February 2014 Archives


Breathing And Relaxing

You don’t need to fall into the stress mode of life. You can use breath to relax, rather than stress, your mind and body. Yoga helps you to relearn that natural state that your body and mind want to be in: relaxation.

Deep breathing is both calming and energizing. The energy you feel from a few minutes of careful breathe is not nervous or hyper, but that calm, steady energy we all need. Slow, steady, and quiet breathing gives a message to your nervous system: Be calm.

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Whole books have been written on yoga breathing. Here is one 5-minute Breath Break. (Read through the instructions several times before you try the practice.)

1. Sit with your spine as straight as possible. Use a chair if necessary but don’t slump into it. Feet flat on the floor with knees directly over the center of your feet. Use a book or cushion under your feet if they do not rest comfortably on the floor. Hands are on the tops of your legs.

2. Close your eyes gently and let them rest behind closed lids.

3. Think about your ribs, at the front, back, and at the sides of your body. Your lungs are behind those ribs.

4. Feel your lungs filling up, your ribs expanding out and up. Feel your lungs emptying, your ribs coming back down and in. Don’t push the breath.

5. The first few times you do this, do it for 2 to 3 minutes, then do it for up to 5 to 10 minutes. At first, set aside a time at least once a day to do this. When you learn how good it makes you feel, you’ll want to do it at other times as well.

Just as one stressful situation goes into your next challenge, relaxing for a few minutes every day gradually carries over into the rest of your daily life and activities.

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Golf Stance…And Its Physical Requirements

Golf stance is one of the most ignored terms and issues in the golf swing and yet the golf stance dictates the success of every golf swing you make.

Tip: When playing golf with highly skilled players, study their technique. You can benefit from the experience of your fellow golfers in more ways than one.

When golfers think of golf stance, they don’t realize how hard it is to maintain over 18 holes (four and a half hours). Just take a look at the position your body is in during your set up. There are many physical issues taking place, even though it is a static position at the start.

Let’s go over the physical requirements of the golf stance right now.

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Bend At Hips To Address Golf Ball

Tip: You will eventually find the best stance for you. Proper stance is essential, but it does vary by individual height, size, body frame and even gender.

To achieve this initial movement takes strength and flexibility in not only the lower back, but the hamstrings and core muscle groups. If these muscle groups are limited, you will have a very difficult time achieving this simple move.

Flex In The Knees

Tip: Always use the same height for your tee on your drives to guarantee consistency. You will get a grounder if your tee is too low, and the ball will pop and lose a lot of distance if it is too high.

A combination of bending at the hips and knees allows you to get to the ball. The shorter the club, the more the bend at both the hips and knees. If your quadriceps are weak, you will have a very difficult time maintaining the proper knee flex therefore causing you to create in improper golf stance…resulting in mishits and lack of distance.

Ankle Flexion

Tip: You need to get as much practice as you can swinging your golf club. If you can get a simulation machine or borrow one, use it to help you practice.

Take a look at the ankle joint of any golfer. It is definitely bent (flexed) to accommodate the bending of the knees and hips. If your calf muscles are weak/or tight, you will find it very uncomfortable to stay down at the ball. I see so many golfers with tight calf muscles and they never even knew it.

Spine Extension (Erectness)

Tip: It is best that you pick a set of club that fits your own game. Just think, one hundred years ago, people only used wooden gloves to play.

This is a BIGGY! How many times have you seen the golfer (maybe even you) in his/her golf stance with the dread ‘camels back?’ This is very common among older golfers and is a KILLER in the golf swing. I could (and probably will) write a complete article on this physical limitation. But the bottom line is a rounded (weak) upper spine will dramatically hinder your ability to make a full backswing. Result: very short drives and a lot of embarrassment.

Tip: Play miniature golf to help you with your golf game. When you practice on the miniature courses you can also improve on your short putting game.

I just briefly covered just a couple of physical requirements of the golf stance, but I hope you know see the importance of addressing your physical limitations to achieve the end result.

Longer drives, lower scores and beating the pants off your golfing buddies! Pay more attention to your golf stance!

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Yoga For Computer Users: Other Postures

The Diamond Posture (Vajrasana)
Kneel on a thick carpet or blanket with your knees close together. Sit back on your heels and stretch up from your hips, balancing your head well so that a line drawn through ear, shoulder, elbow and hip would be straight. You should sit up in this posture for greatest benefits.
The Locust (Salabhasana)
Most yoga students are familiar with this posture. Lie flat, face down, chin on floor. Make your hands into fists and push them either under your thighs to help the lift, or place them alongside your body. Exhale and lift legs from your hips, tightening your buttocks and stretching your legs up and back. Hold position for as long as possible, exhale, return to starting posture and repeat.
he Dog Stretch (Adho mukha svanasana)
Lie face down, legs stretched back, buttocks tightened and knees pulled back. Place hands just below shoulders, exhale and lift head, then chest, shoulders and torso, pushing down from your pelvis and straightening your arms. From the back of your head to your tailbone, your body should be curved back. Push shoulders back and down. Push head back more. Stay like this as long as possible with normal breathing. Come down very slowly, and relax.
The Twist (Bhardwajasana)
Kneel on the floor and sit back, bringing both feet to the right of your hips. Straighten your right arm, bring it across your body and turn to the left. Place your hand, palm down under your left knee. Exhale, turn your body more to the left and clasp your right elbow with your left hand, from the back. Turn your head and gaze over your right shoulder. Fold position for a few breaths and then twist and look back over your left shoulder. Shoulders should be at right angles to the body. Come back to starting position and repeat on other side. You should do this posture once every hour if you have lower back pain.

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Listen To Your Body

Aging and fitness are two topics that are at odds with one another as equally as they go hand in hand. This duality of nature can make it hard for people to really understand how to keep themselves fit as they age. On the one had it is much harder to keep ourselves fit as we age, but on the other the importance of keeping ourselves goes up immensely as well.

For some it seems like a losing battle that there is no point to even fight. Of course not fighting at all is the worst mistake you could ever make.

As our bodies age they go through a number of changes. From a fitness standpoint there are really two changes that we need to pay close attention to. The first is our slowing metabolism. Our metabolism is the mechanism in our bodies that dictates how easily we will burn calories and fat. The faster our metabolism the easier it is to keep the fat off. The slower it is the harder it gets. Although it is true that our metabolisms do slow a bit as we age it is a relatively easy thing to manage with a good diet and moderate exercise.

Tip: If you are new to working out, consider purchasing a session or two with a personal trainer. The trainer will tell you how to reach your goals and you will be able to focus on areas you need help in.

Really so long as your diet is good the majority of the week and you exercise a few times throughout the week, your slowing metabolism should not be that big of a problem for. It is only when you pair a slowing metabolism with poor eating habits and a total lack of exercise that it begins to do you damage. Remember fruits, veggies and lean meats are friends if you want to keep your metabolism roaring.

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The other are of fitness that we need to be concerned with as we age is that our bodies do not heal themselves as efficiently as they once did. Our recovery times are longer and strenuous workouts can begin to do more harm than good. This part of fitness, the exercise part, is really all about balance and assessing where you are at in your life. At 20 years old you can do extremely strenuous cardiovascular activities and quickly rebound without any worries. Doing that same exercise at 70 could kill you.

At each stage in our lives the type of exercise that we should be doing in order to maintain a good level of fitness will change. In our younger years through to about 40 you can do a fairly intense workout with worrying too much about it. Once you start heading toward your late 40s and into your 50s you should really start to slow it down. The level by which you slow it down should be dictated by how fit your are.

Really you have to be aware of your own body. If you were running 20 miles at 35 years old and maintained that level of fitness until you were 50 then the amount of exercise that you should cut back on is not going to be the same as a person that could only run half a mile in that same time period.

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What Are Some Key Trick Moves We Can Use To Maximize For Fitness?

One of the most interesting thing about the human body is that everything is run through muscles. Once you use a muscle to the point of exhaustion or damage it deteriorates. But don’t worry about that! The human body is constantly repairing its daily wear and tear that it receives throughout the day. Usually it will repair you muscle and make it stronger then it was before. That’s how we get into shape. Here are some neat work outs that maximize your muscle burning power.

Try sitting in an imaginary chair against the wall . This will help build your thigh muscles while also toning your gluts. You will start to see new definition in your muscles by the end of the week. Try to make it a competition for yourself. See how long you can hold this position.This might be very painful for some people. Never abuse your muscles to the point of no return. Remember you do have to get up and go to work the next day! No one wants to watch you struggle to limp to your car.

Try laying flat on your stomach in a comfortable location. The gently lift your legs together and thry holding them up in the air for as long as you can. This will give you amazingly powerful legs. While also helping you tone your abb muscles. You use a lot of different muscles to keep your legs up in the air so its pretty much a full lower body work out.

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Tip: Lifting weights is the most common way people use to try to achieve their fitness goals. Actually, it is only necessary to do six simple exercises to keep all the muscles in shape.

If you can’t quite complete a push up yet have no fear. There is hope for you just yet. What you should try is just holding the push up position until you become strong enough to actually complete a push up. Just see how long you can hold the position until your arms quiver out. This will of course help tone your arm muscles while paying special attention to your breast and thighs.

Another workout you might try completing targets a difficult area that some people may think impossible to work out. This position is sort of yoga like. All you need to do is lay flat on your stomach Lift your legs up in back of you and lift your arms up in front of you. This helps tone your back. Once in position it should look soft of like how a superhero would in flight. Not the best workout I know but if you hold it for a while it could prove challenging.

If you would like to combine some cardio into strength building try doing classic crunches. Lung your legs and lower yourself till you almost hit the ground, then lift yourself up right before you touch the ground or until you can’t take it anymore. This will give you a continues task that is going to help you build your muscles up while straining your heart.

I hope these unorthodox workouts will help you. They are slightly more straining then your classic crunches. But they are very effective strength building exercises.

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Parkinson’s Disease

First described as “shaking palsy” the disease that now bears his name, medical science has thus far been unable to unravel the cause or causes of most Parkinson’s cases or to devise a cure. Nonetheless, dramatic progress has been made in treating the disease, which is known to afflict about half a million older Americans, or one person in 100 over age 50. This figure does not include the untold thousands with symptoms of the disease that are not severe enough to prompt them to seek a diagnosis. But early diagnosis is important.
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is based on the patient’s symptoms and performance on certain neurological and neuropsychological tests, along with ruling out other possible causes of those symptoms. Some cases of what doctors call Parkinsonism are caused by potent drugs used in the treatment of schizophrenia and other psychiatric illnesses or they are a result of poisoning by manganese.
Through medication, exercise regimens and tips on adaptive living measures, modern treatment can forestall or reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, allowing patients to lead full and active lives for years after diagnosis and often for the rest of their lives because most of its victims are elderly. The late stages of the disease, however, can leave patients vulnerable to pneumonia, blood clots and bodywide infections that can be fatal.
Yoga has a major role in management of Parkinson’s as it has emerged as a beneficial alternative therapy and an ideal form of exercise for Parkinson’s patients because of its slow movements. Following the steps mentioned below could effectively help people with Parkinson’s:
Concentrate on controlling your breath (Pranayama) as this form of yoga helps in moments of panic – such as feet sticking to the floor when walking.
In this form of yoga, the mind is always alert.
Few yoga exercises like back strengthening postures, lots of shoulder movements, breathing practices and some meditation definitely helps.
One of the most useful forms of yoga used for Parkinson’s is Ashtanga Yoga. It works to strengthen the body and do increases blood circulation.
Daily practice of yoga is essential since Parkinson’s itself does not necessarily weaken the muscles. Weakening of muscles is generally caused by lack of movement. Daily practice should be encouraged, but not enough to cause fatigue.
Parkinson’s also result in the loss of movement of the facial muscles. Pranayama and other yoga movements could help in relaxing those muscles and bring in smile on the faces of the patient.

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Golf Workouts For Winter

Golf workouts for winter is a great approach to taking advantage of the time you now have available to improve your golf since you’re not playing as much, if not at all. It’s a way to stay connected to your golf game when you’re not able to play due to the conditions (snow, temperatures, ice, etc.).

Tip: If you are an early-morning golfer, do yourself a favor and don’t choose sneaker-style golf shoes. Although you can find sneaker-style shoes that have waterproofing, most do not have this feature, and they will be thoroughly wet by the end of your game of golf.

Have you gone into depression mode when winter hits and you can’t play golf anymore? I know this use to happen to me until I finally moved to a year-round nice climate. This transition from playing golf regularly to not at all can be depressing.

What do you do with all the time you now have since you’re not playing?

Tip: Giving your toes a wiggle can tell you a lot about your posture when you are ready for a golf swing. If this action causes your feet to shift significantly, then you are not properly balanced over the ball.

The answer? Golf workouts for the winter! This is your “off-season” and like most athletes they work on their body’s to take their game to the next level. This is a time where you evaluate your game and work on your weaknesses.

Tip: If you want to have a good golf swing, your arms must be strong, flexible and limber. When you are preparing for a golf game, try working out, stretching, and getting a nice massage.

A common denominator for most golfers, especially senior golfers is “physical capabilities”. This is your current level of golf-specific strength and flexibility. It is highly unlikely you have no physical limitations in your golf swing. 80% or more of amateur golfers play with an injury during the season. This would tell me there is a physical issue.

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Tip: You need to get as much practice as you can swinging your golf club. If you can get a simulation machine or borrow one, use it to help you practice.

What better time than winter to do golf workouts to greatly improve this situation. There is no excuse. You’ve got the time and hopefully you’ve got the motivation to improve your game. You’ve just got to set up a game plan in regards to your golf workouts for winter.

Tip: If slicing your ball off the tee gives you trouble, consider making alterations to your stance, like putting your forward foot closer in to the ball. By “closing” the stance you take, you will be naturally balanced and more likely to hit the ball onto the fairway.

The first step is to get a physical evaluation done to diagnose your current level of fitness specific to golf. You can hire a local golf fitness trainer or look on the web. Golf workouts are becoming so popular you can’t miss finding out information about them.

Tip: See if any area courses are offering discounts before you head to the greens. Try searching the Internet, calling your local pro-shop, and checking your newspaper for clippings.

Once you’ve gotten your golf fitness evaluation, assess the areas that need the most work and spend the majority of your time on those areas. Most likely this would be flexibility and core strength. These are two very common areas that are lacking and can make the most impact on your golf improvement.

Tip: Stand around four feet in back of the ball, and focus on the spot that you’re trying to send it. At this time, you also need to factor in the wind and other conditions.

You will be shocked at your progress if you stick with it through the entire winter. The first time you step on the range, you’ll feel like a different golfer. It will be like an “out-of-body” experience. You’ll soon realize this is what you’ve been missing all along.

So when you put those clubs up for the winter and go into depression mode…remember this article and start your golf workouts for winter.

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