Want To Boost Your Flexibility? Try These Stretches

When you’re getting into shape, what’s the first thing on which you like to focus? Whether you’re trying to lose weight or tone up your body, there are a whole load of ways out there to do so, helping you to focus on different areas of your body. When it comes to flexibility, however, you might turn up your nose and leave it for another day. It’s worth giving the challenge a second look. Maintaining good elasticity will help to keep your muscles in shape for a whole lot longer, giving you a greater range of movement as you age. These stretches will make keeping up your flexibility incredibly easy, slotting into your existing workout routine and boosting your all round health.

Hip Opener

Best approached either after a workout or as a separate activity on its own, this stretching workout will focus on different areas of your body, helping you to get each area in really great shape. For the hip opener, you need to lie on an exercise mat, positioning your butt and legs against a wall. Extend your legs upwards and press them against the facing wall, flexing your feet. Slowly, open up your legs, keeping going until you feel a stretch. Hold the pose for 60 seconds before bringing the legs back up, repeating the move another 4 times.

Deep Lunges

While traditional lunges will help to strengthen your muscles, deep lunges can go that step further, giving tight leg muscles a good extension. To complete this move, start off on all fours, stepping your left leg forwards. Place your left foot out on the floor in front of you, bending your knee 90 degrees. Now, gently push your hip forwards until you feel a stretch, holding the pose for 30 seconds. Switch sides, being sure to hold your chest up as you do. Repeat 4 times, pulling your back foot up to your glute if you want a deeper stretch.

Lower Body Hug

While this move might take you a while to really perfect, it can help to extend out a huge section of your core muscles. Standing on an exercise mat, reach your arms to the ceiling and bend your body down at the hips, folding over as far as you can. Hold the backs of your ankles or legs and straighten out your spine, dropping your head down in front of you. Hold this for 30 seconds and return to the starting position, repeating another 3 times.

Thread The Needle

A little more tricky to pull off, this move is really worth practicing as doing so will have your body feeling all the more relaxed. Starting on all fours, reach your right hand under your left arm until the shoulder is touching the ground. Hold the move for 30 seconds, reaching as high upwards with your left arm as you can. Return to the start, switch sides and repeat the move another 3 times. You will be destressed before you know it!

Heel Drop

Designed to stretch out that hard to reach area of your foot, this stretch is incredibly effective and will have you feeling all the more loose. Standing with your feet a hip’s width apart, face your body opposite a sturdy block or step. Now, place the ball of your right foot on the edge of the step and gently straighten out your leg so that your heel is positioned towards the floor. Hold on for balance if you need, staying in place for 30 seconds before moving on to the other side.

Hip Flexor

Your legs might have a tendency of tightening up, especially after having been put through their paces. If your hefty exercise regime is getting on top of your muscles, it’s worth looking to a deep quad stretch in order to keep things limber and light. That’s where the hip flexor comes in. Easy to pick up and effective, the move will have your legs a whole lot more supple in practically no time at all. Start off kneeling on the floor with both knees bent, keeping your shins in front of you. Now, lunge your right leg forward so that your knee is at a 90 degree angle and your foot is flat on the floor. Place both hands on top of your right knee and apply a light amount of pressure. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before repeating again on the other side.

Want To Get In Shape? Here’s How To Fall In Love With Running

How do you like to work out? We all have our own methods and whether we like them or not, we tend to stick to what we already know. It turns out, however, loving how you work out can make all the difference to your fitness routine. Many of us turn to running as a quick and effective way of getting into shape, without really knowing what we’re doing. Before long, we might be sick of the whole thing, begrudgingly sticking to our schedule without really loving what we’re doing. Getting into running takes a little time and effort but by switching up your exercising approach, you can really begin to fall in love with the exercise. Once you persevere and build up your fitness levels, there will be no stopping you!

Test Your Mind

The biggest thing getting in the way of your ability to succeed in the running field is your mind. Getting over your mental barrier is the first challenge that you’ll experience, so try to get into the act with a gameplan in place. If you feel like you simply can’t keep on going, will yourself to take a few more steps before you stop. While you might need to slow down the pace if you’re feeling tired, keeping your legs moving is the best thing that you can do. The first run might be painful, but the next one will feel all the more easy.

Sign Up For An Unusual Race

Running without a purpose can be a hard pill to swallow. If you’re getting into the activity for the first time, try giving yourself a fun challenge in order to motivate yourself. While signing up for a short running race can serve you well, seeking out an obstacle course can be even better for your motivation. Obstacle races are a great way of letting loose, testing your fitness and boosting your confidence levels. Training with the challenge in mind will add a little extra interest into your workout sessions and help you to keep going for that bit longer.

Use It As Stress Relief

One of the best things about exercise is its ability to help you destress. If you’ve had a hard day at the office, try searching for your running shoes rather than reaching for that bottle of wine. Even if you go for a short sprint, you can effectively work through what’s bothering you and get rid of any leftover anxiety from the day. Longer runs can serve as great fuel to run through more complex problems and come to a solid decision. Running will help your body to get into shape, but it can help out your mind a great deal more.

Explore Your Local Area

Want to get to know a new area? Running is a great way in which to do so. If you’ve just moved somewhere for the first time, jogging around new neighborhoods can make it much easier to get a lay of the land. Look at a map before you go and aim to run down a new set of streets each time you head out. Similarly, if you’ve been living in a place for a long time already, try and use the activity in order to expand your understanding of the city. Aiming to explore new places for later can really fuel your running fire, giving you the motivation to go further each time you head out!

Track Your Progress

If you’re heading out without any idea of how far you’re going or how fast you’ve been running, it’s easy to lose all forms of motivation. In order to give yourself fuel for the next run, try downloading an activity tracker in order to keep count of your progress. Running apps will collect all of your data, helping you to understand your speed over a period of time and any personal bests you might have set. Each time you go a little faster, celebrate your achievement. It will be a great push to go a little faster the next time.

Watch Other People Running

Need a good excuse to get on your running shoes? Let other runners be your motivation! Going to watch a marathon can be a great way of motivating yourself to keep going with your own training. Seeing why others are running and who they’re doing it for can really help you to fall in love with the sport. It’s not always just about getting into shape.

Eat These Foods After You Workout To Lose More Weight

When it comes to losing weight, there are a whole load of ways that you can maximize the process. While workouts might be high on your agenda, it is the types of foods that you eat before and after you exercise that can make all the difference. Making these products a part of your regular diet can make all the difference to your performance, wellbeing and recovery time.

Sufficient nourishment before a workout can help your body manage its energy production, preventing it from drawing stores from essential organs to help you keep going. During your fitness regime, your body’s glycogen production will become depleted and in order to keep going, it is important that you give them a boost as quickly as possible. Eating while your metabolism is still active can help to burn off excess fat while giving you a quick burst of energy. The sooner you eat, the better you will feel for the rest of the day.

Nuts

Filling your body with the right kinds of foods before you workout will make all the difference to the level of your performance. If you really want to feel good during your routine, try snacking on nuts before you get going. Foods like almonds and nuts contain a hefty serving of carbohydrates, which are essential for you to keep going throughout your workout. An hour before you’re due to start, try eating a small serving of the nuts, accompanied by a bottle of water. Your body will have enough time to digest the food and you can start to feel the effects as soon as possible!

Oatmeal and Berries

If you’re an early morning type of person, there is no better way to get into your workout than by eating oatmeal and berries. As a pre-workout food, oatmeal is one of the best choices there is. The food is packed full of slow release protein, which can keep you feeling fuller and help your muscles to recover during the aftermath. For an extra burst of energy, try topping off your oatmeal with carbohydrate-rich berries. The two foods together have everything that you need for a successful workout and will help to keep you fueled for even longer!

Whole Grain Bread

When it comes to pre-workout fueling, it’s all about filling your body with the right kinds of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates will do the best job, slowly releasing their energy to give you a steady stream of fuel. To add in a little protein to the mix, try topping your bread with low fat cheese. The nutrients will prepare your body for an intense workout, helping to keep things running internally even when you feel tired.

Whey Protein Drink

After you’ve finished your workout, you need to start refueling your body and building back any muscle wastage. Getting a shot of protein into your system can help to reduce any muscle loss you might have experienced while giving your energy stores a boost. Protein shakes are one of the best ways to instantly refuel and, thanks to their easy nature, they can be easily kept in your gym bag for immediate consumption. While you might want to mix your protein shake with regular milk, almond milk can go one better. Packed full of fiber, potassium and essential vitamins, it will give your body everything it needs and help you to get back on track.

Eggs

Protein packed foods are essential for refueling after a workout and in general, lean varieties are always better. If you’re feeling that post-exercise slump, snacking on a boiled egg can help to get your energy levels back to normal. Eggs are a great source of protein, helping to build back your body’s stores and kick up your energy levels. If you want a little more sustenance, try teaming yours with a glass of orange juice. The drink is loaded with healthy nutrients and carbohydrates, giving you a boost of fresh energy in the process.

5 Ways To Naturally Maintain Your Weight Loss

You’ve stuck to the diet, you’ve done the exercise and now you’ve finally lost all the weight that you set out to do. What’s next? While the process of losing weight can feel like the hardest step, actually knowing how to go on with your life afterwards can be just as big of a deal. Going forwards with no plan or outline to follow is a very scary thing indeed and before long, you might find yourself back where you started all over again. Maintaining weight loss takes a little getting used to but by adapting your routine, it can be easily done. Rather than looking to extreme fixes to show you the way, you can keep a healthy figure through a series of balanced lifestyle changes. You lost the weight in the first place, you can keep it off into the future.

Don’t Call It A Diet

Going on a crash diet and then expecting your life to go on as normal is not likely to happen. Eating routines that promise unhealthily fast results can never be maintained for a long period of time and unfortunately, they often are built up to fail. If you’re serious about leading a healthier life, then try thinking about your eating habits over the long term. Aiming for a healthy and nutritious spread of food can serve you much better, helping you to lose weight gradually over time. Calling something a diet means that it comes with an end point. Instead, think of your new eating habits as lifestyle changes. You can look into new recipes, plan out your meals and research what you’re eating. You’re in it for the long haul.

Don’t Associate Food With Emotions

We’ve all been there, face first in a tub of ice cream after a long and tiring day, but could there be another way? So many of us associate what we eat with how we’re feeling and by doing so, we fail to recognize the importance of what we’re putting into our bodies. Eating to make yourself feel better is only going to warp your relationship with food, making it harder for you to select healthier choices. Rather than cutting out your emotional attachment entirely, try instead changing it up. You should thinking about your food as a source of nourishment and energy, rather than comfort. The more nourished you want to feel, the better you will eat!

Work Out Your Stress Elsewhere

Just as food is often used as a tool to make us feel better, so too can it be used to get through moments of stress. Eating your way through a problem might seem like a good idea but over time, it can simply have negative ramifications. There are other sources of comfort at your disposal. Working through stress via conversation, exercise or meditation is a better use of your time and will have a more effective long term effect. If stress if really getting you down, try making sure you’re getting enough rest, and are following a naturally balanced diet. Your wellbeing starts from the inside out.

Forget About Cheat Days

When you label food as either being “good but uninteresting” or “bad but tasty”, you make a very dangerous distinction. Assuming that because food is healthy, it’s boring will lead you more likely to “cheat” by eating things that simply aren’t good for your health. Allowing yourself cheat days also validates the fact the healthy food you are supposed to be eating really isn’t what you want to be eating, setting up yet another tricky relationship. If you’re struggling to find recipes you really like, try extending your search. There are a ton of simple recipe books out there that include healthier versions of your favorite meals. Just because a dish is healthy, it doesn’t mean that it can’t taste great.

Choose An Activity You Love

Feeling forced to go to the gym is a sure fire way to lose interest in fitness. Loathing working out only makes getting fit a whole lot more difficult and over time, you simply won’t be able to keep up your routine. If you’re struggling with the gym, try taking your exercise elsewhere. You can try signing up for exercise classes, taking up a new sport or even using Youtube videos to work up a sweat. The key is to find something that you really like. Once you do, it will be so much easier to keep on going.

Beach Running: Here’s What You Need To Know

If you’re anything like a whole load of fitness fans out there, then running will be a major part of your routine. Great for the muscles and even better for the heart, the activity helps you to work up a sweat and boost your metabolism in the process. Want to push yourself even further? Try taking to the sand. Running on the beach is an effective way to up your fitness game even more and take your workout to the next level. Providing an extra level of resistance, beach running requires your body to work ever so slightly harder in order to get the task done. What else is good about the activity? After seeing just how good it can be for the way you move and feel, you might never work out any differently!

Easier On Your Joints

Running might be a great way to whip yourself into shape but if you’re not careful, you could risk doing serious damage to your knees and joints. Over time, the resistance from hard surfaces can put extra stress on your knees, ankles and feet, meaning that you will be more likely to suffer from leg injuries and pains throughout your life. If things are already starting to become a little painful, taking to the sand can help you out no end. Running on sand not only provides your legs and joints with a softer surface to work with but also, promotes smaller muscles in your legs to build up their strength. The stronger they are, the more stable your legs will become!

Boosts Your Athletic Ability

If you’re searching for a way to boost your health fast or get into shape for a race, then sand running could be all that it takes. As well as making you fitter, the exercise can improve your strength, speed and balance, too. Think of the process like running with weights. The more difficult it is for your body to propel itself forward, the harder it will have to work in order to do so. It might be hard at first but before long, the process will become a whole lot more easy. More resistance can lead to a fitter body!

Works Out Your Lower Body

Want to get your legs and lower body into shape? Beach running is the activity for you. Providing a great deal of extra resistance, the activity gives muscles in this area a more intense, effective workout. Over time, your performance in exercises directed towards your lower body will be improved, as will be your strength and general fitness. The harder you work, the better you will look as a result.

Provides An Intense Workout

If you’re trying to lose weight, intense workouts can help you get to your goal at a faster rate. Running on the sand requires as much as 1.6 times more energy than running on a flat surface. While this might not sound like much, over time, the differences can be clear to see. Forcing your body to use up more energy to keep going, sand running allows you to burn off more calories and boost your weight loss power. Better yet, the intensity of the workout can make you work up a serious sweat, ridding your body of any toxins and helping you to get into even better shape.

Works Out Your Whole Body In Less Time

When it comes to making the most of your workout, you don’t necessarily have to keep going for a long period of time. Depending on the intensity of the workout, you can have a fitness regime that lasts as little as half an hour and still see lasting results. Running on the beach increases the number of benefits you can experience while reducing the time span in which you can enjoy them. As well as burning more calories, you can add further resistance, build strength and bolster your body’s endurance. That’s no mean feat for a quick run up the beach!

Whatever kind of workout you’re looking for, sand running can help to seriously whip your body into shape. Boosting your health and improving your wellbeing, the activity will make you feel stronger and fitter in no time at all!

Work It Out: The Guide To Free Fitness Apps

How do you track your workout? Getting fit has gone onto a whole new level and now, there are countless ways in which to mark your progress, set goals for the future and try a whole range of different activities. Fitness apps are steadily on the rise and now, there are a ton on the market that are designed specifically in order to make your fitness life more easy. Helping you to workout in a range of diverse and effective ways, fitness apps can significantly help to improve your health and motivation in one fell swoop and now, you can take them with you wherever you might be. But what are the best out there? These apps are not only great for whipping you into shape but also, they are entirely free! It’s time to get your fitness on.

RunKeeper

Do you like to run as a way of keeping fit? Tracking your progress while you jog can help you to set goals for yourself, see how fast you’ve been going and even count how many calories you have burned in the process! As far as running apps go, RunKeeper is one of the best on the market and after just one use, you might never want to workout without it again. As well as being able to track every activity you do, the app let you link up with friends, create new running routes and hear up to the minute information on how fast you’re going. It’s not just for running, either; you can use the app for walking and biking sessions, too, gaining insight into your level of fitness.

JEFIT Workout Exercise Trainer

Using a personal trainer when you workout is a great way of tracking your progress, getting the correct technique and understanding more about the movements that work for your body. Unless you’ve got enough time and money on your hands, however, you might not always get to use a personal trainer in your workouts. Enter JEFIT Workout Exercise Trainer. A fitness app that is designed to supplement your personal trainer, JEFIT can help to show you correct lifting techniques, give you a load of fitness techniques and helping you to create your own fitness plan. You can workout with activities designed specifically for you!

StrongLifts 5×5

Want to get into weights? You need StrongLifts 5×5. Depending on what you want to achieve in the gym, you can adapt the app to meet your personal needs, changing the setup between muscle building, weight loss and strength building programs. When you use the app, you are instructed by a virtual trainer that shares the types of exercises you should be undertaking and how you light progress into the future. If you want to use the program’s advanced features, you can even gain insight into lifting techniques to avoid, schedule for missed workouts and see what to do about performance plateaus.

My Diet Coach

If you’re looking to get into shape then the chance are that you’re watching what you’re eating and if you want an app to supplement your healthy lifestyle, My Diet Coach might just be the one for you. A platform designed specifically for beginners, My Diet Coach shares tips on how to manipulate your diet for a healthy weight loss, incorporate steady lifestyle adjustments and generally, become a fitter person! You can track your calories and even take a look at how to avoid things like food cravings and the loss of motivation.

Google Fit

If you prefer to do your fitness tracking through the use of a smartwatch, there are a great deal of apps on the market that can easily incorporate into your existing technology. If you have an android device, Google Fit is one of the best out there and can help to significantly improve your level of health. After a number of changes and updates, the app is now one of the most functional out there and can help you to gain insight into practically every facet of your health. You can track how many calories you’ve burned over a specific period of time, understand how you’ve been using your energy and set yourself daily goals. With you at all times, the app will effectively track everything you do without you even realizing it!