There are certain parts of our body that bear more physical stress than others. The knees, for example, are often mistreated from the wear and tear of daily activities.
Since the knees are joints that bear an enormous amount of pressure from body weight, they are particularly vulnerable to issues later in life and along with certain health issues.
Certain high intensity exercises in improper footwear (think high step exercises of the 80′s in soft-sole keds), excessive weight bearing exercise on an unconditioned body (i.e. running 10 miles without properly working yourself up to it) and even weight gain around the abdominal region (since the weight load is ABOVE the knee joints) can all wreak havoc on the knees. On top of this, basic and everyday movement can build up, deteriorating the knee joints. It is imperative to take precautions to keep your knees healthy.
Here’s a few ways how:
1. Warm Up and Stretch before exercise. This loosens tension tendons and can help increase blood flow to the muscles.
2. Develop Muscle balance. Strong Quadriceps and Hamstrings will help protect the knee against the upper body weight it bears.
3. Vary your routine. Overuse injuries and stress injuries are common. Even if you absolutely love a particular type of exercise, studies have shown that doing any activity in excess and using repetitive motion (i.e. running, cycling) can create overuse syndrome – and ultimately knee pain!
4. Protect your feet. The right sneakers make all the difference. The latest in “exercise science” is conclusive- not using proper footwear while exercising is just silly and even dangerous!
5. Pay attention to your weight distribution. The more weight you wear above the knee joint will inevitably be a larger load for your knees to deal with. Not only is weight around the abdomen dangerous for your heart health, it is also precarious for the health of your lower extremity joints (also including ankles and back).
More ways to keep your knees healthy here
Take care of those knees and keep moving!
Circuits and supersets are a great way to build muscle and incorporate light cardiovascular training into your workout, while saving time. All it means is pairing exercises together back to back, or in a circuit, so that you are constantly moving from one exercise to the next with little or not break in between exercises. This is a great method to use especially if you are ever short on time, which we all often are!
The intensity for circuits and supersets is very high because you are giving your body little or no rest in between exercises, which fatigues your muscles more quickly and may even burn more calories. Ideally you would want to pair together in a set 2 antagonist muscle groups, such as triceps and biceps. Perform about 20 -30repetitions of each exercises and then repeat the set of triceps and biceps 3 times. Then move onto another muscle group.
I recommend pairing two different muscle groups back to back to get optimal results. Try to arrange the weights and equipment prior to beginning so that there is little delay and rest in moving from exercise to exercise.
-written by Gilliam Rinaldo, Senior Fitness Assistant
Ok, so it’s almost here. Normally, many people have the tradition of stuffing their faces, enjoying friends and family, and pretty much doing a whole lot of nothing for Thanksgiving. Well, I’m here to tell you, first hand, that all of that can change! Our family personally brought fun, fitness and a lot to be thankful for into every Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s how we now spend our holiday (we chose 1 or 2 of the following per year:
- Trot for the Hungry. This year, my family is running a 5K food drive. It’s a 5k run (or walk if you want- there is no time requirement) where the “entry fee” is canned goods. You can bring however much you want to donate, and it goes to food shelters in the area. So not only are we starting off the holiday in a way that helps others, we’ll also burn some calories while doing so!
- Use your muscles to serve others… at a soup kitchen. Have you ever helped out at a soup kitchen? This isn’t time to sit in front of the tv. You are constantly lifting, walking, scooping, and burning calories while helping those who really need to nourish their bodies.
- Start a charity football game. Have a lot of family members? Do you happen to have a group of friends that don’t usually get the chance to go home for the holiday? Why not start a charity game? It’s fun, a workout, and you can usually pick a charity you want to donate the proceeds to. Again, it’s a great way to help others and yourself at the same time.
All of us here at Smart Workout wish you a thankful, healthy and happy Thanksgiving!
-written by Sandi Partyka, CHC and Senior Fitness Assistant
As the seasons change, so do our workouts and our wardrobes. Fall is here, and winter trails closely behind. This means chilly, and sometimes wet mornings and cold nights, with the sun setting earlier. It is important to remain comfortable to get in the most optimal workout, but this doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice fashion in the name of comfort! Here are some tips you can follow over these upcoming months when temperature will be low, and weather sometimes unruly.
- You do not have to automatically transition into dull and dark colors because it is Fall. This season, bold, powerful, and energetic colors are very much in style.
Fashion tip: For your workout, wear the jacket color of your choice layering with a bright shirt underneath for a pop of color.
Adidas Techfit Bra in one of the fall’s most popular colors!
- Use slim fitting silhouettes, instead of layers of clothing, so that you body has full mobility during your workout, with no distractions.
- This season, make sure to stick to fabrics that will keep you dry, such as quick-dry or sweat-wicking properties, that will ensure you are comfortable in all of the elements.
- Stay away from baggy clothes: tee-shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts. Though you may think that these will keep you warm, they will only get in the way of your workout. There are plenty of other clothing options that will keep you warm without comprising the efficiency of your workout.
Here are a couple of budget-friendly clothing pieces that are great compliments for your cooler weather workouts, or your walk to the gym if you prefer exercising indoors during this season!
Altheta Half Zip Pullover
Flatters every type of figure. Great for the transitional period between fall and winter. Lightweight, and wick away sweat from body. Very light, the perfect layering piece!
Patagonia Fleece Vest
Great to pair with a thin, long-sleeved top. Great because it keeps you warm without being bulky. Has a light and silky feel, and along with pairing for you workouts, this vest is versatile enough to make an addition into your Fall wardrobe.
Smart Wool Arm Warmers
Slip them on before heading outside, and when warm enough, slide them off, roll them up, or stick them in your pocket. Made of soft Merino wool, they are cozy, warm and comfortable.
-written by Victoria Arrigo, Fitness Assistant
Most people think that you will need to do hundreds of abcrunches in order to build a strong, healthy and flexible core. Well, that’snot quite true.
The Rectus Abdominus, which is the outer layer of theabdominal wall (and where people see the coveted ‘6-pack’) is mostly affectedwhen performing crunches. However, there are many different layers to theabdominals that need to be exercised in order to give you a strong and sexycore.
The best part about abdominal work? You can do it anywhere!Here are a few quick ab exercises you can do in between meetings, before bed,or even while commercials are on tv.
1.) Table Top3 Count: Lie on your back with your feet off the floor, and knees bent directly over the hips. Place your head in your hands and keep the elbows wide. Take 3 beats to slowly lift the upper body off the floor one inch at a time, pausing each time while keeping your back straight and your chine up. Try not to curl your upper body and keep the chest open. Exhale while you do this. Then inhale to lower your upper body. Repeat 10-20 times.
2.) Bird-DogCurl: Come to all fours with your knees directly under your hips and shouldright above wrists. Extend your left leg and right arm. Slowly pull in the leftknee and right elbow simultaneously and curl through the spine. Repeat 15times, switch sides.
3.) ForearmPlank-out: Come into a plank position on your forearms; Shoulders overelbows, hips in line with the shoulders, and toes on the floor, with feettogether. Staying on forearms, try to keep the hips still as you walk the feetout, then walk the feet back together.
4.) Side kneeup: Start with a side forearm plank, making sure elbow is over shoulder,and hips are in line and feet are on top of one another. Slowly bend your topknee in, engaging the obliques (side abdominals). Lower the leg back to startposition. Repeat 10 times, switch sides.
Do these exercises 3-5 days a week and you will be well on your way to a stronger, sexier core. What are you waiting for? Read these instructions one more time and hop to it!.
by: Smart Workout Team