Health and Fitness Tips and Inspiration

  1. The Benefits of Ellipticals



    Whether you have trained on ellipticals for years or are just starting to fit an elliptical into your fitness routine, elliptical cross training has a variety of benefits that can help a person get into shape and stay healthy. The following list describes some of the benefits elliptical cross training brings!

    1. Elliptical cross training is a low-impact workout that is great for cardiovascular health! Before elliptical cross trainers were made widely available to the public, people who wanted intense cardio activity were limited to high-impact exercise.
    2. Ellipticals can be used by all ages of people and they are easy to figure out. Most allow you to hop on and go.
    3. It is a workout that is easy on the joints. With an elliptical, you can get in a vigorous, heart-pounding workout that doesn’t pound on your joints!
    4. Elliptical cross trainers provide excellent weight-bearing exercise which helps strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. There are also muscle-toning benefits because of this!
    5. You will work your upper and lower body at the same time. With some workouts your focus is either on just the legs, or only the arms. With an elliptical you can work both! Ellipticals also have built in programs that allow you to change up your program and provides some workout variety
    6. Ellipticals do provide for some multi-tasking. If you need to read the latest magazine or catch up on emails, you usually have the capability to get these done while continuing to get your cardio on.
    7. And last, but not least, you can pedal in reverse. There are claims that pedaling in reverse works the calves and hamstrings more than pedaling in forward motion. It's fun to try, so give it a go.
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  2. Motivation tips to get you moving and have FUN!





    The biggest barrier to working out is seeing it as “WORK”. Sometimes all we need is a little fun to keep us going! If you need some exercise motivation, give the following tips a try. Make your workout seem less like work and more like FUN!


    • If you love to read, try reading while riding a stationary bike or on an elliptical. Grab your phone, tablet, or latest gossip magazine. Reading can be a fun distraction while working out – just make sure to keep proper form and don’t slack in your pedaling while catching up on the latest news!

    • Instead of being a couch potato the next time you watch TV, hop on a treadmill or elliptical while you watch your favorite shows! Turn a 30 minute TV show into a circuit workout. Pedal, walk or run during show segments and use the commercial time for crunches, push-ups, or jumping jacks. You can also run the stairs, take a lap outside, or crank up the intensity during those 2 minute breaks. This will give you a great interval workout

    • Call a friend, co-worker, or spouse to help motivate you and keep you on track. Setting a workout time and place to exercise together will both be more fun and keep you from bowing out of a sweat session. Working out with a partner could also spark some friendly competition and they will cheer you on as you go.

    • Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs that energize you and keep you moving! Pick out fast paced songs that you love and that will keep your body and mind stimulated. When the music is pumping, you are less likely to slack!

    • If indoor fitness equipment is a challenge, be creative and use the things in your house or apartment to create a circuit. Use chairs for tricep dips, run the stairs, take a lap around your house, use cans of soup for weights, or purchase exercise bands. Resistance bands are a low cost alternative to dumbbells and weights. They can be used anywhere and can easily be packed in a bag or purse for mid-day workouts.
    • Don't let a time crunch be a factor for you. You don't need to dedicate an entire 30-60 minute segment to working out. Try interval training in 10-15 minute "chunks". Warm up, follow with some moderate intensity exercise, followed by 2 minutes of high-intensity exercises. Alternate back and forth of moderate to high-intensity until your time has expired. Remember, breaking a 30 minute exercise routine into 2 "chunks" of time, is far better than not exercising at all.

    • Always remind yourself that exercise has many benefits beyond weight loss. You'll feel healthier, happier, and potentially live a longer life with staying active. If you are looking for weight loss, remember, the weight didn't come on overnight, don't expect it to come off overnight. Stay focused, motivated, and be patient with yourself. Don't get discouraged.

    • Remember, making exercise FUN is a great way to keep you moving and motivated on your fitness journey.
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  3. 4 Stretches To Do After Your Cardio Workout



    After you've finished your cardio workout it's time to give those those muscles a good stretch so you can avoid soreness, fatigue, back pain or even injury. The muscles you've worked so hard during your exercise need time to recover so they're ready for your next workout. Here are 4 stretches you should do after your cardio workout:

    1. Side Lunge Stretch
    The side lunge stretches the hip adductors. Tight hips can lead to a variety of injuries in the knees, back and hamstrings. To do this stretch: Stand upright, with both feet facing forward, double shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or thighs, in order to keep your back straight. Slowly exhale, taking your bodyweight across to one side. Avoid leaning forward, or taking the knee of the bent leg over your toes.

    2. Crossover Stretch
    The crossover stretch will help to release your hips, iliotibial (IT) band and lower back. To do this stretch: Lie down with your legs straight and your arms extended out to the side. Bend one knee up towards your chest and place your opposite hand on your knee. Slowly pull your knee across your body towards the ground until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for approximately 15-30 seconds.

    3. Hamstrings Stretch

    Tight hamstrings can cause back pain, discomfort and difficulty lifting your legs. Stretching these muscles regularly can help to alleviate these effects. To do this stretch: Move your right foot toward your inner thigh, so that it touches the top part of your left leg, if possible. Lean forward, bending but not rounding your back and waist toward the left foot as if reaching for your toes. Repeat with the other leg.

    4. Quadriceps Stretch After exercise like running, quads can tighten which can bring on strains and knee injuries. To do this stretch: stand upright and pull your leg behind you with the corresponding hand. Try to keep your knee pointing downward as you do this stretch to protect your knee joint.

    Another tip we suggest here at 2nd Wind is to try mixing up your workouts for better results and to avoid muscle fatigue. If you're sore from your previous workout, try changing up the muscle movements next time. For instance, if you like to run, try a rowing exercise the next time around. This change offers less impact on the joints and changes your muscle movements.
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  4. 4 Reasons Why I Decided to Build a Home Gym



    Written by Dave Indelicato, Fitness Consultant with 2nd Wind store, Oklahoma City. Dave is a NASM Certified Trainer, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist who formerly managed 6 gyms and owned 5 nutrition stores. Fitness has been a part of his life for years. Read his take on why he chose the home gym route over a membership, and how it's made exercising so much easier and accessible each day with a young family.

    "Fitness has been a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have some equipment at home to workout with, but I always told myself that no matter what, I would still need to go to the gym. I just didn’t think that I would ever be able to get the intense and various workouts I needed in my house. When my wife and I found out that we were expecting our 2nd child we decided to take a leap and tackle our fitness goals at home. We hoped that having what we needed at the house would make it easier for us to find time to workout once we had two children to chase after. We didn’t get too crazy when picking out our equipment: an elliptical, a bench, some adjustable dumbbells, and a home gym. Well, after 17 years of absolute certainty regarding my workout needs I officially stand corrected. 20 minutes into my first workout at home I could not stop counting the reasons why my gym was better than any I had ever paid a membership for. For those of you who have been on the fence about creating your own gym, consider the following:

    Money: My wife and I are saving approximately $135.00/month in gym fees, gas, and toll fees. Time: The amount of time saved is almost incalculable. There is no drive to and from the gym, less time getting ready to workout, there is no wait for equipment, there are no large parking lots to find a spot in, and there is no checking our sons in and out of child care. This is a major benefit to us because our time together is priceless.

    Childcare: Not everyone has to worry about this factor, but for those of you who do it is huge! Our “home gym childcare” is always open. It is also cleaner, more familiar, and more comfortable for our sons. We never have to worry about limits being met on the number of children, and if one of our sons has a cold or fever we can still get a workout in. Lastly, we don’t have to get the boys ready to go; another time saver.

    Adaptability: With our home gym we have purchased the equipment that we will use, nothing more and nothing less. We are not paying to maintain a cardio cinema, a pool, or any of the machines that we did not use in 17 years with a membership. If we decide we need an addition to our gym we can do it. We can listen to the music we want, stretch where we please, and we have a “bring a friend anytime” policy! Our gym is open 24/7, 365 days a year. It is not closed on holidays or during ice storms.

    NO EXCUSE environment: Let’s be honest, with all of our own equipment right behind a door in our house there is no excuse for ever letting our health slip away. We have an exclusive and private gym that is cleaner than any health facility, and dedicated to our individualized health needs. Fitness and health do not always have a “cookie cutter” solution. You have to utilize what is right for your goals. Even without a car we can still make it to the gym.

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, we will be setting an example for our children. We want them to see that fitness is an important part of life that requires dedication, but rewards you with better quality of life."

    If you've been considering adding a gym to your home, find a store near you or visit us online to learn about the many options we have to choose from at various price points. All brand-name, gym-quality equipment you'll actually want to workout on! Also, with many financing options, it's easier on the budget to get the gym perfect for your home, budget and goals.
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  5. Exercises to Improve Posture and Strengthen Your Core



    Exercises to improve posture are needed due to our current habit of spending hours each day hunched over a desk and slouched in a chair lead to rounded shoulders, a forward drooping head and a rounded back. We call this postural distortion Upper-Crossed Syndrome, or rounded shoulders. If left unchecked the Upper Crossed Syndrome can lead to shoulder and neck pain. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time leads to tight traps, lats and chest muscles, and can cause weakness in the rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles. The rhomboids are a key muscle group because they help pull your shoulder blades together.

    In order to fix rounded shoulders, we need to relax the tight muscles with a combination of rolling and stretching and also strengthen the muscles that are weak.

    Six Exercises to Improve Posture

    1. Foam Rolling Your Lats and Chest

    Demo Video: How-to Foam Roll Lats and Chest 

    Purpose: Relaxing the lats and chest muscles

    Execution: To roll your lats, lie on one side on the floor. Place a foam roller just under your armpit nearest the floor, and reach your arm above your head. Roll back and forth, pausing when you find a tender spot. Hold pressure from the foam roller on that tender spot for 30-60 seconds until it's no longer uncomfortable. Switch sides and repeat.

    To roll your chest: Lay face down on the floor. Place a foam roller under the right side of your chest. Extend your right arm out to the side. Roll side to side looking for the tender spot.

    Hold pressure on that tender spot for 30-60 seconds until it's no longer uncomfortable. Switch sides and repeat.

    2.  Pectoral Stretch

    Demo Video: Pec Stretch

    Purpose: Lengthen the muscles in the chest

    Execution: Stand next to a wall (a bookshelf or other sturdy object will work as well.) Place your right forearm on the wall so that your elbow is in line with your shoulder, your fingers are pointing toward the ceiling, you elbow pointing toward the floor.  Step your right foot forward. Rotate your torso toward your left side until you feel a gentle stretch in your chest. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

    3. Lat Exercise

    Demo Video: Stability Ball Lat Stretch

    Purpose: Lengthen the lats.

    Execution: Kneel on all fours in front of an exercise ball (a chair or bench will also work for this). Place both hands on the ball and roll forward until you feel a gentle stretch along your back and sides. Be sure to keep your back flat. To intensify the stretch, you can sink your chest toward the floor. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

    4. Back and Shoulder Exercise 

    Demo Video: Stability Ball Back and Shoulder Combo

    Purpose: Strengthen the traps, rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles

    Execution: Lie on your stomach on a stability ball with straight legs, toes on the ground. Holding a light dumbbell in each hand, squeeze your shoulder blades together and row your arms, driving your elbows up toward the ceiling. Next, rotate your shoulders and arms so that your hands are in line with your ears. Now drive your arms straight ahead. Bring your hands back down to ear level and then rotate your shoulders inward so that your hands are pointing down to the floor. Return your arms to the starting position.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    5. Shoulder Exercise

    Demo Video: Resistance Band - Extensions

    Purpose: Strengthen rhomboids, traps, rotator cuff and rear shoulder muscles.

    Execution: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grab a resistance band with both hands. Lift your hands in front of your chest, level with your shoulders, palms facing the floor. With straight elbows, stretch the band by moving your arms out to your sides, squeezing your shoulder blades. Pause and return to the starting position. Be sure you're not bunching your shoulders up to your ears to complete each movement.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    6. Back Exercise

    Demo Video: Floor Cobra Exercise

    Purpose: Strengthen rhomboids and lower back

    Execution: Lie face down on the floor with your arms by your side and palms flat on the floor. Keeping your nose pointed toward the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your torso up off he floor. Ease back to the floor and repeat.

    Repeat for 12-15 reps

    Article by Andrae Delaney, a Fitness Consultant with 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment as well as a Certified Personal Trainer, certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Andrae holds certifications in Weight Loss, Fitness Nutrition, Corrective Exercise, Group Training and is currently working toward a Master Trainer Certificate.
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