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Simple Steps to a Better Body and a Healthier You
Whether it is a new calendar year with New Year’s resolutions, a change in seasons with spring cleaning or a change in life that brings a new attitude, periodically we find ourselves transitioning from old to new.
When the season of change occurs a resolution that people often place on their freshly crafted to-do-list is getting in better physical shape. If you are not ready to join a gym you can still bring the pain and gain the muscle. With the right combination of information, activity, tools and exercises, you can reach the goals that you’ve set for yourself. Here are some suggestions to help you get started in the right direction. Especially, if you are not quite settled on a gym membership.
Running is a great activity that has a range of health benefits touted by the experts. Grab a pair of shoes and get busy. Here are three pairs of running shoes that meet the expectations of the pros and should work for you too. You might want to invest in a watch or heart rate monitor to track your vitals and also your progress. The Nike+ SportWatch GPS has a few useful apps and an active online community.
Yup, the jump rope is probably one of the most effective and overall low-cost exercises that you can do and jumping rope has tremendous heart health benefits. Additionally, the increased hand eye coordination will provide improvements in other areas of your day-to-day life; like dancing, throwing a right cross and better sex. Start light then gradually work your way up to the footwork, combinations and jump rope tricks. Do not worry that if in the beginning you get completely tangled in the rope, just get started. There are training videos to teach you jump rope online or you can grab a Buddy Lee Jump Rope Training video. That was him on YouTube. Crazy.
In addition to his video and book, Buddy Lee also has the Aero Speed Hyperformance jump rope. I had a Gold’s Gym jump rope. Although it frayed terribly after routine use I bought a Reebok rope that looks and performs the same. Some don’t like fraying; personally, it serves as a gratifying reminder of my sessions and is encouraging. For more of a workout use a weighted jump rope like this one.
Popular off and on throughout the years, body weight exercises are a great way to get in shape and stay there. Simply clear some space and get to the grunt work. Bodyweight exercises also are a good way to learn your body mechanics, build strength. Generally, bodyweight exercises build functional strength and bodyweight exercises can give you size and muscle.
The core principles of bodyweight exercises are simplicity, resistance, natural movements and real world applications of strength. However, many bodyweight routines and exercises stray away from this foundation. Start with the safe and proven routines first and build your body from there. Established exercises include; pushups, pull-ups, crunches and dips. After you crank out a few hundred of those, try a few variations. Later you can upgrade to rope climbs, pistol squats and the L-sit / L-chair. Find more on Wikipedia.
Super popular right now, yoga is an awesome practice that I personally can attest to and say it works. Yoga is good for the mind and good for the body. Start slow and work your way into advanced techniques. Yoga builds your core and with proper breathing, yoga can tremendously benefit your nervous system. There are plenty of yoga videos; Rodney Yee has several good ones. Here is his yoga video for strength. There are probably yoga classes in your area if you take look. Try Google+, Meetup, Craigslist or 411.
Well that takes care of your body, but you do not want to be all body and no brain, so here are some books and other tools you can use to help you reach your fitness goals in 2012.
The 4-Hour Body is New York Times bestseller not simply because Timothy Ferris has a good publicist (well maybe so). But that does not matter, the 4-Hour Body is chock full of useful information that if you apply will change you from puny to powerful. This is in part because Tim was kind enough to loan his body out for rigorous experimentation, to learn what is possible, what works and what is a waste of time, in the realm of health and fitness. Now you don’t have to spend as much money, time and effort on the road to vitality and wellness. Once you read the book of course. Or visit his repository of luminous text.
If the methods and information within the pages of 4HB does not suit your taste, here are two other books that have brought success to others looking to attain physical wellness.
First there is, “You: the Owner’s Manual.” A few years back this book was a number one bestseller and it spawned virtually an entire shelf of spin-off books, some of which went on to become best sellers as well. Obviously bored with international success and not content to leave well enough alone, the good doctors behind the massive, yet easy to read original, “You” have released an, “Updated and Expanded Edition.” The book, while huge follows a simple concept; gather vital health information and present it in an easy, clear and understandable format. Then, top it off with illustrations that make learning your body so trivial that even toddlers would understand what to do with their bodies to improve their health.
Finally, there is, “The Primal Blueprint.” Written by former marathon runner and Ironman Triathlon athlete, Mark Sisson. This book lives up to its name and gives an easy to follow, unrefined, blunt force approach to kicking sugar cravings, burning body fat and building a better body. If the lifestyle changes suggested are too overwhelming to handle alone, if you have doubts, questions, want to share your results, compare notes or just hang out; there is a wildly active Primal Blueprint forum on his website, Mark’sDailyApple.
Lastly, you’ll need some way to organize your progress and to keep track of all this. As I mentioned previously Nike has a great community resource for running and while Remember the Milk is primarily thought of as a place to assemble and store task lists not related to health, you can easily enter your exercise plan in there too. Other tools to help you reach your goals are fitness apps and health apps for your phone or tablet. These applications allow you to focus on the work to do and not the data behind it.
Five popular Android fitness and health apps for you to use include; CardioTrainer, Daily Yoga for X, JEFIT, MyFitnesspal and the FatSecret Calorie Counter. These are not the only health apps out there but, these 5 Android fitness apps are proven tools that can help you get started and also help you stay on course.
There a many exercise apps for iOS devices, but here are 5 iPad and iPhone fitness and health apps that do the work in the back office while you do the work on the floor. Starting off there is JEFIT, followed by Fooducate, SparkPeople, then the Calorie Counter by FatSecret and lastly the Endomondo Sports Tracker. You might have noticed that two of these apps were listed previously. Take this as a sign of their effectiveness and a strong suggestion of an app for you to include in your arsenal.
Two last items I want to mention before I wrap this up. The first is support. Having a good friend is a valuable tool. You do the work, but having someone to support you, provide you with feedback, encourage and help you stay accountable is a great help and often overlooked. If you are in a situation where a supportive friend is not available in real life, join the support forums, online community or group that fits you. Despite the feigned popularity and espousal of the lone wolf mentality, becoming a part of a group does not make you weak. In fact, the right coaching and support helps you become stronger.
There is strength in numbers.
Here is the other thing. The power is within you, your mind and internal conversation. That is not to disregard the teachers, coaches, books, videos and other information you gather. But all of that stuff is useless without you, and what you do with it. A good portion of that depends on how you speak and what you say to yourself. Everything you say to yourself matters. If you believe you can do it and stay focused and diligent long enough, with the proper actions, you will do it. Allow yourself both room to stumble and room to improve. With time, the areas where you once appeared clumsy you will become so skillful that others will think it came easy. You are a good foundation to build upon. Use the tools that you are given. Build yourself, a masterpiece.