1. 10 Reasons To Add Kettlebell Training To Your Workout

    Kettlebells are the door-stop looking, cannonball-shaped workout tools that you’ll want to add to your routine if you want to get a leaner, tighter figure without spending much time. If you're curious about all the benefits training with these weights can have, then you've come to the right place. Here are 10 benefits of kettlebell training:

    • Saves money: No gym membership required here, and only one kettlebell needed in this training, saving you space and money (depending on the type of training you do, a second kettlebell may be required). You can do kettlebell training in your living room, backyard or take them to the beach.
    • Lose more weight in less time: Kettlebell workouts can tighten and tone your whole body, but the dynamic all-muscles-on-deck movements also burn a lot of calories – studies show up to 20 calories per minute, or 400 in a 20-minute session.
    • Combine “cardio” and “strength” training: This exercise gets your heart racing, building cardio as well as strength. Your whole body is working to move, or swing, as well as stabilize the kettlebell, building the proper balance of mobility and stability.
    • Versatile and fun: Let’s face it, long exercises can get boring. And as a result of that boredom, they're easy to give up on. As mentioned earlier, kettlebell training can be a quick exercise, so that makes it more achievable and fun! From swings to squats to arm strengthening exercises, you’re constantly moving and burning through this workout. With an exercise that’s quick and versatile, you’ll likely stick with it!
    • Solution for busy people: Busy people want the biggest bang for the buck. Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio and strength training in an already busy schedule. Because of the intensive nature, the workout duration must be kept short. Best of all, they are so small and portable, training can take place even in your office.
    • Improves posture: Using so many muscle groups in conjunction means your core has to stay engaged 360 degrees to stabilize each and every movement. It’s important to note that good form is essential in kettlebell workout, so stop and rest if you feel like your form is deteriorating.
    • Easier time performing daily tasks: Working out with a kettlebell is the definition of what fitness pros call a "functional" workout. That means it works your muscles in the same way as when you do everyday activities, like picking up a toddler, carrying your laptop bag, hoisting a gallon of milk, or lugging a heavy grocery bag.
    • Increase core and back strength: As you train with kettlebells, keep your core engaged and posture stabilized. As you move through your training, you’ll build strength, as well as flexibility.
    • Full-body workout: From shoulders to calves, kettlebell training works many different muscle groups, all while giving you a cardio lift. As you train with kettlebells, you’ll notice your entire body engaged and working hard, burning and conditioning.
    • Boost your bum: The kettlebell swing is the foundation for many other kettlebell exercises, and it simultaneously firms your butt and abs. As you do the kettlebell swing, your body is in a squatting position, already firing up the bum.
    • Here’s a how to do a swing: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, your hips and knees slightly bent, and your back and arms straight, pick up the kettlebell by the handle with both hands, knuckles facing forward. Hinge forward from the hips and swing the bell back between your legs, then exhale, straighten your legs, and pop your hips and pelvis forward to propel the kettlebell upward to about chest height (that’s the butt-toning part). As you lower the kettlebell, your abs will contract—like a built-in crunch. Continue with one fluid movement as you lower back to the start and repeat. (It’s okay to start with smaller swings to build the momentum until you get the hang of the movement and can swing it to chest height.) Once you’re comfortable with the movement, try to swing the kettlebell with one hand, alternating hands with each rep (both hands come to the handle on the upswing, and one releases as you swing down).
    If you want to add kettlebell training to your routine, you’ll want to know what moves will help you achieve all these great benefits. If you’re near a 2nd Wind store, stop in and ask one of our Fitness Consultants for some tips. They’ll fit you with the proper weight and exercise to get started. Otherwise, below you’ll find a helpful blogs with exercise examples.

    Men's Fitness & Bodybuilding.com
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  2. Seven Ways Exercise Helps Your Mental Health

    It's pretty obvious that exercise is great for your physical health, helping with weight management, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar management among other benefits, but it turns out that getting your heart pumping can be great for your brain as well. Here are seven ways that exercise can do great things for your mental health.

    Exercise can make you smarter. It turns out that the same hormones that make your body stronger as a result of exercise (growth hormones) also positively affect your brain leading to better function in the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is associated with learning and memory. Additionally, exercise is also associated with increases in BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor), which also positively impacts memory (more on that in a bit).

    Exercise can improve your pain tolerance. Whether you're managing arthritis or struggling with an achy back, your best prescription may be to get moving. A recent study demonstrated that improvements in aerobic fitness are correlated to increases in tolerating pain. While improvements in strength and circulation could be a factor, it's likely that the psychological perception of pain also changes as a result of exercise, causing pain to be perceived as more tolerable and less limiting.

    Exercise can help you manage your stress. As a simple explanation, exercise is a healthy way of responding to the "fight or flight" scenario that our bodies create in response to stressful situations. By providing an outlet for the elevated cortisol and adrenal response, as well as through the creation of endorphins (commonly referred to as feel good chemicals), exercise can help you keep the negative impacts of stress on your body and brain within healthy levels.

    Exercise can help you sleep better. Moderate physical exercise has been demonstrated to reduce the time that it takes to fall asleep and to improve the quality of sleep. Even single exercise sessions of moderate intensity have been demonstrated to improve sleep for that night, while the benefits increase in the long term. Just remember to avoid exercise for two hours before your bedtime in order to give your body and brain sufficient time to cool down before you turn in.

    Exercise can improve your self-esteem. One of the best things about sticking to a regular exercise routine is when you begin to see improvements. Whether you find yourself able to lift more weight or bike longer and harder, those changes in performance make you feel good about what you're doing. This feeling of competence directly impacts perceptions of self-worth, making you more confident over time.

    Exercise can help depression and anxiety. It just makes sense that something that improves sleep, self-esteem, stress levels, and concentration would also be good for depression and anxiety, doesn't it? Exercise can have the added benefits of increasing social support and involvement and positively impacting the dopaminergic, serotonergic, and noradrenergic systems of the body, neurochemicals that are also affected by many anti-depressant medications. If you're struggling with clinical depression or even managing a case of the blues, add in exercise to assist in better managing your symptoms.

    Exercise can improve your concentration. Exercise is not only linked to increased intelligence in the long run, but it can also improve your immediate concentration. In addition to impacting BDNF described above, exercising and moving around uses more brain cells, increases circulation to all parts of your body, and results in better regulation of blood sugar and metabolism. Try scheduling "walking meetings" or lunch break workouts to keep your concentration on point through your afternoon.

    While we tend to emphasize greater intensity and longer training sessions when pushing for performance and physical change in our bodies from exercise, it's important to know that the mental health benefits of exercise are attainable for everyone. Even ten minutes of exercise positively impacts aerobic fitness and blood pressure and can be effective in generating the psychological benefits described here.

    Bring your exercises home and feel great on a daily basis with your very own home cardio machine.
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  3. On-the-Go Workout for Two!

    A Workout for Two! Get sweaty with your sweetie (or a friend!) You’ll need: A partner, one stable chair, and a clock.

    Warm-up: 20 jumping jacks, 20 squats, 20 lunges X2

    Section 1 (8 minutes on the clock, move to section 2 after 8 minutes)

    Partner A: 25 step-ups on the chair, then tag out your partner. Partner B: 6 push-ups, 6 Mountain Climbers (right and left), 6 jumping jacks, repeat over and over until partner A tags you out, then move to the chair Each time the partner on the chair gets 25 step-ups, you’ll trade places.  Keep going until 8 minutes is up!

    One minute break! Section 2 (8 minutes on the clock, move to section 3 after 8 minutes)

    Partner A: 25 burpees, then tag out your partner. Partner B: 10 triceps dips on the chair, 10 sit-ups with feet on chair, 10 chair hop-overs (stand to the side of the chair, squat with one foot on chair, then hop over the chair, landing on the other side with foot on the chair) repeat over and over until partner A tags you out, then move to burpees. Each time the burpee partner gets 25 burpees, you’ll trade places.  Keep going until 8 minutes is up!

    One minute break! Section 3 (8 minutes on the clock, then you’re done!)

    Partner A: 50 toe taps on chair, then tag out your partner Partner B: 6 squat jumps, 6 butt kicks, 6 lunge jumps. repeat over and over until partner A tags you out, then move to chair toe taps. Each time the toe tap partner gets 50 taps, you’ll trade places.  Keep going until 8 minutes is up!

    **Note: If you want to do this workout by yourself, just start with the partner A part, time yourself, then do the Partner B part for the same amount of time it took you to do Partner A, keep going back and forth for each 8 minute section!**

    Content courtesy of Enrgi Group Fitness Defined

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  4. 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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  5. 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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