One of the most effective exercises you can do is a simple squat. It engages the entire lower half of the body, including the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, while also hitting the shoulders, back, and core. Performing a correct squat takes a lot of muscular coordination throughout the whole body, which serves to build muscle and burn fat simultaneously thanks to its high metabolic demand (which simply means it burns a lot of calories because it works a lot of muscles). Does it really matter how far down you go?
You all know the mantra “Look out for #1!” And in today’s healthcare world, it could not be more confusing. Every day you are faced with having to make decision after decision on a multitude of daily activities…what to wear, what to eat, when to exercise, work priorities…and the list goes on. Is it any wonder why you often forego making the important decisions, like the ones involving your health. Most of you have done it at some point in time…neglecting your own health, thinking “it’s not too bad” (yet!)…”I’ll give it another week” (after 6 months already)…”I don’t have time to deal with it now”…Have you ever thought about having a team of knowledgable medical professionals that you could go to or contact at any time with any issue who you could count on to help you to make the best possible healthcare decision for you while eliminating any guesswork?
Would you like to make better, more educated, and more informed decisions regarding your health? Are you tired of relying on pain pills, have been told you would benefit from painful injections, or worse, been told that surgery is your only option? Are you looking for a permanent solution to eliminate your pain so you can live better and get back to normal? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then I have great news for you, and it’s absolutely free!!.
We can’t avoid it. At some time or another, most of us will experience pain of some sort that could potentially be debilitating. Some individuals tolerate pain much better than others. But why is this so? And where is the pain originating? Can it be that it is all in our head?
What is pain?
Pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage,” according to The International Association for the Study of Pain. So based on this definition, pain can arise from actual injury to a tissue (i.e., muscle, tendon, bone) or the potential for injury to a tissue. Regardless of whether the damage is actual or potential, one thing is certain–individuals will perceive pain as real!
Humans were designed to stand upright. And yet, too many of us are spending a large portion of our day staring at a tiny screen, causing us to strain and position our head forward. People spend an average of 2-4 hours each day with their neck bent at this unnatural angle while shooting off emails or texts. This forward head posture that is assumed while using our mobile devices or smart phones is not the natural position that our neck was designed to be in.
The human head weighs on average between 12-15 pounds, but the more forward your head is in your posture can cause this to increase up to 5X! Can you imagine walking around with a 60 pound weight tied to your head? Let me explain it to you this way…picture a waiter or waitress carrying a tray, and on this tray is a bowling ball (a bowling ball on average weighs 8-10 lbs for a woman, and 15-16 lbs for a man, just about the weight of a human head!). But here’s the trouble…the bowling ball wants to keep sliding to the front of the tray. If we think about the server’s arm as being analogous to our neck, and the bowling ball sliding forward on the tray as equating to our head, just how tired is that server’s arm going to be by the end of the day? Well, that’s what your neck can feel like with a forward head posture!
In my last post I got you started with 6 Great Exercises You Can Perform Right At Your Desk. In case you missed it, you can access it here. Let’s add 6 more exercises to make your “workout” complete!
1) Chest stretch–Standing nice and tall, tighten your abdominal muscles (without holding your breath!). Place both hands behind your head with your fingers locked and slowly lean backwards, arching your upper back. You are trying to open the chest and stretch your pectoral muscles (try not to arch your lower back). Hold for 15-20 seconds. Do 3 reps.
You’ve most likely heard the news by now...sitting is the new smoking. Unfortunately, sedentary jobs are often unavoidable. It would be great to be able to get a standing desk, or be able to do a bodyweight workout every day, but that’s not always feasible. So at least you can do some desk exercises during the day without even having to break a sweat. Here are 6 to get you started…
1) Seated neck stretch–Sit up nice and straight with both feet on the floor. Place your left hand behind your back (if you do this standing) or you can grab the bottom of your chair with your left hand (if sitting). Slowly bring your right ear down toward your right shoulder (you should feel the stretch on the left side of your neck). Gently take your right hand and place it by your left ear. Add a gentle overpressure with your right hand (pulling your right ear further down toward your right shoulder) so you feel a good stretch on the left side of your neck. Hold for 15-20 seconds without holding your breath. Repeat a total of 3 times, then switch sides and perform 3 repetitions to the left (just switch arm/hand positions and bring left ear down toward left shoulder).
When it came to weight training, there used to be two choices…barbells (plates attached to a bar for bench presses or curls, e.g.) or dumbbells. Now, we have a third choice…kettlebells. So let’s focus on barbells and kettlebells and, specifically, the benefits of each. Is one of these better than the other for getting results? Let’s take a look…
If you’re looking to perform basic movements, then dumbbells would be more advantageous, since they are great for a little bit of everything. Start with the very basics…chest press, shoulder press, rows, or squats, holding the dumbbells at the shoulders. Since you are not swinging the weight around (as you would do in a swing or snatch), it makes the movement a little more straightforward.