When you experience an injury, it is important to do what your doctor recommends. The doctor may tell you to forego exercise for a few days. Follow the doctor's advice. The down time will allow any inflammation to subside and give the injury time to heal.
Once your doctor tells you that exercise is okay, you can do specific exercises to help with healing the injury. Here are a few exercise recommendations based on different types of injuries.
Taking a walk is one of the best exercises you can do after a back injury. It allows you to keep your spine straight and work the muscles gently in the process. If walking is too painful, pool therapy may be the answer.
Stretching is important in back injury recovery. Stretch the ligaments, muscles and tendons around the spine gently. Also, make sure to stretch your legs and hips since they greatly affect your back health.
Maintaining flexibility is important after a shoulder injury. Pendulum exercises will help keep the muscles stretched without straining the shoulder or rotator cuff. Bend forward and allow your arm to hang free. Gently move it in circles and in straight lines.
Stretching and strengthening the muscles of the neck and upper back can also help with shoulder injuries.
Stretches are a good way to start after a knee injury. Try a hamstring stretch then quadriceps stretch. Go to the point of discomfort and let go.
Strengthening is next. Try doing straight leg lifts, buttock tucks, quarter squats and step-ups to strengthen the knee without aggravating the injury further.
Bearing weight is the first step in recovering from an ankle injury. Take a walk, using crutches as needed.
Stretching the muscles will help you support the range of motion in the joint. Move the ankle in circles and in straight lines while stretching the muscles.
It is important to build the strength of the ankles and lower legs to prevent future injuries. Leg lifts and walking are great ways to get the ankles stronger.
Consider a personal trainer
If you are having any issues with exercise after an injury, it is a good time to work with a personal trainer. The trainer can show you specific exercises that can help you heal the injury and strengthen the muscles to prevent further injury.
For anyone in Amarillo needing help after an injury, contact Ralph Roberts. Ralph has been a professional athlete and personal trainer for over a decade. He has the training and experience to help you get back to the fitness level you had before your injury.
When it comes to physical fitness there is one part that is often left out of the equation, yet is very important when it comes to performance: agility. Look at any athlete and you will see how important agility is. Most top athletes have a nimbleness about them that helps them work with a high level of efficiency. This agility and flexibility enables athletes to perform for longer periods of time and reduces the risk of injury.
There are quite a few exercise that you can do to help improve your agility both physically and mentally. Whether you work out at the gym or at home, these exercises can help you build your strength and stamina.
Purchase a set of small cones then set them up with one in the middle and three on each side, evenly spaced. You are going to move through these cones while creating imaginary letters -- M, N, I, T,Y. Go at a speed you are comfortable with; you may start by walking or feel fit and strong enough to shuffle. Decide which order you are going to go in and complete the movement patterns. As your skill increases you can move the cones further apart and work at faster speeds.
If you are already a runner but are looking to increase your agility, sprint intervals can help. You can do these sprints on a treadmill or outside. Try a 30 second sprint at full exertion then a 60 second rest period, which can be jogging or walking. Try for 10 intervals to start with.
Blow up two balloons, each a different color. Decide on a color order, so you may go green/red or red/green. Hit each balloon in the order you have decided to keep the balloons in the air. If this exercise seems too easy, you can try performing bodyweight squats between each contact with the balloon.
Explosive Medicine Ball Throws
Start with a medicine ball that weighs around four to six pounds. Bend into a chair squat then jump while throwing the ball. This is an explosive move, so you are projecting the ball as far as you can. You can begin with eight reps and increase weight and reps as you improve.
You will need an agility ladder for this exercise. Decide how you want to move your body through the ladder, you might want to march with high knees, run or shuffle. Recite the alphabet as you move up and down the ladder.
Using these exercises whether separately or placed together as a workout, can help you increase your agility and flexibility.
If you are looking for a coach that can help you in all areas of fitness, contact Ralph Roberts. Ralph Roberts will create a specialized plan to help you reach your personal goals.
Personal trainers abound in nearly every urban area now, but which one is right for you? Pick up the local paper, check the online classifieds, even pop into your neighborhood gym and you'll find dozens of people who promise you results -- they'll slim your waistline, bulge your muscles, drop you a dress size.
However, there are National Board standards and processes for certification that personal trainers can go through -- but they don't have to. Anyone can throw out his or her shingle and say that he is a personal trainer, but is that what you really want? Make sure to ask if they are nationally certified. This national certification ensures your trainer has taken classes in exercise physiology. They are required to know the body, required to know what exercises work what muscle, and in return, what exercises might hurt you if you, say, have a bad back.
What should I ask a personal trainer?
Ask to see a personal trainer’s qualifications and references. A certified trainer will be more than happy to show you. Even if the trainer is not certified, the ability to present references might be enough to assure this person knows what they are doing.
Also, beware of gyms that have trainers on staff who are not fully qualified. Some gyms do not require any experience at all for their trainers. These trainers are sometimes hourly workers given shirts that say “Trainer” on the back, but who are not required to have trained a single person or have certification as a trainer. They may have experience, but those qualifications are not always required. Some national gym chains do require certification by the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT), among others.
All in all, the best advice on choosing a personal trainer is to meet with him or her, ask about qualifications and references, and go through a sample workout. Most trainers will sit down with you to discuss your goals and then will design a plan. If you don't find this on your initial consultation, you might want to find another trainer.
Also, oftentimes, personal trainers will have some background in nutrition as well and can help clients come up with healthy eating plans. As you know, it is diet and exercise that really get the best results.
Which certifications should a personal trainer have?
There are several schools and courses that give trainers their certification, but the NFPT is one of the most recognized. If a facility requires certification, most note that this body is the one they look for first. The NFPT has rigorous courses and a comprehensive test that students must pass in order to get their certificate. The classes aren't cheap, so it’s fair to say a person has to be serious to go through with the program.
However, it's not all about certifications and paper. You want a personal trainer that goes beyond "the job," one that cares about your health, and one that will push, motivate you and support you.
If you are looking for an Amarillo personal trainer, contact Ralph Roberts. Ralph is a nationally certified fitness trainer (CFT) through the ISSA and has attended many national fitness conferences and seminars so he can stay up-to-date on exercises, trends and advances in fitness and health. Ralph works with a variety of clients, men, women and teenagers, athletes and non-athletes. He truly cares about all of his clients, and he can work with you so you can meet your fitness goals.
Can stress make you gain weight? Stress itself cannot make you gain weight. However, it can trigger a cascade of effects in your body that will increase your hunger levels, tempting you to eat things that are not healthy or in amounts that can cause weight gain.
Believe it or not, stress is a natural part of life. Our ancient ancestors had to deal with stressors on a daily basis. The human body is built to handle sudden periods of stress. The body kicks in certain hormones which suppress the appetite, letting the person get through the stressful episode. Once the body returns to normal, the appetite returns to normal.
Why do I “stress-eat?”
You are probably familiar with the signs of stress eating. "I must eat right now." "I want ice cream!" "I cannot stop thinking about those doughnuts in the break room." "I have to eat to calm down." "I can't believe I ate the entire gallon of ice cream!"
The problem is that, for many people, stress is not something that comes suddenly then goes away quickly. It is something that comes and stays for long periods of time. This chronic cycle of stress is what starts the cascades of body effects that can lead to stress-related eating.
Constant stress triggers the neuroendocrine system to go into overdrive. The body gets an ongoing flow of adrenaline and corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH). The body also starts a disruptive cortisol rhythm. This abnormal disruption of hormones leads to a progression that leads the body to gain weight.
All of these results put a person on a course of weight gain. Left unchecked, this progression of events can lead to health problems, like Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart problems.
How do I manage stress?
Reducing stress levels is the best way to curtail this progression and keep the weight off. The good news is that taking steps to reduce stress can also help you lose weight. Taking a multi-pronged approach to reduce stress can also lead to weight loss.
Stress begins in the head. When a person is feeling stress, it usually surrounds a particular train of thought. If that train of thought begins to appear, actively managing it before it triggers the stress response will help keep the stress cascade from starting. Catch the thought, challenge its validity, and change the thought into something accurate and rational.
Physical activity is another way to reduce stress levels. As you start to exercise, the body naturally begins to regulate the hormone levels in the body. This helps reduce the cortisol cycle and keeps blood sugar levels steady, which in turn reduces stress related cravings. The bonus is that regular exercise not only lowers stress levels it can help you lose the weight you gained before.
In order to beat stress, you have to be mentally strong. If you are dealing with chronic stress, and seeing the results in extra weight, personal trainer Ralph Roberts can motivate you physically and mentally. He can help you break the stress cycle and get to a healthy weight. Get in touch with Ralph today for a free personal training session.
It takes a lot of motivation from yourself and encouragement from others to get in shape. Imagine how much more it takes to gear up for a marathon, like one as prestigious as the Ironman competition.
I am so proud of my client, Susan Teeple, who will compete in the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas this Saturday in The Woodlands, Texas. This will be her first Ironman, and she has worked so hard to get to this point.
The event, which is expected to last at least 17 hours, includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run. All in all, 2,800 athletes will cover nearly 140 miles of ground and water on May 17, and Susan will be one of them.
Susan and I have been working up to this point for a year, doing strength training, total body exercises, and TRX training. She has also been training with her Ironman coach, Gary Paul Moore, who has finished nine Ironmen! Susan’s husband, Sloan, has competed in the Ironman before, but this year, it’s all about Susan.
Susan, I am so happy and proud of all the work you have put into your training. Congratulations on setting yourself apart by competing in your first Ironman! You have definitely lived up to the word, overachieve, and others will follow in your footsteps. I know you will finish strong.
Well-toned arms are something we all want. Whether you are 25, 50 or older, when your arms are toned, you can feel confident wearing sleeveless shirts, tanks and sundresses. One question that many people, particularly women, ask is "how can I tone my arms without getting bulky?" With the proper exercises, you can have toned, sexy arms without the bulk.
When you want to focus on toning, you should keep weights light, with more repetition. People who are looking to build muscle, or bulk tend to focus on heavier weights, with less repetition. You just want to do the opposite. You will also want to vary your exercises to work all parts of the arm.
What are some good bicep exercises?
Start with a set of light weights. How light depends on individual strength and preference. A good gauge is a weight that you can do about 15-20 reps with comfortably.
What are some good tricep exercises?
Triceps are often seen as a trouble spot. Get them firm and toned with these tricep kickbacks.
How can I tone my shoulders?
When working your arms, don't forget about your shoulders. There are several exercises you can do, and lateral raises are a good place to start. Here is a quick overview of the exercise:
These are just three simple exercises that can help tone your arms. Remember, as long as you are not lifting heavy weights, you won't get "bulky." Fifteen to twenty reps is good, and you will find that you tone up nicely.
Ralph works with a variety of clients for an array of needs. For more personalized fitness instruction that gets results, contact Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts to come up with an individual plan based on your needs.
photo credit: stockimages / Free Digital Photos
Running a marathon is not something done on a whim. It takes long-term dedication and practice to get prepared for it. It can take several months or over a year to properly prepare for running that 26.2 mile endurance race.
What do I need to do to train for a marathon?
Start building up your base mileage. To be prepared even to start training for a marathon, you already need to be running long distances on a regular basis. Many experts think running 20 to 30 miles every week for several months is necessary before you start building up for a marathon.
Elevate your base mileage. Once you have reached the 20 to 30 mile goal each week, and have been doing it for several months, you can start elevating your mileage gradually. For four to six months before the marathon, you need to start making incremental increases to your base mileage. Plan on elevating your mileage by 5 to 10 percent each week. The goal is to reach 50 miles per week before the marathon.
Build your single run mileage. Building up to 50 miles per week is only part of the goal for preparing for a marathon. You need to lengthen the mileage you do in a single run. You need to schedule your time to give yourself one long run each week or so. For example, you might do 10 miles a day three times during the week, then plan a 20 mile run sometime over the weekend. However, don't jump to the 20 mile level too quickly. Gradually lengthen your long run out by a mile every week or two.
Add speed work into the mix. Marathons are long-distance endurance races. Adding speed work into your training mix may not seem logical. However, adding some speed work into the mix will build your endurance up faster than only doing the slower runs. It also gives you some variance in your workouts to keep things fresh. Doing speed work once a week on one of your shorter runs is a good place to start.
Rest is an essential part of your marathon training plan. Many first-time marathoners think that running every day will help them do their best on race day. However, the body needs time to recover. Build in two or three days of rest into your marathon training plan. This means no running whatsoever on those days. Also, a couple of weeks before the marathon start tapering off your running schedule. You need to give your body time to rest before the big race.
What is the best way to prepare for a marathon?
Marathons require a long-term commitment. You may be preparing for over a year to run a single 26.2 mile race. Sticking to a training plan can be difficult, even for the most dedicated runner. To help keep you motivated and to help you stay in great shape, you need to get a personal trainer.
Ralph Roberts is just such a personal trainer. Ralph helps clients set personal training goals and work toward achieving them, and recently helped a client enter her first Ironman Triathlon. He can help you get ready for the road race of a lifetime. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free initial personal training session.
Pregnancy is an amazing time, full of excitement and anticipation. As a Mom-to-be, you have the very important job of caring for the little being growing inside of you. You also have the job of taking care of yourself! This means getting lots of rest, eating right and getting adequate exercise.
Can I work out during my pregnancy?
There are a lot of myths out there surrounding exercise and pregnancy. With some exceptions, exercise is perfectly fine during pregnancy; in fact, it is recommended. If you are already active, you may be worried that your pregnancy will limit your activities.
For the most part, this is not the case. If you are not currently active, you may be concerned about starting any kind of exercise. While this may not be the time to start training for a marathon, you can certainly engage in a healthy level of activity to help you stay fit during pregnancy.
Most women are concerned about weight gain, as well as other physical discomforts associated with pregnancy. Exercise can help alleviate and prevent many of the discomforts of pregnancy. Although weight gain is normal and important during pregnancy, excessive weight gain can create problems. Increased back and leg pain, swelling and other problems can arise.
Should I talk to my doctor before working out?
It is very important that you communicate with your doctor during this time. Although physical activity is generally safe and recommended during pregnancy, there are exceptions. If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, your doctor may advise you to limit your activity. Always consult your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program, and find out if there are any activities you should not be engaging in.
What kinds of exercises are good during pregnancy?
Walking, swimming, low-impact cardio and light weights are all good ways to keep yourself healthy and fit. If you already have an established workout routine, get the green light to continue with your program from your doctor. As the pregnancy progresses, you may need to modify your routine.
If you are new to fitness, you may be hesitant to start exercising. Again, check with your doctor first. You aren't going to want to start a strenuous, high-intensity workout right now, but you can certainly exercise. Light weights to strengthen and tone your upper body, walking and stretching are all good ways to stay in shape.
Some things to look out for:
As your pregnancy progresses, you may need to modify your activities. Your growing baby bump can make even the most coordinated women lose their balance. Fatigue and dizziness can also be a problem. It is important to really listen to your body. Now is not a good time to push yourself. If you become tired, dizzy or short of breath, you need to stop.
Don't work out alone. Grab your partner or a friend. Work out with a personal trainer. If it isn't already obvious that you are pregnant, of course, let your trainer know.
Who can help me train during my pregnancy?
It is absolutely possible to maintain your fitness during pregnancy. Not only will doing so make for a more comfortable and healthy pregnancy, but it will also make it easier to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. If you want to exercise during pregnancy, speak with personal trainer Ralph Roberts. He has experience working with clients who are pregnant, and can customize a workout routine based on your health, pregnancy and other needs. After you've had your baby, Ralph can help you lose that baby weight and get back in shape, too. Contact Ralph today to learn more about working out while pregnant.
photo courtesy of Melissa Wright
Wondering just exactly how much cardio is enough? Well, when you begin working out, it is always a good idea to start slowly. But if you are someone who has been exercising for a while, how much cardio do you need? A good rule of thumb is 40 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week. If you are new to working out, start with 20 minutes and then work yourself up to 40 minutes.
I want to burn fat. What cardio should I do?
For fat loss, all you really need is 40 minutes of cardio, and this can be steady state, like a jog, an elliptical session or a bike ride. Or, you can turn it up a notch and do some high intensity interval training (also known as a HiiT workout) and really up the calorie burn.
Additionally, doing 40 minutes of cardio exercise 3 to 5 times a week benefits your heart, too. It helps to reduces your risk of heart disease, as well as reducing your risk of stroke and some types of cancer. When you do cardio, it works to increase the efficiency of blood circulation and this leads to more nutrients being delivered to the entire body. Cardio also helps reduce blood pressure.
What type of cardio should I try?
Cardio is actually a very personal choice, there is no one right activity for every single person. What do you enjoy doing? What will keep you coming back for more? If you hate to run, then trying to run for 40 minutes 3 to 5 times a week is never going to work. But if you love to dance, and can join a Zumba class, that will keep you motivated to keep working out.
Love to bike? Get outdoors and find a trail at Palo Duro Canyon. Or if it is too cold (or hot), tackle the stationary bike or a spin class. There is always something for everyone.
Do I need to combine cardio with strength training?
While cardio exercise will help you burn fat and lose weight, remember that cardio is not the only piece of the puzzle. You also need to weight train in order to build muscle, increase metabolism and burn more fat, while keeping the weight off.
The final piece of the puzzle is nutrition. You have to eat right to get the body you really want. In fact, nutritionists (and scientists) have proven that 70% of your body is built in the kitchen! So watch what you eat. Clean eating, no processed foods, cut back on sugar (or eliminate it completely) and simple carbs and you will see and feel a difference.
Ready to get with the program? Contact nationally certified personal trainer Ralph Roberts today and get started on your path to fitness. Ralph will monitor and guide your every step of the way in your journey to good health. If a personal trainer just isn't in the cards right now, consider getting a one-time, customized workout plan designed just for you.
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