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5 Tips for Starting a Fitness Routine

Are you looking forward to starting a fitness routine this year? Well, that is one of the best resolutions you can have. You are five steps away from achieving your fitness goal. This article shows you how you can live your dream of becoming fit and healthy.

Related: Yoga for Beginners: 6 Yoga Practices for the Beginner Yogi

How to Start Fitness: A Beginners’ Guide 

If you want to set off your fitness journey, you don’t need a heart of steel. All you need is to set a goal and stick to it no matter the hardships you face. Here is a simple guide to keeping you started to your fitness routine:

Know your fitness level: You should have a rough idea of how fit you are. Access and record your fitness score because this is crucial to determining if you’re making any progress when you start exercising. Some metrics you need to find out include pulse rate, how long you can take to walk a mile, BMI, waist circumference, number of push-ups you can make, and how far you reach forward when you sit on the floor with your legs in front. 

adam, aksiyon, aktif içeren Ücretsiz stok fotoğraf

Have a fitness program: When fitness comes into mind, it is easy said than done. It is much easier to say you’ll be exercising daily. However, you need a plan to ensure this comes true. When setting your fitness plan, you should always consider your goals. For instance, do you want to lose some weight, or you intend to improve your body shape? Your goals will determine what you achieve in every exercise you choose.

Start small: If you are going to exercise for a long, you should start small and progress slowly. You can consult your doctor to help you choose the best fitness program if you have an underlying medical condition. Stick to a fitness routine that enables you to improve your strength, motion, range, and endurance slowly.

Make exercise part of your routine: When coming up with a daily routine or things to do, you should include exercise in it. You should assign some time to exercise just like you spare some time for necessary appointments. Always purpose to begin your day with 30 minutes of intense workout every day.

Include different activities: Exercise can be monotonous or boring when you don’t spice it up. Therefore, you should include other activities in your program to break off the boredom. If you want to reduce the risk of workout injury or overusing a specific muscle, involve low-impact exercises like swimming and biking. 

man doing butterfly stroke

Why Exercise?

There are many reasons why you should kick off your day with some laps or jumping rope. Here are the benefits of including exercise in your daily routine:

Lose weight: When you exercise every day, you burn excess calories and lose weight. Working out and sticking to a balanced diet can help you cut weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

Lower the risk of diseases: You lower the risk of contracting lifestyle diseases like High Blood Pressure, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis when you exercise every day.

Age well: Daily exercise can lower osteoporosis, a problem that most people experience when getting older. By engaging in running, jumping rope, and brisk walking, you strengthen your muscles and bone, which helps you age well. 

Fitness Tips for Beginners 

If you are exercising for the fort time, you will need these tips to improve your chances of becoming fit.

Stay Hydrated 

The best way to last longer on the track is to keep your body hydrated. When you exercise, your body loses a lot of water through sweating. Therefore, ensure you drink enough water. Get some water before, during, and after the exercise to keep your body hydrated.

fitness

Optimize nutrition 

Taking a balanced diet when you choose to exercise daily is another important aspect of a fitness program. If you want to get the most out of your workout, ensure you consume all the essential foods like proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and drink lots of fluid.

Carbs provide the energy you need to ensure you endure for long as you work out. You should also consume enough protein to speed up the process of muscle recovery. Protein helps to repair worn-out tissues and build muscle mass.

Warm-up 

Before you take it to the treadmill, you should do some warm-up. Warming up before engaging in intensive exercise can help to reduce workout injuries and improve your flexibility and performance. 

If you want to reduce injuries when working out, always start your exercise with some simple aerobic moves like walking lunges, arm swings, and leg kicks. Try doing the easy movements of the exercise you are planning to do. For instance, before running, you can start by walking uphill.

Rest your body

If you want your body to return to its normal state, you should take some rest after an intensive exercise. Restore your normal breathing by taking a couple of minutes to cool down. It will also help to reduce the chances of muscle soreness. After an intense aerobic exercise, you can walk or stretch your body.

What are the types of exercise?

Balance 

Balance is any exercise that helps you prevent falls. Most of this exercise keeps you moving with both feet on the ground. Examples include sitting up using your hands, standing up without using your hands, and standing on one foot.

balance exercise

Aerobic

Aerobic exercise is any workout that speeds up your heart rate, which is vital for your body to function optimally. This form of exercise increases endurance and gives your heart and lungs a workout. You should always aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. Some aerobic exercises you can include in your program are swimming, brisk walking, running, jumping rope, dancing, and jogging.

aerobic

Strength training 

Strength training is any form of exercise that helps your body regain muscle mass and make your bones strong. With strength training, you can get up the stairs, stand up from a chair, and get up off the floor without using your hands. Examples of strength training are push-ups, squats, and weight-lifting.

strength exercise

Stretching

Stretching helps your body maintain flexibility to reduce the risk of falling, developing muscle cramps, and pain in joints. Whenever you stretch your muscles daily, you make them longer and more flexible. Always include stretching exercises in your fitness routine, like four times a week, to reduce the risk of workout injury and remain flexible.

stretching in fitness routine

Prenatal Yoga: Poses for Each Trimester

Who said pregnancy doesn’t have its own beauty?

Although pregnancy may seem at times like a long and arduous process, it is a journey that goes beyond its challenges, and therein lies its beauty. Just as a baby is born into the world, a woman emerges from pregnancy as a mother… Every day, hormones and body changes create new needs for the mother-to-be, and prenatal yoga can be a great option to address those needs. It is also a good way to prepare the body for delivery, both physically and spiritually. Research has shown that prenatal yoga is very useful in dealing with the stress factors of daily life, and it can be a key component in ensuring maximum health for both mother and baby.

Why Should You Practice Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga movements consist of soft, easy poses that open up space for you and your baby while rebuilding the relationship between your body and the breathing cycle. The main focus of prenatal yoga is not to practice poses perfectly or to prevent weight gain.  It’s about training the body and mind to deliver and feed the baby by focusing on mindful breathing while stretching the body.

Prenatal yoga is also a great practice for gently welcoming the physical changes of the pregnancy period. It allows you to adapt more easily to your physical, mental, hormonal, and spiritual changes, which start at the beginning of pregnancy and continue through delivery and into motherhood.

Is It Helpful For Labor? 

Whether you have a vaginal birth or a c-section, practicing yoga during pregnancy prepares your mind and body for labor.  It helps to eliminate abdominal fat and keep your core strong by building muscle strength. It also increases flexibility, which aids in getting back into shape post-delivery. The breathing techniques learned in yoga can prepare you physically for delivery and help you get through it in a more relaxed manner. Since it prepares the pelvic floor muscles for the birthing process, it also teaches you how to use these muscles during labor and encourages postpartum recovery. You not only learn how to breathe and relax your uterus but to act according to your intuition throughout labor as well.

What About Body Pains?

It is natural to have a number of challenges during pregnancy, such as back pain, digestion problems, and stress due to bodily changes. Prenatal yoga can help to ease body pains with some target-oriented asanas.

Mental Health During Pregnancy

Prenatal yoga builds the foundation for effective communication with your baby by reducing anxiety and stress about pregnancy and the birthing process.  Breathing techniques and simple meditations help you to focus on the present moment and be aware of the baby living inside. Prenatal yoga classes are also a meeting platform for women who share a similar journey. That’s why classes create a supportive environment for mothers, who can use this time not only to practice but also share their physical and psychological feelings.

Related: Need to Calm Yourself? Here Are 7 Ways

Here are some of the best prenatal yoga poses for each trimester of your pregnancy. These poses may assist in easing pregnancy-related issues and help you enjoy your journey to its fullest.

1)   Yoga Poses For The First Trimester ( 0-13 weeks)

You don’t need to have done yoga before to practice prenatal yoga, but it’s recommended that you delay practicing until your second trimester (14th week) without your doctor’s permission if you’ve never practiced yoga before.  

The first trimester of your pregnancy can be very challenging, both spiritual and physical, due to rapidly changing hormone levels, decreases in blood pressure, and the relaxation of muscles and joints. Morning sickness and nausea are also challenging factors of the first trimester. Although experts generally do not advise doing yoga during the first trimester, some doctors may okay the practice of gentle poses if you are an experienced practitioner. Gentle yoga poses may improve breath capacity and relaxation and can be really helpful in coping with these challenging issues.  On the other hand,  inversions closed twists, or backbend poses are not recommended because there might be some compression on the uterus due to overstretching the abdominal area.

Here are some gentle poses you can practice. Even though the baby is protected in your womb, there is a lot of growth during the first trimester. Be sure to listen to your body. If you don’t feel ok, please do not hesitate to quit the practice. Don’t forget to inhale while you are doing the pose and exhale gently from the mouth.

Yoga Poses For The First Trimester

Open-Seated Twist Poses

  •   Parivritta Janu Sirsana
  •   Marichi’s Pose
  •   Baddha Konasana
  •   Supported Upavistha Konasana

prenatal yoga

Standing Poses 

Most of the standing poses can be practiced safely during the first trimester as long as you take care not to stretch too much.

  •   Trikonasa
  •   Parsvakonasana
  •   Warrior I-II-III

Standing Poses 

 Balancing Poses

  •   Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
  •   Garudasana Arms (Do not practice legs as it may increase intra-abdominal pressure.)

prenatal yoga

Relaxing Poses

  •   Child’s Pose
  •   Viparita Karani (Legs up to wall)
  •   Savasana on your back

2)   Yoga Poses For Second Trimester ( 14th-26th weeks)

 The second trimester is generally called the “honeymoon of pregnancy”. Hormone levels stabilize, and energy levels increase. You feel more energetic and most of the unpleasant symptoms from the first trimester decrease at this time. The belly grows but isn’t yet uncomfortable, and many women find this to be the most enjoyable time of pregnancy. For this reason, it can be used not only to prepare the body for delivery and the postpartum period but also to make space for the baby. Poses that strengthen the arm and leg muscles are also very effective. Although it seems irrelevant to strengthen the arm muscles, strong arms will be very useful after delivery when you need to carry and hold the baby. It’s important to increase breath capacity and learn how to extend exhalations as well.

Here are some gentle poses you can practice in the second trimester. Keep in mind that if you have problems such as pubic and pelvic pain, reflux, hemorrhoids, or varicosis, some of the poses may not be useful and could even increase your pains. That’s why it’s essential to practice with an experienced instructor if you suffer from these conditions.

Yoga Poses For Second Trimester

Standing Poses

  •   Trikonasana
  •   Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
  •   Warrior I-II-III
  •   Horse Pose
  •   Reversed Warrior
  •   Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
  •   Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  •   Tadasana with Viparita Namaskar

prenatal yoga

Poses on Mat

  •   Supta Padangusthasana
  •   Baddha Konasana
  •   Supported Supta Virasana
  •   Vasisthasana on all fours
  •   Gate Pose
  •   Pawanmuktasana
  •   Bridge Pose
  •   Happy Baby Pose

All of the poses from the first trimester can be practiced in the second trimester as well.

3)   Yoga Poses For Third Trimester ( 26th– 40th weeks)

The last trimester of pregnancy is considered to be the most spiritual. It’s ideal to use as a preparation time for labor, both spiritually and physically. Because of this, yoga poses that improve the mobility of hip joints are recommended. Breathing may be difficult due to pressure on the diaphragm by the growing baby so poses that widen the chest area might be helpful.  It will also be very useful to relax as much as possible and experience the poses that will prepare the baby to pass through the birth canal. Meditation practices with breathing exercises can aid in relaxation and are helpful for labor as well.

Yoga Poses For Third Trimester

Here are some poses you can practice in the third trimester:

  •   Horse Pose
  •   Shiva Tandava Dance
  •   Supported Malasana Pose
  •   Cat and Cow
  •   Balasana
  •   Viparita Karani
  •   Pigeon Pose
  •   Baddha Konasana

prenatal yoga

Poses to Avoid

While prenatal yoga is generally safe and beneficial, there are some poses that should be avoided during pregnancy to stay in the safety zone for both mother and baby.

Closed Twists: Twisting poses may increase intra-abdominal pressure and directly affects your blood circulation.

Deep Backbends: As you can guess, deep backbends open the front of the body and create over-stretching in the abdominal area as well.

Inversions: Practicing inversions can also be dangerous because of the pressure on the spine and the possibility of falling.

Practicing prenatal yoga can be very helpful during the pregnancy journey, both physically and spiritually. It can help women feel the connection between their minds, bodies, and the baby months before birth takes place and help them make the most of this joyous time.

 

Related: Nutrition in Pregnancy

 

10 Stretching Exercises You Can Do At Your Home Desk

As seasons change we look for better ways of doing things. It can be hard getting into a new routine or getting out of an old one. One way you can easily stir up the daily grind is by stretching. Even if there is a pandemic, many of us need to be seated at the computer whether at the office or home office. That’s why in order to be motivated you should keep your body active and awake while you are sitting at your desk. You can try stretching exercises for your spine, neck and back health, and in this way, you can have better posture and prevent musculoskeletal disorders. Here are 10 stretching exercises that you can do at your home/office desk.

American woman working from home during coronavirus pandemic

The majority of people spend long hours working at a desk. The head is usually bent to look at a monitor or book, where the back is arched and the waist is in an uncomfortable position. This may lead to poor posture and musculoskeletal disorders in later following years. However, you can take action by doing small 10-15 minutes increments of exercise. By doing stretching exercises you will feel motivated and more energetic in addition to having better posture.

Related: 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

Sitting motionless and uncomfortable at your desk may lead to:

-neck and shoulder pain

-musculoskeletal disease

-obesity

-Stress

-back pain

-carpal tunnel 

1. Triceps stretch 

This exercise will help you stretch your upper arm which is usually not in motion while you are using your computer. Raise your right arm bent backward as if you are trying to reach your back. With your left hand hold your raised elbow and pull it towards your left side. Try to hold for 10 seconds and release your arm. Then repeat with your left arm.

triceps stretch

2.Shoulder stretch 

Clasp your hands at your back and push your hands downward. Move the post of your shoulders towards the back and your chest out. With this stretch, you will prevent your back from hunching and maintain a good posture.

3.Torso stretch

Place your feet on the ground and hold the top of the chair with your hand. Then twist your upper body towards your hand. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. If you have back pain you should try this exercise and stretch your back muscles.

4.Upper body and arm stretch 

Clasp your hands and stretch upward with your hands facing upwards. Try to stay in this pose for 10 seconds. You can stretch further by leaning your hands left and right. With this exercise, you will stretch your upper body which is generally in a bad posture while you are sitting on your desk.

stretching exercise to do from desk

5.Hip and knee stretch

While sitting down on your chair, inclement your back a little. Hug your knee with your both arms. Pull them towards your chest and hold for 10 seconds. Do it with your other leg. This exercise will move your hip area which is generally not moving while sitting and carrying the weight of your upper body.

6.Hamstring stretch

Your legs are generally stable when you spend the day at your desk. You should work these muscles with this short stretching exercise. Straighten your legs while seated and try to reach your toes. Hold this pose for 20 seconds.

7.Neck stretch

Throughout the workday, you look at the monitor and keep your neck in an uncomfortable position. To prevent neck problems here is a stretching for you. Relax your neck and lean forward. Roll your head from side to side for 10 seconds. Lean your head backward. Roll your head from side to side for 10 seconds.

Back view of fitness woman reaching her back

8.Latissimus stretch

Latissimus is the widest muscle in the human body, the area between shoulder and hip. When you sit down without moving or keep your back in an uncomfortable position you may have back pain or bad posture. To prevent it, you can stretch your latissimus with this exercise. Raise your left arm straight and try to reach your right side slightly bending your upper body. Hold this pose for 10 seconds. Repeat with your right arm.

9.Upper trap stretch

Place your right arm on top of your head and gently pull your head to the right. Hold your head like this for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other arm. This way you will exercise the side of your neck and upper trap areas.

10.Forward stretch

Raise your arm parallel to the ground, while your palms are facing downward. Then lower your head between your arms while arching your back. Hold this pose for 10 minutes. This upper back stretch will help you to keep your posture in a healthy position. 

If you have more time or want to exercise further, you can increase the pose time to 20 or 30 minutes and carry your stretching exercise to a higher level. While doing these stretching exercises, don’t be harsh on yourself, if you do so this may lead to an injury. 

Benefits of stretching exercises while you are working

  • Increases energy levels
  • Reduces stress levels and in this way increases productivity
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces muscle tension and increases circulation
  • Lowers risk due to injury
  • Increases motivation

The Best Foods to Eat Before and After A Workout

Good nutrition can help an athlete perform better and recover faster after each workout. Physical activity uses more energy than normal and this helps to control weight or lose weight. Eating well for physical activity and exercise can have many benefits like;

  • allowing you to perform well during exercise
  • reducing the risk of injury and illness
  • ensuring the best recovery after exercise.

workout

The Importance of Pre-Workout Nutrition

Pre-workout nutrition is very important for eliminating hunger, maintaining glycogen stores, preserving muscle mass, and preventing dehydration.

Your muscles use the glucose from carbohydrates for fuel. For short and high-intensity exercises, glycogen stores are your muscles’ main source of energy.

The key point before a pre-workout meal is to eat protein with carbohydrates. In fact, fats should be restricted because it takes longer for them to drain from the stomach.

Also, be careful with the type of carbohydrates you consume before exercise. Simple carbohydrates can cause poor performance during exercise, as they cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly. Therefore, it is better to prefer complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat pasta/ bread or vegetables or fruits before exercise.

The timing of a pre-workout meal is also very important. Be warned that exercising with a full stomach can cause nausea or even vomiting. Pre-workout snacks should be eaten at least 30-45 minutes before and main meals at least 2-3 hours before. This will help prevent any stomach discomfort during exercise.

Related: Is It Better to Fuel Yourself Up Before Morning Run?

5 Suggestions for Pre-Workout Meal/ Snack

Here are 5 different pre-workout meal examples;

  1. A portion of fruit like 1 medium apple with 1 glass of low-fat milk or 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  2. Bananas with peanut or almond butter
  3. Whole wheat crackers with a slice of cheese
  4. Turkey in a whole-grain wrap with veggies
  5. An egg omelet with a slice of whole-wheat bread

The Importance of After-Workout Nutrition

Nutrition after a workout is very important for recovery, filling glycogen stores, and gaining muscle mass.

In fact, after workout meals help you to prepare for your next exercise. If your glycogen stores empty during exercise and are not replaced after exercise, muscle loss may occur on the next exercise. If you eat after the exercise, your glycogen stores are replenished within the first 2 hours.

After exercise, food should be eaten within the first 30-40 minutes.

A combination of protein and carbohydrates is essential after a workout. Proteins help the recovery and development of muscles while carbohydrates help prepare us for the next exercise by replenishing glycogen stores.

Don’t forget that it is important not to eat too much after exercise. The protein requirement for a normal adult is 1 gram/ kg per day. The protein needed for athletes is around 1.2-2 grams/ kg. But this amount may increase depending on the type of sport and the muscle mass of the person.

5 Suggestions for an After Workout Meal/ Snack

Tuna sandwich after workout

  1. A Banana and low-fat milk smoothie with nuts
  2. A Protein bar
  3. Grilled meat or chicken with a quinoa salad
  4. Tuna sandwich with mixed greens
  5. Scrambled eggs with oats

Before, During, and After: Drink Up

Our body needs water to function and hydration is incredibly important for exercise performance. It is crucial to drink before, during, and after your workout.

  • Before: 17-20 oz. of water at least 2 hours prior to exercise
  • During: 7-10 oz. of water for every 10-20 minutes of exercise
  • After: 16-24 oz. of water for each pound lost due to sweating

Drinking water

Don’t wait until you are thirsty! Thirst is an early sign of dehydration and if you wait until you are thirsty, you have already begun to dehydrate.

After a workout, the prevention of fluid, mineral, and electrolyte loss is very important.

Since these losses increase especially during exercises lasting more than an hour, sports drinks can be added and should be drunk every 15-20 minutes.

Foods to Avoid

Eating high-fiber, lactose, and foods high in fat before exercise or racing can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, these foods should be restricted before exercise.

Conclusion

Do not forget that the diet of an endurance athlete and bodybuilder is quite different according to their exercise patterns. Therefore, sports nutrition will also vary according to person to person.

 

Related: 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

 

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Most of us are spending much more time on our laptops as home-office workers since Covid-19 has spread around and we are at home. Moreover, we not only spend time online for work on our laptops, but we also spend more time on our computers to socialize, as well. This causes some muscle and joint pain in our hands and wrists and may cause edema problems. On the other hand, repetitive actions (such as typing and controlling the mouse) may also cause serious problems like RSI (repetitive strain injury) or carpal tunnel syndrome when they are done thousands of times a day. Research has shown that 1.8 million workers suffer from RSI per year. It is also found that half of the workers with computers in Sweden are affected by RSI, in addition to the fact that in Australia, even 60% of children complain about wrist problems.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Also, 6.7% of US workers will suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome in their lifetime. More than that, there are lots of hand and wrist problems that arise from repetitive actions. Here are some of those problems that are caused by using the computer too much.

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Repetitive Stress or Repetitive Motion Injuries (RSI)
  • Posterior cervical dorsal syndrome (“Mouse shoulder” or “Computer Back”)
  • Lumbar sprains and strains
  • Tennis elbow
  • Disc injuries

Since it may not be possible to be away from computers completely, it becomes much more important to find the best hand and wrist exercises to minimize or prevent these problems.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers     

Benefits of Wrist and Hand Exercises

Even if you don’t suffer from any pain or injury in your wrists or hands, practicing some exercises can help you prevent the probability of having bigger problems.

Exercising may help to strengthen your hand and wrist muscles. Finding the best hand and wrist exercises and practicing them regularly makes your fingers more flexible. Furthermore, exercising the hands and wrists emphasizes joint health and increases mobility and stability that becomes weaker with age, as well.

Here are some of the best hand and wrist exercises you can perform while you give yourself a break from the computer.

 1. Wrist Flexion and Extension

Wrist flexion and extension means moving your hands up and down from the wrist joint when your fingers are tall. This exercise directly stimulates your wrist area and increases blood flow. It also prevents problems like carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI in the long term as well.

  • Stretch out your hands to the front.
  • Stretch your hand upwards until you feel a nice stretch while inhaling.
  • Hold this stretch for a while exhaling, release, and go back to the starting point.
  • Stretch your hand down as you inhale.
  • Hold while exhaling and release again.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times.

Wrist Flexion and Extension

 2. Wrist Flexion with a Fist

This exercise is basically the same movement of the wrist joint but should be practiced by making a fist with your hand. When you practice this exercise, it stimulates your entire arm.

  • Stretch out your hands parallel to the floor.
  • Make fists with your hands and stretch them downward while inhaling until you feel a nice stretch on your arm.
  • Hold this stretch for a while, then go back to the starting point by exhaling.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times.

3. Shaking Your Hands Out

Shaking your hands out is the simplest exercise that may be used when working on the computer. This exercise also helps to relieve stiff joints.

  • Stretch out your hands to the front.
  • Release any tension that you may have in your fingers.
  • Slowly shake your hands out by letting your wrist move gently.

7 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Long Hours Home-Office Workers

 4. Drawing Circles

Drawing circles with any part of your body help to relieve any tension in that body part. When drawing a circle with your fist, it stimulates the muscle joints on your wrists that are not used often while working.

  • Stretch out your hands parallel to the floor.
  • Make a fist with your hands and start to draw a circle in one direction while you are breathing.
  • Reverse the circle.

 5. Table Press

Pressing the table with the back of your hands and palms builds strength in the muscles between your wrists and elbows.

  • Put your hands on the table while palms face up.
  • Press the table with the back of your hands while inhaling.
  • Release when exhaling
  • Place your hands under the table, palms up.
  • Press the table with your palms while inhaling. This will strengthen your forearms.

Touching Thumbs

 6. Touching Thumbs

Touching each finger to your thumb increases coordination between finger joints, helps to stimulate that area, and increases blood flow.

  • Put your hands on the table, palms up.
  • Gently bring your thumb to the tip of each finger. Touch and press slowly.
  • Do the same sequence with your other hand as well.
  • Repeat this at least 5 times with both hands.

 7. Squeezing

Squeezing something, like a tennis ball or grip, is a great exercise to strengthen your wrists.

  • Put your forearms on the table.
  • Grip something and squeeze gently while breathing.
  • Hold the squeeze for a while.
  • Release everything.
  • Do this at least 5 times with both hands.

Squeezing

The exercises that strengthen and stretch your hands and wrist may vary, however, if you practice these seven hand and wrist exercises, then you can help prevent the problems that may occur in the long term in your wrists or hands from long term computer use. If you are looking for more hand and wrist exercises, you can check out this quick joint-freeing series from Jana-Long that will really help you to boost not only your hands and wrists but also your whole body and your mood while you are working.

 

Related: All You Need to Know About: Working Out on an Empty Stomach

 

Get Moving! Here’s What You Need to Know About Running Safely  

It is very important to stay healthy, especially during the pandemic. In order to strengthen our immune system, we need to keep our bodies moving. Daily activity and oxygen is the key to enhancing our wellbeing. We recommend that you take up a solo outdoor activity and maintain social distancing. One of the best options is running. Since many gyms are closed and summer is here, a quick run in your neighborhood or a secluded area is an excellent way to maintain your fitness. However, you need to take some precautions to avoid the spread of the virus.

Why run outdoors?

Running may not be everyone’s go-to exercise, but in these circumstances, it is the best option to keep moving. You don’t need teammates or other people. You don’t use any equipment. And you get fresh air. Running is good for both your physical health and psychological wellbeing. Here are some benefits of running outdoors:

  • Blood flow and white blood cell circulation increases, strengthening your immune response.
  • It reduces stress by lowering cortisol hormones in your body.
  • You’ll get vitamin D by running outdoors.
  • Running outside will clear your mind.
  • It will strengthen your cardiovascular and lung health.
  • It can help you to reach your healthy body weight.

Related: How to Not Gain Weight During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Get Moving! Here’s What You Need to Know About Running Safely  

Is it safe?

If you are running alone in an isolated area, it is perfectly safe to run outside. When you are alone, you don’t share any objects with other people. This will limit the spread of the virus and keep you isolated. By avoiding other people, you’ll avoid the droplets that disperse when someone sneezes or coughs. You will also strengthen your immune system by getting 30 minutes of daily activity. Just keep in mind that you should stay home and rest if you are not feeling well.

Here are some simple tips you can follow for running safely:

  • Exercise outside during non-peak times.
  • If you have the chance, choose secluded running routes such as trails or forest paths instead of a crowded park or sidewalk. This will help you maintain social distancing.
  • Always have your mask with you and don’t take it off unless you are running in an isolated area.
  • Don’t touch any public-use equipment.
  • Be sure to leave plenty of space between you and the person running ahead of you so you won’t come into contact with any droplets they left behind.
  • Pay attention to local information and warnings.
  • Start slowly if you are new to running to avoid injuries. 

Get Moving! Here’s What You Need to Know About Running Safely  

Do you need to wear a mask?

It is necessary to wear a mask if you are running in public or in a non-isolated area. However, if you are running alone in a forest or on a trail, it is not necessary. Ten to twelve feet of distance from other people will allow you to run safely. You should keep a longer distance than the usual advised social distancing length because runners breathe heavier, and this breath cloud may contain virus particles. Be sure to keep your mask with you in all situations. There are several things to keep in mind while using a mask:

  • Carry a double-layered mask with you even if you are running in a secluded place and use it in the presence of people.
  • Don’t use a mask that prevents you from breathing.
  • Avoid touching your face and mask as much as possible.
  • The purpose of the mask is to protect other people.
  • Using a mask properly can sometimes be difficult. Check WHO’s website for guidance. 

Get Moving! Here’s What You Need to Know About Running Safely  

What is the effect on overall health?

Exercising has many physical benefits, such as enhancing lung and heart health. In addition, being active will keep you fit and help strengthen your immune system. Another positive aspect of running is that it is an effective way to maintain your psychological health. Daily activity is an excellent way to start your day and stay motivated. Running daily will also increase the secretion of endorphins, which will reduce the chances of anxiety or depression, helping you feel happier and more positive. 

What do I do when I get home?

One of the most important times is when you get back home after your run. You want to avoid bringing the virus into your home. Here are some tips to return home safely:

  • Take your shoes off and leave them at the door.
  • Wash your face and hands at least for 20 seconds.
  • Disinfect your phone with wipes containing at least 70% alcohol.
  • Change your clothes. We also advise you to wash your hands again after touching your clothes.
  • Take a shower.

Get Moving! Here’s What You Need to Know About Running Safely  

Running outside during this time may take a little more planning, but it can be done. If you follow these instructions, it is both safe and healthy to run outdoors. We recommend that you run according to your physical condition and avoid overexertion, but you will still get many benefits from your run. The fresh air will help improve your psychological health, and the exercise can help you reach your healthy weight. In addition, you will strengthen your immune system as well as boost your lung and cardiovascular health. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go for a run!

 

Related: How Do We Protect Our Mental Health While the Pandemic Continues?

 

Yoga for Beginners: 6 Yoga Practices for the Beginner Yogi

Yoga is an extremely popular form of exercise, chosen for its impressive impact on both the mind and body, but it is clear that some people still shy away from trying it. We get it! Starting something new can be a bit daunting! Someone might feel they aren’t in the right physical shape to do yoga, or that they aren’t flexible enough (you are, and you are). Everyone begins somewhere!

There can be a misconception that yoga is simply meditating with your legs crossed. Yoga, in reality, can be challenging for any beginner, and not just physically. There is a mental and psychological component, as well. Choosing a style, an instructor, or a studio that satisfies our needs physically, spiritually, and mentally is very important.

The good news is that you are in the right place to begin your exploration into yoga. Here are six basic yoga tips for beginners!

1. Choose your style of yoga.

There are different styles of yoga, and choosing one that will keep you motivated is important. If you find the right style, you’ll find that the practice benefits your overall physical and mental wellbeing. 

One of the first things you should consider is what, exactly, you want from your yoga practice. Do you want to sweat a lot and really push yourself to become stronger? Is yoga going to be something you practice to reduce stress and increase flexibility through calming exercises? These questions are your first essential step into yoga. 

Vinyasa Yoga, Bikram Yoga, and Ashtanga Yoga are yoga practices that will make you sweat. Don’t dive in quite yet, let’s see what that means for those who practice them.

Vinyasa Yoga

This yoga is a type of Hatha Yoga, and is mainly focused on breath-motion synchronization. This yoga has movements that change with the breath cycle, meaning one pose will be held during inhalation, and during exhalation, that pose will change again. The poses are lined up one after the other to form a beautiful dance-like choreography. Each pose has a meaning that brings your body to a peak pose during the choreographed pose sequence. Since each pose is linked to each breath, this can become quite fast-paced, and can be considered a cardio class.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga, aka Hot Yoga, has 26 basic poses that are performed one after another in a room heated to 104F (40C). The heated environment helps the body to relax and stretch, opening up the body better. If you like your workouts hot and routine-based, then this practice may be right for you.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga Yoga is similar to Vinyasa Yoga in that it is practiced based on the breath cycle, however Ashtanga Yoga poses are specifically sequenced. Again, we see the poses moving from one to another like a choreographed dance. This is a stricter practice that involves increasing stretching and breath control.

On the other end of the yoga spectrum, we have slower-paced and less intense yoga practices. These practices allow you to stay in a position for a longer period of time, stretching slowly in each pose without increasing their heart rate. If sweating isn’t your thing, try one of these two styles.

yoga practices

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga has fewer poses than other practices, but those poses help for between 5 and 10 minutes. Modifications can be made to each pose to help increase the stretch level of the poses. Another attribute that separates Yin Yoga from other practices is that there are no standing poses. All poses are performed on the ground. This very slow practice is very calming on the nervous system and increases the relaxation of the mind.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga strengthens your body while also not causing you to sweat a lot. The poses are the same as Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga, however, you remain in each pose for 3-5 breath cycles, and the focus is on the large muscle groups.

2. Find your instructor or studio.

There are many ways you can practice yoga. You may choose to hire a private instructor, go to classes, or watch YouTube videos. Take the time to explore different options so you choose the instructor that is right for you. The right instructor can feed your motivation to continue, just like a bad instructor can suck any inspiration you have out of you. Eddie Modestini, a student of K. Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Lyengar, said that it is very important to find a teacher to lead a beginner yogi down a path that will help us to discover ourselves.

yoga practices with instructor

If you choose to enroll in a class, make sure the class is at a beginner level with a style you are comfortable trying. Don’t hesitate to try different studios and instructors within your chosen style to find the right fit for you. Be patient, it may take a few tries. 

3. Recognize your limitations, and do not compare.

Being honest with yourself and accepting your limitations is an important part of your yoga journey. Since yoga is not purely physical practice, acceptance of yourself as you are is one of the first steps for yoga. Yoga poses are called “asana”. Asana is one of the eight limbs of Yoga. Another limb is called “yamas”, and this refers to abstinence. That practice of abstinence is about learning restraint and respecting the limitations that come with the restraint. Within yamas is another term, satya. “Satya” refers to truth, and learning to be truthful in one’s thoughts, speech, and action.  The principle of compassion and nonviolence toward all living things, including oneself, is known as “ahimsa”. 

We can very easily see many yogis doing advanced poses (asana) on social media, and this can make us impatient to advance as quickly as possible. Some people in a beginner class may have a bit more practice with poses than we do, and practice more intermediate moves. Don’t let this push you beyond what you are ready for. Being honest with ourselves is one of the important tenets of practicing yoga. Comparing our journey to someone else’s journey is fruitless. Let’s keep our focus on ourselves and our own growth.

4. Modify poses, and use variations.

As we said before, there are a lot of asanas (poses) in yoga. Determining which poses are suitable for your level may be difficult for a beginner yogi. If you decide you want to try a pose to see if you are ready for it, remember that there are probably modifications for it to smooth your transition into it. You can use different equipment (books, chairs, yoga blocks or belts, etc) around you to help modify your workouts and transition into more difficult poses.

Yoga for Beginners: 6 Yoga Practices for the Beginner Yogi

5. Practice daily.

The idea of practicing every day may seem like a lot, and since yoga can be more difficult for beginners, practicing daily may seem like an ordeal. Yoga helps to strengthen your muscles while stretching them and increasing their flexibility. That means that regular practice will take you to the next level with your strength and flexibility. This doesn’t mean practicing for hours on end. It could mean that you do as little as 5-6 sun salutations.

6. Select your clothes and mat.

You actually don’t need specific clothes or a mat to practice yoga, but a sticky mat can make your practice more comfortable. Sticky mats can help provide the support you need and prevent injuries from sweaty hands and feet. And for clothes…well, we all know we feel a bit more motivated when we have some fresh clothes or equipment.

You are now ready to go forth and begin your yoga journey! Roll out your mat, respect your body, be patient, just practice, and you’ll feel great.

Related: Yoga and Menstruation: Poses to Avoid and Poses that Help

12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

As we start to spend more time at home, we might lose track of our meal schedule, daily routine and physical activity. At times like these, you may give yourself time to process what is going on and ensure your mental wellbeing. After this vital step, you may try to adjust to your normal physical activity. Especially while we feel overwhelmed, our savior will be at-home workouts, which will help us to sustain both our mental and physical health. After gaining physical strength back, you will feel more motivated, thus you will go through struggles easier. To help you start exercising at home, here are 12 at-home workouts you can do without any equipment.

Warm-Up!

First, let’s start with a warm-up. This step is essential to prepare your body for both your at-home workouts and gym workouts. Your warm-up dilates blood vessels to give muscles the oxygen they need for the workout and flexes them. You need to raise your heart rate slowly, so start with a low heart rate cardio to prepare both your respiratory and circulatory systems. Five to ten minutes of warm-up will be sufficient, keeping in mind that if you are planning to do an intense workout, you need to increase the warm up time. 

1. Squat

A nicely done squat works your lower body muscles, especially the glutes and thighs. First, place your feet in alignment with your shoulders, and angle toes 30 degrees outward. Tuck your abs in, look forward and squat down. 

Squat - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention!

  • Don’t give your weight to your knees, focus on your glutes.
  • Heels must always stay on the floor.
  • Your knees shouldn’t point forward or inward.
  • Your knees shouldn’t pass over your toes.
  • Keep your lower back neutral, don’t arch or hunch it.

If you want to try some different variations, you can do sumo squats or squat side leg lifts.

 

2. Split Lunge 

The split lunge is another good exercise for glutes, thighs, and also works the calves, so it works the full lower body. Basically, you step one leg forward and lunge, keeping your upper body straight and face looking forward. Lunge until your knees make a 90-degree angle and then push through your front leg to get back to starting position.

Split Lunge

Attention!

  • Your front knee shouldn’t pass your toes.
  • Your weight should be on your front heel, not on your knee or lower back.

If you want to go one step further, you can perform a reverse lunge, or add some weight with water bottles.

 

3. Bridge

For the bridge, you may use a mat or a rug to have a softer surface for your back. Lie on your back and bend your knees while your feet are on the ground. Raise your core to make a straight line from your head to knees and squeeze your glutes at the top. Finally, lower your core down to the starting position. The bridge exercise will work your glutes, back, and abs.

Bridge - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention! 

  • Don’t over-arch your back, try to maintain the straight line.
  • Your feet should fully touch the ground, don’t raise your heels.

 

4.Russian Twist

Russian twists are a great exercise to work your core, and especially the abs. Start by sitting on the floor, bending your knees while your feet are on the ground. Lower your back 45 degrees, keeping it straight. Rotate your upper body while keeping your abs tight.

Russian Twist

Attention!

  • There should be a straight line through the pelvis, back, and neck.

 You can add weight to your hands, or raise your legs from the floor to work your abs deeper.

 

5. Plank

The plank is one of the best at-home workouts that use your own body weight to work your abs, core, chest, and arms. Start by getting on all fours. You can either do planks on your hands or forearms. Stretch your legs behind you and stay there as long as you can. 

Plank - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention!

  • Arms should be parallel to each other.
  • Legs and upper body should form a straight line. Don’t curve or hunch your back.

 

6. Mountain Climber

Mountain climbers are a good exercise to raise your body heat, is effective for cardio and works your abs and arms. Start by getting into a plank position on your hands, pulling your alternating knees toward your abs. If you are a beginner, you can start slowly, and when you want to increase the heat, pull your knees faster like you are running. 

Mountain Climber - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention!

  • Your back should be straight.
  • Arms should align with shoulders and must be kept straight.

 

7. Leg Drop

To start, lie on your back and raise your legs straight. Then, with your core engaged, lower your legs as low as possible. With this at-home workout, you will work your lower abs, an area generally neglected in normal workouts. 

Leg Drop

Attention!

  • Don’t arch your back. if you need support, put your hands under your lower back.

 

8. Superman 

Laying face down, stretch your arms parallel to your head with your palms facing the floor. Engaging your core, lift your arms and legs up to the highest point you can without hurting yourself.

Superman - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention!

  • Be careful with your neck and your back.
  • Don’t push yourself too much.

9. Push up

A classic push up will work your arms and chest very effectively and increase body heat. It’s one of the exercises that is suitable for at-home workouts because none of the variations require any equipment. Just get into the plank position and slowly lower your body and then get back to plank.

Push Up - Best At-Home Workouts

Attention!

  • Your arms should align with your shoulders.
  • Form a straight line through your head to your heels.
  • Don’t hunch or arch your back.

If you want to do an easier version, you can place your knees on the floor.

 

10. Fire Hydrant

One of the best exercises for glutes is definitely the fire hydrant, and we believe you will feel the burn immediately. First, get into the tabletop position and lift one leg up in a bent position. Lower your leg and repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Fire Hydrant

Attention!

  • Your back should be neutral.
  • Be careful with the knee on the floor, you might want to place a rug under your knees.
  • Arms should align with shoulders.

 

11. Tricep dip

Don’t forget your arms and triceps during your at-home practice. For the triceps dip, you only need a chair or a low table. Place your hands on the chair or table, while your back is turned to it. Lower your body and then push yourself up using your triceps. If you want a more challenging version, increase the distance between your heels and chair.

tricep dip

 

Attention!

  • Keep your back straight.
  • Don’t put your weight on your knees.

 

12. Quadruped Limb Raises

Quadruped limb raises mainly work your muscles along your spine, which will extend your torso. This at-home workout is also good for your balance. Let’s start by getting into the tabletop position, knees, and hands on the floor. Extend your right arm and left leg, forming a straight line from your heel to the tip of your hand and hold it for 2 seconds. Then get back to the tabletop position and repeat with the left arm and right leg. 

Quadruped Limb Raises

Attention!

  • Your spine should be neutral.
  • You may put something soft, like a mat, under your knees.
  • Be careful with your neck.

You can perform these at home-workout sets of 12×3 or adjust the numbers according to your comfort level.

 

Cool Down 

Finally, let’s close our at-home workout with a cool down. After the workout, your heart rate and body temperature are still high and blood vessels are dilated. Now, you need to lower them slowly. Stretching is a good option for this.  Stretching helps to reduce the lactic acid in your muscles and can help reduce cramping and soreness.

 

Related: The Way to Success in Fitness is to Track Tour Progress

All You Need to Know About: Working Out on an Empty Stomach

You may be surprised by the answers you get when you ask about doing cardio on an empty stomach…

There are two types of people doing sports:

  1. Those who eat something before working out.
  2. Those who work out on an empty stomach.

So, which one is right?

Does Cardio Burn More Fat on an Empty Stomach?

In short, yes. Some research shows that exercising on an empty stomach burns 20% more fat. The fuel your body burns in order to produce energy depends on many factors. Whether you ate something before your exercise or not is a big contributor. Your body tends to use the foods you ate recently first. If you haven’t eaten anything recently, your body will not be able to find its primary fuel and it will turn to its own stock, using it as the fuel it needs for the workout.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

However, this also depends on your exercise program. The more simple the exercise, the more fat you burn during the exercise. For example, if you take a light-paced walk for 30 minutes at a constant speed, you will burn about 200 calories. If you do it on an empty stomach, your energy production levels will be lower, it will be easier to burn fat, and you will burn more fat.

On the other hand, if you are going to have a high performance running training, your body will burn carbohydrates rather than fat. If you do intense exercise, your body cannot use fats fast enough; it will burn some fat and some carbohydrates. You should not conclude that slow and steady training is more advantageous based on this. With slow-paced exercise, you burn fat during the training, predominantly. With intense interval training programs, you trigger your metabolism and maintain fat burning even after the training.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

What If You Have No Energy to Working Out on an Empty Stomach?

Doing cardio before breakfast can certainly be useful, but if you really feel you don’t have any energy to start exercising, it is a bit pointless. There are some energy stores in your muscles and fat stores in your body for exercise. Your liver provides glucose for your body, which you don’t need or use until you run out the glycogen stores in your muscles. Depending on what you ate the day before and how intensely you exercise, your body does not need the support of your liver glycogen stores for approximately 1-1.5 hours.

In other words, you do not have any obstacles to exercising on an empty stomach for up to 1 hour. If you are going to do intense training or exceed 1 hour, it is important to replenish your energy stocks (with an energy bar or gel, for example). You should never forget that post-training nutrition is the most important thing for your muscles. Doing exercise on an empty stomach prepares your body for the nutrients you will consume after the exercise. Your body absorbs proteins better and determines where they will be used. Carbohydrates and proteins reach your muscles and feed them, instead of being stored as fat.

 

Related: Vivoo Energy Box

 

exercising on an empty stomach

When Working Out on an Empty Stomach Will Be a Problem?

If your health is generally in good condition, you will not have many disadvantages when doing cardio on an empty stomach. However, those who are on a low-calorie diet may face some difficulties. The reason behind this is that there is not enough fuel available in the liver. Since they cannot regenerate glycogen storages efficiently, they may also encounter some problems in recovery between workouts. It should be underlined that this is not a serious threat to health. Your body will give you signals when you reach your limits and it is the time for you to stop. Your appetite may also be affected after the training. A study shows that runners who spend 1 hour on the treadmill without eating anything felt more hungry after training.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Image Credit: Total Shape

A Matter of Personal Preferences

The matter of exercising on an empty stomach begins and ends in the mind. If you think that you will not have enough energy and pass out when exercising on an empty stomach and feel the need to eat something, then eat something. This is a “mind over matter” subject, as well… If you think you can do it, then you can. 

 

The Way to Success in Fitness is to Track Tour Progress

Common mistakes made when starting an exercise routine are goals that are impossible to reach, and sufficient time to reach these goals. First, you must set a healthy and reasonable goal, and determine the time to achieve this goal.

In the beginning, we all have more than enough motivation, confidence, and enthusiasm. After a week or two of exercising, the confidence and enthusiasm leave their places to boredom and weariness. With the loss of motivation, the exercise and diet routine starts to be disrupted, and another attempt of living healthier comes to the inevitable end: “Giving up”.

During the process, great challenges are waiting for you.

You should know that if it was easy everyone would do it. If you really want to achieve your goals, stop expecting your body and your biological mechanisms to do impossible things.

The Way to Success in Fitness is to Track Tour Progress

We will set realistic goals.

We will set the correct time expectations for these goals. By giving priority to your favorite exercises we will make exercise and fitness a part of your life, not a period in your life. In this process, you will proceed with patience, determination, awareness, with the professionals of the subject if possible, and most importantly, without pushing your health to the background.

On the way to your goals, doing interlude controls and tracking are the golden keys to success. Even if you see your progress with your own eyes, your success will be guaranteed if you track the quality of the changes in your body caused by exercising and diet in detail with different methods and numbers. Not everyone can have the chance of using the fat-muscle analysis tools in sports centers and private establishments, therefore, it would be wise to use the up-to-date economical alternative methods.

Exercise to reach your goals

The urinalysis bar you will use at home, which Vivoo offers personally, will guide you to follow your progress. In the light of your results, it even makes suggestions to change your diet and works as a reminder during the day, if needed. We all need a coach for motivation in such hard times. We should benefit from recent scientific developments and make our efforts easier.

Vivoo: Learn Your Body's Needs with Home Urine Test Strips

There are different methods if you choose to base your measurements on your exercise performance.

If you wish, you can do a performance test. You’ll see how many times you can do the ‘burpee’ exercise in 30 seconds. It makes all your body muscles work. Once, you have warmed up for your workout at the beginning of every wee and then, test how many ‘burpees’ you can do while keeping the right form and keep track of it.

You will see that your efforts are never futile, you will begin every week with more motivation and determination.

I wish you all a healthy and successful month.

-Image Credit: Personal Trainer Pioneer