Four Ways Strong Muscles Increase Longevity

Nobody really likes to talk about aging and the negative effects it has on the body.

Four Ways Strong Muscles Increase LongevityBut the truth of the matter is, it happens to all of us, and it creeps up on you when you least expect it. So plan for the future now, whether it’s investing your money wisely or investing your time smartly and taking time to exercise, good health is the most important thing you can possess.

Strength and flexible muscles is your goal to prevent aging. Weak muscles cause accidents like falls and affect your quality of life. Imagine not being able to bend down to tie your own shoes or not having the strength to make it up a flight of stairs.

Strong muscles do not develop with cardio. In fact, if you don’t nourish your body adequately while performing long sessions of cardio, you will enter into a catabolic state. What this means is that your body will start feeding off your muscle tissue, deteriorating your muscle mass rather than building it up.

So what do you do?

Lift weights! Resistance training is rehabilitative, preventative, and anti-aging. And no, you will not bulk up like a freak, nor do you have to in order to strengthen your muscles. Light to medium resistance training at least three times a week is enough to improve your overall health, provided your diet is also in check.

How Strong Muscles Can Increase Longevity

Strong Muscles Improve Cardiac Health

  • Strong muscles absorb oxygen and nutrients from the blood more efficiently, which causes less strain on the heart.
  • Strong muscles are more efficient at physical exertion and require less of the heart.

Strong Muscles Reduce the Risk of Diabetes

  • Strong muscles are more efficient at drawing sugar from the blood for energy.
  • Strong muscles help regulate blood sugar levels.

Strong Muscles Help Control Weight

  • Strong muscles take up a lot of real estate and burn calories more efficiently than weak muscles.
  • Strong muscles help regulate your metabolism.

Strong Muscles Improve Quality of Life

  • Strong muscles help with mobility and flexibility, so you can remain more active through your senior years.
  • Exercise improves bone health and this helps reduce the risk of injuries and fractures, often reported as early as 65 years old.

Source:

Harvard Medical School, Healthbeat

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Super Bowl Half-Time Tabata Workout

This fat-burning Tabata circuit will help to combat some of those extra calories during the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl Half-Time Tabata WorkoutThere are four quarters during the game, which leaves you with some extra time to kill. You know if you just sit there and wait, you’ll munch on more fattening snacks than you need to, so get on up and perform a 4-minute Tabata circuit in each quarter.

There are four exercises in each circuit, which you are going to perform for 20 seconds each with only a 10-second break in between. Once you reach the end of one complete circuit, repeat from the beginning to complete two whole circuits.

First Quarter Tabata – Upper Body

  • Plyo Push-Ups
  • Renegade DB Rows
  • Pull-Ups
  • Shoulder DB Press

Second Quarter Tabata – Lower Body

  • Squat Down Curl and Press
  • Plyo Lunges
  • DB Deadlifts
  • Walking Lunges

Third Quarter Tabata – Total Body

  • Burpees
  • High Knees
  • Bear Crawl (in both directions)
  • Jump Squats

Fourth Quarter – Core Strength

  • Plank
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • V-Ups

Make sure you warm up before and cool down and stretch after this challenging workout.

Time to Torch those Holiday Calories

The celebrations are over, the gifts are all unwrapped, there are traces of cookies, cakes and chocolates and protruding out from underneath it all are the tell-tale signs of much indulgence.

Time to torch those Holiday caloriesI’m talking about that ever-expanding holiday waistline.

Well, there is no better time like the present to step up and get back into shape.

We all know the key to losing weight and fat loss is to create a negative energy balance and the best way to do this is by keeping your metabolism revved up even at rest. The best way to do this is by building lean tissue and creating an intense metabolic response that will not only burn some calories during your workout but will keep you burning them for hours afterwards.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the answer to this dilemma and is best performed after your weight training workout. As a post-workout workout, HIIT will boost your metabolism for hours and hours. Because this type of workout is so effective, you will be spending less time in the gym but getting twice the results and faster.

It won’t take you more than three hours per week to make significant changes if you are following a sound nutrition plan. The old saying of work smarter not harder…well it just isn’t the way it really goes when it comes to positive training outcomes. Yes, you will work smarter, which is why you can spend less time during the week in the gym, but you will be working harder than what you may have been (or never have) before.

Performing the workout below three times per week with at least a day off in between each workout will help you get fitter faster.

Post-Workout High Intensity Interval Training

Warm-Up

  • Jump rope 5 minutes
  • 360 degree bodyweight lunges x 5 each side
  • Overhead Squats with stick x 10
  • Isolateral Butt-Bridges x 5 each side
  • Inchworm x 10

Resistance Training

These supersets should be performed for 2 to 3 sets of 8 reps with a 60-second rest in between.

Superset 1

  • Thrusters
  • Back Squats

Superset 2

  • Deadlift
  • Bent-Over Barbell Row (supinated grip)

Superset 3

  • Lateral Lunge to Overhead Press
  • Push-Ups AMRAP (as many reps as possible in 30 secs)

Intervals can be done on your favorite piece of equipment or with burpees or a jump rope. Choose whichever will challenge you the most without compromising on safety for 30 secs of work at 85-90% of your heart rate reserve followed by 60-second rest. Repeat this 10 times.

If you are feeling up to it, throw in 3 sets of supersetted ab work like ball rollouts and pikes for 15 reps each. Finish with some stretching and be sure to refuel afterward.

Muscle Conditioning for Powerful Ski Legs

Before you hit the slopes this year, try some of these exercises to get you into tip-top shape.

Muscle conditioning for powerful ski legsUnless you’re out on the water surfing all summer or out on the streets skateboarding, your ski legs will feel a little shaky after the first day on le piste. So now would be a good time to hit the gym and dedicate some pre-season training to get those legs into shape.

If you already work out on a regular basis, try switching this routine out for your leg training day. It will hone your legs so that you’ll ski like a pro when everybody else is winded by the first run of the day.

The best type of training for strong ski legs is plyometrics. This explosive style of training will challenge even the most ardent athlete. But once you master the art of adding spring to balancing exercises, you’ll notice a difference in your reaction time on the slopes. If you’re an aggressive skier, this is important. This type of explosive training teaches the muscles to fire faster and with more strength, resulting in a more powerful and agile skier.

Plyometrics also help to improve balance, which is the key to being a good skier. It is a skill that can be developed with the use of a balance or wobble board. Having good balance for a skier means that your upper body is free to launch into those powerful push-offs coming out of turns and off moguls. Balance will add confidence to your game and give you better grip in the snow and a more intuitive approach to the terrain. It goes without saying that a strong core is a must-have for high-performance skiers.

Plyometric Training for Powerful Ski Legs

Balance

If you don’t have a wobble board or BOSU ball, then try using a pillow. Practice standing on the board on one leg without falling over. Make sure you maintain proper alignment, keeping your core muscles flexed, and focus on your breathing.

Round the Clock

These are like lunges that improve the balance of your standing leg and the strength of your lunging leg. Working your way in a clockwise direction, power out as far as you can into a lunge, landing delicately and with control on the foot. Hop back to center again. Work your way through all the numbers, starting with 12, moving in a clockwise direction. When you’ve completed the circle, start again with the other foot.

Balancing Balls

Exercise 1: You’ll need an exercise ball and a medicine ball for this exercise. While kneeling on the exercise ball, hold the medicine ball in both hands at the chest. As you try to secure your balance, focus on your breathing and keeping your core tight. Hold for 30 seconds.

Exercise 2: To add difficulty to this exercise, press the medicine ball out from the chest.

Exercise 3: Next, drop the medicine ball and try to stand on the exercise ball. Use extreme caution with this exercise.

Exercise 4: Practice jumping from the ground up onto a chair or stair, holding your crouching position for a count, then propeling back up and down to the floor.

Exercise 5: Repeat exercise 4 but use an exercise ball instead of a chair of stair.

Hold each exercise for 30 seconds.

Squat Jumps

These are squats with a spring jump. Squat down and touch the ground, then propel up as high as you can, landing delicately and back down to a squat to repeat. Perform these for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds.

Lateral Jumps

Lay a ski pole on the floor and stand sideways to it. Next drop down into a squat and jump over the pole with feet together and back again, side to side for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds. Use your hands to help with balance and speed. To add difficulty to this exercise, change the ski pole for a hockey bag or bench to add height to your jumps.

Power Hops

Standing on a step, chair or bench, drop down into a one-legged squat, then spring up as high as you can, landing on the same foot. Do this exercise for a timed set of 30 to 60 seconds, then switch to the other leg and repeat.

Lower Body Fat Burner

Circuit training has got to be one of the most efficient ways to work out and burn calories.

lower body fat burnerYou can propel yourself through this circuit in about 20 to 30 minutes. The harder you push yourself and the fewer breaks you take, the more calories you’ll burn.

Every workout starts with a warm-up. Afford yourself an extra five to ten minutes for a dynamic warm-up and your body will respond more favorably to the challenging workout ahead.

The Warm-Up

  • 10 Jackknives
  • 10 Jumping Jacks
  • 10 One Leg Glute Bridges – 5 each side (hip lifts with one leg extended)
  • 10 Push-Ups
  • 10 Prisoner Squats (with hands behind the head)

Lower Body Fat Burner

This is a timed circuit. Perform each segment for 45 seconds, only taking time in between each exercise to set up for the next move. At the end of each circuit, rest for 90 seconds and repeat for a total of 3 sets. This is a nifty little circuit that accelerates fat burning and tones your core and butt at the same time.

  • Squat Jumps – bring your hands up to touch above your head when you’re in the stance.
  • Plyo Runner’s Lunge – from the lunge position, propel yourself up from the back leg for a hop and return to the lunge position to switch legs.
  • Donkey Kick Push-Up – in the push-up position, bring both your knees in to the chest at the same time, so you will go up on your two hands for a donkey kick with both legs.
  • Plié Jumping Jacks – using your arms to work your core when you’re in the stance by bringing them up above your head.

Aim to do this workout early in the morning to increase your fat-burning potential. In other words, the fat burning that you put into motion early in the morning will last well after your workout. Working out early in the morning when cortisol levels are at their highest also helps to control stress levels and you’ll notice you’re calmer throughout the day.