cycling benefits

Five Cycling Benefits for a Healthy Lifestyle

Cycling has become extremely popular in recent years. Many people are realizing the cycling benefits as a very good way to stay fit and healthy. If you cycle daily, it can help improve your overall fitness levels. It helps in reducing the risk of several unhealthy diet-related diseases such as fatigue, high blood pressure and diabetes. Apart from the obvious health benefits, cycling solves many environmental issues as well. Several people choose cycling over their cars as it’s an Eco-friendly way to commute.

Five Top Benefits of Cycling:

  1. Burn off Your Calories: Cycling helps in burning a lot of calories faster and easier. Cycling has been associated with weight loss. Even after your ride is over, cycling benefits by maintaining your metabolism. It is a great way to burn off excess calories, resulting in weight loss.
  2. Build Your Stamina: It helps in building your overall strength and stamina. It is just parallel to swimming or complete aerobics in which you use every part of your body. It is an effective way to build stamina.
  3. Keep your heartbeat regular:  As cycling is a very good cardiovascular exercise, it helps to regulate your blood pressure and in turn, helps to lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  4. Good coordination: Cycling is a good way of maintaining self coordination because while cycling, your   feet, hands and body have to work together.
  5. Good for your muscles: Cycling is a great low impact exercise; it is a great way for toning and building your muscles. It is especially helpful for those with joint problems or injuries to the legs or hips. It is a great way to keep your muscles active.

Cycling benefits people of all ages, from the very young to the very old and everyone in between. A lot of families, these days are planning cycling holidays to some of the exotic locations of the world. Planning a Cycling Tours Tour De France is a great way if you are looking for enjoyable ways to stay in shape and spend a time on holidays with friends and family. Children look upon riding bikes as fun activity, rather than exercise. This makes it easy for parents to get the kids exercising without getting bored, while also spending quality time with them.

You must discover how cycling can benefit you and your family. By planning a good road bike trip or a Cycling Tours France holiday, you raise your fitness to the next level.

 
Source by breakingaway

Why A Hollister Models Diet And Exercise Routine Is Much Different Than Yours

Why is it that Hollister models who sport a good amount of muscle mass look much different than your average bodybuilder in gyms today? Could there be a reason why their muscles look more visually stunning than the average weight lifter or is it because of good genetics? Is it possible to be as slim and fit as these models? Many people wonder this but it is important to understand why a Hollister models diet and exercise routine is radically different than your average muscle building program.

Strategic Muscle Gains In All The Right Places

A muscle building program for a Hollister model is specifically designed to enhance certain areas of the body. This is done on purpose so that the overall appearance is visually stunning. They focus on addressing both sarcoplasmic muscle growth and myofibrillar hypertrophy in order to gain the proper muscle mass and density. The areas of the body that receive the most attention are the upper and inner chest, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and back. Adding muscle size and density in these areas can dramatically improve your appearance. But did you notice that traps and the lower body were not included?

Why Direct Leg Work Isn’t Needed

Hollister models do not have huge legs nor do they have protruding trap muscles. Building the trap muscles will hide the appearance of wide, angular, shoulders and will create a more rounded look. A thick upper back and neck is not desirable. It is very important for the upper body to resemble a “V.” This is why exercises like squats and dead lifts are typically avoided. Squats and dead lifts do a great job of adding mass to the hips, thighs, butt, and waist. You do not want excess mass in these areas of the body. Adding muscle to these areas will take away from the slim and angular “V” that the upper body carries. Don’t worry; you are not a “bodybuilding heretic” by skipping out on direct leg work. Having too much lower body mass can cause the models to have a hard time fitting into pants or jeans. Models need to be able to look hip, not big and bulky. Well defined legs don’t have to be large. HIIT cardio and a good diet will give you the right size and definition.

But What About Six Pack Abs?

Of course this is a given. You can’t be a good looking model without great abs. Hollister models obviously have this down to a science. Their abdominal muscles are not big and bulky, but are well defined. Planks do a great job of sculpting the midsection without adding bulk while hanging leg raises develop the “V” between the lower portion of the hips and abs. Having a slim and angular waist is extremely important for models. Even though planks and hanging leg raises are great abdominal exercises, did you know that the key to revealing your abs actually has nothing to do with abdominal exercises? Diet is the most important aspect of great looking abs. I don’t care what your trainer or gym buddy says about the best ab exercises if your diet isn’t in check. As long as you are consuming more calories than what you are burning you will continue to have stubborn body fat blurring your definition.

Diet Is Key For Whole Body Definition

Now that we have established that great abs is more about diet than anything, what about the rest of your body? Hollister models have very low body fat levels. This can be very difficult for people to achieve because they tend to underestimate how much food they actually consume in a day. If losing fat is the goal, everything you put into your mouth counts. Models do not eat like huge bodybuilders or the average gym rat. If you want to lose weight then you need to cut back on the junk and fill it up with high intensity interval training. Combining intermittent fasting and HIIT workout routines with your muscle building program will burn off that list bit of stubborn body fat in no time. Simply eating less with high intensity interval cardio will help you stay lean and stick to low body fat levels comparable to Hollister models.

Why Slightly Chubby Models Don’t Make The Cut

This is why a Hollister models diet and exercise routine is so specific, slightly chubby models will never be considered. Being “photo ready” is crucial for models. This is why they have to stay lean and mean all year round. Even though it takes much more discipline to stay slim and fit, it pays off in the photo shoot.
Source by Adam M. Johnson

The Health Risks Of Running

Running is without doubt one of the most strenuous forms of exercise and can take a heavy toll on your body unless your are aware of some of the risks and take preventative action. This article explores some of the health risks associated with running and suggests some practical steps to help prevent serious injury.

1. Shin splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)

These are a very common health risk for runners. It sends shooting pains up your shins and occurs most frequently in those who have recently taking up running. Essentially it is a slight weakness in the muscles that attach your foot to the lower part of your leg.

Preventative action:

– Stretch well before and after running to strengthen the muscles in that area. Over time you should notice the problem disappear as you build up muscle tone.

– If it is painful after running apply ice to your shins and make sure you rest well.

– Try running on softer surfaces like grass rather than concrete until you build some muscle tone, as grass is more cushioned to run on.

2. Joint problems

When you run you have the potential to place the equivalent load of a baby elephant on your joints. These joints are compressed with every step you take and overuse can cause them to become inflamed, painful and sore. This can lead to serious long term joint disorders unless you look after them.

Preventative measures: It is impossible to stop all of the compression experienced by joints when running but you can reduce it significantly by taking some of the following simple measures:

– Buying the right running shoes will absorb some of the strain on your joints by acting as a shock absorber cushioning some of the impact your feet experiences as it hits the ground. Be willing to spend plenty on a top of the range pair of shoes as it will make a difference.

– At the end of a period of running your muscles will have shortened and can sometimes be on the verge of spasm. Take time to stretch for 20-30 minutes as this will help the muscles and tendons to return to their full length and also ease joint pain as compressed joints are stretched out.

3. Lower back problems.

The lower back has to deal with significant pressure both from the surface you are running on and also from the effort of keeping you moving whilst you run. Fell runners and Cross country specialists can suffer significant lower back problems due to the undulating nature of the terrain and constant readjustments being made by the back to compensate, but this is also true of road runners.

Preventative measure:

– Stretch well before AND after a race. Stretching will lengthen the spine and separate the vertebrate, releasing some of the compression caused during running.

– Personally I find Yoga a brilliant form of exercise for lower back problems. Pilates is also good as both forms work on lengthening and strengthening the spine and improving the range of movement available in your lower back. I have found that since taking up Yoga my back and joints have hurt much less after running.

4. Heart Attack

It is certainly true that your risk of suffering a heart attack increases with running for some individuals.

This is because running places huge demands on your cardio vascular system, which requires increased levels of oxygen to keep muscles supplied to enable you to keep running. If you have clogged or restricted arteries, caused by high fat diets, your body can’t keep up the oxygen supply to the heart, causing the heart to stop pumping, leading to a heart attack.

Even healthy individuals can suffer from a heart attack whilst running because of a previously unknown heart condition.

Preventative measures:

– Before you take up running, not matter how well you feel, ensure you have a medical to ensure that you haven’t got any underlying heart problems.

– Eating a low fat diet will reduce furring of the arteries, caused by fat clinging to them that ultimately leads to them becoming restricted.

– Gradually build up your running miles over time to prevent a sudden strain on your cardio vascular system especially if your body is not used to it. Build up in multiples of 2 miles.

7. Muscle tears

Runners are more prone to muscle tears because of the frequency and nature of the stresses that they place on their muscles. Lactic acid, which is caused by a failure of your body to get sufficient oxygen to your muscles, builds up and attacks muscles. Muscles that haven’t been warmed up or down properly may be more susceptible to tears as the lactic acid attacks them.

Preventative measure: Ensure you stretch before and after running to give your muscles maximum flexibility and reduce risk of tears. Shortened muscles are always more prone to tearing or getting pulled.

8. Dehydration

As a runner you need to ensure that your body is well hydrated as dehydration increases muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Most people should drink 2.5 litres of water a day, but if you are running you should consider as much as 5 litres, to replace lost nutrients during a race or long distance run.

Summary

This article has examined some of the health risks faced by runners. It has to be remembered however that there are many more health benefits of running and whilst reading through this article, you may feel daunted by the number of issues raised. As long as you take some of the preventative measures detailed, you should have few worries after all there is always a risk to doing anything!
Source by J Dawkins

Kettlebell Clean Exercise Variations: Use the Same Weight, Increase the Difficulty

The Kettlebell Clean is a great ballistic kettlebell exercise that utilizes the entire body. Like many kettlebell exercises, the Kettlebell Clean has several variations that increase the difficulty level so you can keep the challenges coming. Learning each progressive exercise will help you build strength, master your technique, and utilize the same weight for a much longer amount of time. Here is a progressive list of Kettlebell Clean exercise variations, from the easiest to the most difficult:

Kettlebell 2-Hand Dead Clean

The 2-Hand Dead Clean is the easiest way to start learning the Kettlebell Clean exercise. This will help you understand the path that the kettlebell takes during the exercise without bruising your forearm. The point is to go slow and control the kettlebell with each rep. You want to feel the kettlebell in the right position in between the forearm and biceps. You also want to take note of how the kettlebell does not completely flip over, but instead wraps around the wrist into position. Start with the kettlebell on the ground and your right hand holding the handle with your left hand cradling the right. In a slow motion, curl the kettlebell up to the right shoulder, keeping your right arm tight against your body. Make sure the kettlebell wraps around the forearm until it ends in the rack position. Slowly lower the kettlebell back to the ground and repeat until the exercise feels natural.

Kettlebell 1-Hand Dead Clean

Starting with the kettlebell in front of you, bend your knees and with your thumb facing back grab onto the handle with one hand. Pull the kettlebell up while explosively standing up. Make sure to keep your arm tight against your body and finish in the rack position. Bring the kettlebell back down to the ground by bending your legs.

Kettlebell Clean

The next progression is the traditional Kettlebell Clean. Start with the kettlebell about a foot in front of you. Grab the kettlebell, bending your hips with a slight bend in your knees while keeping your back straight and your glutes tight throughout the duration. Pick up the kettlebell and let it swing between your legs and then swing forward. Keep your upper arm against your side and use a pulling up motion as if starting a lawn mower. Immediately use an uppercut motion having the kettlebell wrap around wrist, ending up between your forearm and biceps.

Pistol Grip Kettlebell Clean

The Pistol Grip Kettlebell Clean requires a lot more grip and forearm strength then the previous versions. You are going to do a Kettlebell Clean, but at the top of the exercise, instead of positioning the kettlebell between the forearm and biceps, you are going to hold the kettlebell upside down. Carefully drop it down into the starting position and repeat. When you start with this exercise, have your free hand ready to keep the kettlebell vertical so it doesn’t slam down on your forearm (or onto your face). Make sure to use a weight you feel comfortable holding pistol-grip style.

Kettlebell Clean to Catch

When you practice the Kettlebell Clean to Catch, make sure you do it on a surface that you won’t mind dropping the kettlebell on. Perform a regular kettlebell clean, but when you reach the peak of the clean, let go of the kettlebell allowing it to swing over the handle into your palm. Keep your arm tight against your side. To return to the start position, toss the ball portion of the kettlebell straight in front of you, catching the handle and continuing with the downswing as normal. Make sure to keep your core tight throughout the duration.

Alternating Clean to Catch

For the last progression, you are going to perform the kettlebell clean to catch with one variation: on the downswing, instead of catching the kettlebell with the same hand, you are going to catch it with the opposite hand.

There you have it. A set of exercises that will make the traditional kettlebell clean both more doable and more difficult. Mastering these exercises requires practice and discipline. It’s easy to keep moving up the weight, but never truly utilizing a kettlebell to its full capacity. Give them a try today and reap the benefits immediately!
Source by sss

8 Key Training Principles For Fitness and Sports Training

The 8 Training Principles are research-based guidelines that can help you accelerate your training progress and optimize your results. Knowing how to apply these principles gives you an educated basis on which you can make informed decisions about designing your fitness or sports training program. The principles can also help you evaluate the merits of fitness equipment and personal training services.

All of the principles complement each other. For best results, they should be applied in concert throughout every phase of training.

1. Principle of Specificity suggests that your body will make adjustments according to the type of training you perform and in the very same muscles that you exercise. How you train determines what you get.

This principle guides you in designing your fitness training program. If your goal is to improve your overall level of fitness, you would devise a well-rounded program that builds both endurance and overall body strength. If you want to build the size of your biceps, you would increase weight loads on bicep curls and related exercises.

2. The Principle of Overload implies that you must continually increase training loads as your body adapts over time. Because your body builds and adjusts to your existing training regimen, you must gradually and systematically increase your work load for continued improvement.

A generally accepted guideline for weight training is to increase resistance not more than 10% per week. You can also use percentages of your maximum or estimated maximum level of performance and work out within a target training zone of about 60-85% of maximum. As your maximum performance improves, your training loads will increase, as well.

3. The Principle of Recovery assets that you must get adequate rest between workouts in order to recuperate. How much rest you need depends upon your training program, level of fitness, diet, and other factors.

Generally, if you perform a total body weight workout three days per week, rest at least 48 hours between sessions. You can perform cardio more frequently and on successive days of the week.

Over time, too little recovery can result in signs of overtraining. Excessively long periods of recovery time can result in a detraining effect.

4. The Principle of Reversibility refers to the loss of fitness that results after you stop training. In time, you will revert back to your pre-training condition. The biological principle of use and disuse underlies this principle. Simply stated, If you don’t use it, you lose it.

While adequate recovery time is essential, taking long breaks results in detraining effects that may be noticeable within a few weeks. Significant levels of fitness are lost over longer periods. Only about 10% of strength is lost 8 weeks after training stops, but 30-40% of endurance is lost in the same time period.

The Principle of Reversibility does not apply to skills. The effects of stopping practice of motor skills, such as weight training exercises and sport skills, are very different. Coordination appears to store in long-term motor memory and remains nearly perfect for decades. A skill once learned is never forgotten.

5. The Principle of Variation implies that you should consistently change aspects of your workouts. Training variations should always occur within ranges that are aligned with your training directions and goals. Varying exercises, sets, reps, intensity, volume, and duration, for example, prevents boredom and promotes more consistent improvement over time. A well-planned training program set up in phases offers built-in variety to workouts, and also prevents overtraining.

6. The Principle of Transfer suggests that workout activities can improve the performance of other skills with common elements, such as sport skills, work tasks, or other exercises. For example, performing explosive squats can improve the vertical jump due to their common movement qualities. But dead lifting would not transfer well to marathon swimming due to their very dissimilar movement qualities.

7. The Principle of Individualization suggests that fitness training programs should be adjusted for personal differences, such as abilities, skills, gender, experience, motivation, past injuries, and physical condition. While general principles and best practices are good guides, each person’s unique qualities must be part of the exercise equation. There is no one size fits all training program.

8. The Principle of Balance is a broad concept that operates at different levels of healthy living. It suggests that you must maintain the right mix of exercise, diet, and healthy behaviors. Falling out of balance may cause a variety of conditions (e.g., anemia, obesity) that affect health and fitness. In short, it suggests all things in moderation.

If you go to extremes to lose weight or build fitness too quickly, your body will soon respond. You could experience symptoms of overtraining until you achieve a healthy training balance that works for you.

For fitness training, balance also applies to muscles. If opposing muscles (e.g., hamstrings and quadriceps in the upper legs) are not strengthened in the right proportions, injuries can result. Muscle imbalances also contribute to tendinitis and postural deviations.

Keep these 8 Training Principles in mind as you design and carry out your fitness training program. They can help you make wise exercise decisions so you can achieve your goals more quickly with less wasted effort.
Source by Denise K. Wood, Ed.D.

Running – Why Strength and Speed Training is Important For Running a Marathon

When training for a marathon the two main aspects of your training will focus on building up the number of miles that you cover and introducing long runs into your regime to build up your endurance over distance. However, there are two other areas that you should also be working on and that is your speed and strength. You may consider this strange as a marathon is for running not raising dumbbells above your head. However they are very important and this is why:

1) Strength is essential for power and endurance. Without building strength into your body particularly your legs, arms and cardiovascular system you will blow out in the middle of a marathon even if you can reach that far.

2) In terms of speed this will enable you run at a faster pace during the race compared to your usual training speed. Speed in relation to long distance running is not to be compared to with sprinting. It is about speed work which is something different. This involves you running at a certain distance within certain time periods and having a rest or a recovery break in between. These types of training increases your fitness level over time it will not help you run the 100m under 10 seconds.

After a while many marathon runners will hit that infamous plateau. This means that no matter how many marathons you run your speed remains the same or even dips below your average. At his point you should incorporate more speed work sessions into your training regime in order to help improve your speed times.

If you are running a marathon for the first time then, it is too much for you to focus on speed and strength when there are so many other things to prepare for. For your first one it is best to focus on building up the number of miles that you run each week. You should aim to include a weekly long run into training schedule as this will prepare your body for the distance it has to run in a marathon. You can also do additional training to support the mileage and endurance targets with a mixture of drills and starting strides and circuit training. You can also mix things up a little by running shorter distances and then for the next training session run a longer distance. For most people who are entering their first marathon their main goal should be to complete it.
Source by James Mako

3 Reasons Why Weight Training Reduces Stress And Negative Thoughts

Are you stressed out and tired of not being happy? Perhaps you are not paying enough attention to yourself. While many stress reduction techniques are available, I would like to discuss weight training as a stress reduction technique.

The payoff for a regular weight lifting routine is enormous benefits to your body and mind. This includes increased muscle tone and optimal body functioning.

Here are three reasons why lifting weights reduces stress and negative thoughts.

First, the act of lifting weights helps you shift focus off of others and on to yourself. You’ll have a mental and physical break from rising energy prices, taking care of your children and working marathon hours wondering if you?re getting downsized. You?ll find it very tough to think of other things while moving weight.

Try to find a secluded space at home or limit socializing at the gym. Your outlook will change on many things. As weight lifting becomes your hobby, allow extra time to focus on yourself by planning your workouts ahead of time in a journal. A journal helps your set goals for your workout while you forget about your daily grind.

Next, exercise makes you feel good. Meaning, you can have an overall feeling of happiness that you may have been missing lately.

During weight training (and almost any exercise), endorphins are released into your body. Endorphins provide an effect similar to pain relievers and anti-depressants. Also, working out can increase antidepressant chemicals in your brain. In other words, if you feel depressed from a discouraging day, weight training can make you feel better.

Finally, weight training builds self confidence. Confidence is the key to achieving your goals. After completing your work out you?ll have a sense of achievement. Achieving goals helps you build confidence in yourself.

If you don’t have confidence in yourself, you’ll make it impossible to achieve your dreams. The more workouts you complete the more you start believing in yourself. You will set the tone for your life.

Starting a weight training program will help you with stress overload. It is very easy to start your own program. However, talk to a doctor on how exercise can help you ease your mind and body of stress and make sure you are physically able to start weight lifting.

All you need is a standard weight set and maybe a weight bench to get started. If you can afford a gym membership and/or a personal trainer, that will benefit you greatly. You may be surprised that you can reduce your stress levels.
Source by John Purfield

Get Ripped Abs through Jogging

Jogging is a great form of exercise. In fact, regular jogging will give you ripped abs and it will also condition your legs well so that they are less prone to injury of any kind. Jogging is definitely a very good exercise for the body and the mind. Care must be taken while jogging.

If some people like jogging, so be it. Jogging is management of the body. The jogger says I am in control. Jogging is harder than walking because it requires more muscle to go faster, bounce up-and-down, breathe deeper, and balance. Running requires more effort than jogging, and is more intense.

Running up and down stairs or hill side, jogging or running, swimming, biking, rollar-blading or skating, dancing, shadow boxing, hiking, walking, and playing sports are also great activities and exercises to reveal your six pack abs. Running, biking, swimming, stair climbing, jumping rope, tennis, volleyball, dancing, squash or any other activity that gets you moving and keeps you moving is a great way to burn fat.

However, a cardiovascular workout should be performed for at least 20 MINUTES to burn fat. Running, biking, jumping rope or using any great cardio machine such as a crosstrainer is a great way to interval train your body. Start off by warming up for 5 minutes.

Workout indoors if weather doesnt’ permit you outuside. Run briskly around the house/office for 30 minutes. Or jog on the spot while watching TV for 20 minutes. Run, jump rope, play basketball, play racquetball, dance – do something that keeps you not only moving and working your heart, but also is fun. Studies show what most of us should probably assume – it’s a lot easier to keep exercising when it doesn’t feel like exercise. Don’t miss a days worth of training as it might get easier for you to neglect later on as well.

Jogging is a rigorous cardiovascular exercise that allows a person to burn an average of 100 calories per each mile he or she runs. Jogging is of benefit to the body as a whole, strengthening the cardiovascular system, improving blood circulation and toning up muscles. Jogging is like writing. Jogging is about individualism and it is also a sign of totalitarianism. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways.

Jogging is a very cheap way of keeping fit, because all that is needed is a good pair of running shoes . One can jog anywhere, although it is good to stay away from main roads where the air is full of traffic fumes . Jogging is a discipline, and while it is very enjoyable, it also takes a lot of determination.

Jogging is a portion of the groundwork that is sometimes
neglected in favor of the more important disciplines, yet in spite of this it is crucially important. At some competitions, especially those that judge for soundness, jogging is an important discipline in its own right.

Stay consistent with your jogging and watch your ripped abs pop out as you begin to enjoy it  more and more.
Source by Boyce Gomez

Recommended Nutrition and Diet For a Speed and Agility Training Program

When starting a speed and agility training program many of today’s athletes ignore one of the most important aspects of achieving desired results, and that is diet and nutrition. Too many young athletes tend to eat too much fast food and not pay attention to what they are eating throughout the day.

To get the most out of a speed and agility workout the best place to start when it comes to nutrition and diet is a well balanced meal. All meals throughout the day should contain food from all four food groups. If this is not possible then make sure that throughout the day your diet has contained portions from all four food groups.

To enhance your diet to deal with the sufficiently high physical demands of sports training, which requires a high rate of energy production, you will need to increase your carbohydrate intake. Whatever sport or training you are participating in, this type of energy production can only be achieved by the breakdown of carbohydrates. This means that players should pay particular attention to this aspect of their diet – more especially when considering the notorious drills of speed and agility programs, especially when athletes are given no guidance about what to eat. The heavy training schedule that most speed and agility training involves, only serves to increase the need for carbohydrate intake.

When discussing this subject, it is usual to express the form of the energy consumed as percentages (proportions) eaten as carbohydrate, fat and protein. While the typical diet for the general population is about 40% carbohydrate, 45% fat and 15% protein, the recommended dietary proportions for a soccer player (who training is very strenuous and well rounded) would be roughly 65% carbohydrate, 20% fat and 15% protein, according to Peak Performance Newsletter.

The ingestion of essential amino acids immediately after exercise increases protein synthesis, meaning greater muscle and (provided you’re training ‘properly’) more power. A very important point in protein ingestion is the timing – if you’re taking any protein shakes or bars, take it asap after exercise.

Provided you’re eating a well balanced, energy sufficient diet, creatine supplementation has also been shown to improve repeated sprint ability as previously discussed in the Vitamins and supplement article.

Some information used in this article was gathered from the Peak Performance newsletter.
Source by Michael Seno