When it comes to training your abdominals, it’s important to include the deepest layer of this muscle group — the transversus abdominis, which is responsible for flattening the stomach. Here is a great way to target this area.
Lie face up on a flat, level surface. If you have a Pilates Circle, place it between your inner ankles and straighten your legs above your hips. (If you don’t have this piece of equipment, you can do the same exercise without it.) Extend your arms to the sides and bend your elbows so that your hands are over your head.
On an exhalation, press your naval toward your spine to flatten your abdominals. Focus on keeping your abs flat as you slowly lower your legs to a 45-degree angle. Pause for a few seconds, then raise your legs back to vertical. Repeat 12 times.
Like everything else, a workout also has its own set of etiquettes and rules which, if not followed, can send your regimen for a toss. Being able to drag yourself every day to the gym is good, but even more important is to have the correct know-how of the dos and don’ts while exercising. Althea Shah, fitness expert from Gold’s Gym India, Mumbai, lists the common dangers prevalent in the gym.
Out of form: All exercises are designed in a specific manner to provide optimal results. It’s common knowledge that lifting maximum weight (as per one’s capacity) during the last set of any exercise provides maximum benefit. It helps one attain ‘muscle fatigue’ which gives the ‘after-burn’ effect (calorie burn after finishing the workout). However, the worst thing that one can do is to compromise on the right ‘form’ so as to be able to lift that ‘extra’ weight.
Without the best form, workload goes waste or becomes unproductive. Those who swing weights while lifting and bend their backs during a bicep curl are at a high risk of injuries.
Lifting too much: Never lift more than what your muscles can handle. Gradual, progressive resistance is a far more effective way to increase muscle strength. When helping somebody with his workout, align your body such that it allows you to aid the lifter, without any risk of injury.
Keep it clean: Always wipe the equipment with a gym towel before and after use as it helps prevent spread of diseases. Though there’s a lot of etiquette emphasis on wiping equipment (such as the cardio machines) after use, it is also imperative to take your health in your own hands and wipe it before use as germs could still be transferred from adjacent machines.
Don’t go barefoot: The human traffic in locker rooms, combined with absence of sunlight, creates a perfect environment for germs to flourish. Always wear footwear to avoid athlete’s foot, a fungus infection that usually starts with itchy scales and blisters between the toes. Footwear will also keep you from slipping on wet tiles.
Those frequenting jacuzzis and pools are at high risk of catching contagious skin infections such as dermatitis. Chlorine in the water kills most germs, but if it doesn’t contain enough chlorine, you could catch a hair-follicle infection which needs antibiotic treatment.
Junk the mobile: Gym is for working out. So do just that. Smsing and chatting on phone not only wastes time, but the smart ones who try to multi-task their workouts with cellphone activity are at high risk of injuries. Treadmill accidents account for more than onethird of the reported injuries, with people either tripping or falling off them. Learn to use the machine first and refrain from checking your cell phone while working out. Also, be careful not to go too close to someone lifting heavy weights. He/she might, by mistake, drop them on your feet.
Fit to size: The gym equipment is designed to accommodate a wide range of body types and sizes, so it’s imperative that you adjust it to your size. Not doing so reduces the machine’s impact on your muscle. The muscle, hence, goes partially trained, leading to sluggish contribution in muscular growth.
Don’t jerk: When you jerk the weight, it’s likely that you’re jerking other muscle groups as well. This can lead to strain and injury. The back muscles are particularly vulnerable to such injuries. Remember: control the weight, don’t let it control you.
Right equipment: Before using any equipment, check that there are no loose nuts or screws on the machine. If the machine rattles or works with a jerk during exercise, stop immediately. Also, check cables of weight machines to ensure they aren’t frayed or damaged, and are covered with a protection sleeve.
: Suffering from arthritis? Try out Tai Chi, a form of exercise which is regularly practiced in China, for a study says that it can reduce chronic pains.
An international team has found carried out the study and found that Tai Chi helps in mitigating the pain associated with problems like arthritis and lessen disability — in fact, it reduces pain with trends towards improving overall health.
Tai Chi is an exercise that is regularly practiced in China to improve overall health and well-being. It is usually performed in a group but is practiced individually at leisure, which differs from traditional exercise therapy
“The fact that Tai Chi is inexpensive, convenient, and enjoyable and conveys other psychological and social benefits supports the use this type of intervention for pain conditions such as arthritis,” lead researcher Amanda Hall.
Hall of George Institute in Australia and colleagues have based their findings on an analysis of systematic review and meta-analysis, the results of which are published in the latest edition of the ‘Arthritis Care & Research’ journal.
In fact, they analysed seven eligible randomised controlled trials that used Tai Chi as the main intervention for patients with musculoskeletal pain and found that Tai Chi improves pain and disability in patients suffering arthritis.
“It is of importance to note that the results reported in this systematic review are indicative of the effect of Tai Chi versus minimal intervention (usual health care or health education) or wait list control,” Hall said.
However, the researchers said that establishing the specific effects of Tai Chi would require a placebo-controlled trial, which has not yet been undertaken.
Here’s a dynamic exercise to help you develop flexibility and strength without risking injury or building bulk. You’ll increase your upper body strength while stretching the backs of your legs.
Step 1. Kneel with your forearms and palms of your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers, pressing down firmly with your index finger and thumb. Straighten your legs then walk toward your elbows until your heels are close to the floor and your knees are straight. Be sure to push against your forearms and keep your shoulders away from your ears. Do not collapse into your neck and upper shoulders. Pause for three breaths.
Step 2. Slowly walk your feet away from your elbows, lower your hips and straighten your knees into a plank position. Balance on your toes and forearms while you tighten your abdominal muscles to keep your pelvis off the floor. Do not allow your midsection to sag. Hold this position for three breaths. Lift your hips and walk back toward your elbows. Repeat three times.