Tag: Be Broncho Fit!

Proper Static Stretching

By Garrett Dunagan

What is static stretching?

Static stretching involves stretching muscles while the body is at rest. It is considered the most common used method to increase flexibility. It consists of slow movements into positions that cause slight to moderate discomfort (peak tension), and holding the position anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretching has been largely used as a warm-up or pre warm-up for exercise. Research however has shown that while static stretching will still prepare you for exercise, it decreases the muscles ability to fire off, and promotes instability in the joints which can increase risk of injury during exercise. Static stretching routines should always take place post-workout. This is because the body’s tension receptors are less sensitive allowing the muscles to be more relaxed, and stretched to further lengths.

Benefits of static stretching (Post exercise)

Static stretches tend to be very simple and can be used for almost everyone. It allows you to target muscles that may need more stretching than others. It can be peaceful and decrease levels of stress and tension. It’s probably the best way overall to increase flexibility which leads to lower risk of injury, larger range of motion (ROM), and increase performance of daily activity skills.

Post-workout static stretches:
Lower Body
-Hamstring stretch (10-30 seconds for each leg); see picture 1 below
-Butterfly Groin stretch (10-25 seconds *keep your heels close to your body); see picture 2 below
-Lying Quadriceps stretch (10-30 seconds for each leg); see picture 3 below
-Lying Hip stretch (10-25 seconds *this is a very important stretch for men)
-Calf stretch (10-30 seconds for each leg)
Upper Body
-Shoulder stretch (10-30 seconds for each arm *this does not stretch the lateral or anterior parts of the shoulder)
-Triceps stretch (10-30 seconds for each arm); see picture 4 below
-Side bends (10-30 seconds *make sure to stretch both sides)
-Neck rotations (10-20 seconds); see picture 5 below
-Forward Neck flexion stretch (10-20 seconds)

Stretch 1

Stretch 2

Stretch 3

Stretch 5

Stretch 4

Just 5 More Minutes…

With Spring Break behind us, there is a crippling realization for a lot of college students: our sleep schedule is in shambles and we are barely making it to class on time, much less fully prepared. How do we get our sleep schedules back to perfection? It will take a little planning and dedication to get your body’s internal clock to reset. It sounds weird to have to plan for sleep doesn’t it? That’s because it’s something your body already does for you naturally with an internal clock set by light levels, when you eat, exercise, and most importantly when you start your day. Here are a few tips to help reset your body’s sleep clock and get back on track:

1. Use Bright Light in the Morning: The best way to jump start your morning and shake off the grogginess from leftover melatonin is to flood your room with light. When you wake up, turn on bright lights and throw open the curtains to bring in daylight. This will give the same effect as walking out of a dark movie theatre in the middle of a bright afternoon. 

2. Dim the Lights in the Evening: Too much light at night pushes your sleep time later. To cut down on light at night keep lights low near the end of the day. Dim lights or turn off overly bright overhead lights and use lamps instead. Try not to use laptops, tablets, cell phones, TVs, or other electronics too close to bed time. Our eyes are especially sensitive to the blueish light emitted by electronics, especially at night, and will keep the sleep inducing chemical melatonin at bay. 

3. Time Your Meals: At home, keep a regular routine for meals and exercise. This helps steady your internal clock with a comfortable routine. This one can be tricky for college students already balancing class, work, and studying but it will help greatly in getting your sleep back on track. 

4. Limit Your Time in Bed: If you lie awake when you’re in bed, try getting up and doing something mostly inactive, such as reading a book. Lying in bed awake only discourages the body from sleeping in bed in the future. Don’t nap during the day, either. A nap will make it almost impossible to fall asleep at a proper time later in the day and you will end up lying awake in bed.

 5. Limit Caffeine: You may be tempted to use caffeine to get over the afternoon hump for the first couple of days. This is the last thing you want to do, with caffeine taking roughly 8 hours to work its way out of your system. 

6. Most Importantly: Wake Up!: This sounds so simple and obvious, but it is the most neglected aspect of a healthy sleep schedule. By waking up as soon as your alarm goes off every morning, sorry snooze addicts, your body will naturally shift your sleep schedule to match. Even if you neglect all of the other aspects of a healthy sleep schedule, as long as you get up and get moving at the same time every day your body will adapt and restful sleep will soon return to your bedroom!

Source: http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/reset-sleep-cycle

By Taylor Lesser

Keep Calm & Snack On!

Everyone can say that they have had a craving for something between meals every now and then! It can be a sweet, savory, crunchy, or even something to drink that puts you in the mood to look into the cabinets and refrigerator for a between meal munch. It is easy to grab a donut or chips , but we all know those are not healthy and many of us regret eating them after the deed is done. There are healthy, tasty ways to get over these food cravings without feeling remorseful after their consumption! Here are few tips that may help.

*Look for nutrient dense snacks– These will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Plus you will not have consumed empty calories that can later put your mind and body in a “slump.”

*Be whole-grain and fiber friendly– Whole-grains and fiber will keep you feeling more satisfied until your next meal without consuming overbearing amounts. They allow you to snack then stop because a feeling of satisfaction comes along with these snacks, helping you from eating an entire package of cookies or chips.

*Split your favorite snacks into portions– If you like to snack with an item that can be considered a meal in itself such as popcorn, divide it into different small bags. This will help you from over consuming, as well as, give you a feeling of control that you have not consumed an entire bag. This works for all items that can be separated!

*Choose wisely-Focus on fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. They are the best calories that you can consume with your whole-grain and fiber to make the snack last. They also are nutrient dense. Fill your counters and refrigerators with these to make the choice easy!

*Do NOT buy “junk food”– You cannot eat it if it is not available! Keep the junk out and replace it with you healthy snacks. Your healthy snacking will automatically replace your empty calorie snacking and you will feel better throughout your day!

Below are healthy choices of snacks that can help with satisfying your cravings!

Crunchy:

• Apples

• Carrot and celery sticks

• Green pepper sticks

• Zucchini cirdes

• Radishes

• Broccoli spears

• Cauliflower

• Unsalted rice cakes

 

Munchy:

• Unsalted sunflower seeds

• Whole-grain breads or toast

• Cherry or grape tomatoes

• Low-fat or fat-free cheese

• Plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt

• Unsalted almonds, walnuts and other nuts

 

Sweet:

• Unsweetened canned fruit

• Thin slice of angel food cake

• Baked apple

• Raisins

• Dried fruit gelatin gems

• Frozen bananas

• Frozen grapes

• Fresh fruit

• Low-fat or fat-free unsweetened fruit yogurt

 

Thirst Quenchers:

• Fat-free milk

• Unsweetened juices

• Low-sodium tomato or mixed vegetable juice

• Water

By Lakisha Laster

Lose Stress, Get Fit

Stress and anxiety levels are commonly high amongst college students, increasing throughout the semester with tests and deadlines slowly creeping up. The physical benefits of exercise, such as weight loss, decrease in blood pressure, and general heart health, have been discussed for many years with plenty of research to back them . But recently there has been a lot of research involving the mental benefits of exercise. Most of the mental benefits come from the release of endorphins and improvements in sleep which cause a decrease in levels of stress and anxiety. While college students may have a full load of classes, with jobs to top it off, they are also the most time-flexible population with the least amount of obstacles to exercise. So why don’t stressed college students just go to the wellness center for some well-deserved stress relief? The problem is that a lot of them don’t know where to begin! The following are simple exercise guidelines that can help reduce stress and anxiety levels for beginners:

  • 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
  • Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
  • Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
  • Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or classmate.
  • Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most people starting an exercise program take about four to eight weeks for the exercise to start to feel easier.

Use these guidelines to get started with your stress relief and keep finding new exercises that you enjoy!

-Taylor Lesser

Resource: http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

Fight Food Cravings

Let’s face it, dieting can be hard work. Whether you’re fighting late night munchies or constantly getting tempted by that dreadful office vending machine, there are a couple steps you can take in order to fight those cravings.

1. Hydrate. A lot of times the body confuses the sensation of hunger and thirst. Try drinking a bottle of water before a meal or whenever that next craving attacks. This can usually curb the “I’m starving and could eat a whole elephant” feeling.

2. Find an alternative. This can be a bit more challenging because you know you are hungry, but you aren’t quite sure what you are hungry for. Often times people are craving sweets, chocolate, something salty, or just looking to satisfy that “give me something crunchy” feeling. Here are a couple alternatives when craving these items.

You’re Craving: Sweets/ Sugary Foods

What to eat instead:  Fresh fruit. Strawberries, grapes, ect.

You’re Craving:  Chocolate

What to eat instead:   Trail mix with dried fruit. Add pieces of dark chocolate if desired.

You’re Craving:  Something Salty

What to eat instead:   Almonds or cashews

You’re Craving:  Breads

What to eat instead:   Nuts or beans

You’re Craving:  Crunchy Foods (Chips)

What to eat instead:   Baby carrots, or broccoli 

3. Wait it out. Most of us eat way too fast no matter what meal it is. Before you go back for seconds or grab another snack, wait about 10-15 minutes and then decide if you’re still hungry.

4. Get fresh. Yes, this might sound silly, but chewing a piece of sugar free mint gum or brushing your teeth may also help you fight those cravings. Nobody likes drinking orange juice right after they brush their teeth in the mornings so don’t be afraid to use this trick throughout the day no matter where you are.

Christine Burns ~ Blogistics!

The Importance of a Warm-Up

We all know that exercise is a great way to improve health and increase physical fitness. A very important component of a workout session is the warm-up. Do you perform a warm-up before exercising? If not, here are a few reasons to begin warming up before every workout.

Performing a warm-up before exercising provides many benefits, including:

-increased blood flow to working muscles

-prevention of injury due to increased elasticity of muscles

-joint lubrication and increased range of motion (ROM) of joints

-increased flexibility of tendons and ligaments, and

-a gradual increase in energy production which limits lactic acid buildup

A warm-up should last around 5-10 minutes. But this number may vary due to factors such as environment (cold weather, for example). One must determine for himself or herself how long his or her warm-up should be.

So, what should a warm-up consist of? A warm-up should include dynamic movement that focuses on major muscle groups. A good warm-up consists of movements that increase heart rate and range of motion in joints.  Here are some good warm-up movements to perform to prepare yourself for exercise:

-Body Weight Squat

Begin with feet forward, hip-width apart, standing tall, straight back, and neutral head. Lower into a squat position keeping hips and butt back. Make sure knees stay behind toes. Return to start. Repeat.

 

 

 

-Alternating Lunges

Begin with feet hip-width apart and feet forward. Step forward with the right foot and lower left knee as far as you can without touching the ground. Be sure to keep right knee behind toes. Push weight through front heel. Return to start and repeat with left leg.

 

 

 

-Jumping Jacks

Begin with feet forward and hip-width apart. Bring arms above head as you jump feet out more than shoulder-width apart. Return to start. Repeat.

 

 

 

 

-High Knees

This move is simply a jog in place, only you will bring your knees no higher than the hip. Activate arms as shown.

 

 

 

 

-Arm Swings

Begin with arms straight out from shoulders. Swing arms in as if to hug yourself. Keep elbows soft. Swing arms back out and repeat.

 

 

 

 

Remember: A warm-up is important when it comes to safety during exercise. You can be creative with your movements, just keep in mind that the warm-up will not be as intense as your actual workout. Try it, and see what a warm-up can do for your workout!

 

Pictures from: running.competitor.com

missfitnesslife.com

womenshealthmag.com

empowernetwork.com

activephysioclinic.com

 

By Hannah Miller ~Blogistics~

 

5 Reasons to Meal Prep

You’ve heard it time and time again: Prepare your meals ahead of time. In case you haven’t heard it, ladies and gentlemen prepare your meals ahead of time! Meal Prep. is a very efficient way to track what you’re eating throughout the day and to avoid eating for convenience. It’s easy as heck to run by the Drive-thru and grab a couple of Double Cheeseburgers (hold the pickles). On the other hand if you already have your delicious, nutritious meal within arms reach, what are the chances you’re going to toss that and instead scarf down some Taco Bell?

The ultimate design of any meal plan is to get the greatest benefits from our food in order to better our health and to reach our personal fitness goals. Intelligent meal planning will transform your body into a fat-burning machine, and I’m going to give you a couple of tips to include in your own well educated meal plan.
 1. Plan your meals ahead of time.
Sound familiar? Meal Prep will allow you to pick all of your food sources that you need, so that you may stay on a time schedule of when you eat. Also, you have food with you at all times. That sounds wonderful doesn’t it?

2. Eat every 2-3 hours.
As mentioned early, the goal is to transform our bodies into fat-burning machines and machines need fuel to run properly. Eating every 2-3 hours will increase your metabolism by feeding muscle and not allowing your body to starve.

3. Drink water.
Water is roughly 75% of our body’s composition, and water is the driving force behind all metabolic reactions occurring inside our body. The body is constantly losing water from sweating, any type of physical exertion, and even from breathing so we must always consciously make an effort to replace the water we are losing.

4. Eat Protein First.
Always eat protein first and with EVERY MEAL. Protein is slow to break down and distribute throughout our body, therefore it will give you that sense of being full. Use that to carry you through to the next meal.

5. Be consistent.
The more consistent you are with both your diet and meal times, the better your body will function. If you eat lunch at 12pm every day, then your body will eventually become accustom to being feed at 12pm every day. Even better, your body will metabolize the meal from earlier faster so that it can prepare itself to refuel. Pretty neat huh? A higher metabolism results in digesting and fulfilling nutrient needs faster, a higher level of energy, and burning calories at a faster rate!

In summary, prepare your meals ahead of time so that you may avoid eating junk, and instead fuel your body to burn fat and to perform optimally.

Bobby Moore

Blogistics

Knee Problems?

Injuries to the knee are among the most common that individuals suffer from. If this category fits you, here are a few strengthening exercising specifically for the knee. They may seem simple but they are used for rehabilitation purposes and will build strength with flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction so you will be ready to move on to more complex exercises. These exercises can be incorporated with your weekly workout regimen, hopefully 3 days per week.

Exercise 1: Quad Sets

Perform this exercise sitting up or laying down. Extend the injured knee in front of you, and place a rolled towel directly underneath the knee cap. Next is to tighten the quads while driving the back of your knee into the towel and essentially holding them tight for about 5 seconds, then rest for up to 10 seconds and repeat. Perform this exercise for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

  

Exercise 2: Adduction

This exercise is perform while sitting up, lying down, or in a chair. You will need a round ball of any kind such as a deflated basketball, kids play ball, or even a rolled up pillow. Place the object in between the knees and squeeze the object and holding the squeeze for about 5 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This exercise should be 3 sets of 10 repetitions as well.

  

Exercise 3: Flexion and Extension

Flexion is another word for bending and Extension is another word for straightening. You will need a pillow case or even just your socks on, but preferably a pillow case. Place the leg with the injured knee in the pillow case and tie a knot. Before you begin, bend the other leg and then start by slowly gliding your foot forward until the leg is fully extended, and bring the foot slowly back towards you and repeat.  Perform this exercise 3 set of 10 repetitions.

  

Exercise 4: Leg Raise

This exercise should be performed while lying down. Extend the injured knee/leg forward and bend the other knee. Start off with a quad set and slowly lift your leg about 6 inches of the floor and bring it back down.  This will strengthen not only the knee but the quads, abdominals, and hip flexors which will increase walking and running stride.

  

Ade Amuda

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