the long and winding road

Hello blogland,

you may have noticed a lack of original content on my behalf and a few guestposts in the last couple of weeks. I feel like I should explain, or at least partly.

Over the summer there was a death in my family. It's not something I really want to talk about on my blog, or at least not right now. However, because of this I've had to fly home from the UK to Canada. I've been splitting my time while back between my hometown, my wife's hometown, and my university town. I've also had to fly back to the UK to get all my stuff and move home, all the while completing university coursework and preparing for my final placement as a physiotherapy student. Anyway, because of all of this I've not been able to write anything on my own. I've not actually felt like writing anything either, sort of lost my motivation for a little while there. I will be posting original content again, but for now you'll mostly see a few more guestposts until I can get settled again. I appreciate any of you who continue to follow me.

Top 8 Easy Low-Impact Exercises

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics

Low-impact exercises are a great safe way to maintain health and lose weight. This type of exercise burns calories without putting much stress on your joints. Here are a few low-impact exercises that are easy to integrate into your daily routine.

Walking


Walking’s one of the easiest exercises to work into a routine because it can be done anywhere. When you have a busy schedule, walking can easily be slotted into breaks, mornings, evenings, and sometimes even for small meetings. Modifying the intensity of a walk can also burn more calories; this can be accomplished through the use of hand weights, inclines, and pace.

Swimming


Swimming is a massive calorie-burning exercise, and it’s also one of the lowest impacts without having any impact with the ground. Swimming is a spectacular exercise because it works so many muscle groups. This type of exercise can be ideal for older people or individuals with weight-bearing issues such as joint problems. For this reason, aquatic therapy is often used for rehabilitation. Swimming can also be alternated with underwater running or water aerobics.

Yoga


There are some common misconceptions about the usefulness or intensity of yoga, but yoga is actually an intense mental and physical exercise. It is particularly effective at increasing blood flow throughout the entire body. There are different types of yoga, so it is very easy to customize a workout based on your desired results.

Rowing


A rowing machine is an excellent way to get a total body workout. The focus might be the rowing motion, but the exercise also tones the muscles of the back, legs, and core. Most machines allow users to modify the resistance, so it’s possible to modify the workout in that way.

Stair Climbing


This exercise is easy to implement with real stairs or ideally a stair machine. However this intense workout can be completed through the use of bleachers, stairs in the home, or stairs in the workplace, a gym membership is not required. Work a steady pace over a longer period of time rather than fast stair running to reduce knee impact.

Elliptical


The elliptical machine is an easy tool for beginners to use, and it offers an intense workout. Many machines also have an upper body component, making it even simpler to burn calories and get increase arm muscle tone. Additionally, elliptical machines have lower impact on the knee joint than treadmills.

Dance Workout DVDs


These dance workout DVDs have enjoyed an explosion in popularity, and this is for a good reason. An easy-to-follow, low-impact, calorie-burning dance fitness-party, it is a complete workout that are also extremely enjoyable. These instructional videos and classes have different intensities, so beginners can comfortably start exercising at an appropriate pace.

Ballroom dancing


Ballroom dancing has also experienced an increase in popularity. Many ballroom dances are swift enough to give a low-impact, calorie-burning exercise. Also, some individuals find it easier to stay motivated with an exercise partner, and ballroom dancing comes with an understood exercise buddy.

The exercises listed above are just a few of the many low-impact exercises. All of the workouts engage the entire body, which leads to a more intense routine. It is important to note that even low-impact exercises can be risky for individuals with certain health concerns, so individuals should consult a physician before starting any exercise routine.

About The Author: Brandon’s an avid runner and fitness blogger that works with HydroWorx, a fitness and commercial pools manufacturer.

Benefits of Adding Swimming to Your Current Workout

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics

Cardio and any other form of exercise that elevates the heart rate have been proven to have a lot of health benefits. For those who work out to lose weight, running on a regular basis is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to start shedding pounds. But if you want to up the ante on your workout, you should try and incorporate a swimming routine.

Not only will you be getting the cardio benefits, you're also toning your muscles, increasing your endurance, and adding variety to your routine to break or prevent monotony. Here are some more reasons why you should incorporate a swimming routine into your current workout.

Improves Technique and Coordination


Unlike running or cycling where your feet and legs are always moving forward, swimming gives you the freedom to move in more varied ways. Using different kinds of strokes for your laps, combined with treading, you get to exercise using different movements AND engage more muscle groups in every movement.

A simple way to look at swimming in terms of improving technique and coordination is this: anyone and everyone can simply go out and run, but not everyone can swim. This is not meant to discourage, but rather to challenge.

Engages and Tones Different Muscle Groups


If your regular workout consists of running or weight lifting, you are engaging specific muscle groups and areas of the body. The whole body benefits from running, but the focus is on the lower body. Same goes with weight lifting - its focus is on building upper body strength. So if you're already running and lifting weights on a regular basis, adding swimming to your routine will help "balance" things out and get an overall body workout by engaging the muscles from your neck down to your calves.

Many think that swimming focuses more on the upper body; hence, the "swimmer's body" effect. But if you combine your strokes with leg kicks, back crawls, and other leg actions, you are effectively working out not just the arms and legs, but also your core.

Increases Lung Capacity


When you do any cardiovascular and aerobic workout regularly, you learn to breathe deeper and improve your breathing because your body demands for more oxygen in the lungs. Swimming does the same, but in an increased capacity because of the added resistance that water provides. Try getting out of the water briefly and do the breast or back stroke. Now compare it to how much deeper your breaths get when you do the same in the water.

With this extra resistance, your body is pushed to do more - breathe deeper, kick harder, move your arms faster, etc. All this takes your regular and routine workout to a higher level, with your body developing those long, lean muscles on your arms, legs, back, core, etc.

Prevents Muscle Soreness and Improves Flexibility


When your workout consists mostly or purely of circuit training, running, or weight lifting, you will experience soreness in the muscles. Some who aren't so lucky, or do their exercises improperly, even experience muscle injury. Swimming can help prevent this, especially if you add it to your regular workout as the last routine. It can give your muscles that needed break and "healing time" from the high-impact, high-intensity exercises you did while still keeping the muscles warm.

So how does swimming lead to an improvement in flexibility? See, your muscles expand when they are warmed up (and you keep stretching or moving). This makes it easier and less painful for you to bend low, reach high, extend your arms further, etc. Swimming can be an excellent warm-down routine, a good break from routine fitness exercises, and a fun way to end every workout.

About the author: Ken Campbell has written for the health industry for many years. When he’s not reviewing hockey slide board training equipment, you can find him training for his upcoming triathlon.

How to Maximize Your Workout Benefits

The following is a guest post and does not necessarily reflect the views of exercisebasics.

If you're like most people, you probably have trouble finding enough time to work out as much as you'd like. That's why when you do finally get to exercise, you need to make every minute count. Some workout routines are more efficient than others, so it's important that you choose your exercises carefully. There are also some other simple changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help ensure you receive optimal benefits from the efforts you put forth exercising. Here are some tips for maximizing your workout benefits.

Use interval training


No matter which type of exercise you prefer, you can get a bigger bang for your buck by switching to interval training. This is a technique whereby you alternate short burst of very intense exercise with longer periods of rest or lower intensity exercise. This method of "starting and stopping" helps your body burn more calories and fat by helping it to process lactic acid buildup in a more efficient manner. The National Strength and Conditioning Association has guidelines for the ideal ratio of high intensity to low intensity exercise that depend on the length of your high intensity interval. For example, if you sprint for 30 seconds, you should use the ratio of 1:3 and follow that by a period of rest or slow walking for a minute and a half. Whether you like running, step aerobics, cycling, or swimming, there are ways you can adapt your routine to reap the benefits of interval training.

Get enough rest so your muscles can recuperate


You might be surprised to learn that your muscles actually grow while your body is at rest. Working your muscles causes tiny tears to form and it is during rest that these are repaired, boosting your metabolism and building up your muscles in the process. That is why it is not ideal to lift weights every day. Instead, give your body 24-48 hours in between lifting sessions for your muscles do to their work. You can still do other types of exercises on your days "off". Some people work different muscle groups on different days, focusing on arms every other day and legs on the days in between. Likewise, getting adequate sleep at night can help keep your body working properly and give you the energy you need to complete a proper workout.

Make sure you are lifting enough weight


You probably already know that building muscle helps raise your metabolism so that you burn more calories even when you're not working out. However, it's not enough to simply lift weights. You need to make sure you are lifting enough weight to get the maximum benefits to your metabolism. As a general guide, you want to lift weights that are heavy enough that you can only perform about 8 to 10 repetitions before becoming too fatigued to continue. This is the fastest way to become stronger and build muscle at the same time.

Choose appropriate post-workout snacks


A post-workout snack is important for helping your body replenish glycogen that is lost during exercise. It also gives your body energy to repair muscle tissue. Your snack should be mostly protein but you also need to add a small amount of carbohydrates into the mix. A few good options include a whole wheat pita spread with hummus, apples with peanut butter, half a tuna sandwich, or yogurt with berries. As you can see, with just a few simple tweaks, you can get better workout results.

About the Author: Aside from being a personal trainer, Steven Madison writes about other health and science related material, like anatomical and skull models for scientific research. In his free time, he loves to hike, swim and climb with his beautiful wife.