listen to your body when it tells you to reduce the intensity or to stop your workout.

Recovery Days
Most athletes in endurance and strength sports exercise on their recovery days and do not plan to take many days off. However, on recovery days, they work at a markedly reduced intensity to put minimal pressure on their muscles. If you develop pain anywhere that gets worse as you continue exercising, or doesn’t go away when you slow down, you are supposed to stop exercising for that day. Active recoveries on easy days at low intensity make muscles tougher and more fibrous so your muscles can withstand harder workouts on your intense days.

My Recommendations
• Before you start a program of interval training to improve your endurance, you should have exercised regularly for many months, be in good shape and not have any health conditions that can harm you.
• Try to set up your exercise program so that you take a hard workout that damages your muscles so they feel sore on the next day. Then take easy workouts until the soreness goes away, and then take your next hard workout.
• Immediately after an intense workout, eat whatever source of carbohydrates and protein you like best. I eat oranges and nuts immediately after I finish an intense workout to help me recover faster for my next workout. See Why You Should Eat Within One Hour After an Intense Workout.
• When you are training properly, your muscles may feel sore every morning. If they don’t feel better after a 10 minute warmup, take the day off. I do not recommend taking NSAIDs to Relieve Muscle Soreness; they can interfere with your strength gains.
• If you feel pain in one spot that does not go away after you slow down, stop that workout immediately. Otherwise you are headed for an injury.

CAUTION: Intense exercise can cause a heart attack in a person who has blocked arteries or heart damage. Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise program or make a sudden increase in the intensity of your existing program.

SEPT 11

IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS FURTHER!

EMOM(Every Minute on the Minute). It is a training protocol where you complete a specific set of movements or exercises every minute, then rest until the end of the minute, then you start again once the next minute starts.

15 MIN OR 30  MIN

Exercise 1 – ALT Kettlebell Swings – 10 reps PER ARM

Exercise 2 – Push Ups 10 reps

Exercise 3 -BODY SQUATS – 10 reps

AUG 20

IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS FURTHER!

Week 1:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

Note that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the

intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at an intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up – without stopping.

Core strength program

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.
  2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer

muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bendyour legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jump up in the air.

Friday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes health boost

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating lightly.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 5 minutes of calm walking – and just like that, you’re done for the week!

Give yourself an hour or two and check the feeling you have now – well donT

Week 2:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

REMEMBER that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to

keep up the intensity for entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday: Endurance program: 3×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.

If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the first 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate). During the rest of the intervals it should take you about 2 minutes to reach 85-95% of your maximum heart rate. 5-minute cool-down – and you’re done for the day!

Friday: Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all three exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between

each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.

2. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting position – repeat on the opposite leg.

3. Squat jumps. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go

down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

4. Push-ups either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.

Weekend assignment

Is it really harmful not to undertake regular physical activity? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Inactivity causes about 5.5 million deaths annually worldwide, while in comparison, about 5 million die annually as a direct result of smoking. Inactivity is a risk factor for death, and health authorities worldwide have estimated that the strength of therisk factor “inactivity” is equal to the smoking, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol status risk factors

combined. Do your favorite activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Week 3:
Monday: Endurance program: 3×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 5-minute cool-down – and you’re done for the day!

Wednesday:

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Our brain is often seen as the overarching control-centre that regulates the rest of the body. We are born with about 130 billion brain cells that are completely dependent on physical movement and good blood circulation with the supply of oxygen and proper “fuel” for them to develop and function optimally. It has been shown that people who are regularly physically active have a slower aging of the brain, larger brain volume, better learning, improved memory and less risk of developing neurological disorders (such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and reduced cognitive function).

Friday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down.

Enjoy your weekend off – next week is going to be intense.

Week 4:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

Wednesday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health Booster

Repeat the Monday session from this week – a real booster for your health! You are really on your way to improved fitness and younger fitness age!

Friday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

Core strength program

1. Squats 10 reps.

2. Split-Squat 7 reps on each foot.

3. Squat jumps 5 reps.

4. Push-ups, as many as you can do.

  1. Squats 7 reps, see previous picture.
  2. Split-Squat 5 reps on each foot. See previous picture.
  3. Squat jumps 5 reps. See previous picture.
  4. Push-ups, as many as you can do. See previous picture.

You will feel this week of training in your body and mind – you will like it. Weekend off – if you do exercises overthe weekend anyway…. Keep them at low-to-moderate intensity.

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Week 5:
Monday: Endurance program: 1×4 minutes kick-start (same as Monday week 1)

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness!

REMEMBER (again) that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

Wednesday
Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.
  2. 15 squats.

3. 10 squats with jumps.

4. 15 squats, see previous picture.

  1. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
  2. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  1. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  2. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
  3. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.

Friday

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

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Week 6:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

Tuesday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

  1. 15 squats.
  2. 10 squats with jumps.

Thursday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

Described Monday this week – go for it!

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

As described Tuesday this week – easy for you!

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either regular ones or with bent knees.

  1. 15 squats.
  2. 10 squats jumps.
  1. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  2. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  1. 10 squats jumps, see previous picture.
  2. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
  3. 15 squats, see previous picture.
  4. 10 squats jump, see previous picture.

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Week 7:
Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath.

9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

What a feeling!

Wednesday:

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross- country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get out of the coach.

Thursday:

Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage.

30-minute walk or jog at a pace where you’re not too winded to keep up a conversation. Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage, see previous picture.
Great job!

FITTER?
Thank you for joining us on this 7-week journey – you should be proud of yourself! You are definitely in better shape than when you started and the training now gives you more energy than it takes – most likely you’re feeling the

mental and physical benefits already. You have improved your physical fitness, which is a very important indicator of cardiovascular health. Moreover, you’ve strengthened important muscles, which will make it easier for you to manage busy day-to-day activities, with a reduced risk of injuries or strains. For a numerical measure of fitness, see our fitness calculator! And if you like – take part in the “Next 7”.

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

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The next 7 Week 8:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #1

This session is demanding and will be felt in body and soul – but trust us – It is effective and is a real booster toward improved health and younger fitness age. Find a suitable activity and jump into it!

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should

be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. See how to define this here!

Note that it’s important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you’ve overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you’re unable to maintain a conversation.

  1. Three minutes active rest (to get rid of lactic acid) – walk or move slowly – do not stand still!
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity if required so you manage thewhole minute
  3. 1-minute active break – move around
  4. 1-minute as quick as you can
  5. 1-minute active break – move around
  6. 1-minute as quick as you can
  7. 3 minutes active break
  8. Repeat #2 (4-min interval)
  9. 3 minute active break
  10. 1-minute as quick as you can
  11. 1-minute active break
  12. 1-minute as quick as you can

13. 5-minute cool-down to get ready for strength training that you may think that is too much for today… but it is not… give it a try!

Core strength training:

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1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows and having straight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand forward/backward. Try to do it for 1minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition,

hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar break. If you are really fit start out on you hands or elbowand “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3-5 seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

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3. Back-planking. Keep raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Push-ups. Perform as many repetitions as you can, with or without your knees on the ground, or a combination. Repeat the exercise again after one-minute break. How many fewer did you

manage in round 2?

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That’s it – hard but fantastic work out – and lo and behold, you’re back home where a hot shower or bath awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you’re on the path to improved fitness and younger fitness age! Give you self an hour or two and check the fantastic feeling that will last a couple of days!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Invite friends, choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes at an intensity that keeps it possible to hold a conversation.

It is now well documented that physical activity has a positive effect when it comes to preventing mental health problems and promoting the health of those who are already struggling with their “psyche”. Why physical activity helps is not crystal clear yet, but part of the reason may be that it leads to “happiness-chemical-production” that makes you bubble over with energy and fitness joy. Some of these happiness chemicals are substances that have a composition reminiscent of morphine, and mimic the action of drugs against pain and depression. The body produces, so to speak, its own medicine that is completely free and without negative side effects. Amongst other neurotransmitters, the amount of serotonin increases during physical activity, and it has great importance for mood. Many so-called happiness pills work just by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Friday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes health boost

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating lightly
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 5 minutes of calm walking – to get ready for a few core-strength exercises

Core strength training:

Strength training today is identical to that described on Monday this week – 2 rounds.

Weekend assignment:

Do your favourite activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

Week 9:

Monday: Endurance program: 2×4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate.
  3. 2 minutes active rest – move around.
  4. Repeat #2.
  5. 5 minutes cool-down.

Core strength training:

Perform 2-3 Series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different exercises.

  1. Calf Rise. 10 repetitions. Lower your heels as much as possible and rise up on your toes.
  2. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated below. Several health magazines have named this

the world’s best strength training exercise. An exercise that trains your hamstrings, bottom and back. Stand on the strap and adjust so that it provides resistance when you stand leaning forward (back straight) with knees slightly bent and arms at knee. Push your bottom forward, and straighten up the body so you end upright with hands in front of your thighs. Adequate

tightness of the elastic band is when you can manage 12 repetitions.
3. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions of the exercise. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds

and slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the

entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

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4. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting position – repeat on the opposite leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg without a break.

5. Back-Extension. Lie down on the floor and pull your heels as far towards your bottom as you can. Use your back and lift your hips up toward the ceiling, and hold this raised position for 5 seconds before going down again. If you find this easy, you can

alternately lift and stretch out your right and left leg while keeping the raised position for 5-10 seconds. 10 repetitions on each foot.

6. Triceps dips or triceps exercises with elastic bands. Lean against a chair or something similar as shown in the picture. Lower yourself down slowly and push up. If you haven’t used these muscles for a long time, the exercise will be challenging the first

time. Perform as many repetitions as you can manage, and do three sets with a 30 second pause between each.

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If that exercise is too difficult at first, use the elastic band again and perform the exercise as in the picture below instead. Hold the elastic band with one hand behind your lower back, just above your backside, and lead the other hand up and behind so can hold the elastic band. Next, extend that hand straight up. Adjust the band so you can do approximately 12 repetitions three times with 30 second pause between each set.

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7. Abdominal-Planking as described in week 8. 1 minute.

8. Back-Planking as described in week 8. 30 seconds in raised position.

9. Biceps – the muscles on the front of the upper arm. Find a suitable fence, a tree branch or similar. Lie as shown with your body straight and face up. Start with your arms as straight as possible and lift your torso so that your chin comes over the rod. You can vary the load

by moving your legs closer or futher away from you – find a position that allows you to perform 10 repetitions. After the first set, take a one minute break before repeating the exercise.

An alternative exercise to train the biceps is to use an elastic band (see picture below). Stand on the strap, and adjust the resistance so you can manage 10 repetitions for two sets. Keep your elbows close to your body and don’t bend your torso back or forward during the exercise.

10. The-Lift. “Elbow-Standing-Leg-Work” – trains your shoulders, abdominal muscles, legs and back. Kneel on all fours while supporting yourself on your forearms as illustrated. Keep your back straight. Avoid swaying. Alternately move the right and left leg up and out to the side. Perform 5 reps per leg, hold for 5 seconds in the raised position.

11. Standing rotation with elastic bands to exercise the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap overhead-height on a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try it out to find correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side.

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12. Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and theother foot resting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee

and see how far you can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions to each side. 13. Side-Planking as described in week 8. 10 repetitions per side.

14. Push-ups as described in week 8. 10 repetitions.

15. Back-Diagonal. Stand on “all fours”. Raise your right arm up high and forward

(see picture) while leading left foot high up and behind. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then rest 1-2 seconds. Elbow and knee should meet during the rest, and

bow so your chin goes towards the knee (see picture). Perform 10 repetitions on each side. If you managed this we are impressed! A shower and a great feeling are waiting for you!

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Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

Core strength program

1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and go down as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively

quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jump in the air.

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Weekend assignment:

Join friends and find a new crazy activity involving large muscle groups – be active for more than 60 minutes.

Week 10:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #2

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 5-minutes of ”17:13-intervals”. This interval-variant is simple, but hard to do. In your chosen activity keep high intensity (not all-out, but close to) for 17 seconds, thereafter you have 13 seconds active rest (move around, do not stop) and repeat 10 times. After about 6 of the intervals your heart rate should be close to 85-90% of your maximum.
  3. 3 minutes active rest (move around to quicker get rid of the lactic acid).
  4. Repeat #2.

5. 5-minutes cool down to get ready for a short strength training session.

Core strength training

Perform 2-3 series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different

exercises.

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1. Sit-ups, 10 repetitions.

2. Deadlift as described Monday week 9, 15 repetitions.

3. Super-Woman. “Fly” like Super-Woman – lie on the ground and lift your torso as much as you can while lifting your legs up behind. Make alternating movements with arms sideways and

use a freestyle swim kicking motion for the legs. “Fly” for 5 seconds before taking a break for 5 seconds – repeat 7 times.

4. The Lift as described Monday in week-9, 10 reps on each foot.

5. Back-Extension as described Monday in week-9, 10 reps on each foot.

6. Shoulder exercises (A-D) as described Monday in week-9, 10 repetitions on each

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions of the exercise. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds

and slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

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D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the

entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

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What a feeling – and what a wonderful start of the week!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Friday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – the weekend is here – enjoy!

Weekend assignment

Your favourite activity – or a completely new one at low intensity for more than 60 minutes – enjoy life.

Week 11:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #3

  1. 10-minutes warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity if required so you manage the whole minute.
  3. 1-minute active break – move around.
  4. Repeat #2 and #3 until you have completed 10 repetitions of #2
  5. 5-minute cool-down.

Give you self a shower/bath, and one hour later…. What a feeling!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Perhaps you knew that red wine has some great health benefits that reduce the risk of cardiovasculardisease… But did you know that this only applies for those that are physically active? In a study called “In vino veritas” (in wines are the truth) researchers compared the effects of red and white wine on risk markers for cardiovascular disease. The study showed that drinking wine according to WHO definition of moderate consumption (0.2 L and 0.3 L for women and men, respectively, a maximum of five days a week) only gave protective effect if you were physically active more than twice per week. They found no differences between red and white wine. So if you like to obtain the health benefits of drinking wine, you must exercise at least twice every week. Red or white – follow your heart.

Friday: Endurance program: 30 minutes Fun-Run

  1. 10-minutes warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 30-minutes walk/run or your favourite activity at an intensity a bit higher than the warm-up but not harder thanyou can do the whole 30-minutes period without stopping.

Core strength training

Perform 2 series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different

exercises.

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1. Sit-ups, 10 repetitions.

2. Back-Diagonal, 10 repetitions each “side”.

3. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the strap straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

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4. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms where the hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso neither forward nor

backward, and stop movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band

with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds and

slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can manage 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic band at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. Stand on the strap and adjust so that it provides resistance when you stand leaning forward (back straight) with knees slightly bent and arms at knee height. Push your bottom forward, and straighten up the body so you end upright with hands in front of your thighs. Adequate tightening of the elastic band is when you can manage

12 repetitions.

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Week 12:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #1

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running (uphill) so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-90% of your maximum heart rate. See how to define this here.
  3. Three minutes active rest (to get rid of lactic acid) – walk or move slowly – do not stand still!
  4. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – if required, adjust the intensity so you manage thewhole minute.
  5. 1-minute active break – move around.

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  1. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  2. 1-minute active break – move around.
  3. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  4. 3 minutes active break.
  5. Repeat #2 (4-min interval).
  6. 3 minute active break.
  7. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  8. 1-minute active break.
  9. 1-minute as quick as you can.
  10. 5-minute cool-down to become ready for strength training that you may think that is too much for today… but it isnot!

Core strength training:

1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows and havingstraight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand

forward/backward. Try to do it for 1 minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having

the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition, hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar break. If you are

really fit start out on you hands or elbow and “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3- 5 seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

3. Back-planking. Keep a raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Calf-Rise 10 repetitions, 30 sec rest, repeat.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. 12 repetitions, two series.

6. Standing rotation with elastic bands. Exercise the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap over head-height on a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try to find the correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side. Repeat.

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Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other

foot resting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee and see how far you

can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions to each side. Repeat.

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Super start of the week – get ready for more!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The

intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Sitting is a deadly activity. A study on healthy adults 60 years of age indicated that if you sit more than six hours per day, you are 40% more likely to die over the next 14 years compared with those who sit less than three hours per day. Another study (women and men over 35 years) showed that those who sat in front of the TV more than four hours daily were 50% more likely to die and had a more than doubled risk of angina (heart cramp) and heart attack than those who only sat two hours in front of the TV (over a period of four years). Other similar studies conclude likewise, and it is shown that every hour you sit in front the TV after the age of 25 causes you to shorten your life by 22 minutes. For comparison it has been shown that the lifespan is reduced by 11 minutes per cigarette smoked….

Friday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #3

  1. 10-minutes warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 1-minute as quick as you can – but don’t stop before 1-minute – adjust the intensity as required so you manage the whole minute.
  1. 1-minute active break – move around.
  2. Repeat #2 and #3 so until you have performed 10 repetitions of #2.
  3. 5-minute cool-down.

Give you self a shower/bath, and one hour later…. What a feeling – the weekend is here – Enjoy!

Week 13:

Monday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath

9. 5-minute cool-down – well done – get ready for a tough strength program today

Core strength training

Perform 1-2 Series of the entire program. Take 2 minutes rest between the series and 30 seconds between the different exercises.

1. Calf Rise. 10 repetitions. Lower your heels as much as possible and rise up on your toes.

2. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. Adequately tighten the elastic band so you can manage 12 repetitions.

3. Shoulder exercises – 10 repetitions of all exercises A-D. Shoulder and neck exercises with an elastic band.

A: Side-Lift. Stand on the elastic band and have straight-arms so your hands rest on the outside of your thighs. Find the right elastic resistance for you so that you can correctly complete 12 repetitions. Lift straight out and up to shoulder height with your elbows slightly bent, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return. Be careful not to bend the torso forward nor backward, and stop

movement when you reach shoulder height.

B: Elbow-Lift. Stand on the strap (and cross so that the end of the strap that comes from the left

foot is held in the right hand – and vice versa – see picture). Hold the handles on the elastic band with arms straight in front of your thighs. Lift up slowly so that your fists come under the chin and your elbows are approximately straight out from your shoulders. Hold for 2 seconds and

slowly return – tighten the elastic band so you can do 12 repetitions.

C: Shoulder-Press. Stand on the strap and hold the handles at shoulder height. Press your arms straight up. The wider your stance, the heavier it becomes. Adjust the elastic resistance so you can do 12 repetitions.

D: Seated shoulder rotation. Secure the elastic strap at floor height on a suitable object. Have your arm raised and bent at about 90 degrees at the elbow as shown. Rotate the shoulder joint and move the handle towards you while keeping the upper arm in the same position during the entire movement. Tighten the band so you can withstand 12 repetitions on each arm.

4. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground – slide quickly back to the starting

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position – repeat on the opposite leg. Perform 10 repetitions on each leg without a break.

5. Back-Extension. Lie down on the floor and pull your heels as far towards your bottom as you can. Use your back and lift your hips up toward the ceiling, hold the raised position for 5 seconds before going down again. If you think this is easy, you can alternately lift and

stretch out right and left leg while keeping the raised position for 5-10 seconds. 10 repetitions on each foot.

6. Triceps dips or triceps exercises with elastic bands. Lean against a chair or something similar as shown in the picture. Lower yourself down slowly and push up. If you haven’t used these muscles for a long time, the exercise will be challenging the first time. Perform as many repetitions as you can manage, and do three sets with a 30 second pause

between each.

If that exercise is too difficult at first, use the elastic band again and perform the exercise as in the picture below instead. Hold the elastic band with one hand behind your lower back, just above your backside, and lead the other hand up and behind so can hold the elastic band. Next, extend that hand straight up. Adjust the band so you can do approximately 12 repetitions three times with 30 second pause between each set.

7. Biceps – the muscles on the front of the upper arm. Find a suitable fence, a tree branch or similar. Lie as shown with your body straight and face up. Start with your arms as straight as possible and lift your torso so that your chin comes over the rod. You can vary the load by moving your legs closer or futher away from you – find a

position that allows you to perform 10 repetitions. After the first set, take a one minute break before repeating the exercise.

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An alternative exercise to train the biceps is to use an elastic band (see picture below). Stand on the strap, and adjust the resistance so you can manage 10 repetitions for two sets. Keep your elbows close to your body and don’t bend your torso back or forward during the exercise.

8. The-Lift. “Elbow-Standing-Leg-Work” – trains your shoulders, abdominal muscles, legs and back. Kneel on all fours while supporting yourself on your forearms as illustrated. Keep your

back straight. Avoid swaying. Alternately move the right and left leg up and out to the side. Perform 5 reps per leg, hold for 5 seconds in the raised position.

9. Standing rotation with elastic bands. Exercising the oblique abdominal muscles. Secure the strap over-head-height in a suitable object. Stand sideways with straight arms and rotate down toward the opposite side. Try to find the correct resistance of the elastic band so that you can perform 10 repetitions on each side.

Alternatively perform “oblique sit-ups”. Lie on your back with one knee bent and the other footresting on the knee. Keep one hand behind your head and the other arm stretched out. Move the elbow from the hand behind your head toward the opposite knee and see how far you can go, hold for 2-3 seconds. 10 repetitions on each side.

10. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the strap straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the elastic band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

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11. Standing-Arm-Press-Forward, as shown in the picture. This exercise is good for the chest muscles. Keep your arms straight out with your elbows slightly bent. Press your arms forward until your hands meet, slowly back to start. The appropriate resistance of the elastic band is when it is possible to perform 12 repetitions.

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If you managed this we are impressed! A shower and a great feeling are waiting for you!

Wednesday: Endurance program: Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The

intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

Every day your heart beats about 100,000 times, approximately 36 million times a year. The heart is our engine! The body of an adult contains about 5.6 liters of blood circulating through the body about three times per minute. During a single day your heart pumps around 7,500 liters of oxygen-rich blood, and during a lifetime the heart pumps about 159 million liters of blood around the body. It is enough to fill three super tankers with blood. Not bad for a muscle the size of two fists.

Friday: Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up –without stopping.

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Core strength program

Perform 2 series of the program, 30 seconds between exercises, 2 minutes between series.

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1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.

2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and go down as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jumping in the air.

4. Super-Woman. “Fly” like Super-Woman – lie on the ground and lift your torso as much as you can while lifting your legs up behind. Make alternating movements with arms sideways and use a freestyle swimming kick motion with your legs. “Fly” for 5

seconds before taking a break for 5 seconds – repeat 7 times.

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5. Stand-up-Rowing with elastic band. Secure the band straight out from the body as shown. Start with straight arms and pull backwards without leaning backward. Adjust the band tension so that you can manage 15 repetitions.

6. Standing-Arm-Press-Forward, as shown in the picture. This exercise is good for the chest muscles. Keep your arms straight out with your elbows slightly bent. Press your arms forward until your hands meet, slowly back to start. The appropriate resistance of the elastic band is when it is possible to perform 12 repetitions.

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Weekend assignment

Join friends and find a crazy activity involving large muscle groups – be active more than 60 minutes. Share your activity with us at our Facebook Page.

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Week 14:

Monday: Endurance program: CERG ́s Health Booster #2

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 5-minutes of ”17:13-intervals”. This interval-variant is simple, but hard to do. In your chosen activity keep a high intensity (not all-out, but close to) for 17 seconds, thereafter you have 13 seconds active rest (move around, do not stop) and repeat 10 times. After about 6 of the intervals your heart rate should be close to 85-90% of your maximum.
  3. 3 minutes active rest (move around to quickly get rid of the lactic acid).
  1. Repeat #2.
  2. 5-minutes cool down to get ready for a short strength training session.

Core strength training:

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1. Abdominal-planking – alternate between standing on the elbows andhaving straight arms. Alternate between moving “opposite” foot and hand

forward/backward. Try to do it for 1 minute, 20 sec rest and repeat once more.

2. Side-Planking (on your elbows or straight arms). Do as many as you can, twice on each side with 30 seconds rest between each round. Remember to focus on having the right technique so that you form a “straight out” both front, side and top. For each repetition, hold the position for 2-3 seconds, followed by a similar

break. If you are really fit start out on you hands or elbow and “make a star” and hold the upper position for 3-5

seconds – repeat as many times as you can (with focus on technique).

3. Back-planking. Keep a raised position for 30-45 seconds, 15 seconds rest, repeat 2-3 times.

4. Push-ups. Perform as many repetitions as you can, with or without your knees on the ground, or a combination. Repeat the exercise again after one-minute break.

5. Deadlift with use of elastic band as illustrated. The elastic band is adequately tight when you can manage 12 repetitions.

6. Back-Diagonal. Stand on “all fours”. Raise your right arm up high and forward (see picture) while raising your left foot high up and behind. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds, then rest for 1-2 seconds. Elbow and knee should meet during the rest, and

bow so your chin goes towards the knee (see picture). Perform 10 repetitions on each side.

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Excellent start of the week!

Wednesday: Endurance program, Friends Challenge-Day

Tell a friend/friends to choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) and take you out for more than one hour. The intensity should not be so high that you cannot hold a conversation.

The blood that the heart pumps, flushes through more than 96,500 km of blood vessels, the connection betweens the body various organs. During a single day blood is “transported” approximately 19 000 km, equivalent to four times the distance from coast to coast in the US. Physical activity can partially prevent arteries hardening with increasing age. This is possible because the increased blood flow during physical exertion regularly stretches blood vessels and keeps them elastic longer compared with blood vessels of inactive people. Elastic vessels indicate a good

blood vessel function that ensures ample supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Stiffer arteries may contribute to the mental changes that may occur at increased age. For example, it is known that a type of dementia, vascular dementia, is caused by poor blood circulation in the brain. So make sure that your arteries get a “flush” several times a week by being physically active.

Friday: Endurance program: 4×4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you’re very short of breath
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done!

10.

Congratulations – you are at the end of this training program. Make sure you continue to make the time you have found for your exercise training, and make sure you continue with your new healthy habits. It may be that we come up with a follow-up program to the two you have been through, and we will also give you tips for smart and healthy food. However, until then, be your own coach and design your own exercises. A myriad of strength exercises exist that you can do, but do not forget the ones you have learned in this program as they involve muscle groups you and absolutely everyone else need every day.

Pictures of strenght training: Lasse Berre

AUG 17

HOW TO START WORKING OUT AGAIN WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF SHAPE

While we all have the best of intentions to exercise regularly and stick with it, sometimes life gets in the way. Whether you take some time off due to injury, a hectic schedule, a long vacation, or just go through periods of not feeling it, you can get back into a good exercise groove. You just need to approach it the right way.

Diving into a complicated routine or high-intensity training is usually not the best route to take – especially if you were sidelined due to injury. If your time off was medically related (i.e. injury, illness, having a baby, etc.), it is critical that you get the green light from your doctor to begin participating in physical activity again.

Once you feel ready to get back into it, here are some helpful tips to help you start working out after taking time off.

Know Your Starting Point

In addition to being ready physically, it is also important to be ready mentally. Getting back into exercise after taking time off can create anxious feelings for some.

Thoughts such as “What if I can’t do what I used to do?” or “What if I look silly?” can be discouraging, but it is important to remember that getting fit is not a linear journey. Just because you could perform at a certain level at one point and no longer can, it does not mean the exercise no longer “counts.” Your body wants to move and will benefit from any movement – it’s just important to give it the type of movement it needs, and to give yourself grace in the meantime.

If you are going to begin working out again safely and effectively, you have to be honest with yourself about where you are at. Trying to jump back into high-intensity exercise after taking a long period of time off can feel discouraging, and can be dangerous. Try not to get bogged down by what you used to be able to do. Your body changes every single day, and it is important to honor where you’re at in this point in time.

Begin Incorporating Low-Impact Movement

If you’re unsure what exercises you should start with, I recommend putting one foot in front of the other. That’s right, I’m talking about walking.

Walking is by far one of the most beneficial, highly functional exercises you can do, yet it is incredibly underrated. While walking doesn’t provide the intense calorie burn that sexier, high-intensity workouts do, walking is an approachable way to help your body get re-acclimated to movement. In addition to being a great source of cardio, regular walking may help .

Here is a simple five-day routine you could follow to get back in the swing of things:

Day 1 – Moderate/Brisk Walk for 30 Minutes

Day 2 – Perform the following:

Two Sets of 10 Bodyweight Squats to a bench or chair

Two sets of 10 Modified Push-ups (on knees or against a wall)

15 seconds of Plank (or modified plank) followed by three seconds of rest for three total rounds

Follow this routine up with a 15 minute moderate or brisk walk.

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Moderate/Brisk Walk for 20 Minutes Followed by 10 Minutes of Stretching

Day 5 – Perform the following:

Two Sets of 10 Bodyweight Squats to a bench or chair

Two sets of 10 Modified Push-ups (on knees or against a wall)

15 seconds of Plank (or modified plank) followed by three seconds of rest for three total rounds

Follow this routine up with a 15 minute moderate or brisk walk.

Gradually Keep Building

Once you have been able to incorporate low-impact movement into your day for two or more weeks and are feeling good, it might be time to gradually keep building and performing movement that feels good to your body. Maybe that means you start attempting push-ups with one knee on the ground instead of both. Maybe that means you start incorporating a yoga class or lifting light weights. Continue assessing how your mind and body are feeling and take things one day at a time.

Aug 6

Strength Training Guidelines

1. People need to learn a correct range of motion for each exercise that is within their capability and practice that range of motion with lighter resistance.

2. There is not a lot of convincing data on repetition duration, but what there is including work we have done, suggests for each exercise taking about three seconds for the concentric, positive part of the rep, and three seconds for the eccentric, negative part. The reps are done smoothly as are the “turn arounds” from positive to negative and negative to positive.

3. Train to the point where the last repetition in good form is performed that will usually represent a high degree of effort which is the goal. This is often called “training to failure” but a better point is saying that this is “successful training.”

4. The stimulus comes from the degree of effort and not a specific weight per se. There is no need to ever use heavy resistance. This isn’t based on 1 RM [the heaviest weight you can lift for one repetition], an unnecessary concept from weight lifting. Simply after a number of sessions of learning good form, pick a resistance for each exercise that is challenging, anywhere from eight to 20 repetitions at the 3, 3 rep format. Train to the last good rep and stop. And, keep track of your workouts. Use any means (e.g., a written log, phone app) that suits you. Plan each workout based on your prior workout so you know exactly what to do. Try also to record your workout in ‘real time’, rather than trying to remember at some later point what you did in the workout.

5. When people pay attention and train in this way, performing one set per exercise provides about the same benefits as any number of multiple sets. A whole body protocol can include about 12 exercises and overall take about 30-40 minutes. Generally perform for major muscle groups one compound movement and one isolation movement. For example, for the quadriceps (thighs), perform the leg press and the leg extension. For small muscle groups perform one isolation movement. For example, for the biceps, perform a curl.  Besides a short general warm-up, warming up for the first exercise of the day is a good idea. Starting with lower-body also is a good idea, though any order can be effective. Take about a minute between sets. Pay attention to the exercise, your ROM [range of motion], and the effects of the exercise. No talking while doing a set. Resistance training, similar to yoga, should be a focused attention activity.

6. The process of adding strength and muscle hypertrophy is really not based on “repairing damage.” It is learning to train in ways that do not create a lot of damage so the body can focus on muscle protein synthesis, a growth process, and not on damage repair. This means sticking to exercises and performing them in correct form and not constantly changing a routine. Extreme muscle soreness the day after training is not a sign of a ‘good workout’. It often means the resistance used on one or more exercise was too heavy; or the range of motion was too large; or you changed some exercises, or your sleep or nutrition was inadequate. Think about what likely caused the extreme soreness and make a correction including, perhaps, taking an extra rest day. See how this literally ‘works out’.

7. Progress is made by small increments in repetitions and resistance over many workouts, but there is only real progress if form does not change. Do not try to ‘rush’ your progress. ‘Slow and steady’ wins the race. At some point, although this may take a year or more, your strength gains and body composition improvements will plateau. If you keep training consistently, you can maintain your gains. This has to be considered a form of progress. As people get older, strength and muscle mass are lost. If you are maintaining, relative to your age peer group, you are progressing.

8. One does not train the same muscle group on consecutive days. So, if on a Wednesday, eight good repetitions were performed in the chest press with 100 pounds, on Thursday, you would NOT do the chest press for eight repetitions with 50 pounds. Rather you would take a walk or do some other kind of exercise. But resistance training is a powerful stimulus providing numerous cardiometabolic benefits, and in order to improve in resistance training while you can effectively also do endurance or interval training, you can’t overdo the latter two kinds of training and expect to see gains in resistance training. This is called ‘concurrent training’. It was believed for many years that endurance training inevitably ‘interfered’ with and undermined gains from strength training. What has been found is that this effect was primarily caused by overtraining, i.e., too much exercise. Effective concurrent training is possible but it also can help to decide what type of exercise is your priority. That way you can still perform both types of exercise but put more time and effort into the type of exercise that is your priority. There also are disparate outcomes from studies assessing the effects of same day, or alternate day strength and endurance training. The benefit of same day training is that the next day can be a complete recovery day. The disadvantage of same day training is that the training session is very long. Experiment and find what works for you. The advent of very brief high intensity interval training and sprint interval training protocols tends to make same day training more feasible.

9. The commercial marketing of strength training protocols mostly depends upon the idea that specific protocols produce specific outcomes. For example, for larger, ‘shapelier’ muscles, perform protocol XYZ. But, how we respond to any reasonable strength training protocol is largely based on genetic factors. For example, some people have a good propensity to increase strength, and others have a good propensity to increase muscle mass in response to the same protocol. And, research shows that these two propensities are not highly related. Nor, is it possible to change the shape of different muscle groups. The best approach is to be consistent with your training, nutrition, and sleep and in that way you will make the most out of your individual characteristics.

10. Nutritional support for strength training is important, but, this does not mean relying on supplements. The best evidence points to having meals distributed throughout the day with about 25 to 30 grams of protein in each meal, and within a healthful nutrition pattern such as DASH or the Mediterranean pattern.

AUG 2

Ten-Minute Workouts for Fitness

Three minutes of intense exercise can give you the same level of fitness as 45 minutes of more casual exercise (PLoS One, April 26, 2016;11(4):e0154075). Two groups of out-of-shape men exercised three times a week for 12 weeks. One group pedaled stationary bicycles for 45 minutes. The other group did the following 10-minute workout:
• warm up for two minutes on a stationary bicycle
• pedal as hard as possible for 20 seconds followed by very slow pedaling for two minutes (recovery)
• repeat the 20-second all-out pedaling followed by two minutes of slow recovery
• pedal all-out for the last 20-second sprint and then cool down for three minutes.

Both groups made the same improvements in fitness as measured by:
• Maximal amount of oxygen uptake (Vo2max) – 20 percent increase in both groups
• Insulin sensitivity index (to prevent diabetes) – more than 50 percent increase in both groups
• Skeletal muscle mitochondrial content also increased by the same amount, even though the intense exercise group worked out for only 10 minutes per session while the casual-exercise group’s workout took 45 minutes, or 4.5 times as long.

Benefits of Exercise
• Your fitness level determines, in part, your susceptibility for suffering heart attacks (Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 2014;56:382–90), diabetes, certain cancers and premature death (Ex and Spts Sci Reviews, 2017;45(1):7-15).
• Regular exercise helps to prevent many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• High levels of fitness predict a long lifespan (Arch Int Med, 2012;172:1333-1340), and low levels of fitness predict a shortened lifespan (Circulation, 2008;117:614-622).
• Not exercising is the most common modifiable cause of chronic disease (Can Med Assoc J, 2006;174: 801–809).
• The most common excuse for not exercising is lack of time (Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2002;34: 1996–2001). This new study shows that ONE minute of intense exercise, in a regular program of ten-minute workouts, is enough to gain significant fitness benefits.

My Recommendations
• Everyone should try to exercise every day because a high level of fitness helps to prevent disease and to prolong life.
• Intense exercise takes far less time than more casual exercise for the same health benefits.
Caution: Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or making a sudden change in the intensity of your existing exercise program.

july 24

DO NOT STOP

Muscle Loss from Inactivity: 34 Percent in Just Two weeks

A study from the University of Copenhagen shows that wearing an immobilizing knee brace for just two weeks caused men in their 20s to lose 22 to 34 percent of their leg muscle strength, while men in their 60s lost 20 to 26 percent (Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, June 26, 2015).

It took them six weeks of exercising on a bicycle 3-4 times a week to restore the leg muscle size and ability to exercise, but even that did not fully restore the leg muscle strength. This study shows that:
• When muscles of young men are immobilized for two weeks, they lose strength equivalent to aging 40 or 50 years.
• As soon as you stop moving, your muscles start to weaken.
• The larger your muscles, the more muscle you have to lose.
• Younger and stronger people lose strength even faster than older people.
Other studies show that it takes three times the amount of time you were inactive to regain the muscle size that you have lost, probably because you were immobilized 24 hours a day and you exercise for only a short time each day.

Aging Weakens Muscles Even if You Exercise
Inactivity at any age causes muscles to weaken, and you are likely to lose muscle strength with aging no matter how much you exercise. Every muscle in your body is made up of thousands of muscle fibers just as a rope is made up of many strands. Every muscle fiber is innervated by a single nerve fiber. With aging you lose nerves, and when you lose a nerve attached to a muscle fiber, that muscle fiber is lost also. A 20-year-old person may have 800,000 muscle fibers in the vastus lateralis muscle in the front of his upper leg, but by age 60, that muscle would have only about 250,000 fibers. For a 60-year-old to have the same strength as a 20-year-old, the average muscle fiber needs to be three times as strong as the 20-year-old’s muscle fibers. You cannot stop this loss of the number of muscle fibers with aging, but you certainly can enlarge each muscle fiber and slow down the loss of strength by exercising muscles against progressive resistance using strength-training machines or by lifting weights (Experimental Gerontology, August 13, 2013).

How to Strengthen Muscles
To enlarge and strengthen muscles, you need to exercise them against resistance forceful enough to damage the muscle fibers. You will know that you have done this because you will feel a burning in the stressed muscle during the later lifts and on the next day, your muscles will feel sore. Then you lift lighter weights, or engage in other sports, for as many days as it takes for your muscles to heal. You can tell this has happened when the soreness goes away.

My Recommendations
We are all likely to have some enforced periods of inactivity, but if you realize how quickly you lose muscle strength and how much longer it takes to gain it back, you will avoid voluntary inactivity as much as possible. For example, when you plan a vacation, make sure it involves physical activity that is at least equal to your regular exercise program.

As you age, expect to become weaker and more likely to fall and break your bones. To enlarge muscles and slow the natural loss of strength with aging, you should lift weights a few times in a row or lighter weight many times in a row. You can become quite strong by using 10 to 15 strength-training machines (for different muscle groups) three times a week. Do two or three sets of 10 repetitions on each machine. Always stop immediately if you feel any pain, tearing or excessive burning. See Making Muscles Stronger.

Caution: Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program or changing the intensity of your existing program.

How to Start Exercising and Stick to It

Making Exercise an Enjoyable Part of Your Everyday Life

You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise instructions and workout plans are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach. Whatever your age or fitness level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life before—there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.

What’s keeping you from exercising?

If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.

While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are mental. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point. Here’s what you can do to break through mental barriers:

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.

Busting the biggest exercise excuses

Making excuses for not exercising? Whether it’s lack of time, energy, or fear of the gym, there are solutions.

“I hate exercising.” 

Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.

“I’m too busy.”  

Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective—so, too, can be squeezing all your exercise into a couple of sessions at the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving at the weekends when you have more time.

“I’m too tired.”  

It may sound counterintuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times.

“I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.”  

It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you.

“Exercise is too difficult and painful.”  

“No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself until you’re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even playing golf, gardening, or cleaning the house.

“I’m not athletic.”  

Still have nightmares from PE? You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Focus on easy ways to be more active, like walking, swimming, or even working more around the house. Anything that gets you moving will work.

How much exercise do you need?

The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective. And a recent study in the UK found that squeezing a week’s worth of activity into one or two sessions at the weekend can be almost as beneficial for your health as spreading it out over the week.

How hard do I need to exercise?

Whether an activity is low, moderate, or high intensity varies according to your personal fitness level. A brisk jog, for example, may be low intensity for an athlete but high intensity for someone who’s never exercised before. As a general guideline:

Low intensity activity: You can easily talk in full sentences.

Moderate intensity: You can speak in full sentences, but not sing.

High intensity: You are too breathless to speak in full sentences.

For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath and your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo things.

Vary the intensity for faster results

Boosting your fitness while spending less time working out is the Holy Grail for everyone who exercises. But while most proposed short cuts are simply too good to be true, “interval training”—alternating low- and high-intensity activity—can actually deliver results.

Once you’ve warmed up, instead of walking at a moderate-intensity pace for 30 minutes, for example, try interval training for 20 minutes. Walk at a low-intensity pace for one minute followed by jogging at a high-intensity pace for one minute, then back to low-intensity walking for a minute, and so on.

Alternating intensity in this way will help you to squeeze a better workout into a shorter period of time. And as long as your doctor has cleared you to safely exercise in this way, it can also help you to lower your blood pressure, lose weight (especially around your middle), and maintain muscle mass.

Getting started safely

If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, keep the following health precautions in mind:

Health issues? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.

Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up with walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.

Cool down. After your workout, it’s important to take a few minutes to cool down and allow your heart rate to return to its resting rate. A light jog or walk after a run, for example, or some gentle stretches after strength exercises can also help prevent soreness and injuries.

Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop! If you feel better after a brief rest, you can slowly and gently resume your workout. But don’t try to power through pain. That’s a surefire recipe for injury.

How to make exercise a habit that sticks

There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build habits that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.

Start small and build momentum

A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.

Make it automatic with triggers

Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

Reward yourself

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new fitness goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.

Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident

 Take the “Work” Out of Workouts

If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.

Set yourself up for success

Schedule it. You don’t attend meetings and appointments spontaneously, you schedule them. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda.

Make it easy on yourself. Plan your workouts for the time of day when you’re most awake and energetic. If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t undermine yourself by planning to exercise before work.

Remove obstacles. Plan ahead for anything that might get in the way of exercising. Do you tend to run out of time in the morning? Get your workout clothes out the night before so you’re ready to go as soon as you get up. Do you skip your evening workout if you go home first? Keep a gym bag in the car, so you can head out straight from work.

Hold yourself accountable. Commit to another person. If you’ve got a workout partner waiting, you’re less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announcing your goals to your social group (either online or in person) can also help keep you on track.

Tips for making exercise more enjoyable

As previously noted, you are much more likely to stick with an exercise program that’s fun and rewarding. No amount of willpower is going to keep you going long-term with a workout you hate.

Think outside the gym

Does the thought of going to the gym fill you with dread? If you find the gym inconvenient, expensive, intimidating, or simply boring, that’s okay. There are many exercise alternatives to weight rooms and cardio equipment.

For many, simply getting outside makes all the difference. You may enjoy running outdoors, where you can enjoy alone time and nature, even if you hate treadmills.

Just about everyone can find a physical activity they enjoy. But you may need to think beyond the standard running, swimming, and biking options. Here are a few activities you may find fun:

horseback riding

ballroom dancing

rollerblading

hiking

paddle boarding

kayaking

gymnastics

martial arts

rock climbing

Zumba

Ultimate Frisbee

fencing

Make it a game

Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as running from hordes of zombies!

Pair it with something you enjoy

Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine. Watch TV as you ride a stationary bike, chat with a friend as you walk, take photographs on a scenic hike, walk the golf course instead of using a cart, or dance to music as you do household chores.

Make it social

Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out with others can help keep you motivated. For those who enjoy company but dislike competition, a running club, water aerobics, or dance class may be the perfect thing. Others may find that a little healthy competition keeps the workout fun and exciting. You might seek out tennis partners, join an adult soccer league, find a regular pickup basketball game, or join a volleyball team.

Getting the whole family involved

If you have a family, there are many ways to exercise together. What’s more, kids learn by example, and if you exercise as a family you are setting a great example for their future. Family activities might include:

Family walks in the evening if weather permits. Infants or young children can ride in a stroller.

Blast upbeat music to boogie to while doing chores as a family.

Seasonal activities, like skiing or ice skating in the winter and hiking, swimming, or cycling in the summer can both make fun family memories and provide healthy exercise.

Try a mindfulness approach

Instead of zoning out or distracting yourself when you exercise, try to pay attention to your body. By really focusing on how your body feels as you exercise—the rhythm of your breathing, the way your feet strike the ground, your muscles flexing as you move, even the way you feel on the inside—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster but also interrupt the flow of worries or negative thoughts running through your head, easing stress and anxiety. Exercising in this way can also help your nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD and trauma. Activities that engage both your arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, rock climbing, skiing, or dancing—are great choices for practicing mindfulness.

Easy ways to “sneak” more movement into your daily life

If you’re not the kind of person who embraces a structured exercise program, try to think about physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here and there. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.

Make chores count. House and yard work can be quite a workout, especially when done at a brisk pace. Scrub, vacuum, sweep, dust, mow, and weed—it all counts.

Look for ways to add extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park farther from a building entrance, rather than right out front. Get off your train or bus one stop early. The extra walking adds up.

Ditch the car whenever possible. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike instead when the distance is doable.

Move at work. Get up to talk to co-workers, rather than phoning or sending an email or IM. Take a walk during your coffee and lunch breaks. Use the bathroom on another floor. Walk while you’re talking on the phone.

Exercise during commercial breaks. Make your TV less sedentary by exercising every time commercials come on or during the credits. Options include jumping jacks, sit-ups, or arm exercises using weights.

How getting a dog can boost fitness

Owning a dog leads to a more active lifestyle. Playing with a dog and taking him for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners. One year-long study found that walking an overweight dog helped both the animals and their owners lose weight (11 to 15 pounds). Researchers found that the dogs provided support in similar ways to a human exercise buddy, but with greater consistency and without any negative influence.

 How Caring for a Dog Helps You

In another study, public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes, five days a week, lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets. If you’re not in a position to own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also being helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.

How to stay motivated to exercise

No matter how much you enjoy an exercise routine, you may find that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to shake things up and try something new or alter the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.

Pair your workout with a treat. For example, you can listen to an audiobook or watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Log your activity. Keep a record of your workouts and fitness progress. Writing things down increases commitment and holds you accountable to your routine. Later on, it will also be encouraging to look back at where you began.

Harness the power of the community. Having others rooting for us and supporting us through exercise ups and downs helps to keep motivation strong. There are numerous online fitness communities you can join. You can also try working out with friends either in person or remotely using fitness apps that let you track and compare your progress with each other.

Get inspired. Read a health and fitness magazine or visit an exercise website and get inspired with photos of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images of people who are healthy and fit can motivate you to move your body.

Getting back on track

Even the most dedicated exercisers sometimes go astray. Almost anything can knock you off track: a bad cold, an out of town trip, or a stretch of bad weather. That’s why it’s important to learn how to reclaim your routine. When you’ve missed workout sessions, evaluate your current level of fitness and goals accordingly. If you’ve been away from your routine for two weeks or more, don’t expect to start where you left off. Cut your workout in half for the first few days to give your body time to readjust.

The bigger challenge may come in getting yourself back in an exercise frame of mind. Try to keep confidence in yourself when you relapse. Instead of expending energy on feeling guilty and defeated, focus on what it’ll take to get started again. Once you resume your program, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it will begin to feel natural. Here are a few tricks you might try to rekindle your motivation:

Imagine yourself exercising. Recall the aspects of exercise you enjoy most.

Come up with a tantalizing reward to give yourself when you meet your first goal after resuming your program.

Line up walking partners for your next few outings.

If completing your whole exercise routine seems overwhelming, mentally divide it into smaller chunks, and give yourself the option of stopping at the end of each one. However, when you reach a checkpoint, encourage yourself to move on to the next one instead of quitting.

Rather than focus on why you don’t want to exercise, concentrate on how good you feel when you’ve finished a workout.