plank exercise

Travel Exercise Tip #3

A fitness facility where you are staying can help keep you in the work out routine.  Even if you don’t have access to fitness equipment you can stay in shape while on the road.

Planks can be done anywhere to keep your core working even while you are on the road.  Try this plank variation that involves torso rotation to work your core muscles in a different way. Keep your arms extended, reach under and across with one arm, then rotate so that arm reaches up straight in the air. Repeat for 30-60 seconds on each side.

body weight squats

Travel Exercise Tip #2

A fitness facility where you are staying can help keep you in the work out routine.  Even if you don’t have access to fitness equipment you can stay in shape while on the road.

Body weight squats are an easy exercise to do any where and keep you on track with your work out.  If you have the space, add an explosive jump as you stand up. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.

bench push ups

Travel Exercise Tip #1

A fitness facility where you are staying can help keep you in the work out routine.  Even if you don’t have access to fitness equipment you can stay in shape while on the road.

Put your feet up on a bench or the bed and do push ups.  This will work a different part of your chest and shoulders and allow you to keep up with your exercise plan.  Repeat for 30-60 seconds.

lacrosse arm stretch

Tennis elbow is a common injury, even in people who don’t play tennis.  In many cases, forearm tightness contributes to the pain.  Improve forearm flexibility by stretching these muscles while rolling a lacrosse ball along each muscle group. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

spine stiffness exercise

Sitting for long periods of time can contribute to thoracic spine stiffness.  Keep your upper back moving well and improve your posture by arching over two lacrosse balls taped together.  Lie down on the balls so there is a ball on either side your spine, let your back arch over the balls.  Hold for 30 seconds and try again at a different level of your upper back.

Shoulder lacrosse ball exercise

A common finding in patients with rotator cuff tendonopathy is posterior shoulder tightness. It is also important to maintain shoulder mobility when working out.  To self mobilize this area of your shoulder roll a lacrosse ball along the back of your shoulder while you stretch your arm across your body.

lacrosse ball exercise

Tightness around the hip can contribute to problems such as sciatica, osteoarthritis and bursitis.  A lacrosse ball is a great way to release the deep muscles on the back of your hip to free up better range of motion. Put the ball under your hip and roll up, down, side to side, and around for 30-60 seconds

shin split exercise

Shin splints – Muscle tightness in the lower leg can cause pulling along its insertion on the bone contributing to shin splints.  Maintaining flexibility in the muscles of the lower leg can help with treating and preventing shin splints. Use a lacrosse ball to roll along the muscles of the front, side, and back of the lower leg. Spend 30-60 seconds on each muscle group, moving along the entire leg.

weighted balance exercise

Weighted Balance Exercise – Single leg exercises can help improve balance.  Adding weights and movements outside your base of support will challenge your balance even more.  Hold weights in your hand and stand on one foot.  Keep your upper body and pelvis steady as your reach your foot out and lightly tap down and return to the start position.  Do 15 reps and repeat on the opposite side.

shoulder mobilization exercise

Shoulder Self Mobilization – The mechanics of the shoulder joint involves a posterior glide as your arm moves up overhead.  When your shoulder gets stiff or injured, this glide is limited and the movement feels stiff and sore.  To help restore this glide and decrease pain with overhead movement, wrap a band around your shoulder and pull the band back and around your back.  This will facilitate the posterior glide as your lift your arm up. Do 8-10 reps 3 times daily, or before any over head exercise at the gym to maximize your shoulder mobility. 

glute activation exercise

Gluteal Activation with Lunge – Keeping the knee in line with your ankle is important when performing the squat or lunge.  Injuries can happen when the knee falls in with these types of activities.  Make sure this does not happen and strengthen your glutes by wrapping a band around your knee when you do a static lunge.  The band will pull your knee in, but you need to use your glutes by turning your knee out and tracking it over your ankle. Do 3 set of 15 reps.

shoulder strength exercise

Overhead Shoulder Strength – The rotator cuff plays an important role in shoulder function.  Overhead activity can put strain on the shoulder.  Strengthening the rotator cuff in the overhead position can prevent injury and improve your over head lifts.  Hold a band with the hands and elbows on the wall.  Stretch the band apart and slide your hands up the wall.  Hold 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.

plie squat

Plie Exercise – This exercise activates multiple important muscles that help control movement in the lower extremity during functional tasks. The tibialis posterior, quadriceps, and gluteal muscle groups are working when you do this exercise. Squeeze a ball between your heels as your rise up on your toes. Keep your knees bent and turned out slightly to maintain the ball between your heels. Hold 5-10 seconds and repeat 12 times.

african dance

African dance is medicine for the mind, body and spirit. The dancing style consists of: movement jumping, waving, turning, dancing low and high, using body halves, sides, and cross lateral developmental patterns. Also, dancing can reverse aging in the brain.

bridge curl exercise

Bridging with a Curl – Core strength is important for general health and injury prevention.  This is a dynamic core strengthening exercise because it forces you to stabilize yourself while adding movement.  Place your feet on the stability ball.  Lift your hips off the floor and pull the ball in toward you and then roll the ball back out.  Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

tricep press and push up

Tricep Press/ Push up – Work your core and shoulder stabilizing muscles by using the stability ball to perform a close grip push up.  Keep your hands close to each other and from a plank position, press yourself straight up so your arms are fully extended.  When the push up gets too easy, make it more challenging and target the triceps by focusing on just extending your elbows. Start with 6 reps and work up to 20 reps.

tricep press and push up

Tricep Press/ Push up – Work your core and shoulder stabilizing muscles by using the stability ball to perform a close grip push up.  Keep your hands close to each other and from a plank position, press yourself straight up so your arms are fully extended.  When the push up gets too easy, make it more challenging and target the triceps by focusing on just extending your elbows. Start with 6 reps and work up to 20 reps.

elevated squat

Rear Foot Elevated Squat – Practice your balance and make your lunge more challenging by putting a stability ball under your back foot.  Take a long step and place your back foot on the stability ball.  Squat straight down and keep your front knee over your foot and in line with your third toe. Stand up tall. Repeat on the same side for 10-12 reps and then switch feet.

woman meditating in desert

Thoughts are powerful. Pay close attention to yours. Be mindful of negative thoughts and shift them to positive thoughts. This can be applied to your workout as well. Read “Think Positive Thoughts For A Better Workout.”

Shoulder exercise

Shoulders rely on a strong core for proper function and injury prevention.  Combine core and shoulder exercises to trigger the co-contraction of both areas.  In the side plank position, use a rubber band to perform external rotation strengthening. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

ankle strengthening exercise

Ankle sprains are a common injury in the active population. To prevent injury or recover from an ankle sprain, it is important to strengthen the outside part of your lower leg and ankle.  Tie a rubber band around your foot and loop it around the other foot.  Hold the band tight with your arms and move your foot out (eversion).  Don’t let your hip or knee rotate in or out. For each set continue until the leg is fatigued and do 3 sets.

Core exercises

Having a strong core provides a foundation to allow efficient movement of the limbs.  This exercise trains the core to prevent trunk rotation while moving the arms against resistance.  In the kneeling position, move your arms forward, then up over head, then slowly lower and return to the starting position.  The tied up band will pull you to the side.  You need to engage your core and prevent the rotation.  Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

foam rolling

To improve flexibility and mobility, a foam roller can help to work out tight areas of muscles.  The IT band on the outside part of the thigh tends to get tight.  Rolling on the foam roll from your hip to your knee can make the leg feel loose and limber. Roll slowly back and forth from the hip to the knee 5-10 times.

balance exercise

Balance should be incorporated into exercise programs for all ages and abilities.  Balance can be improved with single leg exercise and movements outside of the base of support.  Using a “star” on the floor, stand on one foot in the middle and move the other leg as far as you feel comfortable along each line.  You will need to crossover in front or behind to hit all lines. 

man running on the beach

Improving your endurance can have wide ranging benefits, both in your daily life and your workout routine.  Working on endurance takes time, patience, and consistency.  Aim for 3-4 sessions per week and stick to it, even if it means alternating easy and hard days.  When you get into a consistent routine, your endurance (and performance) will improve consistently.

hip stretch

Flexibility is an important component of staying healthy and active.  The hip flexor muscle group is a common area to become tight.  Tightness can occur due to prolonged sitting, abnormal movement patterns, and weakness around the the hip, low back and core.  To effectively stretch this muscle group, it is important to rotate the pelvis backwards (posterior pelvic tilt) and push the hip forward without arching the back. Hold for at least 30 seconds, 3 times.

hip exercises

Strong hips can prevent back pain and lower extremity injuries. To improve strength around the hip, do the “clamshell” exercise. This exercise has been shown to be effective in strengthening the important hip abductor muscles. Complete 3 sets, for each set do as many reps as you can until fatigue or technique fails.

lateral jumps

Improve your speed with “quick feet” drills.  An easy exercise to help improve speed is to quickly hop over a line (side to side or forward and back).  Perform the hops for 20 seconds and see how many you can complete in 20 seconds.  Take a break and try to get more hops in on your next try.

woman eating oatmeal

Breakfast is an important meal as it provides fuel for the rest of the day. Making your breakfast meal interesting is one way to make it an important part of your day! Learn 8 Ways To Augment The Oatmeal Breakfast.

woman achieving success

Set a health and fitness goal and tell your friends and family about it and how you are going to accomplish it.  Telling people about your plans will enhance your commitment and accountability.

mature athlete cycling

Consider taking up cycling as your go to cardiovascular workout. It is a great work out, you can enjoy the environment, and it is a hobby that can take you on different traveling adventures. As an added bonus, you can usually find a cycling group and reap the social benefits of exercise. Read the profound effects of Parkinson’s Disease and Cycling.

mature athlete jump roping

Stop making excuses for not exercising. With HIIT, only a short workout might be all you need to improve fitness and function.

man sprinting in park

Add lateral wind sprints into your training. This improves running speed, endurance and overall fitness level.

running race

Sign up for a 5K charity race and collect donations. This provides a concrete goal and responsibility to follow through on completing it. Starting a running or walking program is a great way to stay healthy. Learn how to become a runner at any age.

mature athlete kettlebell training

Stay strong and active throughout your life. The stronger you are, the more likely will be able to keep up with your kids and grandkids with their activities. Increase strength, increase lifespan.

male runner performing lunges

When starting a new sport season, prepare your body for that particular exercise. Some specific exercises before starting an activity can help prevent injury and improve performance. Read “6 Exercise To Get Ready For Hockey Season.”

woman reaching for food

To avoid overeating, stop eating before you feel full. There is a delay between feeling full and actually being full, causing us to continue eating. Read “6 Ways To Avoid Hunger That Leads To Overeating.”

mature woman lifting weights

Build strength by working until fatigue. Whether you use high reps or high weight, working until fatigue will overload the muscle and stimulate growth.

Optimize results of your workout

Add exercises with suspension straps to your workout routine. Using suspension straps really challenges your core and stabilizing muscles because you are pushing and holding your limbs on an unsteady surface.

hiking in the mountains

Try hiking as part of your exercise routine. Hiking can challenge your endurance and build lower extremity strength. Being outdoors and enjoying the environment will also make the exercise satisfying. Read FastTwitchGrandma approved “10 Trails To Visit This Summer.”

father and son

One of the keys to happiness involves relationships. Studies show that people with strong, positive relationships reported higher levels of happiness. Just like you need to put time into strengthening your muscles, you need to put time into strengthening the relationship with people close to you.

woman planking

Getting started on exercise can seem overwhelming, but some simple exercises are very helpful both physically and mentally. Isometric exercises are simple and can be done anywhere, by almost anyone. Learn about “Isometric Exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease.”

nutrition

What we eat affects each person differently. Choose foods that have a positive impact on your workout, your health, and how you feel. Consult a nutritionalist or dietician for a personalized diet plan. Read “The Importance Of Food: What Should I Eat?” for more information.

woman doing lunges

Try placing your back foot on a box or a chair for static lunges. This will force the glutes and the quads on the front leg to do the majority of the work.

group jumping on boxes

Do you feel pain in your knees, hips, or back after running? Try changing your landing pattern to the balls of your feet instead of striking on the heel. Shock is absorbed by muscles more than these joints with the forefoot landing.

woman stretching

Keep your brain sharp with exercise. Exercise helps to maintain and improve cognitive function and could delay the onset of cognitive decline. Learn more on how to train your body and your brain.

man running a hill

Run for the hills! Do hill sprints at least once a week to build lung capacity, leg strength, and power.

restaurant in rome

Reward yourself with a cheat day each week. Cheat days can help you avoid a binge on a craving you might have on other days during the week and keep motivated to stay on a healthy eating lifestyle until your next cheat day.

physical therapy

Get checked out! If you are noticing pain or discomfort with your activities, go see your doctor or physical therapist before the injury becomes chronic and more difficult to treat.

sprinting

Add in bouts of high intensity interval training to your daily run by trying to keep up to a car that is passing you. When you increase your pace intermittently, you are improving speed and getting benefits of HIIT. Learn more about the benefits of HIIT in FastTwitchGrandma’s ebook.

women playing tennis

Consider making use of an active recovery day. Taking a rest day from your regular routine can help recharge your body. Active recovery is essentially a different and easier workout compared to your normal routine. If you lift weights, go for a walk or try a new activity (ie tennis) on your rest day.

father and child flying a kite

Start your day by thinking about one positive thing in your life. When there are times of stress during the day, remind yourself of that positive thing in your life.

Make use of a mini trampoline during your workout. A mini trampoline adds the element of an unstable surface which forces you to use stabilizing muscles and improves your balance. You can also use a mini trampoline for high intensity interval training.

woman foam rolling

Add foam rolling to your flexibility routine. Foam rolling can help keep muscles feeling limber and improve your range of motion. You can use foam rollers, tennis balls, or lacrosse balls to work out tight muscles.

woman boxing

Try taking a boxing training class. Training for boxing requires full body strength, cardiovascular fitness, and core stability training. Learn how a midday boxing session could make you a better worker.

woman performing pull ups

Simplify your workout by focusing on functional movement patterns. Functional movement patterns make use of multiple muscle groups and provide strength for everyday activities. Learn 4 essential exercises.

woman dancing

Dance while you do your chores around the house. Dancing will help you burn more calories and make the boring job fun!

Add rotator cuff strengthening to your workout routine. It can help you lift more weight and help prevent injuries.

man snacking

When you eat is as important as what you eat. Try to eat multiple small meals throughout the day, instead of a large meal at the end of the day. Even if it is a healthy meal, you don’t have enough time to burn the calories of the meal. Learn about dopamine dysfunction.

woman planking on track

Make sure to incorporate core training into your workout routine. A strong core can help you make more gains in your strength training and prevent injuries. Learn the 4 stages of core training.

woman doing yoga

Take a yoga class. There are many physical and mental health benefits that you will gain with yoga. No matter what level you are at, it can be a fun and effective workout. Learn 3 reasons you should hit the mat.

woman deep breathing

Take time during the day to day dream. Imagine yourself in your perfect place or list all that positive aspects of your life. Smile and breathe deeply and slowly as the stress of life melts away. Learn how to practice mindfulness.

Stop dieting. Instead of trying to follow a diet plan that is unsustainable, make a lifestyle change and prioritize healthy eating.

man walking with dumbbells

Hold on to light dumbbells while you walk on the treadmill. Each minute do a different exercise with the dumbbells (shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, wrist curls, front raises, etc).

box jumps

Add plyometric training to your workout routine. This type of training involves short bursts of explosive muscle contractions to build power. Use a sturdy box to jump up onto it and then quickly off; start with 15 reps.

woman hiking

Take time for you. Spend time each week doing something just for you. This will make you feel happy and give you a chance to de-stress.

beet juice

Learn to fight fatigue. Beet juice can help with increasing stamina by 16%. Also, focus on getting adequate rest and fueling yourself properly.

woman planking

Plank every day. Start with 20 seconds and add 3-5 seconds every day. This can strengthen your core and prevent lower back problems.

circuit training in the park

Try circuit training for your workout routine. Quickly move through 8-10 exercise stations doing 10-30 reps for each. It gets your heart rate up and targets all areas of the body.

father and daughter playing tennis

Take up a racket sport like tennis or pickle ball. You get a cardio work out, you will be working both upper and lower body, and it will improve your hand eye coordination.

group volunteering

Volunteer your time and energy with a charitable organization or community group. Helping others can make you feel happy, broaden your social network, and give you a chance to experience new learning opportunities.

squats

Maintain mobility in all your joints by moving each joint through it’s full range of movement every day. Start with your toes and work your way up to our neck.

self love

Value yourself and your journey of health and wellbeing. Celebrate your successes and avoid self criticism.

counting calories

Track everything you eat for 3-4 days by listing what you ate, the calories, and the amount of fat and sugar. If you have to write down what you eat, you will be more likely to choose the healthier option. You will also see your typical intake and be able to see where you can make better decisions.

Exercise class

Sign up for an exercise class once a week. This will add a different stimulus to your body and working out with others can be fun!

woman skipping in the morning

Include jump rope as a cardio workout. It is inexpensive, helps tone the body, and can be done almost anywhere.

weightlifting spotter

Make use of a spotter when lifting weights. This will help ensure you use proper form and will help you get a few extra reps.

When you eat out, ask for a takeout container before you start eating and put half your meal in it for lunch the next day. This will prevent overeating and wasting food, while saving money on lunch the next day.

Ride your bike to work. You can lose extra weight, as well as be energized for work and when you get home. Plus, you get two free work outs each day!

Think positive. Seeing the positive side of situations will lower stress and keep you happy.

Pack your work out gear before you go to bed for the next morning. This will save you time in the morning and help your follow through on getting the work out in.

Lift weights and then do cardio. By lifting weights first your body has used up all your carbohydrates for energy; when you move on to the cardio, it will force your body to use its fat stores for fuel.

Add rowing to your workout routine. Rowing burns extra calories and strengthens the muscles of your shoulders and back to help with posture.

Prepare meals for the week ahead of time. Spend Sunday evening preparing all your meals for the week so that you can ensure a healthy meal and not have to worry about the time it takes after a long day at work.

Get a sit-stand work station. Having the option to change from sitting to standing can help improve posture.

Park further away than you normally would (i.e. back row of the parking lot or a block up the road). This forces you to increase the amount of steps you take in a day, and in turn burn more calories.

Do 10 push ups, 10 partial curl ups, and 10 squats every morning. This will kick start your heart, get the blood flowing, and give you a burst of energy to start your day.

Practice kicking the soccer ball to improve the adductors (inner thigh), quadriceps (front thigh), hips, and glutes (backside). As you kick the ball around you will discover other benefits!

To help with portion control, use a smaller plate at dinner time and fill it up. When you see the full plate in front of you, it tricks your brain into thinking you are eating more food.

Keep a daily fitness journal. Writing down your accomplishments will give you a sense of pride and encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle so you can write about it in your journal.

Go for a walk and add a few hills! Practice dorsiflexion (when the foot flexes up toward the knee). This improves ankle range of motion which is especially important for power movements such as sprinting.

Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your journal. This will put you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Mix it up! Every 6-8 weeks, change your workout routine to keep your body guessing.

Schedule meditation into your daily routine. It only takes 5-10 minutes and it can help manage stress and recharge your brain.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. In addition to being more active, the stairs helps to strengthen your quadriceps (front of the legs), hamstrings(back of the legs), and gluteal muscle groups (backside).

Get in the water! Try running and exercising in the pool. The water provides resistance as you move your arms and legs through the water. The buoyancy of the water also limits the impact on your joints. As a bonus, it is refreshing on a hot summer day!

Drink more water! Lack of appropriate fluid intake is associated with decreased muscle performance, decreased cognitive function, headaches, increased joint pain, and increase in symptoms of chronic disease. Rule of thumb: if your urine is not clear, then drink more water!

Break up your 30 minutes of daily exercise into 3 separate 10 minute bouts. This can make exercising effective, manageable, and also less time consuming.

Set short and long term fitness goals. Short goals could involve getting into a routine (exercise 3-4 days per week). Long term goals might include signing up for an event or a race. Setting goals will keep you on track and motivated.

Your next posture is your best posture. If you sit for extended periods, set an alarm to remind you to get up and move every 20-30 minutes.

Build a garden in your yard. The work to build and maintain the garden keeps you active, and growing fresh vegetables and herbs keeps your diet healthy.

Start a family activity night. Spend 30 minutes after dinner participating in an activity (go for a walk, play in the yard, soccer at the park). Take turns choosing the activity.

Run the stairs for cardio. Running the stairs can help burn more calories and build lower body strength in a shorter amount of time.

Try the tabata protocol with your work out one day. This training protocol involves performing a particular exercise (or exercises) at high intensity for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated 8 times for a total training time of 4 minutes.

Get your playlist working for you. Fast paced and motivating music can give you an added boost of energy to get through your work out.

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