Aging Gracefully Blog

Posts Tagged ‘push-up’

10 Top Holiday Fitness Tips

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

The holiday season can wreak havoc with your best intentions to stay in shape. It's easy to get de-railed with parties, slice of pumpkin pie with whipped toppingtravel and general disruption to your normal routines.  Be proactive: Plan your strategy now to maintain your fitness when life gets hectic. Use these 10 TIPS to keep on track for the New Year. 

1)  Make movement a daily habit. The secret of your success is found in your everyday routines. Consistency is the key to building and maintaining momentum. 

2)  Think "activity" instead of "workout." Find opportunities to be active during the course of your day. Walk to work, take the steps, lift and carry your groceries, do housekeeping chores energetically. It all counts!

3)  Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most (at least 5) days of the week.  Studies show that exercise accumulated in short bouts of 10 or 15 minutes offers weight loss and aerobic fitness benefits comparable to those achieved in longer workouts. Take 2 or 3 shorter walks every day. 

4)  Simple exercises provide a mini full-body workout, no equipment needed. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of body weight exercises like pushups, squats, and crunches every other day for your muscle work. Too easy? Add another set of each.

5)  Combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. For every hour you're sitting, get up and move around for five minutes.

6)  Count your steps with your smartphone, pedometer, or other tracking device.  See how many steps you average and then build on them. Try to add 1000 steps per day every week until you hit 10,000 in a day!

7)  Use the small moments of your day to do a few minutes of exercise while you're standing at the kitchen sink, sitting at your desk, relaxing on the couch. Visit the Daily Video Tool Kit  for free video clips of different exercises.

8)  Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth to improve balance.

9)  Do range of motion exercises in the shower. The warm, moist air is perfect for limbering up stiff hands and fingers.

10)  Stretch your muscles at the end of the day to discharge tension and get a better night's sleep. Stretch every day for best results but at minimum 2 or 3 times a week. See the End-of-Day Couch Stretches in the Daily Video Tool Kit.

Get simple strategies to enhance daily life with more energy, a better mood and less stress. Call Joan today:  212-722-8116.

© Copyright – Joan L. Pagano.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Exercise Smarter, Not Harder

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Exercise smarter not harder

Take a creative approach to exercise.  Not only is it fun to find innovative ways to shake up your normal routine, but all the body’s systems need to be surprised with diverse patterns of stress in order to continue to improve.  Use these simple tips to become more resourceful in your every day activities and watch your body redistribute as you shape up. 

Instead of doing the same old route when you're out for your usual walk/run, look for inclines to power up, stairs to hop down and places to throw in 20 jumping jacks.  By adding intervals of varying intensity, you are simultaneously building bone, tuning up your cardiovascular system and burning extra calories.

If your program is stale and needs rejuvenating, try something new.   Intervals of high intensity work can be adapted to resistance training as well as to cardio activity.  Try interspersing one minute of heart-pumping cardio into your strength training exercises.  You can use exercises like jumping rope, step-ups or running in place to keep your heart rate elevated. 

Use compound movements in your strength training. Combine upper and lower body actions to target 8-10 muscle groups for efficient toning and calorie expenditure.  For example, try combining a front lunge with a lat row, a squat with a biceps curl and calf raise, a plie with a shoulder raise. You improve your coordination and core stabilization in addition to getting a full-body workout in a shorter period of time.

Invent time-saving ways to fit exercise into your day-to-day.  If life intervenes and you can’t do your normal weight training session, at least do some exercises using your body weight, like push ups, squats, crunches and planks.  Do two sets of diagonal push ups after your walk/run, using a railing or back of a park bench for support. Practice balance by standing on one leg while brushing your teeth for two minutes.  Sit on a stability ball at your desk to add some core training as the muscles of the trunk work to keep you upright.

Ramp up your daily activities by becoming more creative in how you choose to exercise.  As you develop an active lifestyle in your daily routines, your body will thank you by becoming healthier and more energetic.  And the changes will be reflected in the way you wear your skinny jeans!

 (c) Copyright - Joan L. Pagano. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.



Sculpt Your Arms in One Easy Move!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Looking for the most efficient way to get tank top arms in a hurry?  Here it is:  The classic push up firms your chest, sculpts your shoulders and defines the triceps in the back of your upper arms, all in one easy move.  And even better, you can do this version at the kitchen sink while you're waiting for your coffee or tea.

The diagonal push up is a simply elegant exercise that activates these three muscles of the upper body as well as your core.  With your body on an angle, you need to assume a plank position, using your abdominals and back muscles to stabilize the torso.  The position of your arms determines which muscle you target.  Begin with one set of 10-15 reps of each position; build up to 2 sets.

To target the chest and firm the muscles under your bust line, position your arms 3-4 inches wider than your shoulders.  As you lower your chest toward the counter, bend your elbows out to the sides to 90 degrees (think of making a "box" with your arms).

To focus on your shoulders, move your arms in closer, placing your hands directly under your shoulders. As you lower your chest, bend your elbows straight back so they come in close to your sides.

For the triceps, move your hands in even closer, so that you can make a triangle with your index fingers and thumbs.  Now when you bend your elbows, they will flare out to the sides, making a diamond shape as you lower your chest to the counter.

Check out this video for more tips on proper form.


Shake Off the Winter Blues: Take Your Workout Out-of-Doors

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Here's a real mood-booster for you! Take your indoor strengthening routine out to the park, breathe in the spring air and get a healthy dose of Vitamin D. It's easy to adapt kitchen sink exercises to a park bench outdoors. Add a portable stretch band to round out your workout. Begin your outdoor workout by walking for 15 minutes at a moderate pace in the park. Find some stairs, inclines and declines to vary the route. Then, scout out your bench. For the first six exercise vignettes, stand behind the bench, using the top of the back for support. Use the following video links as an easy guide. For all of them, do 10-15 repetitions.

Then, to complete the workout, add two more exercises: Squats: Stand in front of the bench, feet parallel, and hip-width apart. Shift your weight back onto your heels, bend your knees and reach back with your hips, lowering yourself toward the bench as if you were going to sit down. Tap the edge of the seat with your hips, but don't sit down. Squeeze your glutes to return to the start position. Crunches: Sit backwards on the bench, threading your legs through the slats of the back rest, feet on the ground. Cross your arms over your chest and sit up tall. Exhale as you roll back, drawing your ribs toward your hips, curving your spine into a "C." Then realign the spine to straighten up. This workout gives you a total of 10 exercises that target the major muscle groups. It will only take about 10-15 minutes to complete one set of 15 reps of each exercise. Peel off the winter layers and prepare to reveal lovely new contours for warm weather. 

Push-Ups, Sit-Ups and Squats: You’ve been doing them incorrectly for decades!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Push-ups, sit-ups and squats - timeless bodyweight exercises - provide a mini full-body workout that you can do anywhere, anytime, with no equipment needed. But are you making common mistakes in form that can sabotage your efforts?

Join us live on Sirius XM's Dr. Radio Show this Wednesday, February 20 from 8-9 am. I'll share all the insider tips that I've learned over the past 25 years as a fitness professional and answer questions such as:

  • What are the biggest mistakes that people make in performing each exercise?
  • Why is spinal alignment the key to getting the most out of these moves?
  • How can you work these exercises into your lifestyle, no matter what your fitness level?
  • What is the difference between a sit-up and a crunch?

Call in with your questions and comments to 877-NYU-DOCS

Vivacious host Dr. Marina Kurian sets a lively tone in her show and engages her audience with humor and personal insight. I'm always delighted to appear with her! Catch us live this week:

LISTEN LIVE: Dr. Radio Show
DATE: Wednesday, February 20
TIME: 8:00-9:00 am ET
LOCATION: Sirius XM Radio Channel.81
Call in with questions/comments: 877-NYU-DOCS


Fitness Tips for a Summer Tune-Up

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Yes, it's hot and humid, a time to slow down and move at a leisurely pace.  But please don't let your body lapse into an activity coma during the lazy days of summer.  Remember Newton's first Law of Motion:  an object in motion will stay in motion; while an object at rest will stay at rest as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it.  Overcoming inertia is difficult!

Your normal exercise routine keeps you at a certain level of conditioning throughout the year.  Summer presents a welcome change of pace and scenery, as well as the opportunity to do some cross training with outdoor activities like tennis and swimming.  But falling off the wagon completely presents the challenge of major damage control in the fall. 

Here are a few of my own "Laws of Motion":

1)         Establish a Minimum Daily Requirement:  It takes a lot of effort to get into shape, but it doesn't take as much to stay in shape.  Brief doses of exercise done consistently over time have a dramatic effect on your health and fitness levels.  You can maintain the benefits of your hard work with a modicum of training and resume full speed in the fall.

2)         Develop a Maintenance Strategy:  For cardio maintenance, squeeze in the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least five days of the week.

For muscle maintenance, do the "4 for Life" bodyweight exercises every other day:  2 sets of 15 each of push ups, squats, back extensions and crunches.  And remember to stretch a little every day.

3)         Be an Opportunist:  Find opportunities to move in the course of your day.  One of my clients just finished a summer writing course. Her classes were on several floors of the building and she realized after the fact that she had missed her activity mark by taking the elevator.  She could have offset the hours of sitting in a classroom by using the stairs.

Think of each dose of exercise as a building block of fitness.  See how many 10 or 15-minute doses you can accumulate during the course of the day.  Enjoy your lazy days, but be sure to incorporate some activity to keep your body tuned and toned.