Oops! I forgot to workout my Rotator Cuff

When we work out without a script, sometimes we forget to include important body parts in our routine.  Some of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint, often referred to as the rotator cuff, may be among these forgotten body parts.

The purpose of rotator cuff exercises is to strengthen the muscles which rotate the upper arm within the shoulder joint.  These muscles do not lift the arm, but they turn it.   A great way to work your rotator cuff is to do an exercise lying on your side.  Lie on your left side with your legs slightly bent and stacked one on top of the other.  Extend your left arm away from your body along the floor and rest your left ear on it to support your neck and head.  Using a LIGHT weight in your right hand, keeping the upper part of your right arm pinned to your side, and keeping your right elbow at a ninety degree angle, lift the weight in an arc, then lower it.  The forearm of your right arm should move from parallel to the floor to an almost vertical position, and then back.  This is one repetition.  Repeat for a set and then repeat for the left shoulder lying on your right side.

The rotator cuff muscles are important for the strength and stability of the shoulder joint.  Strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff can improve that stability in a healthy shoulder, and may also be recommended for those recovering from shoulder injury.


Let Exercise Bring Out or Give You Back Your Glow!

In recent years, exercise has been recognized as not only a way to stay toned and in shape, but also to boost general health and overall well-being. Cardiovascular exercise promotes the release of endorphins, or our bodies very own “feel good” receptors. Endorphins are known to promote a number of benefits, including controlling feelings of stress and frustration, and regulating production of growth and sex hormones. Along with giving you a general sense of well being, improving appetite and sleep, and making the heart and lungs work more efficiently, regular exercise is also known to give a positive glow to your skin. By allowing the skin to breathe when sweat is released, exercise rejuvenates your pores. Rosiness of complexion, or a natural “glow,” is a sign of good health.

There are no specific exercises for obtaining this natural “glow”. Basically, doing any kind of exercise, that gets your heart pumping, for at least thirty minutes a day will do the trick of getting you that super fit glow. An extra bonus in trying to obtain that much sought after glow is to workout outdoors running, jogging, or cycling. Simply being outside in nature, even if you reside in a city, is an amazing way to feel energized and connected to your surroundings.   A trick to finding out if you are getting the best workout possible, and making sure your heart rate is elevated, is if you are sweating. Sweating is the body’s way of naturally detoxifying certain chemicals that our bodies are exposed to. Sweat also purges our bodies of toxins that can clog the pores and plaque skin with pimples and blemishes. Just make sure to cleanse and moisturize skin right after your workout, so that this plaque and bacteria doesn’t get clogged in the pores.


It’s February – Have you stuck with your Weight Loss Resolution?

Its time for a little check-in. Did you make a healthy, weight loss resolution a little over a month ago? Was 2012 going to be the start of a new year where you were really going to concentrate on your health and diet?

Well, now that its February, its a great time to check in! Have you stuck with it or fallen a bit off track? Most of us are a little over-zealous when making our weight loss resolutions for a new year, so I wanted to give you some quick tips to help you stay on track:

1.) Do a monthly check in. And I mean it! Set up an appointment in your google calendar, an alarm on your phone, something that will remind you to check back in with yourself. This way, you don’t go 3 months into your program and say oh well! guess I couldn’t stick with it!

2.) Set mini-goals. For each month that you check in there should be a mini-goal you are trying to reach. Think small; like eating 1 more serving of fruit and veggies per week, adding one more class or workout to your normal routine, or even planning to get up and move through your lunch break 2 days per week.

3.) Find a cheerleader. We all have friends that would love this job! This is a friend or family member who agrees to help keep you on track by checking in with you, seeing if you are in need of more support. Think of this person as your backbone, and your sense of accountability. Make sure its a family member or friend that will give you some tough love too! This was also one of the main reasons why Smart Workout developed their Weight Loss Program with private nutritional counseling sessions. It is this support that really makes the difference in a successful weight loss regimen.

Most importantly, remember that reaching your weight loss goals is a journey. There will be hills to climb, plateaus to face, and great triumphs too!

So good luck and keep striving toward your finish line!

-written by Sandi Partyka, CHC, Senior Fitness Assistant