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Archive for the ‘posture’ Category

Many people establish an exercise routine to get into better physical shape. Beyond appearances, though, exercise benefits the mind and body in myriad ways you can’t see in the mirror (or in a selfie). Twenty minutes per day is all you need to reap these benefits of exercise!

Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion

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stk134391rkeBack pains, eye strain, wrist problems…the modern work environment has a whole host of health issues built into it. Without having the right office setup, you can find yourself suffering from aches and pains that can make the workplace feel unbearable. The wrong setup can cause stress, aching and physical pains that may lead to irritation and even serious health issues. The good news? A lot of these issues can be fixed simply, easily and without much effort at all.

Office ergonomics is the focus on how to make your work space more efficient, by changing the physical aspects that may be holding you back. Here are some basic changes you can make to ensure a more productive workday and less at home pains.

Your Wrists

People have funny ways of holding the mouse and even stranger ways of typing. There’s nothing wrong with being unique, but improper form can cause wrist pains and even carpal tunnel. Try keeping your wrists and forearms straight while typing and keep your wrist slightly elevated while using the mouse, so it isn’t angled. If possible, consider buying a mouse with a wrist rest.

Your Back

I’m sure your mother at some point told you to sit up straight. Throughout a long work day it may be difficult, but good posture is key to keeping your back healthy. If you are able to, adjust your chair so you are sitting with your back straight, your legs 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor. This will help with back pains, feet pains and even keeping you more alert and active.

Your Eyes

Eye strain can become a major issue, especially if you are spending your entire day at your desk. Make sure your screen is about 20-30 inches from your face and you are facing directly forward towards it. If need be, adjust the brightness of the screen, as well as the contrast. There are certain software programs that can help with adjusting your screen for the time of day, which can be very effective with reducing the strain on your eyes.

Remember, strange and awkward angles may feel good for a few minutes, but in the long run, they may cause health issues. If you’re feeling restless, stand up every once in a while and move around a bit. Stretch and relax; then sit back down with your back straight, wrists straight and head facing forward. These tips may seem pretty simple, but they could be the difference between a productive day at work and a rough day with serious pains.

© 2014 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion
 

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Muscle SymmetryIt’s not uncommon for one side of the body to be stronger than the other, which is why it’s important to assess the strength of each muscle group separately, as in the single-arm row and single legged leg extension tests. With testing, you may find each side has a different level of strength. Most often the dominant side of the body is the stronger side. It’s important to balance the strength of the muscular system, not just for appearances, but to keep a healthy, functional posture which helps prevent injury and pain due to muscle imbalances. The major muscle groups work in pairs and those muscle pairs need to be balanced in terms of strength and flexibility. Developing a symmetrical physique entails focusing on all muscle groups equally through the employment of a variety of exercises. Balancing the muscles in each of your major muscle groups allows for more efficient functional movements and improves performance. In addition, symmetrical muscles make many day-to-day activities easier, including lifting, pulling and pushing. If you find an imbalance in your body symmetry, you’ll need to incorporate unilateral exercises, moves in which you use one arm or leg at a time, into your regular routine to regain your strength symmetry. With unilateral exercises, always work the weaker side first so you don’t use a heavier weight for the stronger side. You can also work the weaker side slightly harder than the stronger side with an increase in weight, reps or sets.  This will allow you to focus on strengthening your weaker side without the risk of your stronger side taking over. A personal trainer or exercise physiologist will be your best partner in helping improve your muscle balance. They have the education and knowledge to assess your movement patterns and muscle strength, and based on the results, create an exercise program for your specific needs. Trainers can also encourage and assist you in working with the correct weight load for each side of the body.

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© 2013 Tiffiny Marinelli, Energy in Motion LLC

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Exercise can transform anyone at any age! In fact the older we get, the more beneficial exercise becomes to better our health both aesthetically and internally. It’s well known that exercise helps reduce or even prevent the severity of many health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. It also helps make our daily tasks and chores (such as walking to our car after a long day of work, climbing the stairs, cleaning the house, carrying groceries, tying our shoes, etc.) easier to do. In fact the majority of our clients chose to exercise for health related reasons. But exercise also has the benefit of making our bodies look better which makes us feel better about ourselves.

Cardiovascular exercise is important for the heart and a great way to burn calories for weight loss. But, diet is just as important. You can do all the cardiovascular exercise you want, but in the end if you consume more energy then you expend, you won’t lose weight. A healthy diet and a consistent cardiovascular program will not only allow you to reach your goals for a better body, but will make you feel healthier and better about yourself.

Even more important to look healthier is strength training. Strength training builds muscle and makes us look stronger and healthier. This becomes even more important in mid-life because we lose muscle mass as we get older. Hence we lose strength, our bodies don’t look as defined, and our metabolism decreases. Age related muscle loss is something that can’t be prevented but can be slowed down. Strength training is the fountain of youth that helps impede the ageing process.

Flexibility training is also important. Even though increased flexibility won’t change the way you look, it will change the way you feel. Increased flexibility allows every movement you make easier and more fluid. Joints are more mobile and move through a greater range of motion with ease. In return you have more energy and more freedom to do what you want.

Good posture makes everyone look better no matter what your age. If you hold you head low that’s the way you going to feel and your body shows it. Hold you head high and you feel good and look healthy and confident. Always try to maintain a good posture. Flexibility exercises, such as yoga, and specific strength training exercises for the back and rear shoulders muscles can help you maintain good posture.

Finally, make sure you get plenty of sleep and let yourself de-stress. Stress and lack of sleep can really take its toll on the way you look and feel. Find ways to help you distress: maybe a walk in the park during your lunch hour, a workplace yoga class, a hot bath, or a massage. Your mind and body work hard all day; give them some time to rejuvenate and rest!

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Poor posture is often due to our daily activities such as hours of sitting in front of a computer, slouching while driving and watching television, and leaning forward when cleaning, gardening, etc. Nobody thinks about his or her posture all day—the trick is programming yourself into creating new habits.

To help change those bad habits, start by strengthening the muscles of the neck, back and core. Pilates offers many different exercises, for all levels of ability, which strengthen the back and core. Examples include the hundred, single leg stretch, plank and swimming. Resistance exercises such as reverse flies and rear delt row will strengthen the posterior deltoids and help keep your shoulders from rounding forward.

Exercises that focus on posture correction, including those that incorporate relaxing the shoulders away from the ears and pulling the chin towards the back of the head to align the spine, are helpful for eliminating bad slouching habits. Stretching and reducing stress is also key. A gentle style of yoga can help increase flexibility in the chest and shoulders and the breathing exercises do wonders for turning stress into bliss!

My recommendation is to find a trainer that can assist you with learning these different exercises; proper form and technique is essential to see results.

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Do you have tips for a lazy stretcher? I’ll sometimes remember to stretch between sets and a little after cardio, but I know I should do more. Robin, Middlesex NJ

Joint range of motion is important in preventing injury and making daily tasks, such as picking up the garbage or tying your shoes, much easier. Range of motion also decreases as we age, so stretching is something you don’t want to skip.

There are some creative ways to incorporate stretching. When you are exercising with weights, stretch in between sets, particularly the muscle group you’re working. After a workout your muscles are very warm and pliable. This is the best time to stretch for flexibility. Save at least 5 minutes at the end of a workout to stretch. This is when you want to hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to give your muscles a chance to relax and extend.

Stretch while watching TV, even if you’re sitting on a couch. This can be a good time to stretch the lower body. If you work behind a desk, there are many chair stretches you can do for both upper and lower body. If you have a few spare minutes during the day, this is an opportunity. The great thing about stretching, vs other exercise modalities, you don’t have to save a block of time. You can stretch throughout the day and still reap the same benefits.

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