Let’s Move! Improve Your Physical Flexiblity
Flexibility or rigidity? Wellness or illness? Which direction are you going in?
Living in New York City where everything is constantly on the move, we most often find ourselves in sedentary positions for at least 8 hours during the day. If you work in an office setting and are mainly behind the computer, this can lead to not only poor posture, but rigidity throughout your body. Do you notice that clickity clack sound when you finally get up from your chair? This may be a sign that your body isn’t getting enough movement. And on a mental level, lack of movement can also effect your emotional state.
Motion affects emotion which means if you have movement (exercise) in your life, your emotional state is better. But if you don’t have motion or movement, your emotional state is lower or depressed.
Try doing exercises that increase mobility and flexibility. Even if it’s for a few minutes out of the day. You will begin to see the physical results and feel the changes emotionally.
So while you do not have to do what this lady is doing above, still learning how to be flexible physically and emotionally is essential. It is the key to better health.
Better Health Through Better Living
The Workout Effect
It’s been in the news and all over the sweaty faces of gym bunnies everywhere: working out makes you feel good. But what if working out could help you in other ways?
Here are 7 benefits of working out that aren’t tied to a sexy physique (though that is a perk).
CLARITY AND CONCENTRATION
An active body equals an active mind. Exercise increases blood flow to your brain. Think of how going for a walk can clear your mind. When you’re at work and can’t concentrate, talk a walk around the block. For an even better brain workout, try a new exercise, like yoga or spinning. Learning new ways to exercise leads to increase functionality in the brain, just like learning a new activity at work or reading a book.
Sweat builds up. And it brings along a few of its toxin buddies. Take a few weeks off exercising and you will notice an increase in the amount you sweat. Regular exercise cuts down on the amount of toxins being released at once. (A tip for those who have lived through New York summers: try some hot yoga. It will get your body used to sweating in a high-humidity, high-temp environment and you won’t suffer as much when the weather channel reports make you want to flee to Antarctica.)
Don’t make working out a chore. Exercise can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Think about getting friends together for a hike or a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. (Walking from Union Square across the Brooklyn Bridge and back is over 5 miles!) Live near a beach? Walking on sand is excellent for your thighs and butt. Go for a run along the shore. Everybody else busy? Crank up some tunes!
Exercise improves the quality of sleep. A study showed that 29 women and 14 men with mild sleep complaints, after 16 weeks of moderate exercise (30 minutes of exercise, 4 times per week), were able to fall asleep 15 minutes earlier and sleep 45 minutes longer. That’s a full hour of gained sleep!
The sleep-exercise connection takes time. Make sure you schedule your exercise 5-6 hours before bedtime, as a drop in body temperature will help you sleep more soundly. The exercise must make you sweat, as studies have shown that non-aerobic exercise did not aid sound sleep. And you must keep at it. The improvement could take around 16 weeks to begin. (But if you look at the other benefits of exercise, why would you stop?)
Combining the aspects of cleansing and clarity, exercise also brings stress relief. Aerobic exercise is a great way to take out aggression. If you’ve ever taken a spin class, half of the people look like they are about to be thrown into a boxing ring, but we don’t think it has anything to do with the instructor’s choice of music. Physical exercise is a great outlet and an excellent way to get your body and mind pumping. The post-workout experience also has a calming effect on many, which will allow you to not overreact.
It may sound corny, but exercise helps you live! Exercise is an investment in your health. Exercise strengthens your body so it can battle diseases and be resilient. People who choose to exercise regularly live longer lives and stay healthier into old age.
Yes, looking good helps this, but we’re mainly talking about strength and endurance. Many begin exercising to achieve a goal, be it to run a marathon, complete a perfect chin-up or just not lose their breath getting to their 4th floor walk-up apartment. Success builds self confidence. Feeling like you are working towards an accomplishment will build self confidence.
Remember, small accomplishments lead to bigger accomplishments.
Back to Basics
As children, we were taught how to add before jumping into solving for x or finding out where two trains would collide if they both left the station at the same time. The same theory applies to exercise.
The basis of wellness is being aware of your health and, with all of the drinks, pills and supplements out there claiming to give you the greatest workout of your life, it’s easy to have a skewed view. Well, you don’t need anything but a clear mind to be healthy and fit. As our form of chiropractic focuses on wellness, we want to make sure you have the tools in your hands to make the right decisions and follow a well-constructed path to overall health and fitness.
We’re sure that, in no time, you’ll be juggling barbells the weight of small toddlers and working up such a sweat that Little Jon will write a song about you. But if you’re just starting out, check out these quick tips on how to build a better, stronger, healthier workout.
Frequency - How often you exercise
Intensity - How hard you exercise
Time - How long you exercise
Type - What exercises you do
When you first begin, start out slowly. If you push your body too much, this could result in injury, which may put a screeching halt to your fitness plan.
Use your body as an indicator as to when it’s time to punch up your workout. When you start out, if you are exercising enough times per week at a sufficient intensity, you will see and feel changes in your body. This may not immediately be weight loss, but may present itself as increased endurance or strength.
Try jogging, walking at an increased pace (intensity) or running for 30 minutes, three times per week. Too hot outside? Try an elliptical, treadmill or step machine.
When your body begins to adjust to your current levels, you may hit a plateau. This is completely normal. This is your body indicating that it’s ready for a little more. Don’t go jumping into the workout abyss just yet. Think of it as taking another step forward.
For frequency, add one more day of exercise.
For intensity, try speeding up for short bursts (if you are walking, jogging, etc) or picking up a slightly heavier weight for a few reps.
For time, add 10-15 minutes to your usual workout time.
For type, try a completely different activity, like yoga, swimming or spinning.
Don’t add all of these at the same time. Try one, maybe two until they feel comfortable. If you are changing the type of exercise you are doing, remember not to overdo it.
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Change a variable every 4-6 weeks.
Boredom is a major buzzkill for workouts, so here are a few hints on keeping boredom far away from your fitness plan:
- Change it up. If you feel yourself getting bored with running, try swimming for a week. You may love it.
- Change location. If you usually exercise inside, go out. Even if the weather isn’t ideal. Ever try running in the rain? It’s incredible. If its hot out, bring water! If you usually exercise outside, try a different location.
- Exercise with friends. A companion can become a friendly competitor and free you to work out in a whole new way. Plus, they may have some great tips on new activities.
- Change up the tunes. Music makes the world go around. Pick some jams with thumping beats and you’ll be golden.
Need some help? Check out the Fit Bottomed Girls’ Best Workout Songs List.