Revelations on the Fat But Happy Issue

Revelations on the Fat But Happy Issue

NBC's Today Show featured a segment about a mom putting her foot down to yo yo dieting. While touching and somewhat liberating, this story has sparked a debate about why the number on the scale means more than what goes on inside the body. How you stay healthy, medication free, energized, and functionally strong is so much more important. We break down two issues with the post and hope that you will help us continue the conversation.

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February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health month! You owe it to yourself to learn more and practice better habits when it comes to your cardiovascular health. You don't need a gym or fancy equipment. However motivation starts with information so read up on key facts and get moving! To try our mobile app for free, visit www.inmotionworkouts.com and set up an account. All February, new members get a free three month upgrade!

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Hip Strength and Lower Core Stability

Neglecting your hips isn't something that you do on purpose. You get out of bed each morning and do what needs to be done. From the morning commute to nightly household chores, you ponder little about those small muscles that connect the pelvis to your legs.

Despite the best intentions and high output in so many areas of life, the human body suffers from a number of limitations as a result of a sedentary life. Over time, sitting weakens and incapacitates the hip flexors, which leads to back issues, hamstring and knee pain, left/right imbalances, etc. Hip exercises deliver needed blood flow to the region, and they increase pliability in the tendons and ligaments.

This week we feature the Hip Bridge exercise at Master the Motion, and we are keeping it simple with most basic version. Though you may readily believe you are beyond a level 2 exercise, we strongly believe in the power of re-learning and mastery through repetition. Don't discount the elementary level and fortify your foundation!

Click here to get access to the Hip Bridge write up and all of our Master the Moves exercises!

Click here to set up a free account and try the one-of-a-kind inMOTION Customized Workouts module.

 

Balance & Your Ballast

Falling down when you are a kid is simply part of the day. As you get older, even in college, taking a biff may even win you brownie points with your friends on campus or at work. You laugh it off and move on, hopefully with some honor-winning but quick-healing superficial wounds.

Falling down later in life is a potential game changer. A bone break or joint mis-alignment can wreak monumental havoc on your ability to get through even the simplest of life's movements. The CDC reports that one of three adults over 65 falls each year, and that the medical cost from falls - $30 Billion in 2010 - could double in coming years as the US population ages.

For those of us who rely on our fit and sprite bodies, both to enjoy life and take care of parents and kids, falling down might cause even more dire circumstances. We heal, but the process can take more time than we have and can cost more than we want to spend. It pays to protect yourself, so we have three excellent ways to help shore up those stability muscles. Starting with the first, protecting your body's ballast - the head - you can ward off falls, or at least, the consequences of a fall. 

Every Body Needs a Ballast
You've got to marvel at the human body! As a product of design, it has some flaws but in so many ways, we humans are perfectly suited to a rich life of action and achievement. Being able to stay upright on your two feet is a vital component in the quality of this rich life, and balance starts with your head. Humans are the only biped animal without a rudder-like tail, so our heavy head serves as the directional anchor for your upright existence. 

Two Ways to Make the Most of the Ballast
Proper posture is the first critical element! Your head is meant to sit atop your neck in between your shoulders. Unfortunately, many people extend the head forward as a function of life's dependency on driving and technological devices. It's a relatively subtle adjustment, but a forward head places strain on your neck, jaw, and shoulders. Practice getting your head back. If you sit at a desk, force yourself to look up (better yet, get up). 

The second way that you can help your head be a better ballast is to develop your inner ear equilibrium. One of our regular exercises is a great activator of your inner ear equilibrium. The lighthouse forces you to de-stabilize your body by staggering your foot placement. By then turning your head, you discombobulate your inner ear equilibrium (click here for full explanation).

Single Leg Exercises for Balance and Stability
The final tip that we offer you this week is to do as much work as you can on your legs individually. By exercising one leg at a time, single leg stands, extensions, jumping, etc, you prevent imbalances from festering. Each human body has a strong side and a weak side, but you can mitigate the significance of these differences and thus protect yourself from imbalance issues over time.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Pelvic Power

Never has there been a better time to focus on the power of the pelvis! Most adults spend 8-12 hours per day on their tushies. Bio-mechanically, that means that your pelvis is often tilted, your hip flexors are contracted, and your lower back is strained. Need a wake up call? Here are five specific reasons to harness your pelvic power now.

1. Pelvic Muscles control your legs.
An obvious point, right? Sure, but sometimes focusing on the obvious can change the way that you see the big picture. When you want to move your legs, to walk, run, swim, or bike, you connect to a medium with your feet, and pivot alternating legs. However the origination of movement is your pelvic base. Strength at the base equals power in the motion. Without strength, your legs have to do more of the work.

2. Stronger pelvic muscles will help eliminate and prevent other issues.
Do you know anyone who doesn't complain about regular pains in the neck, back, butt, knees, feet, etc? Usually this pain exists on one side of the body, and its almost always caused by unequal lower core strength on one side of the body. Strengthening the hips individually will equilibrate the body's overall strength, which in turn, works to prevent and repair chronic pain issues.

3. Strong haunches will do wonders for your self confidence (and functional abilities).
Don't you just love the word, "haunch"? It really isn't used all that much anymore, especially when referring to humans. But the strength of the upper leg and hip/glute area is paramount to improved posture and correct forward movement. Start to become more aware of this fact and work towards improved strength of your haunches, and we guarantee you will be standing taller, strutting more, and feeling so much better about your body.

4. Strong hips are better in bed.
For this and the next reason, we highlight kegels, or isometric exercises of the pelvic floor muscles. Kegels help strengthen your control over the organs in the pelvic region (both digestive and sexual), so when you take the time to practice kegels and strengthen your outer pelvic muscles, you can do more in bed, perform longer, and enjoy the experience more. Here's a great article about kegels that we found at Everyday Health.

5. For child bearing women, pelvic strength is a must.
The single greatest advantage you will have in childbirth is power in the pelvis. By starting now, you can help gain awareness of your pelvic floor, build strength of the internal muscles, improve coordination between the organs and muscles that will deliver your body, and reduce the risk for problems after the birthing process. Post pregnancy, kegels continue to amaze us with their contribution to the return to post-baby anatomy and help reduce the chance of incontinence down the road.

Now, you may be asking, "so how do I strengthen my haunches and do good kegels?" So, next week, we will offer you five ways to increase your pelvic strength. In the meantime, try this week's workout to get started.

Bare Your Feet this Summer!

Your feet are not just for pedicures and cool shoes! Barefoot workouts trigger an awareness of how you connect with your floor surface during exercise. Whether you realize it or not, you likely support your body weight unevenly in three ways:

1. The most basic deviation is that one leg is stronger than the other so you therefore exert more pressure on one leg over the other. Everyone does this to some degree - the human body is less symmetrical than you might think.

To prevent this passive tendency from developing into a chronic injury requires strengthening movements that move the legs independently of one another. Theoretically you could perform these exercises in shoes but when your feet are bare, you are more apt to exert effort more evenly between your feet.

2. The second weight distribution imbalance involves the inside and outside and of your feet. People with weak arches and flatter feet tend to place more weight on the insides of the feet, to the detriment of the big toe, first meta-tarsal. Many people experience this condition. Less common but still possible is that people with high arches tend to distribute their weight more on the outside of the foot. Your doctor should be consulted if you have severe foot pain and/or orthopedic related issues.

Otherwise, exercising in your bare feet can help strengthen the muscles in the foot, which in turn, help keep your arches strong and stable. By shucking your shoes, you can also draw attention to the way that you exert pressure on the sides of each foot. If this focus works, you begin to realize how it feels to connect with the floor on all four corners of each foot. This even weight distribution helps you control the movement of your legs, making workouts more efficient and effective.

3. The last of the foot deviations is how you distribute your body weight between the front and back of your body. Do you tend to exert more pressure on your heel or do you press your toes down and keep your heels off of your floor. Shoes make understanding this factor extremely difficult because most shoes, even sneakers, lift the heel up higher than the front of the foot. You really have to shed all footwear to take notice of any tendency you have to plant your foot unevenly between the toes/ball and the heel of the foot.

Exercises that force you to press down into the floor with your heel tend to help you generate power at the hip and core. Squats are a great example: from the squatted position, you contract your glutes, and press into the floor with your heels to rise. If you do not press into the floor with your heel and drive the body up using your glutes and hips, your quads and back do all of the work (not good).

Moves that emphasize movement with the toes and ball of the foot depressed help recruit the back of the leg and the glutes, particularly the inner muscles of the glute that get so little action. This is why we trainers like hip bridges so much, and it's why we always remind you to press your toes into the floor.

Give your feet a chance this week and exercise without sneakers. Enjoy and please let us know if you have any specific questions or issues.

Celebrate Your Freedom from the Gym!

Americans commemorate the founding of our country each year with cook outs, visits to the beach or pool, and time with family and friends. Hopefully you are officially FREE of work responsibilities, and with that freedom, also free of the gym! 

As a reader here, you may already be free of the gym, and we would like to celebrate the holiday by giving you the chance to work with us at an amazing HALF PRICE offer when you purchase any of our services in the storefront here. 

Simply enter the code: 50FOIS at check out and you can learn how our team can help you get and stay in the best shape of your life, regardless of your age or ability level. 

But you have to hurry! This offer is only good on Thursday and Friday - it expires at the end of the day on July 4th! Click here to see the packages, membership options for inMOTION, and the GOBand and celebrate your Freedom from the Gym!

Summer Sizzle Tips

Now that the summer is officially here, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a little seasonal excitement. Whether you are fit, balanced, happily pudgy or pushing yourself to achieve a major health goal, these next two months should include a few key elements of the summer before time quickly fades into Labor Day memories. 

Water Water Water
This time of year is so perfect for water based activities, and even we urbanites have plenty of aqua options. Hit the beach or the pool and get all the way into the water. Water soothes, salt water helps rid the body of toxins, and moving around in water is exercise without feeling like exercise. 

More Water
Hydration matters. It really does, and it doesn't have to be fancy. Your body is 60-70% water but that level can vacillate between 50% and 75% and many physiological effects happen at that dehydration end of the spectrum: low energy, hormonal imbalances, poor decision making, etc. A big glass of water in the am, coupled with a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is almost completely sufficient in terms of hydration. Athletics notwithstanding. 

Try New Activities
Mix it up! Your body and your brain learn from new and different activities! By trying new physical activities, your brain is stimulated and creates new physiological connections, which can positively impact the entire body. Tennis, soccer, badminton, even ping pong are fun ways to spend time with friends or family AND mitigate the effects of sedentary life.

Protect Your Skin but Get Some Sun
Don't spend the summer indoors! A couple of times a day, you should get outside, though most experts agree that between the hours of 11:00 am and 2:00 pm, the sun is particularly harsh.  Invest in sunscreen and make outdoor time a daily ritual - our suggestion is a little in the am and a little after dinner. A NYTimes blog post from last year is a great resource for sunscreens, as they are definitely not all alike.

Grow Something
New York City is more than 3/4 of the way to planting a million trees as part of its environmental campaign from a few years ago. If you live in the city hopefully you've taken part in this program in some way, and hopefully this has encouraged you to grow something alive in your living environment. Regardless of where you are, however, these are excellent months to get something growing. And there's an added benefit: gardening is exercise! Taking care of your yard or even a little fire escape garden requires physical activity - it all makes a difference.

Enjoy!