All Entries For fitness

A Do-Anywhere Routine for Stronger Wrists


If you've ever experienced wrist pain during a workout, you know it's no fun and it could even be holding you back from seeing progress if it prevents you from completing your routine! This basic, wrist-focused routine is designed to help you build strength, range of motion and flexibility in the muscles that surround and support your wrists. 
Posted 8/10/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   13,367 views
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5 Tips for Keeping Your Feet Healthy and Happy


Your feet go through a lot. Believe it or not, the majority of Americans will log almost 75,000 miles on their feet by age 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. And if you exercise regularly, that number goes up even more. The experts at Vionic Shoes have come up with five quick tips for protecting your tootsies and helping you stay on your feet for many years to come.
 
1. Stretch your feet daily. Yes, your feet! Just like any other part of your body, the muscles in your feet greatly benefit from massage and stretching to keep the tendons, muscles and ligaments flexible and loose. Aim to massage your feet daily using either a tennis ball or foam roller, being sure to focus on the arch and any sore spots. This routine is a great place to start.

2. Be cautious of your flip flops. Summer is unofficially flip flop season, but most flip flops lack the necessary arch support to keep your feet healthy. Sports Physical Therapist and Vionic Innovation Lab expert, Brian Hoke, suggests looking for styles that have a footbed with built-in orthotic technology that mimics the natural alignment of your feet, such as the Tide II Toe Post Sandal from Vionic shoes.
Posted 8/7/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 10,756 views
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A 6-Step, Full-Body Barre Workout


Barre, the ballet-inspired workout that focuses on isometric strength training, continues to gain new fans around the country due to its quick results and unique, graceful movements. Get a taste of this increasingly popular way to work out with this routine developed by BarreAmped creator and fitness instructor Suzanne Bowen. The total-body barre workout can be done anywhere you have a ledge or some other support for balance. These six effective moves will have your muscles shaking and working. Grab your mat, some light hand weights and a stopwatch, then warm up for five minutes and try it for yourself!

Up & Back with Arm Sculpt 
To begin, hold on to something sturdy for balance and grip a light weight in your left hand. Extend left leg forward while keeping the right knee soft and hips squared. Take your left arm straight back behind rib cage as you feel your triceps contract.

On your inhale, hinge at the hips, bend your left leg and move the torso to face down as you reach the left leg straight back and your left arm forward. Exhale and return to start move. Continue for one minute.

Make it easier: Decrease range of motion, hand weight size or duration.

Make it harder: Increase time to 90 seconds and, with each move, pause and pulse arm and leg 10 times.

Troubleshoot: Be careful not to lock out the standing knee. Make sure that the leg is moving straight. When you hinge to move the leg back behind your body, bend the knee and press it back.

Works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders and triceps.

Fiddler with Rear Shoulder Lift 
From the last rep of "Up and Back" above, hold that hinge. Bend your elbow and face palm to the back, keeping the arm in line with your shoulder. Bend your left knee and point toes, then lift your right heel. Pulse left knee and elbow up in tiny moves up and down for one minute.

Make it easier: Drop right heel down, drop the weight and stay more upright.

Make it harder: Hinge more parallel to the floor, dip down a little lower in the right knee and increase duration to 90 seconds.

Troubleshoot: Keep hips square, right knee soft and core tight so that you don't move the lower back at all.

Works: Glutes, hamstrings, calves, rear deltoid, lower back. 
Posted 7/27/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 4 comments   21,991 views
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9 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Dancing Queen


Shakira didn’t get those world famous abs without dance, which, on its own, is enough to sell us on dancing our way to fitness. Whether it’s Zumba, belly dance or just getting down at a wedding, dancing is a legitimate aerobic exercise that burns major calories. You’ll work muscles you didn’t know you had and get your blood flowing, while simultaneously reducing stress and improving your posture. Still on the fence? Consider this:
  • A dance step counts toward your daily step count
  • Dancing is good for your heart
  • You could burn as many calories as popular forms of exercise, including swimming or riding a bicycle.
To get you started and to celebrate National Dance Day (the last Saturday in July), we've compiled some of our favorite articles and videos that showcase the benefits of adding dancing to your workout schedule. Put on some Britney, Beyoncé, a Bollywood beat, Blondie or whatever it is that gets you moving, and start dancing your way to a healthier you today.

The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Burning Fat Before you get started, educate yourself on the many benefits of kicking up your dancing shoes. You might be surprised by how much your body appreciates a good dance party.
Posted 7/25/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 3 comments   8,002 views
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8 Easy Ways to Move More


Do you often find health and wellness taking a backseat to... well, almost everything else in your life? Between work, family, friends and hobbies, it can be hard to keep a date with your treadmill. But studies show that working to find just 30 minutes a day to dedicate to movement can have significant effects on your health, and you can achieve this goal simply by getting creative!
Posted 7/17/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 2 comments   6,388 views
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Jump Into July with a New Boot Camp Challenge!


Hey, Sparkers! If you've been following along with us this month, you might know that we ran a "Streak Into Summer" challenge on our Facebook page from June 1st-June 21st. We're happy to say that this format was incredibly successful—over 2,000 of you participated in the challenge! WooHoo! We've been getting tons of requests for more Facebook challenges, so we're delivering a brand new one for July: the Bodyweight Blast Boot Camp Challenge! Here's how it's going to work: 
Posted 6/29/2015  3:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 26 comments   14,677 views
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9 Fun Family Fitness Activities


The family that gets active together, stays together. Bringing the family together for a day or an afternoon of movement is both fun and offers an opportunity to stay connected even when schedules are hectic. Plus, you’ll be instilling great health and fitness values in your children. Make a commitment to unleash your inner child and spend valuable quality time with those you love by trying some of these family-friendly activities.

Zoo Adventure Walk Lions and tigers and fitness, oh my! Consider taking your family to the zoo for an educational and fun way to get your move on. Track your steps and the distance covered during your zoo adventure by wearing a pedometer or using an app on your phone. Keep the kids engaged by encouraging them to count the number of steps between animal exhibits and the number of different animals they encounter. Plus, the fun doesn’t have to stop when you leave the zoo! Back at home, take turns acting out all the different animals.

Obstacle Course Earn the title of Parent (or Grandparent) of the Week by creating an obstacle course in the backyard or at a local park. All you need is outdoor chalk, a hula hoop, ball, bucket or trash can, cones and a towel to build a fun and challenging circuit. Do each station once, then repeat the entire circuit for a total of ten times through.
  • Jumping Jacks 10
  • Hula hoop Try to keep the hoop moving for one minute.
  • Push-Ups 10-15
  • Hopscotch Set up the classic game with chalk or tape.
  • Basketball Bounce the basketball 10 times before throwing it into an empty bucket or trash can.
  • Toe Touch Hops Reach to the sky, reach down to touch your toes, then swing arms up and jump hop to the sky. Do this 10 times.
  • Cone Drills With a set of at least five rubber cones, have everyone weave in and out of the cones before running back to the first cone. Repeat this 10 times. If you don’t have cones, be creative by using water bottles or washcloths.
  • Beatle Bug Sit-Ups Start on your back and then bring knees and upper body together like a bug. Stay in this position, then repeat 15 more times.
Bike Ride Hop on two wheels and go for a family bike ride around the neighborhood or local park.

Jump Rope Grab a jump rope and spend some time in the driveway as everyone takes turns jumping. Compete to see who can jump the most consecutive times and challenge each other to try new tricks.

DIY Slip and Slide Spray a large piece of tarp with water and a little baby oil, set the hose at the top of the tarp and you’re in business. Let everyone take turns running and sliding as far as they can along the tarp. (Note: If you live in an area with water usage concerns, use a low flow of water.)

Volleyball Set up your own volleyball fun using a clothesline and ball. Choose teams and play on!

Fire Fly Run Mason jars and a setting sun are all you need for this fun nighttime activity. Hit your local park or another open space where the fireflies will be out in numbers. Run around as everyone tries to spot and catch the fireflies—just remember to let them go after you catch them.

Flashlight Tag Arm everyone with a flashlight and head to the backyard to run around as you try to ‘’tag’’ people by shining a flashlight on them.

Dance Party Gather everyone outside or in the living room for a dance party. Play each family member’s favorite songs while you all do crazy moves and express yourself through dance.

How do you get your family moving? Share you favorite family activity in the comments!

About the Author
Kim Truman is an all-around trainer and nutrition coach based in Dallas, Texas. She is well-known for her enthusiastic and motivational coaching style, as well as her high-energy workout programs. Discover more about Kim and her mission at www.kimtrumanfitness.com
Posted 6/26/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 0 comments   6,620 views
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5 Ways to Make Walking More Wonderful


Whether you have been walking for years or are just getting started with it, making your walking time more enjoyable can help you stay more motivated to stick with it over the long term, which is the key to lasting results!

Try these five simple tips to help you take your walk from good to great:

#1: Step in the right shoes.
This one may sound super obvious, but so many of us are walking around in shoes that are either the wrong size or aren't designed to support our unique needs. If your feet are in pain after you finish a walk, chances are you are in need of a sneaker makeover! The right footwear could be what's missing from your routine and could help turn your walking time into a more pleasurable experience that you'll actually look forward to.

If you regularly experience pain or tenderness in your feet, you may have issues with plantar fasciitis, overpronation (your feet rolling inward as you step), flat feet or even high arches that need to be addressed by either a specific type of shoe and/or orthopedics. Depending on what kind of issues you are experiencing, you may need the expertise of a podiatrist or orthopedist to best advise you on what type of shoe or orthopedics you should be wearing. Please don't wait until the pain is unbearable to make an appointment - do it today! 

It's also important to find the right fit. Your sneaker size is typically (though not always) a half to one full size larger than your formal shoe size. If you aren't sure what your specific sneaker size is, take the time to get fitted properly in an athletic store. And don't forget that even the perfect sneakers wear out over time and mileage, so be sure to replace them as needed (like when you start to notice the support or tread wearing out in your shoes) to keep a spring in your step over the long term.
 
Posted 6/25/2015  10:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   10,152 views
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DVD Review: BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn


As a busy mom of four, my only time to exercise is before the kids wake up in the morning. DVDs are a regular part of my workout rotation, and I’m always looking for new ones to try. I was excited to check out the BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn DVD to see if it’s something I could add to my routine.

BarreAmped Cardio Fat Burn promises ''high intensity intervals combined with body changing barre exercisesYou’ll do Tabata style workouts, longer cardio intervals, low impact fat blasts and sculpting exercises to hit every main muscle.'' The DVD has 3 different workouts: extreme cardio fat burn (26 min), cardio sculpt (17 min) and cardio core (17 min), as well as a 2-minute warm-up and 12-minute cool-down stretch. So, does the workout deliver on its promise of ''extreme results''?  Here’s what I thought.
Posted 6/22/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 3 comments   8,191 views
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4 Essential Walking Posture Tips


Did you know that simple things like standing taller, engaging your abs and even walking sideways can help you walk further and faster, all while helping you burn more calories?

Here are a few walking posture tips to help you make the most of every step (think of the word P.A.C.E. to help you remember these!) 
Posted 6/4/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   28,595 views
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21 Days to Your Healthiest Summer Ever


June is coming up fast, which means sweet, sweet summer is almost officially here! With its gorgeous weather, abundant produce and huge variety of outdoor activities, summer is the perfect time for reaching new health and fitness milestones. If you've been looking for a little extra push to get a leg-up on your healthy-living goals for summer, look no further! We're here for you with a new challenge to help you build up some seriously strong momentum as we dive into the season.

From June 1 through June 21 (the official first day of summer!), we're challenging YOU to ''Streak into Summer" with us. For these next 21 days, we'll give you one simple daily action to help you get on the fast track to a healthier, happier you this summer. 
Posted 5/29/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 53 comments   20,344 views
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The 1-Mile Indoor Power Walking Workout


This one-mile indoor power walking workout will help you stick with your walking routine no matter what time of day or night it is--or what the weather is like outside! 
We'll use a mix of moves that can be done easily in a small space to help you prevent joint strain. We're keeping it simple to help you squeeze in some extra steps anytime, anywhere. Just a heads up, we'll be jumping right into this walk to make this mile short and sweet, so please be sure you are warmed up first. And be sure to stick around for the cool-down to find out more about our upcoming #5MileChallenge with SparkPeople and brand new DVD, "Walk On: 5 Fat Burning Miles".
 
Posted 5/24/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 13 comments   31,061 views
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The 6 Best Foods for Runners


Running is a fantastic activity to help maintain a healthy heart and weight. But the real magic happens when you refuel after your run! To get the most out of running, it's crucial that you eat healthy foods filled with vitamins, healthy fats, plus carbs and proteins that aid in muscle repair and development. Incorporate the following foods into your diet to reap maximum running rewards. 

Posted 5/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   20,061 views
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Kick Off Summer with a Fun Fitness Challenge


Editor's Note: We are thrilled to be teaming up with Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer and YouTube fitness star, to bring you the #5MileChallenge! Read on for Jessica's explanation of the challenge, and get ready to lace up your walking shoes on June 1st. See you on the road (or track, or trail, or even in your living room with a walking DVD!).

Whether you are just starting to build your fitness habit or are a more advanced exerciser, a regular walking program offers so many incredible health and fitness benefits. That's why I am so excited to be teaming up with SparkPeople to bring you this fun #5MileChallenge! 
 
Our goal is to help you stay more active when you are not already working out, or to get you moving more often to spark up a new exercise habit. Even if you have been exercising routinely for years, it may not be enough to combat the ill effects of hours of sitting, which is why adding more steps to your day is beneficial for everyone (just check out these scary sitting stats!).
Posted 5/15/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 630 comments   47,607 views
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Treat Mom to a Healthy Day


This year, let’s do Mother’s Day the healthy way. We love delicious, leisurely brunches just as much as the next person, but how did long lines and too many pancakes become the best way to honor all that mom does? Why not show mom you love her by treating her to a healthy outing, instead? No matter where you live, there are plenty of active activities that will get your blood pumping while you spend quality time with the woman who always remembered to cut the crusts off your PB&J. (Or, if you’re a mom yourself, suggest that your kids take you out for one of these fun and healthy events this Sunday.)

Kayak or Canoe If the weather cooperates, seek out the nearest body of water and rent a two-person kayak or canoe. Gliding down a river or through a lake as you admire the great outdoors will be so enjoyable you won’t even notice that you’re exercising your arm muscles and core. You’ll burn over 200 calories in under 30 minutes with this fun warm-weather activity. Plus, there’s no better place to talk about life and love and dreams than out on the quiet water.

Fitness Class Between TRX, barre, Zumba, hula hooping, SoulCycle and others, there’s probably a fitness trend that has caught your eye. Indulge your curiosity and try something new together this Mother’s Day. Grab mom, pick out a class she’s always wanted to try and head out for a morning workout. If you’re not into paying for a class, try an at-home video like this 17-Minute Barre Workout or the 20-Minute Fat Blaster, instead. After you get your sweat on, whip up a batch of smoothies to reward yourself and spend some time laughing about those crazy Zumba moves.

Bike Ride Hop on two wheels and spend an afternoon looping through your local bike trail together. Even on a leisurely ride, you’ll still burn major calories without even realizing. In just 30 minutes riding casually, you can burn almost 200 calories. Pick a scenic trail for maximum enjoyment.

Park Your local park is a great place to spend an afternoon and is especially fun with the family. Challenge your family to a basketball game or see who can swing the highest. You’re all sure to feel like kids again as you work your way across the monkey bars. Make a whole day of it by packing a healthy picnic!

Hike Break out your hiking shoes and water bottle and hit a trail in the woods together. Hike up hills and over uneven terrain to challenge yourself, or find an easy trail where you can work to spot wildlife or identify birds. Thirty minutes on the trail with hills will burn up to 170 calories. Pack some homemade, no-bake protein bars for a mid-hike break to enjoy your surroundings and your company, of course.

Golf Skip the golf cart and carry your own clubs for an extra challenge at the golf course. Walking from hole to hole is a great workout for your legs, and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up on life events as you stroll together. If your long game is a little rusty, head to the driving range for an afternoon in the sun competing to see who can make the ball fly farthest. After exerting so much energy, you’ll enjoy that lunch at the club even more.

Run Many cities host Mother’s Day races, so check your local events guide to see if you can sign up together. If you’re not in prime racing form, why not make Mother’s Day the first day of training? Pick from one of the many exciting or wacky 5Ks out there and draw up a training schedule. Not only will you be building up your endurance and fitness levels, but at the end you get to share another special day with one another. Don’t know where to start? Try one of these flexible 5K training plans.

Garden Sounds leisurely, but any real gardener will tell you that working in the yard can be a full-body workout. Between squatting, raking and digging, a typical day of gardening will challenge all your muscle groups. Plus, the end result will yield beautiful plants and vegetables that mom can enjoy all year round. Get some ideas for gardening in the city, easy vegetables to plant and more in our Gardening Guide.
Posted 5/5/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Alicia Capetillo : 5 comments   9,482 views
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