Ann Blanton Let's talk health, fitness, nutrition and everything in between

Posts Tagged ‘achieve

THE Biggest Loser

Get motivated with trainer Bob Harper, from The Biggest Loser

Photo by: BritaFilterForGood

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42454758@N08/4482865200/

Motivation is the key to success

by Ann Blanton

The key to getting fit, is motivation! Most people know that our bodies are not designed to sit still. People want to become physically active, but don’t know how to get motivated enough to begin a fitness regimen.

At first, you might tell yourself to start parking the car a few blocks from work, take the elevator instead of the stairs and join a gym. Weeks go by and you notice parking spaces become available closer to the building, the elevator is in the lobby and you’re too tired to go to the gym. One reason leads to another excuse.

Let’s take a look at the best solutions to get you motivated enough to keep moving.

Set Realistic Goals – Beginning isn’t as difficult as it sounds. The first thing you must do, is find something that you enjoy. You might even need to try a few different things to find what’s best suited for you. Example: You might decide that you want to give jogging a try. If this is something you’re interested in, begin slowly and start walking. Gradually work your way up to a quicker pace or even a brisk walk until you feel you’re ready to break into a jog. If you push yourself too quickly, you’ll get discouraged and give up. Remember, it takes time, patience and commitment to accomplish your goals.

Schedule Your Time Wisely – It’s important to schedule a time everyday that you can set aside for your workout. If mornings work best, pick a time and stick with it. If something else comes up, reschedule your workout for later in the day. Make a note of what you’re going to do and stick with it. Put the note somewhere where you’re able to see it such as on the bathroom mirror on even on the refrigerator.

Keep a Journal – Begin a journal everyday by writing down your goals. Be specific! Doing this will keep you focused and remind you how much you want to accomplish the goals that you’ve set for yourself. Doing this is the mental process of committing yourself to complete your mission. Keeping a journal also has another advantage. If you’re feeling week on determination, reviewing your list will help you to refocus. Keeping track, will also help you acknowledge when you slip-up so you can recommit yourself. Rather than becoming discouraged, you’ll know why you got off track. If this happens. don’t be too hard on yourself. Let it be a learning experience to learn something new about yourself.

Get Support – Find an exercise buddy who shares your interest, so they can encourage and support you in achieving your accomplishments. Look for someone who wants to see you succeed. It’s difficult to stay focused if your friend doesn’t share the same interests or wants to see you fail.

Be Positive – In achieving any type of goals, it’s always important to keep a positive attitude. If you tell yourself that you can’t do something, chances are you won’t succeed. Positive self-talk helps to boost your motivation and your attitude. Remind yourself that you’re trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle because you’re worth it. Positive words lead to positive actions!

Hitting a Slump – If you hit a slump, take the time to look over what you’ve written in your journal to remind yourself why you’ve made a commitment in the first place. Remember how good you feel after you’ve completed a workout.

Never Give Up! Regardless of how discouraged you become, the most important thing to remember and probably the most difficult, is to never give up. If you haven’t met your goals today, tomorrow is another day. It’s all about taking responsibility for your life. Your goals are only impossible if you aim too high.

There is obviously not a motivational solution. Motivation is something that has to come from deep within yourself. The next time you see a parking space close to the entrance or decide that taking the elevator is quicker than the stairs, reach deep down and find your inner motivation.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/  Currently, I just had my first short story titled, “Shattered Spirits”, published as an anthology in a book titled, “Heartscapes”.

Women walking

You can look and feel good at any age

photo by: Sangudo

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sangudo/4963074078/sizes/m/

FIT AND FABULOUS OVER FIFTY

Have you ever wondered why your sister in her fifties who leads a physically active lifestyle, looks forty something? What about your forty-year old best friend who has no physical activity and looks fifty?

With regular exercise, you can actually reverse the signs of aging by at least ten years. You no longer have to settle for that tummy bulge, arms that wave back and that sagging rear view. You can look just as attractive walking away as you do walking into a room. Now if that doesn’t get you motivated, nothing will.

Today, baby boomers have tossed all those excuses not to exercise out with yesterday’s trash. Studies show that baby boomers are becoming fit and active at fifty and beyond and are in the best shape of their lives.

Typically, when a person reaches a certain age, they’ve learned to accept most of their imperfections. Maybe you’ve made a promise to yourself to be in good shape by the time you hit the  big 5-0. Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out the way we plan. As we age, it’s more difficult to remain physically active.

Getting in shape has many benefits. It makes you look and feel better, gives you more energy, helps fight against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer. It also helps you sleep better and improves your sex drive. When you feel confident about yourself, you feel more attractive. The possibilities are endless.

With that said, let’s explore other fundamentals that can help you stay healthy for many years to come.

Muscle Toning – There are a number of reasons why you should build strong beautiful muscles with strength training. Building muscle increases your metabolism, enhances energy, keeps your body in perfect balance, keeps your bones in ailment, supports your skeleton and burns calories at rest.

Fitness club owner Dan Neal, focuses mostly on baby boomers and the quality of life. Neal says, “As a person ages, the importance of muscle toning is a necessary factor because the older you become, the more muscle you lose. Toning keeps you stronger, more vibrant and helps to prevent injuries.”

Stretching – It’s just as important to stretch before and after a workout as it is to do the actual workout itself. Failure to stretch can make it difficult to achieve simple daily activities such as putting on your shoes or reaching for something on a shelf.  Lack of stretching can also cause muscle tightness, soreness and injury. A good way to improve flexibility is by doing a series of stretching exercises daily. According to Neal, stretching improves stiff joints as well as strengthens the stabilizer muscles.

Balance – You can learn balance techniques by practicing yoga. Balance building exercises are important so you can react in certain situations to prevent falling or breaking a hip.

Watch what you eat – It’s essential to learn the difference between which fats are healthy versus which ones are unhealthy. “Nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans and avocados are examples of good fats,” says licensed nutritionist, Patricia Harris. “Cakes, cookies, candy and soft drinks are a few examples of foods that contain empty calories so it’s important to avoid these foods,” states Harris.

In terminology, empty calories are described as foods that are high in energy, but low in vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients. That’s not to say that you have to eliminate these foods altogether, just enjoy them in moderation.

Because of the low quantities of sugar in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, grapefruits, melons, oranges, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms, these foods keep you feeling full and satisfied longer.

So, if you’ve hit that important milestone or you know someone who has, it’s never too late to get in shape and stay fit and active for a lifetime.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/ Recently, I just had my first short story titled, “Shattered Spirit”, published as an anthology, in “Heartscapes”.

Stretching for good health

Photo by RobW

http://www.flickr.com/photos/robwallace/738543661/sizes/o/

On Your Mark, Get Set, Stretch!

Are you like most people when they first begin to exercise? The morning after, you’re muscles are so sore, you can hardly roll out of bed. You feel as if you’ve already been kicked to the curb and the day hasn’t even started. If you haven’t already figured out the solution, I’ll tell you. The answer is stretching before and after your workout.

Gentle stretching prior to activity is beneficial to warm up cold muscles and helps to prevent pulled or torn muscles. The post workout stretch aids in recovery and avoids injury. Neglecting to do so can make a world of difference between sore muscles and fatigue or increased energy and stronger muscles. Stretching shapes the muscles, making them long and lean and removes the lactic acid.

Now that you understand the importance of stretching, let’s talk about some of the benefits. 

Improves flexibility and range of motion

As you age, simple everyday tasks such as tying your shoes or picking something up from off the floor can often become challenging. Regular stretching can elongate your muscles and make daily chores much easier to achieve.

Enhances circulation

Stretching promotes circulation of blood to the muscles and joints, which in turn bring nutrients to the cells and helps to remove waste. 

Develops good posture

Stretching helps keep your muscles from becoming tight and sore, which in turn, allows for better posture and fewer aches and pains.

Relieves stress, anxiety and fatigue

Tense muscles are often accompanied by stress. Stretching relaxes those muscles and brings you a sense of well-being and relief.

Decreases risk from injury

When your muscles and joints are tight, stretching before and after a workout, loosens and protects them from becoming painful after exercise.

Now that you know the advantages of stretching, let’s practice a few techniques.

Calf

This is the muscle that runs along the back of the lower leg. Stand at arm’s length from a wall. Put one foot behind the other. The right knee should be straight and the right heel positioned on the floor as you slowly bend the left leg forward. Always hold your back straight and your hips forward. 

Hamstring

Your hamstring runs along the back of your upper leg. Lie on the floor, placing one leg against the wall. Relax your heel alongside the wall and bend your knee slightly. Gently straighten your leg until you feel a stretch along the back of your thigh.

Quadriceps

The quads run along the front of your thigh. Standing next to a wall for support, gently grasp your ankle. Pull your heel up and back until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold your stomach in tight and keep your knees together.

Shoulders

Bring your left arm above or below your elbow and hold gently. Repeat with your right arm.

Neck

Bend your head forward and gently to the left. Do the same thing on the right. Hold to a comfortable position.

Warm-up

Always prepare your body for what is about to come. Remember to stretch cold muscles to prevent your risk of injury. Don’t rush stretching. Take things slow and easy. 

Breathe

Never hold your breath! Inhale slowly as you begin your stretch and exhale as you complete it.

Cool down

The cool down is just as important as stretching because it gradually brings your heart rate down without shocking your body. It also helps to relax your muscles before stretching takes place. 

Tips:

1. If it hurts, don’t do it! Hold each stretch for at least thirty to sixty seconds. If you feel pain or discomfort, back off.

2. Never bounce while you’re stretching because it can cause injury to your muscle tissue.

3. If you have a chronic medical condition or an injury, seek medical advice from a professional. Modify stretching is always advisable.

4. If you don’t exercise regularly, take a few minutes to stretch your body every morning and again before going to bed to maintain flexibility.

5. Make a habit to stretch daily and your body will thank you.

I would love to hear your feedback, so send me all your comments.

I’ve had many articles published at Fitness Plus Magazine. Here’s the link to view them if you want to check them out. http://fitplusmag.com/magazine/author/annblanton/ Currently, I just had my first short story titled, “Shattered Spirit”, published as an anthology in a book titled, “Heartscapes”.