If you were worried a floor workout would be too easy, this move will set you straight—and fast. This move starts in a hollow hold position: “Imagine doing a crunch but staying at the top,’ Scharff says. From your back, press a set of dumbbells into the air over your mid-chest. Peel your shoulders off the mat while keeping your lower back glued to the ground. Think about pressing the weights toward the ceiling as you scissor your legs, never letting them touch the ground.
This doesn’t have to be a fast movement, just big, controlled kicks. You can also do this move with one heavier weight as opposed to two dumbbells. Either way, go for 50 reps or 45 seconds!
Lie on your back, holding your dumbbells, and bring the soles of your feet to the floor, knees pointing up. Bend your elbows so your weights stack over your wrists, then bring your elbows to a 45-degree angle—your arms should look like an arrow.
Press your entire back into the mat and exhale as you push the weights up over your chest. (Try not to let them bang together!) Inhale as you release back down to the floor, then reset and repeat. Pro tip: If you’re pressing heavier weights, pick up your dumbbells before lying back, as it’s easier on your shoulder joints. Repeat for 10-15 reps or 45 seconds.
Easy-to-access activities that help to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and the risk of heart diseaseGregory RobinsonSun 10 Nov 2019 00.30 EST
Last week, research published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that running can reduce the risk of early death regardless of how long or at what speed you run. The research focused on 14 previous studies based on six different groups of participants, totalling more than 230,000 people over a period of between 5.5 and 35 years. The authors reported that any amount of running, even just once a week, is better than no running at all.
Swimmers were found to have a 28% lower risk of early death and a 41% lower risk of death as a result of stroke or heart disease, according to a 2017 study by Swim England. Over 80,000 people took part. The report also said swimming is a cost-effective, safe and viable exercise for people of all ages, it helps older people stay mentally and physically fit and can help children develop physical, cognitive and social skills through swimming lessons.
Scientists attempting to find the health benefits of different sports found that regular tennis and badminton sessions reduce the risk of death at any given age by 47%. The study, published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, gathered responses from over 80,000 adults aged 30 and over, through surveys taken between 1994 and 2008.
In addition to improving strength, breathing and flexibility, yoga has been found to reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high body mass index, cholesterol and blood pressure. A study by the American College of Cardiology found that people combining yoga practice and aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming, saw double the reduction in high BMI, cholesterol levels and blood pressure in comparison with people who were taking part in just one or the other exercise.
Numerous studies have suggested that sitting for too long can be a risk factor for early death. A study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that low-level activities, such as going for a walk for just 10 to 59 minutes per week, can lower the risk of death from any cause by 18%.Topics
The best tricks to stop the clock By Amy Rushlow Aug 12, 2013
It’s no secret that working out keeps you younger—both in terms of the energy you have and your physical ability to keep doing the things you love. “Fitness is a youth serum,” says physical therapist and fitness expert Maureen Hagan. “Fitness affects how youthful you look, the way you move, and your ability to do whatever you want, whenever.”
Hagan has been training clients for more than 20 years with a focus on active aging, and is also a regularly published research reviewer on the same topic. This past weekend at the IDEA World Fitness Convention, Hagan presented the healthy aging secrets she’s learned from both practice and clinical research. Don’t worry, we’re not about to overhaul your favorite workout. No matter how old you are or what you like to do for exercise, you can use Hagan’s secrets to move better, protect yourself from injury, and feel younger.
1. Squat right
“People say to me, ‘Oh I can’t squat, it hurts my knees,’” and then they go and pick up their bag of groceries from the floor,” Hagan says. The point: You squat all the time, so it’s essential that you learn to do it properly. For women, that means turning your toes out slightly. This simple fix allows your femur to line up properly in the hip joint, causing your knees to track over your ankles instead of caving in. The result: a stronger knee joint and less chance of knee pain. (Men have a different hip structure, so they should squat with toes forward.) Also, “women really do need to step their feet slightly wider than their hips,” Hagan adds. “Without the wider stance than hip-width, that knee tracking and movement at the hip cannot happen.”
2. Hack your genetics
Ever hear that you can’t change your genes? That’s only partially true. While you can’t change your genetic makeup, you can change how certain genes are expressed—that is, how much they do whatever they do. And strength training is one of the best ways to do that. Only 26 weeks of resistance training reverses the aging process at the genetic level, research shows. “You can actually train your tissues to behave the way they did when you were younger,” Hagan says. Furthermore, resistance training preserves muscle mass that we typically lose as we age—5 pounds per decade, on average. (We also gain an average of 10 pounds of fat per decade. “That’s certainly not fair! It should at least be even!” Hagan says. Agreed!)
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3. Play on the brain gym
Exercise is a physical crossword puzzle, Hagan likes to say. The more activity you can do that also engages your brain, the better. These can involve reaction training (such as playing tennis or racquetball), memorizing choreography (like you would in step class or Zumba), and changing direction (common in step, kickboxing, and dance classes).
4. Do more cardio than you think you need
While U.S. guidelines call for 150 minutes of cardio per week, Hagan’s examination of research found that 240 minutes per week is optimal for heart health. Aerobic activity improves mitochondrial function (the work of energy-producing organelles in cells), which typically decreases with age. Four hours of cardio a week sound like too much? “If you don’t have much time, interval training is one of the most efficient ways to exercise at high enough levels to improve aerobic fitness,” Hagan says. Click here for tips on how to add intervals to your workout.
5. Make your two brains talk to each other
Include some moves where you cross your legs and arms over the midline of your body. Why? The connection between the right and left hemispheres of your brain deteriorates as you age, which causes “brain farts” (technical name: brain delays) as the hemispheres have trouble communicating with one another, Hagan explains. Crossing limbs forces the two sides of your brain to talk to one another, strengthening the connection between hemispheres. (How cool is that?)
6. Embrace high-impact activity
A lot of older people are afraid to jump because it’ll hurt the knees or hips. “But that’s bogus, because you need to jump in everyday life, and you need impact to build bone density,” Hagan says. That doesn’t mean you need to take up Insanity (the DVD series known for crazy-intense jumping moves). A “forceful step” like you’re squishing a bug is enough impact to make a difference. Think of forceful stepping any time you lunge, squat, or march.
7. Get the BAM
The average American walks only 2,000 steps per day, but experts recommend 10,000. “7,500 steps a day is what we Canadians call the BAM, or bare you-know-what minimum, for health,”
Most people head into a workout focusing on the areas we consider the most noticeable—butt, stomach, legs, etc. But here’s a secret: Strong upper-body muscles (and back muscles, specifically) are not only key for an overall defined look, but they’re your best defense against pain, injury, and poor posture for years to come.
Try these eight back exercises at home or at the gym to sculpt a strong, sexy back, and shoulders all at once and reduce the appearance of back fat.
How it works: Three or four days a week, do 1 set of each of these back exercises, with little or no rest in between moves. After the last exercise, rest 1 to 2 minutes and repeat the full circuit 2 more times (3 times total). You’ll need: A pair of light-weight dumbbells and a pair of medium-weight dumbbells
This at-home back exercise proves that you don’t need huge weights to make some huge strength gains.
Grab a pair of light-weight dumbbells and stand with feet hip-width apart.
Take a slight bend in knees as you shift hips back and lower torso until it’s parallel to the floor.
Bring weights together and turn palms to face forward.
Keeping arms straight, lift weights up to shoulder height then lower back down. (Make sure to keep core and glutes engaged the entire time.)
Do 15 reps.
Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
Aim to keep shoulder blades down and together and core engaged through this entire exercise.
Holding a medium-weight dumbbell in one hand, stand with feet hip-width apart, bend knees, and shift hips back, lowering torso until nearly parallel with the ground. Place right hand on a wall in front of you for balance.
Draw the weight up toward chest by bending left elbow straight up toward the ceiling.
Do 10 reps per side.
This at-home back exercise is all about control. To get the most out of the move, focus on eliminating momentum and utilizing your back rather than arm muscles.
Holding a pair of light-weight dumbbells, stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
Shift hips back as you lower torso until nearly parallel with the ground.
Turn palms to face each other, bend elbows, and lift weights up to shoulder height.
Gently lower back down, keeping core and glutes engaged during the entire movement.
Do 10 reps.
Plank with Lateral Arm Raise
Moving your limbs away from your core makes this back exercise an abs workout and balance challenge, too.
Start in a straight-arm plank with hands below and in line with shoulders, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
Keeping hips as still as possible, lift one arm up to shoulder height.
Return to center, then lift the other arm to shoulder height. (Draw belly button up and in and keep your body centered.)
Do 10 reps per side.
Rather than cranking out hundreds of reps, incorporate more isometric back exercises in your at-home workout to help build muscle.
Start in pushup position with hands slightly wider than shoulder width, feet hip-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from heels to head.
Bend elbows and lower body until hovering a few inches above the ground. Hold for 1 deep breath, and then press half-way up and hold for 1 deep breath.
Lower back down to your lowest point, holding for 1 deep breath.
Return to your half-way point for one more hold.
Do 5 reps.
Back and Booty Blasters
While this move focuses on your glutes, hamstrings, and inner thighs, it’s also a great at-home back exercise too. (P.S. the muscles along the entire back of your body are called the posterior chain.)
Lay flat on your stomach. Lift your chest up, arching your back and interlacing your hands behind your back.
Lift your hands and legs up, touching your heels together.
Slowly move your legs apart and bring them back together.
Do 20 reps.
Time for a round of twister—but in the form of an at-home back exercise. This chair pose will stretch and strengthen your back while the rotations will hit your obliques.
Squat into chair position with hands in prayer pose in front of chest.
Twist your torso to the right while remaining in chair pose, and place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee. The other elbow should be pointing to the ceiling.
Hold for three breaths, then return to center. Repeat on the other side.
Do 4 reps.
You’ll seriously sculpt your chest, too, while doing this back exercise—as long as you don’t let your hips drop when you lower to the ground.
Start in push-up position and bend one leg behind you so the bottom of the foot is facing toward the ceiling.
Lower your body to the ground by bending your elbows, keeping your back straight.
A study found in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that the ability to get off the floor without using your hands was a key indicator of whether participants were more likely to die prematurely. With this exercise, you’ll develop that ability while building strength in your legs and working on your balance—and if you stumble, you’ll land safely back in the chair.
How to do it: Stand in front of a stable chair with your feet about hip-width apart. Imagine that you’re holding a bag of groceries, and there’s a door ajar behind your butt. Bump your butt backwards as if to open that door—this initiates a hip hinge, keeping your weight in your heels and your back flat. Keep pushing your hips back to sit down in a controlled manner without using your hands. Now, sitting up straight in the chair and keeping your weight in your heels, forcefully stand back up.
To make sure it’s a powerful move, try to stand up quickly. Even if you can’t, try to muster all your strength in the first moment of the standing movement, so you’re using your strength from the start. And to keep it powerful, don’t do all of your repetitions quickly. Once you sit back down, compose yourself, reset and push up forcefully again. Repeat this for five sets of five repetitions each day, resting a full minute between sets.
Exercise 2: Glute Bridge
The glutes are one of the biggest muscles in the body, but because we sit so much, many people suffer from what has been called “gluteal amnesia,” where the butt doesn’t do the work it’s supposed to. Being able to fire the glutes can help keep your lower back in place, reducing your risk of pain. And despite the booty focus of many female workouts, women actually have, on average, less gluteal and hip muscle mass than men, according to International Orthapedics. A simple glute bridge, though, can help you “remember” how to use your glutes, develop more muscle and because it’s safe to do forcefully on the ground, make that butt muscle powerful.
How to do it: Lie face-up on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms at your sides, palms up. Keeping your feet flat on the floor, squeeze your glutes to raise your hips forcefully off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. As you’re lifting, keep your knees and thighs parallel—don’t let them pull together. This will engage your hip musculature. Pause for a second at the top of the exercise, and then slowly return to the start position. As you’re raising up, don’t let your heels come off the floor.
To make sure it’s powerful, take a beat between repetitions, just as with the chair squat. Concentrate on pushing the hips up rapidly, and control the descent down. Perform three sets of five to eight repetitions of this exercise each day.
Exercise 3: Elevated Pushup
If you can’t do a bunch of pushups without struggling, elevating your hands can help make the movement easier and allow you to perform the exercise while recruiting force in a powerful manner. It can also help you keep your form in check, which can reduce your risk of shoulder injury and give the benefits you’re really looking for.
How to do it: Place your hands shoulder-width on the arm of a sofa or the second step of a staircase. In this position, assume a straight body line from head to heels. Bend your elbows to lower your body until your chest reaches your hands, maintaining the rigid body line throughout the movement. Press forcefully back to start, maintaining the body line. Try for five reps to start, working up to five sets of five reps. Once that’s too easy, try the exercise with your hands lower—maybe on the first step of the staircase.
Exercise 4: Medicine Ball Chest Pass
The next two exercises require some equipment, but if you can get a medicine ball, it’s really fun: Throwing the medicine ball won’t just build power, but will make you feel powerful. It can be great for stress relief, too! If you can, try to find a soft-sided medicine ball that doesn’t bounce—instead, it will hit the wall and fall to the ground. This is easier to handle than trying to dodge or catch the ball as it returns to you. As with the other exercises, don’t let this medicine ball work become cardio—it falls under the power exercises category, so each repetition should be powerful! Take a second between reps to compose yourself, get reset, and throw the ball with power.
How to do it: Stand with knees slightly bent facing a wall three to four feet away, holding a medicine ball at the chest with both hands. Press both arms forcefully forward to push the ball away from you at the wall. Retrieve the ball, reset, and repeat. This exercise can also be done while seated. Perform five to eight throws.
Exercise 5: Medicine Ball Slam
As with the chest pass, take a moment to rest between power exercises so you’re composed and ready to throw the ball with maximum power!
How to do it: Stand in the same position as you did for the chest pass, holding the ball in front of your chest. Raise your arms up over your head, and then forcefully slam the ball down in front of your feet. Retrieve the ball, reset, and slam it again. Perform one set of eight reps.
5 exercises to tighten and tone your arms for summer
Add this 10-minute upper body routine to your regular workout to tone flabby arms for summer.
Adding exercises that focus on the biceps, triceps and shoulders will help sculpt your arms for tank top season.John Duarte / Getty Images/Tetra images RF
May 30, 2019, 12:29 PM ETBy Stephanie Mansour
We all have those trouble zones we’re self-conscious about and want to tone up. Perhaps it’s your midsection or your glutes. For many, upper arms top the list, and this is the time of year this insecurity is brought to light.
The good news is that by adding the right exercises to your workout routine you can start strengthening the muscles in your arms rather quickly. One of my clients added a 5-minute arm routine to her typical workout routine and noticed a change after just three sessions. Within a week she already felt more confident in her sleeveless tops and dresses.
If tightening and toning the arms is on your list of summer goals, try adding these exercises to your fitness regimen three times a week. I recommend performing them with 3-5 pound dumbbells. Remember that some exercises may be easier than others, so it’s okay to alternate between weights based on what feels right for your body.
My favorite way to put these exercises together is to perform one set of 10 repetitions of each, and then repeat the whole circuit three times. In the end, you’ll complete 30 repetitions total of each exercise.
The bicep curl is the quintessential arm exercise. It tones and strengthens the front of the arms, which many people associate with the ability to “flex a muscle.”
To perform this exercise, grab your dumbbells and start with your arms by your sides. Hug your elbows in towards the side of your body, and then curl the weights up towards your shoulders. Be careful not to let your arms swing. (If you need to swing your arms and use momentum to get the weight up, you are likely using too heavy of a weight.) Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.
The triceps are what people are referring to when they say that their arms are flabby. This is the part of the arm that jiggles when you wave. (During one of my workout segments for the “Today Show,” Kathie Lee called them bat wings!) In order to tighten this area and reduce “jiggle” it’s necessary to strengthen the backs of the arms. The most basic dumbbell exercise to accomplish this is a tricep kickback. Holding weights in both hands, lean forward with a flat back. Hug your elbows in towards your sides and pull them up towards the ceiling. Keeping your elbows still, kick the weight towards the back of the room by moving the lower half of your arm back and up towards the ceiling. Hold for a second, feeling the back of your arm tighten, and then release back to the starting position. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.
Hug a Tree
This exercise works the biceps from a different angle, while also working the sides of the chest (and that pesky area by the armpits) and sculpting the shoulders. Hold the weights at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Relax the shoulders down, and then hug the arms towards the front of your body as if you’re hugging a tree. Keep the elbows level with your shoulders — don’t let them dip down — and be conscious of the shoulders starting to raise up towards your ears, which means the weight is too heavy or you’re too fatigued. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.
This move is a three-in-one, working the biceps, shoulder and chest. Start with your arms at your side, bending your elbows at 90 degrees. Reach the arms forward, straightening them as if you’re serving a platter, then reach them out to the sides in a “T” position, back to center, and then pull them back in towards you. Keep the palms facing up the entire time. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.
The ultimate toner for the front of the shoulder is the V exercise. For this exercise, hold your dumbbells down at your hips. Then reach the weights forward and up on an angle, drawing a V, and then release them back down towards your hips. Keep the arms straight throughout the entire exercise. Repeat this 10 times, and complete 3 sets total throughout your workout.