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Exercise, Does a Body Good

For your reading convenients below you will find all the Exercise, Does a Body Good published in 2018

January 2018

Happy New Year and welcome back to Exercise Does A Body Good.
Well 2018 is here and I bet that you think I will give you some New Year’s resolutions. Nope, The only recommendation I will give is exercise 3 to 5 times a week, eat healthy, and or maintain or lose some weight.

This article is about another training exercise program, such as jazzercise, not! Just humor people, just humor. All kidding aside this article is about Cross Fit Training. What is cross fit training? This type of training incorporates both a physical exercise philosophy and a competitive fitness sport. These workouts include elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises.

Before I move onto a sample of a cross fit training program, I need to explain what is plyometrics and power exercise. Plyometrics, also known as "jump training" or "plyos", are exercises in which muscles exert maximum force in short intervals of time, with the goal of increasing power (speed).

An example of a plyometric exercise is a plyometric push up. The difference between a regular push up and a plyometric push up is that you lower your body to the floor, explode up with great force, go back down to the floor in the lower position, and explode back up.

A plyometric squat is done by lowering your body as if sitting in a chair. Unlike the typical squat where you would just lift your body up to the standing position, a plyometric squat has you jumping up and repeating the process with force.

What is power training? Power training is like strength training, except in power training you are using heavier weights or resistance.

Here is a sample of what a person might be doing in a cross fit gym:
Run 800 meters (half of a mile).
Do 12 pull ups or chin ups.
Run ¼ of a mile.
Do 12 pull ups.
You would complete this cycle as quickly as you could.

The following day you would do:
Run half of a mile.
Do 25 plyometrics push ups.
Run ¼ of a mile.
Do 25 plyometrics push ups.

The next day:
Run ½ of a mile.
Do 25 plyometrics squats.
Run ¼ of a mile.
Do 25 plyometrics squats.
Again, you would do all of these as fast as you could. These are just samples of a cross fit training program. In a cross fit gym, they have so many different types of equipment, that you can create a variety of cross fit training programs. Therefore, I will not get into all the different kinds of cross fit programs that are available.

Here is a sample of a cross fit training program you can perform in your home.
Day 1:
Walk on treadmill for a half of a mile (stationary bike or elliptical), at a quick pace.
Alternatively, if you do not have the equipment, walk in your neighborhood.
Do 10 plyometric push ups.
Walk ¼ of a mile.
Do 10 plyometric push ups.

Day 2:
Jump rope for a count of 500 reps.
Do 20 plyometric squats.
Jump rope for 250 reps.
Do 25 plyometrics squats.

Day 3:
Do 200 step ups on stairs, step block or platform.
Do 25 reps of superman exercise (see past article).
Do 100 step ups.
Do 25 reps of superman.

Day 4:
Walk ½ a mile on a treadmill, elliptical, or in neighborhood.
Do 20 regular push ups.
Walk ¼ of a mile.
Do 10 plyometric push ups.

Day 5:
Complete 10 minutes on a stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical.
Do 50 regular squats.
Complete 5 minutes on a stationary bike or other equipment.
Do 10 plyometric squats.

As you can see where I am going with this, you can design your own program to fit your fitness level and to the type of equipment you have available. Be creative, smart, and safe when designing a fitness program.

You are going to love my stability ball article coming up next month. Also, if you have an exercise program that you would like to share with the readers, just send it to my email address above.

Health tip:
Did you know that if you floss daily, you can help to prevent heart disease? Flossing can help to prevent gum disease. And, in turn, gum disease has been linked to some forms of heart diseases. Happy dental flossing, and remember exercise does a body good!

February 2018

Welcome back to Exercise Does A Body Good. This month I am focusing on Stability Ball Training.
What is stability ball training?
The stability ball (also called an exercise ball, Swiss ball, or physioball) is a simple yet versatile piece of training equipment that you can use to train your whole body with fun and innovative moves. Stability ball training is effective in building balance, stability, and pillar strength. I love working with my stability ball, I incorporate the exercise ball with circuit training and planking. I will cover the basic chest, back, legs, and abdomen strengthening exercises.

For the chest, you can do push ups, and there are 2 ways to perform them with the stability ball:
First, both hands on the ball shoulder width apart and feet placed on the floor hips width apart.
Secondly, is the reverse position, feet on the ball and hands on the floor.

For the back, you can do the superman exercise:
Lean on the ball with your abdomen, and lift both hands and feet simultaneously, and hold for a count of 1 or 2. This requires balance and practice, good luck with it.

For lower back and legs:
Straight Leg Bridging:
Lie on the floor with feet on the ball and legs straight, then lift your butt off the floor. Go back down to the floor, and repeat.

Bent Knee Bridging:
Lie on the floor, feet on the ball, with knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and lift your butt off the floor. Lower your butt back down to the ground and repeat.

Leg Curls:
Lie on the floor, feet on the ball with legs straight, and butt up in the air. Bending your knees, roll the ball until your knees are at 90 degrees. Roll the ball back to the beginning position, and repeat.
For the ladies who want buns of steel, I recommend 15 reps of straight leg bridging, 15 reps of bent knees bridging, and 15 reps of leg curls, in a row until you reach 45 reps.

Abdomen exercise: There are so many ways to work your abdomen, such as crunches, full sit ups, and planking.
Crunch Sit up:
Start with feet on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, back lying on the ball, and hands behind head, or crossed over your chest. Curl your head and shoulders off the ball until you feel a contraction in your abdomen. Then return to the starting position and repeat.

Full Sit Up:
Begin in the same starting position as the crunch sit up. Curl up until you are in a sitting position on the ball. Curl backdown to the starting position, and repeat.

Planking; can be done two ways:
1. Start with feet on the ball and hands on the floor, then plank.
2. Start with hands on the ball and feet on the floor, and plank.
Remember there are 2 forms of planking; push up or forearm.

I could go on and on about what exercises you can do with a swiss ball, but my editor will kill me. Editor’s note: Just the opposite, you have convinced me to purchase one. Therefore, I need more stability ball exercises!

If you want to develop core strength and balance then a stability ball is the way to go. I recommend wearing sneakers when exercising with a stability ball.
If you decide to get an exercise ball, what size should you get?
45-cm ball if you are between 4 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet tall.
55-cm ball if you are between 5 feet to 5 feet, 5 inches tall.
65-cm ball if you are between 5 feet, 6 inches and 6 feet, 2 inches tall.
If your height exceeds 6 feet, 2 inches tall, opt for a 75-cm ball

If you have any questions or comments about stability balls, send me an email. You can find stability balls on Amazon,, and other online stores. Depending on the size and durability, the stability balls can range from 28 dollars to 50 dollars.

Health Tip:
With winter here in America, Canada, and other parts of the world, there is snow. And with that comes, shoveling to do!
Here are some things to do to avoid injuring your back and shoulders.
*Warm up before shoveling.
*Keep your knees slightly bent.
*Lift the snow with your legs and hips.
*Never twist your back when throwing the snow off the shovel.
*Keep one hand near the blade of the shovel and the other near the handle.
*Lastly, buy an ergonomic shovel.
Some shovels are adjustable and some have a curve built in the handle.
Editor’s note: My dear friend Cheryl (from Florida) sent me the best shovel ever. It actually has two handles, creating less pressure on my back and shoulders!
Happy shoveling!
Until next time, exercise does a body good!

March 2018

Welcome back to another edition of Exercise Does A Body Good.

Last month I wrote about strengthening exercises on a stability ball. In this edition I will focus on some stretches you can do on a stability ball. And as an added bonus, how to do my hula hoop exercise using the ball. In addition, a reader shares how to do wall squats with a stability ball.

Remember a stability ball can be referred to as a Swiss ball, exercise ball, or a physiotherapy ball. You can perform strengthening, stretching, and balancing on your ball. I have seen stability balls being used in gyms, physical therapy settings, and in homes.

So, let’s get started on your first stretching exercise on your stability ball. I called this one the Hug E Ball Stretch.
Get on the floor with knees and feet hip width apart. Roll your upper body onto the ball, such as your arms, chest, and stomach and hug your ball. This will stretch your upper back.

The second part of this stretch is to roll further onto your ball until your knees are off the floor. You will feel a stretch in your upper and lower back. Hold these stretches for a count of 10 to 30 seconds, breathe, and melt your body into your ball. Relax and remember, be mindful where you are on the ball. And, please do not fall off the ball.

I call this second stretch the Back Stretch. But actually, you are stretching your chest, stomach, and hip flexors muscles.
Roll onto the ball with your back until the ball is under your upper and lower back. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor hip width apart. If you need more stability, move your feet further apart. Your hands and arms should be outstretched, like the letter T. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, or more. Breathe, relax, and melt your mind and body into the ball.

The second part of this stretch is to roll further onto your back until knees are straight and feet are hip width apart. Hands and arms can be either outstretched like the letter T, or outstretched over your head. You should feel the stretch in your chest, shoulders, stomach, and hip flexors muscles. Remember; stretch, breathe, relax, and melt.

I call this third stretch the Side Lying Stretch.
Roll your upper right side of your body onto the ball. Your legs should be straight, feet either stacked on top of each other or spread apart to give you more stability. your right hand can be either on the floor or off the floor. Your left hand and arm should be outstretched like the letter T. Find your balance, relax, breathe, melt, and eventually move your left hand and arm over towards your head. Hold for a count of 10 to 30 seconds, or more, then reverse the left side of your body onto the ball.

Now for my hula hoop exercise on the ball.
Sit on the ball. Knees bent at 90 degrees. Feet flat on the floor. Sit upright, with stomach tucked in for contraction of stomach muscles. Hands and arms at your sides.
Now using your hips and abdomen, move clockwise and make a circle with the ball. Do 10 times. Reverse movements to counter clockwise, and make the circle on the ball.
When you get good with hands at your sides, move your hands and arms up and out, like the letter T, and make the circles both clockwise and counterclockwise. Eventually move your hands and arms up and over your head and perform as described.
This hula hoop action works your lower back, abdomen and core muscles, and balance. This is not just for the women, who want to be a belly dancer, it is good for the men also.

I received an email from Deborah. She wrote about doing wall squats with a stability ball, and here is what she wrote:
“Here is another idea for the stability ball. It helps balancing in squats. A personal trainer showed me how to place the ball against a wall, press it in to the wall with my lower back and step out away from the wall while leaning slightly back on the ball, Then I squat rolling down the wall with the ball supporting my back.”
Thank you, Deborah, for this great stability ball exercise, and with great description. Give Deborah an atta girl.

Health Tip:
For those who may sustain an injury such as an ankle, wrist, or knee sprain, and are unable to get to the doctors right away, this is what I recommend: R I C E. which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

For example, a sprain ankle, rest the ankle, elevate the ankle above your heart, wrap the ankle, and ice the ankle for 20 minutes at a time, until you see your physician.

Thank you, Deborah Armstrong for your feedback. If anyone else has any exercise ideas send me an email to my address above. Until next time, remember Exercise Does A Body Good!

April 2018

Welcome back to another edition of Exercise Does A Body Good. In this edition I focus on resistant, tubing or TheraBand training, and what each color means. Resistance bands are used to help tone and strengthen the entire body. They are inexpensive, ranging from 6 to 20 dollars. They do not take up much space, therefore, they can be used at home and when traveling.

Unlike dumbbells and other strength training tools, the different colors and strengths of the bands do not correspond to specific weights. Resistant training can come in the form of a tubing, or a TheraBand. The band or tubing comes in yellow, green, red, blue, and black. Learn about the differences below.

Yellow: These are classified as light resistance. This means that they are very stretchy, and it takes little effort to pull against them and stretch them out. Light resistance bands are used for working areas such as the shoulders and shins, where you don't need much resistance to feel the muscle working.

Green: these are medium resistance. These bands are less stretchy and have more tension than yellow bands. Green bands are used for muscle groups that need slightly more tension, such as the biceps or triceps.

Red: these are labeled as medium to heavy resistance. They have a higher level of tension than green or yellow bands and are harder to stretch. Red bands are suitable for muscle groups that are larger, such as the legs, chest, and back. They are also for individuals who have been building muscle strength.

Blue: These resistance bands are heavy resistance. These are much more stiff than red, green or yellow and do not provide as much stretch. Blue bands are for those who are very strong, or for those larger muscle groups, such as the legs, chest and back. These are also the bands to use when working out with someone else; when two people pull against a band.

Black: These resistance bands have the most resistance. These are the hardest bands to stretch and pull. Like blue bands, black bands are used for the large muscle groups, such as the legs, or when working with others. Some sets of bands come in all black and the level of resistance is not based on color in these sets.

Here are 2 lower body exercises to do with your resistant band.
Squats: I recommend using the red or blue resistant band.
Stand on the band with your feet hip width apart. Keep your back straight, face forward, bend your knees slightly, and hold on to the handles of the band. Make sure you feel tension in the bands.
Lower your butt out and down towards the floor, as if you were to sit in a chair, then return to the standing position. Make sure there is tension again in the standing position.
I recommend doing 15 to 25 reps, in sets of 3.

Lunges: To do lunges with resistance tubing, you need to wrap the tubing around a pole, or attach it to a doorknob. Some tubings have an attachment to place inside the closed door or inside the door jam. Make sure you choose a closet door. If you choose a door that people open and close all the time, and you are working out with the door closed and someone opens the door, and whack! That is going to hurt.

Stand upright and face forward, away from the door. With handles in hands and at chest level, stretch out your arms in front of you.
With feet hip width apart and stomach tight, step forward with your right foot about 12 inches or more. Your right knee should bend at about 90 degrees while your left foot stays in place and knee bends slightly. This form will be at the maximum lunge position.
Step back and up to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 reps for 3 sets. Reverse lunge, stepping forward with your left foot.
This will require balance and strength.
Next month I will describe upper body exercises incorporating the use of resistant tubing.

Health Tip: Seven ways to lower your blood pressure without medication
*Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline, blood pressure often increases as weight increases
*Exercise regularly
*Eat a healthy diet
*Reduce sodium in your diet
*Limit the am ount of alcohol consumption
*Quit smoking
*Lower your stress level
monitor your blood pressure at home, and consult your physician annually.

Good luck, until next month, Exercise Does A Body Good!

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