Tag Archives: strength

Finding Time

You’ve packed your bag the night before, filled your water bottle, packed the kid’s snacks and booked her into child-minding.  She wakes up with a fever.  Sigh.

You got all of your paperwork filed, you’ve had your morning snack and have a packed lunch to eat at your desk after a lunch-time run. Your phone rings, and it’s a client crisis that just can’t wait.  Sigh.

No matter what the scenario that you’re hit with, the one thing that gets missed in your day always seems to be you.  For a workout veteran, this can be disappointing, frustrating, changing the mood and course of your entire day.  For a rookie, this can be catastrophic, completely derailing your momentum.

How can you combat this?  Here are five not-so-average body weight exercises that you can do at home or in the office with absolutely no equipment.  Before you even begin, take a moment and focus awareness on your posture.  Hold your core in tight (belly button towards your spine), open up your chest and pull your shoulder blades back.  Bring your chin up and tuck your pelvis under just a bit to protect your lower back.  OK, let’s go!

1. Sumo-SquatTargets the Leg Adductors (inner thigh) – Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out towards “10 and 2 o’clock”.  Raise your hands out in front of you as a counter-balance, and push your glutes (bum) backwards, bending at the knee.  Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes and your head up.  If you feel a strain in your lower back, come back to your starting position and reset your posture.  Every time you get to the top of your range of motion, squeeze your glutes tight.

2. Plank Jack/Jump JackTargets the Core, Leg Adductors, Shoulders – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes.  Hop your legs out laterally and back in, come to a standing position and up for a jumping jack.  Come back into that starting plank position and repeat.  Be sure to watch that your glutes don’t pop up into the air, as that essentially deactivates your abdominal recruitment.  To make this lower impact, walk out 1 leg at a time in both positions.

3. Roll-OversTargets Oblique Abdominals (Core) – Starting on your stomach, stretch out your arms and point your toes.  Roll over onto your back without using your arms/hands to assist you.  Roll back onto your stomach in the other direction.

4. Plank Kick-BacksTargets the Core, Glutes – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes. Tighten your glutes (bum muscles) and slowly lift your leg upwards and back towards the ceiling.  Alternate sides.  Be aware of hip positioning and try to keep the pointy bones on either side of your pelvis (ASIS) pointed down towards the ground. This will help to keep your hips from rolling open to the side

5. Incline or Decline Push-Up Targets the Pectorals (chest) – Start with a basic push-up.  You can do this on either the knees or the toes.  Come down to the floor as low as you can go, and push your body weight back up.  If you’re on your knees, try to keep the fleshy spot just above your knee cap in contact with the floor.  This will keep your hips and glutes down enabling your core to stabilize your body.  Incline: have your hands positioned 6-12 inches higher on a platform.  The higher up you are, the easier the push-up becomes.  Decline: place your feet up on a platform, with hands on the ground.  When progressing from a knee push-up to toe, start with incline, progressing to flat or decline push-ups.

To add intensity, jog on the spot or add a set of jumping jacks in between each exercise. 

No Excuses left, let’s go!


One Step at a Time

Part Two – Putting One Foot in Front of the Other; the Beginning of Cardiovascular Wellness.

Getting yourself moving sounds like an easy step, but for someone who is beginning their wellness journey for the first time, or someone who is starting to work out again after some time off, it can be really daunting.

Try Different Things The first place a beginner heads to when they walk in the door is the treadmill. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different things you can try when getting started, but overall the best place for anyone new to the gym is the place that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and secure.  I’m a fitness professional, and the idea of hanging out on a treadmill for an hour sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  The key to finding a successful cardiovascular program is to change it up and find something that you like to do.  The treadmill might be your favorite place in the gym, others will find the elliptical, track, or bike your happy place.  If you want to try something and don’t know how or are intimidated by it, please ask us!  There are staff working in the weight room at all of our facilities and as active people, we would much rather talk to and help our members than sit at a desk!

Not Everyone is Built to Run Every single one of us is different. Our body’s physiology and genetic code plays a great deal into what our optimal style of workout is.  There are different muscle fibres in each of us that will make certain styles of physical activity easier than others.  If you absolutely dread long distances, try inserting some higher intensity intervals into your workout.  An example of this is to run a lap, do a set of jumping jacks, running stairs, or jump rope etc… in-between resistance training (weight lifting) sets.  So of you don’t like to run, don’t stress! There’s always something else to try!

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone, and Stay Within It! An individual’s target heart rate zone (THRZ) is based on age.  The easiest way to figure out your THRZ is with this basic equation: 220-(age)= Heart Rate Max (HRM)  This is a number that we should aim to never surpass when doing cardiovascular activity.  Multiply that number by .6 and you will get 60% of your HRM.  Multiply that first number again by .8 to find 80% HRM.  During your cardiovascular workout, you would want to monitor your heart rate and keep it between 60% and 80% of your HRM For example, if you were 25 years old, your math would look like this:

  • 220 – 25 = 195 beats per minute (BPM) as your Heart Rate Max
  • 195 x .6 = 117 BPM
  • 195 x .8 = 156 BPM

This would mean that you want your heart rate somewhere in between 117 and 156 BPM during your cardiovascular workout.

Other Options Hiking groups, team sports or group fitness classes are an amazing way to sneak in a little cardio without even noticing it! It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you can meet new people who are living a healthy balanced life to help keep you on track. Here at the YMCA there are numerous different options to get involved in both aspects.  There are registered and drop-in group fitness classes offered at every branch in the city. We also offer climbing wall classes, swim and aquatic fitness classes, as well as some sport options.  These can differ from branch to branch, so check what is offered at your home branch. A lot of towns and cities have different recreational organizations to help people get involved with team sports as well. In Calgary, a great resource to check out the Calgary Sport and Social Club.  You can join a sport by registering a full team, partial team, or an as individual to make up a full team.

Build the Habit If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged! It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes a stumble will happen.  This is where you need to pick yourself up, dust off those hands and take another step.  Think to yourself the number twenty one. 21. XXI.  It takes twenty one days to build a habit.  Twenty one days to notice a real difference in your physiology. Twenty one days.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll hit your stride.  You’ve got this.

Happy Trails!


NEW Youth Hap Ki Do class 6:45-7:45pm on Fridays at Saddletowne YMCA

Due to the immense popularity of our Youth Hap Ki Do programs we have created an additional class on Fridays from 6:45-7:45pm for children aged 6-11 years. If your child missed out on the 5:30 class here is your second chance!

Parents – this is a great opportunity get your own workout in while your child is busy learning new skills!

Youth Hap Ki Do (6-11 years)
Fridays 6:45-7:45pm
Starting January 16th
M$90 NM$120 (10 classes)
Course# 102294

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit Member Services.


Fitness Kickboxing is a great way to build strength & confidence while relieving stress.

I attended the Fitness Kickboxing demo class here at Saddletowne a little while ago and I found the class to be invigorating and fun. After the warm up, the instructor taught us a variety of punching techniques and combinations which we then got to practice with a partner using gloves and pads. Afterwards she led us through some kicking techniques and combinations which we practiced again. By the end of the class we put it all together in punching and kicking combinations with our partners.

I worked up a good sweat in the class and definitely felt my muscles the next day. The exercises especially helped to challenge my core strength and coordination as well as my mental focus and reflexes. I loved being able to engage in a contact sport with another person, express some playful aggression and let off  steam in a way that was safe, fun and empowering.

I definitely recommend Fitness Kickboxing as a different kind of fitness class that will produce great results, increase your confidence and challenge you in new ways.

Fitness Kickboxing is offered at the Saddletowne YMCA on Sundays from 6:30-7:30pm beginning January 11th. To register call 403-237-2393 and quote barcode # 96569.

 


Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning April 5
M: $108 NM: $162 (12 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

The Functional Movement Screen

In the interest of serving our members better, and at the same time remaining in line with the best practices in our industry, the Eau Claire YMCA recently sponsored the four full time staff members of the strength and conditioning department to attend a 3-day certification course on delivering and programming the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).

What is the FMS?

The FMS is a quick and easy tool comprised of 7 movement patterns which identify deficiencies, asymmetries (left/right imbalances) and indicators of pain across multiple joints and planes of movement e.g. shoulder issues that may be causing low back pain or vice-versa. It was developed in the late 90s by Gray Cook and Lee Burton, both physical therapists, and has since been adopted by professional sports teams, the military, police and fire services, EMS, and a growing number of commercial fitness facilities.

What does this mean for my training?

Primarily, it empowers your trainer to identify and work towards correcting deficient patterns in your everyday movement that if unaddressed may lead to injury, or most likely re-injury, since we typically develop asymmetries during injury recovery. Overall, it means that your trainer is better equipped to make you stronger, leaner and more fit to keep you running, swimming, biking and hiking for many years to come.

Where do I go from here? How do I get involved?

To get screened, register your interest with one of our member services staff*. You can also contact Geoff Starling (see below) or speak to one of the weight floor staff.

For more information on the FMS, check out: www.functionalmovement.com

*Please be aware that as a pilot program only full time staff of the Eau Claire Strength & Conditioning department are presently capable of delivering the FMS. Other branches will likely complete the necessary training as demand grows.

 

Geoff Starling
Strength & Conditioning Director
Eau Claire YMCA
geoff.starling@calgary.ymca.ca


Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning January 18
M: $90 NM: $135 (10 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

Research Shows Practicing Tai Chi Improves Some Chronic Conditions

A number of studies have been conducted in recent years on the effect that practicing Tai Chi has on patients with various chronic health conditions. The results provide positive evidence that Tai Chi can be beneficial in improving patient outcomes on a variety of levels having physical, psychological and behavioural impacts. Here is a basic summary of some of the research findings:
Philip W.H. Peng published a review article on Tai Chi and Chronic Pain in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine 2012. He found that Tai Chi is beneficial for providing pain relief and improving physical and psychological well-being for people with Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Low Back Pain. Tai Chi’s effects on muscular strength, cardiovascular health, bone health, stress reduction and quality of life may also prove benefical to patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Jun-Hong Yan, et al. conducted a study in 2013 on the Effects of Tai Chi in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and found that practicing Tai Chi significantly improved patients’ total scores on the Chronic Respiratory Disease Quesitonnaire and the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnare.
Hui-Ming Lo, et al (2012) conducted a study on Tai Chi and patients with Hypertension. The study concluded that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were reduced and exercise behaviour and exercise time were improved when hospital outpatients with hypertension participated in an 8-week Tai Chi exercise program.
Sukhee Ahn, et al (2012) conducted a study on the effects of Tai Chi Exercise on Glucose Control, Neuropathy Scores, Balance and Quality of Life in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Neuropathy. The results indicate that total symptom scores, glucose control, balance and quality of life were significantly better in the Tai Chi group than in the control (nonintervention) group.
Whether you live with a chronic health condition or not, you can improve your health with Tai Chi! Sign up for a class and find strength, balance, coordination, improved digestion & circulation, greater mental clarity and relief for stress.
Saddletowne YMCA offers the following Tai Chi course:
Tai Chi Level 1
Saturdays 11:00-12:30pm
Beginning January 18
M: $90 NM: $135 (10 classes)

Call 403-237-2393 to register or visit ymcacalgary.org for full course listings.

References:
Ahn, S., Song, R. (2012). Effects of Tai Chi exercise on glucose control, neuropathy scores, balance and quality of life in patients with type 2 diabetes and neuropathy. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Dec;18(12), 1172-8.
Lo, H.M. et al (2012). A Tai Chi exercise programme improved exercise behavior and reduced blood pressure in outpatients with hypertension. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 18(6), 545-551.
Peng, P.W.H. (2012). Tai Chi and chronic pain. Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Jul-Aug; 37(4):372-82.
Yan, J.H., Guo, Y.Z, Yao, H.M., Pan, L. (2013). Effects of Tai Chi in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. PLOS ONE (10), 1371.

Challenge Yourself with Capoeira

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that will challenge you both physically and mentally.

In a ‘game’ of Capoeira, two opponents ‘play’ in a circle or roda (pronounced hoda) and try to ‘outsmart’ the other with kicks, blocks, evasions, handstands, cartwheels, hooks/trips, etc to the rhythm of the berimbau – a unique Brazilian instrument.

Capoeira can be modified through skill progressions for beginners, intermediate players and those who are more advanced. It is great for people who want to try something new & exciting to improve their strength, agility, balance & coordination in a unique and fun class that helps to build camaraderie through friendly competition.

At Saddletowne YMCA we offer the following classes on Tuesday evenings:

Youth Capoeira (6-11 years)
Beginning January 7
Tuesdays 6:15-7:15pm
Barcode: 86253
M$88 NM$132 (11 classes x 60 minutes)

Adult Capoeira (12+ years)
Beginning January 7
Tuesdays 7:30-8:45pm
Barcode: 86243
M$110 NM$165 (11 classes x 75 minutes)


Shake It Up!

2014 is a great time to switch up your workout or wellness routine.  Whether you are a beginner, or are seasoned to your workout routine, a simple change of how you’re working out can really make a difference.

A routine is just that; the same thing every day, every week.  When working the same muscle groups in the same order and in the same way your body will learn this pattern and adapt to it; expecting it.  By changing the modality of training, you can shock your muscles and body systems which can once again achieving a higher rate of results, like you once did when you began your current routine.

At the YMCA, we try to offer a variety of options for all levels of fitness and experience. Programming, classes, and other wellness options are available to both members and non-members alike.

Getting Started

New to the Y?  Consider registering at Membership Services for a wellness appointment. Available to YMCA Members, a wellness appointment gives you an hour of personalized time with one of our certified wellness coaches.  The coach will help determine which course of activity is right for you, Coach Approach©, Fitlinxx, or Personal Training, as well as recommend any fitness classes that suit your interests and wellness goals.  Some group fitness classes that are geared towards beginner/intermediate level are:

Group Cycle*, Turn & Burn*, Step Fit*, YBO*, Muscle Works*, Barbell Blast*, Karma*, Cardio & Core*, Hi/Lo*, First Ascents Climbing, Shallow H2O Aqua-Fit*, Gentle H2O Aqua-Fit*, Yoga Passive – Stress Reduction & Meditation, Fusion, Zumba, Social Dance Level One (partner required), Belly Dance Level One, Triathlon Training, Individual Conditioning Level One, and Pilates Level One

The Fitness Veteran

As noted above, changing what, how and when you work out will definitely enhance results and help get you out of that workout rut.  Getting past that plateau and changing your routine will invigorate your workouts and reenergize you in a whole new way!  Try a group fitness class that interests you, climb out of that box you’re in and experience a whole new world!  Some fitness classes that are geared more towards intermediate/advanced level are:

Performance Cycle*, HEAT*, The Worx*, Cardio & Core, YBO Plus*, Cardio & Sculpt*, Hi/Lo*, Turn & Burn*, Yoga-Active, Yoga Level Two, Zumba, TRX, Metabolic Conditioning, Triathlon Training, Deep H2O Aqua-Fit*, Shallow H2O Aqua-Fit*, Appalachians Climbing, Individual Conditioning Level Two, Boxer’s Workout, and Pilates Level Two

Not a Member?

That’s OK, we’re happy to welcome you.  Options for non-members include any of our registered and drop-in programming, as well as Personal Training services.  If interested in a drop-in fitness class or open gym, badminton etc… simply pay the drop-in fee at Membership Services and come on in!

Good luck shaking it up, and please don’t be shy; ask us any questions you might have to ensure you’ve found the right fit for you!  It is important to note that everyone is welcome in any fitness class.  However, you will find you need to take advantage of modifications offered by the instructor and listen to your body.

*Denotes a drop-in fitness class, registration is required in all others.  The Fitness Flex Pass is available for most registered programs.  The Fitness Flex  Pass allows attendance to a registered class to try it out before committing to a full session, to ensure it’s right for you.

elliptical-woman_31182640


Categories

Archives