Many people think of exercise and a healthy diet as the key ingredients of a fit and healthy lifestyle. But did you know that getting a good night’s sleep is every bit as important as a getting in a good workout or eating all that kale?
Here are the three ways sleep can make – or break – your fitness goals (and why you should never cut your ‘zzz’s short).
Many of our trainers incorporate the principles of Pilates in their training – and a handful are also certified instructors. We asked one trainer, Tanya, to explain more about the Pilates method.
Running is – technically – something that just about anybody can do. But there’s an art and science to doing it right.
What does ‘right’ mean? In this case, it’s an optimal stride that moves you along as efficiently – and comfortably – as possible.
There are three major areas that factor into an optimal stride – here they are, along with an overview of why they’re important and some exercises you can take away and work on.
Over time, chronic hunching or slouching can lead to a ton of problems over and above tight muscles and a rounded back.
Chronic poor posture – which many of us are dealing with thanks to desk jobs and driving – can lead to structural changes in your spine, which cause abnormal wear and tear on the joint surfaces, which can lead to arthritis or degenerative disc disease.
If that slippery slope of despair isn’t enough to scare you, poor posture can also cause blood vessel constriction, digestive issues, headaches, and even depression.
Reversing poor posture starts with awareness, and correcting alignment when you notice slouching or hunching. Do this by pulling the shoulders down and back, followed by pulling the head back so it is in-line with the shoulders. We call this the chin tuck and it is the first of three easy, no-equipment exercises to improve your posture.
3 EASY EXERCISES FOR BETTER POSTURE:
1. Chin tuck. Sitting or standing, elongate your spine by imagining you are lifting the top of your skull to the sky. Tuck your chin back without tilting the head, until your head is in line with your shoulders. Tip: this exercise can be especially useful in the car while driving, use the headrest as a guide for optimal positioning.
2. The 'I-T-W'. Lying on your stomach, bring your arms straight out to an overhead position (or an “I” position) and lift them off the floor. From there float the arms straight out to the side (or a “T” position), followed by shifting the elbows back creating a “W” position with the arms. Return to the original “I” position and repeat. Tip: do this with palms facing the floor or with thumbs pointing up to the ceiling, make sure you are lifting the arms with the upper back and NOT the lower back.
3. Wall Slides. Stand tall with your upper back, glutes, and head contacting the wall. Bring your arms up on the wall starting in a “W” position. Slowly lift the arms up to an “I” position overhead, trying to keep elbows and wrists contacting the wall. Return to starting position and repeat. Tip: If this is too challenging, bring arms out to a “Y” position instead of an “I”.
The goal of any postural exercise is to strengthen your back while lengthening your chest. Therefore, to get the most bang for your buck, do these exercises in combination with stretches for the chest.
Looking for a personalized exercise program? Contact us today for a free assessment, anywhere in Toronto!
Generally speaking, we don’t believe in one-size-fits all solutions – but there are some things that will pay off for virtually anyone when it comes to losing extra/unwanted fat:
Once upon a time, we got all kinds of exercise going about our days. But, for most of us, that’s not the case any longer. We spend most of our times at desks, staring at screens.
Which has major repercussions for our bodies. Here are five signs of ‘office body’ to look out for and – down below – what to do about it:
Working out can be lonely – but it doesn’t have to be. Enlisting a family member or loved one is a great way to keep things interesting and fun, and increase the chances you’ll stay on track.
So in the spirit of love and family – two things that we’re lucky enough to celebrate in February! – here are five reasons you should consider signing up for some personal training with someone you love.
Winter is tough for a lot of people – an estimated 1 in 5 (yup, that’s a full 20%) of North Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD.
According to Psychology Today, the symptoms of SAD include sleepiness, carb cravings, difficulty concentrating, feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, weight gain, lethargy, decreased libido, and hyperphagia (increased consumption of food).
The prevalence of SAD has been linked to the lack of sunshine during the winter months. Depending on the severity of symptoms, there are several treatment options available – including light therapy and, in some cases, medications – and you should absolutely talk to your doctor if you are suffering.
But know this: for minor cases of the ‘winter blues’, exercise can help.
Many people find themselves out of synch with their regular fitness habits over the holidays. In addition to missed workouts, there are food treats galore, indulgent office parties, and – often – lots of wine to wash it all down.
Here’s what we tell our personal training clients who are worried about all their hard work going out the window during the month of December.
If you’re like most people, you spend 80% of your time SITTING.
Did you know that doing so it’s wreaking havoc on your body? Humans aren’t built to sit for long periods like we do these days – we’re designed to be standing and moving.
As a result, it causes rounded shoulders and forward head posture (we call this Neanderthal posture here at NF!), and can also affect your breathing (because it compressed your diaphragm) which, in turn, can aggravate stress and even anxiety.
So. What’s an office worker (or driver, or other kind of all-day-sitter) to do? We’ve got three easy tips to help you combat ‘Neanderthal posture’ and feel better…
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 18 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!