Top 10 Core Exercises for a Strong and Solid Foundation

A strong core is essential to correctly perform strength training exercises, to lift a maximum amount of weight and to reduce your risk of injuries. There are many different techniques you can use to vary your core training and avoid a plateau. Here are 10 top power core drills to incorporate into your workout for a strong, solid, foundation.

Number 10—Plank

The plank works your entire core and upper- and lower-body muscles. Lie down on your stomach. Lift your body off the floor with your forearms (elbows at 90° degrees) and your toes. Keep your body in a straight position (without arching your back) and hold for 30 seconds to one minute. Lift one foot in the air for added difficulty.

crossfit side plank

Note* The first three of these movements (10, 9 and 8) are static floor exercises, which require little or no movement; constant tension on your muscles ensures that they are working. Improvement is marked by the increased duration of each exercise or the reduction of your support base.

The following three (7, 6 and 5) are dynamic floor exercises, which are done without weights. They are different from static training because they require movement throughout the exercise.

Exercises 4 and 3 are static Swiss ball exercises. A Swiss ball is unstable, so the main muscles you are working will need the help of supporting muscles to balance you and the ball. Find a medium-sized ball that is fully inflated, but still allows for some give.

Finally, exercises 2 and 1 are dynamic Swiss ball exercises: Movement is required throughout these drills to target the selected muscle groups.

Number 9—Pushup plank

push up plank

This exercise is the same as the plank, except that you are in a pushup position. The pushup plank works the core, chest, and biceps. This is a great exercise to end your workout with; it will fully fatigue almost every muscle in your upper body.

Number 8—V-sit hold

This targets your abdominal muscles and improves your balance. Lie on your back and bend at the waist as you extend your legs and arms into the air to form a “V.” Hold this position for as long as you can.

v sit hold

Number 7— Twisting crunch

This is one of the most effective crunch workouts, as it hits all of your stomach muscle fibers at once. Assume a standard crunch position, raise your torso to a 45° angle, and then twist from side to side. For an advanced movement, extend your legs and pretend to peddle a bicycle while you continue to twist.

twisting crunch

Number 6—Lying windmills

This exercise is one of the most challenging. Lie on your back with your arms extended and raise your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower your legs to the side as low as you can while maintaining complete shoulder and back contact with the floor. Bring your legs back up to center and lower them to the other side.

toe leg stretch

Number 5—Supermans with a twist

Perform a standard Superman: Lie down on your stomach and raise your torso off the floor with your arms extended in front of you (beginners may place their hands behind their head). Here’s the twist: At the top of the raise, twist to one side, return to the center and twist to the other side. Lower your torso to the ground to complete one rep. Hold a two- to five-pound weight for a more advanced movement.


Number 4—Plank on a Swiss ball

This is a variation of the static plank. There are two possible executions: You can place your forearms on the Swiss ball with your feet on the ground or you can place your feet on the ball with your forearms on the ground. Keep your abs and glutes tight, and do not arch your back. Hold this position as long as possible. Move the ball slightly from side to side for an advanced movement.

plank on ball

Number 3—Lying Glute pushup

The lying glute pushup targets your butt and back muscles. Lie on your back with your feet resting on top of a Swiss ball. Push through your heels to raise your butt off the floor as high as possible. Form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold this position for 60 seconds.


Number 2—Stiff-legged V bends

This is exactly the same as the ball roll-ins, but you must keep your knees straight and move your hips toward the ceiling. The focus of this drill is completely on the abs; you should be able to feel a strong medial contraction.

kettlebell throw

Number 1—Ball roll-ins

Ball roll-ins target your central abdominal muscles. Place your hands on the ground and the top of your feet on top of the ball. Keep your hands in place and bend at the knees to bring the ball toward your chest. Hold this position for a second and roll back out. Focus on squeezing your abs throughout the movement; do not use your hip flexors to bring the ball toward you.

supine tricep extension

To the core of the matter

These are some of the best core training exercises. They help create a more complete workout because they target one specific muscle and often call synergistic muscles into play. Choose a drill from each group to use during every abdominal workout and you will be a step ahead of the rest.

Source: E-Fit Today.Com

Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

Food has the power to temporarily alleviate stress and sadness, enhance joy, and bring us comfort when we need it most. Maybe it’s cultural, or maybe it is the way in which we celebrate victories, birthdays, memories, the end of each workday, and pass the time in between? It is no wonder experts estimate that 75 percent of overeating is triggered by our emotions, not physical hunger. So much overeating is caused not by hunger, but by our emotions. Eating is a common coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil, but the ramifications can be significant. Most Americans are overweight and many suffer from resultant health problems because, for them, food is therapy.

Retraining our minds and consciousness to be more present and mindful of what we crave (whether it’s the social interaction between people, knowing and feeling that we are not alone in our day to day routine, or trying to heal from a real obstacle that is causing us physical and emotional pain), we are all capable to soothe ourselves through dozens of mindful activities-that do not involve the action of eating- and that are healthy for the mind, body and spirit.

It is no wonder why popular reality television shows such as “Biggest Loser,” “Heavy,” “Obsessed,” “Extreme Makeover” and “I Used to be Fat” have become so popular in mainstream American and other developed countries. These programs speak to the fact that obesity has become an overriding cultural obsession, but some experts see them as an unhealthy influence. They fret that these shows, which place great emphasis on body image, can encourage eating disorders and other dangerous behaviors. Some participants lose as much as 30 pounds in a single week and run the risk of heart problems, bone loss, and electrolyte imbalances. Some contestants on "The Biggest Loser" have admitted to fasting or dehydrating themselves to drop weight, and at least two had to be hospitalized after they collapsed during a one-mile race. There are innumerable people who find inspiration and motivation, however, in these shows. Maybe that is a start in realizing there is hope out there and that others share the same struggles in not only body image but body impulse toward food?

How about starting from the basics again and listening to our bodies signal to our brains when nourishment is needed? That seems too elementary and frankly “un-fun” and boring to people. How do we celebrate? How will we mark this occasion of a memory or perhaps plain afternoon boredom? There is a great read by author Susan Albers who wrote 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food, a collection of mindfulness skills and practices for relaxing the body in times of stress and ending your dependence on eating as a means of coping with difficult emotions. Diving into more comprehensive reasons as to why people act the way they do toward food, she helps the reader discover easy ways to soothe urges to overeat. The reader will also learn how to differentiate emotion-driven hunger from healthy hunger. This book is designed to help these people find simple, quick strategies for easing emotion-driven hunger.

The notion that people can open this book instead of the refrigerator when they feel stressed and find techniques such as simple exercise, self-distraction, meditation, self-massage, and mindful imagery that can calm feelings of hunger rooted in anxiety, not the need for nourishment, is comforting. Unlike diet books, which tell readers what to eat...

...50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food helps readers discover why they are eating and discover new ways to deal with life's ups and downs.

The book is broken into five categories: cognitive techniques, meditation techniques, body techniques, distraction techniques, and connection techniques. I especially liked how Susan addresses the mind first and how to quiet the voices that control our daily actions and emotions. Listening to the breath and your inner calm is very important as a tool for a constructive and loving self-dialogue about soothing the mind and impulses.

Below are a few techniques I found easy to do and most beneficial:

1. Practice meditating with Dr. Nancy Lin's Podcast, "Braincation" and breathe your way to inner calm. Available for free, almost anywhere podcasts are.
2. Set your inner critic straight, Talk to your anxiety, guilty consciousness, and stresses.
3. Be calm, Practice calmness, Be in the now, say no to zoning out.
4. Change your thoughts, your expectations and change your eating choices. Check out Dr. Nancy's "Breaking the Bad" book on how to shift your mindset to a winning attitude.
5. Journal daily to boost mental health immunity and monitor appetite. Dr. Nancy's 21 Day Journal is the perfect habit to start adopting.
6. Chose optimism, abundance, and happiness.
7. Practice positive and soothing affirmations, power words and statements that lift you up. Leave negative thoughts that do not.
8. Entertain your senses and take a walk outside, walk in the grass barefoot and ground yourself.
9. Practice Yoga, or Exercise and Sweat.
10. Get a Massage, Use infrared saunas, relax and Get extra sleep. Give yourself permission and time to a nap.
11. Work on challenging and fun brain puzzles and games.
12. Create a bucket list, start and complete a craft.
13. Join a social network, volunteer, connect with someone live.
14. Adopt a furry friend or just visit one at a shelter or pet store.
15. Remind yourself of healthy ways to find peace of mind. Everything is great and exactly where it should be.


Resource: Susan Albers: 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food

5 Secrets for Flat Abs

5 Secrets for Flat Abs

Wish your stomach was flatter and more toned?  Exercise alone will not get you a toned stomach—diet is a huge part of the equation.

Here are 5 ways to improve your eating habits that will dramatically flatten your abs:

Flat Abs Secret #1: Enjoy natural sweets

berries bowl breakfast

Traditional sugar-filled sweets will quickly add up around your waistline. Instead of going for sugary sweets, enjoy natural sweets.

Fruit is nature’s candy. Reach for sweet, seasonal fruit for dessert.

Avoid foods that contain white sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Consider these items ‘anti-flat-abs’.

Use wholesome sweeteners such as pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup or dates in your recipes instead of white sugar. Eliminate white sugar from your kitchen.

Flat Abs Secret #2: Don’t eat after 6pm

This is such a simple and effective way to lose fat. Late night eating is the most damaging to your waistline, so cut it out completely.

Brush your teeth immediately following dinner. Once your teeth are brushed, you’ve put a period to the consumption for the day.

Change your evening routine. If you’ve always ended your day watching your favorite shows with your hand in the snack bowl, then now is the time to change things up. Find activities that don’t revolve around food and stick with those.

Make it a habit. The first few weeks will be the hardest, but soon your new no-food-after-6pm routine will feel normal.

Flat Abs Secret #3: Eat more fiber

Most people simply do not get enough fiber in their diets. Fiber is essential when it comes to getting lean since it is low calorie while filling you up.

Instead of seeing salad just as a side item, make salads into meals. Add protein to a large pile of greens for a guiltless meal. Try this recipe for Grilled Salmon and Peach Salad below.

Make veggies a part of every meal. The benefits of eating more vegetables are too numerous to list, just know that your body will become healthier and leaner with each fibrous bite.

Fruits are a delicious source of fiber. Incorporate fresh, seasonal fruits into your daily diet.

Flat Abs Secret #4: Cut back on carbs

Notice I didn’t say to cut out all carbs, but rather to cut back on carbs. These diet tweaks are meant as lifestyle changes that you stick with long term. Cutting back on carbs is a realistic and very effective way to drop fat.

Always choose whole grain bread and pasta over white. Whole grains are less likely to be stored as fat than processed grains.

Eat half of the carbs you normally do. Eat your sandwich open-faced and reduce the size of your pasta serving.

Avoid carb-filled snacks between meals. Instead of crackers or chips, have fresh fruit and veggies.

Flat Abs Secret #5: Drink tons of water

Drinking plenty of water is another extremely simple way to promote fat loss. Chronic dehydration leads to false hunger signals and unnecessary calorie consumption.

Drink a large glass of water before each meal. This will prevent overeating.

Choose water instead of sugar-filled sodas and juices. Sugar-filled drinks are a huge weight-gain trap.

Carry a water bottle with you throughout your day. Keep water in the car and at your desk for constant hydration.

Eating right, coupled with challenging exercise, is the formula for a toned, lean body —so guarantee your results by teaming up with me.

Together we will come up with a fitness plan that is uniquely yours, one that fits your lifestyle and brings you promptly to your goals.

For more information, please contact fitness expert James Hazen at

What is EMERGE and What Are Comfort Foods That Are Healthy For You?

Recently I was part of an immune conditioning program called EMERGE, that focused on improving our immune vitality through four key areas: Activity, Mindfulness, Recovery, and Nutrition.

The Activity portions of this program featured on-demand workouts from some of the leading boutique fitness companies like AKTCycleBarRow House, and treadmill workouts from STRIDE.


Mindfulness activities centered around breathing and meditation exercises, with some restorative yoga sessions and mat Pilates routines from YogaSix and Club Pilates.

YogaSix - Photos | Facebook

Recovery was all about pre and post workout exercises that keep our bodies limber and strong.  Barre exercises from Pure Barre and guided stretches from StretchLab really guide the recovery program.

Nutrition was where I stepped in!  Each week I provided helpful and actionable nutrition videos all geared toward building holistic immune health. One of my videos was all about comfort foods, and how we can maintain healthy options when the stress of life makes us want to dive into the carbs and ice cream!

EMERGE | Now Streaming on GO

If you'd like to check out one of my nutrition videos included in the EMERGE program that shines light on comfort foods that are actually good for you, then click on the link below......and if you love the information you see here, subscribe to Dr. Nancy Lin's YouTube Channel!

10 Best Yoga Poses for Headaches and Migraines

10 Best Yoga Poses for Headaches and Migraines 

Got a tension headache or pressure in the upper region of your torso that stems from the base of the skull all the way up to the temples and into the middle of your eyeballs?

Headaches and migraines can be extremely debilitating and uncomfortable.

If you are not the over the counter pill popper every time a symptom comes up in your body, then know that there are great holistic approaches to feeling better (and they can be low cost or free)! 

The following are simple yoga poses to help get rid of unwanted pressure and aches in the head: 

♢ Before doing any pose, close your eyes and breathe deeply in and out of your nose. Sit in a comfortably seated position turn inward.
♢ Shut off any outside noises generated from electronics and listen to your breath rising and falling, in and out of your diaphragm. Just relax.
♢  Dab a few drops of peppermint on the temples and behind the neck.
♢ Deep breathe.
♢ Add a few drops of Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Lemongrass, and Blue Tansy Essential Oils.
♢ This can be done before, during or after your gentle yoga and meditation practice.   

1. Child's Pose

Toes touch and knees are open wide as you melt your torso onto the floor in front of you. Arms and reaching straight in front of you. Forehead rests gently on the ground in front. 

2. Seated (modified) Eagle Pose

Sitting in a crisscross applesauce/ Indian style with legs crossed, bring left arm under the right arm and wrap left arm around right so the left fingers grasp inner bottom palm of right hand.

Deep inhale and raise bound arms up toward the ceiling. Repeat with the opposite arm on top. 

 3. Cat and Cow

In a tabletop position with both hands and knees on the ground, take a series of inhale and exhale movements with your spine moving to your breath.

♢ Cat

When the spine is arched and the belly is hallowed and breath leaves the body in a slow exhalation and chin tucks into the chest.

♢ Cow

When the belly drops down toward the ground, inhalation, the gaze is soft and is up toward the ceiling. 

 4. Seated Forward Bend

Sitting on the ground with both legs extended in front of you, inhale both arms up into the air and exhale your chest melts down toward the thigh and knees.

Arms reach for the shins, ankles. toes or the feet. Relax and find length with each inhalation. Find more depth with each exhalation.

 5. Legs Up the Wall

Lay on your back with your legs extended, soles of the foot facing the ceiling, toes pointing toward your face.

For additional support, rest your extended legs up the wall as your sit bones meet the bottom of the baseboard and ground. Inhale and exhale slowly.

6. Happy Baby Pose or Knees to Chest

Laying on your back, bring both knees into the chest and hug your knees.

Another option is to grab the outside of the feet and gently rock side to side and give your spine (central nervous system house) a nice massage.

7. Supine Twist with bent knees to right and left

After taking your knees to your chest and laying on your back on the ground, gently allow your legs to drop to the right side.

Extend your arms out to a "T" and gaze over your left shoulder. Gently inhale and exhale. Repeat on the opposite side.

 8. Seated Meditation

Sit comfortably on your sit bones—with or without the assistance of a block under your sit bones.

Close your eyes and keep your spine straight and tall. Your head is neutral. Close your eyes and breath in and out gently and controlled.

 9. Bridge Pose

Laying on your back, bend your knees and bring the heels of your feet close to your sit bones.

Inhale, press into the soles of the feet and lift the hips up toward the ceiling. Press your heart and sternum up and closer toward the front of the room.

Inhale and find more extension in the spine and lift from the pelvis. Relax the head and neck. Exhale after a couple rounds of breath and lower your pelvis to the floor.

 10. Resting Pose

Lay on your back with your feet extended straight in front of you and allow both feet to fall naturally out a foot apart.

Your hands are palms facing up and about a foot apart from your body on each side. Surrender as your body melts into the earth.

Close your eyes and breathe.

10 Amazing Benefits of Exercise and Fitness

10 Amazing Benefits of Exercise and Fitness

1. Exercise Super Charges Brainpower

Not only does exercise improve your body, it helps your mental function. Exercise increases energy levels and increases serotonin in the brain, which leads to improved mental clarity. All that makes for a more productive day and a happier employee which equate to better employee retention.

People who are active and who exercise are much more productive at work. Improved productivity not only makes you a better worker, it makes things better for everyone in the workplace. Companies with less wasted work hours and less sick time end up with lower health care costs--and an improved bottom line. That is why so many companies either have gyms at their offices or help to pay for employees to have gym memberships.

photo of man holding a book

2. De-stress with Exercise and Body Movement

As much as it may stress people out to think about exercising, once they actually start working out, studies show they experience less stress in every part of your life.

Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction," says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. He says it also helps elevate your mood and keep depression at bay.

You're not the only person who will benefit from more happiness and less stress in your life. When you are less stressed, you are less irritable, and that could improve relationships with your partner, kids, and co-workers. People will feel more satisfied in their daily roles and more accomplished in their everyday tasks.

3. Exercise Provides People with Energy

You might be surprised at how, say, popping in a workout DVD for 30 minutes in the morning can change your whole day. When endorphins are released into your bloodstream during exercise, people feel much more energized the rest of the day.

And when you improve your strength and stamina, it's easier to accomplish everyday tasks like carrying groceries and climbing stairs. This also helps you feel more energetic over the course of the day.

A common excuse for people dodging regular exercise is that they are too tired to exercise. Know that while exercise may make people feel more tired at first, it does not last long, and will actually provide more energy in the long run, even immediately after you finish your exercise routine. The physical tiredness you feel after working out isn't the same as everyday fatigue. Once your body adjusts to exercise, you'll have more energy than ever.

4. Time for Fitness is Easy to Find

Take your kids to the park or ride bikes together, and you're getting physical activity while enjoying family time, he says. Beyond that, go for a hike, take the kids swimming, or play hide-and-seek, tag, softball, or horseshoes in the backyard.

Also, forget the idea that you have to trudge to the gym and spend an hour or more doing a formal workout. Instead, you can work short spurts of physical activity into your day. Movement is key. No weights are required for exercising to count. Walking one hour a day can equate to 10,000 steps, the recommended number of steps to keep your body at a good physical functioning level.

Indeed, squeezing in two or three bouts of 15 or 20 minutes of activity is just as effective as doing it all at once. Vacuuming the house in the morning, riding bikes in the park with the kids in the afternoon, taking a brisk walk in the evening or doing some gardening in the backyard, can add up to an active day.

Recent U.S. government guidelines say that to lose weight and keep it weight off, you should accumulate at least 60 minutes of exercise a day. But half an hour a day of quality exercise like interval training or anaerobic cardio is all you need to reap the health and disease-fighting benefits of exercise.

man planting plant

5. Fitness Builds Better Relationships

Think of what exercising with a partner can do for a relationship, whether it's with a spouse, a sibling, or a friend you used to go to lunch with once a week.

Not only that, exercise is always more fun when there is someone to do it with and hold you accountable. Engaging in positive actions together is good for the spirit, mind and the body. Joining a social fitness network or walking with your family or spouse, after meals, or meeting up with people at the dog park for a stroll around the puppy terrain, can help people reach their exercise and fitness goals so much more efficiently than doing it alone.

6. Exercise Helps Ward off Disease

Research has shown that exercise can slow or help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis(boneloss), and loss of muscle mass. It also helps ease some aspects of the aging process by strengthening the blood vessels, muscles, and joints, and even boosts immune function so you have a lesser chance of coming down with the cold or flu.

In response to your muscles needing more oxygen, your body will grow more capillaries to deliver more oxygen faster going forward. In addition, over time, regular exercise will make your blood vessels become more flexible allowing them to deliver more oxygen rich blood more efficiently. And if that wasn’t enough, the increased blood flow in your blood vessels serves to clean out excess cholesterol, keeping you free of clogs which can cause strokes and heart attacks.

On a cellular level, exercise benefits the power machines, called mitochondria, in each of the cells in the body by producing energy by and combining oxygen and glucose(orother fuel molecules). This combination produces ATP which is the molecule that gives your cells the energy they need to do their cellular work. When people exercise regularly, the body creates more and stronger mitochondria in each of the cells, making them more powerful and giving them more endurance for everything in life!

7. Fitness Pumps Up The Heart

Not only does exercise help fight disease, it creates a stronger heart--the most important muscle in the body. That helps makes exercise--and the activities of daily life—feel easier.

When you train over a period of time your heart will grow in size, allowing it to pump a larger volume of blood with each stroke(orpump). This allows more oxygen to be delivered to all the cells in your body. At the same time, your heart will build up less plaque and becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping blood.

Within only a couple of days after you start exercising, the body readily adapts to the stimulus it's getting and it becomes easier. You will feel less fatigue. It will not take as much effort when it comes to breathing. You shouldn't have as much pain or soreness.

8. Exercise Lets You Eat More

You've heard this one before: pound for pound, muscle burns more calories at rest than body fat. So the more muscle you have, the higher the resting metabolic rate. And, of course, you also burn calories while you're actually exercising.

Why is metabolism boosting so great? Jump start your metabolism through exercise(especially strength training and interval work) will allow your body to burn more fat and use up more energy while existing, so that you can eat more(healthier foods are the best). Once most people begin exercising and seeing the body changes, they desire to be healthier in the eating category and opt to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less of the processed and fatty foods. Our bodies will actually tell us what it needs in the form of cravings. So listen to the good words that your body is asking for and tap into healthier foods the body needs to fuel workouts. People who do move their bodies will be able to eat(inmoderation)  more of a variety of foods(eventhe bad kinds) than those who do not.


9. Exercise Boosts Performance

In just a short few weeks of consistent exercise, most people will begin to see differences, from how your clothes fit on the body to a more toned physique. You man even begin to notice that the same cardio exercises may become easier to complete, or that your basketball, golf, soccer or tennis game is a little bit better? Exercising consistently will strengthen your muscles, increase flexibility, better your balance and reaction time; as well improve your overall performance.

When people use their muscles beyond what they can handle, either through aerobic exercise or weight bearing exercise, it causes the body to build new muscle tissue. Tiny tears can occur with weight lifting, and when these tears are repaired, this is what causes the muscle to become larger and more defined. Larger, stronger muscles will raise your metabolism making weight management easier.

10. Exercise For More Reasons Than Weight Loss

Weight loss is the reason many people exercise in the first place. But it's certainly not the sole benefit of an exercise program. The long-term goal of weight loss is not enforced enough to people new to exercise or starting fitness programs, and this is not sustainable and can be discouraging. People have trouble sticking with something if they don't see results quickly, and if they are looking for a quick fix.

Do not make losing weight your only goal when starting an exercise program or exercising in general. Strive to feel better, to have more energy, increase optimal functioning of the body, and erase the aging process, to be more grounded and to be less stressed. Notice the small things that exercise does for you, like appreciate the time you take for yourself, to feel a great sense of accomplishment every day you sweat, rather than getting hung up on the narrow goal of the number on a scale.

Visceral Fat In Your Belly & How to Banish it with 6 Lifestyle Changes!

Visceral Fat In Your Belly & How to Banish it with 6 Lifestyle Changes!

Being overweight can be risky for people’s overall health, but a particular type of fat, called visceral fat, can be especially dangerous.

Visceral fat is the fat that accumulates around your waistline, and it's more deeply set into your abdomen than subcutaneous fat that settles in other areas of your body.

In a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation discusses the dangers of visceral fat, including an increased risk of insulin resistance and heart disease.

Getting rid of visceral fat can be challenging but in most cases can be done in the privacy of your own home.

✧  Eat healthily to get rid of visceral fat.
✧  Reducing your portion sizes, total calories and amount of saturated fat you eat can help you lose weight overall, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some of the bulk you lose will most likely come from your midsection.
✧  Focus on including whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein in your diet.

The stubborn abdominal fat: Visceral fat!

People may tell themselves that the extra accumulating pounds around the waistline is an inevitable fact of aging, but research now tells us that as midsections grow, so does the dangerous health risks associated with cardiovascular disease and other organ problems.

Abdominal, or visceral, fat is of particular concern because it’s a key player in a variety of health problems — much more so than subcutaneous fat, the kind you can grasp with your hand.

Visceral fat, on the other hand, lies out of reach, deep within the abdominal cavity, where it pads the spaces between our abdominal organs.

☛ This has been linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
☛ In women, it is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery.

Fat accumulated in the lower body (the pear shape) is subcutaneous, while fat in the abdominal area (the apple shape) is largely visceral.

Where fat ends up is influenced by several factors, including heredity and hormones.

As the evidence against abdominal fat mounts, researchers and clinicians are trying to measure it, correlate it with health risks, and monitor changes that occur with age and overall weight gain or loss.

The good news is that visceral fat yields fairly easily to exercise and diet, with benefits ranging from lower blood pressure to more favorable cholesterol levels.

☛ Subcutaneous fat located at the waist

The pinchable stuff — can be frustratingly difficult to budge, but in normal-weight people, it’s generally not considered as much of a health threat as visceral fat is.

Research suggests that fat cells — particularly abdominal fat cells — are biologically active. It’s appropriate to think of fat as an endocrine organ or gland, producing hormones and other substances that can profoundly affect our health.

Although scientists are still deciphering the roles of individual hormones, it’s becoming clear that excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, disrupts the normal balance and functioning of these hormones.

Visceral fat is different from other body fat.

☛  Visceral fat, also called intra-abdominal fat, refers to the fat that surrounds the internal organs.

Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is body fat that is close to the skin's surface and is considered less dangerous, and easier to lose, than visceral fat.

✧ Studies have shown that those with visceral fat are more susceptible to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension.
✧ Sedentary people, smokers and drinkers have been shown to have more intra-abdominal fat, or visceral fat, than active people who are non-smokers and non-drinkers.
✧ Stress may also be a factor in the storage of visceral fat on the body.

Visceral fat is harder to lose than subcutaneous fat because it is more deeply embedded in the body's tissues. It is only measured accurately by an imaging machine that can see how much of the abdomen is made up of visceral fat.

A person may be within a healthy weight range, but still have too much intra-abdominal fat around the internal organs.

The liver metabolizes visceral fat and releases it into the bloodstream as cholesterol. Harmful or "bad" cholesterol, which is Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), builds up into a plaque that blocks the arteries.

Losing weight through proper diet and effective exercise can help reduce visceral fat. How much fat a person eats does matter as studies have shown that those who eat 30% or more of their diets as fat usually have high amounts of visceral fat.

Results from a 2005 Duke University study found that people who performed high-intensity aerobic exercise (jogging)--up to 20 miles weekly, lost visceral fat.

The Mayo Clinic adds that exercising in conjunction with actively losing weight can help melt the belly bulge. Scientists are also learning that visceral fat pumps out immune system chemicals called cytokines — for example, tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 — that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

These and other biochemicals are thought to have deleterious effects on cells’ sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

One reason excess visceral fat is so harmful could be its location near the portal vein, which carries blood from the intestinal area to the liver.

Substances released by visceral fat, including free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can influence the production of blood lipids.

Visceral fat is directly linked with higher total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance means that your body’s muscle and liver cells don’t respond adequately to normal levels of insulin, the pancreatic hormone that carries glucose into the body’s cells. Glucose levels in the blood rise, heightening the risk for diabetes.

Now for the good news:

The starting point for bringing weight under control, in general, and combating abdominal fat, in particular, is regular moderate-intensity physical activity, over 60 minutes per day, to control and maintain weight.

✪  Strength training (exercising with weights or resistance exercises) may also help fight abdominal fat.

But unfortunately, spot exercising or spot reduction, such as doing sit-ups, will tighten abdominal muscles over time, but will not zap the visceral fat.

✪  Diet is even more important than body movement and exercise.

Ask any bodybuilder or bikini fitness model and they will say something like "80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise" is the key to burning stubborn belly fat.

Everything you consume will become you and your body, so you need to be conscience of portion size, and emphasize complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains) and lean protein.

Refrain from eating processed and fast foods, mainly simple carbohydrates such as white bread, refined-grain pasta, and sugary drinks.

Replacing saturated fats and trans-fats with polyunsaturated fats will help shrink stubborn fat as well.

Spend time to prepare your meals and set yourself up for success. But don't forget the importance of nutrition in shrinking (whole body) belly fat.

As a quick summary thus far, fitness and nutrition experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.

Though the term might sound dated, “middle-age spread” is a greater concern than ever. As people go through their middle years, their proportion of fat to body weight tends to increase — more so in women than men.

Weight training is touted as the cure for many ills. But if the goal is to lose belly fat, aerobic exercise is the only way to go, exercise scientists say.

We're not talking about muffin tops, the annoying bit of bread that is baking in your midsection that rolls over a person’s waistline. Rather, this is gut fat lodged around internal organs, which could look like a beer belly from the outside. This is considered a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Below is a summary of the top 6 ways people can zap the harmful belly fat down, and help whittle away their midsection!

#1: Improve eating habits.

Reduce the amount of food that is consumed every day, and also improve the quality of food eaten.

Food that his high in sugar (usually processed) should be avoided – (pasta, breads, soda, cookies, cakes, candies, baked goods and other boxed sweets).

Eat mostly healthy green salads, colorful vegetables, fruits, lean and clean protein, and a variety of seeds and nuts. These types of food have a high nutrition to calorie ratio.

#2: Exercise regularly, and bring up the intensity.

Studies have shown that intensive cardio exercise is more effective at burning fat than gentle exercise (i.e. jogging and walking).

Try interval training with jump ropes and plyometrics.

#3: Build muscle.

Lifting weights burn a lot of calories to help lose weight.

Compound exercises also work best as these work several muscle groups in unison, increasing the effectiveness of the workout and the weight loss potential.

It also builds muscle which requires more energy than fat to maintain itself and it increases metabolism.

#4: Get quality sleep.

Getting a good night’s sleep is often overlooked as a way to lose weight, but research has shown that people that do not sleep enough are more likely to gain weight, and it has little to do with the fact that tired people eat more.  Aim for 7-8 hours each night.

#5: Keep a training diary.

This helps you to improve your workouts when you can see your goals and accomplishments as well as manually track them down and hold yourself accountable in recording the sessions and results.

Keep a food diary as well.

This helps to highlight problem foods and problem times during the day. People do not realize all the foods and snacks they consume unless they are writing it down and can look back daily on what they have consumed.

Join a fitness class with a good social atmosphere.

This includes martial arts, yoga class, boot camp, or a personal or team fitness competition, as this will keep you more motivated and engaged with the “fun” aspect of physical wellness.

Joining an online community.

To get advice on empowering yourself to lose weight is also a great option.

#6: Do not buy into diets.

They do not always work, can lead to nutritional deficiencies and are not sustainable.

Remember that nutritional and physical wellness is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. This may not be as easy as taking a pill for 2 weeks or drinking pepper water or tea for 30 days.

It will be hard work and test our willpowers and challenge our determination. If health and wellness become part of your everyday life, you will begin to love exercising, educating yourself on how to be optimally well and be happier and more satisfied in many aspects of your life.


11 Tips on How to Get Lean and Ripped

11 Tips on How to Get Lean and Ripped

Taking a well-rounded or “holistic” approach to getting lean and losing weight is key. There really is no secret potion or diet, exercise routine or magic food to shed the fat and gain muscle.

Certainly, there are many different aspects of a fitness and wellness equation that need to be respected and combined to reach optimum goals—be it diet, weight lifting or cardio—but all sides need to be addressed.

Perhaps the single most important factor, however, is your diet.

To get cut, understand that your body consists of three energy systems. First one is for exercises like jogging (slow twitch muscles), second for sprinting (fast twitch muscles) and the third one for lifting heavy weights.

When people desire fat loss, all three energy systems must be taxed at the same time.

A few quick tips to getting lean right off the bat:

1. Drink lots of water.

This sounds so easy, but water works just like a natural diuretic and aids transport carbohydrates into the blood dropping fat storage space. It’s also significant to maintain your body hydrated all through the day and particularly during the exercise.

2. Cut back on your number of sets and reps when you decrease your daily caloric intake.

3. Be sure to schedule at least one rest day in your program to get lean and/or ripped.

4. Vary your cardiovascular and weight exercises.

Do not always choose to run or do the recumbent bike for the same amount of time every day. Mix it up and work as many parts of your body all together as possible.

A healthy diet plan is going to be 80% of the formula to get noticeable results and help to see those hard-working muscles.

Minimally processed or restaurant bought foods, fiber-rich, and rainbow-colored vegetables and clean, lean proteins such as egg whites, lean chicken and turkey will help shed those pounds and lean you out as well.

5. No matter how much cardio, crunches, burpees , and lunges you do, no one is going to get ripped if they eat out every meal, or chow down a whole pizza when they get home from the gym.

Not only is portion size important, the types of food consumed are key, as well. Long term health is a life change. You have to be mindful of eating healthy in the morning, at work, when you get home, before sleep and on the weekends.

This means you need to go through your kitchen and throw out any temptations that will get in your way.

Getting your family to agree to take healthy steps and declarations toward a healthier lifestyle will also help you reach your goal.

Make a list of as many fruits and vegetables that you like and are willing to eat before you go grocery shopping, or visit your local farmers market or produce section of the grocery store and check out what is in season.

Make a secondary list of beans, legumes, spices, low fat & low sugar dairy products, plus lean meats.  Invest time in buying the foods that will fuel your everyday and experiment with different healthy recipes.

Additional tips on how to lean out and get ripped:

6. Eat less, more regular meals.

You have mainly likely heard this so many times, but this is very important in losing fat from the body, which will eventually permit your abs to be exposed.

On this particular note, always maintain your sodium intake under the control if you want to get ripped.

7. Combination of resistance cardio and weight training is the main way to get cut fast.

If you want to know how to get cut fast, you have to consider the discussed matters. If you cannot wait to get cut, you have to combine all the three systems of energy that are discussed before.

Most of the people do not have the proper knowledge of how to get cut and they fail to get their body ripped. The best way to start is to exercise on the resistance cardio named as called barbell complexes.

They are actually six exercises done one by one without delay in between. The base of these exercises came from the idea of never putting the barbell down once you started your workout.

8. Choose a quality protein.

But combine the protein with fiber-rich foods, such as lightly steamed dark leafy greens. Protein is very important because it contains essential amino acids which are the building blocks of our muscles.

Exercise makes protein consumption essential, in order to provide our bodies with enough nourishment to keep our muscles from atrophying and in pristine condition.

The second part of the reasoning is that protein provides satiety, meaning we feel full longer than eating the same amount in carbohydrates so, therefore, we have more resistance to junk-food temptations.

Protein does not have to be meat, either. Natural soy products and plant protein, such as Swiss chard, legumes and those found in dairy make great nutritional meat alternatives.

9. Do not forget your carbohydrates, which provide energy to our muscles, and all our organs including our heart and brain.

When exercising, carbs are the first resource that will be used for energy. Through aggressive marketing, carbohydrates have earned a very negative name in the diet and fitness arena.

Many studies have shown that bodies that are deprived of carbohydrates show severe decline in mental capacity (decision making, mood imbalances and memory lapses) as well as a physical decline in energy, coordination and strength.

Eating complex carbohydrates (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, bananas, for example) 30 minutes before a workout is going to give you the energy you need to really take your workout to a maximum level which in turn means better results.

Another point to consider is to keep your high glycemic carbs in the morning and right after your workout.

These include oatmeal, potatoes, white rice for example, and the morning and after our workouts are when our body needs a quick shot of carbs to replenish its stores and provide us with energy when we need it.

10. Change your workouts every 4 to 6 weeks, even if it’s the simple variation of doing your exercise routine in a different order.

P90X workout does a great job in keeping the body from plateauing and this is great for people who what to further their“get ripped and lean” aspirations.

Cycle weeks where you train with weights and weeks where you train with lighter weights but with more reps, running and cycling as a cardio choice with plyometrics and the elliptical machine (as examples).

Above all, engage in activities that you find fun and challenging. You will stick with exercises that you like. Additional suggestions are  pick-up game basketball,  one on one tennis game, indoor rock climbing, outdoor hiking, skiing, biking, or swimming, etc.

11. Additionally, when lifting weights and strength training, you want to reduce the amount of isolation work you do and do compound muscle training.

This would include movements such as bicep curls, triceps isolation exercises, leg extensions, lateral raises, and so on.

You can hit pretty much all the muscle groups in the body with the following exercises:

❧  Bench press
❧  Squat
❧  Deadlift
❧  Shoulder press
❧  Row
❧  Calf raise
❧  One ab exercise

Obviously, you can swap these exercises around; do a pull-up instead of a row or do an incline bench press instead of a shoulder press. Getting these core movements in, however, will keep you on top of your game.

Divide these up into either a full-body program performed two to three times each week or an upper/lower split performed four days each week, trying to keep it to a maximum of 15 sets per workout if you're doing upper/lower, and 20-25 if you're doing full body.

To maintain your muscle glycogen from workout to workout (for those who are doing a low-carb approach and not eating very many carbs elsewhere in their diet), consume 5 grams of carbs per 2 sets during the pre/post-workout period).

Additional Advice from on Diet reminds readers that the single most important factor in someone’s quest to get ripped will be their diet. Getting lean is mostly about dietary effort, a little bit of proper workout programming technique, smidgen of psychological (because, let’s face it, temptation is around every corner), and sheer determination.

Consume fewer calories than you need to maintain your weight. Fat loss is really just a simple mathematical equation; it considers the compounding factors where calories come from, times when your meals are being eaten, and so on. These are all personal preferences that help to determine whether or not you're able to stick with the diet in question.

Protein intake should equate to a minimum of one gram per pound of body mass in order to prevent muscle loss. Losing weight is of no use if you are not losing fat weight. That is the critical factor that will determine whether you end up looking like a smaller version of your current self at the end of the diet or a version that is leaner and appears more muscular.

Rather than giving you specific foods to eat, shoot for a calorie intake of between 10 and 12 multiplied by your body weight. This is a fairly good approximation of the calories you should be consuming for weight loss, along with one gram of protein per pound of body weight.

After that, aim for 15% of those remaining calories for fat (or higher, whatever your preference) and fill in the rest with carbs.

It should be clear, if you’ve ever tried dieting before, that certain foods will help satisfy your appetite better and keep your blood sugar levels under control (thus, preventing rebound hunger), so the more you can incorporate these types of foods the better the chances you’ll have when you try to get ripped.

Remember to take in some protein and carbohydrates around your workout period, for both muscle glycogen replenishment and to help give you the energy you need to get through the workouts in the first place.


Banish Back and Neck Pain With Natural Home Remedies and Exercises

Banish Back and Neck Pain With Natural Home Remedies and Exercises 

Back and neck pain can stem from simply sitting at your computer, like you may be doing now, back hunched, shoulders slumped forward and abs relaxed. Back pain can stem from a trauma or injury, sleeping on the wrong or old mattress, stress, a physically demanding job, or many other circumstances. Lower back pain and neck/shoulder pain are very common. Understandably, back pain caused by bad posture will affect people’s ability to do back pain relief exercises.

How can people relieve and banish back pain for good? The most popular remedies are:

✓ pain medications
✓ chiropractic
✓ orthopedics
✓ physical therapy
✓ epidural shots
✓ acupuncture
✓ surgery

There are simple home remedies that do not include any of the above that can help toward a pain-free and better healthful lifestyle without the back drama. No matter what the cause is, there are foundational base remedies which could ease the soreness associated with simple back anguish. Doesn’t hurt (too much) to try them!

✱ Massage therapy

Massage therapy matchless from the basic remedies because back pain is a temporary symptom pacifier therapy, it can help a lot. Whenever people experience pain that includes muscle tightening, pain and soreness, a massage could be really effective. Call a home masseuse or have your partner give you a massage.  Almost all massage chairs today are designed to mimic human massage, which is quite effective in dealing with back pains.

✱ Exercise

Exercising is a great way to ease back and neck pain, though sometimes the thought of moving your body may seem strenuous. Start slow and listen to your body. Consult a physical therapist or exercise professional before starting any new routine with back pain. Exercising helps to circulate the blood in the body. When muscles fail to get proper nutrients and oxygen due to a lack of circulation and movement, they weaken and leave people susceptible to chronic body stress and pain. The back muscles do not frequently get a good flow of blood circulating to it, therefore exercising is the best way to amend blood circulation to the back.

Strengthen the “right” abs

The abdominals consist of four separate muscles. The deepest muscle, the transverse abdominus (T.A.), runs horizontally and serves as a girdle for the internal organs, and it also supports the back. Learning to isolate the T.A. is very important. One way to do this is to stand with your back against a wall. In a neutral position, there should be a slight space between your lower back and the wall. When you tighten the T.A., your stomach will flatten, but your back should remain in neutral. Do not suck in the gut or shrug your shoulders. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds. A more advanced version of this back pain exercise is performed in a quadruped position (on your hands and knees). Performed correctly, this ab strengthening exercise can help you banish back pain.

Pelvic tilt/cat-cow

The cat-cow stretch is a good exercise to help banish back pain; it loosens the hips and relieves tension and stiffness in the back. On your hands and knees, lift your head and make your back concave for the cow pose. Then arch your back, tighten your abs and tuck your hips underneath you for the cat pose. You might find you have more hip motion in one direction than in the other. Perform this exercise often, but be careful not to strain yourself. Make the motions smoothly and slowly, and don't snap your hips in one direction then the other.


Stretching because stressed muscles are more susceptible to being torn or tweaked, increasing the flexibility and stretch-ability of muscles, particularly after prolonged assumption from a single posture (sitting at a desk or performing the same movements for a long duration of time) will help to ease back and muscle pain. Stretching exercises can assist in keeping the muscles more flexible and help people avoid strains which could cause severe discomfort in the upper and lower back.

Tight hamstrings

Tight hamstrings are a common cause of back pain because they attach to the pelvis and any tightness affects the low back. The hamstrings become inflexible and weak if you’re stuck at a desk all day, if you sit during a long commute or are an person who just does not stretch as often you should. A good exercise to banish back pain is to stretch the hamstrings lying supine. A seated stretch can cause strain on the lower back if performed incorrectly. Using a towel, belt, stretch cord or dog leash, hook one foot in the cord and keep the other foot flat on the floor. Pull the involved leg straight up in the air, until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds and  repeat this three times for each leg. Extend the opposite leg if you can for a deeper stretch. Again, this isn't a motion that can be performed harshly and you shouldn't be overextending your leg or causing pain. You should only feel a slight burning in your thigh indicating a good stretch, not pain.

Hip flexor stretch

When your quadriceps and hip flexors are tight, in conjunction with weak abs, they pull your pelvis forward, causing pain in your lower back because the quadriceps crosses the knee and hip joint. Kneel on your right knee with your left leg bent and your left foot flat on the floor in front of you. Lean forward and squeeze your right buttock as you do so. You should feel the stretch down the front of your thigh, and into the front of the hip. Switch sides. Kneel on a pillow or towel if your knee bothers you. This stretch to banish back pain can also be done while you lie on your stomach.

Trapezius stretch

As you're reading this, drop your shoulders. Did you realize they were up? Many people hunch their shoulders due to stress, tension or just as a learned posture. A constant slumped-over posture puts the trapezius muscle in a constant stretch position, which over time causes the muscle to tighten up to protect itself.

Stretching the trapezius on a regular basis will help relieve some tension and help prevent headaches. Attempt to bring the right ear to the right shoulder, keeping in mind that your shoulder should not come up to meet your ear. Hold this position for 10 seconds and repeat it 10 times. Hold onto the edge of the chair with your left hand for a deeper stretch, and remember to do both sides.

Open your chest

The pectoral muscles, or "pecs," tighten up when the shoulders are carried forward all the time, and as a result of doing too many bench presses and pushups. In a corner, put your forearms against the wall. Lean forward, pushing your chest toward the wall. Feel the stretch across the front of your chest and shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat three times. If you do not have an empty corner, the stretch can be performed one arm at a time in a doorway. Don’t lean too far forward; it should be a stretch, not painful.

Scapular retractions/rows

The muscles between the scapula (rhomboids) are most responsible for keeping the shoulders in proper alignment. In a seated or standing position, squeeze your shoulder blades together. A maximum contraction will make the shoulder blades touch. Do not shrug your shoulders and do not arch your lower back. Try this exercise to banish back pain in a prone position as well. Place a pillow or a rolled-up towel under your forehead to keep your neck and spine in a straight line. Lift your shoulders off the surface, squeezing your shoulder blades together, and then reach for your feet with your fingertips. Squeeze for five seconds and repeat 20 times. This exercise is the precursor to seated or bent-over rows performed in the gym.

These stretches to banish back pain can be performed every day, at any time. After about three weeks of consistent stretching, people should begin seeing an improvement in their posture and experience less back pain. However, if back pain continues, visit your doctor or physical therapist.


Ouch! Exercising with Knee Pain

Ouch! Exercising with Knee Pain

What activities tend to be hardest on the knees?

Exercises or movements that involve excessive flexing, especially with weights, such as a full squat or leg press or lots of pounding tend to be worst. Any type of exercise that involves great agility--sudden stops, starts, and pivots, or potentially awkward jumps and landings - such as basketball, tennis, soccer, racquetball, football, rugby or volleyball. Jumping exercises called plyometrics, which focus on increasing muscle power, jumping rope, trampoline, can also be tough on the knee joint. Jumping places a force of two to three times your body weight across your knees, which naturally increases the potential for injury, and people with knee problems would do best to avoid jumps that require a very deep knee bend or could torque the knee on the landing.

What causes knee pain?

Severe knee pain is generally not from overuse, but from a sudden injury - often sustained during quick weight shifts and direction changes, or upon landing from a jump. A frequent victim in these cases is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the fibrous bands that connect the thighbone to the shinbone. ACL tears are serious and may require surgical repair.

Injuries definitely develop over time, as well, such as from repetitive stress that damages cartilage and other soft tissue in the knee joint. The most common injury is patellofemoral stress syndrome (runner's knee), in which the cartilage of the patella (kneecap) becomes irritated, resulting in pain and inflammation. Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is another source of pain for athletes. The IT band is a stretch of fibrous tissue that runs down the outer thigh and knee; running and other activities cause the band to repeatedly rub against the outside of the knee joint, which may lead to inflammation and pain at the outside of the knee. ITBS is usually seen in long-distance runners and cyclists but can occur in soccer players, skiers and weightlifters. Reducing activities can help ease the pain of any overuse injury, while some may require physical therapy or other medical treatment.

What are exercises for people with knee pain?

Resistance bands

Extremely versatile, inexpensive and can be done anywhere, are these fun rubbery bands.  You can tie a big knot in it and wedge it under the door, or you can tie it around a pole.  Once you do one of these, you can then tie the other end around your foot and start doing different leg exercises like bringing your knee to your chest, leg extensions, leg curls, leg kickbacks, leg holds with the tube tight, raising your leg out to the side or bringing it across your body.


Swimming - Sport

Swimming is a great choice for those with bad knees because of the low impact environment it provides. The water acts as a brace for your body helping to lift and support you as you exercise. Swimming is a great exercise that works all of the muscles in your body, giving you a complete workout while not causing you any discomfort. Swimming also can hold water aerobics activities, which will increase the flexibility of your knees, as well as giving you much needed exercise. If you're interested in water aerobics, many classes are offered at gyms.


Walking is the most natural exercise for the human body and one of my favorite body movement suggestions to people It is a great exercise for people with bad knees because of how accessible and painless it's for people with bad knees. You can buy a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you're taking to create a better workout (or download an app on your mobile phone). Pedometers allow you to find your limit and stay away from any discomfort. Walking is not as high impact as running because the weight you put on your body is less while doing the actually walking and you don't have to come to a sudden jerky stop while walking. For a challenge, walk in soft sand.


Yoga is seen as an ideal exercise for people with bad knees because it has almost no impact and actually increases the flexibility and strength of your knees. Yoga is very accessible in just about any gym or school and can be done at home after you've learned some positions.

These are just three exercises that will help you with your bad knees, research for more low-impact exercises and there will surely be one that's right for you. Bad knees may be annoying, but they don't have to keep you from exercising, keep searching and you will find the exercise that's right for you.

Reclined Floor Exercises

Side-lying Leg Lifts: Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, legs straight and together, with your left arm supporting your head. Keeping your right foot flexed and your body straight, slowly lift your right leg to about shoulder height, then slowly lower. Repeat with your left leg.

Ab Crunches, Reverse Ab Crunches

Side Plank or Traditional Plank

crossfit side plank


Pilates focuses on building strength. Originally developed by Joseph Pilates in a World War II concentration camp, the program uses a series of movements that employ the body's weight as its resistance to train and strengthen muscles. Few movements require strain on the knees and the leg exercises can increase the strength of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles to better support the knee joints. The first movements of Pilates zero in on the "powerhouse" or core area to build muscle support for the spine. By having a strong midsection that can keep the upper body erect, you lessen the strain placed on the knees by poor posture. Pilates can correct and relieve many areas of stress for people with bad knees.


relax bicycle-bicyclist-bike-128202

Bicycling can be done outdoors or inside on a stationary bike. This low-impact exercise is fine for people with bad knees, because it uses the leg muscles without straining the joints and it increases cardiovascular health. 20 minutes per day is a good way to start with this type of exercise.

Upper-Body Ergometer or “Kranking”

This is that piece of equipment in the cardio area at your gym that looks like a bike for hands. Treat it like any other piece of cardio equipment—go for a long forty-five-minute stint or pound out a shorter and harder interval session. Special Note* though this may look easy, the Ergometer is actually very challenging. Adjust the resistance slowly and become familiar to the upper’s body use for cardio before going faster or adding resistance.

Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers found in many gyms are the equivalent of riding a bike and walking or running without any pressure on the knee joints. These machines use the lower legs for primary motion. Some elliptical machines have handles that work the upper body for a total upper and lower body workout. These machines offer a low-impact workout that burns calories and leads to weight loss over time.

Rowing Machine

Most gyms have rowing machines and they’re often some of the most underutilized pieces of cardio equipment. Rowing is mostly upper-body work (great for toning up your arms and shoulders), but your legs provide low-impact support by pushing against the machine with each stroke. Always keep the movement fluid and controlled rather than jerking through each motion and push with your legs and avoid hunching forward to protect your back. To minimize pain in knees, keep a slight bend in the elbows and knees rather than locking the joints at full extension.

Upper Body Weight and Circuit Training

Upper body weight training is another exercise for people with bad knees. For weight loss, the best approach is to use less weight with more repetitions (circuit training) and to focus on the middle of the body by doing abdominal crunches. Weight training helps to improve the cardiovascular system, makes you stronger, increases flexibility. and. once you lose some weight. it helps you maintain acceptable body fat limits.

Take Away:

Body movement and a consistent exercise routine is imperative to optimal health and wellness. For people with aches and pains, exercising is very possible, but you may have to substitute certain favorite exercises for another. Put your ego aside and modify when possible. Listen to your body, but don’t fall into the habit of being lazy or not pushing yourself too hard. Maximize your effort with upper body exercises.  Plan out daily workouts ahead of time by writing them down and sticking to a weekly routine.  Challenge yourself and keep the intensity level up throughout your workouts (a heart rate monitor can assist you with that, for the ones on the cardio machines are inaccurate).  Also keep your calories and food consumption charted and eat healthy, whole and organic (when possible) foods (not too much). Livestrong has a great free calorie charter available through their website and a mobile app for those with smart phones. Ice your knees if the pain is too great after your exercises, but do not rely on over the counter pain relievers because it is temporary relief, only masks the symptoms of the real problem and harms the liver.

Resources:,,,,, OneResult.Com