Posts Tagged ‘Wellness’

How to Do a Kettlebell Swing

October 8, 2017

kettlebellswingtrio-x

“The kettlebell swing is the ultimate single exercise to improve strength, endurance, coordination, stability of the hips and core, and grip strength,” says Grant Anderson, co-owner and director of strength at Chicago Primal Gym. The move involves your whole body from start to finish, so it forces your cardiovascular and muscular systems to work together, which translates well to outdoor sports. And a set of swings is a total sufferfest, so you’re building some serious mental grit in the process.

“Many people are quad dominant,” says Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness in New York City. “Kettlebell swings fire up the hip-dominant muscles rather than the quads, which helps to bring balance to the body.” Translation: Your body will distribute weight and effort more equally, which is crucial if you want to prevent injury and maximize performance.

There are two types of basic kettlebell swings: the Russian version and the American version. You may have seen people doing the American swing in the gym or at a CrossFit box, where they swing the bell up and overhead, but this can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. “There isn’t much more gained from going overhead with the kettlebell, but there is a lot more risk,” says Tamir. Without proper mobility, this move can put pressure on the neck and possibly throw you out of alignment. The overhead position also makes it difficult not to go into hyperextension of the lower back, says Tamir, which could lead to injury. The Russian swing—where you stop swinging the bell upwards at eye-level and bring it back down—is your best bet: You’ll avoid injury and get the same physical payoffs.

Perfect the Basic Swing

If you’re brand new to the kettlebell, start with a 16-kilogram (35-pound) option; but if you have a little experience, use a 24-kilogram (53-pound) bell. That may sound heavy for your first swing, but going big can actually help you learn better technique and going too light can downgrade the impact of the exercise, says Anderson. “Doing swings with light bells is often counterproductive, because your upper body can easily take over the load,” he explains. This leaves your hips and hammies—the main targeted areas—out of the exercise.

Start by standing with your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly out and the kettlebell about a foot in front of you. Hinge your hips back so your chest and eyes are pointed toward the ground about five feet in front of you. Reach and grab the handle of the bell with an overhand grip, tilting the bell back toward you. Your shoulders are higher than your hips, and your hips higher than your knees. Sharply inhale through your nose as you hike the bell back between your legs, keeping it high above your knees. Sharply exhale through your mouth as you stand quickly, driving your feet into the ground and bracing your body in a “vertical plank,” squeezing your glutes and quads and bracing your abs. As you do, keep your arms straight and use the momentum of your hip thrust to bring the bell in front of your chest. Let the bell hang there around shoulder height for just a moment. Bring the bell back down toward hip height by hinging your hips back; repeat. Repeat in sets of five to ten reps.

Scale It Up

After you’ve learned the basic swing and progressed with heavier loads to the point where doing more than three or four swings feels very difficult, these variations will spice up your training so you continue to improve, says Tamir.

Single-Arm Swing

How It Helps: Focusing on a single arm forces you to practice grip strength and activates the smaller stabilizer muscles in your shoulder.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for a double-arm swing, but grip the kettlebell with one hand. Line up the free hand parallel to the hand that’s gripping the kettlebell. When swinging the kettlebell backward between your legs, your free hand should mimic the movement pattern, parallel to the arm in use. Continue the hinge motion as you would if both your hands were on the bell.

Alternate KB Swings

How It Helps: This progression builds hand-eye coordination and teaches your muscles how to react quickly to changing demands.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for the single-arm swing, but when the bell reaches shoulder height, transfer it to the other hand by placing the free hand over the working hand and quickly exchanging the kettlebell to the other hand during the floating phase. Continue the swing, switching hands at the top of each swing.

KB Clean

How It Helps: This exercise develops strength in the entire legs while working on muscle control during tighter, smaller movements.

How to Do It: Set up the same way as you do for the single-arm swing. As you hinge forward and bring the bell toward your chest, loosen your grip when the bell reaches your hips. Quickly tuck your elbow back toward your body so it touches your side and turn your palm inward so it’s facing your head. The bell should fall naturally over the top of your wrist. Return to the backswing by rotating your hand down toward the ground with the thumb facing your body and the pinkie facing away from you, keeping the kettlebell as close to your body as you can and swinging back through your legs.

Article sourced here: https://www.outsideonline.com/2243661/how-do-kettlebell-swing

Life isn’t Perfect … What to do When Things Get Messy

April 12, 2015

sometimes-life-gets-messy

Many people live under the common misconception that enlightenment grants them immunity to life’s events. They feel if they reach a heightened state of consciousness they’ll be exempt from getting angry, feeling sorrow or enduring life’s pesky clutter. Some think they’ll achieve solace and harmony at all times, and enlightenment will soak up life’s spills and scrub away the stains.

I’ll tell you right now, it won’t.

No matter where you are on the road to fulfillment, life gets messy. Milk cartons tip over. Businesses fail. Fender benders happen. Friends disappoint you. Messes, big and small, are inevitable. However, in any moment, you have a choice. You can meet challenges as the narrow perception of personality or as the infinite expansiveness of spirit.

When life gets messy, you’re receiving a gift — an opportunity to come into clarity. Say your son comes home from school with bad grades and has little or no interest in improving. This lack of motivation makes you depressed, cross, and frustrated. You’re gripped with worry and your aggravated mind runs wild. “How do my child’s failing marks reflect on me?” “How will others perceive me if he’s not doing well in school?” Your inner monologue declares, “I did something wrong. I’m a horrible parent.” when, in reality, the external event is presenting a chance to embrace your sadness, let go of expectations, and lovingly explore effective solutions for what’s truly affecting your child.

In every moment, you’re either experiencing life as your personality or as your spirit. Living as your personality engages all the aspects of your limited individualized self while navigating life as your spirit allows you to meet all things with spaciousness. Personality brings contraction, spirit brings freedom and both aspects present invaluable prospects for growth.

Disruption occurs so you can acquire a greater awareness of yourself and deal with life’s messes more consciously. Recognizing that everything is Divine allows you to stop judging situations as good or bad, and simply be with what is. In that space of acceptance, you can experience what you need experience and expand into more compassion, gratitude, and self-love.

Life is messy, but you always have a choice. You can cry over spilled milk, or you can grab a mop.

Article sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/panache-desai/what-to-do-when-life-gets-messy_b_7033874.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000032

10 Ways to Boost Your Energy Fast

June 18, 2013

Are you dealing with another episode of the 3 p.m. doldrums? Can you feel your energy draining and your eyelids starting to droop as the afternoon wears on?

When fatigue drags you down, don’t look to a candy bar, cup of coffee, or energy drink for a solution. The sugar and caffeine might give you an immediate pick-me-up, but after that quick high wears off, you’ll crash and feel even more drained and groggy than before.

Want to boost energy in a real and lasting way? Here are a few fatigue fighters that will leave you feeling refreshed, revitalized, and ready to take on your day.

1. Eat your breakfast. There’s a reason it’s called the most important meal of the day. A good, nutritious breakfast gives you the energy you need to stay awake and alert. People who eat breakfast every morning report less fatigue and stress than people who skip breakfast. High-fiber foods, like hot oatmeal, will stick with you longer than a sweet roll or pastry. As the day wears on, they’ll prevent you from getting hungry, which can also lead to low energy.

2. Do a downward dog. Yoga has so many different health benefits, it’s a wonder everyone isn’t twisting themselves into pretzels to take advantage of them. Some studies have found that the practice, which uses various postures and deep breathing for exercise and meditation, can be an excellent fatigue fighter.

3. Belt out your favorite tune. There’s a reason why it feels so good to sing in the shower. Singing gives you a kind of emotional high while it reduces levels of stress hormones in your body. So grab a hairbrush, put on your favorite song, and sing away. If you’re at work and you don’t want to face your co-workers’ puzzled stares, you might want to save your vocal stylings for the car.

4. Have a drink of water. Your body needs fluid to function properly. Yet you’re constantly losing fluid every time you breathe, sweat, and use the bathroom. If you don’t replenish those liquids, you can become dehydrated, which can leave you feeling drained and fatigued. You don’t necessarily have to follow the “eight glasses a day” rule, but you do want to drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. You can tell you’re well hydrated when you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is light-colored. Try to get to the fridge or water cooler for a refill every few hours. The walk there will also help you wake up.

5. Go nuts. Eat a handful of almonds and peanuts, which are high in magnesium and folate (folic acid). These nutrients are essential for energy and cell production. A shortfall of these nutrients in your system can leave you feeling tired and weary.  

6. Suck on a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon isn’t just for sprinkling into your apple pie. Research finds that just a whiff of this scented spice can reduce fatigue and make you feel more alert. No cinnamon handy? Grab a mint from your bag. Peppermint’s sweet aroma is another fatigue fighter.

7. Take the stairs. Exercise is a natural energy booster because whenever you do it, oxygen-rich blood surges through your body to your heart, muscles, and brain. Regularly squeezing a workout into your day — even if you can only spare 10 minutes at a time — will help keep your energy levels at their peak. Get up and move every chance you get, even if it’s just to pace around in circles while you’re talking on the phone.

8. Let the sunshine in. When you go outside on a sunny day, it’s amazing how quickly your outlook starts to change and your energy level improves. Research confirms that just a few minutes of walking outside on a warm, clear day enhances mood, memory, and the ability to absorb new information. Going outside can even improve your self-esteem. If you absolutely can’t get out, open the shades and let some of that bright sunshine in.

9. Have a bite. Your brain needs fuel (otherwise known as glucose) to function at its best. When your blood sugar level drops, your mind will start running on fumes and will feel fuzzy as a result. So if you’re getting a little shaky and your head is starting to droop, eat a snack that will give you enough energy to take you through the rest of the afternoon. Snacks that combine protein with slow-burning carbs are best for maintaining your blood sugar levels over the long-term. Good examples of energy boosters are a banana spread with peanut butter or granola with fresh berries.

10. Hang out with upbeat friends. Emotions are surprisingly contagious. People who are constantly negative and down can sap your energy, while those who are always up and excited can give you a real lift. Stay away from energy vampires. Instead, surround yourself with friends who share similar goals and interests.

 

Information sourced from:  http://www.webmd.com/balance/diet-exercise-stress-10/boost-energy