Categories
Healthy Living

Freshen Up Your Fitness Routine with this Circuit Training Workout

Are you looking for fun ways to freshen up your workout? With a change of season around the corner, now is the perfect time to start spring cleaning your fitness routine.

During the long winter months, it’s common to get into a workout rut, sticking with the same stale exercises every day. But over time, these predictable movement patterns cause your brain and body to become bored.

For fitness to flourish, you must satisfy your craving for change and challenge. One of the best ways to do this is by trying something new, such as circuit training. This method involves choosing five to eight exercises that, when put together, target multiple muscle groups. You practice each part with little rest in between exercises, then repeat the entire sequence two to three times.

Not only is this form of exercise more exciting, but it also can boost metabolism, enhance endurance, improve cardiovascular health, and yield greater physical gains. It’s a great way to ward off potential injuries, too, because you’re engaging a variety of muscle groups instead of the same ones constantly.

For the following total-body circuit, you will need a set of free weights that provides a good challenge. Try to keep rest breaks to 60 seconds or less so your heart rate is elevated from start to finish, but take more time if you need it. Once you complete the first round, rest for three minutes and repeat the entire circuit two more times.

Side plank squeeze

  • Rest on your right side, propping your weight up on your right forearm. The shoulder and elbow will be aligned and legs are stacked.
  • Engage your core as you push through your forearm, feet, and hips to elevate the body into a straight line from the head through the feet.
  • Once balanced, lift your left arm overhead. Bring the left elbow and left knee in until they almost touch. Squeeze the obliques, on the sides of your abdomen, for two counts. Release and repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Standing crunch

  • Stand in a staggered stance with the left leg in front and arms extended overhead. Both feet are pointed forward.
  • Lower the arms and lift the right knee to activate the abs. Hold this pose for two counts then release. Rapidly repeat this movement eight times, then switch sides. Make sure your grounded leg is stable. If you feel your knee wobbling as you move, slow down to regain balance.

Squat shoulder press

  • Stand tall with a weight in each hand. Feet are slightly wider than hip-width apart. Bring the weights up to shoulder height, palms facing in.
  • With your weight in your heels, hinge back at the hips and lower into a squat. Hold for two counts.
  • Simultaneously push through the heels and extend the arms up. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times

Reverse lunge lift

  • Begin by standing with the feet hip-distance apart with your hands resting on your hips.
  • Take a step back with the right foot, keeping your body weight in your front heel as you lower into a lunge. The knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, the shoulders are over the hips, and your back knee is under your hip.
  • Hold for two counts, then push through your front heel to stand and drive your right knee up toward the torso. Keep the left foot in place as you perform seven more reps. When complete, switch sides.

Jumping jacks

  • Pump your arms and legs quickly, landing lightly on the balls of your feet, 15 times.
Categories
Active Aging

7 Inspiring YouTube Channels for Senior Fitness

As cold weather sets in, it can be more challenging to get outside and get moving! Staying active during the colder months is critical for your overall health and wellness, so don’t let the cool temperatures interfere with your wellness goals. 

One of the best ways to stay fit while having fun is to follow YouTube channels dedicated to senior fitness. With options for every fitness level and desired workout style, you’ll find enough variety to get you through until spring! (Note: Be sure to talk with your doctor before embarking on any new fitness plan.)

Here are seven of the best channels to jumpstart your at-home fitness journey today.

Fitness Blender

This husband-and-wife team brings energy, excitement, and compassion with more than 600 free videos. While they fill their videos with plenty of enthusiasm, they also understand that everyone’s fitness journey moves at a different pace. Curated playlists include a low-impact series for beginners or those with mobility issues. You can also search by video length, with plenty that are 10 minutes or less! The team releases a new video every week or two, as well as nutrition plans and suggestions for those who would like to pair their workouts with healthy meals.

BeFit

If variety helps you stick with a fitness routine, the BeFit channel might be for you! BeFit has something for everyone with a collection of classic videos from fitness legends like Jane Fonda alongside newer trainers like Jillian Michaels and Billy Blanks. It’s easy to search through the collection for keywords such as “standing” or “low-impact” if you’re looking for a place to begin your fitness journey.

HASfit

With over 1,000 free videos and an energetic duo of trainers leading the way, the HASfit channel will keep you on track at every stage of your fitness journey. The team focuses on curated wellness plans for any fitness level, complete with meal ideas and motivational mantras. Start with the “Exercises for Seniors” playlist if you’re just beginning your fitness journey or need to stick with low-impact or seated workouts.

Photo: FG Trade via gettyimages.com

SeniorShape

Created by a certified senior fitness expert, Senior Shape is dedicated to active aging at all stages. You’ll find various workouts here that range from low-impact, seated, 10-minute videos to full-body high-intensity cardio classes. There are several categories for pain relief or stretches that target specific areas, so you can find a video to follow even on the days when you have less energy or an injury to overcome.

Senior Fitness with Meredith

If you’d like a wide variety of workouts to choose from, and all geared towards seniors, Meredith’s channel is a great place to start. With workouts that use only bodyweight all the way to classes featuring resistance bands and hand weights, these videos are easy to follow and can support any fitness level. Frequent live-stream workouts are a great way to make fitness part of your regular routine. Set an alarm to join in when Meredith guides a live (virtual) audience through a new routine, and you’ll feel as if you’re in the class with other motivated peers.

The Body Coach

This diverse channel is great to share with the whole family, including the grandkids! Featuring many trainers and series, The Body Coach produces videos that help get kids excited about working out alongside their peers, parents, and communities. Other series, including a 7-Day Seniors Workout Challenge, help take the guesswork out of planning a consistent fitness routine. As an added bonus, many of the videos feature trainers working out around the world, so you can go on a virtual vacation as you exercise!

Walk at Home

Walking is a great low-impact cardio workout that’s accessible almost anywhere! If it’s easier to stay home while you exercise, get some virtual company with these walk-at-home videos. Featuring different lengths and goals (like a “heart-healthy walk” or a “happy walk”), these videos make it easy to slip on your sneakers and get closer to your 10,000 daily steps.

Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey or you’re looking for new and exciting activities to try at home, these fitness channels offer an almost endless variety to keep you fit and engaged every step of the way!

Categories
Active Aging

Don’t Give Up On Your Fitness Goals in the Winter With These Tips

With freezing temperatures, snow, and the business of the holiday season, staying active during the winter months can be a challenge for even the most physically fit and motivated. However, colder weather is no reason to abandon your fitness journey or delay reaching your goals. Here are seven ways to stay on track with your goals during cooler weather.

Lace-Up Properly

Good shoes are a must for anyone for day-to-day use, but proper footwear is especially crucial if you’ll be walking or running through snow or ice. Look for waterproof shoes and thick socks to stay dry and warm on your next outdoor walk.

Enjoy the Outdoors

Not every day of the winter will be unbearably cold. Go outside when you can, and stay in the sunshine to warm up, whether you’re on a walk, playing a sport, or just enjoying nature. This can help reduce the stress that can come during the time of year when the weather can feel particularly gray and dull.

When in Doubt, Walk it Out

Walking is one of the most simplistic exercises you can do when it’s cold outside since it requires no equipment other than the few extra layers you’ll need to bundle up with before hitting the road. Throw on a knit cap and a light jacket that doesn’t restrict your movement for some extra warmth. Pay special attention to road conditions to avoid slipping on ice. Stick to paved sidewalks, and consider driving the route you intend to walk ahead of time to make sure the snow has been cleared.

Photo: South_agency via gettyimages.com

Don’t Skip the Stretch

Stretching before a workout is always a good idea, but in the colder weather, the added warmth that your muscles will gain from stretching is critical. Stretching will allow your muscles to loosen and be less stiff once you head outdoors. You’ll be glad you stretched ahead of time once you begin any exercise, such as walking, ice skating, or cycling.

Invest in the Gym Membership

If it’s simply too cold to reasonably and safely exercise outdoors, the winter months are a perfect time to join a local gym. Many gyms nationwide offer the first couple of weeks or even months free to new customers and allow you to cancel at any time, making a gym an affordable and safe option for when it’s just too cold to exercise outdoors. Depending on what kind of gym you join, you can take advantage of exercise options available such as lap swimming or indoor cycling that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do in the colder months.

Create your Own In-Home Gym

If you’re up for the challenge and have the space, you can create your own home setup that can incorporate some of your favourite workouts into your routine at home while also giving you the creative freedom to add fresh ideas to your space. Try adding a yoga mat or a dumbbell rack to give you plenty to work with as you temporarily shift your workouts to be primarily indoors.

Stay Hydrated

Though you may not feel as thirsty as during the hot summer months, drinking enough water is just as critical in the winter. Hydrate before, during, and after exercise. Carry an insulated water bottle if you want to drink warm water to stay extra toasty on a chilly day.

Everything Counts

Staying active during the winter months doesn’t need to mean strenuous workouts you’ll dread doing. Shovelling snow, running up and down the stairs, vacuuming or mopping the house, or even doing a DIY project in your home are all excellent ways to keep moving even if you don’t have a workout planned on a frigid day. Get creative and make it fun. The most important thing to remember is to keep moving!

Categories
Women's Health

12 Gifts to Wow the Fitness Lover in Your Life

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about choosing the perfect gifts for family and friends. 

If you have a loved one in your life who’s always at the gym or have heard a friend talking about how she plans to get fit come the new year, a fitness-themed gift might be just the thing to make her smile. But, it can be hard to know where to begin with so many options on the market.

We rounded up 12 items that are sure to be the highlight of the holidays for any fitness guru or beginner—suitable for all sorts of budgets, lifestyles, and activities.

Smartwatch

Smartwatches have always been a hot consumer product—and for good reason. There are tons of features to help track your daily steps, calories burned, calorie intake, and even time spent on specific exercises, all with a swipe of a finger. You can also send a quick text or queue up your music when you’re on the go. There are many styles available, so you’re sure to find one that will best fit her needs.

Roller

At the end of any good workout, joints in her back and calves may need relief from stiffness and soreness. A roller helps soothe and restore burned-out muscles. Rollers are typically inexpensive and easy to store, making them the perfect she-didn’t-know-she-needed-it gift!

Fitness Log or Workout Planner

We can do nearly everything digitally these days, but sometimes it can be nice to physically write down a list to help stay on track. Fitness goals are no exception. Most varieties of this type of journal have the same things she would find in a digital fitness tracker, with space to write planned workouts for specific days and food and nutrition records.

Slides

There’s something simply unsatisfying about leaving running shoes or trainers on after a workout. Treat her feet to a nice pair of cushiony slides or foam sandles for some much-needed relief.

Blender

Allow your fitness fiend to whip up a delicious pre- or post-workout smoothie with a durable blender. Try an individually sized blender that comes with a built-in personal cup for added convenience and ease of use. 

Epsom Salt

Though a package of Epsom salt may sound like a strange choice for a gift, the relief for hard-working muscles your recipient will experience from taking a warm Epsom salt bath will speak for itself. She can also use it as a holistic remedy for headaches.

Photo: Leonardo Patrizi via gettyimages.com

Gym Bag

Gym bags are notorious for getting smelly and worn out in little time, so chances are she’s due for a new one. The many styles and colours mean there’s one out there that is sure to meet her needs for ease of use and include just the right amount of space for gear.

Protein Powder

Nutritionary supplements can play an important role in building and restoring muscle. Gift one of the many tasty flavours on the market to add a (healthy) taste of joy to the holiday season.

Bars, Snacks, Supplements

For a super affordable (though no less desirable) option, grab a handful of protein bars, drink mixes, or vitamins from the grocery store for the perfect stocking stuffer. You might just help her find a new favourite.

Yoga Mat

Useful for yoga and more, mats can turn any floor into a clean surface to stretch or perform basic exercises like push-ups or sit-ups. Choose her favourite colour for a personal touch.

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are the perfect gift for the woman in your life who does lots of strength training in her workouts, regardless of how new she may be to it. They typically come in packs of multiple bands, so you can even gift yourself one.

Accessories

If you’re in a pinch or even if you see something that catches your eye, gifts like socks, shoelaces, headbands, and hair ties are things you can never have too many of and come in fun patterns to personalize her workout look.

Whether she’s a beginner or fitness fanatic, our list of gifts is an excellent place to start if you’re unsure what to get her. Happy present hunting!