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Winter exercise: One minute workouts for in-house fitness

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Winter exercise: One minute workouts for in-house fitness

With winter starting to bite, there’s a tendency to hibernate. But, in Taranaki, there’s no excuse to just sit on the couch.

Health provider Tui Ora has launched Mindful Movement, a weekly series of ultra-short fitness videos aimed at keeping whānau active without having to leave the whare.

“Tui Ora is a kaupapa Māori health and wellness hauora provider in Taranaki. We have a GP service, smoking cessation, mental health and youth services,” Dr Dave Grant said.

“We like to think we do things differently. We try to have a really holistic view of the person and their whānau.”

Tui Ora has engaged personal trainer Chance Hazel as the face — and body — behind the videos.

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“I’m giving really, really basic at-home exercises that anyone could do. Almost everyone boils the jug at least once a day to make a cuppa.

“It takes a minute or two for the jug to boil, so why not do something while you’re doing nothing?” she said.

“You could stand at the bench while the jug boils and do a few push-ups or a few squats, just moving your body.”

Hazel believes fitness isn’t just for those who can afford a gym membership.

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“A gym membership is an extra expense, especially with the cost of living now. People can do this exercise at home and get something out of it without having to pay. It’s free for everyone.”

And followers don’t need any special equipment, either.

“You can grab a couple of cans of baked beans and have yourself doing some shoulder press or bicep curls. You can find anything around the house that weighs a little bit.

“You don’t need a set of dumbbells, kettlebells or fancy gym equipment. You can use anything — even a rock from the garden,” she smiled.

Hazel grew up in a sports-oriented home and wanted to provide a similar environment for her daughter.

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“I have a six-year-old daughter. I wanted to choose a career path that was good for my health and for her to grow up in. She comes along sometimes to personal training sessions.

“I wanted her to see that exercise is important for overall health — she loves it.”

Each video is around a minute long, allowing people to use any small pockets of time available.

Tui Ora has engaged personal trainer Chance Hazel.

“Even in small amounts throughout the day, that cumulative effect is amazing for well-being and health,” Grant said.

“There are so many health benefits to exercise. You could take a trip around the whole body and identify ways movement improves health outcomes in each body system.”

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And those benefits aren’t just physical.

“We know that moving our body is a really beneficial and protective factor against mental distress. There are lots of mental health benefits,” Grant said.

And being ‘too busy’ doesn’t wash with him.

“Have you ever met someone who didn’t say that they were busy? Like, we all feel busy. There’s no excuse,” he smiled.

The videos include exercises for hapū (pregnant) women, kaumātua (older people), and fitness to enjoy with tamariki (children).

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“When you take the kids to the playground, instead of sitting on the bench, push them on the swings, kick the ball around, doing something — even small things — is better than doing nothing,” Hazel explained.

There’s even a video on how to incorporate movement into the workday.

“Get up and say to your mate, ‘Hey, you get up, too. And let’s do something together. Let’s go out and have 15 minutes of our break on a stroll around the block.’

“Then you’ve got yourself out and your workmates out. You’re changing the dynamics of your workplace.”

You don't need expensive equipment to exercise withm, says personal trainer Chance Hazel.

Grant hopes the region will embrace the Mindful Movement.

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“We’re a kaupapa Māori service, and we’d love for whānau to get as excited about this as we are.”

“We know that Māori tend to have worse outcomes, especially with some of those cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. And a lot of these diseases are really, really responsive, especially in the early stages, but throughout that disease process, to exercise or movement.

“Exercise or movement can be just as effective, in some cases, as some medicines for some diseases.”

Grant said the videos were gaining traction.

“When you look to start exercise, it can feel overwhelming, and you can feel lost or stuck — like, ‘Where do I even start?’

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“[But] movement doesn’t have to be so inaccessible. We’re getting whānau starting to talk about it, the number of viewers is increasing, it feels like more people jumping on the waka to move their body more.”

Hazel said she was delighted to be part of it.

“I’m really proud to be part of the initiative. I’m pretty stoked. And I hope people start watching, get involved and give it a go.

“Do it for your family, yourself, your children, and your health.”

“Just get up and get moving.”

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Glossary

Whānau — family

Kaupapa Māori — a philosophical framework based on Māori knowledge, skills, attitudes, values and worldview

Hauora — health

Hapū — pregnant

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Kaumātua — elderly

Tamariki — children

Waka — canoe, vehicle

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Fitness

Think You're a Strong Hiker? Test Your Trail Strength with These 4 Exercises

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Think You're a Strong Hiker? Test Your Trail Strength with These 4 Exercises

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Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members!
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Strength tests can be extremely useful for hikers who are training for a big objective, or simply want to learn more about their own fitness levels. Last year, we published four assessments to test your trail readiness. There are plenty of other physical tests you can do to see how strong your hiking muscles are. Below are four exercises you can perform to monitor your overall hiking fitness and highlight major areas that feel powerful or could use more training. (Feeling really strong? Combine both tests for a complete full-body assessment.)

How To Perform This Strength Test

Objective measures are useful, but subjective results reveal more about your fitness. For example, you might be able to complete 20 single-leg sit-to-stands per leg on the initial assessment, which is a great score. But if the exercise left you tired and sore for days, that’s less ideal. 

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Perform the strength test honestly and stop once you can no longer execute a full range of motion with good form. If you can’t achieve the baseline targets on the first go-around, keep strength training and try again in four to six weeks.

It’s helpful to re-test regularly to understand your progress. Upon reassessments, think back to your previous attempt. Did the effort required to complete any particular assessment feel easier? Did you recover quickly? Was there any lingering soreness? Were your muscles burning at any point? These subjective results are a great measure of progress that won’t necessarily appear in objective findings.

To interpret your results, compare the scores for your right and left legs. If they are equal or within a few reps, that’s good. If there is a difference of more than five reps per side, add an extra set of the suggested exercises for the weaker side. Your training is going well when the assessments all meet the baseline. 

Single-Leg Sit-To-Stand

One of the more challenging assessments, the single-leg sit-to-stand, primarily targets the quads, hamstrings, adductors, glutes, core, and ankle mobility. What makes this assessment hard is the control required to lower down to the bench or chair. 

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Begin this assessment standing with your back to a stable chair or bench. With control, you’ll lift one leg and hold it in front of you while lowering to sit on the bench or chair with the opposite leg. Return to standing using one leg and repeat until you can no longer perform the motion with controlled form. End the assessment if you start using your arms for momentum or if you start using a rocking motion to come up from the seated position.

For this assessment, the goal is 25 controlled reps per leg. If you fall short, add some single-leg step-downs and pistol variations into your regular training routine.

Single Leg Dorsiflexion

This exercise tests the endurance of the big shin muscle, the anterior tibialis. This muscle helps lift the foot when walking and lowers the foot back to the ground after the heel makes contact. Basically, it prevents you from tripping. Strong shin muscles can also ward off issues like shin splints and help make ascents and descents easier.

Stand near a countertop, wall, or doorway if you need to hold onto something for balance. While keeping your heel on the floor, raise the rest of your foot as high as possible—the motion is like lifting your foot off a gas pedal. Avoid shifting your hips backward as you raise your foot. With control, lower your foot back down to the floor. 

The goal is 40 repetitions for each leg. If you come up short, add single-leg dorsiflexion from a 4- to 6-inch step to your weekly workouts, or try the wall lean dorsiflexion variation. Both will provide a greater range of motion and are excellent for building strength.

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(Photo: Patricio Nahuelhual via Getty Images)

Side Plank

The side plank is an excellent exercise for building stability and core strength. Specifically, it targets the obliques, abs, and other stabilizing muscles required for carrying a fully loaded backpack.

To perform a side plank, lie on your side with your feet stacked and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Raise your hips off the floor, aiming to keep your trunk straight and still from your head to your feet. Don’t let your hips sag toward the floor; stay tight. Once you can no longer maintain position, lower your hips back to the floor and repeat the assessment on the opposite side.

Your goal is to hold the plank for 90 seconds per side. If your time isn’t quite there, don’t worry. Train any side plank variation or weighted marches (such as suitcase marches or farmer carries) to get stronger. Pallof isometric holds or Pallof presses are also great additions to any training program.

Ankle Dorsiflexion

This test assesses your ankle’s range of motion, which, if limited, can increase the risk of ankle sprains and injury. Place a tape measure perpendicular to a wall, measuring away from it. Get down on one knee in front of the wall with your leading foot 2 to 3 inches from the wall. Keeping your hips straight, glide your front knee forward to touch the wall, and keep the heel of that foot down. If you can’t touch the wall with your knee while keeping your heel down, move closer to the wall and retest. If you can touch the wall, move your foot back and retest. Record your score (the furthest distance you can place your foot from the wall while keeping your heel down) for each ankle and use the chart below to find your degree of dorsiflexion.

Normal ankle dorsiflexion is 40 degrees, or about 4.5 inches from the wall. If you fall below 34 degrees of dorsiflexion, roughly 4 inches from the wall, you have a fivefold increased risk for ankle sprains. In addition, if there is an asymmetry of more than 5 degrees per side, your risk of injury increases.

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Inches from Wall

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Degree of Dorsiflexion

5

45 degrees

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4.5

41 degrees

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4

36 degrees

3.5

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31 degrees

3

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27 degrees

2.5

22 degrees

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2

18 degrees

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1.5

13 degrees

1

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9 degrees

If your measurement falls below 40 degrees, or you have an asymmetry greater than 5 degrees, add ankle mobility work to your workout warm-ups. There are three options to improve dorsiflexion: Start with the ankle rocker, progress to a dumbbell, and finally, use a band to mobilize the joint. If your retest score does not improve after four to six weeks of ankle rocker exercise, move on to the dumbbell or band option. Once your mobility improves, reduce the frequency to once per week.

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Jay Cutler Shares His 'Number One' Exercise for Hamstrings – Muscle & Fitness

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Jay Cutler Shares His 'Number One' Exercise for Hamstrings – Muscle & Fitness

Four-time Mr Olympia champ and International Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Jay Cutler, is a trailblazer who has helped to elevate the bodybuilding industry and at 50-years-young is now training a new generation of rock-solid athletes through his teachings at fitness conventions and on social media where he has millions of followers.

In an Instagram post on June 8, 2024, Cutler shared his “Number One” exercise for hamstrings.

Jay Cutler’s Go-To Exercise for Hamstrings

“This has always been my number one exercise,” shares Cutler. “In fact, when I lived in Massachusetts, okay, I lived in Worcester, and I end up choosing to go to a gym in Framingham, Mass, which is probably 25 minutes away when I had [a gym] like right next door to my house, just to use a seated leg curl, which at the time it was a Flex, it was called a Ham Tractor.”

Cutler may be known for his “Quad Stomp” on stage, but his success in bodybuilding hails from an all-encompassing journey to growing his legs. The hamstrings are comprised of the biceps femoris long head (bi-articular) and short head (mono-articular), semitendinosus (bi-articular) and the semimembranosus (bi-articular), and they assist with the movement of the hips and knees. Since the seated leg curl places stress on both our knees and hips, it makes this a great movement for targeting those muscles.

Studies have also shown that the seated leg curl provides greater hypertrophy than prone (front-lying) curls, making them excellent for building mass. “It’s always, always, always, if you ever follow my videos, its always the first movement I do,” explains Cutler. “Why? It just seems to target my hamstrings. I get a crazy pump after doing this one movement.”

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The bodybuilding icon lays out his approach, explaining that he does three working sets and notes that he throws in one or two feeler sets beforehand, to get a gauge on the type of weight that he wants to use in the working sets. “I’m gonna focus on doing ten or twelve reps,” he says of each set. In the video, Cutlet starts with around 130 pounds in his first feeler set and shares why he sticks in the ten-to-twelve rep range. “So, whether it’s a warmup or a working set, I always still focus on about the same reps,” he explains. “The high reps; s**t, It doesn’t help anything. Everyone thinks you get cut up if you do more high reps. Misconception.”

To follow more of Jay Cutler’s bodybuilding tips follow him on Instagram!

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Exercise considered safe for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in new guidelines

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Exercise considered safe for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in new guidelines
image: @wombatzaa | iStock

Recent revisions to guidelines for people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) aim to clear up confusion about exercise recommendations

HCM is an inherited heart condition that causes the heart muscle to thicken, leading to breathlessness and chest pain. Affecting approximately 1 in 500 people, many cases of HCM remain undiagnosed.

Despite previous concerns, new guidelines show the importance of exercise for people with HCM.

Updates guidelines for people with HCM

The updated guidelines, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, stress that mild to moderate recreational exercise benefits those with HCM.

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Experts, including Dr. Steve Ommen, medical director of the Mayo Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic, advocate for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, aligning with general physical activity recommendations.

The shift in the new guidelines is the view on vigorous exercise. The update suggests that, with proper monitoring and annual evaluations, people with HCM can safely engage in vigorous activities. This represents a shift from older guidelines that limited HCM patients to low-intensity sports due to fears of sudden cardiac death.

Safely exercising with HCM

Recent studies support this change. Research shows that vigorous exercise does not significantly increase the risk of death for people with HCM compared to moderate or no exercise. One study involving 1,660 people with HCM found no heightened risk of death from vigorous exercise. Another study, focusing on elite athletes with genetic heart diseases, showed that with thorough evaluations, these athletes could safely return to their sports.

The guidelines now recognise that HCM affects individuals differently, for most people with HCM, universal bans on vigorous physical activity or competitive sports are no longer recommended. Instead, the emphasis is on individualised assessments and shared decision-making between patients and doctors.

Athletes with HCM are advised to undergo annual evaluations and consultations with HCM specialists to determine safe physical activity levels. Factors like age, family history, heart scans, and exercise stress test results help doctors assess the risks and provide tailored exercise recommendations.

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