Health & Wellness

  1. Five Minute Yoga Practices for Workout Recovery



    If you've already hit the ground running on your New Year's resolutions, you might be noticing aches in new places. While DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) will reduce after a few workouts, it is be a great reminder to start adding some yoga into your training routine. In addition to increasing your flexibility, yoga can make you a better athlete by improving your concentration, breath control, and functional movement patterns. Since you're already warmed up and building strength in your regular workouts, you don't need a lot of time to benefit from yoga. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate yoga into your workout recovery practices. Standing Poses: From Warrior 1 to Triangle pose, some of the most familiar yoga postures will help you to build functional flexibility and strength. Because you are holding your bodyweight, these poses build strength, while challenging you in different movement planes. Holding these poses will build stability. Repetitions in and out of the postures will ingrain healthy movement patterns, improving the stability of the knees, shoulders, and low back. This video shows ways to use Standing Poses for Recovery.



    The sequence: Warrior 1: with shoulder shrugs and repeated transitions from standing Warrior 2: with wrist flexion and increased depth Triangle: with shoulder opening Hip Openers: These poses help to release tightness from the piriformis, as well as the rotators and flexors of the hip joint. This can reduce low back strain and increase range of motion in running and strength training. This active recovery video focuses on the hips and low back.



    The sequence: Ardha Matsandrasana (seated spinal twist) Easy Pose Supported Bridge Pose using a block for support Foam Rolling: Add foam rolling to your yoga practice to increase its benefits. By holding a posture with the foam roller or foam rolling prior to the stretch, you release areas of held tension in the body's connective tissue providing the opportunity for realignment and healing of dysfunctional movement patterns, as well as improving circulation and hydration in the muscle tissue. This foam rolling sequence is a great way to wind down at the end of the day or after a workout.



    The sequence: Figure Four with Foam Roller Modified Pigeon with Foam Roller Lat Foam Roll followed by Modified Child's pose Adding yoga for recovery into your workout routine doesn't need to take a lot of time. The brief practices provided above are excellent ways to warm up or cool down and can be rotated throughout your training week. If you have the time to include a yoga class on your active recovery days, you'll find that your practice and its associated benefits will progress even more quickly. Whether your yoga practice is intense or limited to a few minutes each week, commit to using that time to observe the effect of each posture on your body and breath to fully incorporate yoga's benefits on and off the mat.
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  2. Creating Daily Habits that Support your Goals



    Habits are a powerful determinant of our daily behaviors. Our daily triggers and automatic responses have a big impact on our actions, including whether or not those actions support our long-term goals related to fitness and wellness. Think about it. If your goal is to make daily workouts a part of your life, are you supporting it by scheduling reminders of those workouts and preparing yourself with the clothing and nutrition you need? Or do you allow work and family demands to crowd into all times throughout your day? If you have big goals related to improving your health and even your relationships, examining the triggers that occur in your daily life and giving yourself the opportunity to rewire those responses, is an enormously powerful way to improve your success in moving towards those goals. To put this into practice, identify your goal and then create a trigger that will help you to automatically take action that supports that goal. Here are a few examples.

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  3. 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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  4. When is it time for NEW running shoes?



    Old, worn-out running shoes are one of the most common reasons for running injuries. Running shoes lose shock absorption, cushioning and stability over time. Continuing to run in worn-out running shoes increases the stress and impact on your legs and joints, which can lead to overuse injuries.

    After about 300 to 400 miles of use, running shoes should be replaced, depending on running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run. Smaller runners can get new running shoes at the upper end of the recommendation, while heavier runners should consider replacement shoes closer to the 300 mile mark. If you run on rough roads, you'll need to replace your running shoes sooner than if you primarily run on a treadmill.

    Try to mark your calendar when you buy a new pair of shoes so you know when to replace them. If you use a training log, record new shoe purchases on that. Or try writing the purchase date on the inside of each shoe's tongue.

    If you want to make your pair of running shoes last longer, buy a second pair of running shoes about halfway through the life of your original pair. Your shoes will last longer when you allow them to decompress and dry out between workouts. Also, having a fresh pair of shoes as a reference will help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced.
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  5. Increase Productivity with These Midday Pick-Me-Ups


    If you’re feeling drained, tense or stressed at work, try resisting the afternoon coffee or energy drink jolt and consider these alternatives. Too much afternoon caffeine or sugar is just going to cause a crash and negatively affect sleep. Here are some natural ways to add a little energy to your day:

    Take a Midday Stroll

    Get your energy up with a lunchtime walk, or even a few short strolls throughout your day. Whether it’s a short walk outdoors or to a meeting, this effort can have a big impact when it comes to your overall health. It’s incredible how much this little addition to the day impacts productivity, creativity and motivation. In fact, this blog post was written while doing a little workday walking on a treadmill desk ! Being a writer, I’m noticing fewer word blocks which allows me be much more efficient with tasks like this.

    Unplug!

    Disconnecting from technology during breaks allows us to clear our head and regain focus. Practice mindfulness by meditating in a quiet space. Take a break from the computer or smartphone to rest your eyes. Walk outdoors and take in nature. Research shows that green spaces help restore the mind and improves mental health. More importantly, be in the moment and try to stop your mind from racing.

    Stretch it Out

    If you’re sitting or even standing in the same position for long periods of time you need a little stretching action. Stretching can provide a quick boost of energy because it helps the blood flow throughout the body and relieve toxins. Try a few of these to help give you a little boost. desk stretches

    Take a Sip

    Sip on green tea or ice cold water. Green tea has a lot of nutritional value and revs up your metabolism. Ice cold water awakens your insides and helps you stay alert – oh, and both green tea and water will help you stay hydrated which is always a good, healthy habit.

    Chomp on Gum

    A stick of sugar-free gum is always good to have in your desk drawer. The flavor change in your mouth will give you a little extra boost of energy. Make sure to stick with the sugar-free kind, and be on the lookout for the caffeinated versions.

    If you're interested in adding some movement into your workday, while you (or your employees) work, check out our workplace solutions .
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