Monday, June 23, 2008

Health and Fitness Tips - the Stretching and Warm Up Exercises

Introduction to Fitness

Are you considering buying exercise equipment or increasing your exercise? Then this article will give some useful tips on warming up exercises you should use in your regime.

One of the most important factors to achieving a healthy lifestyle is a good eating and fitness plan. Keeping fit and eating healthy, not only makes you look good but also makes you feel good. There's no better feeling than finishing your workout routine, with a sense of accomplishment.

There are lots of ways to stay healthy - finding the sport or exercise that interests you the most makes fitness fun. If you don't enjoy the exercise program you do, then try another! There are loads of ways to keep fit, from dancing to rock climbing. Find something that takes your interest and give it a go, you can always go on to another if you want.

Most aspects of fitness can be achieved in a gym e.g. strength building, cardiovascular fitness, aerobics and dance. All ages and fitness levels are catered for and improvements can be monitored and altered to suit the individual.

The good thing about the gym is it's an anytime (within reason) fitness centre, whether it's raining or snowing, there is always somewhere to workout. Not only can you exercise in the comfort of the gym, there's also the help of trained professionals on hand at all times. If you're a novice and do require help, ask a member of staff about them. Personal trainers are not that expensive and advise on best the fitness routine tailored for you individually.

The main thing is to get out there and get the heart pumping, don't under estimate the effects a good fitness routine can have on you, your body, and the way you live your life.

Stretching and Warm up Exercises

Before any workout you need to warm up. This helps to prevent any muscle strain and provides a better blood flow to the muscles. Leaping into your workout routine without any type of warm up could lead to muscle damage and render you unable to train for sometime. Here are a few stretching exercises that you can use for various parts of the body. You'll be able to feel which muscles are being targeted in most cases.

Back Stretches: Lie down on your front and open your arms to do a press up style movement (without lifting your body from the ground). Press your pelvis to the floor and push up with your arms, lift your chest from the floor, this will stretch the lower back muscles. Another way to stretch and warm the back can be accomplished by lying on your back with your hands at your side, palms down. Lift your knees up with your feet flat on the floor, and then rock your knees slowly from side to side stretching the back muscles. Try these two exercises for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Chest Warm Up: The easiest way is to use a vertical chest press in your local gym. You could use a horizontal press at home. Place only a very light weight on these machines and attempt 3 sets of 20 repetitions.

A light press-up session is also a decent warm up. Instead of performing a full press-up, use your knees instead of your feet to angle your body. Rest your knees on the floor and assume the press-up position. Try 2 sets of 20 reps for this to warm up.

Shoulder Warm up: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, raise your right arm up, then place your hand in between your shoulder blades, keeping your upper arm raised. Then use your left arm to slowly pull your elbow toward your head. Hold this position for 30 seconds, return and start again 3 times. Repeat with the other side.

Hamstrings: sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, about 2 feet apart. Now gently and slowly with both hands, reach for your left foot, hold for 30 seconds and then return. Do this for both left and right.

Calf Stretch: Stand with your feet apart, chest and back straight. Now with your right leg move your foot back about 2-3 feet ensuring your foot is flat to the floor. Then with your left leg bend your knee toward the floor, until you feel the pull in your calf hold for 30 seconds then repeat. After 3 repeats change over.

Thighs: Steady yourself by holding onto a chair or sturdy piece of gym equipment with your left arm. Lift your right leg toward your buttocks, holding your ankle with your right hand, allow the heel of your foot to touch your buttocks, hold for 30 seconds then repeat. Reverse the process remembering to hold on with your right hand, using your left hand for holding your ankle.

Always remember these five rules when stretching and warming up:

1. Don't over stretch your muscles, only stretch to the point of tension. Not to the point of pain.

2. Stretch with slow movements, sudden and jerky movements may lead to muscle strain.

3. Keep it even - stretch and warm up both sides of the body e.g. both legs, arms.

4. For the best effect hold your stretches for 30 seconds

5. After your work out always allow yourself to cool down. Warm down in just the same way as you warmed up.

Final word - remember to make it fun, not a daily chore and enjoy it!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mouth and Teeth: How to Keep Them Healthy

Taking good care of your mouth and teeth throughout your whole life can help prevent problems as you get older. Taking care of your teeth means brushing and flossing every day and seeing the dentist regularly.

Infants and children
The first set of teeth is already almost completely formed at birth. At first these teeth are “hiding” under the gums. These teeth are important, because after they come in, they let your baby chew food, make a nice smile and talk well. You baby’s first set of teeth also holds the space where permanent teeth will eventually be. They help permanent teeth grow in straight.

You can care for your baby’s teeth by following these suggestions:

* Clean the new teeth every day. When the teeth first come in, clean them by rubbing them gently with a clean wet washcloth. When the teeth are bigger, use a child’s toothbrush.
* Children under 2 years of age shouldn’t use toothpaste. Instead, use water to brush your child’s teeth.
* Don’t let your baby go to sleep with a bottle. This can leave milk or juice sitting on the teeth and cause cavities that are known as “baby-bottle tooth decay.”
* Encourage older children to eat low-sugar snacks, such as fruits, cheese and vegetables. Avoid giving your child sticky, chewy candy.
* Teach your children how to brush their teeth and the importance of keeping their teeth clean.
* Take your children to the dentist regularly. The American Dental Association recommends that children see their dentist starting at 1 year of age.

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Taking good care of your mouth and teeth will help you have pleasant breath, a nice smile and fewer cavities. Here are some simple things you can do:

* Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
* Floss your teeth at least once a day.
* Don’t smoke or chew tobacco, which can stain your teeth, give you bad breath and cause cancer.
* Wear the right protective headgear while playing contact sports.
* See your dentist every year for regular check-ups and cleanings.

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Continuing good mouth and tooth care as an adult can help you avoid tooth loss, painful gums or other problems. Here are some helpful things you can do:

* Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
* Floss your teeth at least once a day.
* Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
* Ask your doctor if your medicines have side effects that might damage your teeth. (For example, some medicines may cause you to have a dry mouth.)
* Look inside your mouth regularly for sores that don’t heal, irritated gums or other changes.
* See your dentist regularly.

If you have any problems with your teeth or concerns about your mouth, see your doctor or dentist right away.